QUESTION: What is despotism?

ANSWER: Despotism is oppression, domination, and arbitrary power. It is arbitrary treatment and compulsion based on violence. It is the unquestionable opinion of a single individual, and a ground suitable for all kinds of abuses. It is the foundation of injustice and destroys humanity. Despotism rolls humans down into the deepest of the valleys of misery and has caused the world of Islam to fall into humiliation and deprivation. It awakens personal grudges and hostilities, poisons Islam and infects everything with its poison. It has caused differences and disagreements between Muslims, as well as the birth of the schools of misguidance, such as the Mu‘tazila, Jabriyya, and Murji’a.61

It is learned despotism – the father of imitation and the child of political despotism – which caused the birth of such sects as the Mu‘tazila, Jabriyya, and Murji’a, which have so confused Muslims.

(From Munazarat [“Discussions”])

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

61 Murjci‘a is the school of creed which argues that if one has believed, no matter how sinful they are, God will forgive them and admit them into Paradise. (Tr.)