Dostmehmet - Globalization and Risale-i Nur from Barla Platformu on Vimeo.
The Ninth International Nursi Symposium, The Risale-i Nur: Knowledge, Faith, Morality and the Future of Humanity
Said Nursi known as Bediüzzaman, an Islamic philosopher, the writer of the Risale-i Nur (The Epistle of Light), is a six-thousand-page commentary on the Qur'an points out that he has been charged with the duty of issuing fatwas concerning sciences of belief.(Nursi 2005) When we begin reading the Risale-i Nur, it seems clear that sciences of belief are to be its central topic. Said Nursi examines every topic in his books as teo-centric and if it is related to belief.
It is apparent that Nursi does not attempt to give clear-cut definitions for any notion or terminology including globalization in his writings. For instance, he always implies to the adalet by giving examples and explaining the process from which one could easily deduce the adalet and divert attentions to the manifestations of Name of All-Just God. In this respect, there are two points could be put forward:
First; Said Nursi is an interpreter of Quran. He always uses Quranic methods in interpreting the concepts and notions. Quran has own its wise method in answering the questions. In this regard, The Quran 2:189 and 8:1 answers the questions about new moons and things taken as spoils of war, such as not giving the exact definitions for them, but explains the essence of them as they are but sings to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage and (such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger. So Quran elucidates the things not according to what someone wishes to know, but what one has to know in reality. It is to say that Quran knows the true meanings of answers in reality and therefore draws the lessons to humanity in accordance with that. Nursi utilizes these methods of Quran in his writings. Therefore, he explains the notions according to the needs of the readers.
Second; Nursi prefers to explore the certain notions such as iman (believe), salihat (good deeds) and adalet as homiletic and didactic rather than descriptive, since it restricts the meaning. If it were descriptive then it would have restricted the meanings. Therefore, Nursi has another parallel with Quran that He does not define the concepts. But he explains how they function. Owing to the fact that Smith states ( as quoted in: Horkuc 2004)Nursi's purposes are homiletic and didactic rather than descriptive, offered for one primary purpose: to contrast the ultimate experiences of existence of the faithful with those who are without faith.
Main objectives of this response are to address two important themes of Risale-i Nur, which are positive action as non-violence and peace, positive nationalism respectively. It is inevitable not to mention these two concepts when the gifts of the Nur movement for the Muslim world are discussed. For, Nursi teaches positive action not only for his followers, but whole Muslims as well. As Nursi explains:
To act positively, that is, out of love for ones own outlook, avoiding enmity for other outlooks, not criticizing them, interfering in their beliefs and sciences, or in any way concerning oneself with them.(See: Nursi and Vahide 1995; p, 203)
This is an excellent command of Nursi for his followers and it is mentioned in twentieth flash in which inscriptions are written for whole Muslims and non-Muslims.
My question is to determine what real cause of Nursis command for non-violence and positive action. Whether it is divinely ordained for him or he has acted according to the circumstances of his time and wanted to pave the way for his new hizmet method, which were going to be learned by the Muslims.
The irony is that Nursi and his followers were often accused of disturbing peace and inciting to revolt. In defending himself against the charges of instigating public disorder, Nursi enjoins his followers to adhere to the positive action in the letter written just before his death.(Said Nursi, Emirdag Lahikasi II in Nursi 1996) Nursi in his defenses sees justice of divine determining as a true reason for their imprisonment. Since Nursi mentioned that there are two causes for every event. One is apparent and second one is reality. It is clear that he has been ordained to consent to decree of Divine Determining and its justice. His silence should not be interpreted as an agreement with all decisions made by public officials, but must be understood rather in terms of positive action.
Second theme to which I would like to touch is nationalism. Western world and Russians have invaded most of the Muslim countries in the early of 19 century and have imparted negative nationalism among them to divide into different nation states. When Said Nursi was in Damascus in 1911, the wave of globalization, which had been commenced by British Empire in order to increase its world economic power, was reaching a top.
David Fromkin writes, The nations of Europe had divided up the African continent among themselves. Some of them were now hungry for new conquests. (
) Much of the surface of the globe was already taken: a quarter by the British Empire and a sixth by the Russian Empire. (
) The Middle East was the only vulnerable region to left.
During these difficult situations, Said Nursi had analyzed the illnesses of Muslims and written the prescriptions for them as he states: The prescription for a sick age, an ailing nation, an ill member, is to follow the Quran.( see: Nursi 1989; p.97) He elaborates idea of nationalism that he divided into two part; negative and positive. Nursi describes negative nationalism as follows; For years I have considered negative nationalism and racialism to be a fatal poison, since it is a variety of European disease. And Europe has infected Islam with that disease thinking it would cause division, and Islam would break up and be easily swallowed. My students and those who have had anything to do with me know that for years I have tried to treat that disease(See: Nursî 1994, p.86). He further explains that the idea of nationalism has greatly made progress in last century by European tyrants. They have exerted this among Muslims in negative fashion, so that they may divide them and devour them. As a response, Nursi extracts an antidote for this disease as he constructs the idea of positive nationalism which arises from an inner need of social life and is the cause of mutual assistance and solidarity; it ensures a beneficial strength; it is a means for further strengthening Islamic brotherhood.( see: Nursî 1994, p.381)
We have witnessed ethnic clashes caused by negative nationalism and ignorance even between Muslims who share same language and culture in our time. Having clearly identified the ills of the age such as ignorance, necessity and conflict among the Muslim communities, Nursi propounds antidotes for each of them such as knowledge, industrial development and unity.(Nursi 1996)
From the above, it is obvious seen that Nursis proposal to treat the ills he analyzed is ideal and difficult to apply for all sections of the Muslim society. He has created a vision for the humanity formed on an appeal brotherhood, positive action, non-violence, common humanity and cultural dialogue.
Horkuc, H. (2004). Said Nursi's ideal for human society : moral and social reform in the Risale-i Nur. Durham: 471 p.
Markham, I. and İ. Özdemir (2005). "Globalization, ethics and Islam: the case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi."
Nursi, S. (1989). The Damascus sermon. İstanbul, Sözler Nešriyat.
Nursi, S. (1996). Risale-I Nur Kulliyati. Istanbul, Nesil Yayinevi.
Nursi, S. (1996). Tarihçe-i Hayat. Istanbul, Nesil Yayincilik.
Nursi, S. (2005). The Words. Istanbul, Sozler.
Nursî, S. (1994). The letters : from the Risale-i Nur Collection. London, Truestar.
Nursi, S. and Vahide (1995). The flashes collection, www. nurpublishers. com.