Prof. Dr. Michael J. Lenaghan - Bediuzzaman Said Nursi in a Pluralistic World: Channel of Truth, Peace, Sustainable Change! from Barla Platformu on Vimeo.
Prof. Dr. Michael J. Lenaghan, Miami Dade College, USA
BEDIUZZAMAN SAID NURSI IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD:
CHANNEL OF TRUTH, PEACE, SUSTAINABLE CHANGE!
Through the Risale-I Nur Institute in Mindanao, The Philippines and the exemplars of the teachings of Bediouzzaman said Nursi and additional reading, reflections, connections and responses to Nursi’s visionary scholarship, I was motivated to further consider the implications of Nursi’s insights and inspirations pertinent to purpose of human beings in a pluralistic world, such as we live in today – inter-active, inter-connected and inter-dependent global society wherein mankind may converge, clash, complement or co-exist with expedited communication through the use and abuse –direct or obtuse - of cybernetics and infomatics. To me Nursi states that if you know who you are, in whom you believe and who believes in you, you are in the best position to positively impact the world, starting with yourself and advancing externally through family, community, country and world – being a profound source of truth and belief, being the change you seek in others and being an instrument of peace, connecting people to peace through service.
A Tool in a Greater Hand
“How humble the tool when praised for what the hand is done” was an observation of the late Dag Hammarskjold when he was Secretary General of the United Nations. A secular leader acknowledging a spiritual origin of any genius performed or opportunity advanced is notable. But a spiritual man embodying and advancing wisdom, genius and compassion is more than notable. He offers a role model, a touchstone, a guiding light and an exemplary person, leader and visionary through whom truth and peace may flow as he realizes a mission of change agent, provocateur and sustainable community builder. In a diverse world and sometimes clash-prone environments, a
* Twenty-third Word from the Risale-I Nur Collection by Bediouzzaman Said Nursi, Sozler publications, Istanbul, Turkey 2007
pluralistic leader does not attempt to be all things to all people. An effective, charismatic and truthful, core-valued and inclusive, sustaining pluralistic leader needs to be the most ethically consistent, clearly communicative and collaborative, uniquely defined and delineated in his beliefs, practices and performances that reflect the leader’s own core values, principles and purposes as completing the religious beliefs and burdens of himself and those of different faith communities.
Excerpts: The Twenty-Third Word from the Risale-I Nur Collection BELIEF AND MAN
First Chapter, FIVE POINTS “explain five of the virtues of belief out of thousands”
1) “For belief connects man to the All-Glorious Maker; it is a relation.”
“That is belief, which consists of being connected to the Maker, makes apparent all the works of art in man.”
2) “Just as belief is a light which illuminates man and makes legible all the missives of the Eternally Besought One inscribed upon him, so too it illuminates the universe, and delivers the past and the future from darkness.”
3) Belief is both light and strength.
“… reliance on God is not to reject causes; it is rather to know that causes are a veil to the hand of power and have recourse to them. Knowing that attempting causes is a sort of active prayer, it is to seek the effects only from Almighty God, recognize the results are from Him alone, and to be thankful to Him.”
4) “Belief makes man into man, indeed it makes man a king. Since this is so, man’s basic duty is belief and supplication.”
“As for man (compared to animals), he needs to learn everything when he comes into the world; he is ignorant and cannot even learn completely the conditions of life in twenty years. Indeed he needs to go on learning till the end of life.”
“This means that man’s innate duty is to be perfected through learning and to proclaim his worship of God and servitude to Him through supplication.”
5) Supplication is through five means:
The tongue of innate ability
The tongue of innate need
The tongue of exigency
Active and by disposition
Verbal and with the heart
Second Chapter, FIVE REMARKS: “…with respect to man’s happiness and misery.”
1) “However, if the souls gives up egoism and seeks good and existence from Divine assistance and if it forgoes evil and destruction and relying on the soul, and seeking forgiveness becomes a rue slave of God’s then it will manifest the meaning of the verse – GOD WILL CHANGE THEIR EVIL INTO GOOD. (Qu’ran 25:70) “
2) “Man has two faces : one concerning his ego, looks to the life of this world. The other, concerning worship and servitude to God, looks to eternal life.” Indeed man resembles a seed and may conform to the creational command: “God is the Splitter of the seed-grain and date-stone (Qu’ran 6: 95)”
3) “Whereas, if he knows himself to be a guest and spends the capital of his life within the sphere of permission of the generous One of Whom he is the guest, he will strive for a long, eternal life within a broad sphere, then take his rest and ease. And later he may rise to the highest of the high.” (p. 41)
“The meaning of this is as follows: the pleasures and enjoyment man receives through licit thriving within the sphere of what is lawful are sufficient for him. No needs remain to enter the unlawful. You may interpret the rest for yourself.” (p 47)
4) “Since the reality is …give up egotism and arrogance.” “Say: God is enough for us, for He is the best Disposer of Affairs,” (Qu’ran 3:173)
“But if you heed Truth and the Qu’ran, you will rise to the highest and become the Most Excellent pattern of the universe.” (P.51)
5) “Man has been sent to the world as an official and guest, and has been given abilities of great significance. And he has been entrusted with important duties in accordance with those abilities. In order to employ man in fulfilling those aims and duties powerful encouragement and severe threats.
Worship and becoming a slave of God requires:
1) Worship and contemplation in the absence of the Object of Worship
2) Worship and supplication in His Presence and addressing Him directly
FIRST: reality of neglect, like the people of misguidance
SECOND: reality of the worlds of the people of guidance
Excerpt: Fifteenth Note of the Seventeenth Flash
Then whoever has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it.
And whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it. (Qu-ran 99:7-8)
So turn your vision again; do you see any flaw?” (Qu’ran 67:3)
Excerpt: The Third Letter
“It is because of the infinite ease in unity and the infinite difficulty in multiplicity that businessmen and industrialists give a unity to multiplicity and so make things easy; that is they form companies.:
In Short: there are infinite difficulties in the ways of misguidance, and infinite ease in the way of unity.” (p.72)
Premise, Promise and Performance
The premise of this presentation is that Bediuzzaman Said Nursi was not only a Divinely inspired messenger and role model for his immediate and historical followers but Nursi is a contemporary and anticipatory evolving exemplar for intervention, mediation, adjudication, rejuvenation, re-envisioning and boldly building a virtuous, wizened, humanely progressive, inclusively prosperous, secure and nurturing local and global community enabled by his followers and their partners in the today and tomorrow.
Immediate and Historical Role Model
Said Nursi is a fascinating, self-disciplined visionary who provides an example of faith-based leadership that is not abrasive, obnoxious, aggravating nor aggrandizing in his empowerment of fellow believers nor his engagement of collaborators who may help improve upon and co-create a better world from individual to institutional perspectives. Hence, we have an immediately relevant and impressive role model, as well as a role model who negotiated purposeful, painful and productive evolution of his person, beliefs, insights and inspirations within a dynamic and beautiful Islamic faith.
Contemporary and Anticipatory Exemplar
As a leadership development practitioner, a person of faith convictions and practices, a civic and professional ethical practitioner, I immediately am drawn to this person (Nursi) whom I have not known personally but am growing to know spiritually, philosophically, intellectually and strategically and I believe I know a contemporary leadership model and yet one with implications for future leadership – anticipatory leadership – because Nursi is poised for a fulfilling and positive eternal future, an imperfect yet perfectible present and a belief that faithful people, of good will, competence and confidence can improve upon humanity and the journey of humanity to eternity by communication, cooperation, collaboration and transformations from the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. From the mundane example of a corporation enabling multiplicities to be come unified and be more productive than with disparate elements alone to the grander observation the fulfilling God’s higher purpose requires singularly purposeful people empowered by God to collaboratively uplift each other and humanity to higher prosperity of spirit, material and environmental purpose.
Spiritually Profound, Intellectually Astute and Practically Applicable and Appropriate
Examples abound. Obstacles are evident. Opportunities may be made or captured. Education, training, creativity and courage – FIVE MINDS FOR THE FUTURE – must converge to facilitate this valiant and timeless messenger and medium to continue to teach, touch, and transform our spiritual, social, natural and man made environment. Several visions, vehicles, models and measurements should be considered to advance the premise of this author. Just as he observed that out-of-date ordinances and information must be replaced by pertinent new information, insights and inspirations, Nursi would have embraced the notion that FIVE MINDS FOR THE FUTURE (Howard Gardner’s book and insights) definitions, delineations and directions are worthy of implementing now and in the future. Disciplined, synergistic, accepting, ethical and creative mindsets will shape more desirable better futures through more self-aware, spiritually astute, self-engaged and Divinely expedited leaders, contributors, facilitators, workers and participants in all fields.
Labor Intensive, Cybernetically Compatible, Infomatically Comfortable, Spiritually Uplifting and Chronically Important
Said Nursi – his message, meaning and modeling are enlightening, empowering and enlightening in a society engulfed in cybernetics and shaped by infomatics, as it was in traditional technologies and sources of information. This presentation offers alternative approaches to the desirable futures in a pluralistic world that can be advanced by Nursi’s teachings relevant and reinvigorating for all open to them and thought provoking for those of narrower mind.
This author believe a model, mechanism and dynamic as offered by SERVICE FOR PEACE provides an “intermediating” organization to honestly, authentically, respectively, inclusively and inspirationally integrate communities, organizations, communities of faith, countries, secular institutions like IGOs, MNCs and NGOs thereby connecting people to peace through service, while cultivating or building upon various sources of an ethic of service from faith-based, civic-advanced, NGO-enhanced or MNC originated vision, core values and socially progressive sources.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Truths, Teaching, Temperment Flourish in a Pluralistic World
Nursi’s Disposition is Engaging, Attractive and Inclusive
Excerpt: A Call to the People of the Book
“The Qu’ran asks you to complete your faith, not abandon it.”
1. O men! If you believe in the Qu’ran, believe also in the previous scriptures, for the Qu’ran confirms their veracity and testifies to them.
2. O People of the Book! If you believe in the past prophets and scriptures, you should also believe in the Qu;’ran and Muhammad (PBUH), for the scriptures gave the good news of his coming. Moreover, confirmation of them, and their revelation and evidences of the messengers’ prophethoods are found in reality and in spirit more perfectly in the Qu’ran and more clearly in Muhammad (PBUH). Thus according to this excellent reasoning, the Qu’ran is the Word of God and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Messenger.
3. Indeed, Islam has taken beneath its wings the past and the future, and holding them in shade ensures general tranquility.
4. When urging the People of the Book to believe in Islam, the Qu’ran makes it appears familiar to them, and easy. That is, it implies:
O People of the Book! You should experience no difficulty in accepting Islam: it should not appear hard for you. For the Qu’ran does not order you to abandon your religion completely, it proposes only that you should complete your failth and build upon the fundamentals of religion you already possess. For the Qu’ran combines in itself the virtues of all previous books and the essentials of all previous religions; it modifies and perfects existent principles. It only establishes new ordinances in secondary matters, which are subject to change due to differences in the time and place; and this is in no way unreasonable or illogical. With the change of seasons, food and dress and many other things are changed; so too the stages of a person’s life warrant changes in the manner of their education and upbringing. Similarly, as necessitated by wisdom and need, religious ordinances concerning secondary matters change in accordance with the stages on man’s development. For very many of these may be beneficial at one time yet harmful at another; many medicines were efficacious in mankind’s infancy yet ceased being remedies in its youth.
This is the reason the Qu’ran abrogated some of its secondary pronouncements. That is, it decreed that their time had finished and the turn had come for other decrees.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi in “A Call to the People of the Book” pp 73-75 23rd Word from the Risale-I Nur Collection, 2007 edition.
Increasingly Pluralistic, Interactive, Interconnected Faith Communities, Individuals
Nursi honors, celebrates and cultivates relationships with people of the book as family and extensions of each others who may envision engagement, enlightenment and encouragement and aspire to a greater purpose than any one alone. Nursi leads into a w global society wherein there will be increasingly pluralistic, interactive, interconnected Faith Communities, individuals and institutions whose Divine whole may be greater than the sum of their unique individual parts and perspectives.
Flourish and Nurture, Cultivate and Harvest Among and Within Multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual community of humanity
There is a content, competence, comfort, conveniences and convergence within Nursi’s writings that reach in to the very soul of himself and co-believers and that reaches out to engage people, leaders, and exemplars of the best in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious communities within humanity.
A Catapult, Not a Cult
Neither Risale-I Nur adherents, nor collegial collaborators like Service For Peace, offer anything but a catapult for human progress in all its dimensions and not a cult of captivity when envisioning and acting upon best prospects for progress through a philosophy and purpose of “connecting people to peace through service.”
Targeting Human Enlightenment, Betterment and Prosperity,
NOT Triggering Disintegration, Distrust and Dismissal
Shared purpose, priorities, processes, product and service outcomes and measures of success enable collaboration for common purpose within an umbrella of diverse approaches to the Divine and spirituality in daily life and living. While Risale-I Nur adherents are a source of Divine inspiration and instrumentalities that complement human dimensions of advancing human progress, Service For peace is what Peter Berger in his sociological book SACRED CANOPY would call an “intermediating institution.” Service for Peace offers an intermediating mechanism, philosophy, dynamic and organizing principles to attract, engage, empower, equip and encourage individuals and institutions for highly held common objectives for human and social, maybe economic, progress through authentic and uncommon goal orientation, leadership development, integral team building, transparent project development, outcome assessment and mutually accountable impact evaluation – and additional remediation for most effective shared outcomes to the benefit of all parties to the process.
The goal is targeting and addressing, advancing and co-celebrating progress. There is no room for sowing seeds of disintegration, distrust or dismissal.
Energizing Sustainable Spiritual and Material Prosperity
Cherishing Spiritual authenticity, cultivating self-respect, honoring ethical identity, addressing and redressing human problems, obstacles and opportunities are content within Nursi’s teaching and attractive to others of different spiritual beliefs, experience or origins. Nursi envisions energizing spiritual and material prosperity within a supra-human design, the Divine originated, all-encompassing and embracing source.
Engaging Enlightenment and Empowerment through Education, Insights and Inspiration
Models of attraction, engagement, training, placement and evaluation should be advanced with an eye to focus on not only human elevation and participation in prosperity but to the underlying sources of beliefs, values and attitudes that sustain human progress in various localities, regions and global communities.
Promulgating the Bediuzzaman’s Admonitions Through Role Modeling, Exemplary
Ethical Partnerships, Appropriate Technologies and Leadership Development
It appears clear to this author that one channel of Nursi’s admonitions can and should be Service For Peace as that organization engages youth, university students,
and young professionals to engage in the “best practices” of their intended professions, careers and civic commitments by connecting people to peace through service – sustainable individual, neighborhood and community development energized by social and economic entrepreneurship and guide by an intellectual commitment to advancing FIVE MINDS FOR THE FUTURE: disciplined, synergistic, respectful, ethical and creative among precious people of diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious practices.
Service For Peace is exemplary in its applications of appropriate technologies from person-originated to mechanical, to electronic to cybernetic technologies that are increasingly effective and inexpensive across the globe. The leadership values, knowledge, competencies and strategies advanced by Service For Peace more than organizational are social, cultural, economic, intellectual and spiritual.
Asserting and Advancing the Essence of Said Nursi as a Channel of Divinely Inspired and Empowered Truth, Peace, Justice and Sustainable Change.
The beauty of the substance, practice and realization of a Divine, spiritual, enlightening, enlivening and heartening (encouraging) source of information, insights, and inspiration – as so astutely articulated by Nursi in his Third letter cited above is that it can generate practical, visible, viable, ethical, correctible and improvable enterprises that Nursi describes generally as companies (corporations) to bring unity from multiplicity – not solely in a capitalistic mode of corporation but a profoundly humanly progressive enterprise.
Hence, Nursi provides a channel of Divinely inspired and guided, empowered Truth, peace, justice and sustainable change, an extension, expansion and perpetual generation point of creating an improved immediate world in anticipation of a perfect eternal world.
Reflecting upon Nursi’s Five Points on the virtues of belief and his Five Remarks presenting facets and features of man’s happiness and misery AND his admonition in his O PEOPLE OF THE BOOK – each cited above – it is so clear to me that Bediouzzaman Said Nursi is a channel of truth, peace, sustainable change within which context Service For Peace and other sacred and secular instruments of ethical human vision and values, human development through education and training, leadership development, appropriate technology applications and selfless service may be reflections of the Divine source, extensions of facilitated human progress and agents of transformational aspirations and actions. Nursi is a beacon that beckons in a pluralistic world and a source and role model of universal truth and its implications to motivate others to become instruments enabling people to connect to peace through service – and reflection and mutual growth.
Qu’ran (references cited by the author from Risale-I Nur published sources)
Peter Berger. SACRED CANOPY
Howard Gardner. FIVE MINDS FOR THE FUTURE
Howard Gardner: MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
Donna D. Lenaghan and Michael J. Lenaghan “Sustainable Glocalization”
4th Annual International Multi-conference on Society, Cybernetics and
Infomatics (IMSCI 2010)
Bediouzzaman Said Nursi. BELIEF AND MAN
Proceedings of the Risale-I Nur Symposium 2009, Autonomous Region of
Muslim Mindanao, The Philippines
www.alhikmat.com Al Hikmat Services, Darul Uloom Islamic Center
www.altfutures.com Institute for Alternative Futures
www.mdc.edu Miami Dade College
www.serviceforpeace.org Service For Peace.org
www.un.org United Nations – Visit:
“UN Millennium Development Goals”