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Modern Art Lovers Attacked. Tom Wolfe May/May Not be on the Lam

September 22, 2010

Edited for a third time. Lots of poor deletion discipline, and a bit more accusatory than I’d like.

“You know what,” I think somebody must have said, “the entire East vs. West, modern vs. traditional, sort of trope has to be revived. How do we do that?”

You get a bunch of aesthetistes trampled by a mob, that’s how.

As reported in Hurriyenglish, a largish group of individuals on an art-walk in Tophane were attacked by a mob carrying “pepper spray, broken bottles, batons and knives” and a fair number were hospitalized for their injuries, including a few foreigners. Originally one assaulter was arrested, but it seems that a few more are in custody now. Strongly-worded messages of calm were given by Vali Hüseyin Avni Mutlu. Tophane Genclik spokesbro has a message of warning. There is confusion to how this started.

Basically, late-night anger happened. As is wont to happen in most other places in the world. Yeah, it seems that the mob was organized and came with weapons, which is pretty lame. I don’t want to mitigate that.

The quotes coming are kind of ridiculous. The Gallery owners act, well, exactly how you’d imagine gallery owners to act:

The galleries demanded a serious investigation by the authorities into the attack, which they noted does not befit a European capital of culture.

That said, well, Galeri NON looks pretty cool, and I have and have had a lot of love for Ekstramucadele. So if this is the only way for me to hear of their exhibits, please, lets have more violence.

The well-respected Ms. Hattam, who I have met and – if I can’t say that we’re particularly close – is someone I consider awfully sharp and pretty damn cool, was there. And if she was here, she would’ve edited the hell out of that previous sentence. But anyways, she was there. She seems pretty horrified by what happened, and, being not-there, I can’t blame her. That said, she seems to think its more about drinking than about general rowdiness in the neighborhood. I dunno. I’m inclined to believe her.

The art-going scene in Istanbul are, in the common parlance, White Turks. That Sublime Porte website does a great job explaining what that means, but to be simple about it, the White Turk, in a broad brush, is the prep school liberal who can’t understand the appeal of a Sarah Palin and doesn’t understand why “Two and a Half Men” is popular and discusses how stupid the unwashed masses of Nebraska are between sips of wine and sashimi in the Upper East Side. This White Turk is the first and best friend many an expat meets.

A man exists here that believes that Ataturk gave the White Turks a mandate to run the country, and is skeptical of democracy ever since Erdogan learned how to use it. He may believe that 58% percent of the country doesn’t actually exist. Much like how the previously-mentioned Palin knows foreign policy because she can see Russia from her house, this man knows Turkey because he met an art student at La Sorbonne and she spoke fantastic – if alluringly accented – English.

So this hypothetical guy may end up writing a hypothetical article about how this gallery attack was a turning point. A scuffle that was probably started by a refusal to step aside on a sidewalk will be made into a symbol of the growing Islamicization of Turkey. This city, which has at its beating heart the huge military complex in Harbiye, will be compared unfavorably to Deadwood.

Ignore it. If Istanbul goes full Almohad, its not going to be because of some snooty gallery goers who don’t think a headscarf-wearer is worth shifting over for. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this turned into a symbol for some, but I think that’s pointless and ridiculous. It’d be fun to make this into a symbol for the oppression of liberals…but its more likely to be similar to the frat boys getting jumped by the townies.

I want to explicitly avoid referring to Ms. Hattam and her posse when I say the following, because she has been here for longer than me and is, as I said, awfully sharp. She and her friends are really, absolutely, 100% not your standard expat and are in fact, really cool and engaged in Istanbul and generally more impressive than me.

But a tremendous percentage of the expat scene here in Istanbul is convinced that the city, that the country, exists to give them an experience to take back to blue-passport-istan. For them, this attack and other uncomfortable run-ins with Istanbullus who don’t really care about your Eat Love Pray lifestyle is like Mol in an Inception dream, an acute example of the destruction of their fantasy. A way to suddenly look behind the curtain and realize that all of those smiling faces in the Fodor’s don’t really care if you’re happy.

Countless of Turks die, in Istanbul or elsewhere, every day. I had a friend come a few weeks ago, and when he was walking down the Bosphorus, he came upon a bloated, decomposing body. But it wasn’t a foreigner, so who the Hell cares. If you’re living in Cihangir (or, of course, Arnavutkoy) your manavci is working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bus drivers are driven into the ground. That referendum your White Turk friends were all gnashy about may be iffy for many reasons, but giving more power to unions is a good thing (and to be fair, they’d probably agree). But to wave the Islamicism card when the worst thing you can show is a bloody nose is ridiculous to the point of being offensive. There are serious issues in this country, and foreigners’ quibbles ain’t them.

It’s just a neighborhood scuffle. So leave the Nicholas Sparks and the Tom Friedman out of it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2010 7:59 pm

    You’re funny. First time I’ve read you. I’m going to come back.

    • Asher permalink*
      September 23, 2010 12:13 am

      aw, shucks.

      I was just talking with friends today how I’ve never been to Prague. After reading a few articles over at your blog, I may have to change that.

  2. Asher permalink*
    September 23, 2010 12:12 am

    As I could have pretty much told you, much hand-wringing is coming out of the expat community here:

    The dreaded “I” word is coming out. Of course, this is a sign of impending bearded doom, and not a symptom of gentrification seen everywhere else in the world. Istanbul is becoming Islamabad, because Islamicism here is Islamicism everywhere (oh, I’m being sarcastic, of course:

    There’s a lot to unpack here, but shrieking that some rough-looking swarthy gentlemen beat up your friend does nothing. Kyrgyzstan it ain’t.

  3. September 24, 2010 3:44 pm

    Can we not ALWAYS leave Tom Friedman out of it?

  4. September 24, 2010 4:41 pm

    I think it’s pretty clear that the reason the incident is getting so much play in the press/online isn’t necessarily because those involved were foreign (although, foreign media being what it is, of course it’s part of it; that’s why the news reported on the American that died, and that’s why a friend’s car crash made the news here), it’s because we all know people involved. It personalizes the incident, knowing that J, K, C, and M were all there (and yeah, those are all Western names. But galleries themselves are pretty darn Western, and I think it’d be odd if a gallery opening in Beyoglu didn’t have a large expat representation, frankly). And as a person who occasionally frequents art gallery openings, it unnerves me that such an incident has happened at, you know, an art gallery opening.

    I also don’t think it’s accurate to put the incident within the frame of “increasing Islamization” or to scoff it off because people are doing so. I do think it reflects an unpleasant underbelly of Turkish society that we/outside-looking Turks/Tuk apologists often try not to think of/see — intolerance, particularly intolerance of, not non-Islamic (definitely not non-Islamist) but rather non-traditional or non-Turkish values. In this particular incident it’s paired with some healthy xenophobia (and let’s not be coy, the attackers most likely regard the Turks at the gallery opening as just as disparate “others” as the foreigners); however, xenophobia is clearly not the case in this other incident from the weekend, in Cankaya: .
    I also do think it’s significant that a fairly stereotypical “Western” or “foreign” thing was so clearly targeted, that it was seemingly planned in advance, that it was violent rather than a simple protest or demonstration, and that police took, according to reports, 40 minutes to arrive and didn’t see fit to arrest any more than a token combatant until well into the next day (and until more widespread uproar, thanks in part to that abovementioned media coverage). It’s pretty clearly a clash of worldviews, but of course not Islamist-secular, although I’d bet most of the assailants were devout and most of the assailees were not. I’d think, it’s more anti-change, or reactionary against things in one of the last bastions of traditional neighborhoods in Beyoglu that are changing that neighborhood. Some of that’ll depend on whether the guys with the metal bars were Tophaneli or not, for sure.
    I also think the incident is newsworthy, from a news perspective, because it’s a clear threat to the government/municipality’s stated attempt to brand/rebrand Istanbul and Turkey as a city/country that is comfortable with its multiple identities. This incident illustrates pretty starkly that it’s not, and we all know that but it’s a timely reminder.
    I think the bottom line though is that it was a terrible incident that shouldn’t have happened and no matter what one’s position on who did what or why the attack occurred, I think we can all agree that it highlighted a certain amount of intolerance that I would hope could be tempered at least in part with an emphasis on respect by everyone.

  5. March 13, 2011 5:14 am


    [About the Prophethood of Muhammed (PBUH)]

    I could not praise Muhammed with my words; rather, my words were made praiseworthy by Muhammed.

    Yes, this Word is beautiful, but what makes it so is the most beautiful of all things, the attributes and qualities of Muhammed (PBUH).

    Also being the Fourteenth Flash, this Word consists of Fourteen Droplets.


    There are three great and universal things which make known to us our Sustainer. One is the Book of the Universe, a jot of whose testimony we have heard from the thirteen Flashes together with the Thirteenth Word of the Risale-i Nur. Another is the Seal of the Prophets (Upon whom be blessings and peace), the supreme sign of the Book of the Universe. Now, we must become acquainted with the Seal of the Prophets {Upon whom be blessings and peace), who is the second and Articulate Proof, and must listen to him.

    Indeed, look at the collective personality of this proof: the face of the earth has become his mosque, Mecca, his mihrab, and Medina, his pulpit. Our Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him}, this clear proof, is leader to all the believers, preacher to all mankind, the chief of all the prophets, lord of all the saints, the leader of a circle for the remembrance of God comprising all the prophets and saints. He is a luminous tree whose living roots are all the prophets, and fresh fruits are all the saints; whose claims all the prophets relying on their miracles and all the saints relying on their wonderworking confirm and corroborate. For he declares and claims: There is no god but God! And all on left and right, that is, those luminous reciters of God’s Names lined up in the past and the future, repeat the same words, and through their consensus in effect declare: “You speak the truth and what you say is right!” What false idea has the power to meddle in a claim which is thus affirmed and corroborated by thousands?


    Just as that luminous Proof of Divine Unity is affirmed by the unanimity and consensus of those two wings, so too, do hundreds of indications in the revealed scriptures, like the Torah and Bible, 1 and the thousands of signs that appeared before the beginning of his mission, and the well-known news of the voices from the Unseen and the unanimous testimony of the soothsayers, the indications of the thousands of his miracles, like the Splitting of the Moon, and the justice of Shari’a all confirm and corroborate him. So too, in his person, his laudable morals, which were at, the summit of perfection; and in his duties, his complete confidence and elevated qualities, which were of the highest excellence, and his extraordinary fear of God, worship, seriousness, and fortitude, which demonstrated the strength of his belief, and his total certainty and his complete steadfastness, all show as clearly as the sun how utterly faithful he was to his cause.


    If you wish, come! Let us go to Arabian Peninsula, to the Era of Bliss! In our imaginations, we shall see him at his duties and visit him. Look! We see a person distinguished by his fine character and beautiful form. In his hand is a miraculous Book and on his tongue, a truthful address; he is delivering a pre-eternal sermon to all mankind, indeed, to man, jinn, and the angels, and to all beings. He solves and expounds the strange riddle of the mystery of the world’s creation; he discovers and solves the abstruse talisman which is the mystery of the universe; and he provides convincing and satisfying answers to the three awesome and difficult questions that are asked of al1 beings and have always bewildered and occupied minds: “Where do you come from? What are you doing here? Where are you going?”


    See! He spreads such a Light of truth that, if you look at the universe as being outside the luminous sphere of his truth and guidance, you see it to be like a place of general mourning, and beings strangers to one another and hostile, and inanimate beings to be like ghastly corpses and living creatures like orphans weeping at the blows of death and separation. Now look! Through the Light he spreads, that place of universal mourning has been transformed into a place where God’s Names and praises are recited in joy and ecstasy. The foreign, hostile beings have become friends and brothers. While the dumb, dead inanimate creatures have each taken on the form of familiar officials and docile servants. And the weeping, complaining orphans are seen to be either reciting God’s Names and praises or offering thanks at being released from their duties.

    1.In his Risale-i Hamidiye, Husayn Jisri extracted one hundred and fourteen indications from those scriptures. If this many have remained after the texts have become corrupted, there were surely many explicit mentions before.

    Also, through his Light, the motion and movement of the universe, and its variations, changes and transformations, cease being meaningless, futile, and the playthings of chance and rise to the level of being Dominical missives, pages inscribed with the signs of creation, and mirrors to the Divine Names, and the world itself, a book of the Eternally Besought One’s wisdom. And while man’s boundless weakness and impotence make him inferior to all other animals and his reason, the means of transmitting grief, sorrow, and sadness, makes him more wretched, when he is illumined with that Light, he rises above all animals and all creatures. Through his illuminated impotence, want, and reason, through entreaty he becomes a petted monarch and through lamenting, a spoiled vicegerent of the earth. That is to say, if it was not for his Light, the universe and man, and all things, would be nothing. Yes, certainly such a person is necessary in such a wondrous universe; otherwise the universe and firmaments should not be in existence.


    Thus, that Being announces and brings the good news of eternal happiness; he is the discoverer and proclaimer of an infinite mercy, the herald and observer of the beauties of the sovereignty of Dominicality, and the discloser and displayer of the treasures of the Divine Names. If you regard him in that way, that is in regard to his being a worshipful servant of God, you will see him to be the model of love, the exemplar of mercy, the glory of mankind, and the most luminous fruit of the tree of creation. While if you look in this way, that is, in regard to his prophethood, you see him to be the proof of God, the lamp of truth, the sun of guidance, and the means to happiness. And look! His Light has lighted up from east to west like dazzling lightening, and half the earth and a fifth of mankind has accepted the gift of his guidance and preserved it like life itself. So how is it that our evilcommanding souls and satans do not accept with all its degrees the basis of all One such as that claimed, that is, There is no god but God?


    Now, consider how, eradicating in no time at all their evil and savage customs and habits to which they were fanatically attached, he decked out the various wild, unyielding peoples of that broad peninsula with all the finest virtues, and made them teachers of all the world and masters to the civilized nations. See, it was not an outward domination, he conquered and subjugated their minds, spirits, hearts, and souls. He became the beloved of hearts, the teacher of minds, the trainer of souls, the ruler of spirits.


    You know that a small habit like cigarette smoking among a small nation can he removed permanently only by a powerful ruler with great effort. But look! This Being removed numerous ingrained habits from intractable, fanatical large nations with slight outward power and little effort in a short period of time, and in their place he so established exalted qualities that they became as firm as if they had mingled with their very blood. He achieved very many extraordinary feats like this. Thus, we present the Arabian Peninsula as a challenge to those who refuse to see the testimony of the blessed age of the Prophet. Let them each take a hundred philosophers, go there, and strive for a hundred years, I wonder if they would be able to carry out in that time one hundredth of what he achieved in a year?


    Also, you know that an insignificant man of small standing among a small community in a disputed matter of small importance cannot tell a small but shameful lie brazenfaced and without fear without displaying anxiety or disquiet enough to inform the enemies at his side of his deception. Now look at that Being; although he undertook a tremendous task which required an official of great authority and great standing and a situation of great security, can any contradiction at all be found in the words he uttered among a community of great size in the face of great hostility concerning a great cause and matters of great significance, with great ease and freedom, without fear, hesitation, diffidence, or anxiety, with pure sincerity, great seriousness, and in an intense, elevated manner that angered his enemies? Is it at all possible that any trickery should have been involved? God forbid! It is naught but Revelation inspired.2 The truth does not deceive, and one who perceives the truth is not deceived. His way which is truth is free of deception. How could a fancy appear to one who sees the truth to be the truth, and deceive him?


    Now, look! What curiosity-arousing, attractive, necessary, and awesome truths he shows and matters he proves.

    You know that what impels man most is curiosity. Even, should it be said to you: “If you give half of your life and property, someone will come from the Moon and Jupiter and tell you all about them. And will also tell you correctly about your future and what will happen to you,” if you have any curiosity at all, you would give them. Whereas that Being tells of a Monarch Who is such that in His realm, the Moon flies round a moth like a fly, and the moth, the earth, flutters round a lamp, and the lamp, the sun, is merely one lamp among thousands in one guest-house out of thousands of that Monarch.(2.Qur’an, 53:4.)

    Also, he speaks truly of a world so wondrous and a revolution that is such that if the earth was a bomb and exploded it would not be all that strange. Look! Listen to Suras like, When the sun is folded up3 * When the sky is cleft asunder4 * [The Day]of Noise and Clamour,5 which he recites.

    Also, he speaks truly of a future that is such that the future in this world is like a tiny mirage in comparison. And he tells most seriously of a happiness that is such that all worldly happiness is like a fleeting flash of lightening in comparison to an eternal sun.


    For sure, wonders await us under the apparent veil of the universe which is thus strange and perplexing. And one thus wonderful and extraordinary, a displayer of marvels, is nece5sary to tell of its wonders. And it is apparent from that Being’s conduct that he has seen them, and sees them, and says that he has seen them. And he instructs us most soundly concerning what the God of the heavens and the earth, Who nurtures us with His bounties, wants and desires of us. And so, while everyone should leave everything and run to and heed this Being who teaches numerous other necessary and curiosityarousing truths like these, how is it that most people are deaf and blind, and mad even, so that they do not see this truth, and they do not listen to it and understand it?


    Thus, just as this Being is an articulate proof and true evidence at the degree of the truth of the Unity of the Creator of beings, so too is he a decisive proof and clear evidence for the resurrection of the dead and eternal happiness. Indeed, just as with his guidance he is the reason for eternal happiness coming about and is the means of attaining it, so too, through his prayers and supplications, he is the cause of its existence and means of its creation. We repeat here this mystery, which is mentioned in the Tenth Word, due to its ‘station’.

    See! This Being prays with a prayer so supreme that it is as if the Arabian Peninsula and indeed the earth performs the prayers through his majestic prayer, and offers entreaties. See, he also entreats in a congregation so vast that it is as if all the luminous and perfected members of mankind from the time of Adam till our age and until the end of time, are following him and saying Amen to his supplications. And see! He is beseeching for a need so universal that not only the dwellers of the earth, but also those of the heavens, and all beings, join in his prayer, declaring: “Yes! O our Sustainer!
    3. Qur’an, 81:1.

    4. Qur’an, 82:1.

    5. Qur’an,101:1.

    Grant it to us! We too want it!” And he supplicates with such want, so sorrowfully, in such a loving, yearning, and beseeching fashion that he brings the whole cosmos to tears, making them join in his prayer.

    And see! He prays for a such a purpose and aim that it raises man and the world, and all creatures, from the lowest of the low, from inferiority, worthlessness, and uselessness to the highest of the high; that is to having value, permanence, and exalted duties. And see! He seeks and pleads for help and mercy in a manner so elevated and sweet that it is as if he makes all beings and the heavens and the earth hear, and bringing them to ecstasy, to exclaim:

    “Amen, O our God! Amen!” And see! He seeks his needs from One so Powerful, Hearing, and Munificent, One so Knowing, Seeing, and Compassionate, that He sees and hears the most secret need of the most hidden living being and its entreaties, accepts them, and has mercy on it. For He gives what is asked for, even if through the tongue of disposition. And He gives it in so Wise, Seeing, and Compassionate a form that it leaves no doubt that that nurturing and regulation is particular to the All-Hearing and All-Seeing One, the Most Generous and Most Compassionate One.


    What does he want, this pride of the human race, who taking behind him all the eminent of mankind, stands on top of the world, and raising up his hand, is praying? What is this unique being, who is truly the glory of the cosmos, seeking? Listen! He is seeking eternal happiness. He is asking for eternal life, and to meet with God. He wants Paradise. And he wants all the Sacred Divine Names, which display their beauty and decrees in the mirrors of beings. Even, if it were not for reasons for the fulfilment of those countless requests, like Mercy, Grace, Wisdom, and Justice, a single of that Being’s prayers would have been sufficient the construction of Paradise, the creation of which is as easy for Divine Power as the creation of the spring. Yes, just as his Prophethood was the reason for the opening of this place of examination and trial, so too his worship and servitude to God was the reason of the opening of the next world.

    Would the perfect order observed in the universe, which has caused scholars and the intelligent to pronounce: “It is not possible for there to be anything of greater originality in existence than what exists”, and would the faultless beauty of art within mercy, the incomparable beauty of Dominicality, permit the ugliness, the cruelty, the lack of order of its hearing and responding to the least significant, the least important desires and voices, and its considering unimportant the most important, the most necessary wishes, and its not hearing, understanding, and carrying them out? God forbid! A hundred thousand times, God forbid! Such a beauty would not permit such an ugliness; it would not become ugly.

    And so, my imaginary friend! That is enough for now, we must return. For if we remain a hundred years in this age in the Arabian Peninsula, we still would only completely comprehend one hundredth of the marvels of that Being’s duties and the wonders that he carried out, and we would never tire of watching him.

    Now, come! We shall look at the centuries, which will turn above us. See how each has opened like a flower through the effulgence it has received from that Sun of Guidance! They have produced millions of enlightened fruits like Abu Hanifa, Shafi’î, Abu Bayezid Bistamî, Shah Geylanî, Shah Naqshband, Imam Ghazzalî, and Imam Rabbanî. And postponing the details of our observations to another time, we must recite some benedictions for that displayer of miracles and bringer of guidance, which indicate a number of his certain miracles:

    Peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammed thousands and

    thousands of times, to the number of the good deeds of his community,

    to whom was revealed the All-Wise Criterion of Truth and Falsehood,

    from One Most Merciful, Most Compassionate, from the Sublime

    Throne; whose Prophethood was foretold by the Torah and Bible, and

    told of by wondrous signs, the voices of jinn, saints of man, and soothsayers; at whose indication the moon split; our master Muhammed!

    Peace and blessings be upon him thousands and thousands of times, to

    the number of the breaths of his community; at whose beckoning came

    the tree, on whose prayer rain swiftly fell, and whom the cloud shaded

    from the heat; who satisfied a hundred men with his food; from between whose fingers three times flowed water like the Spring of Kauthar; and to whom God made speak the lizard, the gazelle, the wolf,

    the torso, the arm, the camel, the mountain, the rock, and the clod; the

    one who made the Ascension and whose eye did not waver; our master

    and intercessor, Muhammed! Peace and blessings be upon him thousands and thousands of times, to the number of the letters of the

    Qur’an formed in the words represented with the permission of the

    Most Merciful in the mirrors of the airwaves at the reciting of all the

    words of the Qur’an by all reciters from when it was first revealed to

    the end of time. And grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us, O God, for each of those blessings. Amen.

    [I have described the Evidences for the Prophethood of Muhammed (PBUH) which I have here indicated briefly in a Turkish treatise called Suaât-i Mârifetü’nNebi and in the Nineteenth Letter (The Miracles of Muhammed). And there too aspects of the All-Wise Qur’an’s miraculousness have been mentioned briefly. Again, in a Turkish treatise called Lemeât and in the Twenty-Fifth Word (The Miraculousness of the Qur’an) I have explained concisely forty ways in which the Qur’an is a miracle, and indicated forty aspects of its miraculousness. And of those forty aspects, only the eloquence in the word order, I have written in forty pages in an Arabic commentary called, Ishârâtu’l-I’jaz. If you have the need, you may refer to those three works.]


    The All-Wise Qur’an, the treasury of miracles and supreme miracle, proves the Prophethood of Muhammed (PBUH) together with Divine Unity so decisively that it leaves no need for further proof. And we shall give its definition and indicate one or two flashes of its miraculousness which have been the cause of criticism.

    The All-Wise Qur’an, which makes known to us our Sustainer, is thus: it is the pre-eternal translator of the great Book of the Universe; the discloser of the treasures of the Divine Names concealed in the pages of the earth and the heavens; the key to the truths hidden beneath these lines of events; the treasury of the favours of the Most Merciful and pre-eternal addresses, which come forth from the World of the Unseen beyond the veil of this Manifest World; the sun, foundation, and plan of the spiritual world of Islam, and the map of the worlds of the hereafter; the distinct expounder, lucid exposition, articulate proof, and clear translator of the Divine Essence, attributes, and deeds; the instructor, true wisdom, guide, and leader of the world of humanity; it is both a book of wisdom and law, and a book of prayer and worship, and a book of command and summons, and a book of invocation and Divine knowledge – it is book for all spiritual needs; and it is a sacred library offering books appropriate to the ways of all the saints and veracious, the purified and the scholars, whose ways and paths are all different.

    Consider the flashes of miraculousness in its repetitions, which are imagined to be a fault: since the Qur’an is both a book of invocation, and a book of prayer, and a book of summons, the repetition in it is desirable, indeed, it is essential and most eloquent. It is not as the faulty imagine. For the mark of invocation is illumination through repetition. The mark of prayer, is strengthening through repetition. The mark of command and summons is confirmation through repetition. Moreover, everyone is not capable of always reading the whole Qur’an, but mostly is able to read one Sura. Therefore, since the most important purposes of the Qur’an are included in most of the longer Suras, each is like a small Qur’an. That is to say, so that no one should be deprived, certain of its purposes like Divine Unity, the resurrection of the dead, and the story of Moses, have been repeated. Also, like bodily needs, spiritual needs also are various. Man is need of some of them each breath; like the body needs air, the spirit needs the word Hu {He). Some he is in need of each hour, like “In the Name of God.” And so on. That means the repetition of verses arises from the repetition of need. And it makes the repetition in order to point out the need and awaken and incite it, and to arouse desire and appetite.

    Also, the Qur’an is a founder. It is the basis of the Clear Religion, and the foundation of the world of Islam. It changed human social life, and is the answer to the repeated questions of its various classes. Repetition is necessary for a founder in order to establish things. Repetition is necessary to corroborate them. Confirmation, repetition, and repeating are necessary to strengthen them.

    Also, it speaks of such mighty matters and minute truths that numerous repetitions are necessary in different forms in order to establish them in the hearts of everyone. Nevertheless, they are apparently repetitions, but in meaning each verse has numerous meanings, numerous benefits, and many aspects and levels. In each place they are mentioned for a different meaning, benefit, and purpose.

    Also, the Qur’an’s being unspecific and concise in certain matters to do with cosmos is a flash of miraculousness for the purpose of guidance. It cannot be the cause of criticism and is not a fault, like some atheists imagine.

    If you ask: “Why does the All-Wise Qur’an not speak of beings in the same way as philosophy and science? It leaves some matters in brief form and some it speaks of in a simple and superficial way that is easy for the general view, does not wound general feelings, and does not weary or tax the minds of ordinary people. Why is this?”

    By way of answer we say: Philosophy has strayed from the path of truth, that’s why. Also, of course you have understood from past Words and what they teach that the All-Wise Qur’an speaks of the universe in order to make known the Divine Essence, attributes, and Names. That is, it explains the meanings of the Book of the Universe to make known its Creator. That means it looks at beings, not for themselves, but for their Creator. Also, it addresses everyone. While philosophy and science look at beings for themselves, and address in particular scientists. In which case, since the All-Wise Qur’an makes beings evidences and proofs, the evidence has to be superficial so that it will be quickly understood in the general view. And since the Qur’an of Guidance addresses all classes of men, the ordinary people, which form the most numerous class, want guidance which is concise with unnecessary things beings vague, and which brings subtle things close with comparisons, and which does not change things which in their superficial view are obvious into an unnecessary or even harmful form, lest it causes them to fall into error.

    For example, it says about the sun: “The sun is a revolving lamp or lantern.” Because it does not speak of the sun for itself and its nature, but because it is a sort of spring of an order and centre of a system, and order and system are mirrors of the Maker’s skill. It says:

    The sun runs its course.6

    that is, the sun revolves. Through calling to mind the well-ordered disposals of Divine power in the revolutions of winter and summer, and day and night with the phrase, The sun revolves, it makes understood the Maker’s tremendousness. Thus, whatever the reality of this revolving, it does not affect the order, which is woven and observed, and which is the purpose. It also says,

    And set the sun as a lamp.7

    Through depicting through the word lamp the world in the form of a palace, and that the things within it are decorations, necessities, and provisions prepared for man and living beings, and that the sun also is a subjugated candleholder, it makes known the mercy and bestowal of the Creator. Now look and see what this foolish and prattling philosophy says:

    “The sun is a vast burning liquid mass. It causes the planets which have been flung off from it to revolve around it. its mass is such and such. It is this, it is that.” It gives to spirit no perfection of knowledge apart from a terrible dread and fearful wonder. It does not speak of it as the Qur’an does. You may understand from this the value of the matters of philosophy, whose inside is hollow and outside, ostentatious. So do not be deceived by its glittering exterior and be disrespectful towards the most miraculous expositions of the Qur’an!

    O God! Make the Qur’an healing, for us, the writer of this and his

    peers, from all ills, and a companion to us and to them in our lives and

    after our deaths, and in this world, and in the grave, and at the Last

    Judgement an intercessor, and on the Bridge a light, and from the Fire

    a screen and shield, and in Paradise a friend, and in all good deeds a

    guide and leader, through Your grace and munificence and beneficence and mercy, O Most Munificent of the Munificent and Most Merciful of the Merciful! Amen.

    O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one to whom was revealed

    the All-Wise Qur’an, the Distinguisher between Truth and Falsehood,

    and to his Family and Companions, all of Them. Amen. Amen.

    [NOTE: The Six Drops of the Fourteenth Droplet in the Arabic Risale-i Nur, and especially the Six Points of the Fourth Drop, explain fifteen of the approximately forty sorts of miraculousness of the All-Wise Qur’an. Deeming those to be sufficient, we have limited the discussion here. If you wish, refer to them, and you will find a treasury of miracles…]

    * *

    Qur’an, 36:38. 7. Qur’an, 71:16.


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