ISTIGHNÂ - استغنا
Literally: A being sufficiently rich to have no need of help. Content. Contentedness. Independence. Disdain. The religious disdain of earthly things.
Not accepting and waiting for any material or ma’nawî favours from anyone, except Allah ‘Azza wa jalla. The basic and most important principle of the people, those who serve the Qur’an, which is the necessity of ikhlas. That is, giving up the desires and expectations of people’s attraction, being praised and known by people, and material benefits.
The Second Letter
بِاسْمِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَاِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ اِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ
[Part of the letter written in response to a gift from his above-mentioned, well-known student]
Thirdly: You sent me a present, and want to break an extremely important rule of mine! I do not say: "I don't accept from you in the same way as I don't accept from Abdülmecid and Abdurrahman who are my brother and nephew," because since you are more advanced than them and closer to my rûh, even if everyone's gifts are refused, just for one time, yours may not be refused. But in connection with this, I shall tell you the mystery of my rule. It is like this:
The Old Said is never indebted. He would prefer death than being indebted. He never broke that rule of his despite suffering great hardship and difficulty. This moral characteristic, which was left as a legacy by the Old Said to this unfortunate brother of yours, is not asceticism or artificial istighnâ, but is based on four or five serious reasons:
The First: The people of dhalâlah accuse the people of ‘ilm of making the ‘ilm a means to attract benefits. They attack them unfairly, saying: "They are making ‘ilm and religion a means of livelihood for themselves." It is necessary to show this to be false by action.
The Second: We are charged with following the prophets in disseminating the haqq. In Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm, those who disseminate the haqq displayed istighnâ from the people through saying, اِنْ اَجْرِىَ اِلاَّ عَلَى اللّٰهِ ٭ اِنْ اَجْرِىَ اِلاَّ عَلَى اللّٰهِ 1 . The sentence in Surah Yâ. Sin. اِتَّبِعُوا مَنْ لاَ يَسْئَلُكُمْ اَجْرًا وَهُمْ مُهْتَدُونَ 2 is very meaningful regarding this matter of ours.
The Third: As is explained in the First Word, one should give in Allah's name and take in Allah's name. Whereas, either for the most part of the one who gives is ghâfil, gives in his own name, implicitly puts the others in debt, or the one who receives is ghâfil; he gives the shukr and praise, which belongs to the True Mun’im, to apparent causes and makes an error.
The Fourth: Tawakkul, contentment and frugality are such a treasury and wealth that they can not be exchanged for anything. I do not want to close that inexhaustible treasury and wealth through accepting goods from people. I offer hundreds of thousands of shukr to Ar-Razzâq Zuljalâl that since my childhood He did not endure me in being compelled to indebtedness and abase. Relying on His munificence, I beseech to His rahmah that I may also spend the remainder of my life in accordance with this rule.
The Fifth: For a year or two, due to many signs and experiences, I have formed the firm conviction that I am not permitted to receive people's goods and particularly the gifts of the rich and of officials. Some of them make me ill... rather, they are made to be like that, I am not allowed to eat them. Sometimes they are turned into a form that is harmful to me. This means that, in a ma’nawî manner, it is an order not to receive the goods of others and is a prohibition to receive them. Moreover, I have a need for solitude, I cannot accept everyone all the time. Accepting people's gifts necessitates considering their feelings and accepting them at times I do not want to. And it does not appear pleasing to me. To eat a small piece of dry bread and wear a hundred patched clothes which saves me from artificiality and fawning appear more pleasing to me. To eat the best quality baklava and wear the finest clothes of others’ and being obliged to consider their feelings appear unpleasant to me.
The Sixth: The most important reason for istighnâ is Ibn Hajar, who is the most reliable ‘âlim of our madhab, says: "If you are not sâlih, it is haram for you to accept something that is given to you with the intention of you being a sâlih."
Thus, due to greed and ambition, the people of this age sell the smallest gift of their very expensively. They think of a sinful unfortunate like myself as a sâlih or a walî, then they give him a loaf of bread. If Hâsha!, I consider myself to be sâlih, it is a sign of pride and points to the absence of righteousness. If I do not consider myself to be sâlih, it is not jâiz to accept those goods. Also, to receive sadaqa and gifts in return for actions directed towards the âkhirah means consuming the eternal fruits of the âkhirah in a transitory form in this world.
اَلْبَاقِى هُوَ الْبَاقِى
“The hikmah of the Old Said not taking and not being able to take sadaqa and gifts since his childhood although both he himself and his father were poor, and him not accepting gifts without giving anything in return although he was greatly in need, and him not at all going to collect subsistence and not even accepting zakât knowingly although the custom in Kurdistan was for the students’ food to be given from people’s homes and their expenses made with zakât, now by my certain belief, the hikmah is that the states, which are being abhorrent to the acceptable custom and harmless habit and avoiding it, and accepting the extreme poverty and need but not opening his hand to people, are given to me so that, in my later life, to not make a sacred service which solely pertains to îmân and âkhirah, like the Risale-i Nur an instrument for this world or not to make it a means for personal benefits so that the true ikhlas, which is a true strength of the Risale-i Nur, may not be harmed. And I also perceive a ma’nawî sign in this that in the future, the loss of people of ‘ilm due to the struggle for livelihood will arise from this need.” Emirdağ Addendum-2 (74-75)