The role of knowledge


Said Nursi emphasized that knowledge yields happiness of this world and the one to come, and that humanity came to this world to be perfected through knowledge and supplication. Thus “knowledge without the heart’s insight is ignorance,”7 for our minds need to absorb religious truth with Revelation’s help, to which our heart—not our mind or reason—is a mirror. Moreover, “revealed truth is reasonable, but reason on its own cannot attain it.”8

The heart’s insight comes from the Qur’an; the mind’s insight comes from the other sciences. He writes:


The reality of the universe and all beings is based on the Divine Names. The reality of every being is based on one or many Names. All sciences and arts are based on and rely upon a Name. The true science of philosophy is based on the Name All-Wise (al-Hakim), true medicine on the Name Healer (al-Shafi), geometry on the Name Determiner (al-Muqaddir), and so on. Just as each science is based on and ultimately ends in a Name, the realities of all arts, sciences, and human perfections are based on the Divine Names.9


Said Nursi concludes that knowledge gained by studying the universe in God’s name is true knowledge, while knowledge gained in other ways is ignorance. Science interprets the universe, which is a symbolic creation of God pointing to a Truth beyond itself.


7 Said Nursi, The Letters, 2 vols, Kaynak, Izmir: 1998.

8 Nursi, The Words, The Light, Inc., New Jersey: 2005.

9 Ibid. See The Thirty-second Word’s third station.