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Islam: Word or Sword?


At the beginning of the Twenty-Fifth Word, Nursi explained the reason for the violence that polytheists and idolaters used against early Muslims. (i) He argued that the polytheists had two options to silence and subdue early Muslims: use of words or use of swords. Polytheists of Makkah had all the resources for that: they were rich, educated, experienced, and numerous. In contrast, early Muslims were poor, uneducated, inexperienced, and very few. In the ten years of the Makkan period, their numbers did not exceed several hundred people, and most of them were slaves, youngsters, women, foreigners, and people of low socioeconomic status. Also, polytheists of Makkah prided themselves to be excellent poets, masters of the word, and specialists of rhetoric.

The first way – the use of words – was short, easy, and safe. The second way – the use of swords – was long, difficult, and dangerous. The logical step and smart way were to choose the first way. However, Makkan polytheists chose the second way. Why? Because the first way was impossible; because they saw and understood their own intellectual impotence, cognitive infertility, and academic sterility in comparison to the Glorious Quran. Therefore, the use of swords and the application of violence is proof and evidence of impotence, infertility, and sterility in the areas of intellect, cognition, and academics.

Fast forward one thousand and four hundred years: Muslims are using swords, and Muslims are abandoning words; Muslims are led by their treacherous political leaders and perfidious religious scholars to the violent dialogue instead of non-violent discourse. By doing this, they are sealing, stamping, and signing the declaration of their own intellectual impotence and academic bankruptcy. Muslims of this age use the methods and ways of the polytheists of yesteryear.

People who use violence declare and shout their own intellectual impotence because violence starts when words, ideas, and solutions are exhausted. Therefore, Muslims, who use violence in the name of Islam, are stabbing Quran in the back; they are betraying Quran daily; they burn and bury not the paper of the Quran but the meaning and message of the Quran every day because Quran states that its words and ideas never end and never stop by mentioning trees as pens and seas as ink (18:109, 31:27). (ii) Muslims of today, who use violence, are the traitors of the Quran and betrayers of Islam; they are going to be judged for high treason in the Afterlife.

By using violence, you claim and assert that words, ideas, and solutions of the Quran are finished, ended, and exhausted, which is not true. By using violence, you deny and defy the verses 18:109 and 31:27 of the Quran. By using violence, you sling the dirt of your own intellectual impotence on the clean and clear Quran. You are a traitor, betrayer, and treasonist of the Quran. I despise and disdain you for using violence. I wanted to spit on you, but you do not even deserve the saliva of spit; you do not deserve any bit of attention.

Quran is the word, and Quran is not the sword. Quran is a soft and gradual persuasion, and Quran is not cruel and immediate persecution. The fact that the Quran was revealed during the course of about eight thousand days proves that it is a soft and gradual persuasion; it is a continuous and life-long education. Human beings need time to understand themselves, and they need at least eight thousand days to realize and recognize who they are and what they want. That is why the identity and individuality of early Muslims were built softly and gradually by using words during the course of eight thousand days. No one of early Muslims took the sword and imposed belief at the point of a spear; swords and spears were arguments and prerogatives of polytheists; early Muslims had only one weapon at their disposal: the words.

Words are the containers of ideas, ideals, and principles; words are the tools that are used to fold, mold, transform, change and control thoughts and feelings; words are the basis and foundation of family, society, culture, and civilization. We need words and at least eight thousand days to build culture and civilization, but swords can destroy culture and civilization in mere eight thousand hours. We need words and eight thousand days to build and to rear individuals from childhood to adulthood, but swords can slay these individuals in eight seconds. The mindset of the sword is the mentality of damage and death, but the mindset of the word is the mentality of development and birth.

The beginning of the twentieth century marked the death of Muslim civilization and culture after the prolonged illness and agony that lasted five hundred years. Muslims everywhere on the globe were defeated, colonized, and humiliated either by external powers or by themselves. At that time, Muslims tried to protect their civilization by using swords, but God made this attempt unsuccessful. So now, there is no Muslim civilization; there are ruins of civilization. And we have two choices: either protect these ruins by using swords or produce a new civilization by using words. Swords are used for protection, and words are used for production. However, now, there is nothing to protect; there are only ruins.

Muslims do not have to live in ruins; Muslims have to leave the ruins; Muslims have to leave the protection of swords; Muslims have to live in the production of words. Muslims have to build New World; slowly and gradually, word by word, idea by idea, ideal by ideal, brick by brick. And the mental architecture of this New World is four principles of Justice, Freedom, Compassion, and Knowledge. (iii)

Words are sharper than swords. Swords can cut and destroy bones and flesh, but words build and destroy the mentality, mindset, and spirit of humans. Swords have the reach of two meters, intercontinental ballistic missiles have the reach of thousands of kilometres, but words can penetrate space and time, past, present, and future. Words are the weapons of mass destruction and tools of mass development. Those, who are going to master the words and ideas, are going to be the masters of their selves and the world.

The era of the sword is closed and ended, and the epoch of word is opened and started. The advent of the Internet and the invention of the other technological advancements prove and show that we live in the new era of the word, i.e., the information age. Blind adherence, copycat imitation, and parrot-like repetition of historical precedents is not the way of success and progress, but it is the sure way of denial and defeat.

Words are more powerful and more influential than swords. Those, who choose swords over words, are either unconscious fools or conscious traitors. May God teach fools and punish the traitors. Amen.

I chose, and I am choosing the mindset of the word, not the mindset of the sword.

2:111 … Say: “Produce your proof if you are truthful!” (iv)

25:30. And the Messenger says: “My Lord! Surely my people have made this Qur’an something worthy of no attention.” (v)

-İman isteyen münafık

References:

i Said Bediuzzaman Nursi, The Words: On the Nature and Purposes of Man, Life, and All Things, trans. Şükran Vahide, vol. 1, Risale-i Nur Collection, 2008, http://www.sozler.com.tr.

ii Ali Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English, n.d., www.mquran.org www.theholybook.org.

iii İman isteyen münafık, “Justice, Freedom, Compassion, Knowledge,” January 29, 2021, https://www.munferit.net/2021/01/justice-freedom-compassion-knowledge.html.

iv Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English.

v Ünal.


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