THE GERMAN ORIENTALIST URSULA SPULER'S* MESSAGE TO THE PANEL
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I offer my thanks for your kind invitation to join your Panel on 16th March 1991 organized on the occasion of the anniversary of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's death. I hope you and the Panel will meet with a good response, co-operation, and great success.
This century's great scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has become famous outside Turkey. Known with the rank of ?stad, the Master, he demonstrated that it was not enough for contemporary Muslims to adhere only to their traditions. In the Risale-i Nur Collection, a commentary on the Holy Qur'an, he attached great importance to striving to interpret Islam, and considered that for scholars to be able to do this it was necessary for them to be aware of this.
Islam has to contain theologically the modern world view together with its complete structure. In this field, Islam's own structure and nature possess this ability. Said Nursi saw this and put forward its basic principles. This was his greatest success. And he developed clear models in the subject.
A most important matter in connection with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi is his dealing with the question of Islamic education. He thought that the latest findings of the religious and modern sciences had to be represented in conformity with the sciences which the Qur'an puts forward. And acting with this educational programme in mind, he published works which included within a broad spectrum the programme of the Risale-i Nur school of thought, his own school. This educational programme, or Risale-i Nur Model, brought an extraordinarily positive point of view of science and the art of science, and hence of critical and unbiased works, hitherto unseen anywhere in the Islamic world, and ensured that the Risale-i Nur and works taking their inspiration from it were presented to those interested and to the world at large. This new method, which comprises true Islam, shows that, as a question of the very greatest importance, it wants to present Islam as a real alternative to the impasses of capitalism, communism, and socialism. I hope that your conference will contribute significantly to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and the Risale-i Nur Collection's educational model - which is of the greatest importance - being made better known, and thus to the solving of the problems of our times.
* Ursula Spuler was born in Germany in 1939. She studied in Los Angeles and the Faculty of Literature in Istanbul University, during which she studied comparative religion, oriental studies, Persian, Arabic, and Turkish. She did her doctorate in Bonn University on contemporary Turkish literature. Dr. Spuler at present teaches comparative religion in Marburg University, which comprises Islamic history, the Qur'an, the Sunna, religion, the bases of Islam, Sufism, and present-day Islamic thought. She has been doing research on Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and the Nurju movement for more than twenty years and published her first article on Bediuzzaman in 1973.