Dr. Zubair Hudawi - Indian Muslims and the Secular-Religious Dilemma: Seeking Solutions from Teachings of Said Nursi from Barla Platformu on Vimeo.
Indian Muslims and the Secular-Religious Dilemma: Seeking Solutions from Teachings of Said Nursi
Introduction: Indian Muslims are still in search of a pragmatic approach to resolve the perceived dilemma of living as a minority in a secular, democratic, and pluralistic country. The secular-religious dichotomy has clearly brought a divide between the ‘secular, positivist-thinking, modern Muslims’ and the ‘men of religion’. Absence of a foresighted leadership that can better explain how to live as a true, successful, creative, and productive Muslim within a constitutional democracy is at the root of this multi-faceted existential and identity crisis. My paper will attempt to seek solutions for this dilemma from the teachings of Risale-I Nur. Nurci, who treats Democracy and freedom as the necessary conditions for the existence of a just society, calls for individual-level rejuvenation of Islamic consciousness in order to ‘bring God back’ to everyday life, and his main struggle was to tackle the positivist epistemology which was detracting human beings from their sacred origins. He taught that Parliamentary Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law are the most reasonable means for realizing a just society as well as for rejuvenating Islam; and this I believe, has a lot to offer to Indian Muslims in their bid for a successful transformation. Nursi’s argument against pro-Islamic parties, reasoning that ‘a polarized society will not be ready to tolerate such faith-oriented parties, as well his identification of ‘ignorance, friction, and poverty’ as enemies of Islam, and of ‘education, hard work, and consensus’ as its solution, are particularly important for Indian Muslims. My paper will look into the ways the bids of Nursi to build a pious, tolerant and modern Muslim personality can be applied in the context of Indian Muslims.
This paper has four parts - first is on Indian Muslims, their legacy, and present condition; the second is on what I perceive as the ‘secular-religious dilemma’, which I see as the root cause of Muslim backwardness in India. The third part introduces the life of Ustad Badiuzzaman Said Nursi and his Risala-i-Nur, and in the fourth, I present 15 reasons as to why I look upto Nursi’s teachings for solving the problems of Indian Muslims. Nrusi helped Turkish Muslims adopt modernity without compromising their faith and cultural heritage, and without the usage of any form of violence or confrontation, despite being under extreme hostile situations created by an authoritarian and fundamentalist form of secularism. Therefore, I argue that his vision of mediating Islam with modernity will be more suitable and tenable for Indian Muslims who live in a democracy that defines secularism in terms of pluralism and co-existence of religions.
Indian Muslims: Islam is the second-most practiced religion in India with around 15% of the country's population. Muslims in India form the world's third largest Muslim community after Indonesia and Pakistan, and the world's largest Muslim-minority population. India has a vibrant Muslim culture. Its vast landscape is dotted with mosques, Sufi shrines, Makatibs and Madaris. The call for prayer goes out even in remote towns and villages. Muslim rituals, symbols, and institutions are found everywhere. Eid festivals, Meeladunnabi celebrations, Muharram processions (by Shiites), Urs at Sufi mausoleums, grand Islamic conferences, where ordinary Muslims take part in hundreds of thousands, all occur in glitter and grandeur. They live under a constitutional democracy that guarantees protection of the fundamental rights of equality before the law, freedom to profess, practice, and propagate religion, and non-discrimination by the state against any citizen on grounds of religion. It is a fact that in terms of profession, practice, public discourse, and propagation of religion, Indian Muslims enjoy greater freedom compared to most of the Islamic states.
Islam in India unfolds a bewildering diversity of Muslim communities. Located in multiple streams of thought, their histories, social habits, cultural traits, and occupational patters vary from class to class, and region to region. They speak numerous dialects and languages and observe wide ranging regional customs and local rites. Their economic profile varies. There are many comfortably placed traders, businesspersons, merchants, professionals, politicians, celebrities and industrialists from them, but the vast majority of Muslims are impoverished peasants and landless laborers or industrial proletariat.
However, after 60 years of independence, Indian Muslims as a whole paint a very grim picture of their condition, and are mired in countless problems and stuck with the prospects of a bleak future. Various studies have pointed out their social, economic, political, and educational backwardness. Of late, the government-appointed Sachar committee came out with a detailed report that showed their grossly deteriorated conditions. The report showed that though there is a considerable variation in the conditions of Muslims across states, the community exhibits deficits and deprivation in practically all dimensions of development. Exacerbating the problem, Muslims feel socially excluded, stigmatized and discriminated against, stressing that they become victims of stereotypes, social marginalization, and political extremism because of their different religious and cultural traditions. Sachar categorized issues of Muslims in terms of identity, security, and equity. Identifying as a Muslim in public spaces hinders housing and education as many non-Muslims refuse to rent or sell houses for Muslims in their areas or prevent Muslim students from entering esteemed educational institutions. Security related concerns include biased attitudes and highhandedness of the police and law enforcing agencies, Ghettoisation and shrinking of common spaces. Equity-related issues include widespread feeling of being a victim of discriminatory attitudes from poor civic amenities in Muslim localities, poor or no access to schools, non-representation in political power and bureaucracy to police atrocities against them. The loyalty of Muslims is always doubted, tanks to the partition of Indian sub-continent and creation of Pakistan as an Islamic country. The right wing ideologues have won in creating a perception that Muslims do not properly belong, and through systematical distortion and making of history, they accuse Muslims of entering and staying in the country through illegitimate conquests and spreading the message through violence and compulsion. The legacy of partition is still alive in the mental psyche of both Hindus and Muslims, especially in north India, and the communalist forces always get their immediate fuel out of this legacy. Far from solving the communal problem in India, the partition further aggravated it. The innocent Muslim masses in India continue to pay heavy price for creation of Pakistan. And partition has created nothing but hatred towards Muslims. In the post independence period, Muslims faced a severe political downbeat, in addition to the absence of a shrewd and foresighted leadership who could lead them with a mission and vision. Various political parties used Muslims as a vote-bank, lured them with piecemeal appeasements, and left them in the lurch when they faced grave problems. This along with the repeated communal riots in the various parts of the country destroyed whatever progress they made. All of these had an adverse effect on their economy, education, and social status so badly.
What I described above forms the usual style of narrating Muslim backwardness in India. However, I think analyzing it this way, though they are facts, would not help solve problems at any time soon. Being a minority religious group or being a Muslim community is not the basic reason for backwardness and suffering; neither is the existence of a hostile majority, determined to never let Muslims progress, the reason. Christians (2.3% of population) and Sikhs (1.8%) in India excelled and progressed in almost all fields, and watch some Muslim communities abroad have achieved amazing progress and development without surrendering their identity even under more hostile conditions; all of this prompts the need to reconsider the root causes of the problems as we have understood them as.
The problem of religion’s relationship with modernity and its ingredients like secularism and democracy is not an exclusively Muslim phenomenon, but one that other religions and traditional communities have also had to struggle with. Writing ‘Democracy in America’ in 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville called it as the ‘great problem of our time’. However, going through the perils of colonization and westernization in the last two centuries, it was the Muslim community across the world that had to grapple the most with the question of how to reconcile modernity with tradition and how to be religious and modern simultaneously. Indian Muslims were put to this dilemma when the British ended centuries-long Muslim rule and started implementing western forms of law, administration, education, and development.
Muslims responded differently to the new challenges. The Deoband and Barelwi movements arose as revivalists, defending Islamic traditionalism and defining Islam through its historically evolved intellectual legacy, as they opposed all norms and values of the westernized modernity. The Ahle-Hadees movement emerged with another response of revivalism that called for a strict return to the original Islamic sources. Then there was the Aligarh movement of Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan who advocated rationalist reinterpretation of Islam in the light of western science and modern thoughts, whereas a fourth group found Islam guilty and embraced western modernity in full swing. Amidst these host of reactions, the community as a whole fell into confusion, and the absence of a luminary leadership that could foresightedly design and define the flow of Muslim life in India was evident. Rather than preparing this minority community to wage a creative, productive, and tolerant life amidst the diversity of people and values, Muslim groups and leaders in India mostly tried to assert their differences and exclusive nature. Leaving aside the basic and existential issues, Muslims rode on emotional things and symbolic stuffs, and their public discourses always stuck on non-fundamental theological disputes. The basis of this attitude and discourses is what I call the secular-religious dilemma.
Due to this partly imaginary and partly enforced dilemma, Indian Muslims failed to work out an intellectual cohesiveness and a broad consensus, particularly about their civic behavior. They also failed to develop a functional and healthy civil society that would prudently mediate modernity and reap maximum results out of a friendly secular democracy, which never questioned Islamic fundamentals, rather facilitated a better religious life. They misread the equation between ideal and pragmatic, did not highlight the inclusive nature of Islam, failed to utilize religion as a potential social force, and fell short of a workable strategy for living amidst a non-Muslim majority. Here therefore, is a need of well-defined and structured articulation, and here I see the importance of Said Nursi who successfully and peacefully mediated this dilemma in an extremely hostile political condition in Turkey.
Said Nursi and His Risale-Nur
Known as Bediüzzaman, the wonder of the age, Ustad Said Nursi (1876–1960) was a great reformer who successfully saved the Islamic faith from the destructive secularism and positivistic philosophy imposed upon Muslims early 20th century. Despite passing 28 years in prisons and exile, and living in difficult conditions, Nursi illuminated Turkey in its darkest days and left behind a luminous school of thought that has now become resort of millions of seekers across the world. An ‘intellectual brilliance’ since childhood, Nursi mastered Islamic sciences as well as most of the modern physical and mathematical sciences at an earlier age. His stint with modern science and philosophy happened when the Quran and Islam was severely attacked in the name of science and materialism, particularly the Positivist philosophy of August Comte. Nursi was embodied with all necessary characters of a real visionary leader like simplicity, humbleness, wisdom, and hikmah. A man gifted with divine illumination (‘ilm ladunni), Nursi experienced the rise and spread of various modernist and materialist philosophies. He discovered the mission of his life when the Ottoman Empire was replaced by the Kamalists, who embarked on an intensive Westernization and secularization programme, stripping Turkey of its rich culture and heritage. He kept spreading his message peacefully during the 25-year authoritarian rule of Republican Peoples’ Party. His preaching became little easy during the 10-year rule of ‘Democratic Party’ (1950-60).
The transformation of ‘Ottoman Old Said’ into the ‘Turkish New Said’ renders a rich case study. Actively involved in the social and political life of the fading Ottoman Empire, Old Said tried to revive Islam and ensure the empire’s survival like any other activist-intellectual. However, the drastic changes following the World War1 and the painful transformation of Turkey nurtured the New Said. He easily read the designs of the Kamalist regime, and instead of drawing a political and activist reaction, he designed a perfect strategy for the well being of Muslim life in modern period that still keeps reaping results. Any student of modern Islamic movements can easily understand that there were few reformers of this genre in the history. Unfolding of his life and spread of his teachings through the following decades is quite interesting. Now the Nur Movement stands tall delivering positive results in all fields of human life, utilizing the positives of modern science, and ensuring that the faith and values of a Muslim remains intact while scaling the heights of progress.
Nursi’s magnum opus is the Risale-i Nur collection (RNK), a 600-page commentary on the Quran written for all modern men colonized by materialist and positivist philosophy. Showing conformity of Islam’s message with modern science, RNK helped Turks maintain their faith under the most despotic regimes, and it became the basis of many key movements for social, moral and spiritual reform in Turkish Islam. In the fast-tracked life of the period, where people has little time to take years for learning theology, RNK opens an easy way of learning Islam and knowing God. The RNK exemplifies the scope of Nursi’s intellectual and religious dynamism, and the history of its spread and acceptance among a closely watched Turkish society is awe inspiring.
Indian Muslims Need Nursi’s Vision of Enlightened Islam
What I make here is a peep from the shore into the ocean of Nursi’s thoughts and teaching, and I am still flooded with reasons why I should seek solutions from Nursi for the problems of Indian Muslims. To start with, (1) from an overall analysis of Nursi, his RNK and the Nur movement, one can easily understand that Said Nursi could successfully solve the modern Muslims’ dilemma of how to live in a pluralistic society and how to reconcile with the secular and religious, modern and traditional, faith and science, and reason and revelation.
2. For Indian Muslims, looking to Nursi will be only revival of their own intellectual legacies. Nursi counts Indian reformer Ahmed Sirhindi (1563-1624) as his biggest source of inspiration. Both Nursi and Sirhindi faced same natured problems in two historical points and adopted the similar remedies.
3. Nursi reminds us that for those who stand for social change, confrontation never should be a policy. He made an outright rejection of Jihad by sword and confrontational revolutions, and called for peaceful internal jihad on the level of ideas and learning. Preservation of public order and security was the focus of the ‘positive action’ Nursi designed to thwart the long-term effect of the destructive secularism. Said displayed meticulous ‘patience against all the insults, injustice, and torments meted out to him’. Few Muslim leaders showed this maturity to earn long-term results and this is why we repeatedly go back to Nursi and his thoughts. Indian Muslims should redefine their future policies taking a big lesson from him.
4. Nursi envisioned an educational system that integrated religious and modern secular sciences, and he himself mastered in both sciences. His idea of a Muslim scholar was that of one, who earned knowledge in its comprehensive sense. He tried many a times to establish universities of this design. Stuck in the disastrous dichotomy of knowledge into religious and secular, Indian Muslims can take note.
5. Living in a plural society, Indian Muslims can take lessons from Nursi’s works on matters of religious tolerance and inter-faith dialogue, and on how societies living with tolerance and mutual respect of differences can build up a powerful and vibrant modern state. He defended the rights of Armenians and Greeks in Turkey. He established dialogues and friendships with Christian groups. In the same way, in 1953, Nursi visited the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Istanbul to seek cooperation between Muslims and Christians. Successful inter-faith dialogues are among the main agenda of Nur movement.
6. Nursi realized religion’s potency as a positive social force and the capability of faith to fill the void created by secular republican regimes. He helped individuals redeem and maintain their faith and encouraged them to excel in all fields and work to progress.
7. Indian Muslims, who always longed for ‘traditionally-rooted modern scholars’, would admire Nursi for his impeccable ability to ‘enlighten his students by demonstrating the truths of religion in the manner most appropriate to the understanding of the period’. Nursi did not blindly oppose anyone – sufis, ulama, secularists, or men of science - but devised a new way to bring back real Islam into this world, reconciling the views of all without surrendering the Islamic values.
8. Nursi always explains how Muslims can live in a non-Islamic modern state and achieve progress and prosperity. He described ‘proper adherence to Sharia, love of one's nation, education, human labor and the abandonment of debauched morals’ as the doors to progress and civilization. Counting poverty, ignorance, and anarchy as the three main enemies, he called for national union, human exertion, and national solidarity. I would love to see these words inscribed in the houses of all Indian Muslims.
9. Nur movement is the finest example on the formation of creative and non-political civil society platforms that would reconcile faith with education, business, science, and Western technology through networks of schools, companies, media outlets, hospitals, and associations. Such well-structured civil society movements are one of the immediate needs of Indian Muslims. 10. Nursi taught how to make such movements well-inclusive, spreading its services to people from all faiths and communities.
11. The cautious approach of Nur movement for Conflict-avoidance and for impression management is yet another lesson to learn in an era where public image matters the most for drawing respect and acceptance. Through inner mobilization and highly individualistic approach to social change, Nusi could control negative emotions of the people such as anger, shame, and outrage.
12. Nursi never advocated for the formation of an Islamic state, that too in a Majority Muslim state having a great Islamic legacy. Instead, he xsought to consolidate civil society by redrawing the boundaries between the state and society, carved out new spaces constituting new identities, and helped people excel and get respect keeping their faith; a perfectly emulative strategy. 13. Nursi considered freedom and democracy as the necessary conditions for a just society, and he argued that parliamentary constitutionalism and the rule of law provided the best environment for the rejuvenation of Islam. He called Muslims to fight against poverty, ignorance, and internal enmity, and voiced against using Islam for political goals.
14. The idea of a text-based faith movement is easily digestible in India, it being the centre of such a worldwide movement – the Tablighi Jama’at. However, bent on symbols and rigid theological perspectives, Indian Muslims sit far away from the kind of enlightened Islam explained by Nursi. The modern society wants to link his sciences, surroundings business, commerce, education and other worldly activities with his faith. Therefore, RNK reading and building-ups on its vision can be an ideal replacement strategy. 15. Indians of all faith can easily identify with Said Nursi for his resemblance with the great Mahatma Gandhi in his peaceful struggle and non-violence despite facing all kinds of provocations.
Conclusion: Said Nursi is the only Muslim reformer of last two centuries who perfectly worked out a strategy for Muslims to live in a modern state keeping their faith intact. Indian Muslims stand in need of such an enlightened vision of Islam and they deserve to know more about Nurci and his Risale-Nur.
By: Zubair Hudawi, JN University, New Delhi, India
 Discourses on secularism and its relation with religion in India are quite interesting. It is not negation of religion or even not separation of religion and public space. It is co-existence of multiple religions under a constitutional democracy, which treats all religions equally. To get more on discourses on Indian secularism see; Shabnam Tejani, Indian Secularism: A Social and Intellectual history, 1890-1950, (Indiana University Press, 2008), Rajendra Vora & Suhas Palshikar (eds.) Indian Democracy: Meanings and Practices (New Delhi, Sage Publication, 2003), Ashis Nandy, “An Anti-secularist Manifesto”, Seminar, 314:14-24 (1985), Gerald James Larson (ed.), Religion and Personal Law in Secular India; A Call to Judgment, (Indianapolis, Indiana university Press, 2001), Thomas Pantham, “Indian Secularism and Its Critics: Some Reflections”, The Review of Politics, 59:523-540 (1997), Upendra Baxi, “The Struggle for the Redefinition of Secularism in India”, Social Scientist, 21: march-April (1990), Amartya Sen, “The threats to Secular India”, Social Scientist, 21: March April (1993), Ronojoy Sen, Legalizing Religion: The Indian Supreme Court and Secularism, (Washington, East-West Centre, 2007), Shariful Hasan, “Nehru's secularism”, in Rajeev Dhavan & Thomas Paul (eds.), Nehru and the Constitution, (Bombay: N M Tripati Ltd. 1992), Donald E Smith, India as a secular state, (Princeton, PUP, 1963), Rajeev Bhargava, (ed.), Secularism and its critics, New Delhi, OUP, 2007)
 Over 138 million identified themselves as Muslims in the National census 2001. The 2009 estimate is around 160.9 million.
 PewReserach Report on Mapping the Global Muslim Population, http://pewforum.org/newassets/images/reports/Muslimpopulation/Muslimpopulation.pdf
 http://www.faqs.org/minorities/South-Asia/Muslims-of-India.html. Due to politics in counting population, it is widely known that the exact count is never published, and the number of Muslims in India are far higher than the official figure. In an interview with The Hindu, a prestigious Indian English daily, Justice K.M. Yusuf, a retired Judge from Calcutta High Court and Chairman of West Bengal Minority Commission, has said that the real percentage of Muslims in India is at least 20%.
 Islam and Muslims in India need much better quality studies. There are plenty of books, but most of them are accused of either bias or vested ideological interests. As Muslims do not have resident historians nor a clear-cut historiography, they are always compelled to mix others history with their legacy and theology. They have been victims of distorted or created history for long. One will strongly feel dearth of quality materials on Indian Muslims. A brilliant and somewhat comprehensive study came 40 years ago, Mujeeb, M. The Indian Muslims, (London, George Allen & Unwin LTD, 1969). Other materials referred include; Rafeeq Zakariya, Indian Muslims: Where They Have gone wrong, (Mumbai,Popular Prakashan ltd, 2005), Ahmad, Sayed Naser. Origins of Muslim Consciousness In India: A World-System Perspective, (Westport, Greenwood Press, 1991), Gottschalk, Peter. Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple identity in narratives from village India, (New York, Oxford, 1963), Mushirul Hasan, Legacy of a Divided Nation; India's Muslims Since Independence, (London, C.Hurst & Co., 1997), Ahmad, Aziz. An Intellectual History of Islam in India (Edinburgh, EUP, 1969), Yoginder Sikand, Muslims in India Since 1947; Islamic perspectives on Inter-faith relations, (New Delhi, RoutledgeCurzon, 2004)
 See The Constitution o f India. It has proclaimed protection of the fundamental rights of equality before the law (Article 14), nondiscrimination in terms of employment and political participation (Article 16), freedom to profess, practice, and propagate religion (Article 25), lack of state support for any “particular religion or religious denomination” (Article 27), and the absence of religious instruction of any kind in “any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds” (Article 28).
 Mushirul Hasan, Legacy of a divided nation: India's Muslims Since Independence,
 To read the 425-page full report see, http://minorityaffairs.gov.in/newsite/sachar/sachar_comm.pdf
 To have an idea of communal tensions in India read, Martha C. Nussbaum, The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2007)
 Islamic view of concepts like secularism and democracy, and Muslims realistic or conceptual approach towards these ideas has plenty of literature, and the discourses in this regard have taken various turns. The books referred include Frédéric Volpi, Islam and Democracy : The Failure of Dialogue in Algeria, (London, Pluto Press, 2003), AHMAD SADRI, Reason, Freedom,& Democracy in Islam: Essential Writings of 'Abdolkarim Soroush, (New York, OUP, 20OO), Jocelyne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States, (New York, PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, 2004), Ziba Mir-Hosseini & Richard Tapper, Islam and Democracy in Iran Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform, (London, I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd, 2006), Nader Hashemi, Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies, (New York, OUP, 2009), Olivier Roy, Secularism confronts Islam, (New York, Columbia University Press, 2005), Sayed Khatab & Gary D. Bouma, Democracy In Islam, (Oxon, Routledge, 2007)
 To read more on the Deoband movement read Metcalf, B. D. Islamic Revival in British India: Darul Uloom Deoband, 1860- 1900 ( New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005).
 To read more on Barelwi movement see Sanyal, Usha. Devotional Islam and Politics in British India: Ahmed Riza Khan Barelvi and His Movement, 1870-1920, (London: Oxford University Press, 1999), Sanyal, Usha. Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi: in the path of the prophet: Makers of the Muslim world, (Oxford, Oneworld, 2005)
 The Ahle Hadees Movement, which is called as fundamentalism or rigid literalism, is closely related to Wahabism and Salafism in interpreting theology. However the historical roots are different. The movement started was in Delhi by the successors of the great 18th century Indian scholar Shah Waliyullah Dahlawi , who gave a new direction of Hadis studies in India. However Waliyullah Dahlawi is not considered as an Ahle-Hadees ideologue as he was making his voice against closed mentalities of religious people, pseudo-Sufism, corrupt ulama and biased madhabism. The Ahle Hadees movement totally rejects the four schools of thought and claim to explain religion only on the basis of Quran and authentic traditions.
 To read more on Sir Sayyid and his visions read Troll, C. W. Sayyid Ahmad Khan: A Reinterpretation of Muslim Theology, (New Delhi, 1978),
 What makes a movement a part of civil society is that its associations, organizations and all activities should be transparent, accountable and visible both to the public and the state.
 He was called 'Bediüzzaman" because of the speed with which he had mastered the new secular sciences, and he was called nursi in connection to his birth at the Eastern Anatolian Kurdish village of Nurs.
 For detailed biography of Nursi read, Sukran Vahide, Islam in Modern Turkey: An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi , (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005). For a wonderful academic study on Nursi’s visions read Serif Mardin, Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey: The Case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (Albany, State University of New York Press 1989). Tens of academic books and hundreds of research articles written about Said Nursi denote his importance and prominence as a noted intellectual in the world.
 For the English version of Risal-e-Nur see www.nursistudies.com, www.nuronline.org
 Sirhindi's preaching and revival was a reaction to the secular policies of Mughal emperor Akbar who mixed all religions into one. Fighting Akbar's experiments with religious syncretism, which was sweeping away the distinguishing characteristics of Islam, Sirhindi started a movement of spiritual renewal and he played a prominent role in keeping the threads of the community together in the political and social chaos of time. (he is known as "MujaddidÎ" or renewalist). However, Sirhindi outlined the importance of a Muslim’s loyalty despite objections and called for spiritual reawakening of the individual. To read more on Sirhindi see, Friedmann, Johannan. Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, (Montreal, McGill-Queens University Press, 1971)
 Recently a friendly non-Muslim intellectual in India (M.D. Nalappatt) reminded the need for ‘followers of Quran’ to stop thinking of only of Muslims whenever they do something. ‘The more narrow the vision and the focus of activity, the more distant from the universal message of the Quran’, he said.
 Nursi said that ‘religion ultimately had to occupy a realm above day-to-day power politics’. He also warned against establishing pro-Islamic parties in a polarized society, noting the possibility of using Islam opportunistically for political goals.
 To read more on the movement of Tableeghi Jama’at see, Yoginder Sikand, The origins and development of the Tablighi Jamaʻat (1920-2000): a cross-country comparative study, (New Delhi, Orient Longman, 2002)
 Defending one of his own case in Law Courts, Nursi said, “The truth that we, the students of the Nur School of Culture have learned from the Qur’an al-Hakim is that the justice of the Qur’an forbids burning a ship on which there is one innocent person among ten murderers, as the right of one innocent must be protected. Should anyone burn a house or ship to kill ten innocents because of the inclusion of one murderer, would that not be an act of tyranny, injustice, and perfidy? We wholeheartedly try to maintain public order so that the lives of the innocent may not be endangered because of one person or criminal, for Divine justice and the truth of the Qur’an absolutely forbids this.”
 Books referred for this paper include; Zurcher, Erik J. Turkey: a Modern History, (Amsterdam, I.B. Tauris, 1992), Rabasa, Angel. & Larabee, F. Stephen. The rise of political Islam in Turkey, (Santa Monica, the RAND Corporation, 2008), Yavuz, M. Hakan. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey, (New York, OUP, 2003),
Tapper, Richard. (ed.), Islam In Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics and Literature in a Secular state, (New York, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 1991), Turam, Berna. Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement, (California, Stanford University Press, 2007).