|Born||Between January 5 and March 12, 1878
Nurs, Bitlis Province, Ottoman Empire (Hizan)
|Died||March 23, 1960 (aged 82)
|Main interest(s)||Restoring faith, theology, theosophy|
|Notable idea(s)||Risale-i Nur Collection|
Bediüzzaman Said Nursî (1878 – March 23, 1960), (Turkish: بديع الزّمان سعيد النُّورسی) commonly known as Bediüzzaman (Badi' al-Zaman), which means "The Wonder of the Age"  was a Sunni Muslim theologian of Kurdish origin who wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur'anic commentary exceeding six thousand pages. Believing that modern science and logic was the way of the future, he advocated teaching religious sciences in secular schools and modern sciences in religious schools. Nursi inspired a faith movement that has played a vital role in the revival of Islam in Turkey and now numbers several millions of followers world wide.
The "Early Said"
He was born in Nurs, a Kurdish village in the Ottoman Bitlis Province in eastern Anatolia. He received his early education from the prestigious scholars of his hometown where he showed mastery in theological debates. His profound knowledge of religious and positive sciences which he learned at an early age was acclaimed by the scholars of his time, and due to his sharp intelligence, strong memory and superior abilities, he was called by the name “Bediuzzaman”, meaning “The most unique, superior person of the time.” He was invited by the governor of the Vilayet of Van to stay within his residency. In the governor's library, Nursî gained access to an archive of scientific knowledge he had not had access to previously. Moreover, Said learned proper Turkish there. During this time, he developed a plan for university education for the Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire. By combining scientific and religious (Islamic) education, the university was expected to advance the philosophical thoughts of these regions. However, he was put on trial in 1909 for his apparent involvement in the 1909 events on the side opposing the Committee of Union and Progress but he was acquitted and released. He was active during the late Ottoman Caliphate as an educational reformer and advocate of the unity of the peoples of the Caliphate. He proposed educational reforms to the Ottoman Sultan AbdulHamid aiming to put the traditional Madrasah (seminery) training, Sufism (tasawwuf) and the modern sciences in dialogue with each other. Bediüzzaman was a worrying-enough influence for the incipient leader of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, to deem it necessary to seek to control him by offering him the position of ‘Minister of Religious Affairs’ for the eastern provinces of Turkey, a post that Nursi famously refused. This was the beginning of his split from the Kemalist Ideology. During World War I, he was a member of the Special Organization of the Ottoman Empire. Nursi was taken to Russia as a prisoner of war where he spent over 2 years. He escaped from a Russian camp in the Spring of 1918 and made his way to Istanbul.
Said Nursi heard that a British Secretary for the Colonies, Gladstone, had even said in a newspaper: "So long as the Muslims have the Qur'an, we shall be unable to dominate them. We must either take it from them, or make them lose their love of it." Such threats caused him to declare: "I shall prove and demonstrate to the world that the Qur'an is an undying, inexhaustable Sun!" thus he decided to write his masterpiece, Risale-i Nur.
The "New Said"
He was finally exiled to the village Barla in the Isparta Province. His teachings attracted many people in the area. These manuscripts were sent to Sav, another village in the region where dozens of people duplicated them in Arabic script (which was officially replaced by the Latin script in 1928). After being finished these books were sent to Nursî's disciples all over Turkey via the "Nurcu postal system". Bediuzzaman's study of science and involvement with philosophy should be seen in the context of the increasing Western influence in the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries and the attacks which were being made on the Quran and Islam in the name of science, materialism and Positivist philosophy in particular. Bediuzzaman's activity was intended to provide an Islamic answer to these attacks. When the leadership of Turkey came into the hands of Mustafa Kemal and his supporters at the founding of the Republic in 1923, the drive for Westernization received a strong impetus.
Besides these powerful writings themselves, a major factor in the success of the movement may be attributed to the very method Bediuzzaman had chosen, which may be summarized with two phrases: 'mânevî jihad,' that is, 'jihad of the word' or 'non-physical jihad', and 'positive action.' For Bediuzzaman considered the true enemies in this age of science, reason, and civilization to be materialism and atheism, and their source, materialist philosophy. Thus just as he combated and 'utterly defeated' these with the reasoned proofs of the Risale-i Nur, so through strengthening the belief of Muslims and raising it to the level of 'true, verified belief,' the Risale-i Nur was the most effective barrier against the corruption of society caused by these enemies. In order to be able to pursue this 'jihad of the word,' Bediuzzaman insisted that his students avoided any use of force and disruptive action. Through 'positive action,' and the maintenance of public order and security, the supposed damage caused by the forces of unbelief could be 'repaired' by the 'healing' truths of the Quran. Said Nursi lived much of his life in prison and in exile, persecuted by the secularist state for having invested in religious revival.
Said's Later Life
He was finally released in 1949. In the last decade of his life he settled in Isparta city. After the introduction of the multi-party system he advised his followers to vote for the Democratic Party of Adnan Menderes which gained the support of the rural and conservative populations. Because Said Nursî considered communism the greatest danger of that time, he also supported the pro-Western orientation of the Democrats, leading to his support of NATO, CENTO and Turkey's participation in the Korean war. He tried to unite Muslims and Christians in the struggle against communism and materialism therefore he corresponded with the Pope and the Greek Orthodox patriarch. In 1956 he was allowed to have his writings printed. His books are collected under the name The Collection Of Risale-i Nur (Letters of Light).
He died of exhaustion after traveling to Urfa. He was buried on the premises where according to Islamic beliefs prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was born. After the military coup d'état in Turkey in 1960, a group of soldiers led by the later extreme right-wing politician Alparslan Türkeş opened his grave and buried him at an unknown place near Isparta during July 1960 in order to prevent popular veneration. His followers are reported to have found his grave after years of searching in the area, and took his remains to a secret place in an effort to protect his body from further disturbance. Interestingly enough, he wrote in a treaty (risala), that no one should know where his tomb is. "The Risale-i Nur Collection" revealing his claimed personal level of closeness to God. Although in letters circulating between the disciples many have been narrated instantly and are to be found within published letters combined under books called "Lahikalar". There are a few of these published "Lahikalar" named after where Said Nursi resided.
Said Nursi and the Republic of Turkey
Said Nursi's life, both while writing the Risale-i Nur (1925–48) and until his death in 1960, consisted of arrest and imprisonment, surveillance, and harassment. But he persevered. In the words of a person familiar with such anti-Said Nursi activities. Following is a brief chronology of this phase of his life:
· 1925-35: Kept under strict control at Barla, a very small, mountainous district, and forced to live alone.
· 1935: Arrested and imprisoned for 11 months with 125 students during their trial at Eskişehir Criminal Court.
· 1936-43: Following his release, began a 7-year exile in Kastamonu, where he spent the first 3 months at a police station After that, he was transferred to a house opposite to the police station.
· 1943: Arrested and tried with 126 students at the Denizli Criminal Court for having a treatise on God's existence printed secretly in Istanbul. He taught the other prisoner and produced his Fruits from the Tree of Light and other works on small pieces of paper torn from paper bags, which were then smuggled out. He was acquitted and exiled to Emirdag.
· 1948: Arrested in Emirdag with 53 students, and jailed for 20 months in Afyon prison. Now 72, Said Nursi endured solitary confinement in a cell with broken windows that were not fixed during the two harsh winters he stayed there. Sick and eventually poisoned, he had to serve his full term even though the Supreme Court had annulled his sentence. In 1956, they were declared innocent.
· In 1950: the multiparty system was introduced and restrictions on religion were relaxed. Said Nursi was arrested only once after this, and was acquitted by a unanimous decision.
· In 1960: He died on March 23, 1960 and was buried in Halil-ur Rahman Dergahı in Urfa, where Abraham is believed to have lived. However, on July 12, 1960 his body was removed from his grave by military junta of 1960 Turkish coup d'état and buried at an unknown location. His grave location is still unknown to the public.
- A documentary about his village Nurs(in Turkish)
- Ian Markham, Globalization, Ethics and Islam: The Case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Introduction, xvii
- Islam in Modern Turkey, Sukran Vahide (Suny Press, 2005)
- Al-Mathnawi Al-Nuri, Introduction
- An article about the birth date of Bediüzzaman Said Nursî in the magazineKöprü(Turkish).
- From Said Nursi's Life: Birth and Early Childhood
- Towards an Islamic liberalism.The Middle East Journal (1999): 584-605. Last retrieved 19th November 2013
- Anatolia Junction,Reed, F. A. (2012). Last retrieved 19th November 2013
- Said Nursi, Munazarat, p. 86 “The religious sciences are the light of the conscience; the modern sciences are the light of the mind; only on the combining of the two does the truth emerge. The students’ aspiration will take flight with those two wings. When they are parted, it gives rise to bigotry in the one, and skepticism and trickery in the other.”
- An article from First Things
- Vahide, Şükran (2005). Islam in modern Turkey: an intellectual biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. SUNY Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-7914-6515-8. "They [Said Nursî's parents] were among the settled Kurdish population of the geographical region the Ottomans called Kurdistan."
- Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p482
- Vahide, Şükran (2005). Islam in modern Turkey: an intellectual biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-6515-8. "He offered Nursi Shaikh Sanusi’s post as ‘general preacher’ in the Eastern Provinces with a salary of 300 liras, a deputyship in the Assembly, and a post equivalent to that he had held in the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islamiye, together with various perks such as a residence. Part 1;Childhood and Early Life,chapter 8"
- Hakan Özoğlu, Osmanlı Devleti ve Kürt Milliyetçiliği, Kitap Yayinevi Ltd., 2005, ISBN 978-975-6051-02-3, p. 146.
- Andrew Rippin and Zeki Saritoprak, The Islamic World, Chapter 33, p. 398
- Vahide, Sukran, Ibid. p. 31
- An audio file in BBC quoting Gladstone and saying"So long as there is this book, there would be no peace in the world" while brandishing a copy of Qur'an in his hand.(between 30-50 sec.)
- Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p482
- Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi - Part Two (The New Said) pg.441
- Site about The Collection Of Risale-i Nur
- Nursi's Letters Found in Yassiada Archives, Zaman
- The Supplicant (Eddai), [The Rays from Risale-i Nur Collection, Said Nursi]
- Konuşan yalnız hakikattir
- Nursi'nin ilk mezarını böyle parçaladılar, http://www.haber7.com, Erişim: 21.02.2013
- Nereid, Camilla T., In the Light of Said Nursi:Turkish Nationalism and the Religious Alternative, London, C. Hurst Publishers, 1998.
- Sahiner, Necmettin, Son Şahitler 3, Nesil Yayinlari, 2004.
- Vahide, Sukran, Islam in modern Turkey: an intellectual biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. SUNY Press, 2005.
- Markham,Ian,An Introduction to Said Nursi ASHGATE, 2011.
- Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi‘. Islam at the Crossroads Suny Press, 2003.
- Fred A. Reed. Anatolia junction: A journey into hidden Turkey. Talonbooks. 1999.
- Michel, Thomas, Said Nursi's Views on Muslim-Christian Understanding
- Ian Markham Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, A Model of Interfaith Dialogue. Ashgate, 2009
- Ian Markham A Theology of Engagement. Blackwell, 2003
- Ian Markham Globalization,Ethics and Islam: The Case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, 2005
- Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi‘. Spiritual Dimensions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's Risale-i Nur. Suny Press, 2008.
- Barnett, Peter, Guardian of the Flame
- Mardin, Serif, Religion and social change in modern Turkey: The case of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi. Suny Press, 1989.
- Kalın, Ibrahim, Islam in Turkey Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Şahin, Mustafa Gökhan, Said Nursi and the Nur Movement in Turkey: An Atomistic Approach 
- Turner, Colin, Horkuc, Hasan Said Nursi, Makers of Islamic Civilization Oxford, 2009.
- Media related to Muslim scholars of Islam at Wikimedia Commons
- SaidNur.com A comperehensive page about Said Nursi and Risale-i Nur Collection in many languages
- Suffa Vakfi Said Nursi based Organization.
- Questions On Islam Based on Principles of Said Nursi.
-  The European Court of Human Rights. Application no. 1413/08 by Ibragim IBRAGIMOV and CULTURAL EDUCATIONAL FUND “NURU-BADI” against Russia lodged on 3 December 2007.
- Risale-i Nur
-  A web page including Risale-i Nur Collection in various languages
-  A web page including Risale-i Nur Collection in English
- NursiStudies Academic Researches on Said Nursi
-  A web site serving in United States
-  A letter about ban of Risale-i Nur Collection to President of Russia Medvedev
|Sufism and Tariqa|