Biography of Bediüzzaman Said NursiRisale-i NurWorld News

Islam enjoins the exercise of basic liberties and rights

As we examine Bediuzzaman’s writings and activities, it will become clear that not only did he see tyranny and despotism to be a root cause of the Ottoman Empire’s decline and material backwardness relative to the West, and also to be in no way compatible with Islam, but also did he demonstrate the solutions for its recovery and progress to all lie within Islam. He pointed out the dynamic nature of the Seriat and Islam’s predisposition for progress, both materially, and morally and spiritually, an important element of which is the fact that Islam enjoins the exercise of basic liberties and rights, without which progress is not possible. Further to this, at that time of defeat and disintegration for the Islamic world, he saw the future – the age of science, technology, and reason – to be nothing less than a golden age of Islamic civilization. For him the achievement of this was the logical consequence of the comprehensive, universal nature of the revealed religion of Islam and of the trend of events in the world, that is, the decline of Western civilization.

Maintaining unity within the Empire was one of the major problems of the time. Bediuzzaman argued also that Constitutionalism and Freedom within the framework of Islam was the way to preserve unity. Just as it created suitable conditions for strengthening Islamic Unity and brotherhood. However, “Unity cannot occur through ignorance. Unity is the fusion of ideas, and the fusion of ideas occurs through the electric rays of knowledge.” Thus, education was an area in which Bediuzzaman expended great effort, particularly for his native Kurdistan. Quite contrary to the accusations of his enemies subsequently that he was a Kurdish nationalist, the aim of all Bediuzzaman’s endeavors for the reform and spread of education in Kurdistan, and for its material and cultural development, was the strengthening of the Ottoman Empire and Islamic world. It was with this intention that he had set out a second time for the Ottoman capital in November, 1907.
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