To Dispel Any Fears

Volkan No: 90

9 Rebîülevvel 1327/ 18 Mart 1325/ 31 March 1909


I shall reply to nine groundless fears voiced about the İttihad-ı Muhammedî (Muhammadan Union).

F i r s t   G r o u n d l e s s  F e a r : It is inappropriate to put forward the question of religion at a sensitive time such as the present.

The Answer: We love religion, and we love this world for the sake of religion. “There is no good in this world without religion.”

Secondly: Since in constitutionalism sovereignity belongs to the nation, the nation’s existence has to be demonstrated, and our nation is only Islam. For the strongest bond of Arab, Turk, Kurd, Albanian, Circassian, and Laz, and their firmest nationhood, is nothing other than Islam. The foundations of an array of states are being laid, due to negligence and strife incited through the revival of the partisanship and tribalism of the Age of Ignorance, which died one thousand three hundred years ago. We have seen this.

S e c o n d   G r o u n d l e s s   F e a r : By using this name specifically you make non-members feel alarm and anxiety?

The Answer: I have explained this before, but because it has not been read or has been misunderstood, I am obliged to repeat it. It is like this:

What is meant when we say the İttihadMuhammedî (Muhammad Union), which is Islamic Unity, is the unity between all believers, whether potential or actual. It does not refer to the society in Istanbul and Anatolia. A single drop of water is still water. The word cannot be thought of as specific. Its true definition is as follows:

Its foundations stretch from east to west and from north to south; its centre are the holy places of Mecca and Medina; its point of unity is Divine Unity; its oath and pledge is belief; its code of regulations, the practices of the Prophet (PBUH); its code of laws, the commands and prohibitions of the Shari‘a; its clubs and councils, all the religious schools, mosques, and Sufi meeting-houses; the society’s eternal press organ are all Islamic books, and its constant one is foremost the Qur’an and all Qur’anic commentaries (and at this time, the Risale-i Nur, which is a Qur’anic commentary), as well as all moderate religious papers and journals whose aim is to uphold the Word of God; its membership consists of all believers; and its leader is the Glory of the World (PBUH).

What we want now is the awakening and attention of believers, for the effect of public attention is undeniable. The aim of the Union and its purpose is to uphold the Word of God, and its way is to wage the ‘greater jihad’ with one’s own soul, and to guide others. Ninety-nine per cent of the endeavours of this blessed society are not political. They are rather turned towards good morals and moderation, which are the opposite of politics, and other lawful aims. For very few societies have adopted this as their function, although its value and importance is immense. Only one out of a hundred of its members will be connected with politics by way of offering guidance to politicians. Their swords are decisive proofs. And just as their way is love, so will they encourage the love included in the seed of the brotherhood between believers to grow, like a tree of Tuba.

F i f t h   G r o u n d l e s s   F e a r : Is there not the possibility that the Europeans will be perturbed by it?

The Answer:  Those who consider this to be a possibility are themselves perturbed. For it is refuted by the Europeans praising Islam in lectures5 and describing its elevatedness, in the very centres of their bigotry. Also, it is not they who are our enemies; what has in reality brought us this low is opposition to the Shari‘a, which is the result of ignorance, thus preventing us from upholding the Word of God; and poverty and its fruits of immorality and bad conduct; and conflict and its products of strife and hatred; the attacks of our Union are directed at these three enemies.

In the Middle Ages, Islam was compelled to be bigoted and hostile in the face of the Europeans’ savagery, but it nevertheless maintained its justice and moderation. It never instituted inquisitions and such like. In this time of modern civilization, the Europeans are civilized and powerful, and harmful hostility and bigotry have therefore disappeared. For in respect of religion, the civilized are to be conquered through persuasion, not through force, and through showing by conforming to its commands in actions and conduct that Islam is elevated and lovable. Force and enmity are only to combat the barbarity of savages.

S i x t h   G r o u n d l e s s   F e a r : Some people say that Islamic Unity, which aims to implement the practices of the Prophet (PBUH), limits freedom and is opposed to the requirements of civilization.

The Answer: The true believer is truly free. One who is the slave and servant of the Maker of the world will not condescend to lower himself before His creatures. That is to say, freedom is increased to the degree belief is strengthened.

Absolute freedom, however, is absolute savagery; indeed, it is animality. From the point of view of humanity, too, freedom has to be restricted.

Secondly: Some lax and dissolute individuals want not to be free, but to be the vile slaves of their evil-commanding souls.

In Short: The freedom outside the bounds of the Shari‘a is either despotism, or slavery to the soul, or animality, or savagery. The heedless and atheists who want such freedom should know that they will never make any European with a conscience love them through vice and irreligion, nor will they resemble them. For no one loves the dissolute and the unprincipled. And if a man wears a woman’s dress, he merely becomes ridiculous.

S e v e n t h   G r o u n d l e s s   F e a r : The Muhammadan Union has split away from the other religious groups, and this leads to rivalry and mutual aversion.

The Answer: Firstly, there can be no jealousy, contention, and conflict in the matters of the hereafter, so if any of those societies attempts to compete or strive against another it will be as though it is hypocritical and dissembling in worship.

Secondly: We congratulate all societies founded out of love of religion and we unite with them, on two conditions:

First Condition: That they preserve the freedom which is in accordance with the Shari‘a and public order.

Second Condition: That they act out of love, and do not smear other groups for self-advantage. If any are in error, they should refer it to the religious authorities, who collectively constitute the Mufti of the Umma.

Thirdly: Any society whose aim is upholding the Word of God cannot in any way be the means of animosity and serving its own ends. Even if it wants to, it will not be successful, because to do so is duplicity. The truth is exalted, and may not by sacrificed for anything. Can the Pleiades be swept with a brush or eaten like a bunch of grapes? Anyone who puffs at the sun of reality to extinguish it merely advertises his lunacy.

Newspapers and periodicals which support religion! We say that religious groups and societies should have a common goal. But it is neither possible for them to unite in their ways and methods, nor is it permissible. For it opens up the way blind imitation and causes people to say: “What is it to me? Let others do the thinking.”

E i g h t h   G r o u n d l e s s   F e a r :  The majority of the people who have joined the Union here, both in fact and in spirit, supporters of Islamic Unity, are ordinary people, and some are an unknown quantity; this hints of conflict and dissension.

The Answer: It is rather as a consequence of enmity not being permitted. Also, since its aim is unity and upholding the Word of God, all its activities and endeavours are worship. In the mosque of worship king and beggar are equal. True equality is its principle; there is no privilege. The best is the one most fearing of God. And the one most fearing of God is the most humble. As a consequence, together with joining in meaning the true Union,6 he will be honoured by joining this Union, which is a physical sample of it. A single droplet does not increase the ocean. And just as one grievous sin does not cause a person to cease being a believer, so the door of repentance is open till the sun rises in the west. And in the same way that a flagon of impure water does not make the ocean unclean, a number of persons of unknown origins -now that they have purified themselves- who have joined this sample of Islamic Unity with the firm intention, as far as they can, to revive the practices of the Prophet (PBUH), obey his commands and refrain from what he prohibited, and not disturb public order, will not stain this elevated reality. For even if they themselves are tainted, their belief is sacred. The bond too is belief. One who smears this sacred name with such pretexts, is unaware of Islam’s worth and elevatedness, and simply proclaims himself to be an idiot. We strenuously reject any innuendoes made against our society, which is a sample of Islamic Unity, by analogies made with worldly societies, and efforts to smear it. If anyone offers objections by way of asking for information, we are ready to reply to them. The field is open...!

The society of which I am a member is Islamic Unity, which I have here described in detail. It is not the imaginary organization that critics have falsely described. The members of this religious association are together whether in the north, south, east or west.

Question: You sometimes sign yourself as Bediuzzaman (the Wonder of the Age). Does this not infer self-praise?

The Answer: It is not for praise; I declare my faults, excuses, and apologies with this title. Because ‘Bedi‘’means strange. And like my form, my conduct, my manner of address, and my attire are all strange and different. Through the tongue of this manner and title I request that the current reasoning and styles based on customary practice are not made the measure and criterion for my style and reasoning. Also my aims are strange and unusual. I have illustrated the lines:

I have become the target of every weird person;

For I am weird in the eyes of the weird!

An example is this: I have been in Istanbul one year and have seen a hundred years’ worth of revolutions.

Peace be on those who follow right-guidance!

We say in the name of all believers: Long live the Shari‘a of Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace)!

B e d i u z z a m a n S a i d  N u r s i




5. This alludes to lectures given by Bismarck, Carlyle, and others.


6. That is, Islamic Unity. [Tr.]