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Transforming Hardship into Mercy
Jul 1, 2003

In His name, be He glorified!

Prisoners, especially those who are young, need the Risale-i Nur as much as they need bread. Young people, following their blind emotions and desires, prefer an ounce of immediate pleasure to tons of future pleasure. However, an hour of dissolute pleasure may result in life's enjoyment being utterly destroyed, due to the distress caused by the fear of prison and the fear of one's enemies.

Muslim youths must act heroically and benefit from the "Fruits of Belief" and the "Guide for Youth" of the Risale-i Nur so that they will not destroy their future in this world, their pleasant lives, their happiness in the hereafter, and their eternal lives. Abuse and dissoluteness will cause them to end up in hospitals, and their excesses will land them in prison. In their old age, they will weep copiously with a thousand regrets.

Young prisoners who spend one hour a day performing the five obligatory prayers, who repent their mistakes, and abstain from other harmful sins will gain a great benefit now and in the afterlife. The Qur'an has promised this. If they practice moderation and obedience, showing their gratitude for the pleasant, delightful bounty of youth, this bounty will increase, become eternal, and be a pleasure. Of course, not doing so will lead to the opposite result, which will harm everyone, including themselves.

If they have been imprisoned unjustly, each hour spent performing the obligatory prayers will be the equivalent of a day's worship, and they will be like pious hermits. If they are poor, elderly, and sick, and want to learn the truth, each hour will become the equivalent of twenty hours' worship, and prison will become like a rest-house, a place of love, training, and education. Prison will offer them some protection from sin, and they may actually receive a full education there. When released, they will be penitent, proven by trial, well-behaved, and of benefit to the nation. In fact, the Denizli (1) prisoners became so extraordinarily well-behaved after studying the Risale-i Nur for only a short time that some of those concerned said: "Studying the Risale-i Nur for fifteen weeks is more effective at reforming them than putting them in prison for fifteen years."

I am 75 years old, and I know that life's happiness is to be found only in belief and in the truths of belief. O you unfortunate prisoners! Since your world is weeping and your life is bitter, strive so that your hereafter will not also weep, and so that your eternal life will smile and be sweet! Benefit from prison! Just as an hour's watch sometimes may be equivalent to a year's worship under severe conditions, each hour spent in worship becomes the equivalent of many hours, thereby transforming hardship into mercy.

In His Name, be He glorified!

My dear and loyal brothers!

I will set out three points for the prisoners and for those who help them and faithfully supervise their diet, which is provided from outside the prison.

First Point: Each day spent in prison may equal as much as ten days' worship, and, with regards to the fruit of this time, may transform those transient hours into enduring hours. But to realize this gain, you must perform the obligatory prayers, repent for your mistake, and offer thanks in patience.

Second Point:Always be patient, for just as the end of pleasure brings pain, the end of pain brings pleasure. Live in the present, for remembering past pleasures and worrying about the future brings pain. Displaying any type of impatience, and ignoring one's faults, as if you are complaining about God, is most foolish. So long as you remain patient, your distress is reduced by ten to one. I discovered this great truth through personal experience, and encourage you to adopt the same attitude.

Third Point:There is great gain in meeting the prisoners' physical and spiritual needs. Feeding them is like an act of charity, and is recorded in your book of good deeds. If they are old, ill, poor, or strangers, the reward is increased manifold. To obtain this high profit, perform the obligatory prayers for God's sake; hasten to help them with sincerity, compassion, and joy; and do not make them feel under obligation.

In His Name, be He glorified!

And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.

My friends in prison and brothers in religion!

It occurred to me to explain a truth to you which will save you from both worldly torment and the torment of the hereafter. It is as follows: If you murder someone, you might feel a moment of pleasure, but then you will have to contend with long-lasting distress, prison, fear of retaliation by your victim's family and relatives, and anxiety. The only way out of this is reconciliation, which the Qur'an demands.

Looking at it in Islamic terms, the victim's time to die had come, and the murderer was simply the means of executing God's decree. Without reconciliation, both sides perpetually suffer the torments of fear and revenge. This is why Islam commands that "one believer should not be angry with another believer for more than three days." (2) If the murder was not the result of a vindictive grudge and enmity, and a two-faced trouble-maker instigated the discord, make peace quickly. Otherwise, that minor disaster becomes a large one, and continues. If they make peace and the murderer repents and prays continuously for the victim, both sides gain much and become like brothers.

This happened in Denizli Prison, where all the prisoners eventually became brothers through the lessons of the Risale-i Nur. This caused us to be set free, and even the irreligious and ungodly said: "Masha'llah! Barakallah!" I have seen a hundred men suffer inconvenience because of one man and be deprived of their exercises. Sincere believers of sound conscience will not cause others to suffer for some minor error or benefit. If they do, they should repent immediately.

In His Name, be He glorified!

My loyal new brothers and old prisoners!

In respect of Divine Favor, you are an important cause for our entering here. The Risale-i Nur can save you from the distress of prison and from much worldly harm, needless grief, and sorrow, and secure a pleasing Hereafter for you.

Be brothers to one another. Do not attack each other. Appreciate those who guard you, for they suffer much trouble. And so, new friends, who are by nature bold and courageous, with great moral courage, say to the group:

"If not knives, but rifles and revolvers were given us, and the order to fire as well, we would not hurt our friends. Through the Qur'an's guidance and command, belief, Islamic brotherhood, and our interests, we forgive them and to try not to offend them, even if formerly there were many reasons for our enmity and hostility." Transform this prison into an auspicious place of study.


  1. A city in Turkey
  2. Muslim, Birr, 25.


  • The Words (Sozler Publ., trans. Sukran Vahide) / Thirteenth Word - Second Station- A Footnote to the Second Station of the Thirteenth Word