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Theodicy and Justice in Modern Islamic Thought, The Case of Said Nursi

By Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi



This book explores the theology and philosophy of the distinguished modern Muslim scholar and theologian Bediuzzaman Said Nursi [d.1960]. Nursi wrote in both Ottoman Turkish and Arabic and his life and thought reflected the transition of modern Turkey from an empire to a secular republic. The contributors to this volume shed new light on two major dimensions of Nursi's thought: theodicy and justice. Classical Muslim theologians debated these two important issues; however, we must consider the modern debate of these issues in the context of the radical political and social transformations of modern Turkey. Nursi explored these matters as they related to the development of state and society and the crisis of Islam in the modern secular nation-state.

Nursi is the founder of a 'faith movement' in contemporary Turkey with millions of followers worldwide. In this book, distinguished scholars in Islamic, Middle Eastern, and Turkish Studies explore Nursi's thought on theodicy and justice in comparison with a number of western philosophers, theologians, and men of letters, such as Dante, Merton, Kant, and Moltman. This book presents an invaluable resource for studies in comparative religion, philosophy, and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.



Editor's introduction;

  1. Theodicy and the many meanings of Adam and Eve, Barbara Freyer Stowasser;
  2. Living life in the light of death: a conversation with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Ian Markham;
  3. The resurrection of the dead and the final judgment in Said Nursi's thought, Thomas Michel;
  4. Proof of the resurrection of the dead: Said Nursi's approach, Sükran Vahide;
  5. Death in Nursi's thought, Bilal Kuspinar;
  6. La Siyyama: Nursi's treatise on al-Hashr in Mathnawi al-Nuriye, Lucinda Mosher;
  7. Resurrection in the writings of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: comparative reflections with Christian theology, W. Mark Richardson;
  8. The resurrection of the dead: Said Nursi and Jürgen Moltmann, Leo D. Lefebure;
  9. The problem of animal pain: an introduction to Nursi's approach, Cüneyt M. Simsek;
  10. Justice, morality, and modernity: what makes the Risale-i Nur modern?, Dale F. Eickelman;
  11. Two epistles of consolation: Al-Shahid al-Thani and Said Nursi on theodicy, Eric Ormsby;
  12. 'Landscape and melancholy': Said Nursi, Dante Alighieri and the contexts of modernism, Gareth Jones;
  13. Said Nursi's approach to justice and its role for political reforms in the Muslim world, Leonid R. Sykiainen;
  14. Reflections on prayer and social justice in the thought of Thomas Merton and Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, David R. Law;
  15. God's justice in relation to natural disasters, Thomas Michel;
  16. Justice and balance in creation: Said Nursi's analysis, Bilal Kuspinar;
  17. Nursi's compassion and Kant's categorical imperative: justice and ethics in building a better world, Ian Kaplow;


About the Editor:

Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi is ECMC Chair of Islamic Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and author of 15 books in English on Islamic thought and practice.

Reviews: While many works treat political Islam and contemporary social movements in the Muslim world, this volume provides the reader with a window onto the important and less well known theological engagements of Muslims with issues of justice and theodicy. In these well-argued and thoughtful chapters, a first-rate team of experts in Islamic studies and theologians explores these themes in the writings of Turkey's Said Nursi, one of the most important theologians of Islam in the twentieth century, whose works are receiving growing attention due to their continued relevance and power to inspire new generations of Muslim youth confronting the challenges of modernity and secularism.
Marcia Hermansen, Director, Islamic World Studies Program; Loyola University Chicago, USA

It is lovely to see one of the Muslim world's finest scholars and spiritual teachers, a man steeped in the rich veins of Islamic spiritual life, deeply engaged by an international group of scholars at the heart of his thinking about alienation. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi experienced more than his share of ghurba, estrangement. Drawing on the Divine Revelation and much of what is best in the spiritual traditions of his homeland Turkey, he speaks to us of that transformation into uns, companionship, a grace from him who is "the most near". Nursi's thought has moved far beyond his Turkish homeland inviting all of us who experience the alienation of modernity to engage the deepest questions of our day in hope that we will find spiritual companionship. This book is an antidote to many modern ideologies that nest in the alienated hearts and homeless minds frequently found in the modern West and increasingly in Muslim countries.
David J. Goa, Director, Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, University of Alberta, Canada

Nursi is perhaps the most influential Muslim thinker in modern Turkey and we are grateful to Ibrahim Abu-Rabi' for drawing our attention to Nursi's multifaceted intellectual ouevre and his responses to the complexity of modern life over the past decade. With this work, Nursi rightly takes his place besides such giants in modern Islamic thought as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Muhammad Iqbal, and Mustafa Abdul Raziq. I highly recommend this book for courses in Islamic movements, modern Islamic intellectual history, and Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies.
Hassan Hanafi, Cairo University, Egypt

Anyone interested in modern Islamic thought should read this book of learned essays. Nursi was indeed one of the most significant Muslim theologians in modern times. Concerned with the transformation and development of the Muslim world in the modern era, Nursi in his writings emphasizes that Islam and Muslims must maintain faith in divine duty and justice. The contributors to this volume brilliantly explain Nursi's emphases upon theodicy and justice and demonstrate how this great Turkish theologian handles these themes within the tradition of Islamic spirituality. The collected essays in this volume constitute a major contribution to the study of modern Islamic theology and thought.
Norton Mezvinsky, President, International Council for Middle East Studies, USA


Product Details


ISBN: 1409406180

ISBN-13: 9781409406181

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited

Publication date: 8/1/2010

Pages: 282

Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Ashgate Publishing, 2010

Language: English

Country: United Kingdom

Publishing House Tel: +44 125 233 15 51

Publishing House Fax: +44 125 234 44 05

Web: www.ashgate.com