• Studies

    Academic works on the Risale-i Nur Collection
  • 1

Said Nursi: Makers of Islamic Civilization

By Colin Turner, Hasan Horkuc

Said Nursi (1876-1960) was the most influential figure in twentieth century Muslim scholarship. He was the founder of what is arguably Turkey's most important popular religious grouping, the Nur Movement ('Nurculuk'), which sought - and seeks - to foster Islamic sensibilities through a system of education based on Nursi's ideas. But for many of his disciples, who number now in their millions, Said Nursi represents a great deal more than just a religious instructor. As they see it, he was also the prophesied 'renewer', the 'mujaddid', who - according to Muslim tradition - would appear at the beginning of each century to revive Islam and reinterpret the tenets of the Qur'an according to the needs of the day. Yet for all who revere him, Nursi has as many detractors. To some, he was a hypocrite and a liar: a man whose life was full of contradictions. To others, a Kurd in the pay of the Communists and an overt proponent of anarchy. In so many ways his life and what he stood for echo the increasingly dangerous polarisation in Turkey between Islamic traditionalism and the secularism established by Ataturk. This short book offers a sure guide to the fierce debates surrounding Said Nursi's life, thought and major writings. It will be indispensable reading for all those interested in Turkey, and in the bitter power struggles within the country between 'religionists' and 'secularists'.


The first part of this book recounts the major phases in Nursi's life, locating his prolific literary output through long years of incarceration and exile. Part 2 explains the structure and principal themes of the Risale-i Nur, especially the proper role of human selfhood. Part 3 discusses the cultural-political dimensions of Nursi's ideas about nationhood, constitutional government, plurality and diversity, the jihad of heart and conscience, and the need to avoid violence and sedition. The conclusion reviews the legacy of Nursi's work and its continuing impact.


Oxford University Press, 2008

Language: English

Country: United Kingdom

Publishing House Tel: +44 153 674 17 27

Publishing House Fax: +44 186 535 33 08

Web: www.oup.com

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