The Strength of Believers is Derived
from Their Sincerity
In general, the association of those who do not believe in Allah and the hereafter is based on the importance they attach to worldly goods and the hope for worldly rewards. By their association, such people may conclude an agreement out of mutual interests. Each party supports the other, and thus, they hope to obtain mutual benefit. Without admitting it, those who form such alliances know that their association is not based upon mutual trust or friendship, and that their participation is conditional. When one of the parties is no longer of benefit to the other, then the alliance is terminated. The opposing party remains indifferent to the needs of the party in difficulty. Hence, such alliances only arise merely from the hope of greater strength through increased numbers and for the attainment of some worldly gain. Therefore, it is to be expected that such an alliance would disintegrate as soon as the possibility of attainting these things vanishes. As Allah informs mankind in the Qur'an, the hearts of those who deny Allah are not inclined to one another, even if they appear externally to be as one single body:
... Their hostility towards each other is intense.They are full of bravado in each other's company. You consider them united but their hearts are scattered wide. That is because they are people who do not use their intellect. (Surat al-Hashr: 14)
For this reason, such alliances formed among those who deny Allah are always prone to fall apart. In this world, there is only one thing capable of ensuring a true unity, real friendship and alliance among men, and that is "faith." When those of true faith, who fear the Day of Judgment, unite in this world, they lay the foundations of a sound alliance, which will last eternally into the hereafter. They love and befriend each other solely for Allah's sake. They unite with sincere intentions, without expecting any other benefit. This union takes its origin from love and fear of Allah, the only true source of alliance. Therefore, it is impossible for it to be destroyed unless Allah wills so. Believers form a power resembling "a well-built wall" that cannot be penetrated. The verse quoted below declares as follows:
Allah loves those who fight in His Way in ranks like well-built walls. (Surat as-Saff: 4)
Those who have faith and who are sincere are granted the determination and enthusiasm to overcome, even if they are outnumbered by millions. This is stated in the following verse as follows:
... But those who were sure that they were going to meet Allah said, "How many a small force has triumphed over a much greater one by Allah's permission! Allah is with the steadfast." (Surat al-Baqara: 249)
They gain Allah's support by always remaining sincere. Since Allah is the "Unconquerable (Al-Aziz)," they ultimately succeed. They are aware of the secret announced in the verses of Allah as, "…You will be uppermost if you are [true] believers." (Surah Al 'Imran: 139) . Consequently, they are extraordinarily resiliant and powerful, a quality to which the discord, disagreement and suspicion created by the outsiders cannot penetrate.
Each of those who form such a union fears Allah, and surrenders himself unconditionally to the verses of the Qur'an. As they strive solely to gain Allah's consent, and fear none but Allah, each is like an entire army.
Their Sincerity is the Reason for their Solidarity
As they seek Allah's consent with great sincerity, they are never faced with turmoil, disagreement or discord among themselves. Because, Allah's word is one, and the verses of the Qur'an are clear. Where all believers adhere unconditionally to the Qur'an, and act only to gain Allah's consent, a great harmony and order exist. As all obey Allah and the Qur'an sincerely, all their affairs are settled easily and without conflict. When problems do arise out of self-interest, each of them favors the good of the other, always preferring the interests of the religion. They prefer the good of their brothers to their own. Hence, great solidarity, union and mutual support is formed among them. It is not always required that believers be gathered together in order to form this union. What is important for true believers is to form a sound and strong moral solidarity, despite their distances from each other, what language they speak or which country they live in.
As such people aim to become friends abiding eternally in the hereafter, they are devoted to each other with a profound love, respect and fidelity. For this reason, they never allow rivalry, discord or disagreements to come between them. Even if they are faced with trouble or distress, they are not carried away by suspicion, laxity or lack of determination, due to their fear of Allah and their sincerity. If one of them makes a mistake, then the other's faith and sincerity guides him to truth. As they continuously enjoin good and forbid evil, their faith becomes stronger. Thus, their sincerity and strength increase. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi referred to this incredible power and strength of sincere believers who share common goals, effort and devotion, with the following example:
"…For just as one of man's hands cannot compete with the other, neither can one of his eyes criticize the other, nor his tongue object to his ear, nor his heart see his spirit's faults. Each of his members completes the deficiencies of the others, veils their faults, assists their needs, and helps them out in their duties. Otherwise man's life would be extinguished, his spirit flee, and his body be dispersed. Similarly, the components of machinery in a factory cannot compete with one another in rivalry, take precedence over each other, or dominate each other. They cannot spy out one another's faults and criticize each other, destroy the other's eagerness for work, and cause them to become idle. They rather assist each other's motions with all their capacity in order to achieve the common goal; they march towards the aim of their creation in true solidarity and unity. Should even the slightest aggression or desire to dominate interfere, it would throw the factory into confusion, causing it to be without product or result. Then the factory's owner would demolish the factory entirely. And so, O Risale-i Nur students and servants of the Qur'an! You and I are members of a collective personality such as that, worthy of the title of 'perfect man.' We are like the components of a factory's machinery which produces eternal happiness within eternal life. We are hands working on a dominical boat which will disembark the Community of Muhammad (saas) at the Realm of Peace, the shore of salvation."40
This example put forth by Bediuzzaman is of great importance in helping us to understand the solidarity and union needed among true believers. As they are purified of all kinds of sentiments likely to damage their sincerity, they gain an indomitable moral strength, resembling factory wheels coming together to form a giant power.
In another of his works, communicating how true believers gained greater strength by being aware of the secret of sincerity, Bediuzzaman gave the following example:
"So we are surely in need of solidarity and true union, obtained through gaining sincerity—for the mystery of sincerity secures through four individuals the moral strength of one thousand one hundred and eleven—indeed, we are compelled to obtain it.
Yes, if three alifs do not unite, they have the value of three. Whereas if they do unite, through the mystery of numbers they acquire the value of one hundred and eleven. If four times four remain apart, they have a value of sixteen. But if, through the mystery of brotherhood and having a common goal and joint duty, they unite coming together shoulder to shoulder on a line, they have the strength and value of four thousand four hundred and forty-four. Just as numerous historical events testify that the moral strength and value of sixteen self-sacrificing brothers have been greater than that of four thousand.
The underlying reason for this mystery is this: each member of a true and sincere union may see also with the eyes of the other brothers, and hear with their ears. As if each person of a true union of ten has the value and strength of seeing with twenty eyes, thinking with ten minds, hearing with twenty ears, and working with twenty hands."41
What is Earned from Sincerity
Sincerity is a great power bestowed upon true believers to enable them to earn eternal blessings, both in this world and the hereafter. As Bediuzzaman said, "it is the most important principle in works pertaining to the hereafter in particular; it is the greatest strength, and the firmest point of support, and the highest quality, and the purest worship." There is not a doubt that the greatest of the blessings bestowed upon man, either in this world or the next, is Allah's consent.
The secret of acquiring Allah's consent and approbation lies in sincerity. Allah announces in the subsequent verse the good news to those who fear Allah that the noblest recompense in the hereafter is His good pleasure:
Say, "Shall I tell you of something better than that?" Those who do their duty will have Gardens with their Lord, with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever, and purified wives, and the Pleasure of Allah. Allah sees His servants. (Surah Al 'Imran: 15)
This is the ultimate goal of the effort expended by the true believers during their worldly life.
In many of His verses, our Lord gives the glad tidings to the sincere believers, who believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment, who do good deeds to approach closer unto to Allah and obtain the prayers and good wishes of His Messenger (saas), that they will finally acquire Allah's consent and gain entry into Paradise. The related verses state:
And among the desert Arabs there are some who believe in Allah and the Last Day and regard what they give as something which will bring them nearer to Allah and to the prayers of the Messenger. It does indeed bring them near. Allah will admit them into His mercy. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. The forerunners—the first of the Muhajirun [those who emigrated from Mecca and settled in Medina] and the Ansar [the inhabitants of Medina who had accepted Islam]—and those who have followed them in doing good: Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared Gardens for them with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever and ever. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba: 99-100)
And the Garden will be brought up close to those wo do their duty, not far away: "This is what you were promised. It is for every careful penitent: those who fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen and come with a contrite heart." (Surah Qaf: 31-33)
Anyone, male or female, who does right actions and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will not be wronged by so much as the tiniest speck. (Surat an-Nisa': 124)
A Beautiful Life in This World
In addition to eternal blessings, Allah grants sincere believers great rewards in this world. As indicated in the subsequent verse, Allah guides those who turn to Him to the straight path:
... Allah misguides whoever He wills and guides to Himself all who turn to Him. (Surat ar-R'ad: 27)
In another verse, Allah declares that He will support and assist sincere believers as follows:
By it, Allah guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways of Peace. He will bring them from the darkness to the light by His permission, and guide them to a straight path. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 16)
Our Lord also bestows innumerable blessings upon sincere believers during their worldly lives. He takes them away from the miserable, distressed and futile lives of those who deny Allah. As announced in the Qur'an, He enables them to lead noble lives in the following way:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Surat an-Nahl: 97)
One who turns to Allah wholeheartedly will be distanced from all the troubles and distresses of the worldly life. He can lead his life peacefully and in confidence because he fears Allah alone. As he does not fear the condemnations of others, he has no worries in regards his worldly affairs. As he only aims to acquire Allah's consent, nobody can upset or distress him. Since he aims to obtain the hereafter, he is not obsessed with worldly belongings and possessions. Neither the loss or increase of his possessions alarms him. He always acts with submission, trust, faith, kindness, compassion, patience and modesty.
In deeds accomplished with sincerity, only Allah's consent is aimed to be obtained. To acquire the consent of others, or worldly rewards, or the fulfilment of desires or ambitions must be disregarded. In this way the outcome will always be successful. Allah affirmed that the believers, who do not associate partners with Him, turn to Him in an unadulterated manner, after being purified of their desire to acquire the consent of others and of worldly rewards, will succeed. The pertinent verse is as follows:
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. "They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." Any who disbelieve after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)