We mainly read a tafsir (exegesis) of the Qur’an called Risale-i Nur written by the Muslim scholar Imam Said Nursi.
What is Risale-i Nur (Treatise of Light)
The Risale-i Nur collection is a six-thousand-page commentary on the Qur’an written by Imam Said Nursi in accordance with the mentality of the age. In Risale-i Nur, Imam Said Nursi concentrates on proving the truths of faith through rational proofs and evidences by describing the miraculous aspects of the Qur’an that relate primarily to our century. Originally written in Ottoman Turkish language, this collection now has millions of readers in the world and it has been translated more than forty languages i.e. English, Arabic, German, Bahasa,Urdu, Serbian, Bosnian, Persian, Kurdish.
According to Imam Said Nursi, the Holy Qur’an addresses the intellect as well as man’s other inner faculties. It directs man to consider the universe and its functioning in order to learn its true nature and purposes as the creation which is to learn the attributes of its Single Creator and his own duties as a creature. Said Nursi explains the true nature of the universe as signs of its Creator and demonstrats through clear arguments that when it is read as such, all the fundamentals of beliefs may be proved rationally. Nursi’s writings are mainly based on Qur’anic verses and hadiths. However, unlike other written materials, his writings are not very much compartmentalized. No trace of his early readings were visible yet there is to be found a strong authenticity of Qur’anic taste. Risale-i Nur is not a scientific work yet, it uses scientific truths as an evidence for the existence of God and in explanation of pillars of faith. It is a combination of mind and heart with richness of spirituality.
All scientific discoveries are merely the uncovering of the workings of the cosmos. When the cosmos is seen to be a vast and infinitely complex and meaningful unified book describing its Single Author, all these discoveries and advances reinforce, deepen and expand belief rather than causing doubt and bewilderment. Imam Said Nursi demonstrated in the Risale-i Nur that there is no contradiction or dichotomy between science and religion.
Some subjects addressed in the Risale-i Nur: Children, Youth, Elderly, Sick, Sincerity, Brotherhood, Qur’an, Prophethood, Philosophy, Love, Hatred, Ah al Bayt, Companions of the ProphetMohammad (PBUH), Other Prophets, Spirits, Angels, Satan, Miracles, Miraculousness of the Quran, Jannah (Paradise), Jahannam (Hell), Praying, Fasting, Peace, Enmity, Greediness, Concept of jihad, Consumerism, Morality, Hereafter, Human happiness, Civilization, Sense of responsibility, Sense of awareness, Women, Racism, Education, Book of universe, Human “I” (ego).
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The Words -The Words is the first volume of the Risale-i Nur and consists of thirty-three independent parts or Words, which explain and prove aspects of the fundamental matters of belief. These consist of such matters as Allah`s (God`s) existence and unity, the manifestation of the Asma ul Husna (Divine Names and attributes) in creation, the resurrection of the dead and the hereafter, prophethood, the miraculousness of the Qur’an, the angels, the immortality of mans spirit, Divine Determining (fate or destiny), together with such questions as the true nature of man and the universe, and mans need to worship Allah. Each subject is explained with comparisons and allegories, and demonstrated with reasoned arguments and logical proofs. The most profound aspects of the truths of belief, which were formerly studied only by advanced scholars, are explained in such a way that everyone, even those to whom the subject is new, may understand without difficulty. This work answers brilliantly the attacks made on the Qur’an in the name of science and philosophy, and demonstrates the rationality of belief in Allah and logical absurdity of denial. It shows too that man s happiness and salvation both in this world and the next lie only in belief in Allah and knowledge of Allah.
The Flashes – The Flashes collection comprises thirty-three parts or “Flashes”, which expounding the fundamental truths of the Qur’an and belief, and the Practices (Sunna) of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), from various angles, set forth important principles for both individual and social life. Also included in this collection are the celebrated treatise on Nature and discussion on Divine Self-Subsistence, which lay open the unsound basis of Naturalist and Materialist philosophies, and demonstrate in reasoned and logical manner the necessity of Divine existence and unity. Other sections answer criticisms made by atheists of certain Qur’anic verses and Hadiths.
Letters – Largely replying to questions put by Imam Said Nursi`s students, these Letters cover a wide range of subjects: they provide illuminating answers to many questions of Iman and Islam; they contain brilliant and unique explanations of the truths of Iman and mysteries of the Qur’an, which also illustrate the Qur’anic way of Knowledge of Allah opened up by the Risale-i Nur; they offer important guidance to contemporary Muslims concerning many questions ranging from nationalism to Sufism; they also throw light on Imam Said Nursi`s own life in those years of exile and the conditions during the early years of the Turkish Republic; in addition they include the celebrated Nineteenth Letter, which describes more than three hundred of the Miracles of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); the Twentieth Letter, which together with being an important lesson in reading the Book of the Universe, provides extremely powerful proofs of Divine Unity; and the Twenty-Fourth Letter, which solves convincingly the mystery of the constant activity in the universe, and the change and renewal of beings.
The Rays – With its fifteen pieces or ‘Rays’, The Rays Collection contains some of the most important parts of the Risale-i Nur. Among these are The Supreme Sign, which in describing the testimony offered by all the realms of creation and universe to Allah`s necessary existence and unity, is the most complete expression of the reflective thought which is the basis of the Risale-i Nur’s way. Further convincing explanations and proofs of Divine unity and oneness, based also on recognizing and ‘reading’ the manifestations of the Asma ul Husna (Divine Names) in the universe, are set out in the Second, Third, and Fourth Rays. While in addition to these questions, The Fruits of Belief and The Shining Proof put forward clear, irrefutable proofs of Iman (pillars of belief). Also included in this volume are parts of Imam Said Nursi`s defenses in the Courts of Denizli and Afyon, and the short letters and notes he wrote his fellow-prisoner students while being held in those prisons. As well as advising them about their defenses and directing the continuing work of the Risale-i Nur, for the most part these letters were written to guide, encourage, and comfort his students during their ordeals, to remind them to be cautious in the face of their enemies and above all to maintain their solidarity and strengthen their brotherly relations.
Signs of Miraculousness – This book is a tafsir (exegesis) on Surat al-Fatiha and the first thirty-three verses of Surat al-Baqara the aim of which is to expound the miraculous nature of the Qur’an’s word order. For “the embroideries” of the positioning and arrangement of the Qur’an’s words demonstrate one aspect of its inimitability or miraculousness. In doing this, the author was emulating the great masters of Arabic, rhetoric, and eloquence, but in addition to applying these and other traditional sciences, he was concerned to demonstrate the conformity of the Qur’an with reason and the modern physical sciences. In this way, he replied both to questions and doubts that had arisen in the face of scientific advances, and to demonstrate that, as the revealed Word of Allah, the Qur’an has continuing relevance in contemporary life. Thus, though composed in the early period of Imam Said Nursi’s life, under testing conditions in 1913-14, this book contains in concise form, the ideas and truths that he subsequently elaborated in the Risale-i Nur, and in many respects is of the greatest interest and importance for the people of the present.
Resurrection and the Hereafter – This book with its exquisite logic, not only proves decisively the existence of life after death, but it also makes clear the relevance of our states in the hereafter. Directly inspired by the Qur’an, it opens up a highway leading to a rational understanding of these vital subjects. It achieves this by demonstrating that all beings in the cosmos are the manifestations of the Divine Names, and that each Name logically requires the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and the hereafter. Now, when belief by imitation is no longer acceptable, this book offers readers a way to attain true and certain belief.
The Supreme Sign – Observations of a traveler questioning creation concerning his Maker. The traveler questions first the heavens with their suns and stars; then the atmosphere, the earth, and so on, each of which proves the Necessary Existence and Unity of their Maker (Allah). Joining the traveler on his quest, the reader will find that his belief will gain universality and strength with each of these “thirty-three degrees in the Necessary Existence and Unity of the Creator,” and become “true and certain belief.”
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