C H A P T E R F I V E
D E N I Z L I
Bediuzzaman was still ill from the effects of the poison, and weak. It was now the end of Ramazan. And he was most grieved and saddened at this blow to the Risale-i Nur. Virtually all its leading Students had been arrested in addition to himself. As for the Students, they had been rounded up and taken from their homes and villages in the province of Isparta and elsewhere and their families left without support or protection. What the outcome would be was anything but certain. If conditions had been bad in Eskishehir Prison, in Denizli they were worse. Bediuzzaman said he suffered in one day in Denizli the distress he suffered in a month in Eskishehir. But again it resulted in a victory for right; the truth prevailed over falsehood and the Risale-i Nur over its enemies. While at first it seemed as though a crippling blow had been dealt to the Risale-i Nur and its dissemination, in the event the Denizli trials and imprisonment, like Eskishehir before and Afyon afterwards, served the cause of the Risale-i Nur in ways no one expected.
Firstly was the positive report by the committee of experts in Ankara and the acquittal. Then it was the cause of many officials and others reading The Supreme Sign and other parts of the Risale-i Nur with favourable results. Also the court case and imprisonment publicized the Risale-i Nur and aroused much sympathy towards Bediuzzaman and his students and interest in the Risale-i Nur, which counteracted the propaganda campaign against them orchestrated by members of the Government.
A factor that contributed to their acquittal was also the extraordinary change that came about in the majority of the other prisoners through the influence of Bediuzzaman and his students. The same had been true to an extent in Eskishehir, but in Denizli Prison the most hardened criminals even learned how to perform the prayers and recite the Qur'an, and some to assist Bediuzzaman’s students in writing out copies of the Risale-i Nur. Bediuzzaman was kept in solitary confinement under the most appalling conditions in a minute damp, dark cell. He was again poisoned on several occasions. Undoubtedly the intention was to do away with him, and anyway the most important of his students. Two in fact died during the nine months they were held, one of which was Hafiz Ali from the village of Islamköy near Isparta. It was widely believed he had been poisoned. Nevertheless, Bediuzzaman relentlessly continued his struggle. His students were forbidden to visit or speak with him, so he wrote them numerous notes and letters encouraging and consoling them, guiding them, and directing the writing-out and copying of these and the Risale-i Nur. Then he wrote the Eleventh Ray, The Fruits of Belief. And he wrote also his petitions and defence speeches. Since he and his students were charged with virtually the same ‘crimes’ as in Eskishehir and he offered the same defence in Afyon Court some four years later in 1948-9, it shall be described only briefly in this chapter.
Life in Denizli Prison
The Students who had been gathered together in Isparta were transported to Denizli by train. Handcuffed in pairs, they were packed into windowless coal and straw wagons. Bediuzzaman was handcuffed to a ninety-year-old villager called Hasan Dayi from the village of Sav near Isparta who was so weak Bediuzzaman virtually had to carry him.1 Their handcuffs were not unfastened during the journey. Of the one hundred and twenty-six Risale-i Nur Students who were taken to Denizli2 from all over Turkey, in all seventy-three entered the prison and the remainder were released.3 Those from Kastamonu, Inebolu, and Istanbul were brought some two months later. They were then put in with the long-term and condemned prisoners.
The prison was new and outside the town, yet despite this it was more cramped and insalubrious than older buildings. Built of concrete, it was damp, dank and airless. With its tiny heavily barred and high up windows, the cells and dormitories were in perpetual gloom. The electricity was of a very low voltage and on only a few hours out of the twenty-four. It was also infested with lice and mosquitoes. At night bed-bugs and mosquitoes descended on the prisoners from the ceilings “like a fine rain”. Bediuzzaman was put in a cell so small a bed could scarcely fit in it. According to Selahaddin Çelebi who was sent by the prison Governor on one occasion to write out Bediuzzaman’s defence speech for him, it was airless and closed like a cave, and so damp the human body could scarcely withstand it. They had to work by the light of a candle. After one hour of writing down what Bediuzzaman dictated, he was completely exhausted.4 The cell had one small window which overlooked the long-term prisoners’ exercise yard. So since Bediuzzaman was in total isolation and his students and all the prisoners were forbidden to speak or communicate with him on pain of being beaten, he used to throw the notes, letters, and pieces he wrote out of this window to them. They were most often written on scraps of paper folded up inside match-boxes. When this was discovered by the prison authorities, they boarded up the window for a time. Bediuzzaman also sent them by means of a ‘go-between’ called Arnavut Adem Aga. When they received them, the Students would start writing out copies. The cell was also next to the juveniles’ ward, and the delinquents were encouraged by the prison authorities to disturb Bediuzzaman, who was extremely sensitive to noise, and to strike up a din particularly while he was praying or performing his worship.
When Selahaddin Çelebi, Mehmet Feyzi, and the other students from Kastamonu arrived, they were put in with the long-term and condemned prisoners. Among these was the prisoners’ spokesman and leader, Süleyman Hünkâr, a person of considerable power and influence in the day to day affairs of the prison. Süleyman Efe as he was known both ‘reformed’ and giving up his former bad ways, became a loyal student of Bediuzzaman’s, and he struck up a close friendship with Tasköprülü Sadik Bey. Sadik Bey also had followed the fast life of a derebey till Bediuzzaman came to Kastamonu and he had become his student. Although all Bediuzzaman’s students and some of the prisoners worked continuously in those appalling conditions for the cause of religion and the Risale-i Nur, it was really through these two that it was possible for Bediuzzaman to organize it.
Ibrahim Fakazli from Inebolu described how the prisoners started to reform and perform the prayers. It had happened soon after the others had arrived and before they had come. When Bediuzzaman had gone to take ablutions the prisoners had crowded at a window wanting him to speak to them. This happened three times and Bediuzzaman ignored them. Then the third time, he told them: “Go and wash!” So Süleyman Efe gathered together seventy to eighty of the prisoners and asking them, “Which of you is dirty?”, harangued them and ordered them to take baths. Then the prisoners again asked Bediuzzaman to speak to them, so this time he told them to perform the prayers. On their saying they did not know how to, he said he would send his students to teach them.5 In this way the greater part of the prisoners began to give up their former ways and to perform the five daily prayers. Bediuzzaman’s students also taught them the basic rules of religion and how to read and recite the Qur'an. Together with the Kastamonu prisoners were a number of well-known hojas from Istanbul, among whom was Gönenli Mehmed Efendi, one of Turkey’s best known Qur'an hojas. He also taught the prisoners the Qur'an. One called Mehmed, who had murdered four people, learnt to read the whole Qur'an and memorized the last twenty-two suras, thus earning the right to lead the others in prayer.6 Others were taken away to be hanged while reading the Qur'an or performing the prayers, having been saved from every kind of vice and evil-living. What a lesson for secular and humanist sociologists and reformers.
When the students from Kastamonu and Inebolu arrived at the prison, Sadik Bey immediately established good relations with the other prisoners, who according to Süleyman Efe were all “his men”. Bold-spirited and generous, he won their respect and soon formed a ‘team’ to carry out the necessary jobs for continuing the work of the Risale-i Nur. Thus through them it was possible for Bediuzzaman’s writings to be distributed round the prison, and be smuggled in and out of it. Süleyman Efe also secured a type-writer, and Sadik Bey and his ‘team’ used to write out Bediuzzaman’s defence speeches and others writings in the new letters and then have copies sent to various government departments in Ankara or wherever Bediuzzaman required. He won Bediuzzaman’s admiration and gratitude with this unparalleled service, which was reflected in the notes and letters he wrote him, and in his accepting Sadik Bey’s soup. Bediuzzaman, who would accept nothing from anyone without giving something in return, was happy to live on the soups Sadik Bey cooked him.7 It has also been recorded that the Risale-i Nur was smuggled in and out of the prison by a gendarme stationed there who came from the village of Kuleönü near Isparta. He would take the pieces copied out in the village of Sav for Bediuzzaman to correct, and the presents his students sent him, such as the area’s famous rose oil.8
Besides Bediuzzaman’s letters and defence speeches, and indeed the students’ own defences, which had to be composed and written out, it was mostly The Fruits of Belief that copies were made of in the prison. This, the Eleventh Ray, which Bediuzzaman described as “a fruit and memento of Denizli Prison and the product of two Fridays”, consists of eleven pieces or ‘Topics’, the last two of which were written in Emirdag after Bediuzzaman was released. Addressing in particular the prisoners, each Topic explains some matter of belief such as knowledge of God, resurrection and the hereafter, and particularly relevant to that situation, the question of death. It also forms a summary of the truths of the Risale-i Nur. The concluding part of the Eighth Topic was written during the Kurban Bayrami or ’Id-i Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifices, which in 1943 began on 8 December.9 Numerous copies of this most important part of the Risale-i Nur were made by Bediuzzaman’s students and the other prisoners in Denizli, and it was the effect of this more than anything that led to the extraordinary reform of the prisoners. So much so that while at first it was written out and smuggled around the prison in the greatest secrecy, when this improvement in conduct was noted by the prison authorities, they permitted copies to be made without restriction. It was also sent to the Appeal Court and relevant departments in Ankara as a defence of the Risale-i Nur and was instrumental in securing their acquittal.10
The same charges were made against Bediuzzaman and his students in Denizli Court as in Eskishehir. They included creating a new Sufi tarikat, forming a political society, opposing the reforms, and exploiting religious feelings in a way that might disturb public security. The Fifth Ray on Hadiths concerning the end of time, the treatise that had led to the arrests, was the prosecution’s main evidence for their exploiting religion. Thus, on Bediuzzaman and his students being transferred from Isparta to Denizli, they were again questioned and the Denizli prosecutor set up a committee to study the Risale-i Nur and produce a report for the Court. Composed of two local school teachers entirely unqualified to undertake such a job, they produced the report the Prosecutor wished of them in a few days and the case was put before the Criminal Court. This report was superficial to a degree and contained the most shameful misrepresentations. Bediuzzaman objected to it vigorously, and setting out the errors and his corrections, presented them to the Court together with a request for a committee of qualified scholars to be set up in order to examine the Risale-i Nur. After some delay, this request was accepted and on 9 March,1944, all the material of the case was sent to the First Ankara Criminal Court. A committee of three established scholars was then appointed under the Chief Judge of the Court, Emin Böke, and it set about studying in detail the entire Risale-i Nur and all Bediuzzaman’s and his students’ letters.
In the meantime the court hearings continued in Denizli. Bediuzzaman offered his defence and answered all the charges. His students too presented their defences. Mehmet Feyzi noted that Bediuzzaman sent a petition to the Court seeking permission not to attend on the grounds of illness, but when he saw the positive attitude of the Chief Judge, Ali Riza Balaban, who had the courtroom arranged like an amphitheatre, he took it back. And the Judge did prove to be fair, both in the final outcome of the case, and in allowing Bediuzzaman to sit while the Court was in session despite the objections of the Prosecutor.11 They walked from the prison to the Court, a line of seventy handcuffed in pairs. It was the only time the Students from the various parts of the prison could meet. They handcuffed Bediuzzaman to a different person each time. Accompanied by more than thirty gendarmes with fixed bayonets, the people of Denizli lined their route and expressed their sorrow and sympathy.12
Extracts from Bediuzzaman’s Defence
“In His Name, be He be glorified!
“I tell you with certainty that apart from those here who have no connection or little connection with us and the Risale-i Nur, I have as many true brothers and loyal friends on the way of truth as you could wish. Through the certain discoveries of the Risale-i Nur, we know with the unshakeable certainty of twice two equalling four that through the mystery of the Qur'an for us death has been transformed from eternal extinction into a discharge from duties, and that for those who oppose us and follow misguidance certain death is either eternal extinction (if they do not have certain belief in the hereafter), or everlasting, dark solitary confinement (if they believe in the hereafter and go the way of vice and misguidance). Is there a greater or more important question for man in this world than this that it can be a tool for it? I ask you! Since there is not and cannot be, why do you strive against us? In the face of your greatest penalty we receive our discharge papers to go to the world of light, so we await it in complete steadfastness. But we know as clearly as seeing it, like we see you in this Court, that those who reject us and condemn us on behalf of misguidance will in a very short time be condemned to eternal extinction and solitary confinement and will suffer that awesome punishment, and through the vein of humanity we earnestly pity them. I am ready to prove this certain and important fact and also to silence the most stubborn of them. If I could not prove it as clearly as daylight, not to that unscholarly, prejudiced committee of scholars who knew nothing of spiritual and moral matters, but to the greatest scholars and philosophers, I should be content with any punishment!
“Just as an example, I offer the treatise, The Fruits of Belief, which was written for the prisoners on two Fridays, and explaining the principles and bases of the Risale-i Nur, is like a defence of it. We are working secretly under great difficulties to have this written out in the new letters so as to give it to the departments of government in Ankara. And so, read and study it carefully; if your heart (I cannot speak for your soul) does not affirm me, I shall remain silent in the face of whatever insults and torment you inflict on me in the solitary confinement in which I now am!
“In Short: either leave the Risale-i Nur completely free, or smash this powerful and irrefutable truth if you can! Up to now, I have not thought of you and your world. And I was not going to think of it, but you forced me, and perhaps even Divine Determining sent us on this way in order to warn you. As for us, we are resolved to take as our guide the sacred rule, ‘Whoever believes in Divine Determining is safe from grief’ and to meet all our difficulties with patience.
“In His Name, be He glorified!
“I have formed the certain opinion as a result of numerous indications that we have not been attacked for ‘disturbing public security by exploiting religious feelings’ on behalf of the Government but, behind a tissue of lies, on behalf of atheism, because of our belief and our service to belief and public order. One proof of this out of many is that despite twenty thousand people reading and accepting the twenty thousand copies of the parts of the Risale-i Nur over twenty years, public order has not been disturbed by Students of the Risale-i Nur on any occasion whatsoever, and no such incident has been recorded by the Government, and neither the former nor the present courts have found such an incident. Whereas, such numerous and powerful propaganda should have shown itself within twenty days. That is to say, contrary to the principle of freedom of conscience, Article 163 of this ambiguous law, which embraces all who give religious counsel, is a bogus mask. Atheists deceive certain members of the Government, confuse the legal establishment, and want to crush us whatever happens.
“Since the reality of the matter is this, we say with all our strength: O wretches who sell religion for the world and have fallen into absolute unbelief! Do whatever you can! Your world will be the end of you! Let our heads also be sacrificed for a truth that hundreds of millions of heads have been sacrificed for! We are ready for any penalty and for our execution! In this situation, being outside prison is a hundred times worse than being inside it. Since there is no freedom at all – neither religious freedom, nor freedom of conscience, nor scholarly freedom – under the absolute despotism that confronts us, for those with honour, the people of religion, and supporters of freedom there is no solution apart from death or entering prison. We say, We belong to God and our return is to Him, and we trust in our Sustainer.
“In His Name, be He glorified!
“...the Ankara committee of experts has confirmed our decisive reply to the accusation of forming a society insistently put forward by you as a pretext for our conviction, which you have decided upon [as may be deduced from] the course followed by the prosecution. While being amazed and astonished at your insisting on this point to this degree, this meaning occurred to me: since friendship, fraternal communities, gathering together, sincere associations pertaining the hereafter and brotherhood are each a foundation stone of social life, an essential need of human nature, the most necessary and strongest bond from family life to the life of tribe, nation, Islam, and humanity, and a point of support and means of consolation in the face of the assaults of the material and immaterial things which cause harm and alarm and which each person encounters in the universe and cannot combat on his own, and prevent him carrying out his human and Islamic duties; and since there are some who give the name of ‘political society’, although it has no political front, to the gathering together of the Students of the Risale-i Nur around the teachings of belief, which is most praiseworthy and is a sincere friendship [centred] on the teachings of belief and the Qur'an as the certain means to both happiness in this world and in religion and in the hereafter, and is a companionship on the way of truth, and co-operation and solidarity in the face of things harmful to the country and the nation, most certainly and without any doubt, they have either been deceived in some appalling manner, or they are extremely vicious anarchists who are both barbarously inimical to humanity, and tyranically hostile to Islam, and harbour enmity towards social life in the utterly corrupt and depraved manner of anarchy, and strive obdurately and intractably as apostates against this country and nation, the sovereignty of Islam and sacred things of religion. Or they are satanic atheists who, working on behalf of foreigners to cut and destroy the life-giving arteries of this nation, are deceiving the Government and confusing the legal establishment in order to destroy or turn against our brothers and our country the immaterial weapons which up to now we have used against them – those satans, pharaohs, and anarchists.
The ‘Fifth Ray’
In regard to the Fifth Ray, since it played a prominent part in the Afyon trials in 1948-9, a more detailed discussion of it will be left to then, and here only one or two points will be mentioned briefly. Firstly, as noted above and Bediuzzaman told the Court, the original of this treatise, in which they alleged Hadiths were used to prove Mustafa Kemal was the Sufyan or Islamic Dajjal, that is, the Antichrist who is to appear at the end of time, had been written when Bediuzzaman first came to Istanbul in 1907, long before Mustafa Kemal rose to prominence. And its rough draft had been made some twenty-five years earlier while Bediuzzaman was a member of the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islamiye, in order to “save from denial allegorical Hadiths and strengthen the belief of those whose belief was weak.”16 Furthermore, Bediuzzaman had not allowed it to be published, and in the eight years he had been in Kastamonu only two copies had come into his hands, and these he had disposed of. The affair had started when some “rivals”, that is, the Mufti and preacher who had informed on Atif Egemen in the province of Denizli in July 1943, had obtained a copy of it. At the same time, without Bediuzzaman’s agreement, The Supreme Sign had been printed in Istanbul. The authorities, who had been informed of this, then confused this, the Seventh Ray with the Fifth Ray. The matter was then blown up out of all proportion by their enemies, and it resulted in the mass arrests and Denizli trials.17 In any event, it was cleared by the Court at Denizli along the rest of the Risale-i Nur; if the committee of scholars set up in Ankara raised a number of objections concerning it, Bediuzzaman pointed out these to be in error along other points they raised.18 In fact, Bediuzzaman had wanted The Key to Belief Collection to be printed rather than The Supreme Sign,19 but he wrote in a letter than he was “profoundly happy” at the student who had had it printed, Tahiri Mutlu’s, other great service to the Risale-i Nur, and “expected from Divine Mercy” that the attention drawn to The Supreme Sign in this way would in the future result in the victories it deserved.20
The True Nature of the Case
These months of the trial in Denizli Prison were truly a testing for Bediuzzaman and his students. In addition to the physical distress and hardship, it was clear certain forces within the Government were working for Bediuzzaman’s execution and that of a number of his leading students. Their situation was one of extreme uncertainty. Besides the severe criticism of the first committee set up to examine the Risale-i Nur, Bediuzzaman mentions the attacks made on them by the Education Minister and his publishing a manifesto against them.21 This Minister, Hasan Ali Yücel, was a well-known communist.22 The Prime Minister, Shükrü Saraçoglu, who was also directly concerned with the case, also worked in league with communist organizations. Furthermore, since it was really the Risale-i Nur that was on trial, both Bediuzzaman’s defence and those of his students were defences of the Risale-i Nur. And so, while for the most part Bediuzzaman’s tone in his defence was mild and reasoning, when it came to exposing the plots against the Risale-i Nur, which were the cause of the trial, his words were anything but mild, despite the precariousness of their own position.
It was this external pressure brought to bear on the case and the fact that the law was clearly being used as a shield and a means of suppressing religion by forces whose aim it was to establish communism in Turkey that led Bediuzzaman to inform his students in a letter that “the real cause of the widespread and significant assault and aggression” against them was not the Fifth Ray, but The Key to Belief and Hüccetü’l-Baliga (The Eloquent Proof) and Hizbü’l-Nuri. These works with their convincing proofs of the truths of belief had defeated irreligion. Thus, “because the atheists had been unable to protect their way of absolute unbelief against the blows of these two keen diamond swords”, they had shown the Fifth Ray as an apparent reason and deceived the Government into moving against them.23
Bediuzzaman’s response to these covert moves to subvert the course of justice show what a brilliant tactician he was, and also his extraordinary grasp of the situation, although he had been for several months in total isolation in the prison. He took them by storm. He had sent to seven departments of government copies of The Fruits of Belief and the defence speeches in the new letters, and all the parts of the Risale-i Nur to the Ministry of Justice.24 And then, when the Education Minister launched his attack at them, Bediuzzaman sensed that this was out of fear and had sent to that Ministry four boxes of various parts of the Risale-i Nur.25 In another letter, urging his students to contain themselves in patience during these long drawn out proceedings, he pointed out what an event it was, the Risale-i Nur being read by those who most fervently supported the regime, at that time which would have had grim consequences for the Islamic world. At the very least, the Risale-i Nur would moderate their absolute unbelief and so lessen the attacks on them.26
Then, when the situation of Bediuzzaman and his students seemed most grim and they were expecting Ankara to act most severely towards them, Bediuzzaman’s move proved successful and a relatively soft and even conciliatory position was taken.27 And on 22 April, 1944, the committee set up to examine the Risale-i Nur presented their unanimous report to the Ankara Criminal Court. Their findings were positive to a degree far exceeding all expectations. They were forwarded to Denizli and a copy of the report reached Bediuzzaman.
The report stated that 90% of the Risale-i Nur was formed of scholarly explanations of the truths of belief, and that these parts “did not part at all from the way of scholarship and principles of religion.” There was nothing in these to suggest religion being exploited, a society being formed, or that there was a movement that would disturb public order.28 Bediuzzaman wrote in a letter to his students:
“It is a manifestation of Dominical favour and instance of Divine succour and preservation that as I have heard, the committee of experts in Ankara has been defeated in the face of the truths of the Risale-i Nur, and that while there were numerous reasons for their severe criticisms and objections they have quite simply given the decision for its acquittal.”29
The committee put forward fifteen objections on scholarly grounds. These Bediuzzaman answered and showed to be errors on the part of the committee.30 The final and longest answers and corrections he presented to the Court on 31 May, 1944, the day the Prosecutor made his final observations and summing-up, and put forward his requests for the sentences.
On 16 June, 1944, the Court reached its decision, Number 199-136. Largely on the strength of the committee’s report, it announced its unanimous decision for the acquittal of all the prisoners and their immediate release. The Prosecutor insisted on the sentences he was demanding, and so the case was sent to the Appeal Court in Ankara. The request was denied and on 30 December, 1944, it confirmed the verdict of the Denizli Court.31
The Shehir Hotel
When Bediuzzaman and his students emerged from the Court, the people of Denizli greeted them with cheers and cries of “Long live justice!”, and accompanied them to the prison where they collected their belongings. Outside the prison was like a festival. A string of phaetons came from the town to collect them. They were the guests of Denizli. The people took them into their houses in small groups and offered them the best of whatever they had. A merchant called Haji Mustafa Kocayaka, chosen by the people, had a large sum of money to distribute among Bediuzzaman’s students, but none was accepted. And when they went to the station, he and many of the town’s notables came to assist them and see them off onto their trains. Bediuzzaman and the Risale-i Nur had conquered the town.32
On leaving the prison, Bediuzzaman moved to a room with fine views on the top floor of the Shehir Hotel in the town, where he was to remain for one and a half months. Within one or two days, all his students had dispersed, returning to their home towns and villages. As soon as he was settled, vast numbers of people came to visit him, five hundred or so daily to start with. Then a number continued their visits. Ankara was notified of these. One was a teacher from Erzurum, called Nureddin Topçu, who had drawn the wrath of the notorious Education Minister, Hasan Ali Yücel, on himself with some writings, and had been posted to Denizli by way of a punishment. Part of his interesting account of his visits to Bediuzzaman in the Shehir Hotel is as follows:
“His name was to be heard everywhere in the town; everyone was talking about him... After the acquittal, he settled in a room on the top floor of the Shehir Hotel and was staying there. He was under very close surveillance. Those who visited him were followed in the same way and their names taken. They could only stay with him a very short time. and came out immediately.” Nureddin Topçu used to visit him during the time of the evening meal when there was no one about and he could stay half an hour or so. He also knew the two teachers who had been appointed to produce the first ‘experts’ report for Denizli Court. Evidently they were completely without religion and most undesirable characters. He was impressed by Bediuzzaman’s forgiving them, and offering to call them to religion:
“Bediuzzaman was a truly great person; he said that he forgave them. It was a great virtue to be able to forgive those who had worked against him in a way that would have lead to his execution.
“He was a man of action, enterprising. He used to talk to everybody. He would explain his cause. He wasn’t one for diffidence or hanging back...
“They brought the evening meal; it was a lavish spread. He returned it to the waiter who brought it and told him to give it to the poor. He had some olives with him, and ate bread and olives. He said: ‘One loaf lasts me two weeks.’ He had a samovar with which he used to make tea, and he used to offer me some. He had just been released from prison. There was nothing in his room by way of belongings, only his works, both hand-written and in the form of proofs. Thousands of his hand-written books were being passed around from hand to hand. They were being written everywhere, in the villages and towns; everywhere copies of the Risale-i Nur were being written out. That was a heartening time; like the time the sun rises.
“Around that time I went to the village of Güveçli near Denizli... His works were being written out in every house, in all the villages around... tens of thousands of pages... such was the eagerness and zeal...
“He had a very manly and bold manner. His courage and excellence were immense. Then the things his brilliant mind discovered were extraordinary. He met disasters with patience and resignation. He had given himself to Allah. As a matter of a fact, those works of his were all the product of these things. All Denizli was filled with an eagerness and enthusiasm. Friend and foe alike were struck with admiration for him. Denizli’s night had turned into day. He had conquered it...”33
Nevertheless Bediuzzaman himself felt keenly his being parted from his students and brothers. Above all Hafiz Ali’s death in prison had caused him great sorrow. The first thing did on being released was to visit his grave. Selahaddin Çelebi was also present and he recalled how after the Qur'an being recited and Bediuzzaman offering a sad prayer, Bediuzzaman raised his hand and said: “This martyr was a star.” Involuntarily all those present raised their heads and in the sky a single star was shining.34
Bediuzzaman described his state of mind as follows in the Tenth Topic of The Fruits of Belief:
“After our release from Denizli Prison, I was staying on the top floor of the famous Shehir Hotel. The most subtle and graceful dancing of the leaves, branches and trunks of the many poplar trees in the fine gardens opposite me, each with a rapturous and ecstatic motion like a circle of dervishes at the touching of the breeze, pained my heart, sorrowful and melancholy at being parted from my brothers and remaining alone. Suddenly the seasons of autumn and winter came to mind and a heedlessness overcame me. I so pitied those graceful poplars and living creatures swaying with perfect joyousness that my eyes filled with tears. With this reminder of the separations and non-being beneath the ornamented veil of the universe, the grief at a world-full of deaths and separations pressed down on me. Then suddenly, the light the Muhammadan (PBUH) truth had brought came to my assistance and transformed that grief and sorrow into joy... Just when they had turned the world into a sort of hell and the reason into an instrument of torture, the light Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) had brought as a gift for mankind raised the veil; it showed in place of extinction, non-being, nothingness, purposeless, futility, and separations, meanings and instances of wisdom to the number of the leaves of the poplars, and as is proved in the Risale-i Nur, results and duties which may be divided into three sorts...”35
1. Yildirimkaya, Osman, in Son Sahitler, ii, 209.
2. Sahiner, N. Said Nursi, 341.
3. Demirelli, Sadik, in Son Sahitler, ii, 146.
4. Çelebi, Selahaddin, in Son Sahitler, i, 145.
5. Fakazli, Ibrahim, in Son Sahitler, i, 178.
6. Çelebi, Selahaddin, ibid., 144.
7. See, Hünkâr, Süleyman, in Son Sahitler, i, 183-8; Demirelli, Sadik, in Son Sahitler, ii, 135-57.
8. Gül, Mustafa, in Son Sahitler, iv, 328.
9. Sualar, 196.
10. Tarihçe, 377.
11. Pamukçu, Mehmed Feyzi, in Son Sahitler, ii, 163.
12. Çelebi, Selahaddin, in Son Sahitler, i, 145.
13. Sualar, 235-6.
14. Ibid., 236-7; Tarihçe, 356.
15. Sualar, 242-3; Tarihçe, 362.
16. Müdâfaalar, 97.
17. Op. cit.
18. Ibid., 130.
19. Sualar, 249.
20. Ibid., 250.
21. Lem’alar, 252.
22. Yakin Tarih Ansiklopedisi, vi, 167.
23. Sualar, 265.
24. Lem’alar, 252.
25. Sualar, 280-1.
26. Ibid., 284.
27. Ibid., 286.
28. Müdâfaalar, 151.
29. Sualar, 287.
30. Müdâfaalar, 123-32.
31. Tarihçe, 348.
32. See, Çelebi, Selahaddin, in Son Sahitler, i, 146; and Fakazli, Ibrahim, in Son Sahitler, i, 179.
33. Sahiner, N. Nurs Yolu, 123-7.
34. Çelebi, Selahaddin, in Son Sahitler, i, 148.
35. Sualar, 213-4.