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Said Nursi’s Islamic Thought: Its Relevance For the Twenty-First Century *
Writing in the early 2008 in a special issue devoted to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi; the Guest Editor of the journal, Islam and Christian- Muslim Relations has described Bediuzzaman Said Nursi as “one of the greatest contemporary Islamic thinkers and scholars.” Further, the Guest Editor attributed to Said Nursi the employment of “ a positive and unique approach to the Islamic themes of our time. His [Nursi’s] struggle was… a mature intellectual struggle. His [Nursi’s] criticism of the West was … based on philosophical principles …He was not a man for generalizations… he was a man for details and specifics… He never accepted violence as a way of struggle; his way of struggle was the way of persuasion… He believed that humanity had reached a certain level of civilization and that in civilized societies the manner of solving disagreements is to convince others, not to force them… For Nursi, the use of force and violence is bestial behaviour, and …should not be practiced.”
Saritopark’s foregone depiction of Nursi’s intellectual personality captures, in a capsule form, the many ingredients that went into making his profile. Considerable body of literature exists on Bediuzzaman Said Nursi till date and continues to proliferate. He has been a cynosure of global academia in recent times. He is the progenitor of one of the most important social and religious movements in contemporary Turkey which scholars consider is neither akin to traditional tariqat (mysterical, Sufi order) nor to contemporary ideologization of Islam known as political Islam, in media and popular parlance. Nursi’s Islamic thought is sui generis. However, Nursi acknowledged that his Islamic thought, as contained in his Risale-I Nur, is a continuation of the route laid down by such luminaries as Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, Ahmed Sirhindi- Turks call him Imam Rabbani- and Imam al –Ghazzali. Risale-I Nur is a multi-volume admixture of commentary on the Quran and lectures to multitude of people who, over the years, hearkened to his teachings, bordering virtually on devotion. Later, they became his steadfast adherents- the Nurcus-and took upon themselves the onerous task of spreading his message among their countrymen and beyond.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s thought, embodying socio-political theo-philosophical, and civilizational phenomena, is quintessentially derived from an Islamic paradigm, a product of the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah. Conceived from his paradigm’s yardstick, the relationship between reason (a function of human rationality) and revelation (a function of epiphenomenona or metaphysics) is not strewn with contradictions, unlike the western epistemology wherein the said interplay between the two is, thanks primarily to Enlightenment, viewed from binary terms. Nursi’s comprehensive thought processes are contained in his magnum opus, the Risale-I-Nur: a treatise on the Quran and the Hadith. Nursi allotted a great deal of space to God’s Messenger (PBUH) in his writings, and attempted to analyze and illustrate various aspects of his life and practices.
In the Tawhidi weltanschauung, reason- revelation symbiosis leads the road traversed by humans to a cosmic unity as a destination. Tawhidi epistemology transcends man-made primordial social constructions such as race, caste, nationality, ethnicity and so on, as makers of identity. There is a Quranic verse (49:13), which makes a reference to such affectations: O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other.”
Of late, a realization has dawned among academic and policy communities at the global level that positivist epistemology per se is inadequate to the cause of explaining social phenomena holistically and that revelation- informed knowledge should be accorded a due place in the entire scheme of things. This stance reflective of the latter is particularly prevalent in the non-West, specifically in its Muslim component. The worldwide recrudescence of religion, seemingly obviating the secularist binarization of private- public spheres (the spiritual-temporal divide), compels us to revisit the hitherto- held weltanschauung of Enlightenment. The hegemonic hold held by the latter in the world of academia has been increasingly critiqued in recent times. The ushering in of an Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 provided a rallying point to all those forces in the developing world that were trying to effect change on the bases of endogeneity. Later, it paved the way towards searching for authentic, domestically- nurtured paradigms informed and effected by the ethos, values, and structures germane to them. This revolution has brought to the fore a novel idea that revolutions, or for that matter any social upheaval, need not be anchored on secular modernity; but, on the contrary, they can be effected through religion- informed ideologies. Further, the revolution reinforced the fact that modernization is not unilinear but multilinear. Ideologization of religion, taking cognizance of time- space considerations, seems to be a precondition, to get masses ready for a major transformation in society. In the heyday of anti-colonial liberation wars waged in the Muslim countries suffering under the yoke of subjugation, jihadism provided a broad framework within which national freedom and liberation were conceived and acted upon in an interweaving fashion. The employment of intellectual resources in the service of chequered human values by resorting to Islamic discourse symbolizes a kind of modernity and is an addition to the existing literature on modernity carrying the Western repertoire.
Roots of Nursi’s Thought
Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur is a path–breaking, and an epoch-making attempt at tajdidization of Islamic thought when European modernity appears triumphant over the Turkish horizon under the command and control of the Ataturk. It reflects a socially- engaged Islam seeking to address and develop an Islamic ideational response to new and rising challenges being faced by the umma.
Said Nursi’s understanding of humanity is guided by cosmos, and is universal in nature. For Islam is a religion that does not set up barriers between people, even if they hold deviant ideas or different beliefs.
Nursi’s spiritual universe is derived from his unshakeable faith in God; it bound the depths of his being to God and connected him closely with God’s creatures and with man. He inherited from his early environment a living feeling for divine unity. Nursi fearlessly rose to defend Islam whenever contingency occasioned it.
He exhorted Muslims to compete in progress and civilization with others. To accept Islam is tantamount to accepting the universe in accordance with the principles contained in the Quran. The flowering of Islamic civilization in history sprang from the seeds contained in the principles underlying the concepts of internationalism, brotherhood, and the idea of progress that abhors apparent distinctions between homosapiens. Among the latter, constructions such as racial differentiation or discrimination is totally proscribed in Islam. In fact, it is alien to the worldview of Islam as it transcends categories such as race, descent, ethnic and national origins, and other assorted primordialities. In Islam, they are all markers of identification among human beings; and not markers of final allegiance, as the latter is owed only to the Creator. Allegiance is implicit in righteousness (taqwa), and the latter is reflected in a dutiful adherence to the divine prescriptions contained in the Quran.
Nursi’s writings, sermons, and exhortations propelled and motivated Muslims to aspire for noble human values and goals. According to him, civilizations are marked not merely by material progress that they achieve, but also by inculcation of human values that they nurture among human beings. The Risale-i- Nur is redolent, nearly on every page, Nursi’s penchant for an emphasis on his being a student of Quran, and that the aim of the former is to teach the Quran to mankind. Nursi took the Quran as his “most elevated guide” and “the most holy master”.
True freedom is inherent in Islam, attached to the Sharia, which dismantles despotism and anarchy. Sharia comprises the valour arising from belief and tempered by mercy and forbearance. And it comprises Islamic pride and dignity, which upholds the World of God by both material and spiritual means.
Said Nursi, in his genre of Islamic thought, alloted a significant space to interreligious dialogue among Muslims, Christans, and Jews. The importance of this phenomenon is borne out by the ongoing activities in this direction on the global plane. Theologians and policy makers in Europe and the Muslim world have realized the pressing need for interreligious and intercultural dialogue with a view to finding out areas of commonality on the bases of which international peace, justice, and freedom can be ushered in. Nursi’s public influence is felt in the ongoing and powerful nurcu movement in Turkey, and in the wide- ranging efforts of the followers of Fethullah Gulen to foster interreligious dialogue in Turkey and in many other countries. The Quran exhorts all human beings to resort to dialogue, and between Christians and Muslims in particular, in order to living closer to each other by cementing their commonalities. It encourages people to develop positive relationships by knowing each other. Dialogue is an essential strategy for meeting, understanding, valuing, learning and living together in peace. Religious people must come together to work for the common good. In the era of globalization, it is nolonger appropriate for us to act independently when we can act together.
Nursi was causal factor in the rise of Nurculuk, the so called ‘ lay movement’, whose constituents, under ustad’s charismatic guidance, became socially and politically active throughout Turkey and revitalized and energized Islamic life in ways that would carry the Master’s powerful influence well into the twenty- first century. This influence showed itself most effectively in the formation of yet other teachers and lay movements that, in the spirit of Said Nursi, would in the years after his death even further renew the life of Turkish Muslims well beyond the borders of their homeland, and begin to speak to a world wide Muslim audience in a number of modern language. A notable example of this phenomenon is evident in the life and work of Fethullah Gulen and his friends and disciples.
In Said Nursi’s writings, one finds a serious attempt on his part to reconcile science and religion, or in other words, reason- revelation symbiosis. Through the latter, he sought to bring about a rapprochement between Islamic and western civilizations. Said was severely critical of the Enlightenment- informed Europe because, he perceived, that the latter erased revealed religion from epistemological considerations. Enlightenment gave birth to such philosophical currents in Europe as positivism and materialistic naturalism which contradicted what revelation claimed. Nursi was a staunch critic of Western civilization for it does not conform to the fundamental tenets of the revealed religions, its ill are more than its good effects. In the face of its injustices, consumerism, westefulness, depravity, inequalities, and so on, Nursi cites verses encouraging frugality, contentment, hardwork, brotherhood, the payment of Zakat, and prohibition of usury and interest, and the beneficial utilization of technology.
Nursi’s role in building Islamic identity, Islamic vision and Islamic awakening in Turkey has been enormous and colossal. Politically, he extended his support to the post-Ataturk government headed by Adnan Menderes of the Democratic Party. It is very interesting to note that Said Nursi conceived of social change not through the usual, traditional methods of political struggle but through strengthening Iman, and developing ethical and spiritual strength among the Muslim, thus emphasizing the need for the social change emanating from below rather than from above. This is the inception of the Old Said (Eski Said).
Said Nursi was a supporter and champion of freedom and constitutionalism (Mesrutiyet). The latter are originally linked to each other. Constitutionalism seeks to limit the authority of the state; when authority is delimited, it promotes freedom. For freedom to sustain, the ubiquity of constitution is a necessary condition. Nursi believes that the concepts of freedom and constitutionalism are rooted in the Quranic notion of Shura, connoting mutual constitutions among people to arrive at policy decisions leading to public welfare (maslaha). Besides, freedom draws individual and society close to each other. To the extent that trust (tawakkul) in God releases one from bondage to other created beings, true belief/faith enhances freedom. As freedom is strengthened, it acts as an antidote to despotism and unlawful behaviour of the state.
Said Nursi, in his writings, has also dwelt upon the concept and phenomenon of the nationalism in its twin dimensions as he conceived of them: positive (benign) and negative (malign). Nursi considers that positive nationalism conforms to the values cherished in Islam, where negative nationalism is based on attributes such as race, ethnicity, tribalism, unchecked patriotism, and so on. This type of nationalism divides human beings and creates hatred, illwill, prejudice against each other which does not augur well for the welfare and future of mankind. Aggressive ethnic nationalism displayed violently by the Serbs against the Bosniak Muslims stands as a living testimony to what Said Nursi has derted us against. Titoist socialist Yugoslavia gave birth to such sovereign entities as Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosova that later came to be known as ethnocracies.
Said Nursi had a firm and positive view concerning the relationship between Islam and democracy. The question of compatibility between the two has received a great deal of attention among academia following the reality of resurgent and activist Islam globally. Nursi’s interpretive style of the Quranic concept of Shura drews itself close to the Islam-democracy compatibility argument. Said Nursi was very keen on nurturing and nourshing Islamic religious ethics among masses.
As mentioned in the aforesaid, Said Nursi’s ideas on constitutionalism (Mesrutiyet) very comfortably and easily dovetail into his marriage of seemingly disparate and distinct essences inherent in notions such as shura, sharia, Islam, democracy, and like. All these ideas of Said Nursi, it is very essential to emphasis, are firmly entrenched in his moral philosophy. Said Nursi has arrived at these views at the epistemic and ideational, not necessarily political, levels and stages. In his work Munazarat (Debates), published in 1911, we see Said incorporating these ideas. The Munazarat are his dialogues and confabulations with the Kurdish tribes dispelling their fear that constitutionalism and democracy are camouflage for westernization and deviation from Islam. Said Nursi’s endeavours to steer clear of the cobwebs of suspicions surrounding these ideas make sense if some of his utterances are taken note of. Juxtaposing constitutionalism with dispotism, Said Nursi; has the following to say:
Despotism is oppression. It is [an] arbitrary treatment.
It is coercion and reliance on force. It is one person’s
opinion imposed on others. It is a ground for abuse.
It is the basis of injustice. It undermines human dignity.
It throws one into poverty and it is that which has
cast the Muslim world into failure and abject
poverty. It is a cause of animosity and it poisons
the religion of islam. And it spreads like an epidemic,
causing many divisions and factions among Muslims,
such as the Mutazila, Jabriyya and Murjia. Yes, it
is a scholastic despotism, the father of blind imitation
[taqlid] and child of political despotism-that has para-
In Said Nursi’s Islamic thought, the rationale for constitutionalism, freedom, and democracy has spring from the Quran and the ethics that the latter espouses. In this context, Said cites the Quranic verses that deal with the importance of consultation, Q 3:159 and Q 17:38. According to him, democracy is in reject harmony with the spirit of Sharia. Further, Said Nursi; underlines the importance of public opinion and informed citizenry.
That the fact that Said Nursi’s Islamic thought is derived from the primary sources of islam, that is, the Quran and the Hadith, is indisputable. However, there exists no clearcut answer to the question as to where his Islamic thought fits in : political Islamism or Sufism. In the opinion of Zeynep Akbulut Kuru and Ahmed T. Kuru , “ neither political Islamism nor Sufism truly reflects Nursi’s teaching”. According to them, Said Nursi; categorized his thought as faith-based activism (Iman hizmeti, to borrow Nursi’s words), which aims at spreading Islamic Faith among individuals in contrast to the pursuit of setting up an Islamic state as an objective. Further, Nursi’s faith- based activism is distinct from Sufism as the former is “more activist, more rational, and less mystical”. In Said Nursi’s scheme of things, faith based activism can act as an antidote to modern- day positivism and materialism. His faith-based activism is an admixture of revelation and reason. Through the instrumentality of reason, appealing to the rational faculties of the modern youth, Said Nursi sought to affirm and reinforce modern youth’s belief in Islam, by wearing them away from the pernicious influence of positivism and materialism. He perceived the latter two philosophies as pernicious and pose a potential threat to all faith systems. His employment of reason or rational arguments for the promotion and advancement of revelation is aimed at reinforcing faith in Islam among the youth. He considered such n attempt as “the primary need of contemporary Muslims in particular, and human beings in general”.
Nursi’s Thought: Different Phases
Said Nursi’s thought processes, as reflected in his manifold writings, underwent three different phases symbolized in Old Said (Eski Said), New Said (Yeni Said), and the Third Said, marking the phase of reconciliation combining the two, the first and the second. The Old Said was politically active, and in the New Said, one finds a Said imbued with spirituality. In this new Said phase, politics is shunned to the extent he placed it in the company of Satan, as the following words convey: “ A!udhubillahi min al- shayatan wa al-siyasa”: “ I seek refuge in Allah from Satan and politics”. Said regarded party politics as futile and even harmful to the service of Islam. The first phase continued until the early 1920s. Similarly, the Old Said was positive towards the role of science, and the New Said was critical towards it. However, Said Nursi has clearly understood the salience of science and technology for the welfare of humankind. He does not see science apart from religion, but recognizes mutualities between them. His propensity to underline the conspectus between science and religion is very much evident, as the following demonstrates:
We, the Muslims, who are students of the Quran, follow
Proof; we approach the truths of belief through reason,
Thought; and our hearts. We donot abondon proof in
favour of blind obedience and imitation of the clergy
hike some adherent of other religions. Therefore, in
the future when reason, science and technology prevail,
of a certainty that will be the time the Quran will again
ascendancy, which relies on rational proofs and invites
the reason of confirm its pronouncements.
Said Nursi; is very critical of those who view science from the lenses of Positivism and Darwinism. He is equally critical of the West which developed and relied exclusively on positivism for advancing the cause of science. Western science and civilization was too much focused on anthropomorphism and its power. European history has been a witness to an increasing use of science and technology for destructive purposes as was demonstrated during the inter war period.
Said Nursi saw the collapse of the Ottoman social order before his eyes and realized, without allowing the widespread despair to contaminate him, the need for the resuscitation of the Turks’ dying spirit in Islam by focusing his attention on God’s revelation. To achieve this objective, Said Nursi sought to popularize the Quran among his people through his own unique way of an exegetical (tafsiri) treatment of the Book, his magnum opus, The Risale-I Nur. By its nature, the latter is “a refraction of the Quranic luminosity through the prisms of Said’s expression.”
Said Nursi left behind a legacy of Islamic thought that has been carried forward by others. Among the latter, Fethullah Gulen stands tall. Heralded as the modern face of the Ottoman Sufi tradition, Fethullah Gulen has become one of the most significant and dynamic modern Islamic thinkers to build upon the teachings of Said Nursi; Gulen’s sphere of influence has moved for beyond Turkey, inspiring an international Islamic social mobilization known as the Gulen movement. In the world of resurgent Islam, Gulen is a compelling and a towering personality. Like his mentor, Gullen, as regards learning, is open to both Islamic and western sources. Again, like Nursi; Gulen endorses modernization and technology, while simultaneously stressing the need for a globalized Islamic resurgence. The followers of Said Nursi- the Nurculik- are a “textual community,” that is, a “ community in which membership is defined by reading and internalizing the philosophy of the text.” The Nurcu movement seeks to move Islam from an oral- based tradition to a point- based medium and to raise religious consciousness through education and reason. The reading circles- darshanes- gradually spread throughout Anatolia and updated Islamic vocabulary in terms of the global discourses of science, democracy, and human rights.
The Nurcu movement provides a set of idioms and networks for reimagining Islam under modern conditions. The Risale-i Nur represents an Islamic response to the modern philosophical challenges to the Quran emanating from both within and outside the realm of Islam.
Said Nursi, in his sui generis exegetical treatment of the Quran, was undoubtedly successful in parting the Quranic message to the modern mind imbued with reason, doubt, and uncertainty. The numbers of followers to his line of Islamic thinking that he had accumulated during his life time and after his death in 1960, amply testifies to this. In the place of despair, he advocated hope.
Said Nursi dismissively rebuffed the constructed clash and conflict between religion and science that had caused so much confusion and was aimed at undermining Islam. In contradistinction to post- Enlightenment Western thought, which is epistemologically “compartmentalized” [emphasis in original] and based on the fundamental differentiation and dichotomy between mind and matter, body and soul, science and religion, and so on, Nursi tried to establish an “epistemological wholeness” and organic relations between the various categories of knowledge, revealed and scientific, and art, ethics, and belief, and within man himself with his many faculties. This is in consonance with the Quranic notion of Tawhid. The aforesaid binarized perspective of Western system of epistemology is equally observable between Quran and philosophy. Said Nursi wanted his students and followers to focus and concentrate on what he wrote rather than on his persona. It seeks to create an Islamic society firmly entrenched in faith, moreover, it is a grassroot movement, whose impact is likely to be gradual spanning very many years. It is transformative in nature as for as the societal mores are concerned. Risale-i Nur introduced a core Islamic worldview in a militantly anti-Islamic milieu where Muslim matters were in desperate need of basic Islamic idioms.
Even though modernity’s historicity has not been a very long duration (or its gestation period has not been very long), in terms of impact, it has been far reaching, virtually effacing alternative ways of looking at the world. Islamic intellectual movements particularly of the genre that is under consideration, that is, Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur , had provided, and continues to provide, such “alternative ways of looking at the world”, as alluded to above. The type of Islamic paradigm that is reflected in the Nursiite writings, holds the notion of transcendence in high esteem. It is the absence of the consciousness of transcendence (in the post Enlightenment Europe) that serves as one of the distinguishing features of the western and Islamic epistemological systems.
Said Nursi’s interpretation of the Islamic scriptures-a tradition that goes back to the history of Islam itself contains very unique elements that possess the absorbtive capacity to take into its vortex global discourses such as democracy, and other allied phenomena. In the words of Hakan Yavuz, Risale-i Nur is “the most sophisticated and appealing interpretations of the Quran.
Nursi’s Damascus sermon in early 1911, touched upon the causes of the decline of Muslim community. In the sermon, he identified the death of truthfulness in socio-political life, enmity, despotism, and egoism as the major sources of social and political decline in the Muslim world. Said Nursi, in his Damascus Sermon (Hutbe-i Samiye) underlined the need for Muslim-Christain dialogue which he felt had a potential to resolve world problems. Given the current state of Islamophobia in the West in the wake of so called Islamic terrorism and the war on terror, the need for such a dialogue is all the more urgent. The ushering in of peace and justice in the world cannot be the preserve of political class alone, but should also embody general populace and men if religion.
The Old Said was an activist who believed in societal transformation through political involvement and struggles. The New Said realized that the challenge was not political, economic, or military but rather ideological. He believed in the power of ideas and a cognitive revolution. This phase of Said was marked by a high level of religious consciousness. Nursi’s Islamic thought reflects a particular mode of thinking about man’s reconnection with God.
Much of Risale-i Nur calls for a deeper personal morality on the part of believers. It exhorts them to inculcate righteous living and virtuous practices.
Views On Racism
Said Nursi was very emphatic in the denunciation of racism which he correctly considered as alien to the worldview of Islam. According to him, racism did not square with man’s true nature, which inclines towards justice and truth. He made a distinction between well founded Islamic brotherhood and a brotherhood based on race. The former is a loyal, true brotherhood broad enough to include the whole Islamic umma, while the latter is a “metaphorical, racial, temporary, and hateful brotherhood. Said Nursi yearned for Islamic unity and stressed the need for the Muslim umma to gain prominence. Said Nursi dedicated his life to combating in justice, disbelief, irreligion, and atheism, and today his influence (found among his followers) persists in opposing positivism, materialism, and irreligion.
Given Said Nursi’s widespread impact of his Islamic thought on the broad Turkish populace, it would not be an exaggeration to say that both Turkish modernity and Turkish secularism have come to terms with his thought; they have, infact, accommodated themselves with the reality of Islam in Turkey.
By focusing on the creation of a society firmly anchored in belief (iman), Said Nursi envisioned the emergence of a just polity. The Nurcu movement is “the first text-centered Islamic movement in modern Turkey”. On the adoption of a new methodology in the dissemination of faith for the cause of Islam, Hakan Yavuz makes some valid remarks on the movement spearheaded by Said Nursi: Those remarks deserve to be quoted at some length:
The printed word [reflective of the extensive works of
Nursi] becomes a vehicle for the formation of Nurcu
consciousness…the Nurcu movement…stresse
reason than heart. It doesnot seek miracles (keramet)
but rather emphases reasoning and self-examination.
said seeks to subordinate the heart, the manifestation
of faith proper and the strength of traditional Islam,
with reason. Said argues that before, it was possible
to learn Islam through rigid imitations[taqlidi iman],
but it is not anymore…in an age of skepticism, there
is a need for a new methodology to get people t believe
in the existence of God.
Strengthening Revelation Through Reason
Said Nursi sought to promote the cause of revelation through the instrumentality of reason. The mastery of the phenomenal world, which forms an essential function of reason, is a precondition, according to Said Nursi, to comprehend the marvels of creation. When the latter is accomplished, the knowledge of the creator is also attained. “Nursi sees God as an emanation from with in the power of the physical uniformity and logic of nature.” Even his absence on account of incarceration by state, his adherents orientation remained with his exhortations contained in his writings. Such an approach acted as a source of success of his teachings. In the current context of the abound moral and spiritual decay that mark the present- day world, Said Nursi’s message contained in his Risale-i Nur can be made to act as a deterrent to such maladies.
Nursi’s treatment of belief (iman) is one of the most original and effective aspects of the Risale-i Nur , and his persuasive analyses are certainly one of the main reasons for the work’s impact on successive generations. Nursi emphasized the importance of what analysts described as “belief by investigation” (iman-i tahkik), n contrast to “belief by imitation”(iman-i taqlid). The former involves a great deal of effort to convince himself that his convictions are strong and firm. The latter refers to belief based on the weight of tradition handed down by the ancestors to the present generation.
Nursi’s meaning of secularism differs from that of the state as the latter seeks to control religion. In his maktubat- Letters- he asserted that “freedom of conscience governs everywhere in this age of freedom.” He went further and said that since “secularism means being impartial….the government should not interfere with the religiously-minded and pious, the same as it does not interfere with the irreligious and dissipated.” Nursi asserted that just as people are exposed to science, they should also be shown the radiance of the Quran with a view to healing their hearts and saving their beliefs.
The uniqueness of the Risale-I Nur, containing Said Nursi’s Islamic thought, lies in its endogeneity. The Epistles of Light is also marked by authenticity (asala) as its message is familiar to Muslims, since the message is gleaned from the Islamic scriptures. Said Nursi’s writings aim at overhauling the religious convictions of Muslims and keeping the latter alive from the Western philosophical onslaughts against religion, particularly reflected in atheism, positivism, and materialism. Influenced by Risale-I Nur, the successive generations of Turkish Muslims carried forward Islamic exhortations of Said Nursi beyond the shores of Turkey. It is quintessentially an intellectual movement addressed to both mind and soul of human beings