BY BINISH QADRI
Said Nursi, generally recognized as Bediüzzaman, meaning “miracle of the age”; or basically Üstad or master (Shukran Vahide as cited by Nur Web Pages), was a Kurdish Sunni Muslim orator cum preacher, a mystic, austere, and theologian. He wrote the Risale-i Nur Assortment, a group of Quranic interpretation, and commentary over and above six thousand pages (Markham; Birinci & Pirim, 2011) coupled with literature about his own life. In addition, a major factor in the success of the methodology which Nursi had picked up in his works and the lot may be shortened with two catchphrases:
‘jihad of the word’ or ‘non-physical jihad’, and ‘positive action (Sharma, 2010).’ Having confidence in and being certain of modern science and logic as the way of the forthcoming, Nursi was in favor of teaching religious sciences in secular schools and advocated modern sciences in religious schools (Böwering, Crone & Mirza). Nursi stimulated a religious drive (Mardin, 1989) which has played a dynamic, vibrant, and active role in the revival of Islam in Turkey and at the present records quite a lot of millions of followers worldwide (Vahide, 2012). His admirers, often known as the “Nur cemaati or the «Nurcu movement” (Bayram, 2003) over and over again call him by the respecting, revering, and worshipping a mononymous teacher.
To learn is to acquire knowledge together with the ways and means which provide necessary skill and the preference for making profitable use of that knowledge.
Nursi revealed an uncommon talent to learn from an early age, finishing the studies at Madrasa (religious school) at the early age of fourteen with a diploma. Everybody doesn’t know everything of something, hence there is a constant need for debates and discussions.
Being an orator par excellence, Nursi became famous for both his extraordinary reminiscence and his topranking record in discussing with other religious scholars.
One more typical and distinguishing feature which he showed from an early age was discontent with the prevailing education system which is why he proposed educational reforms to the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid with the purpose to set Sufism (tasawwuf), the traditional Madrasah teaching, and the modern sciences in discussion and channel of communication with each other (Tittensor, 2014).
Most aspects of Nursi’s life rest on Islamic principles, and his religious thinking was no exception.
Quran is an unending, everlasting light which brings up-to-date knowledge to feed and meet at the same time modern life and its needs. When he arrived Istanbul, Nursi stated: “I shall prove and demonstrate to the world that the Quran is an undying, inexhaustible Sun by updating it to meet modern life requirements!”
It was Nursi’s good understanding of Islam and its fundamentals that made him a member of Dar-al Hikmat al-Islamiye, an Islamic academy in search of providing a solution for rising problems of Ummah. According to Nursi, good activities in general and religious activities, in particular, are not only necessary for the illumination of the soul, attainment of overall benefit to society, but also for achieving cleanliness here and the Hereafter, spiritual wholeness and salvation.
In this age of knowledge, science, logic, reason, and civilization, materialism and atheism and their source materialist beliefs are considered by him as true rivals (Markham; Birinci & Pirim, 2011) for they are the most operational stumbling blocks against the corruption of society caused by these opponents.
Said Nursi is acknowledged as one of the great Sufi poets of all time. He was a vibrant figure with, eccentric, and unorthodox views on Sufism that still have a tremendous impact today. He was very expressive and persuasive in talking about Sufism, Tariqa and its allied areas (Machasin, 2005). Because of his spirituality and intellect, he was in a position to find and teach at the same time a way in which human being can reach the reality of faith and conviction which coincides with one’s manners. Therefore, there is a need for adopting ways and means to improve one’s manners which necessitates a paradigm shift from the purely scientific approach to a Sufi approach which has its roots in religion and philosophies of great Sufi Muslim philosophers including Said Nursi. We need to revisit his philosophy and realize the fact that unless and until we have manners, we cannot give inner and outer happiness.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bediuzzamansaidnursi.org/en/hakkinda/whobediuzzaman-said-nursi Arvind Sharma. (2010).The World’s Religions After September 11. p 92.ISBN 0275996212 Balci, Bayram (2003). “Fethullah Gu¨len’s Missionary Schools in Central Asia and their Role in the Spreading of Turkism and Islam”. Religion, State and Society. 31 (2): 153.
David Tittensor. (2014). The House of Service: The Gulen Movement and Islam’s Third Way, p 35. ISBN 0199336415
Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p. 482. ISBN 0691134847
Ian S. Markham; Suendam Birinci; Suendam Birinci Pirim (2011). An Introduction to Said Nursi: Life, Thought and Writings. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, p 194.ISBN 978-1-4094-0770-6
Ian S. Markham, Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model ofInterfaith Dialogue, p 15.
Machasin. (2005). Bediuzzaman Said NursiAnd The Sufi Tradition. Al-Jami‘ah, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2005/1426 H Nur Web Pages. From Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s life. Retrieved fromhttp :// www .nur .org /treatise / biography /from _Bediuzzamans_life09.htm Serif Mardin. (1989). Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey: The Case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, p. 23. ISBN 0887069967
Sukran Vahide. (2012). Islam in Modern Turkey: An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected]