A movement to rethink

Nursi's attempt at integrating the old and the new
"The literature on Said Nursi is indeed a great asset not only for the Muslim culture but also for the development of Sufism, Tariqa and its allied subjects (Machasin, 20059) in the world."
"The literature on Said Nursi is indeed a great asset not only for the Muslim culture but also for the development of Sufism, Tariqa and its allied subjects (Machasin, 20059) in the world."Special arrangement

The philosophy of Said Nursi is an expression of heterodox, and unconventional views on Sufism. His intellectual, mystical, and spiritual stimulus continues to be distinguished in the contemporary Islamic world.

We must acknowledge the important role Said Nursi played in the integration of religion and modern secular sciences into an all-inclusive framework for the emancipation of moral values; not only Muslim part of the world but the whole mankind.

In addition, he emphasised that Islam is a path towards enlightenment and Quran is the ultimate knowledge and guidance and he who learned it by heart will certainly resuscitate faith, spread education, build scientific temper.

That is to say that his philosophy is a modest walk in the direction of rethinking our approach towards faith, education and science, or a good interface among them.

The literature on Said Nursi is indeed a great asset not only for the Muslim culture but also for the development of Sufism, Tariqa and its allied subjects (Machasin, 20059) in the world.

For that reason, Islamic Studies department at tertiary level (college and university) must embark upon the journey of reentering Said Nursi’s philosophy.

Maximum aspects of Said Nursi’s life are determined by the Islamic philosophies and values, and his scientific thoughtfulness was no exception.

Every culture and civilization tries to improve the moral standards and maximise the social welfare in which it is involved and to learn and adopt science and technology in order to harness them to their maximum social advantage.

Whatsoever be the establishing canons and doctrines of society, there are some universal canons which administer almost all societies of the world like a canon of honesty, reliability, and uprightness.

In the Middle Ages Islamic philosophy did not succumb to the philosophical comparative analysis between physical objects and spiritual objects having subconscious nature.

This is a more realistic and representative interpretation, and understanding of reality which is beyond what is seen and observed. And we certainly find it a more accurate and convincing view of reality than is permissible by modern positivist canons and guidelines of science.

There is a very high correlation between the rate of acceptance of religious values as a tool to science. Just as the Muslims were following snail’s pace to the Quranic knowledge as a positive input to science, the Western people were also sluggish to be familiar with the Islamic source of their scientific methodology.         

Every single religion and the spiritual community tries to take full advantage of the returns of religious activities in which it is involved. Every religion in one way or another encompasses an all-inclusive way of life, by design or on purpose universal and universalizing in letter and spirit.

In the same manner, for Muslims, Islam consists of a complete way of life, with intent universal which is comprehended as a mystical and divinely process of globalization whose scope, and opportunity is outward in its self-nomenclature as an approach.

The religion permits one to develop a good mix of devoutness of one's soul, spiritual self-determination, and correction in one’s way of life. It is a path towards a principled, self-sacrificing, upright and virtuous man who constructs up to the structure of his worldly life according to the standards and laws of 'Shariah'. Observing at the relationship between Islam and science and its advancements Said Nursi could hardly see any illogicality and conflict.

To learn, to educate, to instruct, and to guide; it is basically the acquisition of skills and knowledge together with the inputs that provide the necessary liking for constructing profitable use of that knowledge. Said Nursi exposed an exceptional aptitude to learn and educate from an early age.

Being a storyteller par excellence, Nursi was well-known for deliberating with other contemporary religious intellectuals.

One peculiar feature which he presented from an early age was his dissatisfaction with the prevalent education system; which is why he positively proposed an integrated and all-inclusive model of a school with an integrated knowledge based on the Quranic outline and scientific advancements.

Furthermore, proposed educational reforms to the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid with the drive to set the traditional Madrasah teaching, and the modern sciences in conversation with each other.

Nursi’s model of a combined program or curriculum based on his Madrasah al-Zahra model provides some inferences in transforming Islamic integrated syllabuses for Muslim educational institutions in solving the problems of the Muslim world, revitalizing Islamic civilization for the upward mobility of the entire mankind. If we look at the philosophy of Nursi from the larger paradigm we can suggest a substitute treatise to approach the question of faith, education and our commitment to the scientific temper.           

Dr. Binish Qadri, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Cluster University, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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