FAITH AS THE FOUNDATION OF HUMAN PROGRESS: NURSI’S PERSPECTIVE

Eklenme Tarihi: 06 Şubat 2017

A paper presented at 1st International Symposium of Hutbe-i  I samiye, under the theme “The Muslim World and Global peace” Organized by Artuklu University, in Collaboration with Risale Academy, Istanbul Foundation for Science and Culture and Foundation of Academic Research, from 12-14th April 2013. Mardin, - Turkey 10 April 2013

 

ABSTRACT

The progress and development of societies is intractably tied to their value system. From an Islamic perspective, the value system derives its validity from faith. This is because faith is the engine upon which a value system is driven. It is against this general context that the paper examines the various dimensions of faith as pillars of progress and development of societies. The paper also discusses the inter-linkages between faith and progress in Islam. The paper further goes to also analyse this dimension by examining the teachings of Nursi on the subject and the lessons that are therefore given to human beings in society. The paper concludes by advancing the way forward in understanding the linkage between faith and progress

Introduction

Bediuzzaman said Nursi was born in eastern part of Turkey in 1877. He was a scholar of the highest standing having studied not only all the traditional religious sciences, but also modern science and technology. Therefore he was titled Bediuzzaman; wonder of the Age in his youth as a result of his outstanding ability and learning. Bediuzzaman died in 1960 at the age of 83 after struggle and self-sacrifice in the cause of Islam[1] the big work and achievement was done by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, could be seen through His book Risale-i Nur collection about 5000 pages in which different subjects are cited. In the first reading, it may seem as an exegesis of the Glorious Qur’an but at the second and third reading it may different. Aspects of some other branches of knowledge such as theology, psychology, history, philosophy, cosmology, economics, physics, medicine law and technology will all prove an integral part of Risale-i Nur. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, considers Al-Iman (Faith) as his main goal in his writings, but what is faith? How it can be seen as a foundation for human progress?

In attempt to answer these questions, the concept of faith and progress should be first defined.

Conceptual clarification of Faith and progress

Two main phrases which repeated at various areas in the paper will now be explained. These are faith and progress. Faith will be the first focus. Faith or belief denotes Iman. It’s originated from the verb “amana” which in its several forms means to be faithful to be reliable, to be safe and secure from fear. It also gives the concept of rendering secure and of putting trust in someone or something, the latter understood as having faith. The person who is faithful, thus, is he or she who understands and accepts the content of Allah’s basic revelation and who there by has entered a state of security and trust in God[2] The believers in this context, are only those who when Allah is mentioned feel a fear in their hearts and when his verses are recited to them, they increase their faith and they put their trust in their lord (alone).[3] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi discusses the relationship between mankind and divine in the concept of tawhid when he points out that belief illuminates man and allows him to arise to the highest of the high[4] Above the statement its vital to assess the meaning of faith and its value for mankind as conceived by Nursi in his Risale-i Nur. Faith is a back bone of mankind[5] or it is a differentia (fark) that distinguishes mankind from all other living things including animals and insects. Simply because according to Nursi, Belief is both light and strength (Progress). Yes, one acquires true belief may challenge the whole universe and be saved for the pressure of events in accordance with the strength of his belief[6] Say: “I place my trust in God”[7] Besides, according to Nursi, belief makes man into man, indeed, it makes man into a king. Since this is so, man’s basic duty is belief and supplication contrary unbelief makes a man as into an extremely, impotent beast[8]. Above the statement of Nursi, it’s important to underline that faith is vital for mankind than mere rationality or ordinary materialistic approaches. Though, “such a conviction sounds astonishing and challenging and even it may give the impression that as of peoples spiritual matter is down grading the value of rationality in relation to faith”[9] Besides the view of Nursi can  be seen as criticism or guidelines for social formation. “We may begin to see the positive side of this view, even if a person does not agree with it completely, if we look closely into possible causes of the today’s crises in many parts of the world. As has been pointed out by many experts, most of the crises in to days modern world, particularly the economic ones, do not arise because of the insufficiency of rationality in peoples approaches to conducting and managing their businesses but as a result of many diverse factors, most common of which is unrestrained and self-centred human behaviour, which is generally caused according to Nursi’s diagnosis, by the lack of faith[10] Now, how the term of progress can be defined? Progress. The word progress denotes, the process of improving or developing of getting nearer to achieving or completing something over a period of time[11] in other meaning, the word progress can be defined as a gradual process towards a goal, honour or position in society.[12]

The Foundation of Faith and Human Progress

To talk about the foundation of faith in Islam, it is vital to read the hadith of the prophet (SAW) which was reported by Umar Bin al-khattab (R.A) where Jibril (Angel) asked the prophet (S.A) about faith. He said: “Iman” faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the last Day, and to believe in destiny, whether good or bad[13] in the above mentioned Hadith,  “Iman” (faith) has already been confirmed by Umaru Bin al-khattab as focusing on the essentials of Islam. Special reference is made to the good behavior of human being in terms of sincerity, honesty and regularity in different forms of worship are in relationship with faith. Islam commands Muslims to follows:

The Tawheed and forbids shirk (setting associates with Allah).
Truthfulness and forbids lying.
Justice and forbids oppression.
Trustworthiness and forbids treachery.
Faithfulness and forbids betrayal.
To be good and dutiful to ones parents, and forbids being disrespectful to them.
Keep ties with relatives of kinships and forbids severing the ties with them.
To have good relationship with one’s neighborhood and forbids all forms of ill treatment to the neighbors.[14]
General speaking, Islam commands all noble morals, and forbids all ill and despicable manners, it also commands righteousness and forbids wrong attitudes Allah says: “Verily Allah enjoins Al-Adl. i.e justice and worshipping none but Allah and Al-Ihsaan[15] and giving help to Kith and kin[16] and forbids Al-fahshaa’[17] Al-Munkar[18] and Al-Baqhy.[19] If these principles are well applied human progress will be effective. Therefore it’s important to assess the philosophy of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi to understand the dimension of faith in progress.

Philosophy of Nursi in Progress

Nursi’s philosophy of human progress by faith is based on the Qur’an. Since the universe was created by Allah with a particular order, measure, beauty and aesthetic structure, it forms the clearest and most decisive evidence for its maker. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi thus emphasizes the cosmological and metaphysical dimension of the Qur’an, stating that:

The purpose of the universe’s creation is not solely anthropocentric, before everything the universe is a missive, a book, showing its maker. It therefore has a dimension which transcends man.

There are certain aims in the creation of all living beings, man’s prime obligation is to understand these and act in conformity with them.

Since there are no wastefulness and prodigality in the universe, man should not be wasteful in his life.
The models of unlimited growth and unlimited consumption are opposed to the spirit of the Quran. Man is compelled to take heed of the ecological balances and systems which the creator has placed in the universe.
Man will be called to account in the hereafter for what he has done in this world. Included in this will be his treatment of the beings in the universe, animate and inanimate.[20]

For man to be able to live in peace, happiness, and affluence, he has to recognize his maker, adhere to him, and abide by the rules that he has laid down.[21] Thus, Bediuzzaman challenged the mechanistic, materialist, modern world view, which has been dominant since the 8th century and in fact opposes all religions. His views, which gain even greater importance in the light of the efforts of environmental philosophy to redefine the environment in terms of meaning. Despite the similarities in his approach to the those of the great geniuses of Islamic tradition such as Ghazali, Immam-ı Rabbani, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhind. Ibn Arabi, Jalandal Din Rumi as he frequently stated himself, his approach was based on the Qur’an.[22] Moreover, the famous known verse in the Qur’an[23] should be carefully considered for human progress “Indeed, Allah does not change people’s circumstances unless they change what is in themselves”. The meaning of the above verse has to do with individual transformation and progress and social reform, but any change should only be effective” if that occurs first internally in the Individual before any meaningful external change can take place. From the Qur’anic perspective, the most important locus for generating genuine individual change follow by social change is thus clearly the human heart not to be understood of course merely as physical organ but as the basic cognitive and emotive center of the human system”[24] this should be in connection with internal faith taqwa and sincerity.


Faith, Taqwa and Sincerity entrench the progress

The most important concept that gives one’s life a meaning are faith, tagwa and sincereity[25] Faith and taqwa are to curb one’s fleshly desires and to strengthen the spiritual potential through prayers to Allah and doing good deeds for humanity. Hence, faith and taqwa are required in every field of life, in our belief, worship, in our dealings with others even in our every breath. To have faith taqwa and sincerity mean to be a  friend to almighty Allah, to possess a spiritually healthy heart in this world which can take lessons from the divine manifestations of power in the universe, and to have merit of entering paradise through divine grace[26] In other words, to have faith, sincerity and taqwa means to purify our inner world from all kinds of spiritual disease, enabling our hearts to take pleasure from deeds and prayers which are in accordance with the divine will such a state of heart is, described in the following verse of the Glorious Quran “he indeed shall be successful who purifies himself”[27] Besides, to have faith, sincerity and taqwa means to attain unity with Allah in the heart, which is to assume the divine characteristics of beauty (Jamal) like mercy, forgiveness, slowness in retribution and so on. This means according to Osman Nuri Topbaş to seek divine satisfaction in all our actions and in all breaths[28] of course in order to attain such high standards one needs to struggle to transform ones heart. Allah almighty explains the difficulty of this spiritual battle by swearing by the seven wonders of creation, at the end of which he tells that only those who purify their hearts will be saved; “By the sun and  his (glorious) splendor, by the moon as she follows him, by the Day as it shows up (the sun’s) glory, by the Night as it conceals it, by the heaven and Him who made  it, By the earth and Him who extended it, by the soul and Him who made it perfect, then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it, he will indeed be successful who purifies it(his inner world),and he will indeed fail who corrupts it “[29] the above verses, it’s noticed that, man has on the one hand his “nafs” his egoistic and animal desires, and on the other hand, he has the feeling of taqwa that will protect him from misleading.

Spot light on keys of progress by faith

The key to Muslim’s happiness in the life of Islamic society is the mutual consultation enjoined by the sharia (whose rule is consultation among themselves.[30] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi affirms that consultation is a fundamental principle.  Just as the consultation of the ages and centuries that mankind has practiced by means of history, a conjunction of ideas, formed the basis of man’s progress and sciences. Bediuzzaman demonstrates that most of the backwardness of some nations in the past such as Asia was the failure to practice true consultation that is to say: consultation between nations and individuals for good is vital. For him human progress will never be effective without consultation. For Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, faith or belief necessitates not for humiliation other through oppression and despotism.[31].

Allah is the ‘’Wali” protector for believers

The significance of belief can be seen in different manner according to Islamic concept of belief for instance, “Allah is the wali (protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (supporters and helpers) are Taghut (false deities and false leaders (backwardness). They bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the fire, and they will abide there in forever.”[32]

In understanding this verse, a reader should try to conceive the distinction between believer and unbeliever according to Nursi’s perspective for him “through the light of belief, man rises to the highest of the high and acquires a value worthy of paradise. And through the darkness of unbelief, he descends to the lowest of the low and falls to a position fit for Hell. According to Nursi belief connects man to the All-glorious maker, thus, man acquires value by virtue of the divine art and inscriptions of the dominical names which become apparent in him through belief.[33] According to Nursi’s comments “Unbelief severs the relation, and due to that severance, the dominical art is concealed, His value then is only in respect to the matter of his physical being. And since this matter has only  a transitory, passing, temporary animal life, its value is virtually nothing[34] in this context its important to talk about the significance of faith that makes human being to be progressed in a right direction.

Significance of Faith for Human Progress

Faith is very significant for human progress. It’s not merely conviction of the truth or a given principle, but it is essentially the acceptance of a principle as a basis for action. Without faith, a man is like a car without a steering wheel drifting aimlessly upon a sea of doubt and confusion[35] This is in connection to Nursi’s perception about faith, because, according to him “if a man does not recognize Allah and place his trust in Him, he becomes extremely weak and impotent, needy and impoverished, a suffering, grieving and ephemeral animal exposed to endless misfortune, suffering continuously  the pain of separation from all the objects of love and attachment, he will ultimately abandon all of his loved ones and go alone to the darkness of the grave. Throughout his life, he struggles vainly, with an extremely limited will, slight power, a short life span and dull mind, against infinite pains and hopes[36] to no avail, he strives to attain innumerable desires and goals. Even though he is unable to bear the burden of his own being, he takes the load of the vast world on to his wretched shoulders and mind. He suffers the torment of Hell before even arriving there[37] but the question that should be posed here. What is the secret of human progress according to Bediüzzaman Said Nursi.

The Secret of Human Progress According to Bediüzzaman and Said Nursi

Bediüzzaman Said Nursi goes beyond what other scholars think of progress. For him the secret of human progress can be found in faith which makes human to sacrify himself for the nation’s benefits above personal benefits. According to him, Muslim should expand all his efforts and energy for society, for  such sacrifice would be reward not only in this world but also in hereafter[38] For instance, because of the national feeling other people have taken from us, one of them says: should I die, let my nation live, for I have an ever lasting. Life in my nation. They have taken these words from us and it is the firmest foundation in their progress. These worlds proceed from the religion of truth and the truths of belief. They are our property, the property of the believers[39]

Campaign for Faith is needed for Human Progress

Faith is fundamental power for human progress simply because “The revival of faith (religion) is the revival of the nation. Again, the light of religion is the light of life.[40] Moreover, creating a tranquil society, by raising gracious, kind and thoughtful individuals is one of the main goals of the religion. This process according to Osman Nuri Topbaş, depends on both nurturing the soul with feelings of decency and sympathy and reflecting those same qualities through service to the community. After all, these are opportunities for the servant to repay his overwhelming debt of gratitude to his lord[41] in other place, Topbaş gives much values to faith as does Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, therefore the calls for serious campaign for faith is needed in the contemporary world where brotherhoodly sentiments have weakened, peace and tranquility in the society have been lost, and hate and enmity have intensified[42]. In addition to these, it is important in our discussion to mention some challenges facing global system in order to propose some solutions by Bediuzzaman said Nursi perspectives. What are they?

Challenges facing the Global System and their Remedies

There are many challenges that facing new global system including industrialization, modernization information and communication technology, digitized mass media, virtual realities, genetic engineering discoveries, science invocations, knowledge society and economic realities, clash of civilization, end of history, end of state, end of civilizations, weapons of pass destruction, sophisticated warfare techniques, ethnic tensions, religious conflicts, poverty, environmental pollution, health problems and so on, should be considered for understanding the world[43] In addition to these challenges it’s also vital to  underline that according to Nursi perspective “Illness, suffering and disaster are facts of life from which no is exempt. Mostly they are seen to be the inescapable evils of life, despite the advances in medicine, science, and technology modern times. For just as these tremendous advances have eliminated illness and disaster indeed there is no sign of their lessening, so too have they not offered any care for the non-physical pain and suffering which result from them, and exacerbated them. This is surely true for all facets of modern western civilization. Although its material progress has greatly improved the material lives of a certain section of humanity, it has clearly not brought with it happiness and fulfillment for humanity[44]

In the discussion of global challenges, what Bediuzzaman Said Nursi suggests as remedies or solutions?

Faith as a Solution or Medication for Global Problems

To Nursi, the remedies, medication or solution for new global world can be seen in faith “iman” simply because human being’s most fundamental need is the need for faith (religion). The need to recognize and worship Al-mighty Allah with all His Most beautiful names and attributes and to obey His laws, those manifested in the universe and those revealed through his prophets. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi in his finding the solution of global problems recognizes effectiveness of science. In Risale-i Nur, he demonstrates that there is no contribution or dichotomy, between science and religion, rather, trade progress and happiness for human being can and will only be achieved in this way, the way of the Qur’an[45] in précising the solution for global challenge’ he considers faith (Iman) as the light, through which progress of human being can be seen clearly. For him “Through light of belief, man rises to the highest of the high in progress and acquires a value worthy of paradise. And through the darkness of unbelief, he descends to the lowest of low and falls to a position fit for Hell[46] what is the position of Bediuzzaman concerning Medicine and medication?

Bediüzzaman Said Nursi and Modern Medication

In his Risale-i Nur, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has never been against modern medicine and its approach for human progress, indeed his is a tabib al-galeb” doctor of heart. He affirms that in “the pharmacy of the earth” is a cure for every illness, “God did not create sickness for which he did not provide a medication for it in advance “and these should be benefited from. In using medication, one should be aware that the effects of medicines are for Almighty Allah (God) just as He provides them. Besides, since man’s true sickness arises from unbelief and physical illness itself very often results from “Abuses” and excesses” that is, from not adhering to the teachings of religion, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi suggests to find accrue, recourse should be had to  believing, religious doctors, and that “materialists and heedless doctors” should themselves “take the medicines of belief from the sacred pharmacy of the Qur’an” if they are truly to heal others[47] in his perspective of faith, and achievement of progress, Nursi does not hesitate in his belief to say that Belief is both light and strength (progress) simply because “who obtains true belief, may challenge the whole universe and be saved from the pressure of events in accordance with strength of  his belief.[48]

Strategies for Preventing Faith from Weakness

The strategies of preventing faith from weakness can be found as has prescribed by Islam in the following segments:

Aware that “death and life are created by only Al-mighty (Allah) God He may test you which of you (people) is best in deed”[49] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi says in this context “for sure, the one who gives life to a fly must be the one who crated all insects and animals and who gives life to the earth”.[50]

Pondering the meanings of the Qur’an that Allah revealed to the prophet Muhammad (S.A) which explained various issues of human life (happiness and sadness). There is no doubt that it contains powerful medication for securing sickness of mankind. God points out in this regard that “And we send down from the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe”[51] the method of treatment is to think and ponder its meanings. The messenger of Allah used to ponder the meanings of the Books of Allah and recite it when he stood in prayer at night and recited one single ayah verse from the book of Allah. Whilst he was praying, without going any further than that (one ayah) until morning. The ayah in question was; “if you punish them, they are your slaves and if you forgive them, verily you, only you are the Almighty, the All wise”.[52]

Contemplation (At – Amulu) The strategies of preventing the faith from weakness can be observed more again in the verses in which Allah says “verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for mean of understanding. Those who remember Allah (always and in prayers) standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and think deeply abut the creation of the heavens and the earth”.[53] Above the verse, it’s vital to point out that believers are asked to contemplate, meditate, think and understanding, in doing this, the faith of believer will be prevented from weakness.

Reading or listening careful the life stories of the prophets and nations including the issues that are related to promises of reward, threats of punishment rules and regulations, reports, stories and good morals and its effects on the heart are various. For instance, some Qur’anic verses fill the heart with fear more than others as indicted by the hadith of the prophet (S.A) “Hood, al waqi’ah Al-Mursalat, amma, and Shams.[54]

Reading always Bismillah “in the name of Allah” because that is the start of all things good[55] learning the names and attributes, and trying to understand them and to keep these feelings in the heart so that they may have an effect on one’s actions. Simply because the heart is the controller of the faculties which are like soldiers and followers, if it is sound, they will be sound, and if it is corrupt they will be corrupt.[56]

Seeking knowledge which leads a person to the fear of Allah and which increases a person’s faith in Him. Allah says “it is only those who have knowledge among His creatures (slaves) that fear Allah”[57] in other verse Allah says “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?”[58] They are not equal at all. How one who knows the detail of Islamic law, including the meanings and implications of the shahadatayn, the things that will happen after death such as the formant of the grave, the borrows of the final gathering, the stage of the day of Resurrection[59] the delights of paradise and punishment of Hell, the wisdom of Islamic law in prescribing halal and Haram, the details of the prophet’s (S.A) seerah, and other kinds of knowledge etc. how can one who knows all these be equal in faith with one who is ignorant of the religion and its rulings[60]

Regular attendance at gatherings of dhikr (remembrance of Allah). This leads to an increase in faith. The prophet says “No people sit together remembering Allah, but the angels surround them and Allah mentions then to those who are in his presence”.[61]


Effect of Faith on Social Development

Faith affects social progress. In this respect, encouraging doing good and forbidding evil are the most important characteristic of a believer. The duty of a pious person is to express this with their actions as well as their speech and to advise good and prevent evil in a gentle manner. Bearing in mind that if invitation towards Islam and the fear of Allah’ is abandoned the society will become vulnerable to disasters. However, the only way to protect society against Divine punishment is to encourage people to do good and to forbid them from evil this is the task of every believer with Taqwa and sincerity. While performing this duty or any related duty, one must be guided by the Qur’an and sunnah and consult a person of knowledge at every stage[62] Besides, if we desire to progress the nation, we must live a virtuous life and advice others to like in goodness, abstaining from bad and evil and prohibiting others form doing  the same. We have to be aware of our duties on the path of Allah without this sense of duty and affection a person can not be successful in advising other of what is good and what is evil. In addition to this, it should be taken into consideration element of wisdom when serving the society. Without doubt those who work in the service of Islam and society spread great energy around them that every thing finds life through them, by enlightening their environment, they increase their own illumination[63]. According to Osman Nuri[64] sincere service is the result of a sound heart. Success in servitude requires knowledge, wisdom, efficiency, equanimity and a responsible character and personality. The heart of a dutiful person should be like fertile soil, those who derive benefit from it leave behind ashes, by purifying the ashes the soul is able to cultivate various plants that will nourish all the passing creatures[65] therefore those who do not have sufficient knowledge or experience, who give no importance to the progress of spirituality or morality, those dutiful ones who have no true understanding can not offer service of any use, frankly, we cannot expect any good to come form service,  that has been performed in a harsh manner by abrupt and offensive people who are not blessed with a heart of good tem permanent[66] thus, the greatest duty towards human beings, with in these measures, is to assist them in attaining the eternal future. The way to achieve is by being guided to the path of a true believer by the principles and guidance of the Quran. This following prayer of the prophet (S.A) should be in the hearts and prayers of those who continuously perform their duties as human beings. “Allah! I seek refuge in your from helplessness, idleness, cowardice and every kind of weakness”[67]

The prayer above of the prophet Mohammad (S.A) emphasizes the need for sensitivity and thoughtfulness, as well as action and progress in society[68] Osman Nuri points out that sometimes helping one person of good character can be equal to helping thousands of people if you supply the means to an intelligent person it will never be wasted[69] All these, cannot be effective without sound faith and sincerity that light for human progress.

Faith as a Light for Human progress

According to Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, faith is just like a light for human progress and unbelief’s is just like darkness against progress. This is because the Qur’an increases in light those who ponder over (the parables) in the darkness of disbelief with a view to criticizing them, and this because the Qur’an in some verses is theoretical (nazri) and not obvious (badihi). And this is so that elevated, pure spirits may be distinguished from lowly ones. And this is so that eminent dispositions may be differentiated through their progress from wicked ones. And this his so that sound natures may be picked out through their development[70] striving and exertion from among corrupted rotten ones. And this necessitates man’s examination. And this requires is being tested and tried. And this demands his accountability due to the obligations laid on him (al-taklif) to perfect him and his happiness[71] but the question that should be asked here, what his the relationship between faith and accountability according to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi perspective?

Faith and Sense of Accountability

The issues of accountability is an important subject in Muslim philosophy through which Bediuzzaman Said Nursi tried to analyse this subject in his book Risale-i Nur collection[72] For him, accountability is not an independent affair which has nothing to do with a responsibility in human life. Accountability and responsibility are just like two faces for one coin. For Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, a man whose life is so brief can not experience the true essence of justice in this transient world, it for this reason that matter are postponed for a supreme tribunal. For true justice requires that man, this apparently creature should be rewarded and punished not in accordance with his pettiness, but in accordance with his crime. Above mentioned shows that (I Man) or faith gives to men sense of responsibility and accountability in his life. Islam teaches that Allah has predetermined the span of our life and the time of our death “it does not mean that even our actions are predetermined by Him we surely are free in our actions and are, therefore, accountable and responsible for them. God only provides guidance for us to know what is good and what is bad. He says: “We created man of a water-drop. Surely we guide him to the right way. Now whether he (follows it and be grateful or (goes astray and) be ungrateful is up to him’.[73]’ What you plant in this world you will reap in the Hereafter”, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi is aware of this.

In Risale-i Nur, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi tries to make relationship between faith and accountability by saying that “just as Allah the most High entrusted man with the faculty of will (al-juz’al ikhtiyari) and charge him (al-takhlif) through it to form the world of voluntary actions, so too he made this obligation the means of watering the unlimited seeds planted in the human spirit and their germination. If it were not for that obligation those seeds would not sprout. Besides, if you study the history (ah-wal) of mankind deeply, you will see that all advances of the human spirit, and divine perfecting of the conscience, and progress of the intellect, and productive advances in thought which are so great as to be astounding, have occurred only due to mans accountability and though faculties being awakened by the sending of prophets and the fecundation of religious laws, and the inspiration of the religions. Had it not been for them, human beings would have remained as animals and those perfections of the conscience and moral virtues would have been non existent[74]

Faith and Scientific Progress

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi considers the use of science for human progress is appreciated by the Qu’ran in some verses, Allah says to human being: “use your intelligence Think! Consult your mind and your heart Confer with them so that you might know this fact!”[75] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi stresses that by the Qur’an scientific progress is possible. He calls Human being especially Muslims to look all at the beginning and ends of verses such as those, they say “Why do you not look? Why do you not take warnings? look so that you may know the truth” Take note of the “way” know!” is used. Many verses according to him contain sentences that have the meaning of why do men not know, why do they fall into compounded ignorance? Why do they not look? Have they become blind so that they can not see the truth? Why do men not call to mind and ponder over their own lives and the events in the world so that they might find the straight path? Why do they not think, deliberate and reason with the mind, and so fall into misguidance? O mean! Take a lesson! Take a warning from past ages and try to be saved from the moral and spiritual calamities of the future!”[76] All the examples and verses above refer human being to his intellect, they enjoin him to consult with his reason[77] For Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, “Things like the aeroplane, electricity, railways, and the telegraph have comes into existence as wonders of science and technology as the result of man’s progress in science and industry, surely the All-wise Quran which address all mankind, does not neglect these[78] For Nursi this has to be in the context of faith. Why it may even be said that like spiritual and moral attainments, Material attainments and wonders were first given to mankind as a gift by the hand of miracles. Thus, what first gave man, the gift of the ship, which was a miracle of Noah (Peace be upon him), and the clock, a miracle of Joseph (Peace be upon him), was the hand of miracles. It is a subtle indication to this truth that most craftsmen have a prophet as the patron of their craft. For example seamen have Noah (PUH) watchmakers have Joseph (PUH), tailors have Idris (PUH) and so on. Indeed, investigative scholars and the science of rhetoric are in agreement that all the Qur’anic verses contain numerous aspects of guidance and instruction[79] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi summarizes his position in respect of scientific progress when he, says “we Muslims, who are students of the Qur’an, follow proof, we approach the truths of belief through reason, thought, and our hearts. We do not abandon proof in favour of blind obedience and imitation of the clergy like some adherents of other religions. Therefore in the future when reason, science and technology prevail, of a certainty that will be the time the Qur’an will gain ascendancy, which relies on rational proofs and invites the reason to confirm its pronouncements[80] This means that Faith is the foundation of human progress especially if it’s well understood and utilized properly.

Science Alone is not enough for Progress

Reading deeply Islamic studies a person can understand that Islam is a religion that holds that science alone is not enough to bring real progress. In secular countries that are technologically advanced, we notice that technology itself may create serious problems to those countries, and other countries. For example, science has led to the invention of atomic bombs that are capable of destroying a whole city with its millions of civilians in a minute. Killing one million civilians or more in a minute is a terrible act of brutality. This act is the product of science with the absence of true religion. According to Islam, civilians should not be harmed during war.[81] 

Further, science has led to the invention of bombs that destroy plant life. Again, this is an act of extreme materialism devoid of spiritualism. According to Islam, civilians, animals and plants should not be harmed during war. This shows that while science gives us the instruments of destruction, the misuse of these instruments does not take place through science. These destructive instruments are  employed through a political decision. This means that we have to go back to the politicians psychology to determine what kind of behaviour is expected. Science and technology alone are not enough to achieve progress in society, on their own they may, in fact, create real problems for everybody.82However, if science is accompanied with the practice of the true religion and submission to Allah, it will be used to serve man and not to torture or destroy him.

Conclusion

From the foregoing discussion, it’s necessary to stress in this paper that there is still hope for peace in the world which should be guided by divine revelation in order to be proper attained. Bediuzzaman said Nursi’s project of faith (Al-Iman) condemns totally hostility predicated by racism, negative nationalism or ethnicism and disparities between people caused by injustice, oppression, mischief, corruption all of which have been the major obstacles to peace in the contemporary world have never been adequately assessed or criticized as they have been criticized by the Qur’an as has interpreted by the Risale-i Nur of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. with all these, and by virtue of firm (Iman) belief as a foundation for human progress. It is vital to point out that peace including human socio economic development give hope in the environment in which moral values is appreciated. Besides, economic injustices theories of conflict between religions and civilization and global terror constitute serious threat today for human progress, seeking solutions for these enormous problems Bediuzzaman Said Nursi has much to say to mankind in his famous quotation and our enemies are ignorance poverty and internal conflict. We shall fight the enemies with weapons of education, industry, and unity” by the project of faith and sincerity.

REFERENCES

[1] See more for this information in the book “message for the sick” from the Risale-i Nur collection, Sözler publications, Istanbul 2005, p. 7. See again Şükran Vahide, Islam in Modern Turkey:
An intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, edited with an introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu-rabiu, State university of New York press, U.S.A, 2005, p. 3-48.
[1] See for more details. Jane I. Smith, “The heart of the matter, Faith and Belief in the poetic imagery Bediuzzaman said Nursi, in (Spiritual Dimensions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Risale- i Nur, edited and with an introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu Rabi State University of New York Press 2008, p. 71.
[1] Al-Anfaal:2
[1] Bediüzzaman Said, Nursi, The words 23 p. 319.
[1] See the similar views of Nursi in “lights of Reality” From the Risale-i Nur Collection, Sözler publsications 2006, p.348.
[1] Bediuzzaman said Nursi, The words 23. P. 322.
[1] Qur’an 39:39
[1] Bediuzzaman said Nursi’s, Ibid. p. 323.
[1] Bilal Kuşpınar “the Fusion of faith and knowledge in Finding solutions for problems: Nursi’s illuminative path” in the book; knowledge, faith, morality and the future of Humanity Istanbul foundation for science and culture, Oct 2010, p. 47.
[1] Ibid p. 47.
[1] Oxford advanced learners Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 6th ed. 2000, p. 932.
[1] See Ibrhaim Aniis, Al-Mu’jamu al-wasit, cairo 1972, p. 753.

[1] Abu Zakariya Bin Sharafudin al-Nawawi, “Forty Hadith” in Arabic text with English Translation and commentary by Basheer A. Mohyiden, printed by Merci production, Kaduna. (ND) p. 9.
[1] Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen Explaining the Fundamentals of faith “Islamic Message society, Alex – Egypt (N.D) p. 11.

[1] Al-Ihsan: Means to be patient in performing ones duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the sunnah of the prophet (S.A)
[1] Beginning of kinship: First, your parents, then your offspring, then your brothers and sisters, then your paternal uncles and aunts (from thepather’s side), then your maternal uncles and aunts (from your mother’s side), and then other relatives.
[1] Al-fahshaa; All evil deeds ex; illegal sexual intercourse, disobedience to parents, to tell lies…etc.
[1] Al- Munkar: All that is prohibited by Islamic law; polytheism, disbelief, etc.
[1] Al-Baghy: All kinds of oppression against life or law.
[1] İbrahim Özdemir, “Bediüzzaman Said Nursi’s Approach to the environment” in the book” A contemporary approach to understanding the Quran:The Example  of the Risale-i Nur , Sözler, İstanbul 2000, p. 703.
[1] Ibid p. 703.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Qur’an 13:11
[1] See more Asma Afsaruddin, Taking faith to Heart, Reconciliation and Fraternal love in Islamic thought in the (the Book bringing Faith, meaning and Peace to life in a Multicultural world: The Risale-i Nur’s approach NESIT, Istanbul 2004, p. 67.
[1] Osman Nuri Topbaş, “Ikhlas and Tagwa” ERKAM Publications, Istanbul 2009, p. 9.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Qur’an, 87:14.
[1] Osman Nuri Topbas, Ikhlas and Taqwa p. 19.
[1] Qur’an. 91:10.
[1] Qur’an. 42:38.
[1] See Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, The Damascus sermon, Sözler publications 2001 p. 56.
[1] Qur’an 2:257.
[1] Bediuzzaman said Nursi, the words 23. p319.
[1] Ibid p. 319.
[1] Retrieved this document from http://wwww.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles &id=134445, on 1/03/2013.
[1] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the supreme sign observation of A Traveller Questioning creation concerning Hismakerfrom the Risale-i Nur collection, IHLAS NUR NESRIYAT, Ankara 2002, p. 197.
[1] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, ibid p. 198.
[1] See Adem Tatlı, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the representative of contemporary Islamic Thinker His Approach to Questions of science and Technology in the ideas of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, in the Thirtieth year since His Death and their place in Islamic thought, panel I, Sözler publications 1993, p. 93.
[1] Badiüzzaman Said Nursi the Damascus sermon, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, Sözler Publications, 2001, p. 54.
[1] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, A guide for youths, p. 46.
[1] Osman Nuri Topbaş, Endowment, Charity, and Service in Islam, ERKAM publications p. 10.
[1] Ibid p.10.
[1] See more. Dr. Vaffi Foday Sheriff. The importance of Risale-i Nur in Africa: Reality or Rhitoric A paper presented at the 1st international Conference on Risale-i Nur Held in Corum, Turkey, June 22, 2011. p. 2.
[1] See: Bediuzzaman said Nurssi, Message for the sick from the Resale-i Nur collection, the Twenty fifth flash Sözler publications, 2002, p.13-15
[1] See Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Guide for youths p. 45
[1] Ibid p. 46.
[1] See: Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Message for the sick 25th flash. Ibid p. 15.
[1] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Guide for youths p. 46.
[1] Qur’an, 67:2.
[1] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi “lights of reality” from the Risale-i Nur Collection, Sözler publications, İstanbul 2006, p. 122.
[1] Qur’an, 17:82.
[1] Qur’an, 5:118. see the explanation of these meanings in Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjids’ book “Weakness of faith”  International Islamic publishing House 11 PH, Riyadh 1420 AH/1999 CE. P.38.
[1] Qur’an, 3: 190-191.
[1] See more for the details hadith reported by At-Tirmidhi, 3297, al-silsilah al-saheeha”, No: 955. Quoted in Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjids book (weakness of faith” ibid. p. 39).
[1] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the words from the Risale-i Nur Collection, 1st word Sözlar Publications, İstanbul edition 2008 p.15.
[1] Muhammed salih Al-Munajjid “weakness of faith. Ibid. p. 43.
[1] Quran, 35:28.
[1] Quran, 39:9.
[1] Read more Badiuzaman said Nursi,’s book “resurrection and the Hereafter” from the Risale nur collection. Translated from the Turkish in English by Hamid Algar, printed in Istanbul (ND) p.12-116.
[1] See more in Muhamme salih Al-Munajjd ibid p.48.
[1] See Osman Nuri Topbas, Ikhlas andTagwa: Sincerity and Piety. P.53.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Ibid p.54.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Ibid, p.54.
[1] Sincerity and piety of Osman Nuri Tobas, p.44.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Ibid.
[1] Bediuzzaman said Nursi, Signs of Miraculouness”, Sozler publications, Istanbul, 2004. p 2004 p.230.
[1] Ibid.
[1] See forinstance Bediuzzaman said Nursi, the words/the eight word. P.45.
[1] Quran’ 6:3.
[1] Bediuzzaman said nursi, signs of Miraculousness: the inimitability of the Quran’s conciseness, From the Risale Inur collection, Sozler publications, Istanbul 2004, p.231.
[1] BEDIUZZAMAN SAID Nursi, the Damascus sermon from the Risale inur collection, Sozler publications printed at Reyhan offset, Istanbul, 2004 p.31.
[1] See for instance; Quran 11:30 Quran 13:2 Quran 4:4:13 Quran 41:53. Qur’an 23:80, Quran 10:24, Quran 88:17, Qur’an 11:5.
[1] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the Damascus sermon p.31.
[1] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, words p.260.
[1] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The words, p262.
[1] Bediuzzaman said Nursi,the Damascus sermon p.32.
[1] Ibid.

[1] See more for this information in the book “message for the sick” from the Risale Inur collection, Sozler publications, Istambul 2005, p.7.. see again Sukran vahide, Islam in Modern Turkey: An intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi ,edited with an introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu-rabiu, State university of New York press, U.S.A, 2005, p3-48.

[2] See for more details. Jane I.Smith, “The heart of the matter, Faith and Belief in the poetic imagery Bediuzzaman said Nursi, in (Spiritual Dimensions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursis isale -iNur, edited and with an introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu Rabi State University of New York Press 2008, p.71.

[3] Al-Anfaal:2.

[4] Bediuzzaman said, Nursi, The words 23 p.319.

[5] See the similar views of Nursi in “lights of Reality” From the Risale- I Nur Collection, Sozler publsications 2006 , p.348.

[6] Bediuzzaman said Nursi, The words 23. P.322.

[7] Quran 39:39.

[8] Bediuzzaman said Nursis, ibid p.323.

[9] Bilal kuspinar “the Fusion of faith and knowledge in Finding Solutions for problems:. Nursi’s illuminative path” in the book; knowledge, Faith, Morality and the Future of Humanity Istanbul foundation for Science and Culture, Oct 2010. p.47.

[10] Ibid p.47.

[11] Oxford advanced learners Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 6th ed. 2000,p.932.

[12] See ibrhaim Aniis, Al-Mu’jamu al-wasit, cairo 1972, p.753

[13] Abu Zakariya Bin Sharafudin al-Nawawi, “Forty Hadith” in Arabic text with English Translation and commentary by Basheer A. Mohyiden, printed by Merci production, Kaduna. (ND) p.9.

[14] Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen Explaining the Fundamentals of faith “Islamic Message Society, Alex – Egypt (N.D) p.11.

[15] Al-Ihsan: Means to be patient in performing ones duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the sunnah of the prophet (S.A).

[16] Beginning of kinship: First, your parents,then your offspring, then your brothers and sisters, then your paternal uncles and aunts (from thepather’s side), then your maternal uncles and aunts (from your mother’s side), and then other relatives.

[17] Al-fahshaa; All evil deeds ex; illegal sexual intercourse, disobedience to parents, to tell lies…etc.

[18] Al- Munkar: All that is prohibited by Islamic law; polytheism, disbelief, etc.

[19] Al-Baghy: All kinds of oppression against life or law.

[20] İbrahim Özdemir, “Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Approach to the environment” in the book” A Contemporary Approach to Understanding the Quran:The Example  of the Risale-i Nur , sozler, Istanbul 2000, p.703.

[21] Ibid p.703.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Qur’an 13:11

[24] See more Asma Afsaruddin, Taking faith to Heart, Reconciliation and Fraternal love in Islamic thought in the (the Book bringing Faith, meaning and Peace to life in a Multicultural world: The Risale-Inur’s approach )NESIT, Istanbul 2004, p.67

[25] Osman Nuri Topbas, “Ikhlas and Tagwa” ERKAM Publications, Istanbul 2009. p.9.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Qur’an, 87:14.

[28] Osman Nuri Topbas, Ikhlas and Taqwa p.19.

[29] Qur’an. 91:10.

[30] Qur’an. 42:38.

[31] See Bediüzzaman said Nursi, The Damascus Sermon, Sözler publications 2001 p.56.

[32] Qur’an 2 :257.

[33] Bediuzzaman said Nursi, the words 23. p319.

[34] Ibid p319.

[35] Retrieved this document from http://wwww.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles &id=134445, on 1/03/2013.

[36] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the ‘Supreme Sign “observation of A Traveller Questioning creation concerning His maker, from the Risale-i Nur collection, İHLAS NUR NEŞRİYAT, Ankara 2002, p.197.

[37] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Ibid p.198.

[38] See Adem Tatlı, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, the Representative of Contemporary Islamic Thinker His Approach to Questions of Science and Technology in the ideas of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, in the Thirtieth year since His Death and their place in Islamic thought, panel I, Sözler publications 1993, p.93.

[39] Badiüzzaman said Nursi the Damascus sermon, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, Sözler Publications, 2001,p.54.

[40] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, A guide for youths, RNK Nes Paz Son Tic AS Ltd. Block4, 14 Road Off First Avenue, Gwrimpa- Buja- Nigeria. p.46.

[41] Osman Nuri Topbas, Endowment, Charity, and Service in Islam, ERKAM publications p.10.

[42] Ibid p.10.

[43] See more. Dr Vaffi foday sheriff. The importance of Risale-Inur in Africa: Reality or Rhitoric, A paper presented at the 1st international Conference on Risale-i Nur Held in Çorum, Turkey, June 22, 2011. p.2.

[44] See: Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Message for the Sick ,from the Risale-i Nur collection, the Twenty fifth flash Sözler publications, 2002, p.13-15.

[45] See Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Guide for youths p.45.

[46] Ibid p.46.

[47] See: Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Message for the sick 25th flash. Ibid p.15.

[48] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Guide for youths p.46.

[49] Qur’an 67:2.

[50] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi “lights of Reality” from the Risale-i Nur Collection, Sözler publications, İstanbul 2006 p.122.

[51] Qur’an 17:82.

[52] Qur’an 5:118. see the explanation of these meanings in Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjids’ book “Weakness of faith”  International Islamic publishing House 11 PH, Riyadh 1420 AH/1999 CE. P.38.

[53] Qur’an 3: 190-191.

[54] See more for the details hadith reported by At-Tirmidhi, 3297, al-silsilah al-saheeha”, No 955. Quoted in Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjids book (weakness of faith” ibid. p.39)

[55] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the words from the Risale-i Nur Collection, 1st word Sözler Publications, İstanbul edition 2008 p.15.

[56] Muhammed salih Al-Munajjid “weakness of faith.” Ibid.p.43

[57] Qur’an 35:28.

[58] Qur’an 39:9.

[59] Read more Bediüzzaman Said Nursi,’s book “Resurrection and the Hereafter” from the Risale-i Nur collection. Translated from the Turkish in English by Hamid Algar, printed in İstanbul (ND) p.12-116.

[60] See more in Muhamme salih Al-Munajjd ibid p.48.

[61] See Osman Nuri Topbaş, Ikhlas and Tagwa: Sincerity and Piety. P.53.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid p.54.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Ibid, p.54.

[67] Sincerity and piety of Osman Nuri Tobaş, p.44.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Signs of Miraculouness”, Sözler publications, İstanbul, 2004. p 2004 p.230.

[71] Ibid.

[72] See for instance Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, The words/Tenth word- Fourth truth. P. 78.

[73] Qur’an 6:3.

[74] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, signs of Miraculousness: the inimitability of the Qur’an’s conciseness, From the Risale-i Nur collection, Sözler publications, İstanbul 2004, p.231.

[75] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the Damascus sermon from the Risale-i Nur collection, Sözler publications printed at Reyhan offset, Istanbul, 2004 p.31.

[76] See for instance; Qur’an 11:30 Qur’an 13:2 Qur’an 4:4:13 Qur’an 41:53. Qur’an 23:80, Qur’an 10:24, Qur’an 88:17, Qur’an 11:5.

[77] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the Damascus Sermon p.31.

[78] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, The words p.260.

[79] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, The words, p262.

[80] Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, The Damascus Sermon p.32.

[81] See: Dr Muhammad Al-khuli, Islam and Scientific Progress, Retrieved from www.islamweb. Net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=117392.

82 Ibid.

 
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