Resurrection and the Hereafter - The Gate of God’s bestowal of life and death
The Gate of God’s bestowal of life and death,
the Manifestation of the Names of Eternally Living
and Self-Subsistent, and Giver of Life and Giver of Death.
Is it at all possible that the One Who gives life to this vast dead and dry earth; Who in
so doing demonstrates His power by deploying more than three hundred thousand
different forms of creation, each of them as remarkable as man; Who further
demonstrates in this deployment His all-embracing knowledge by the infinite distinctions
and differentiations He makes in the complex intermingling of all of those forms; Who
directs the gaze of all His slaves to everlasting bliss by promising them resurrection in all
of His heavenly decrees; Who demonstrates the splendour of His dominicality by causing
all of His creation to collaborate with one another, to revolve within the circle of His
command and His will, to aid one another and be submitted to Him; Who shows the
importance He has given to man by creating him as the most comprehensive, the most
precious and delicate, the most valued and valuable fruit on the tree of creation by
addressing him without intermediary and subjugating all things to him; — is it at all
possible that so Compassionate and Powerful a One, so Wise and All-Knowing a One,
should not bring about resurrection; should not gather His creatures together or be unable
to do so; should not restore man to life, or be unable to do so; should not be able to
inaugurate His Supreme Court; should not be able to create Heaven and Hell? Nay,
indeed, by no means is any of this possible.
Indeed, the Almighty Disposer of this world’s affairs creates in every century, every
year and every day, on the narrow and transient face of the globe, numerous signs,
examples and indications of the Supreme Gathering and the Plain of Resurrection.
Thus in the gathering that takes place every spring we see that in the course of five or
six days more than three hundred thousand different kinds of animal and plant are first
gathered together and then dispersed. The roots of all the trees and plants, as well as some
animals, are revived and restored exactly as they were. The other animals are recreated in
a form so similar as to be almost identical. The seeds which appear, in their outward
form, to be so close to each other, nonetheless, in the course of six days or six weeks,
become distinct and differentiated from each other, and then with extreme speed, ease
and facility, are brought to life in the utmost order and equilibrium. Is it at all possible
that for the One Who does all of this anything should be difficult; that He should be
unable to create the heavens and the earth in six days; that He should be unable to
resurrect men with a single blast? No, by no means is it possible!
Let us suppose there were to be some gifted writer who could write out in a single
hour the confused and obliterated letters of three hundred thousand books on a single
sheet without any error, omission or defect, complete and in the best form. If someone
were then to say to you that that writer could write out again from memory a book written
by him that had fallen into the water and become obliterated, would you then say that he
is unable, and would you not believe in his ability? Or think of some talented king who,
in order to demonstrate his power or for the sake of providing a warning example,
removes whole mountains with a single command, turns his realm upside down, and
transforms the sea into dry land. Then you see that a great rock rolls down into a valley,
so that the path is blocked for guests travelling to attend the king’s reception and they are
unable to pass. If someone should say to you: “that exalted one will remove or dissolve
the stone, however great it may be, with a single command; he will not leave his guests
stranded,” would you then say that he will not remove the stone, or be unable to do so?
Or if someone one day should gather together a great army, and you are then informed
that he will summon its battalions together with a blast of the trumpet after they had
dispersed to rest, and the battalions will form up in disciplined shape, would you respond
by saying, “I don’t believe it?” Were you to say any of these things your behaviour would
truly be madness.
If you have understood these three parables, now look further and see how the Pre-
Eternal Designer turns over in front of our eyes the white page of winter and opens the
green pages of spring and summer. Then He inscribes on the page of the earth’s surface,
with the pen of power and destiny, in the most beautiful form, more than three hundred
thousand species of creation. Not one encroaches upon another. He writes them all
together, but none blocks the path of another. In their formation and shape, each is kept
separate from the other without any confusion. There is no error in the writing. That Wise
and Preserving One, Who preserves and inserts the spirit of a great tree in the smallest
seed, no bigger than a dot — is it permissible even to ask how He preserves the spirits of
those who die? That Powerful One Who causes the globe to revolve like a pebble in a
sling — is it permissible even to ask how He will remove this globe from the path of His
guests who are travelling to meet Him in the Hereafter?
Again, the One of Glorious Essence Who from non-being recruits anew and inscribes
into His battalions, with the command of “Be, and behold it is,” and with utmost
discipline, the troops of all living things, the very particles of all of their bodies, and thus
creates highly disciplined armies — is it permissible even to ask how He can make
bodies submit to His discipline like a battalion, how He can gather together their
mutually acquainted fundamental particles, and their component members?
You can, moreover, behold with your own eyes, the numerous designs made by God
as signs, similes and indications of resurrection, designs placed by Him in every age and
epoch of the world, in the alternation of day and night, even in the appearance and
disappearance of clouds in the sky. If you imagine yourself to have been living a
thousand years ago, and then compare with each other the two wings of time that are the
past and the future, then you will behold similes of the gathering and indications of
resurrection as numerous as the centuries and days. If, then, after witnessing so many
similes and indications, you regard corporeal resurrection as improbable and rationally
unacceptable, know your behaviour to be pure lunacy.
See what the Supreme Decree says concerning the truth we are discussing:
Look upon the signs of God’s mercy, and see how He restores life to the earth
after its death. Verily He it is Who shall bring to life the dead, and He is
powerful over all things.28
In short: There is nothing that makes impossible the gathering of resurrection, and
much that necessitates it. The glorious and eternal dominicality, the almighty and all
embracing sovereignty of the One Who gives life and death to this vast and wondrous
earth as if it were a mere animal; Who has made of this earth a pleasing cradle, a fine
ship, for man and the animals; Who has made of the sun a lamp furnishing light and heat
to the hostelry of the world; Who has made of the planets vehicles for the conveyance of
His angels — the dominicality and sovereignty of such a One cannot rest upon and be
restricted to the transitory, impermanent, unstable, insignificant, changeable, unlasting,
deficient and imperfect affairs of this world. He must, therefore, have another realm, one
worthy of Him, permanent, stable, immutable and glorious. Indeed, He does have another
kingdom, and it is for the sake of this that He causes us to labour, and to this that He
summons us. All those of illumined spirit who have penetrated from outer appearances to
truth, and have been ennobled with proximity to the Divine Presence, all the spiritual
poles endowed with luminous hearts, all the possessors of lucent intelligence, all bear
witness that He will transfer us to that other kingdom. They inform us unanimously that
He has prepared for us there reward and requital, and relate that He is repeatedly giving
us firm promises and stern warnings.
As for the breaking of a promise, it is baseless and utter humiliation. It cannot in any
way be reconciled with the glory of His sanctity. Similarly, failure to fulfil a threat arises
either from forgiveness or powerlessness. Now unbelief is extreme crime, and cannot be forgiven.The Absolutely Omnipotent One is exempt of and exalted above all powerlessness. Those who bring us their testimony and report, despite all the differences in their methods, temperaments and paths, are totally unanimous and agreed on this basic matter. By their number, they have
the authority of unanimity. By their quality, they have the authority of learned consensus.
By their rank, each one is a guiding star of mankind, the cherished eye of a people, the
object of a nation’s veneration. By their importance, each one is an expert and an
authority in the matter. In any art or science, two experts are preferred to thousands of
non-experts, and two positive affirmers are preferred to thousands of negators in the
transmission of a report. For example, the testimony of two men affirming the sighting of
the crescent moon at the beginning of Ramadan totally nullifies the negation of thousands
of deniers.
In short: In the whole world there is no truer report, no firmer claim, no more
apparent truth than this. The world is without doubt a field, and the resurrection a
threshing-floor, a harvest. Paradise and Hell are each storehouses for the grain.
From the Risale-i Nur Collections Bediüzzaman Said Nurs-i