In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
God is the ally of those who believe, He brings them out of depths of darkness into light. (Q. 2:257)
Just as belief is a light that falls on the human being and reveals the beautiful messages from the Besought One [Samad] inscribed on him, it also enlightens the universe. Belief saves the past and future from darkness. The following Qur’anic verse guides us toward this meaning: God is the ally of those who believe, He brings them out of depths of darkness into light. (Q. 2:257). Through a parable, let us explain some of the profound wisdom contained in this verse and let us show how belief (iman) indeed takes us from a dark universe into one filled with light.
I imagine two high mountains standing across from one another and that there is an astonishing bridge connecting the two, with an incredibly deep river running underneath the bridge. I am standing on that bridge, and the entire world around me is shrouded in darkness. I look to my right, and it seems as if I see an enormous cemetery within the depths of darkness. And then I look to my left, and it seems that huge storms, hurricanes and troubles are building up within the darkness. I look below the bridge, and it looks like there is a huge abyss underneath. In the midst of all this scary darkness, all I have is a flashlight. When I turn it on and look around, the situation becomes even worse: I now see terrible monsters, lions, and dragons all around the bridge. I exclaim,, “I wish I did not have this torch and did not see all this terrifying stuff!” Wherever I direct my flashlight, I see more horrors. I say to myself, “this flashlight is trouble!”
I become so angry at the torch that I smash it on the ground. As soon as I break it, it is as if I turned on a light switch for the entire world: all the darkness disappears. Everything fills up with light, which reveals the truth of everything around me. I realize that what seemed to be a bridge over an abyss was actually a smooth road on a valley. What I thought was a huge cemetery on my right side turns out to be a beautiful green garden in which meaningful and happy gatherings of worship and service are held under the leadership of wonderful people. On my left, what I thought to be stormy and scary abysses and heights turn out to be incredible banquets and beautiful scenery vaguely visible behind lovely and impressive mountains. And, I realize that what seemed to be terrifying monsters around the bridge are actually domesticated familiar animals such as cows, sheep, goats, and so on. I say, “thanks and praise is due to God for the light of belief.” I recite the Quranic passage God is the ally of those who believe: He brings them out of the depths of darkness and into the light (Q. 2:257) and wake up from this vision.
Now, the two mountains in the vision symbolize the start and the end of life, one being the entrance to this world and the other being the entrance into the intermediate realm (barzakh). The right side in the parable is the past, and the left side corresponds to the future. The flashlight symbolizes the arrogant human ego, which rejects the heavenly message and pretends to know the truth on its own. And, what seemed to be monsters in the vision are the events and strange creatures of the world. The person who puts his trust in his ego and falls into the darkness of heedlessness and misguidance is represented by my first situation in the vision. The flashlight represents his lacking information tainted with his misguided approach, which shows the past as a big cemetery plunged in the darkness of non-existence. It is this flashlight that shows the future as tumultuous and scary, as subject to tortures of blind chance. Moreover, it depicts the events and beings that are under the direction of a Merciful and Wise One as harmful monsters. Hence, the person experiences the situation noted in the verse: as for the disbelievers, their allies are false gods who take them from light to the depths of darkness. (Q. 2:257)
When God’s guidance comes and belief enters into the heart, the arrogance of the soul is broken, and we heed the book of God. Then, my second state in the above vision comes about. The entire universe lights up, being filled with the light of God. The world recites the Qur’anic passage, God is the light of the heavens and the earth (Quran, 24:35). This light reveals that the past is not a huge cemetery plunged in non-existence. Rather, the heart now perceives that the past is where pure spirits of all eras are each gathered under the guidance of a prophet or a friend of God, having completed their life mission. They then ascend into high stations and pass onto the future, glorifying God. When the person looks to the left, he sees with the light of belief from afar that beyond the major transformations of the grave and the afterlife there are wonderful feasts of the Compassionate set up in palaces of joy. The person knows that everything, including events such as storms, earthquakes, and disease, is subservient to God’s wisdom.. It becomes evident that many events outwardly harsh are actually inwardly full of subtle wisdom. The person even realizes that death is good; death is the beginning of an eternal life and the grave is the gate to eternal happiness. (You decipher the remaining symbols from the parable and apply it to reality).
[Excerpted from Said Nursi on Belief and Human Nature, from Words, “23rd Word,” 2nd Point]