• Said Nursi

    All about Bediuzzaman
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Belief, knowledge of God, and worship



Before the republic, Said Nursi had already changed from “Old Said” to “New Said”; that is to say, he withdrew from public life, and began to devote himself to defending and explaining Islam’s main principles of thought, belief, worship, and morality. His words reached numerous people through the copies of the Risale-i Nur handwritten by him and his students.

Bediüzzaman’s sound, scholarly knowledge of Islam, coupled with his life experience of enduring hardship and persecution alongside ordinary but pious people and teaching them, enabled him to explain Islam and belief to modern people in apparently simple terms and in a way that could account for their experiences and worldview. Analyzing both belief and unbelief, he used clearly reasoned arguments to explain and prove the Qur’anic conception of God and His Unity, Prophethood and bodily Resurrection, and human duty of worship.

Using easily understood “parables,” comparisons, and explanations, Said Nursi produced categorical proofs showing that modern scientific discoveries actually support and reinforce the truths of the Religion. He used the Qur’anic methodology of addressing each person’s intellect, and all inner and outer facilities, to encourage people to study the universe and its functioning in order to understand creation’s true nature and purposes. This, in turn, leads to learning the One Creator’s Attributes and our own duties as God’s servants.

Said Nursi explained the universe’s true nature as being a comprehensive sign of its Creator, and showed via clear arguments that all fundamentals of belief can be proven rationally when the universe is read in this way. As belief is then grounded in modern science, it remains firm and immune to materialism, naturalism, and atheism.

In this framework of belief all scientific and technological advances merely uncover the workings of the cosmos. If the cosmos is thus viewed as a vast and infinitely complex and meaningful unified book describing its Single Author, all discoveries and advances reinforce, deepen, and expand belief. So, the believers’ most fundamental needs—to worship God by recognizing Him with His Most Beautiful Names and Attributes, and to obey Him—are met. He focused on the essentials of belief and worship and the Qur’an’s main purposes: explaining and proving Divine Existence and Unity, Prophethood, Resurrection, and the need for worship and justice. He explains in various places of his The Words, The Letters, and Lahikalar (Addenda):


Creation’s highest aim and most sublime result is belief in God. The most exalted rank of humanity is knowledge of God. The most radiant happiness and sweetest bounty for jinn and humanity is love of God contained within knowledge of Him; the spirit’s purest joy and the heart’s purest delight is spiritual ecstasy contained within love of God. All true happiness, pure joy, sweet bounties, and unclouded pleasure are contained within the knowledge and love of God.

Belief is not restricted to a brief affirmation based on imitation; rather, it has degrees and stages of development. It is like a seed growing into a fully grown, fruit-bearing tree; like the sun’s image in a mirror or in a drop of water to its images on the sea’s surface and to the sun itself. Belief contains so many truths pertaining to God’s Names and the realities contained in the universe that the most perfect science, knowledge, and virtue is belief and knowledge of God originating in a belief based on argument and investigation. While belief based on imitation can be refuted through doubt and questions raised by modern thought, belief based on argument and investigation has as many degrees and grades of manifestation as the number of Divine Names. Those who attain certainty of belief coming from direct observation of the truths on which belief is based study the universe as a kind of Qur’an.

The Qur’an, the universe, and humanity are three kinds of manifestations of one truth. The Qur’an, issuing from the Divine Attribute of Speech, may be regarded as the written or composed universe. The universe, originating in the Divine Attributes of Power and Will, may be considered as the created Qur’an. Since the universe is the Qur’an’s counterpart and, in one respect, the collection of Divine laws of creation, sciences that study the universe must be compatible with Islam. Therefore now (when science prevails) and in the future (the age of knowledge), true belief should be based on argument and investigation; on continual reflection on God’s “signs” in the universe; and on natural, social, historical, and psychological phenomena. Belief is not something based on blind imitation; rather, it should appeal to both the intellect or reason and the heart, for it combines reason’s acceptance and affirmation with the heart’s experience and submission.

There is another degree of belief: certainty coming from direct experience of its truths. This depends on regular worship and reflection. Those with such belief can challenge any objection. So, our first and foremost duty is to acquire such belief and, in complete sincerity and purely for God’s sake, spread it to others. A hadith relates that it is better for you if one embraces belief through you than for you to possess the world.


In short, Said Nursi argues that belief consists of acquiring Islam in its entirety.