What should be done for the desired future of the Kurds and Turks?
QUESTION: What do you suggest be done for the development and desired future of the Kurds and Turks?
ANSWER: I suggest that a university, to be called Medresetu’z-Zehra, should be opened in Bitlis, which is the center of the region of Kurds, and in Van and Diyarbakır, two wings of Bitlis. Be sure that we Kurds do not resemble others; we certainly know that our social life depends on the life and happiness of the Turks.
QUESTION: How? In what way? Why?
ANSWER: This suggestion has certain prerequisites and fruits.
QUESTION: What are its prerequisites?
ANSWER: There are eight.
The first is that the name medrese is known and pleasing to everybody, and is attractive and arouses zeal. It also contains a great truth and therefore stirs up the demand for education.
The second is that the positive sciences should be studied together with the religious sciences, and Arabic should be obligatory, Turkish compulsory, and Kurdish permissible.
QUESTION: What wisdom is there in studying these two kinds of sciences that you support it so whole-heartedly and always suggest it?
ANSWER: Such study will save the intellectual reasoning from the darkness of the fallacies that result from four corrupted analogies or comparisons68 and remove the sophistry to which philosophical approaches have given rise in parasitic imitators.
QUESTION: In what way?
ANSWER: The light of conscience is religious sciences, and the light of reason or intellect is physical sciences. The truth is manifested from their fusion. The endeavor of students soars on these two wings. When they remain separate, the religious sciences cause bigotry, while the physical sciences give rise to doubt and deception.
The third prerequisite is appointing teachers among the Kurdish scholars who know the regional language and whom both the Turks and Kurds trust, scholars who are well-versed in both religious knowledge and spirituality.
The fourth is consulting the capacity of Kurds and considering their simplicity and infancy in sciences. For garments are of different sizes according to the size of a people; a garment fit for one size is ugly for another. The education of children is based on either compulsion or flattering their fancies and desires.
The fifth is completely complying with the principle of the division of labor so that, although the branches of science cannot utterly be separated from one another and are interconnected, specialists may be brought up in every branch.
The sixth is finding a source of nourishment for the students and establishing this university as an equal to other universities in every official respect.
The seventh is that until this university is built, the School of Teachers should be given a central position in Istanbul University and reorganized from the same perspective, so that it may be reflected or imitated in this new one, and the virtues and religiousness of this one may be transmitted to the other. Thus both may have two wings (one scientific thought and approach and the other, religiousness and spirituality).
The eighth is that individual education, which is the usual way in the Kurdish region, should be replaced by collective education.
QUESTION: What are the benefits?
ANSWER: Islamic and patriotic zeal and endeavor.
QUESTION: What else?
ANSWER: This medrese contains, like a seed, the tree of Touba.69 If it
grows and blossoms through zeal and endeavor, it will come to the point of meeting its expenses by itself, growing independent of your nearly-empty purses.
ANSWER: The first is that if the pious foundations are well organized, they will allow a significant amount of “water” to flow to this pool through the canal of the unification of medreses.
The second is the Zakah (the Prescribed Purifying Alms). After a while, that Medresetu’z-Zehra will deservedly assign to itself some of the Zakah through the service it provides to Islam and humanity. Even the zakah of the Zakah will be sufficient.
The third is that in addition to this medrese being the highest school of sciences in the sight of intellects through the fruit it will yield, the light it will scatter, and the service it will do for Islam, it will also be the perfect religious school (medrese) in the view of hearts, and the most sacred dervish lodge in the view of consciences. Since it will be both a school, a medrese, and a dervish lodge at the same time, the charities and the payments to be made for the fulfillment of vows, which are the “national” donations of Islam, will flow into it.
The fourth is that since its task will be fulfilled by the School of Teachers for a limited period of time, the income of this school will increase, and the surplus will be directed to Medresetu’z-Zehra as a loan. After some time, the medrese will become independent and repay its loan.
QUESTION: What further expectations do you have from this medrese, about which you have clamoring for over ten years?
ANSWER: To summarize my further expectations – it will secure the future of Kurdish scholars, introduce scientific knowledge to the region of the Kurds, and demonstrate the beauties of Constitutionalism and freedom so that people may benefit from them.
QUESTION: This is worth further explanation.
ANSWER: Firstly: The medreses will be united and reformed.
Secondly: Islam will be saved from unsubstantiated narratives, Israelite stories and information, and cold bigotry. The character of Islam is a religious firmness formed of steadfastness, commitment, determination, and the support of right and truth. It is not bigotry arising from ignorance or the lack of reasoning. In my opinion, the most formidable and incurable bigotry or fanaticism is found in the blind imitators of Europe. They obstinately insist on their superficial doubts. This is not the attitude of religious scholars who act on proof.
Thirdly: A door will be opened to spread the beauties of Constitutionalism. The Kurds have no intention of harming Constitutionalism, but if it is not appreciated well, this may also lead to harm. If a patient supposes a cure to be mixed with poison, they will certainly not use it.
Fourthly: A way will be opened for a new style of education to enter medreses and a pure source of sciences acceptable to the people of medreses will be formed. For I have repeatedly said that an evil understanding and image have prevented the realization of these.
Fifthly: I have repeated nearly one hundred times, but I will repeat again: the people or members of the medreses (purely religious schools) and (secular) schools and spiritual centers should be reconciled. They should at least agree on their main purpose through the exchange of inclinations and opinions. Do we not witness, regrettably, that their disparity in views has caused disunity and their varying ways have prevented progress? Each group goes to extremes because they show fanatical adherence to their own way and because they have superficial knowledge of other ways. While one group sees the other as being misguided, the other accuses the former of ignorance.
In short: If Islam takes on a physical form, it will be manifested as a lofty, light-filled and well-built palace; one of the rooms of this palace will be the school of sciences, another, the medrese, or the school of religious sciences, and still another, the dervish lodge; its hall will be the meeting salon of all who gather together as a consultative committee to complete each other’s shortcomings. Just as a mirror represents the sun according to its capacity, so too will the Medresetu’z-Zehra represent that Divine palace in the physical realm.
(From Munazarat [“Discussions”])
68 These four analogies or comparisons are (1) comparing the material or physical with the spiritual and accepting the modern, European view and position as the norm in spiritual matters, and accepting the views of some famous people in a field of science as proof in other sciences as well; (2) rejecting the view of religious scholars who have no knowledge of physical sciences in religious sciences; (3) trusting in oneself in religious matters out of arrogance resulting from their knowledge of physical sciences; (4) comparing earlier generations with new ones and the past with the present, and raising wrongful objections to the Religion. (Abdulmecid Ünlükul, the brother of Said Nursi)
69 The tree of Touba is the tree of Paradise and symbolizes being huge with numerous branches. (Tr.)