Namaz kılmayı devam ettirecek şevki nasıl buluruz?

Bunun çaresi namazın manasını iyi anlamaktır. Şu beş şeyi düşünmek namaza olan şevki artırır:
1-    Ömrün fâni olduğunu düşünmek
2-    Namazın insanın manevi gıdası olduğunu düşünmek
3-    Sabır noktasında yalnız bu günkü ibadeti düşünmek
4-    Namazın dünya ve âhiretteki mükâfatlarını düşünmek
5-    Yalnız bu dünya için yaratılmadığını düşünmek
(Bkz. Sözler, 21. Söz)

Bekar Genç Kızlara Bir Ders-i Hakikat

” Tam muvafık ve dindar ve ahlâklı bir zevc bulmadan, kendilerini açık saçıklıkla satmasınlar. Eğer bulunmadı; Nurun bir kısım fedakâr şakirtleri gibi mücerret kalıp tâ ona lâyık ve ebedî bir arkadaş olacak ve terbiye-i İslâmiyeyi almış vicdanlı bir müşteri ona çıksın. Ve saadet-i ebediyesi, muvakkat bir keyf-i dünyevî için bozulmasın. Ve medeniyetin seyyiatı içinde boğulmasın.”

Nur şakirtlerinden mücerred kalmak isteyen veya mecbur kalan kızlar kısmına beyan etmek lâzım gelir diye ruhuma ihtar edildi. Ben de derim ki:
Kızlarım, hemşirelerim,
Bu zaman, eski zamana benzemiyor. Terbiye-i İslâmiye yerine terbiye-i medeniye, yarım asra yakın hayat-ı içtimaiyemize yerleştiği için, bir erkek bir kadını ebedî bir refika-i hayat ve saadet-i hayat-ı dünyeviyeye medar ve sair günahlardan kendini muhafaza etmek için almak lâzım gelirken; o biçare zaifeyi daim tahakküm altında, yalnız dünyevi, muvakkat gençliğinde sever. Ona verdiği rahatırı bazı on misli onu zahmetlere sokar. Eğer şer’an “küfüv” tâbir edilen birbirine denk olmazsa, hukuk-u şer’iye nazara alınmadığından, hayatı daima azap içinde geçer. Kıskançlık da müdahale ederse daha berbat olur.

İşte bu izdivaca sevk eden üç sebep var:

Birisi: Tenasülün devamı için, hikmet-i İlâhiyece o fıtrî hizmete bir ücret olarak bir fıtrî meyil ve şevk vermiş. Halbuki o zevk, on dakikada bir lezzet verse de, eğer meşru ise, erkek bir saat meşakkat çekebilir. Fakat kadın, on dakikalık o zevk için on ay çocuğu kendi vücudunda zahmetini çekmekle on sene çocuğun hayatına yardımla meşakkat çeker. Demek, o on dakikalık fıtrî meyil, bu uzun meşakkatlere sevk ettiği için, ehemmiyeti kalmaz. His ve nefis, onunla onu izdivaca tahrik etmemeli.

İkincisi: Fıtraten kadın, zaafı için maişet noktasında bir yardımcıya muhtaçtır. O ihtiyaç için şimdiki terbiye-i İslâmiyeden ders almayan, serseriliğe, tahakküme alışanlardan o küçük bir iaşesi hatırı için tahakkümler altına girip riyakârâne kocasının rızasını tahsil etmek yolunda hayat-ı dünyeviye ve uhreviyesinin medarı olan ubudiyetini ve ahlâkını bozmak bedeline, köy kadınları gibi kendi nafakasını kendi çalışmasıyla kazanmak, on defa daha kolaydır. Rezzak-ı Hakikî çocukların rızkını sütle verdiği gibi, onların da rızkını o Hâlık-ı Rahîm veriyor. O rızık hatırı için namazsız ve ahlâkını kaybetmiş bir zevci aramak, riyakârâne çalışıp tahakkümü altına girmek, elbette Nur talebesinin kârı değil.

Üçüncüsü: Kadınlığın fıtratında çocuk okşamak ve sevmek meyelânı var. Ve bir evlâdının dünyada ona hizmeti ve âhirette de şefaati ve validesi öldükten sonra ona hasenatıyla yardımı, o meyl-i fıtrîyi kuvvetlendirip evlendirmeye sevk etmiş. Halbuki şimdi terbiye-i İslâmiye yerine terbiye-i medeniye ile on taneden bir iki hakikî evlât, kendi validesinin şefkatine mukabil fedakârâne hizmet ve dindârâne dualarıyla ve hasenatlarıyla validesinin defter-i a’mâline haseneler yazdırmak ve âhirette salih ise validesinin şefaat etmek ihtimaline mukabil, ondan sekizi o hâleti göstermediğinden, bu fıtrî meyil ve nefsânî şevkle o biçare zaifeler böyle ağır bir hayata kat’î mecbur olmadan girmemek gerektir. İşte bu işaret ettiğimiz hakikate binaen, bekâr kalmak isteyen Nur şakirtlerinden olan kızlara derim ki:
Tam muvafık ve dindar ve ahlâklı bir zevc bulmadan, kendilerini açık saçıklıkla satmasınlar. Eğer bulunmadı; Nurun bir kısım fedakâr şakirtleri gibi mücerret kalıp tâ ona lâyık ve ebedî bir arkadaş olacak ve terbiye-i İslâmiyeyi almış vicdanlı bir müşteri ona çıksın. Ve saadet-i ebediyesi, muvakkat bir keyf-i dünyevî için bozulmasın. Ve medeniyetin seyyiatı içinde boğulmasın.

Said Nursî – Emirdağ Lahikası : 293

TESADÜF MÜ, TEVAFUK MU…..?

Kâinat, Allah’ın kudret kalemiyle yazdığı muhteşem bir kitaptır. Bu kitap, baştan sona hikmetlerle doludur. Hiçbir yerinde bir abes, bir fazlalık söz konusu değildir. Kur’an’ın bildirdiği gibi “Çevir gözünü, bir bak! Herhangi bir kusur bulabilir misin? Sonra bir daha, bir daha çevir. Gözün yorgun ve mahrum olarak sana geri dönecektir ” (Mülk, 3-4) Bu gerçeğin en güzel bir misali, insan vücududur. İnsan vücudunda, görevi olmayan hiç bir uzuv yoktur. Sadece karaciğer, dört yüzden fazla görevi başarıyla yürütmektedir.

Kâinatta meydana gelen olaylar, tamamen Allah’ın kudreti ve tasarrufu iledir. Mesela, biz yağmurun yağdığını görürüz. Gerçekte ise, yağmur yağdırılır. Rüzgarlar rastgele değil, Allah’ın emrine göre eserler. Hiçbir olayda tesadüf yoktur. “Tesadüf, ancak cehlimizi örten bir perdedir.” (Sözler, s. 632) Bizim tesadüf olarak gördüklerimiz, hakîkatta Allah’ın tasarrufudur. (Yazır, IV, 2802) Mesela, siz evinizde otururken, birden içinize dışarıya çıkıp dolaşma hissi doğsa ve çıktığınızda sokakta, yıllardır görmediğiniz bir dostunuzla karşılaşsanız, bu bir tesadüf, bir rastlantı değil; tevafuktur, ilâhî bir tasarruftur.

Bediüzzaman’ın şu tesbiti son derece dikkat çekicidir: “Çok âdî (sıradan) perdeler içinde mühim işaretler verilir, ehli anlar.” (Barla Lahikası, s. 313) Trafik işaretlerinden haberi olmayan birisi, polisin el-kol hareketlerine bir anlam veremez. Yoldaki işaretleri sadece seyreder. Fakat bilen birisi, o hareketlerden ve işaretlerden, sözlü birer ifade gibi mana çıkarır, istifade eder.

Üstadımızdan tesadüfle ilgili bir ders:
“Mesela, benim avucumda nohut, leblebi, üzüm, buğday gibi maddeler bulunsa, ben onları yere atsam, üzüm üzüme, leblebi leblebiye karşı sıralansa hiç şüphe kalır mı ki, elimden çıktıktan sonra, gaybî bir el müdahale edip sıralamasın. İşte, hurufat ve kelimat (harfler ve kelimeler) o maddelerdir, ağzımız o avuçtur. (Barla Lahikası, s. 65)

Bu tarz tevafuklar, her şeyde bir kasıt ve iradenin cilvesi bulunduğunu, tesadüf olmadığını gösterir… “Hiçbir şey daire-i ilim ve kudretinden hariç olmadığı gibi, daire-i irade ve meşietinden dahi hariç değildir.” (Kastamonu Lahikası, s. 65)

Bediüzzaman bazı tefe’üllerini şöyle anlatır:

“Bundan otuz sene evvel (I. Dünya Savaşı sonrası)eski Saîd’in gafil kafasına müthiş tokatlar indi. “Elmevtü hak” (ölüm haktır) kaziyyesini düşündü, kendini bataklık çamurunda gördü. Meded istedi, bir yol aradı, bir halaskar taharri etti. Gördü ki, yollar muhtelif, tereddüdde kaldı. Gavs-ı Azam olan Şeyh Geylani’nin (R.A), Fütûhu’l-Gayb namındaki kitabıyla tefe’ül etti. Tef’eülde şu çıktı: “Sen Dâr u’l-Hikmette iken, kalbini tedavî edecek bir doktor ara .”

Acibtir ki, o vakit ben Dâru’l-Hikmeti’l-İslâmiye azası idim. Güya, ehl-i İslâm’ın yaralarını tedaviye çalışan bir hekim idim. Halbuki en ziyade hasta ben idim. Hasta evvela kendine bakmalı, sonra hastalara bakabilir. Sonra, İmam-ı Rabbanî’nin Mektubat kitabını gördüm. Elime aldım. Halis bir tefe’ül ederek açtım. Acaibtendir ki, bütün Mektubat’ında yalnız iki yerde “Bediüzzaman” lafzı var. O iki mektub, bana birden açıldı. Pederimin ismi Mirza olduğundan, o mektubların başında “Mirza Bediüzzaman’a mektub” diye yazılı olarak gördüm. “Fesübhanallah, dedim, bu bana hitab ediyor.” İmam, o mektublarında tavsiye ettiği gibi, çok mektublarında musırrane şunu tavsiye ediyor: “Tevhid-i kıble et!” Yani, birini üstad tut, arkasından git, başkasıyla meşgul olma!

(…)Cenab-ı Hakk’ın rahmetiyle kalbime geldi ki: Bu muhtelif turukların başı ve bu cetvellerin menbaı ve şu seyyaralerin güneşi, Kur’an-ı Hakîm’dir. Hakîkî tevhîd-i kıble bunda olur. Öyle ise, en âlâ mürşid de, en mukaddes üstad da odur.” (Mektubat, s. 355-356)

Görüldüğü gibi Bediüzzaman, Abdulkadir-i Geylanî ve İmam-ı Rabbanî’nin kitaplarıyla yaptığı tefe’ülde, haline uygun bir ders almış, hayatının akışına bir yön vermiştir.

Bediüzzaman’ın ilk talebelerinden Sıddık Sabri’nin ayağında Bediüzzaman’da olduğu iki parmak bitişiktir. Bediüzzaman, bu talebesine gönderdiği bir mektubunda şöyle der: “Senin cisminde (ayağında) kardeşliğimin sikkesini gördüğüm zaman, bir hiss-i kable’l-vuku (önsezi) ile kalbime geldi: Bu zat, mühim bir vakitte bana çok ehemmiyetli bir kardeşlik edecek. Ve muvaffak oldun, yaptın.” (Kastamonu Lahikası, s. 30)

İnanç ve itikad bakımından Allahın ilmini, iradesini ve kudretini reddeden materyalistlerin saplandığı tesadüf kelimesi tamamen inkara ve küfre götürdüğünden üstadımız bu konu üzerinde şiddetle durup ikaz ediyor. Fakat miraç risalesinde olduğu gibi “gözüne ve kulağına tesadüf eden” ve buna mümasil ifadeler aynı manaya gelmez.

Buradaki tesadüf, Resulüllah (S.A.V) miraç merdiveniyle alemi gezerken kendi iradesinin dışında kendisinin kontrolü olmadan gözünün gördüğü kulağının işittiği kevni delil ve burhanlar için kullanılmıştır

“Ben de kader-i İlahînin sevkiyle pek acib bir yola girmiştim. Ve pek çok belalara ve düşmanlara tesadüf ettim”. “Enes’e ferman etti ki: “Filân, filânı çağır. Hem kime tesadüf etsen davet et.” Enes de kime rast geldiyse çağırdı.” ifadelerinde de esadüf bu manada kullanılmıştır.

Aşağıda risalelerde geçen tesadüfle alakalı bazı cümleler yer almaktadır:

“Tesadüf onun işine karışamaz.” (S: 197)
“Zelzele gibi vakıalar olan şu hâdisat-ı kevniye, tesadüf oyuncağı değiller.” (S: 170)
“Hangi tesadüf bu işlere karışabilir?” (S: 673)
“Tesadüf ise, cehlimizi örten gizli bir hikmet-i İlahiyenin perdesidir”
“Demek tesadüf yok, hâdisat başıboş gelmiyor, intizamsız değillerdir.” (M: 349)
“Fakat rububiyet-i âmmedeki daire-i esbab-ı zâhiriyede, ehl-i gafletin nazarında hikmeti ve sebebi bilinmeyen işlerde, tesadüf namını vermişler.” (M: 379)
“Karışık tesadüf karışamaz.” (Ş: 45)
“Evet fennî bir nazarla dikkat edilirse anlaşılır ki, o zerrenin hareketi, körükörüne, tesadüf eseri değildir.” (İ: 57)
“Âlemde tesadüf yoktur.” (Ms: 243)
“Bu tevafuk kat’iyen tesadüf değil.” (B: 255
“Birincisi: Her şeyde -ne kadar cüz’î de olsa- bir kasd ve iradenin cilvesi bulunmasıdır; tesadüf, hakikî olarak olmamasıdır.” (K: 65)
En cüz’î işlerimiz de tesadüf değil, kasdî tevafuktur.” (K: 221)
“Gözümüzle bu latif tevafuktaki şirin inayet-i İlahiyenin cüz’î cilvelerini gördük ve anladık ki, kör tesadüf işimize karışmıyor.” (K: 222)
“Bu kadar kesret ve vüs’atle tesadüf olamaz.” (STİ: 5)
“Bu işler tesadüfî olamaz.” (S: 35)
“Demek ki, şu enharın nebeanları, âdi ve tabiî ve tesadüfî bir iş değildir.” (S: 250)

Şadi EREN ( Doç. Dr.)


Kadere İmanın İnsanın Psikolojik ve Ruh Yapısına Etkisi

Kaderin kelime manası plân, program demektir. Nasıl ki bir ağacın plân ve programı çekirdeğinde yazılmıştır, yani kaderi tayin edilmiştir. Aynı şekilde bir binanın yapılmasından önce plân ve programı yani projesi yapılır, yani kaderi tayin edilir. İşte insanın da kaderi Levh-i mahfuz’da, yani İmam-ı Mübin’de, yani Kader Defteri’nde yazılmıştır, tayin edilmiştir. Burada bilinmesi gereken bir husus, cüz-i irade meselesidir. Cüz-i irade, küçük irade demektir. Bunu meyil (niyet) olarak da ifade etmek mümkündür. Herkes vicdanen bilir ki, hareket ve davranışlarını ayarlama ve yönlendirme meyil ve iradesi kendisinde vardır. İşte bu iradenin kullanma yetkisini (tasarrufunu) Cenab-ı Hakk insana vermiştir. Dolayısıyla bu cüz-i iradeyi kötü yönde kullanmadan dolayı insan mesul olmaktadır. Meselâ, 10 katlı bir apartmanda 1.katta yılanlar, 2.katta fareler, 3.katta çiyanlar, 4. katta Hz.Âdem (A.S.), 10. katta Hz. Muhammed (SAV) var. Asansörün başında bulunan kişi, bu katlardan hangisine gideceğine cüz-i iradesiyle karar verir. Neticesinden de mes’ul olur. İşte bütün peygamberlerin bir bakıma gayret ve faaliyetleri, insanlara bu asansöre doğru basmanın yolunu öğretmektir. İyiliği de, kötülüğü de yaratan Cenab-ı Hakk’tır. Şer’i yaratmak, yani kötülüğü yaratmak kötü değildir. Şer’i, kötülüğü işlemek kötüdür şer’dir. İnsan meyhaneye de, ibadethaneye de gitmeye niyet edebilir. Her ne tarafa gitmek isterse, gitme fiilini yaratan Cenab-ı Hakk’tır. İnsan o niyetinden dolayı mesuliyet alır. Cenab-ı Hakk’ın yarattığı her şey, ya bizzat güzeldir, ya da neticeleri itibariyle güzeldir. Bizim birtakım sebeplere bakarak bazı hadiseler hakkında “iyidir, kötüdür, adaletlidir, adaletsizdir” gibi değerlendirmelerimiz, hadiselerin sebep ve sonucunu bilmediğimizden genelde isabetli değildir. Tâbiri caizse, bizim yaptığımız iki saatlik bir filmin ortasında girip 15-20 dakika seyrettikten sonra o filmdeki kahramanlar hakkında fikir yürütmemiz ve hüküm vermemiz gibidir. Bizim iki saatlik hayat filmimiz haşirde sonuçlanacaktır. Dünyada çekilen bir takım sıkıntı ve meşakkatlerin ahirette cehennem azabından kurtulmaya ve ebedî Cennet’e girmeye, ya da Cennetteki makamın yükselmesine vesile olduğunu gördükten sonra o çekilen sıkıntı ve zahmetlerin haksızlık ve adaletsizlik değil, aksine Cenab-ı Hakk’ın bir lütfu, ihsanı, ikramı ve rahmeti olduğu, bu filmin sonunda anlaşılacaktır. İslâmiyet’te kader anlayışı geleceğe ait meselelerde değildir. Geçmiş hadiselerde ve musibetlerde kullanılır.Yani “Kaderimde öğretmen olmak varsa olurum” deyip evde oturamayız. Çalışırız, öğretmen olmanın sebepleri nelerse onların hepsini yerine getiririz. Sonuçta o arzumuza ulaşamazsak, “Kaderimizde bu yokmuş” deriz. Cenab-ı Hak, bizim fiillerimizi, yaptıklarımızı ve yapacaklarımızı biliyor. Cenab-ı Hakk’ın bizim fiillerimizi bilmiş olması, o fiilleri yapan bizi mesuliyetten kurtarmıyor. Zaten, “Madem Cenab-ı Hakk, ezelden benim ne yapacağımı biliyordu, benim ne kabahatim var?” Cümlesi tahlil edildiği zaman, yapma fiilinin bize ait olduğu gayet açıktır. Dolayısıyla, yapan biz olduğumuza göre başka suçlu aramaya gerek yoktur. Cenab-ı Hakk’ın bilmesi, geçmiş ve gelecek olarak ifade edilmez. Meselâ zaman olarak masanın bir tarafını kâinatın başlangıcı, diğer tarafını kıyametin kopması olarak kabul edelim. Ve masanın üstünü, 1. asır, 2. asır, …ve 22. asır gibi zaman dilimlerine ayıralım. Şimdi elimizde bir ayna farz ediyoruz. Masanın ortasına tuttuğumuz bu aynanın içinde 15-16.asırlar görülmektedir.14. asır ve öncekiler geçmiş, 17. asır ve sonrakiler bu aynaya göre gelecek asırlardır. Bu aynayı yükseğe kaldırdığımız zaman, hem 1.asrı ve hem de 22.asrı içerisine alır. Artık bu durumda, bu asırlarla alâkalı olarak geçmiş ve gelecekten bahsedilmez. Çünkü hepsi bir anda aynanın içerisindedir. İşte Cenab-ı Hakk’ta, böyle ayine misal, manzara-ı âlâ’dan geçmiş ve gelecek, kâinatın yaratılışı ve kıyametin kopması, Cennet ve Cehennem, olmuş ve olacak her şey, bir anda nazarındadır. Geçmiş ve gelecek sadece bize göredir. Dolayısıyla Cenab-ı Hakk bizim ne yaptığımızı ve ne yapacağımızı bir anda bilmektedir. O’nun bilmesi, yapma noktasında bize mecburiyet yükle-memektedir. Bu yüzden insan cüz-i iradesiyle yaptığı fiillerden tamamen mesuldür. Kaderi bir cümle ile özetlemek gerekirse, her şeyin Cenab-ı Hakk’ın bilgisi dahilinde olduğudur. Fiili biz yaptığımız için, O’nun bilmesi, bizi mesuliyetten kurtarmıyor. Burada dikkat edilmesi gereken çok önemli bir husus var. O da, insan bedeninin belli bir elektrik yükü kapasitesi ile çalıştığıdır. Bu bedene fazla elektrik yüklemiş olmamız, sigortanın atmasına sebep olur. Hadiseleri fazla düşünmek, hiddet ve öfke, bu elektrik potansiyelini yükseltir ve bir süre sonra vücutta kısa devreler meydana gelir, beyindeki düşünme sisteminde bir takım atlamalar görülmeye başlar. Daha da zorlanılırsa, beyin sigortası atar. Artık bundan sonra tamir ve tedavi için akıl hastanelerinin yolu tutulur. Böyle bir neticeyi önlemek, kader meselesinin iyi anlaşılmasıyla mümkündür. Kader meselesinin burada sigorta görevi görebilir. Şimdi sizler burada şöyle diyebilirsiniz: “Madem her şey kader ile takdir edilmiştir. Kısmetime razı olayım ki, rahat edeyim. Cenab-ı Hakk, benim rızkımı bir süre burada tayin etmiş. Ben bu rızkımı yemek için bir takım vesilelerle buraya geldim. O halde, ebedi hayatım olan ahiretimin kurtulması için neler yapabilirim?” Yoksa, “Ne yaptım da bu başıma geldi? Şöyle olmasaydı, böyle olmayacaktı” gibi itirazlar, kaderi tenkit olur. Kaderi tenkit eden başını örse vurur, kırar. Kaderi değiştiremez. Bu durumda başımıza geleni rıza ile karşılamak, kusurlarımız ve hatalarımızın affı için Cenab-ı Hakk’tan yardım dilemek olmalıdır. İnsanın ruh ve psikolojik âleminin düzelmesi, Allah’a teslim olup, tevekkül etmekle mümkündür. Yoksa her şeyi omzuna yüklemeye çalışırsa, sigortayı kısa sürede attırır. Sigorta atınca da bunun da kolay kolay tedavisi yoktur. http://www.tefekkurdergisi.com dergisinden alınmıştır.

AŞK AĞLAMALAR

 

ŞİİR GİBİ bir cümle: “Bütün firaklardan gelen feryatlar, aşkı-bekadan gelen ağlamaların tercümanıdır” İnsan hissiyatı bu kadar güzel ifade edilir, aşk bu kadar veciz bir mana ile aşikâr olur, firak bu kadar beliğ açıklanır…

Bu cümlenin karşılığı; “Batın-ı kalp ayine-i sameddir ve ona mahsustur” olsa gerek… Birbirine bakan ve birini açıklayan his ve hikmet yüklü yüksek hakikatler; anlamak için insan ruhunun derinliklerinde ufuk gezintiler yapmak lazım…

Hele birinci cümlede alt fon olarak kendini hissettiren musiki, okudukça okutturuyor, bıktırmadan tekrar ettiriyor… Zahir önemli değil asıl olan batın olsa da, ikisi bütünleşirse kalıcı güzelliğe erişilmiş olunuyor…

Zahirle batın arasında gidip gelmeler, aşkla firak arasındaki koşuşturmalar, gülmekle ağlamak arasındaki yakınlık, kederle kemal arasındaki köprüler; âlem-i şehadet ve misal arasındaki berzahlar gibi… Dairesel dönen ve ilerleyen hayat akışında firak feryatlar, aşk ağlamalar bir tek şeyi tercüme ediyor: ebed illa ebed…

Kalbin kıblesi beka; başkasına bakmıyor, başkası onu doyurmuyor, doyuramıyor… Kâinatın uzak çöllerine de gitse, yakın derlerinde de bulunsa sevgili değişmiyor, aşk başkalaşmıyor; sonsuz sonsuzluk sevgisi…

Hiçbir şeye muhtaç olmayan, her şeye ona muhtaç olan Samed’e ayine olmak ve onu yansıtmak; kalbin bekaya berrak bakışı… Kesret dalgalanmalar, çokluk gürültüler onu boğamıyor… Irmaktaki akış beka buluşmasına, sonsuz vuslata kayıştır… Değişmez değişim bu olsa gerek; geçici olanlar doyurmuyor, güldürmüyor…

Gülünç kalıyor günlük sevgiler, sevgililer; kayıp giden her sevgide günsüzlük sevdası var…

Günlük hayatta küçük kırılma, küçük kayboluşların kalpte çizdiği çizikler aynı şeyi söylüyor; ağlama beka var, ağlıyorsan da bilmeyerek beka için ağlıyorsun… Başka tercümesi yok gülmenin ya da ağlamanın; sen Samed ayinesisin… Başka kimseye mahsus olamazsın, var olman ve var kalman buna bağlı… Varlığa bu damgayla dokunursan her şey senindir; istediğin kâinat olsun, istediğin sonsuzluk olsun…

Bir katredeki ışıkta boğulma, ışığın kaynağına uzan… Ayın ardından ağlama, kalbindeki sonsuz güzelliği seyret, orada O’nu göreceksin… Ağla ki Samed hazinen ortaya çıksın, ara ki beka ile buluşasın… Bulduğun küçük ışıklara kanma; zerreden şemse aydınlık mertebeleri var…

Bil ki sen “Abdüssamed”sin, onun da sonsuz mertebeleri var… Kalbini, kabeyle kâinatla buluştur, kâinattan Kabeye kalbine Kur’ani yollar aç… Aklını kalbinle buluştur; bu seyahatten elem ve ayrılık duymayacak, ağlamayacaksın…

Evet, hakikat denizi dalgalanmaya devam ediyor: “ Bütün firaklardan gelen feryatlar aşkı bekadan gelen ağlamaların tercümanıdır” Döküldüğü ve dolduramadığı umman da “Batın-ı kalp ayine-i Sameddir ve O’na mahsustur.”

 

 Hüseyin EREN

 

RISALE-I NUR

THE STYLE of REFLECTIVE THOUGHT in THE RISALE-I NUR

Umit Simsek

The Risale-i Nur has been defined and described in various ways, in regard both to the subjects it covers and the manner in which it deals with them. It is most frequently described as “a Qur’anic commentary” (tefsir), and in various places in the work itself the author uses similar expressions to describe it. 1 He also calls it “a kalâm work,” that is, is a work of the science of kalâm or theology. 2 Also, if not frequently, from time to time people have suggested that the Risale-i Nur is related to sufism, although the author made no such statements, or have wanted to drag it into political channels.

When taken as a whole, it is in fact difficult to place the Risale-i Nur within a single discipline. If it is thought of as a Qur’anic commentary, with the exception of Isharat al-I‘jaz, it has to be considered a commentary bearing its own particular characteristics, both in regard to method, and contents, and composition, and style. For example, rather than the verses being expounded in the passages which they head in the way one would expect in a commentary, a journey in knowledge and reflective thought is made in the passage, within the horizons which the verse in question has opened up. The subjects treated in these journeys are for the most part within the bounds of the science of kalâm. Yet their composition is not that of the classic kalâm books; a way is followed that is still particular to the Risale-i Nur. Perhaps it would be more apt to define the Risale-i Nur as bearing characteristics of both a Qur’anic commentary, and a work of kalâm. But first of all it is necessary to consider its unique style and the principles that form the basis of its style.

The Risale-i Nur’s principles:

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi states that the Risale-i Nur is based on four principles and he lists these as 1) impotence, 2) poverty or want, 3) compassion, and 4) reflective thought. 3 Of these, impotence and poverty, that is, a person realizing his absolute impotence and poverty before the universe’s Creator, are studied in the passages comprising reflective thought on man’s inner self. It therefore will probably not be wrong to refer these two principles to reflective thought too. The principle of compassion produces results in a person like his making it the aim of his life to convey the truths expounded in the work, that is, the fruits of the Risale-i Nur’s reflective thought, to others. 4

Having described the first three principles thus, the fourth, that is, reflective thought, appears as the most important principle of the Risale-i Nur. This principle was at the same time, the most important factor shaping Bediuzzaman’s life. The Risale-i Nur’s reflective thought began to take shape in the author’s mind while he was still in his youth, while it matured in his middle age and produced the profound chain of reflective thought called the Mesnevi-i Nuriye, which contains a significant part of the Risale-i Nur in nascent form, and was written in the period that marked the transformation of the Old Said into the New Said. 5 This reflective thought then influenced every facet of Bediuzzaman’s life, and developing and broadening in the course of time, produced the Risale-i Nur Collection and its service to the Qur’an and belief.

Reflective thought in the Risale-i Nur

In Bediuzzaman’s eyes, the whole world of existence is a tableau to be reflected on. The purpose of the creation of conscious beings is to carry out the duty of reflective thought. Bediuzzaman saw the world in the form of two “spheres” and “tableaux,” which he described as follows:

“One is a most magnificent, well-ordered sphere of dominicality, a finely fashioned, bejewelled signboard of art. The other is a most enlightened and illumined sphere of worship, a broad and comprehensive signboard of thought, reflection, admiration, thanks, and belief.” 6

The infinite art and adornment which the “art tableau,” that is, the sphere of dominicality, displays demands an infinite duty of reflective thought, due to which mystery, is the creation, not only of man and the jinn, but of countless sorts of angels and spirit beings. 7 However, in regard to his abilities, man holds a unique place among beings. For the purpose of reflective thought is to observe the marvels of the works, and to weigh them up one by one, and passing from the works to the Maker’s beauty, perfection, tremendousness, glory, and other attributes, to gain knowledge of Him and feel awe and love for Him, and a longing to enter His presence and receive His favours. 8

“It is man who will perform this duty, for although he is a dark and ignorant thing, he possesses such abilities he is worthy of being a sample and model of the world. Also, a trust has been granted to man with which he may discover secret treasures and open them. Also, man’s powers have not been limited; they are absolute. In consequence he possesses a sort of universal consciousness whereby he perceives the resplendent majesty and grandeur of the Sultan of Pre-Eternity.” 9

In other places in his works, Bediuzzaman describes the “trust given to man” as his ‘I’ or ego, and says that it is by means of this trust that man can understand the Creator’s attributes and works. 10 This trust has also rendered man superior to the angels. 11 So too, man’s soul, “which receives the bounty of the manifestations of Divine mercy” 12 is a cause of his superiority over the angels. 13 “In particular he can understand many Divine Names through the pleasure to be found in sustenance. Whereas the angels cannot know them through that pleasure.” 14

Man, then, has been sent to this world decked out with abilities superior to all other creatures. Like an eminent guest invited to an exhibition of the choice works of an artist, he will travel in his mind throughout the universe, study all the works he encounters, decipher the subtleties of their art, listen to the testimony of all beings, both singly and in unison, understand their worship and glorifications, and just like a commander who makes the finishing touches in the name of his unit, he will present in their name to the Divine Court the worship and benedictions of the beings subjugated to him. All this can only be achieved through constant and intense practice of reflective thought. 15

It is stated in a Qur’anic verse that men and jinn were created only that they should worship God. 16 But such worship is not a soulless, formal ceremony; the verse demands recognition of the One Who is worshipped, belief in Him, knowledge of Him and the boundless love within that knowledge, and sets this before us as the highest aim of creation. 17

The Risale-i Nur wants to achieve this result by means of reflective thought, its chief principle. The result of this reflection is not merely theoretical knowledge which admits God’s existence and unity; it has as its aim a “sense of presence” which permeates every aspect of man’s life; that is, finding, knowing, and feeling everywhere, in everything, in every event, the Divine existence and unity, and living in awareness of these:

“Dismissing beings from working on their own account and employing them on account of the All-Glorious Creator, and in the duty of manifesting the Most Beautiful Names and being mirrors to them, [The Risale-i Nur’s way of reflective thought] considers them from the point of view of signifying something other than themselves; and being saved from absolute heedlessness, [one who follows it] enters the Divine presence permanently; he finds a way leading to Almighty God in everything.” 18

In another place, Bediuzzaman states that a sense of the Divine presence such as this may be gained through the strength of certain, verified belief (tahkikî iman) and through the reflective thought on creatures which leads to knowledge of the Maker. 19

The sorts of reflective thoughtThe Risale-i Nur offers us a very rich repertoire when it comes to the methods followed in reflective thought. For the universe was written as a vast book and set out as a magnificent exhibition of art, and there are numerous ways of reading the book and perusing the works in the exhibition. However, since this subject demands detailed study, here I shall suffice with mentioning briefly a classification which will hold up a light to the Risale-i Nur’s style of reflective thought.

The Risale-i Nur’s reflective thought proceeds on two principles: 1) the outer world 2) man’s inner self. In the former, summary exposition has been taken as basic, and in the latter, detailed exposition. 20

Reflection on the outer world

The Supreme Sign (Âyetü’l-Kübra), which consists of the observations of a traveller questioning the universe about his Maker, is rich in examples of the Risale-i Nur’s reflective thought on the outer world. 21 In this treatise, the universe is studied together with all its beings and its visible and invisible worlds, and its testimony to its Creator is described on thirty-three different levels or degrees. In the first chapter, the main subject is the necessary existence of God and proofs of it, and Divine unity is secondary, while in Chapter Two the universe as a whole is discussed from various angles and the question of Divine unity is stressed. The method which is followed on a broad scale in The Supreme Sign represents the Risale-i Nur’s general approach. We may summarize this method as “considering aspects of a being or event together with others resembling it in the universe and approaching them with a view as wide as the universe.” This is probably what is meant by the “summary” reflection on the outer world. This way prevents thought being scattered in the realms of multiplicity; all the beings or events we observe in the universe become proofs of knowledge of God as powerful as the universe or means to the sense of His presence.

Bediuzzaman expresses this truth at the beginning of the Second Ray as “Divine beauty and dominical perfection become apparent in Divine unity and the affirmation of it,” and he sets out examples of it. For example, if considered on its own, a sick person being healed may be attributed to various causes such as medicine. But if all the sick in the world are thought of who are recovering at that same time, and even all those of the past and future, the face of the earth takes on the form of a hospital, and the existence and compassion of a Healer who restores to health all those suffering ills both physical and spiritual, will be felt in powerful fashion. 22

In the Fourth Ray, Bediuzzaman follows the same method, and sets out the face of the earth before the imagination just as though it was a small garden. The imagination then gazes on the beauty of Divine compassion in all the young in the garden being fed on their mother’s milk; and the beauty of Divine mercy in all living beings being given their sustenance; and the beauty of Divine wisdom in all beings being created purposefully and with wisdom; and the beauty of Divine justice in the harmony and proportion in the creation of all things; and the beauty of Divine preservation in all things beings created with faculties and members that will preserve and perpetuate their lives; and the beauty of Divine munificence in the bestowal on all living beings of bounties appropriate to them. 23 These are what appear to “the eye of the imagination,” but they are not imagination, they are reality. For what is described is what is happening all around us all the time, whether we see it or not. But since our physical eyes are incapable of seeing it, the rest of the picture can be completed only with the help of the power of imagination and by means of reflective thought.

Once this way of looking at things is grasped, all works are seen in one work, all acts in one act, and all Names in one Name. Observing the manifestation of one Name in a being, the thought is transferred to the One signified by all the Names manifested in the universe. 24 After this a single being, or even a single particle, may perform the function of all the universe. For a single minute particle proves Almighty God together with His essence and attributes, and makes Him known. 25

When the universe together with all its beings becomes the means to knowledge of God, no need arises to abandon the realms of multiplicity in order to find Divine unity and gain a sense of the Divine presence. On the contrary, the opportunity lost by abandoning multiplicity performs an important function in the Risale-i Nur’s reflective thought:

“[The Risale-i Nur] shows in such a way that from top to bottom the universe reflects the manifestations of the Divine Names like mirrors, that no possibility remains for heedlessness. Nothing becomes an obstacle to the Divine presence. I saw that unlike the sufis and people of reality who in order to gain permanent access to the Divine presence, banish or forget or do not recall the universe, it gains a sense of the Divine presence as extensive as the universe, and opens up a sphere of worship as broad and universal and permanent as the universe…” 26

Reflective thought on man’s inner self

The same may be applied to reflective thought on man’s inner self. Factors which are generally considered to be obstacles to spiritual development like egoism and the soul, are seen in the Risale-i Nur to be important means to knowledge of God. For one thing, nothing can take the place of egoism and the function it performs. For the Creator’s attributes, which it is our duty to know, are absolute, and without limit or like. If it was not for the analogies the ego makes, starting off with “However I make this house, that is how God made the universe,” and continuing successively to the highest levels of abstract thought, it would not have been possible to reflect on the attributes, works, or manifestations of a Creator Whose power embraces all things and does as He wishes. 27 Both the Qur’an and Hadith teach the attributes and acts of the universe’s Creator in this way. For example, God’s not permitting the associating of partners with Him is illustrated with the comparisons “giving an example from among yourselves,” and “would you consent to your slaves sharing your property and being equal to you?” 28 Here, the fact that rulership does not permit rivals is illustrated by the example of man’s apparent and relative ownership and rulership. And in a Hadith, the joy God feels at a sinner’s repentance is illustrated by the joy of someone who has lost all his possessions in the desert and given up all hope of life, sleeping and when he awakens finding his camel and everything beside him. 29

Like egoism, man’s instinctual soul is an important means to knowledge of God. As we saw above, due to the manifestations it receives, it is even the cause of his superiority to the angels. In this matter, Bediuzzaman took the Companions as an example, and rather than killing the soul or rendering it ineffective, he preferred the way of employing it as a soldier under the command of the heart and driving to perform the worship particular to it. 30

With adding the two facts that like other beings, man is a mirror to the Divine Names, and that with his ‘deficient’ attributes, he acts as a mirror to the Creator’s perfect attributes, the three fronts of reflective thought on man’s inner self become clear. 31 In fact, as deficient attributes, the principles of impotence and poverty form the basis of the Risale-i Nur’s reflective thought. These principles also act as a sort of insurance against the potential dangers of egotism and the instinctual soul:

“Yes, this path is shorter, because it consists of four steps. When impotence removes its hand from the soul, it gives it directly to the All-Powerful One of Glory… Also this path is much safer, because the ravings and high-flown claims of the soul are not present on it. For apart from impotence, poverty, and defect, the soul possesses nothing so that it oversteps its mark.” 32

Just as Bediuzzaman favours detailed thought in internal reflection, so is he of the opinion that it is a swifter and more direct way than reflection on the outer world. Even, although he describes the certainty resulting from reflection on the outer world as “knowledge of certainty,” he speaks of “absolute certainty” in connection with reflection on man’s inner world. This is understood from his later adding a section entitled “the testimony of man’s essential nature” to the Hülâsatü’l-Hülâsa, an Arabic summary of The Supreme Sign, which forms the peak of reflection on the outer world. He explained the reason for this addition as follows in one of his Emirdag letters:

“Yes, when I read the Hülâsatü’l-Hülâsa, I see the vast universe as a circle for the remembrance of God. But since the tongue of each realm of beings is very extensive, the intellect has to work excessively to comprehend the Divine Names and attributes by way of reflective thought at the degree of ‘the knowledge of certainty’. Only then does it see it completely. But when it considers the human reality, it confirms those Names and attributes in that comprehensive measure, that tiny map, that tiny true sample, that tiny sensitive balance, and in that sensitive egoism with a conscience, assurance and belief which are utterly certain, direct, and assented to mentally.”

Later in the same passage, Bediuzzaman states that reflective thought on man’s inner self is the means to attaining belief which is at the degree of ‘absolute certainty’ and free of every sort of doubt and hesitation. 33

The source of reflective thought

If one has to place the reflective thought of the Risale-i Nur within Islamic thought, a number of currents resembling it may be found in the Islamic world. It is possible to find the traces of sufism, the method of kalâm, and even philosophy in certain aspects of it. If it is borne in mind that Bediuzzaman engaged in intensive study from a very early age, it will be clear that someone with his brilliant intelligence and high culture could not fail to be influenced by the works he studied and thought he encountered. Nevertheless it is understood from his earliest extant works that none of these ways satisfied Bediuzzaman completely, and that setting his sights on higher ground, he began to search for a different way. For example, in Muhâkemat, one of his earliest works, he defines the ways leading to knowledge of God as follows, setting forth his preference:

“The first is the way of the sufi scholars, which is based on purification and illumination.

“The second is the way of the scholars of kalâm, which is based on contingency and createdness. For sure these two ways have branched out from the Qur’an, but since human thought has put them in a different mould, they have become lengthy and difficult.

“The third is the way of the philosophers.

“These three are not free of the assaults of doubts.

“As for the fourth, it is the Qur’anic ascent, which proclaims the lofty rank of the Qur’an’s eloquence, and is the shortest and most direct, and in respect of clarity is the most comprehensive, embracing all mankind. We too have chosen this [way].” 34

Bediuzzaman remained faithful to this claim throughout his life, and stated in numerous places in his works that the Risale-i Nur was based on the Qur’an alone and had taken its inspiration from it. When we study the Risale-i Nur in the light of this, we see that in fact it does reflect a number of characteristics of the Qur’an’s style, the most important of which may be listed as follows:

1. The evidences the Qur’an puts forward while proving foremost the necessary existence and unity of God and all the truths of belief, are taken from the world around us and the life we live: birds, sheep, clouds, mountains, the seas, grapes, dates, olives, the bee, the fly, the moon, the sun, fish, rotted bones, fruit ripe and unripe, eyes, ears, mounts ridden on journeys, and so on. These are all things which the peoples of all ages are familiar, and the Qur’an uses them all as evidences making known God. The things the Risale-i Nur employs in its reflective thought are nothing other than these.

2. The Risale-i Nur adopts exactly the method of the Qur’an, which from beginning to end calls on the reason to testify to what it asserts, invites man to reflect, shows imitative belief to be the basis of associating partners with God, and eradicates it. Bediuzzaman states that the logical proofs and scholarly arguments of the Risale-i Nur have taken the place of the spiritual journeying and recitations of sufism. 35

3. The Qur’an addresses everyone. Bediuzzaman also chose this way, particularly in the Risale-i Nur, which he began to write while he was in Barla, and addresses not an elite group, but every class of mankind. The role a person’s degree of knowledge and understanding play in their profiting from the works is another subject, exactly the same as their profiting from the Qur’an.

4. A characteristic mentioned in the second matter above, that although it shares a basic characteristic with the science of kalâm, it departs from it in the matter of style, where it takes the Qur’an as its direct example. For example, it is not possible to encounter in a work of kalâm the style he uses in the Risale-i Nur, a method which consists of studying side by side the manifestation in a particular being or event and universal beings and events:

“Thus, by analogy with these examples, each of the Divine Names has a sacred beauty particular to it, a single manifestation of which makes beautiful the vast world and innumerable species of beings. You may see the manifestation of a Name’s beauty in a single flower; the spring is also a flower; Paradise is a flower yet unseen. If you can visualize the whole of spring and see Paradise with the eye of belief, you may understand the utter majesty of everlasting Beauty. If you respond to that Beauty with the beauty of belief and worship, you will be a most beautiful creature. While if you meet it with the boundless ugliness of misguidance and loathsomeness of rebellion, you will be both a most ugly creature and will in effect be loathed by all beautiful creatures.” 36

The fact that these phrases have a power which “surpass the mere words of the book” and when read, arouse some of man’s inner faculties, is easily understood both from the phrases themselves, and from the effect they have on those who read them. Islamic scholars who have chosen a similar style are not few in number; it is clear that like them, the Qur’an is the source of this original style of the Risale-i Nur. The effect of this style on the conscience is nothing other than proof of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, which transcends the centuries and continents. 37

5. Just as the Qur’an addresses all the classes of mankind at once, so it addresses man himself as a totality. It is not only the intellect or the heart that receive effulgence from its address, but all man’s being and all his senses. The Risale-i Nur adopted this style also. In Bediuzzaman’s words:

“Both the mind, and the heart, and the spirit, and the soul, and the emotions may receive their share of the Risale-i Nur’s truths, which are like basic sustenance.” 38

“The Words and those lights, which proceed from the Qur’an, are not only scholarly matters pertaining to the intellect, they are rather matters of belief which pertain to the heart, the spirit, and spiritual states. They resemble most elevated and valuable knowledge of God.” 39

“The Risale-i Nur does not teach only with the feet and reasoning of the intellect like the works of other religious scholars, and it does not proceed only with the illuminations and visions of the heart like the saints; it proceeds with the feet of the uniting and combining of the heart and intellect, and of the co-operation of the spirit and other subtle faculties, and flies to the highest summits.” 40

The author also attributes to the Qur’an the fact that the reflective passages in the Risale-i Nur cause no boredom even when read over and over again. 41

6. On its very first page, the Qur’an, which was revealed as a mercy to believers, 44 to a Messenger who was sent as a mercy to all the worlds 42 and who is most compassionate and kind towards the believers, 43 describes the Sustainer of All the Worlds with the Names of Merciful and Compassionate. In describing God to the people of today, who although they are more in need of Divine mercy than at any time, tend to think of God as wrathful and chastising as a result of what they hear from their environment, the Risale-i Nur for the most part employs the same style. It imparts hope rather than despair, encourages rather than frightens, even likening fear of God to a child seeking refuge in his mothers tender breast. 45 This characteristic undoubtedly comes from the Qur’an and demonstrates that the Risale-i Nur is a reflection of the Divine Names of Merciful (Rahman), 46 Compassionate (Rahim), 47 and Clement (Raûf). 48

What is the Risale-i Nur?

Having explained the above, if we return to the question posed at the beginning, we may be faced with the need to attach a new name to the reflective thought of the Risale-i Nur. If you look from one angle, characteristics of this reflective thought resembling sufism are apparent, and if you look from another, those resembling kalâm appear to one. As was mentioned above, his being influenced to a greater or lesser degree by both these may be seen as a natural consequence of both his humanity and his broad culture. On the other hand, the author’s own statements on this matter sometimes hint of contradiction. For example, there is his well-known saying: “This is not the time of the sufi tariqat, it is the time of ‘reality’ (haqiqat),” 49 and his numerous clear statements to the effect that the Risale-i Nur was not a sufi path, leaving no room for doubt on the question, 50 but then the question is expressed rather differently in one of his Emirdag letters:

“Up to now I have thought only of the reality of belief and said ‘This is not the time of the sufi tariqat; innovations do not permit it.’ But now it is necessary and essential that all the followers of the tariqats who are within the bounds of the Prophet’s Sunna should regard the circle of the Risale-i Nur, which is the summary of all the twelve major tariqats and is their largest circle, as their own tariqat circle, and enter it. The present time has shown this.” 51

Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that to conclude from the above that the Risale-i Nur is another large tariqat which embraces all the others is not correct. It is probably more accurate to understand this as meaning that (1) the Risale-i Nur produces more directly, by way of ‘the greater sainthood (velâyet-i kübra)’ and ‘the legacy of prophethood (veraset-i nübüvvet)’, the results sought from the sufi path, 52 and that the Risale-i Nur does not form a separate movement like the sufi orders and other communities, and is a work which is common property, which everyone may identify with and from which everyone may profit to whatever tariqat, group, or school they belong. 53

Certainly, we see that like the followers of the sufi path, supplications, litanies and recitations of the Divine Names held an important place in the life of the author of the Risale-i Nur, but besides these all having the purpose of reflective thought and assisting in the unfolding of numerous of the truths of the Risale-i Nur, it is a fact that the Risale-i Nur students were not left under any obligation to perform these litanies and recitations. The “recitations” of the Risale-i Nur, which is based on the principles of impotence, poverty, compassion and reflection, are 1) following the practices of the Prophet (PBUH), 2) carrying out all the religious obligations, 3) avoiding serious sins, 4) performing the obligatory five daily prayers exactly as they should be performed, and 5) reciting the tesbihat after the five daily prayers. Here we see no obligation to recite any recitations or supplications other than the tesbihat. 54

Another characteristic distinguishing the Risale-i Nur from the sufi tariqats was Bediuzzaman’s explicitly rejecting “intermediaries”(vesile) 55 and “excessively good opinions” of spiritual guides, 56 which is favoured by the followers of the sufi way.

Nevertheless, even if only to a certain extent, ‘wonder-working’ (keramet) and signs from the realms beyond man’s normal perceptions (gayb) are to be seen in the Risale-i Nur. There are even treatises confined to this matter, such as the First and Eighth Rays. And the ‘wonders’ attributed to Bediuzzaman himself both in the writings of his students and in his official biography, are not few in number. The most important reason these were given importance by the Risale-i Nur students despite the author himself attaching no importance to wonder-working and insistently correcting his students’ excessively good opinion of himself and clearly stating that the way of the Risale-i Nur is that of ‘reality,’ was probably the need of the Risale-i Nur students for moral support at that time of severe oppression. At the same time, the excessive fondness of society for ‘extra-ordinary’ occurrences like illuminations and wonder-working should not be ignored. This tendency would certainly be reflected in a movement like the Risale-i Nur, which embraces all sectors of society. The temperaments of a number of prominent Risale-i Nur students with leanings towards sufism, both in the author’s time, and in our time, have played a significant role in this matter, and continue to do so.

However, Bediuzzaman’s own statements are the last word on this matter and state the Risale-i Nur’s position clearly:

“This result, which, through the service of the Risale-i Nur, has ensured for thousands of believers in Isparta and its environs an extraordinary strength of belief, is sufficient for our extraordinary service. Even if someone was to appear of the loftiness of ten spiritual poles and raise a thousand people to the level of sainthood, he still could not lower this degree [of the Risale-i Nur’s achievement]. The true students of the Risale-i Nur content themselves with results like this… What they call in logic ‘qaziye-i makbule,’ that is, accepting without proof the words of the great, does not express certainty and surety in logic; it is only a prevailing assumption. The certain proofs of logic do not look to good opinions of people and people who are generally accepted, they look to irrefutable evidence; all the proofs of the Risale-i Nur are of this incontrovertible type. For exactly like the realities and truths of belief which the saints (ehl-i velâyet) experience through their pious acts and worship and asceticism, and on their spiritual journeyings, and which they observe behind veils, the Risale-i Nur has opened a way to reality in knowledge in place of worship; it has opened up a way leading to the essence of reality within logical proofs and scholarly arguments in place of spiritual journeyings and recitations; it has opened up a way of ‘the greater sainthood’ directly within the science of kalâm, the science of the tenets of belief, and the science of the principles of religion, in place of the science of sufism and the tariqat.” 57

Nevertheless, we are confronted with a number of differences between the science of kalâm and the Risale-i Nur. Before everything, the author was of the opinion that the way followed by the scholars of kalâm was lengthy and far from answering the needs of the time, and did not go beyond addressing the intellect alone. 58 Nevertheless, the facts that 1) the subjects the Risale-i Nur mostly deals with, and 2) it follows the method of proving the truths of belief with evidence, bring it closer to kalâm. It should be stated clearly here that the points the Risale-i Nur shares with kalâm are more numerous and more fundamental that those it shares with sufism. It is exaggeration to say that the difference between the Risale-i Nur and the scholars of kalâm is merely one of style, for Bediuzzaman’s own statements place the Risale-i Nur within that science:

“You wanted instruction in the science of kalâm from me. You anyway receive such instruction, for all the Words that you write [out by hand] are lessons in the luminous, true science of kalâm.” 59

“Since early times in most places the scholars of the religious schools (medrese) bowed to the people of the sufi convents (tekke), that is, they submitted to them and applied to them for the fruits of sainthood (velâyet). They sought the illuminations of belief and the lights of reality in their shops. A prominent medrese scholar even, would kiss the hand of a minor shaykh of the tekkes, and follow him. They sought the spring of that water of life in the tekke. Nevertheless in the medrese was a more direct path leading to the lights of reality, and in the sciences of belief a purer and clearer spring of the water of life, and in [intellectual] knowledge (‘ilm) and the truths of belief and the science of kalam of the Sunnis a way of sainthood higher, sweeter, and more powerful than laudable acts, worship and the sufi way; thus, the Risale-i Nur has opened up as a miracle of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, and has demonstrated, and it is there for all to see.” 60

“The Risale-i Nur has opened … a way of ‘the greater sainthood’ directly within the science of kalâm, the science of the tenets of belief, and the science of the principles of religion, in place of the science of sufism and the tariqat.” 61

If we leave aside as the subjects for another discussion, “the greater sainthood” and “legacy of Prophethood,” the Risale-i Nur confronts us with its own particular style of reflective thought as a different, original, and brand-new work of kalâm.

It is a work which in the words of Mehmed Akif, receives inspiration directly from the Qur’an; reads the books of the macrocosm and microcosm within the broad horizons the Qur’an has revealed; addresses simultaneously the intellect and the heart; and by stirring into action with this style of address the potential energy in man, makes Islam liveable in all areas of his life; and has proved its originality and effectiveness over the mass of people.

Having opened up a new path in the history of the science of kalâm with the horizon of reflective thought that it has laid out before twentieth —and probably twenty-first— century man, the Risale-i Nur is certainly worthy of being thought of as unique. For once it has been discovered, the style of Qur’anic kalâm that it introduced will acquaint people directly with the Qur’an, and concealed in the Qur’an is the potential to ensure they will find much more in the Qur’an than the Risale-i Nur can explain.

* * *

ÜMIT SIMSEK (Writer, Researcher)

Ümit Simsek was born in Istanbul 1950, and entered the world of journalism and publishing at an early age. He began work on various newspapers and magazines in 1967, working for the Yeni Asya and Yeni Nesil newspapers from their inception. He played an active role in the setting up of the Yeni Asya Research Centre in 1979, and the preparation of their ‘Ilim-Teknik Serisi’ (Series on Science and Technology), which brought together religion and science. He became the General Co-ordinator of the Centre.

His published works include:

Atom; Big Bang – Kâinatin Dogusu (The Big Bang – The Birth of the Universe); Bir Arinin Hatira Defteri (The Diary of a Bee); Arastirma Teknikleri (Techniques in Research); Uzay (Space); Gezegenler (The Planets); Madde ve Enerji (Matter and Energy); Dünya (The World); Kur’ânimizi Ögrenelim (Let’s Learn the Qur’an); Kur’ân-i Kerim ve Açiklamali Meâli (The Meaning of the Qur’an, trans.) (With others); Seytanla Münazara (A Dispute with the Devil); Risale-i Nur Isiginda Cevsen Meâli (The Meaning of the Jawshan al-Kabir in the Light of the Risale-i Nur); Varliklardan Allah’a (From Beings to God).

; (The Big Bang – The Birth of the Universe); (The Diary of a Bee); (Techniques in Research); (Space); (The Planets); (Matter and Energy); (The World); (Let’s Learn the Qur’an); (The Meaning of the Qur’an, trans.) (With others); (A Dispute with the Devil); (The Meaning of the in the Light of the Risale-i Nur); (From Beings to God).

THE RISALE-I NUR MOVEMENT

THE RISALE-I NUR MOVEMENT:IS IT A SUFI ORDER, A POLITICAL SOCIETY OR A COMMUNITY

Ahmet Akgündüz

I. Introduction

With Bediuzzaman, who put his stamp on the twentieth century, and his commentary on the Qur’an’s meaning entitled the Risale-i Nur Collection starting to produce the fruits he predicted seventy to eighty years ago, those sympathetic have become more curious about Bediuzzaman and the Risale-i Nur community, while those hostile have started to scrutinize them more closely. The Risale-i Nur has been translated into more than fifty languages and has been instrumental in saving the belief of hundreds of thousands of young people all over the world. And with its positive action, the Risale-i Nur movement has won a place in many hearts and has lead to millions of people being bound together around the same cause without belonging to any organization, association, or sufi order. This has led everyone to ask: “What is it that attracts all these people, pulling them together in this way?” While those who look favourably ask themselves if it is a sufi order, or some sort of association, or a political movement, those discomforted by the spread of the movement and the high esteem it has won persistently ask the same questions in the mass media and start to question public opinion.

Those who rule the country are curious about the aims and methods of this positive movement which has spread beyond China and America. Scholars and academics too want to know what it is that attracts all peoples, Mongolian, Chinese, Indonesian, or American; they feel compelled to ask anyone and everyone, as well as those who know. The circles, too, which for nearly a century have tried to call a peacock a crow and a crow a peacock falsely describe the nature, aims, and method of the Risale-i Nur movement. Pretending not to see the truths of the Qur’an and belief in the six thousand page Risale-i Nur and the light it scatters throughout the world, they call the Risale-i Nur movement an order of crazy ecstatics and try to portray it as such. Whereas:

“It is a circle bound with a luminous chain stretching from east to west, and from north to south. Those within it number more than three hundred million at this time. The point of unity of this community and what binds it is Divine Unity. Its oath and its promise are belief in God. Its members are all believers, belonging from the time of God’s covenant with man. Its register is the Preserved Tablet. Its means of communication are all Islamic books. Its daily newspapers, all religious newspapers whose aim is ‘upholding the Word of God’. Its clubs and councils are the mosques, religious schools, and sufi meeting-houses. Its centre is the two sacred cities [Mecca and Medina]. Its head, the Glory of the World [the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]. Its way is the struggle of the each person with his own soul; that is, the struggle to assume the morality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to give new vigour to his practices, and to cultivate love for others and, if it is not harmful, offer them advice. The regulations of this community are the Practices of the Prophet, and its code of laws, the injunctions and prohibitions of the Shari‘a. Its swords are clear proofs, for the civilized are to be conquered through persuasion, not compulsion. Investigating the truth is with love, while enmity is for savagery and bigotry. Its aim and purpose is ‘Upholding the Word of God.’” 1

“The Risale-i Nur is not only repairing some minor damage or some small house; it is repairing vast damage and the all-embracing citadel which contains Islam, the stones of which are the size of mountains. And it is not striving to reform only a private heart and an individual conscience; it is striving to cure with the medicines of the Qur’an and belief and the Qur’an’s miraculousness the collective heart and generally-held ideas, which have been breached in awesome fashion by the tools of corruption prepared and stored up over a thousand years, and the general conscience, which is facing corruption through the destruction of the foundations, currents, and marks of Islam, which are the refuge of all and particularly the mass of believers.” 2

In this short paper I shall attempt to answer the three main questions asked about the Risale-i Nur movement, which has been a focus of interest in Turkey for seventy to eighty years, and worldwide for the last thirty years.

1) Is the Risale-i Nur movement a sufi order? If it is not, is it opposed to sufism?

2) Is the Risale-i Nur movement a political society? Does it have any political aims?

3) Is the Risale-i Nur movement a community?

II. Is the Risale-i Nur Movement a Sufi Order?

1. The Sufi Path, Sufi Orders, and the Risale-i Nur Movement

It is necessary before answering this question to define briefly the words sufi path (tsari q) and, sufi order (tariqat). Tariq is Arabic for ‘way,’ while tariqat has the meaning of ‘a way that should be followed for growing closer to God and obtaining His pleasure.’ 3 The meanings of these two words should be examined in two parts.

The First: In general ‘tariqat’ means a way leading to God. All religions are ways leading to God, and of course in the particular meaning that will be mentioned in the second meaning, the sufi orders are included in this. This is expressed by the saying “The ways leading to God are as numerous as the breaths of creatures,” which some scholars have said is an Hadith. Bediuzzaman, too, has mentioned this, in summary form:

“The ways leading to Almighty God are truly numerous. While all true ways are taken from the Qur’an, some are shorter, safer, and more general than others. Of these ways taken from the Qur’an is that of impotence, poverty, compassion, and reflection, from which, with my defective understanding, I have benefited… This path consists not of ten steps like the ‘ten subtle faculties’ 4 of some of the sufi orders (tsari qat) employing silent recollection, nor of seven stages like the ‘seven souls’ of those practising public recitation, but of Four Steps. It is reality [haqiqa], rather than a tariqat. It is Shari‘a.” 5

Thus, Bediuzzaman defines the paths leading to God as being four:

1) Firstly is the way of the sufis, which is founded on purification and illumination. Purification is to cleanse the heart through worship and the recitation of certain formulas, to purify the mind of things other than God, and to work to attain to knowledge of God. Illumination is the endeavour, through inspiration and ‘uncovering,’ to find ways that take man to God. In both the way to knowledge of God is traversed with “the feet of the heart.” The key to and means of this spiritual journeying is remembrance of God (dhikr-i Ilahi) and reflective thought. In the words of Imam-i Rabbani (Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi) “the final point of all the sufi paths is the clarification and unfolding of the truths of belief.” 6 Again according to Imam-i Rabbani’s classification, the sufi path is the “lesser sainthood” (walayat-i sughra). 7 The spiritual chiefs of this way are the Imam-i Rabbani’s, the ‘Abd al-Qadir Gilani’s, and the Bayezid al-Bistami’s.

2) The way of the scholars of kalam, which is the science formed to preserve and defend the basic tenets of Islam. Their two principle means of making known and proving God are the proofs known as contingency and createdness. Among the spiritual leaders of this way are the Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s, the Taftazani’s, and the Imam Ghazzali’s.

Although these two ways were inspired by the Qur’an and became widespread, since human thought poured them into other moulds, they became lengthy, difficult, and were unable to save themselves from certain delusions and dangers. We may see some of excesses and negligences in the books of the kalam scholars; so too we may read of some of the dangers of sufism in Bediuzzaman’s treatise, Telvisat-i Tis‘a (The Nine Allusions).

3) Thirdly is the way of the Islamic philosophers, which is beset with doubts and leaves those who follow in uncertainty. Some of those who took this way were the Ibn Sina’s, Farabi’s, and Kindi’s, who took reason as basic; those who called themselves the Peripatetics or followers of Aristotle; and the Illuminists like the Suhrawardi’s and Ibn Tufayl’s, who took inspiration and intuition of the heart as basic. Because some of the basic principles of philosophy were “rotten” and it produced certain undesirable results for those that followed them, genuises like the Islamic philosophers Ibn Sina and Farabi could reach the level only of ordinary believers. While Hujjat al-Islam Ghazzali did not accord them that level even. 8

4) The way of the Qur’an, which is essentially that of the Risale-i Nur. 9 But it should not be understood from this that the other ways are outside the Qur’an. If you want to know what it means, you may listen to these words of Bediuzzaman:

“The Risale-i Nur does not teach only with the feet and eye of the reason like the works of other scholars, nor does it only move with the illuminations and inspirations of the heart like the saints, it rather flies to the loftiest peaks by progressing with the feet of the uniting and combining of the reason and heart, and assistance of the spirit and other subtle faculties. It rises to places that not the feet, but the eye of aggressive philosophy cannot reach, and demonstrates the truths of belief to eyes that are blind even.” 10

While describing his transformation into the New Said, during which period he wrote the Risale-i Nur, he explains that after Imam-i Rabbani’s instruction to “Make your qibla one; follow only one master!”, the following occurred to his heart:

“Saying, ‘the true master is the Qur’an; making [my] qibla one will be by means of this master,’ both his heart and his spirit began to journey spiritually in truly strange fashion through the guidance of that sacred master. And his evil-commanding soul began an intellectual and spiritual struggle with him through doubts and scepticism. He journeyed not with the eyes closed, but with the eyes of the heart, spirit, and mind open, like Imam Ghazzali, Mawlana Jalal al-Din, and Imam-i Rabbani. Endless thanks be to Almighty God, through the instruction and guidance of the Qur’an, he found a way to reality, and entered upon it. So too he demonstrated it through the Risale-i Nur, which manifests the truth of ‘And in everything are signs indicating that He is One.’” 11

The Second: This is the specific meaning of ‘sufi order’ (tariqat) and this what comes to mind today on hearing the word. The word tariqat became the symbol of the organizations which, after the systemization of sufism, were distinguished by their own particular dress, recitations, and way of looking at things. 12 Some legal specialists have even discussed whether or not the sufi orders, which are social collectivities, should be afforded separate rights, and have wanted to conclude accordingly whether or not they are legal bodies. 13 Bediuzzaman defines the sufi orders in this meaning as follows:

“Underlying the terms ‘sufism,’ ‘path,’ ‘sainthood,’ and ‘spiritual journeying,’ is an agreeable, luminous, joyful, and spiritual sacred truth… The aim and goal of the sufi path is —knowledge of God and the unfolding of the truths of belief— through a spiritual journeying with the feet of the heart under the shadow of the Ascension of Muhammad (PBUH), to manifest the truths of belief and the Qur’an through illumination and certain states, and to a degree by ‘witnessing;’ it is an elevated human mystery and human perfection which is called ‘the sufi path’ or ‘sufism.’” 14

It is quite clear that the Risale-i Nur movement is not a sufi order (tariqat) in the above sense, but since it has as its basis the principles of impotence, poverty, compassion, and reflection, the word ‘way’ (tariq), in the sense of way leading to God, may be used in reference to it, as in the first and general meaning above.

It should therefore first be stated that rather than being a sufi order, the Risale-i Nur movement is ‘reality’ (haqiqat). However, it is not opposed to sufi orders in the second sense. Those interested may refer to the parts of the Twenty-Ninth Letter, from Mektûbat (Letters), an important part of the Risale-i Nur, which defend the sufi orders —one of the three citadels protecting the Islamic Ottoman Empire. This letter was written at a time the orders were proscribed, and were subject to attack. 15

Again Bediuzzaman himself describes why, while there were sufi orders, there was necessity for the Risale-i Nur movement this century:

“Since the fact is thus, my conjecture is that if figures like Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Geylani and Shah Naqshband and Imam-i Rabbani were living at this time, they would expend all their endeavours on strengthening the truths of belief and tenets of Islam. For they are the means to eternal happiness. If there is any deficiency in them, it causes eternal misery. Paradise cannot be entered without belief, but there are many who enter it without sufism. Man cannot live without bread, but he can live without fruit. Sufism is the fruit, the truths of belief, basic sustenance. Formerly some of the truths of belief could be attained only through a spiritual journeying which lasted from forty days to forty years. Now, if, through the mercy of Almighty God, there is a way by which those truths may be reached in forty minutes, to remain indifferent to it is surely not sensible.” 16

That way, then, is the Risale-i Nur.

2. Claims that the Risale-i Nur is a Sufi Order

There are two different groups who claim that the Risale-i Nur is a sufi order.

The First comprises the state intelligence services and certain departments which are the microphone of the official ideology; they include the Risale-i Nur movement among the sufi orders and accuse it of opposing the ‘principles and reforms’ of the Republic in order to punish both Bediuzzaman and his students, and disconcert them. Bediuzzaman himself gave the best answer to such accusations. The main charge against Bediuzzaman in the Eskisehir trials, in 1935 and during the presidency of Mustafa Kemal, was that of forming a sufi order. Doubtless a scholar such as Bediuzzaman, who told those who accused him of wanting the Shari‘a that indeed he did want it and that if he had heads to the number of hairs on his head, he was ready to sacrifice all of them for the Shari‘a, such a person would surely not hesitated to proclaim that he was a follower of the sufi orders if indeed he had been. Instead, he gave the following reply to such accusations:

“Good sirs! I am not a shaykh, I am a hoja (teacher). The evidence is this: I have been here four years and if I had taught a single person the sufi way, you would have had the right to be suspicious. But I have told everyone who has come to me: Belief is necessary, Islam is necessary; this is not the age of sufism.” 17

The following sentences, which Bediuzzaman wrote in connection with the Afyon trials, corroborate the above:

“The basis and aim of the Risale-i Nur are certain, verified belief and the reality of the Qur’an, which is why three courts [Eskisehir, Denizli, and Afyon] have acquitted it as regards being a sufi order. These last twenty years not one person has said: ‘Said gave me instruction in sufism.’ Also, a way to which the majority of the forefathers of this nation have be bound may not be made something for which the nation is answerable. Also, secret dissemblers attach the name of sufi order to the reality of Islam; those who might well reply successfully to their attacks on this nation’s religion may not be accused of belonging to sufi orders.” 18

The Second are the claims of the person known as Shaykh Müslüm, who styles himself the leader of the Aczmendi sufi order. For the last year attempts have been made to present him to public opinion, colouring his claims with various accusations. The interest shown by even the official television channels is nothing other than a repetition of what the official ideology has done for the past seventy to eighty years. I want to emphasise that it is stated nowhere in the Risale-i Nur that it is a sufi order; on the contrary, in many places it is stressed that it is not. The claims of the above group, however, and those of its leader are misrepresentations of the Bediuzzaman’s explanations of the Risale-i Nur’s way leading to God, that of impotence, poverty, compassion, and reflection. The following are an example of these:

“This saying concerning the Naqshbandi Order suddenly occurred to me: ‘On the Naqshbandi way, one must abandon four things: the world, the hereafter, existence, and abandoning itself.’ It gave rise to the following thought: ‘On the way of impotence four things are necessary: absolute poverty, absolute impotence, absolute thanks, and absolute ardour, my friend.’” 19

As the above states, the Naqshbandi Order is one of the ways leading to God in the general sense (tariq) (but in the particular meaning is a tariqat,) while the Risale-i Nur is a way leading to God only in the general sense, the basic principles of which are impotence, poverty, thanks, and ardour. Just as the lines above also say, that “four things are necessary on the way of the Risale-i Nur: absolute poverty, absolute impotence, absolute thanks, and absolute ardour.” It is therefore either simple-mindedness or betrayal to take this sentence without thinking of the true meaning of the word tariq, and despite all Bediuzzaman’s numerous statements to the contrary, to call the Risale-i Nur movement a sufi order. Furthermore, Bediuzzaman’s eloquent replies to official accusations of sufism form the most powerful answers to simpleminded assertions such as these.

We may conclude the question of sufi orders by quoting one of these replies, which was part of his defence in Eskisehir Court:

“Firstly, all my books which you have in your possession testify that I am occupied with the truths of belief. I have, moreover, written in numerous of my treatises that it is not the time of sufism, but the time to save belief. There are many who will go to Paradise without joining a sufi order, but none who will go there without belief. It is therefore necessary to work for belief.

“Secondly, I have been in the province of Isparta for ten years. Let anyone come forward and say I have given them instruction in sufism. I have certainly given instruction to some of my special brothers in the sciences of belief and other elevated truths, since I am a teacher. But this was not instruction in the sufi way, it was instruction in reality.

“Thirdly; as for the claim that the sufi orders are praised in the Twenty-Ninth Letter, known as Telvihat-i Tis‘a (The Nine Allusions), the treatise is a scholarly discussion of the reality of sufism and the sufi orders. The prohibition cannot apply to this. Also, how can my explanations of the sufi orders as a sort of social benefit which are free of innovations and are the essence of taqwa, have for a thousand years illuminated the spirit of this nation, and to which half its forefathers lying in the graveyards were bound — how can my explaining this be used against me?” 20

III. Is the Risale-i Nur Movement a Political Movement?

Another accusation of those who want to axe the Risale-i Nur movement is that it is a political movement opposed to secularism, established with the aim of making the system of government, in either the social, economic, or legal fields, conform to religious principles and beliefs — if only in part. This they have asserted for seventy to eighty years and tried, by means of the microphones of the official ideology, to make the innocent public believe this lie. The above sentence is a paraphrase of the abrogated Article 163 of the Criminal Code, and now forms the final part of Article 24 of the Constitution. Before replying to these assertions, it is necessary to define the word ‘society’ (cemiyet).

In private law, a society is a ‘legal person.’ As a legal concept, it may be defined as an organized human collectivity. 21 There are legal societies, and illegal ones. What the Risale-i Nur movement was accused of, was being a society as defined by the abrogated Article 163. This accusation was made by the public prosecutor in the Eskisehir trials, which began in 1935, and was repeatedly made against Bediuzzaman throughout his life in all the court cases that were opened against him. It is also to be regretted that despite all the acquittals, the same accusations continued to be made after Bediuzzaman’s death in 1960 against those who read these books and were called Risale-i Nur students.

It should be stressed that the Risale-i Nur movement is not a society in the legal sense, despite being accused of being such from its beginnings up to the present. So too it is not in any way a society as described and defined by Article 163. In Bediuzzaman’s own words, “If it is a society, it is a brotherhood of the hereafter in respect of Islamic brotherhood. It is not a political society, as three courts have judged and have acquitted it of being such.” 22

Still relevant today are Bediuzzaman’s replies to Eskisehir Court in 1935 and his accusers, who, as though the Risale-i Nur movement was a secret society, went so far as to ask where the money came from:

“Firstly: Are there any documents related to such a political society, or our founding it; are there any signs of it? What evidence and what proof have they found that we have set up an organization with the money they so persistently ask about ?

“Secondly: Our business is belief. Through the brotherhood of belief we are the brothers of ninety per cent of the people of this country. Whereas a society is the alliance of a minority within the majority. Ninety-nine people cannot be a society in the face of one man. Unless some completely unfair irreligious person supposes —God forbid— everyone to be like himself, and spreads such gossip with the intention of insulting this blessed religious nation.

“Thirdly: Is there any harm if in ten years, not twenty or thirty, but perhaps a hundred or a thousand, students are bound to someone like me who earnestly loves the Turkish nation; who sincerely admires it since it is praised by the Qur’an; who supports it wholeheartedly since for six hundred years it withstood the whole world and was the Qur’an’s standard-bearer; who according to the testimony of a thousand Turks, has served the Turkish nation as much as a thousand nationalist Turkists; who since he prefers thirty to forty valuable Turkish youths to thirty thousand of his fellow countrymen who do not pray, has chosen this exile; who by being a teacher has preserved the dignity of his learning and teaches the truths of belief quite openly — if his students are bound to him and devoted to him in regard only to belief and reality and the hereafter, and are his brothers of the hereafter, are they very numerous and is there any harm in it? Could any fair person of conscience criticize this and look on them as a political society?” 23

Thus, just as the Risale-i Nur movement is not a political society, neither is it a secret society. If the word is considered according to its literal meaning, it means a collectivity, and a collectivity of people who come together through the ties of the brotherhood of the hereafter in respect of Islamic brotherhood may be called a society. There is no harm in calling the Risale-i Nur students a society in this sense, but again we should listen to Bediuzzaman to learn how ‘society’ should be understood:

“Yes, we are a society and we are a society that every century it has three hundred and fifty million [now one and a half thousand million] members. Every day through the five obligatory prayers, they demonstrate with complete veneration their attachment to the principles of that sacred society. Through the sacred programme of Indeed the believers are brothers, 24 they hasten to assist one another with their prayers and spiritual gains. We are members of that sacred, vast society, and our particular duty is to teach the believers in certain, verified fashion the Qur’anic truths of belief, and save them and ourselves from eternal extinction and everlasting solitary confinement in the Intermediate Realm. We have absolutely no connection with any worldly, political, or intriguing society or clandestine group, or the baseless, meaningless secret societies concerning which we have been charged; we do not condescend to such things.” 25

In any event, as a result of thousands of cases opened against them, there are now definite court rulings that accusations of this sort are not true. 26 But despite all this, Bediuzzaman and his students have always been accused of founding a secret political society.

IV. The Risale-i Nur Movement is a Community

The Risale-i Nur movement is not a sufi order, it is not a political society, and it is not a political party; so what is it? Bediuzzaman’s answer to this question was “We are a community (cema‘at).” So what is a ‘community’?

Derived from the Arabic meaning ‘gather together, collect, or bring together,’ in this context it means a group of Muslims who come together on the basis of religious brotherhood. 27 At the same time it is a term used for the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), the great mujtahids or interpreters of the law, the great majority of Muslims in every age, and mostly in Islamic sources, for the Sunnis.

It should be stressed that the Risale-i Nur Collection with its one hundred and thirty parts, which form the source of the Risale-i Nur movement, is available for all to see. Bediuzzaman’s ninety year life is also there for all to study. The hundreds of legal investigations over seventy to eighty years, and more than a thousand courts, have confirmed through the acquittals they have granted that the millions of Risale-i Nur students have no worldly aim and goal other than the truth. In which case, the Risale-i Nur movement is not in any respect a political society. If the associations of university students and tradesmen are called societies, then the name may be applied to the Risale-i Nur movement. But if what is meant by ‘society’ is an association related to belief and the hereafter, then it is called a ‘community.’ In Bediuzzaman’s words:

“Yes, we are a community. Our aim and programme is to save first ourselves, then our nation, from eternal extinction and permanent solitary confinement in the Intermediate Realm; to guard our fellow citizens against anarchy and aimlessness; and to protect ourselves with the steel-like truths of the Risale-i Nur against atheism, which destroys our lives in this world and the next.” 28

The following passage describes the nature of the Risale-i Nur community and its members:

“I put forward as witnesses all the Risale-i Nur students here, those who meet with me, and those who read and write. Ask them. I have said to not one of them that we are going to set up a political society or a Naqshbandi society. What I have always said to them is this: We shall endeavour to save belief. There is no tie between us other than the sacred community of Islam, which includes all believers and has more than three hundred million [the population of the Islamic world at that time] members.” 29

When describing those who visited him, Bediuzzaman made a threefold classification of the members of the Risale-i Nur community, which was defined above as including “all believers and has more than three hundred million (the population of the Islamic world at that time, now approaching one and a half thousand million) members.”

Firstly are friends: they have to earnestly support our work and service connected with the Words and lights of the Qur’an. They should not support in heartfelt fashion injustice, innovations, or misguidance, nor try to profit by them.

Secondly are brothers: together with truly and earnestly working to disseminate the Words, they are to perform the five obligatory prayers and not to commit the seven grievous sins.

Thirdly are students: to feel as though the Words are their own property written by themselves, and to know their vital duty, their life’s work, to be the service and dissemination of them. 30

V. Conclusion

The Risale-i Nur Movement is not a sufi order, it is reality and Shari‘a. The Risale-i Nur’s author, Bediuzzaman, made his spriritual journeys with the eyes of the heart, spirit, and mind open, like Imam Ghazzali, Mawlana Jalal al-Din, and Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi. He found a way to reality through the guidance and instruction of the Qur’an. Indeed, he demonstrated it with the Risale-i Nur, which manifests the truth of “In everything are signs indicating that He is One.” Nevertheless, the Risale-i Nur movement has never been opposed to sufism and never been inimical towards it. But it is neither a branch of the Naqshbandi Order nor an independent order.

There is absolutely no connection between the Risale-i Nur movement and the ‘Aczmendi Tariqat,’ which has appeared in recent years and some people claim Bediuzzaman founded.

The Risale-i Nur Movement is also not a secret society of the sort described in the abrogated Article 163 of the Criminal Code and Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution. It is not even a society among legal persons as described in the Civil Code.

The service performed by the Risale-i Nur is a community.

“It is a circle bound with a luminous chain stretching from east to west, and from north to south. Those within it number more than three hundred million at this time. The point of unity of this community and what binds it is Divine Unity. Its oath and its promise are belief in God. Its members are all believers, belonging from the time of God’s covenant with man. Its register is the Preserved Tablet. The community’s means of communication are all Islamic books. Its daily newspapers, all religious newspapers whose aim is ‘upholding the Word of God.’ Its clubs and councils are the mosques, religious schools, and sufi meeting-places. Its centre is the two sacred cities. Its head, the Glory of the World (PBUH). Its way is the struggle of the each person with his own soul; that is, to assume the morality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to give new vigour to his practices, and to cultivate love for others and, if it is not harmful, offer them advice. The regulations of this community are the Practices of the Prophet, and its code of laws, the injunctions and prohibitions of the Shari‘a. Its swords are clear proofs, for the civilized are to be conquered through persuasion, not compulsion. Investigating the truth is with love, while enmity is for savagery and bigotry. Its aim and purpose is ‘Upholding the Word of God.’” 31

That is to say, the Risale-i Nur movement is the community of the Ahl al-Sunna or Sunnis; it is service the aim of which is to establish in this age the Islam of the Age of the Prophet (PBUH). If they say the Risale-i Nur community is a society, we repeat this answer of Bediuzzaman:

“Yes, we are a society and we are a society that every century has three hundred and fifty million [now one and a half thousand million] members. Every day through the five obligatory prayers, they demonstrate with complete veneration their attachment to the principles of that sacred society.”

* * *

Tarihçe, Sözler Yayinevi 1991, 66-7.
1. Risale-i Nur Müellifi, Bediüzzaman Said Nursî, Hayati, Mesleki, Tercüme-i Hali (Tarihçe), Istanbul, Sözler Yayinevi 1991, 66-7.
2. Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Sualar, Sözler Yayinlari 1992, 151-2.
3. Eraydin, Selçuk, Tasavvuf ve Tarikatlar, Istanbul 1981, 172 ff.
4. ‘Ten subtle faculties’ (Leta’if-i ‘âsere): the ten fundamentals of the Naqshbandi Order.
5. Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Sözler, Istanbul, Sözler Yayinevi 1993, 462 / The Words [Eng. trans: Sükran Vahide], Sözler Publications 1992, 491.
6. Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Mektûbat, Sözler Yayinevi 1993, 22 / Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters 1928-1932 [Eng. trans: Sükran Vahide], 40.
7. Imam Rabbani (Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi), Mektûbat (Turkish trans.), ii, 363 ff.; Nursî, B. S., Mektûbat, 22.
8. Sözler, 543 / The Words, 565.
9. Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Mesnevi-yi Nûriye, Sözler Yayimevi 1980, 229; Muhâkemat, in Âsâr-i Bedi‘iyye, 252.
10. Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybî, Sinan Matbaasi 1960, 152.
11. Mesnevi-yi Nûriye, 7-8.
12. Eraydin, Tasavvuf ve Tarikatlar, 172.
13. Hatemi, Hüseyin, Medeni Hukuk Tüzelkisiler, Istanbul 1979, 45-52.
14. Mektûbat, 415 / Letters, 518.
15. Mektûbat, 415-28 / Letters, 518-535.
16. Mektûbat, 20-1 / Letters, 41.
17. Mektûbat, 59 / Letters, 85.
18. Sualar, 325.
19. That is, four things have to be given up on the Naqshbandi way: giving up both this world, and the next world, and ‘being,’ and giving up itself.
20. Mektûbat, 18 / Letters, 38.
21. Lem’alar (Ott. ed.), 747.
22. Köprülü, Bülent, Medeni Hukuk, Istanbul 1984, 426.
23. Sualar, 325.
24. Lem’alar (Ott. ed.), 773 ff.
25. Tarihçe, Envâr Nesriyat 1991, 400-1.
26. See, Sualar, 317 ff.
27. Islâm Ansiklopedisi, Istanbul, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfi 1993, vii, 287-8.
28. Sualar, 317-8.
29. Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Sirâcü’n-Nûr (Ott. ed.), 354; Badilli, Abdülkadir, Bediüzzaman Said Nursî, Mufassal Tarihçe-i Hayat, ii, 1056.
30. Mektûbat, 329-30 / Letters, 417-8.
31. Tarihçe, Sözler Yayinevi 1991, 66-7.