LESSONS / Compilations

Azal أزل — Azalî ازلي

Eternity in the past — Eternal in the past

Literally: Azal is being without beginning. Existence without being created. Time without a beginning.

Azalî is to possess the quality of that which is not created and without a beginning. Being out of time.

Things that are created cannot be azalî. The claim of materialists about matter being azalî is a fallacy since nothing comes to existence from absolute non-existence by itself or without a cause. Therefore, the existence of a Creator Whose existence is necessary and not dependant on any other cause (Wâjib) and Who is not created and does not possess a beginning and is out of time (Azalî) is necessary. Being azalî is one of the necessary and evident attributes of Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd.

1- Azal is not a tip of the chain of the past:

Qadar is among the kind of ‘ilm. ‘Ilm follows the thing known. That is, how the thing known will happen, ‘ilm forms a connection with it in that way. Whereas the thing known does not follow ‘ilm. That is, the principles of ‘ilm are not fundamental to direct the external existence of the thing known. Because the essence of the thing known and its external existence look to Irâdah and rely on Qoudrah. Also, azal is not a tip of the chain of the past that it should be assumed as the base for the existence of things, and according to that, it should be considered a compulsion. Rather, azal is like a mirror holding the past, the present and the future all at once and looking from above. In which case, it is not right to imagine a tip at the past side of the time, which stretches within the sphere of contingency1 , to call it azal, to suppose that things enter that ‘ilm of azal in sequence and that one’s self is at the outside of it and to reason accordingly. Look at the following example in order to discover this mystery:

If there is a mirror in your hand and the distance at the right side is supposed to be the past and the distance at the left side to be the future; the mirror only holds what is opposite to it. Then it holds both sides with a sequence; it cannot hold most of it. The lower that mirror is, the less it sees. But when you rise higher with that mirror, the sphere opposite to it expands. Gradually, it holds the distance of both sides, all at once, at the same time. Thus, in this state, it is not to be said that the states occurring in those distances captured in such a mirror precede, follow, conform or oppose each other. Thus, since qadar is among azalî ‘Ilm and according to the expression of the Hadith, "Azalî ‘Ilm is at the highest station, which from the highest place to view, encompasses and holds everything from azal to eternity that has been and will be all at once." We and our reasoning cannot be outside of the azal that it should be like a mirror in the distance of the past.

Twenty-Sixth Word-2nd Discussion-The Fourth


If you say: Do azalî ‘Ilm and azalî Irâdah not dismiss juz’ al-ikhtiyârî and eradicate it?

You would be told: Knowledge of an action performed through juz’ al-ikhtiyârî does not negate juz’ al-ikhtiyârî. Also, azalî ‘Ilm is all-surrounding like the samâ; it is not the starting point of a chain like the beginning of time in the past so the effects should be attributed to it by disregarding their causes and imagined to be the source of them.

Also, ‘ilm is dependent on the thing known. That is, how the thing known will be, ‘Ilm embraces it in that way. So the measures and causes of the thing known cannot be attributed to qadar.

Also, Irâdah does not form a connection separately with the cause once and then the effect once so juz’ al-ikhtiyârî and the cause should remain useless. Rather, it forms a connection with the effect and its cause at the same time.

Signs of Miraculousness 150

2- The becoming visible of the essence of things which are present in the mirror of the azalî ‘Ilm of Allah:

Beings are created in two ways. One is the creation from nothing expressed by the words ibdâ’2 and ikhtirâ’3 . The other is through bringing together existent elements and things, the giving of existence to a being that is expressed by the words inshâ4 and tarkîb5 . If it occurs according to the manifestation of fardiyyah and the mystery of ahadiyyah, there is infinite ease rather such ease to the degree of necessity. If it is not attributed to fardiyyah, it will be infinitely difficult and unreasonable rather there will be a difficulty to the degree of impossibility. However, the beings in the universe coming into existence with infinite ease and facility and without difficulty and in an extremely perfect form evidently shows the manifestation of fardiyyah and proves that everything is directly the art of a Fard Zuljalâl.

Yes, if all things are attributed to Al-Fard, Who is Wâhid, He creates like striking a match, out of nothing, through His infinite Qoudrah the grandeur of which is perceived through its works and He appoints a measure for everything as a ma’nawî mould through His all-surrounding boundless ‘Ilm. And, the particles of each thing are placed easily in the mould of ‘Ilm according to the form and plan of everything that exist in the mirror of His ‘Ilm; they regularly preserve their states.

Even if it is necessary to gather particles from around, regarding the all-surrounding principles of Qoudrah and laws of ‘Ilm; those particles — in respect of being bound with the laws of ‘Ilm and Qoudrah’s directing — come orderly like the soldiers of an obedient army through the laws of ‘Ilm and Qoudrah’s directing, enter into the mould of ‘Ilm and the measure of Qadar, which surrounds that thing's being, and easily form its being. Rather, like the reflection in a mirror wearing an external existence on paper by means of the photograph, or a letter written by invisible writing appearing when a revealing substance spread on it, with the greatest ease, Qoudrah clothes with external existence the essences of things and forms of beings present in the mirror of the azalî ‘Ilm of Al-Fard, Who is Wâhid; it brings them from al-‘âlam al-ma’nâ to the visible ‘âlam and shows them to eyes.

If beings are not attributed to Al-Fard, Who is Wâhid, it is necessary to collect the being of a fly from all around the face of the earth and from its elements with an extremely precise measure, to possess a physical mould in order to place them orderly in its artful being by quite simply sifting the face of the earth and the elements and bringing the particles particular to that particular being from all around, indeed, to possess moulds to the number of its members and to draw the fine, minute, ma’nawî subtle faculties like rûh and senses in that being with a particular measure from the ma’nawî ‘âlams.

Thus, in this way, the creation of a fly would be as difficult as that of the universe; there will be difficulties within difficulties a hundred times, indeed, impossibilities will be within impossibilities. Because all the people of religion and scientists are agreed that nothing apart from Al-Khâliq, Who is Fard, can create out of nothing and from non-existence. In which case, if it is referred to causes and nature, existence can be given to everything only through collecting from most things.

The Fourth Subtle Point of the Thirtieth Flash-The Fourth Indication-Second Point


By imagining the matter and force to be azalî, a group of the people of dhalâlah called Materialists began to attribute the works of Allah to particles and their movement since they perceived a vast manifestation of the creation of Allah and qoudrah of Ar-Rabb within the orderly movements and changes of particles but could not know from where such manifestation arise and could not understand from where such universal force, which arises from the manifestation of the qoudrah of As-Samad, being directed. Fasubhanallah! Can there be such boundless ignorance in human beings? Those who possess even an iota of mind must know what an ignorant and superstitious idea is to attribute the actions and works Allah carried out in a manner of being present everywhere, seeing, knowing and directing everything in their creation — although being free of restrictions of space — to the particles, which are shaken amidst the storms of lifeless, blind, unconscious coincidence lacking will and balance, and to their movements.

Indeed, since these vile people have abandoned absolute unity, they have fallen into a limitless and endless absolute multiplicity. That is, since they do not accept one single Ilah, they are compelled to accept infinite Ilahs. That is since they are unable to squeeze khâliqiyyah and being azalî into their corrupted minds, which are particular qualities of the Most Pure and Holy Essence (Zhât Al-Aqdas) and necessity of His essence, they are compelled to accept — as a requirement of their way — those limitless, infinite, lifeless particles being azalî and even their ulûhiyyah…

…To attribute being azalî and eternal, which are the most particular of the specific qualities and the necessity of the essence of Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd One Who possesses ‘wujûb’, which is the most powerful level of existence, and ‘being divested and free of materiality’, which is the firmest level of existence, and ‘being free of restrictions of space’, which is the furthest stage of existence from cessation, and ‘wahdah’,6 which is the soundest and most exalted attribute of existence above transformation and non-existence, to things like athîr and particles, which are matter that is material and numerous, the weakest level, subtlest degree and the most transforming and most changing stage of existence and the most spread over space, and to attribute being azalî to them and imagine them to be azalî and suppose that some of the works of Allah arise from them are the most remarkable and surprising things. It has been demonstrated through certain proofs in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, how contrary to haqiqah and the fact, how unreasonable and bâtil this idea is.

The Sixth Subtle Point of the Thirtieth Flash-The First Ray


Question: Why are bâtil arguments like matter’s being azalî and particles’ movement being the source of the formation of species regarded as possible?

Answer: Since the intention is only convincing the nafs with something other than îmân in Allah, they cannot perceive the corrupt principles of those arguments through their reasoning based on a superficial and imitative view. If they turn to the matter deliberately and closely in order to convince their nafs, they will see how illogical and irrational such an idea is. If they still hold such a belief, it is due to neglecting Al-Khâliq, Who is Subhân.

How strange dhalâlah is that those who are unable to squeeze into their mind Allah Subhânahû being azalî and His creating all beings, which are necessary and particular attributes of the One Who is Jalîl, ascribe those attributes to countless particles and impotent things!

A well-known incident: Once, people were looking at the sky to see the new crescent moon to mark Eîd. No one saw. An old man claimed he had seen it. What he had seen was a downward-curving white hair from his eyebrow. There is no comparison between that hair and the new crescent moon! There is no comparison between the movement of particles and the formation of species!

Since man is noble and honourable by fitrah, he pursues haqq. Sometimes he encounters bâtil; supposing it to be haqq, he keeps it in his heart. While digging out the haqq unwillingly dhalâlah falls on his head; supposing it to be the haqq, he wears it onto his head.

   Al-Mathnawî al-Nûrî 674


A question related to the rising from the dead and assembling for judgment: The repeated decrees in the Qur’an 7 اِنْ كَانَتْ اِلاَّ صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً   and  وَمَا اَمْرُ السَّاعَةِ اِلاَّ كَلَمْحِ الْبَصَرِ8 show that rising from the dead and great assembly for judgment will occur in a flash, without time. But man’s marrow mind seeks a witnessed example that will cause it to accept this extremely wondrous and unprecedented matter with idh'ân.

The Answer: The rising from the dead and assembling for judgment consists of three topics; the rûhs coming to the bodies, the giving life to the bodies and the construction of the bodies.

The First Topic: An example of the coming of rûhs to the bodies is the members of an orderly army being gathered at a loud horn call while they have dispersed to rest. Yes, the Sûr, which is the horn of the Isrâfîl, is not lesser than an army horn, in the same way, the rûhs who while they were on the side of eternity and in the ‘âlam of particles heard the question اَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ9 , which comes from the direction of azal, and answered it with 10 قَالُوا بَلَى , are thousands time more subjugated, well-ordered and obedient than the soldiers of an army. The Thirtieth Word has proved with decisive proofs that not only rûhs but rather all particles are an army of Subhân and His soldiers under command.

The Addendum for The Second Ray


Regarding the essence of humanity, man, who is noble and honourable, always wants to buy the haqq, seeks the haqiqah and his aim is always happiness. But as for the bâtil and dhalâlah, while seeking the haqq they unknowingly fall into his hand. While digging the mine of haqiqah, the bâtil falls on his head. Or else, when he falls into despair in finding the haqiqah or is disappointed in obtaining it, his real fitrah, conscience and mind are compelled to accept through a superficial and imitative view something he knows to be impossible and irrational.

Now, keep this haqiqah in view. You will see that their fitrah, which they console

  • with the making imaginary, embodied nature to be the source through being continuously led astray by wahm and being misled by their nafs,
  • with believing that lifeless causes have an actual effect despite the testimony of all hikmahs,
  • with imagining blind coincidence within the wondrous art and embroidery that leaves all minds in astonishment
  • and supposing the matter to be azalî and movement through neglecting the order of the ‘âlam,

certainly rejects all of them.

But since they only turned to the haqq and intended the haqiqah and crossed uninvitedly to the side of such bâtil wahm, surely, the person, who has fixed his gaze on his purpose, looks at that wahm with a superficial and imitative view. Therefore, he cannot penetrate into the adorned lies. But if and when he looks with a desiring view, purposely and for buying, he does not condescend to notice and look at them even, let alone buy them.

Indeed, conscience and mind regard such an ugly thing as impossible. The heart does not accept it either. Only with brawling and false reasoning that they should attribute the minds of the philosophers and the rulership of the rulers to each particle so that each can consult and communicate with his brothers concerning the matter of concord and order. Yes, an animal would not accept such a way, let alone a human being. But what can one do? It is the necessity of the way. This way cannot be depicted in any other manner. Yes, the mark of bâtil is that whenever it is looked at with an imitative eye, it may be regarded as possible. But if it is investigated, the possibility of its soundness disappears.


What they call matter cannot be divested of changing forms and the disappearing movement of events. This means that its newly coming into existence (hudûs) is certain. How astonishing it is! How is it that those who are unable to squeeze in their minds being azalî, which is a self-evident necessity for As-Sâni’, Who is Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd, can squeeze into their mind the matter being azalî, which is in every aspect contrary to being azalî? It really is strange. The more one thinks of it, the more it makes one regret to his humanity due to their denial of As-Sâni’, Who possesses all the attributes of perfection, and deeming His existence strange and attributing these wondrous artful creations to blind coincidence and the particles’ movement.

Rational Arguments


The proof concerning ikhtirâ’ indicated by the âyah 11 اَلَّذي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْis this: Allah Ta‘âlâ gave to every species and all the members of each species a particular being which is the source of its particular works and the origin of the perfections of which it is worthy. Since all species are contingent (imkân) and since the continuous chains of species are bâtil, no species can continue to azal. Also, the constant transformation and change in the ‘âlam prove through observation that some species are newly created (hudûs)12 , and through rational necessity, they prove that some other species newly come into existence (hudûs). It has also been established by biology and botany that there are more than two hundred thousand sorts of species. An Âdam and a forefather are necessary for those species. The mystery of contingency (imkân) and newly coming into existence (hudûs) prove necessarily that the Âdam of those species and their forefathers emerged without intermediaries from the hand of the qoudrah of Allah. Therefore, material causes and others, which are imagined in the chains of causes, cannot be imagined at the first creation. Furthermore, imagining the division of some species from others is bâtil. For, an interbreed species mostly cannot start new chains through reproduction. Since the origins and beginnings are thus, the successive members will also be thus. How can it be imagined that the simple, lifeless natural causes, which lack intelligence and will, are capable of the creation of these chains, which astounds the mind, and of bringing individual beings into existence out of nothing (ikhtirâ’) each of which is a wonderous art and miracle of Qoudrah? Hence, all those individuals together with their chains testify decisively through the language of their imkân and hudûs to the necessary existence of their Khâliq (Jalla Jalâluhu).

If you were to ask: Although there is this decisive testimony, why do people believe in such dhalâlahs like the matter and its movement being azalî?

You would be told: An indirect and superficial look sees the impossible to be possible like the old man searching the sky for the crescent moon of Eid saw the downward-curving white hair on his eyelid to be the moon. Since man possesses a lofty essence and noble nature, he pursues haqq and haqiqah. Sometimes the bâtil and dhalâlah involuntarily fall into his hand without seeking or searching rather, out of necessity, he accepts them since he looks through his superficial, indirect view. Because he ignores the order of the universe, which is the thread and chain of all hikmahs, and pretends not to see that the matter and its movement and its being azalî are opposed to each other completely, it becomes possible in his indirect view to ascribe the unique embroideries and wondrous art to blind chance and one-eyed coincidence.

Signs of Miraculousness 298-299

Thus, those materialists who do not accept A Creator, Who is Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd, fall into such a strange irrational situation. To such a degree that through the claim of the matter being azalî, they do not search for a creator for the matter but search for a creator for Al-Khâliq (Creator). Please refer to The Twenty-Third Flash - The Risale on Nature. (Tr.)

3-To reflect in the mirror of all-surrounding azalî ‘Ilm:

As is proved in the Fourth Haqiqah of the Tenth Word, an eternal, everlasting and matchless beauty (Jamâl) requires the eternity and permanence of mirrors filled with its yearning. And a faultless, eternal and perfect art seeks the continuation of its herald performing tafakkur. And a boundless rahmah and bestowal require the continuation of giving ni’mahs to the needy thankful ones. Thus the mirror filled with yearning, the herald performing tafakkur and the needy thankful one is foremost the rûh of man, in which case, it will accompany that beauty (Jamâl), that perfection (Kamal), that rahmah on the road to all eternity; it will remain eternal.

The Twenty-Ninth Word/Second Aim/First Fundamental Point/Introduction


As for the contingent beings being reflected in the mirror of all-surrounding azalî ‘Ilm with their entirety, it is their becoming mirrors for the nûrs of an existence (wujûd) at the level of wujûb. Just as azalî ‘Ilm is their mirror, so are they the mirrors of an existence at the level of wujûb. That is to say, arising from the level of ‘Ilm, their existence arises only to external, material existence, but can never reach the level of Real Existence.

Al-Mathnawî al-Nûrî 316

4-All the attributes of Allah are azalî:

THE EIGHTH PHRASE: وَهُوَ حَىٌّ لاَ يَمُوتُ That is, His life is constant; it is azalî and eternal. Death and annihilation, non-existence and disappearance cannot befall Him. Because life is in His essence. The thing which belongs to the essence cannot be transitory. Yes, One Who is azalî is certainly eternal. One Who is permanent and uncreated is certainly perpetual. One Who is Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd is certainly everlasting. Yes, such a life, the shadow of which is all the existences with all their nûrs, how can non-existence touch it? Yes, such a life for which a wâjib existence is a necessity and its title, surely, non-existence and annihilation cannot touch it in any aspect. Yes, such a life through the manifestation of which all lives continuously come into existence and on which all enduring haqiqahs of the universe rely and exist permanently through it, indeed, annihilation and fade cannot touch it in any aspect. Yes, such a life, one flash of manifestation of which gives a wahdah to the multiple things subjected to annihilation and fade, makes them a place of manifestation for eternity, saves them from dissolution, preserves their existence and makes them a place of manifestation for a sort of permanency. That is, life gives a wahdah to multiplicity and makes them permanent. If life departs, they disperse and go into extinction. Certainly, annihilation and fade cannot approach such a wâjib life a manifestation of which is all the infinite flashes of life.

Decisive witnesses of this haqiqah are the fade and annihilation of the universe. That is, just as through their existence and lives, beings indicate and witness to the life of that Undying Hayy and to the necessary existence of that Life, {Note: Against Nimrod, about the giving death and life, Hazrat Ibrâhîm changing the subject to the rise and set of the sun was a change from a particular giving death and life to a universal giving death and life; it is a progress. It is not to rise the obvious proof by abandoning the hidden one as some mufassîrîn have said but to demonstrate the most brilliant and widest sphere of that proof.} in the same way, through their deaths and their fade they indicate and witness to the perpetuity and eternity of that Life.

The Twentieth Letter-Second Station-Eighth Phrase

5-Since the principles and laws of the Qur'an have come from azal and arise from the azalî attribute of Kalâm, they will go to eternity:

If the laws of the Sharî‘ah were to be asked from where they had come and where they go, they would say through the language of their miraculousness: "We come from azalî Kalâm and we will accompany human thought through all eternity. When this world ceases, we will apparently part from mankind in respect of accountability through the obligations placed on them by Allah but we will always accompany them with our meanings and mysteries; we will always nourish their rûhs and assist and guide them.

Signs of Miraculousness 343


Of thousands of matters, we shall point out only three or four as an example. Yes, since the principles and laws of the Qur'an have come from azal, they will go to eternity. They are not condemned to get old and die like civilization's laws. They are always young and strong. For example, despite all the societies for the good works of civilization and its all overbearing severe discipline and orders and its all establishments for the teaching of ethics, they have been unable to contest Al-Qur'an Al-Hakîm on two of its matters; they have been defeated by those two matters. For example: 13 وَاَقِيمُوا الصَّلَوةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَوةَ14 ٭ وَاَحَلَّ اللّٰهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَوا We will declare this miraculous victory of the Qur’an through an introduction. It is as follows:

As is proved in Isharat al-I'jaz15 , just as the source of rebellions among mankind is one phrase, so is one phrase the origin of all immorality.

The First Phrase: "So long as I am full, what is it to me if others die of hunger?"

The Second Phrase: "You work; I will eat."

Yes, the upper and lower classes in human social life, that is, the rich and the poor, live at peace through equilibrium. The basis of that equilibrium is mercy and compassion in the upper class, and respect and obedience in the lower class. Now, the first phrase has driven the upper classes to cruelty, immorality and mercilessness. And just as the second has driven the lower class to hatred, envy and struggle and has taken away mankind's comfort for several centuries, so too, in this century, as the result of the struggle of labour against capital, the momentous events of Europe well-known by all has occurred. Thus, together with all its societies for good works, all its schools for the teaching of ethics and all its severe discipline and orders, the civilization could not reconcile these two classes of mankind, nor could it cure the two fearsome wounds of mankind’s life.

With zakât being wâjib, the Qur'an eradicates the first phrase by its very roots and cures it. With interest (ribâ) being haram, it eradicates the roots of the second phrase and cures it. Indeed, the âyahs of the Qur'an stand at the door of the world and say: “Interest (ribâ) is forbidden”. It decrees to mankind and says: "In order to close the door of the fight, close the door of banks!" It commands to its students “Do not enter it.”

Twenty-Fifth Word-First Light-Third Ray

1 (Contingency - Imkân: The entire creation which the existence of them and non-existence of them have the same possibility. Whatever exists other than Al-Wajib Al-Wujûd. Allah, Who is Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd, chooses their existence through His will and irâdah and gives them a particular essence, a specific form, a distinct identity, particular attributes, qualities with hikmah and beneficial organs from amongst the infinite possibilities.) (Tr.)

2 (To create out of nothing without a previous pattern.)

3 (To invent and create a thing never made before out of nothing.)

4 (Constructing.)

5 (A joining or compounding together, so as to constitute one whole; also, a being so compounded; composition.)

6 (‘Being divested and free of materiality’, being free of the restrictions of space’, wahdah’, ‘being azalî’ and ‘eternity’ are the five attributes of Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd.) (Tr.)

7 (It was nothing but a single blast.)

8 (Bringing about the Hour would only take the blink of an eye, or even less.)

9 ("Am I not your Rabb?")

10   (They all replied: "Yes!")

11 (Who created you and created those who came before you.)

12 (Hudûs: Essential recentness of origin, the reverse of existence from eternity. Being new or recent. A newly coming into existence.)

13 (Allah has made trading halal and interest (ribâ) haram.)

14 (Establish salâh; give zakât.)

15 (Signs of Miraculousness.) (Tr.)

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