All Prayers are Answered

Belief (iman) certainly requires prayer. Human nature strongly yearns for prayer. And, God Almighty declares in the Quran,


Say [unto those who believe]: “No weight or value would my Sustainer attach to you were it not for your prayer!” (Quran, 25:77)


God also commands us,

Call unto Me, [and] I shall respond to you! (Quran, 40:60) 

Now, one may ask: “We frequently offer prayers, but they are not accepted. While the verse is general, it states that every prayer is answered?”


The answer is that responding and accepting are two different things. Each prayer is responded to, but it being accepted and you getting exactly what you asked for depends on God’s wisdom. As an illustration of this, think of a child calling onto her physician. The physician responds by saying, “Sure, here am I. What would you like?” The child, who was prescribed a sweet and colorful pill previously, asks to get it again: “Please give me that medicine!” The doctor will either give her exactly what she asks for or something better and more beneficial for her. Or knowing that it is harmful for her illness, he may give her nothing. Therefore, even when he decides not to prescribe anything, the physician is responding to her.


Similarly, since Almighty God is the Absolute Sovereign, [al-ḥakim al-muṭlaq], All-Present and All-Seeing, He always responds to the prayers of His worshipers. Through His presence and response, He transforms their desolation of loneliness and solitude into familiarity. And, as He responds to all prayers, He does so not in accordance with our capricious demands and wishful thinking, but in accordance with His Divine wisdom. He gives either what is asked for, or what is better than it, or He gives nothing at all.



The most important aspect, the most beautiful purpose and the sweetest result of this prayer is the following: the person who is praying realizes that there is someone who hears his deepest wishes in his heart, who is able to do anything, who is able to fulfill all his wishes. A prayerful human being feels that there is someone who has compassion for his weakness and aids his neediness.


Now, o weak and poor human being! Never give up prayer; it is the key to the treasure of mercy and means to endless power. Hold onto it, raise up to the peaks of humanity, to the highest of the high! Like a king, include the prayers of the entire universe in your prayer. As a comprehensive worshiper and as a representative of the universe say: “You alone we worship,” (Quran, 1:5) and become a paragon of the universe…

We are always surrounded with nur, 
May we always be open to receiving it


God’s Tweet

When someone does or says something to you, try to remember: the actual do’er is the Creator… He is sending you a message through a person (who is merely a vehicle). The message would have come to you in any case through an email, a phone call, a fax, or a tweet! If it were not for that person, God would have sent you that message through other means. So focus on the message. What is God telling me now? What does He want me to understand/learn? How does he want me to grow… Imagine, if we did this, there would be no heartbreak, no anger… ever!

Ramadan Inspirations 19

If you doubt the existence of a hereafter, consider this: The baby in the womb has eyes with which it cannot see; a mouth through which it cannot eat; and lungs with which it cannot breathe. It is clear, then, that eyes, mouth and lungs were created not for the world of the womb, but for the world outside the womb. Similarly, we in this world have imaginations that can embrace infinity; we have desires that reach out to eternity; and we have needs that are truly never-ending. It is clear, then, that imaginations, desires and needs were not created for this world alone, but mainly for the world which is yet to come…

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 18

At the time of the wise king prophet, Solomon, a barber was out walking in the streets of Jerusalem when he suddenly spotted the Angel of Death, who looked at him with such surprise that the barber screamed with fright and ran away. Knowing that the prophet Solomon had special powers, the barber ran, still shaking and screaming, to Solomon’s palace and demanded to see the king. “Oh Solomon,” he cried, “I have just encountered the Angel of Death, who gave me such a terrible look that I thought I would die there and then! Please do something and save me! Summon a cloud to take me to India so that I may escape the Angel of Death, I beg you!”

And so Solomon called on the wind and the clouds and commanded them to pick the barber up and take him thousands of miles away to India. Later that day, Solomon was out walking with his servants when he too spotted the Angel of Death. “Tell me, Angel of Death,” said Solomon, “Why did you give the poor barber such a frightening look?” The Angel of Death scratched his chin and said, “It wasn’t my intention to scare him. The truth is, I was most surprised. I was surprised because at the very moment that I saw him here in the streets of Jerusalem, God had just commanded me to take his life… but in India! And of course I wondered how that could happen, given that he was here in Jerusalem….” The moral of the story is clear. Your death is ‘written’, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it…

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 17

It is belief, Nursi says, which makes man truly human, but it has to be belief that is predicated on a particular way of reading the creation. Creation, Nursi tells us, is like a book, and the book is full of paragraphs, sentences, words, letters, dots and dashes. Everything in the book, Nursi claims, indicates that the book has an author; the book and the fact that there is something known as authorship go hand in hand, for it is impossible to imagine a book without an author. The creation, he says, is like a vast book, a cosmic book, and it too is full of paragraphs, sentences, words, letters, dots, dashes and symbols. And each of those paragraphs, sentences, words, letters, dots, dashes and symbols contain within themselves other books, and so on, from the vastest, outermost galaxies down to the subatomic world of particles, atoms, neutrons, electrons, quarks, leptons and what have you. Everything, he says, is a word that points to something else other than itself, just as the word ‘apple’ points not just to a configuration of letters A, P, P, L, E on a page, but to a particular species of fruit that grows on a tree and has various different properties and specifications. Language, as we know, is symbolic: words *stand* for things: they don’t refer only to themselves; they indicate other things. This notion of self-referentiality and Other-Indicativeness is key to Nursi’s teaching, and that teaching is to retrain Muslims in the art of reading, and the art of reading the cosmic book. There are two ways of reading the cosmic book, Nursi says. The first way of reading considers the thing in and of itself alone. A tree, for example, when seen self-referentially, is just a tree: a mass of wood with branches, twigs, leaves, fruit, possibly, with a number of uses – timber for building, kindle for making fires, medicine, perhaps from the bark of the tree, and fruit, to eat and to trade. A tree, when seen self-referentially, points only to itself, and is only as valuable to human beings as it is usable. If it yields no benefit, we usually don’t give it a second thought. If, however, we see it as indicating something other than itself, the tree takes on a wholly different meaning. Because it is possible to see in the creation of that tree numerous different attributes of perfection at work: beauty, wisdom, generosity, mercy, sustaining and nurturing, provision, knowledge, compassion…and so on. In other words, the tree by its very existence and the uses to which it can be put, is pointing to something or someone other than itself, i.e. the Creator of the tree, in Whom all of those attributes exist in absolute form. Seen in this way, the whole of creation is transformed from a collection of objects that are important only in and of themselves, into a vast gallery of signs, shining and alive, which bear the hallmarks of the One Who created them. To see the creation as Other-indicative, then, is the way that one must read the creation if one is to make any sense of it, and it is this particular way of reading that Nursi emphasized.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 16

O Lord, O Creator, O Owner! I entreat You and pray to You because I am needy. I take shelter in You through my prayer because I am destitute. My helplessness is my means of imploring You and asking You for help. My weakness is my treasure. My ambition and pain are my capital. Your Beloved —the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings—
and Your Mercy are my intercessors. Pardon me, forgive my sins, and
have mercy on me, O God, O All-Merciful, O All-Compassionate!

–Said Nursi

Ramadan Inspirations 15

God asks us to unite with others – in study, in prayer, in many things – not because it is a show of strength, but because it is a demonstration of weakness. As well as helping to break down the idol of the self, to join with others in worship, for example, is to express openly our existential poverty. Zero plus zero plus zero makes zero, but when there is One in front of them, it makes a thousand. The strength of community comes not from its numbers, then, but from its group focus on Divine unity, and its collective expression of impotence, its open declaration of constant need. It was for this reason that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Truly, my poverty is my source of pride’.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 14

Human beings have an innate love of perfection, and are inherently desirous of eternity. However, perfection and eternity are not states which are available in this world, and if someone has no belief in the hereafter, it is inevitable that they will seek perfection and some kind of eternity in this world. But all attempts to create heaven on earth end up in the creation of various kinds of hell on earth, as failed, man-made ideologies have shown us. We all seek exaltedness, of sorts, but when we fail to locate that exaltedness in the worship of God – the Truly Exalted One – we locate it instead in ourselves. Those who do not worship God must worship something, given that the need for worship is hard-wired in us. And since we are, as we are told, created ‘in God’s image’, it is inevitable that if we refuse to worship God, self-worship, in all of its myriad forms, is the only alternative. “That home of the Hereafter We give to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the best outcome is for those who are God-aware.” (Quran 28:83)

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 13

One day, all of the contradictions that gave you anxiety will be resolved, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. One day, all of the failures that gave you sadness will show their wisdom and make you smile. One day, all of the tears that you shed in weakness will be exchanged for the pool of Kawthar, there to quench your thirst forever. One day, all of the fears you felt, and all of the struggles, will seem to you as small and inconsequential as a grain of sand in a boundless desert. One day, all of the conundrums and puzzles of life will be opened to you, and you will smile in amazement. One day, all of the loved ones who left you, seemingly never to return, will come to you and take your hand as you pass through the curtain to a world you only ever dreamed of, but always hoped to see. One day, you will laugh and look back and think, ‘Is that what we were, and now we are this? How could we have set our sights on that bitter earth when we were created for all eternity…”

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 12


The principles of present-day civilization are almost wholly negative. Its foundations and its values rest on five main principles, and its machinery runs on these. They are as follows. Firstly, its central point of reference and support is force instead of right, and the mark of force is aggression and hostility, and their result is treachery. Secondly, its goal is self-interest instead of virtue, and the mark of self-interest is rivalry and dispute, and their result is criminality. Thirdly, its guiding law of life is conflict instead of cooperation, and the mark of conflict is contention and mutual repulsion, and their result is poverty. Fourthly, its principle for social interrelationships is racialism, which flourishes through harming others and is nourished through devouring others. The mark of racialism and nationalism is the existence of endless clashes and disastrous collisions, and their result is annihilation. Fifthly, its aim is to excite the lusts and appetites of the lower soul, and to facilitate the gratification of whims and desires, all resulting in vice. The mark of lust an passion is always vice, which changes man into a beast, changing his character, deforming him and perverting his humanity. If most of the so-called ‘civilized’ people in the world were turned inside out, you would see their characters in the form of apes and foxes, snakes and dogs, bears and swine.

–Said Nursi

Ramadan Inspirations 11

Consider a microscopic organism so small that it is invisible to the naked eye. This organism is like an extremely delicate and wondrous machine. Necessarily and self-evidently, this machine, which is contingent in both its essence and attributes, did not come into existence by itself, without a cause. Before it comes into being, the tiny machine is in a state of hesitation, between existence and non-existence; if existence preponderates, the machine comes into existence; if not, then it remains in non-existence. Thus, as all reasonable people agree, there has to be a cause to make that choice, and it is impossible that this should be a so-called natural cause. For the exquisite order and harmony evident in that tiny the machine necessitate infinite knowledge and perfect intelligence, and it is impossible to conceive of these in material causes, about which the naturalists deceive themselves. Material causes are simple and lifeless, unable to specify their own trajectories or restrict their own movement, hesitant as they are between thousands of possibilities. So how could a material cause follow a specific trajectory and travel a defined path, and how could it choose certain aspects from among countless possibilities in order to produce a marvelous, well-ordered machine, the subtlety and wisdom of which leave minds in astonishment? The only way that material causes could create would be if every single particle in existence possessed the intelligence of Plato, and were able to communicate with each other intelligently. And that is nothing more than sophistry, which would put even the sophists to shame.

–Said Nursi

Ramadan Inspirations 10

Another thing Satan does is to destroy sound judgment concerning the truths of belief and to damage integrity and correctness of thought. How does he do it? Well, it’s like this. His plan is to destroy hundreds of evidences which prove the truths of belief by referring to a single evidence which appears to refute those truths. He totally ignores the principle which says that ‘A single proof is superior to a hundred denials’, and pays no attention to the fact that the statement of a witness proving a claim is preferable to a hundred people denying it. To understand this, think of a palace that has a hundred doors, all of them closed. As soon as one palace door – just one – is opened, you can enter the palace and open the other ninety-nine doors. And even if one or two doors remain closed, you can’t say that it’s impossible to enter the palace! Well, the truths of belief are the palace, and each evidence is a key which proves the truths and opens a door. İf one of the doors remains closed, the truths of belief cannot be abandoned and denied. Satan, however, tricks you by pointing to the door that has remained closed, and causes you to ignore all of the open doors. He says, ‘See, this palace cannot be entered. Perhaps it is not a palace at all, and there is nothing inside it…’. That is how he tries to deceive us…

–Said Nursi