An outline of Said Nursi’s life after 1925
When a revolt broke out in southeastern Turkey in 1925, Said Nursi and many others were sent into internal exile although he never participated in the revolt. At first, he lived a wretched, isolated life in Barla, a mountainous village in southwestern Turkey. However, he found true consolation in the Omnipresence of God and in complete submission to Him.
The basic works of the Risale-i Nur Collection (Epistles of Light), The Words and The Letters, were written in Barla and multiplied by hand-writing. Handmade copies soon circulated throughout Turkey, and read widely. In 1935, Said Nursi was tried in Eskisehir Criminal Court. Although he always opposed revolt and breaches of the public peace and order, and stressed that one person’s rights could not be violated even for society’s sake, he was accused of working to destroy the public order. When asked his opinion of the Republic, he replied: “My biography, which you have in your hands, proves that I was a religious republican before any of you were born.” He was held in prison for eleven months before acquittal.
Following his release, he had to live in Kastamonu. He stayed on the top floor of the police station, and later was settled in a house immediately opposite it. He lived in Kastamonu for seven years, and wrote a major part of the Risale-i Nur there. During this period, both he and his students [from Kastamonu and elsewhere] faced constant pressure from the authorities. This gradually increased, and culminated in widespread arrests, the Denizli trials, and imprisonment in 1943-44. Said Nursi was accused of forming a Sufi order and organizing a political society. Although acquitted, he spent nine months in solitary confinement in a tiny, dark, damp cell under the most appalling conditions.
After his release, Said Nursi was sent to Emirdag (in Afyon province). In 1948 a new case was opened against him in Afyon Criminal Court. The Appeals Court quashed this court’s arbitrary ruling, and Said Nursi and his students were acquitted. Following this, he stayed for brief periods in Emirdag, Isparta, Afyon, Istanbul, and elsewhere. In 1952 he was tried once more, this time for his publication of Guide for Youth. He was acquitted.
On his death in Urfa on March 23, 1960, which may well have been the Night of Power in Ramadan, the coroner fixed his estate as a turban, a gown, and 20 lira. The real legacy of this hero of Islam was the 6,000-page Risale-i Nur Collection, which have been translated into many foreign languages and have had a wide circulation throughout the world.