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The Hero of Thought and Action

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in The Statue of Our Souls

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The person of thought and action moves actively while making plans; they are deeply concerned with bringing peace to the world, and representing the movement of raising once again the statues of our soul and meaning, which we have been knocking down continuously for centuries; and they render our historical values into our day. They are able to shift efficiently between action and thought with their will and reason, and are a people of activity who weave for us the newest of lace in full harmony with the canvas of our own soul and meaning.

They have always been inspired by "peace" along their journey, from feelings to thoughts, and from there on to every phase of practical life. Their unique objective is to construct and build up. They are the spiritual soldiers of the Truth who, instead of conquering countries and winning victory after victory, utilizing their material force and power, train the "general staff" of the soul, the architects of thought, and the workers of new ideas; they always beam out thoughts about the construction and lead their disciples to restore the ruins; they are the spiritual soldiers enthused with zeal and thankfulness who have been able to unite their will with the Infinite Will, transform their poverty into prosperity, and their weakness into strength. As long as they can make use of these sources of power in accord with and loyal to the Owner, they can never be beaten; or in cases where it is wrongfully assumed that they have been beaten, they will appear at the head of another victorious stronghold.

The person of thought and action might assume different roles in society: sometimes a loyal patriot, a hero of thoughtful action, sometimes a devoted disciple of science and learning, an artist of genius, a statesperson, and sometimes all of these. Recent history has recorded a considerable number of people who have exemplified roles like these. Some of them lived with their thoughts out ahead of their actions, whereas others had both on the same level. Yet again there are people of action whose thoughts were completely concealed and unseen.

Ahmed Hilmi of Plovdiv, Mustafa Sabri Bey, Ferit Kam, Muhammed Hamdi Yazir, Süleyman Efendi, Ahmed Naim, Mehmed Akif, Necip Fazil and Bediüzzaman are just a few names that we can mention among those many distinguished characters. To be able to keep within the boundaries of this short text, I am not going to delve into biographical details, but will just try to shed a little light upon their life stories.

Ahmed Hilmi of Filibe (Plovdiv) (1865-1914)

Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the son of the Turkish ambassador, he started his education at Galatasaray Lycee (Mekteb-i Sultani) and got to know about the era there; he then moved to Izmir, after which he was posted to Beirut . In the meantime, he was in contact with the Young Turks, and as a result was exiled to Fizan; he later returned to Istanbul following the establishment of the Constitutional government, flagshipping the thought of Ittihad-i Islam (the Union of Islam) and publishing a journal under the same name, standing as the spokesperson of this school. Later, he started working for another daily paper, Hikmet, which was a platform for his confrontation with Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti (Committee of Union and Progress) he went on to work on many other journals and magazines, taught philosophy for a while at Darulfunun ( Istanbul University ). Ahmed Hilmi finally died at a very young age, poisoned by Freemasons, who were his archenemies.

This very distinguished man of thought and action, on whom we are casting a passing glance, a person who left behind so many works, is waiting in the pages of history to be discovered.

Ferit Kam (1864-1944)

The life journey of this notable person of thought, delicate taste, and master of language, who was active at a very young age in the cultural life of Istanbul, is as follows: he was a teacher of French and had an interest in philosophy. After pursuing this interest for a while he fell into a temporary depression, but subsequently, by Divine Grace, found shelter in Sufism and once again was able to find a balance; he wrote for the journals Sirat-i Müstakim and Sebilürresad; he taught as a professor at Darulfunun and Süleymaniye Madrasa; he joined Daru'l-Hikmeti'l Islamiye (Council of Islamic Wisdom), enduring dismissals and re-designations to his position and never-ending suffering and deprivations. The end result was that, like every other hero of thought and action, he led a very colorful life dedicated to the Hereafter, until the day he walked to God.

Volumes of books would not suffice to describe his entire exalted life. Based upon critiques and commentaries, this intellectual of the twentieth century should most certainly be found on the curriculum of today's generations; he is a rich source of inspiration.

Mustafa Sabri Bey (1869-1954)

This genuine child of Anatolia was a hero of struggle; he worked as a professor, an officer of the palace library, a deputy in Parliament, the chief writer of Beyanu'l Hak, was a member of the Hürriyet ve Itilaf Firkasi (Independence and Union Party) and finally was appointed to the sheikhulislam ; he always appeared as a hero of action and struggle until he was forced to leave the country after the Babiali Raid(1); aggravating circumstances compelled him to continue his services in a different Muslim country, but he returned, as he had sought opportunities to continue his cause in Turkey; he became a member of the Daru'l Hikmeti'l Islamiye, and later was assigned as the sheikhulislam, which was his last opportunity to serve his country. In 1922 he left Turkey for Romania, then Iskece ( Greece ), and later died in Egypt in 1954, having completed a life full of ceaseless strife, an anguished life, with highs and lows, but more than rich enough to provide research for many dissertations.

Babanzade Ahmed Naim (1872-1934)

Born in Baghdad, Ahmed Naim was the son of a pasha. Like his peers, his educational life was nourished in Istanbul . This outstanding character was endowed with a vast world of thinking and feelings; he studied at Galatasaray Lycee, Mülkiye School (School for Civil Service), became an officer at the Translation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then the director of Instruction in the Ministry of Education. He later became a member of the Translation Office, taught at the Faculty of Literature, Darulfunun, and was finally appointed rector for a while.

Leaving an enormous scientific and educational legacy to the next generations, Ahmet Naim is an important source who has nourished present-day Turkish society, philosophically as well as spiritually.

Mehmed Akif Ersoy (1873-1936)

Volumes of books have already been written about this sincere patriot; he is beyond description. Many commentaries and critiques have been composed about him and I believe many others will voice his faith, love, enthusiasm, activism, cause, and thoughts. He is one of the very few Turkish intellectuals of his time who travelled Anatolia, Rumeli (European Turkey), and Arabia . At every town where he stopped, he pronounced the sorrowful longing of a very noble but unfortunate nation and his poetic sighs made others shudder. He managed to maintain his path as a sincere and dedicated public figure all through his lifetime, starting as a veterinary surgeon, and later becoming an official inspector, to teaching literature at Darulfunun, and as a member of Sirat-i Müstakim, participating in Daru'l-Hikmeti'l-Islamiye, and delivering numerous sermons during the Turkish National War.(2)

We are grateful for the research that has already been carried out on the life and works of Mehmed Akif. We continue to look forward to a future where more serious attention is paid to research on the many past activists of thought and art, like this son of Turkish nation, who lived in piety like the Companions of the Prophet and walked to the Hereafter completely destitute of any worldly possessions.

Elmalili Muhammed Hamdi Yazir (1878 - 1942)

He was a scholar of stature widely respected throughout the world. After attending primary school in Elmali, a small town in Anatolia, he moved on to the capital to complete his education. He took lessons from very distinguished scholars, acquired his diploma in theology, taught and lectured at Mekteb-i Nuvvab and Medresetu'l Vaizin. He later became a Member of Parliament in the Second Constitutional Government. Due to an incorrect interpretation on his part, he signed the juridical decision ( fatwa ) for the dethronement of Sultan Abdulhamid II; he was a member of Darul-Hikmeti'l-Islamiye and Minister of Charities. After being prosecuted by the "independence courts," he was saved from execution, and he went into a very long-lasting seclusion, during which his marvelous Qur'anic commentary was written. Hamdi Yazir holds a very special place in our history of philosophy and activism.

Necip Fazil Kisakürek (1905-1983)

The ancestors of Necip Fazil came from Maras, but he himself was born in Istanbul and grew up as an Istanbul gentleman. The American College and Naval School were the two places that played a significant role in his early life, providing him with an environment that enabled him to discover his talents. After studying philosophy at Darulfunun, he departed for the Sorbonne, where he met with the West for the first time. After working as a bank inspector, he unwillingly ventured into business for a short time. He provided artistic inspiration for everyone with or without talent at the State Conservatoire and at the Academy of Fine Arts . He was the designer, architect, and suffering owner of the Büyük Dogu (Great East) school of thought, as well as publishing a journal of the same name. This journal was closed down many times, but continued to go on publishing again and again, each time with a new program devised during the closure, driven by the prodigious will behind it. Necip Fazil was a master of poetry and prose, as well as a worker of ideas for the future. His vast Sufi way of thinking, metaphysical wisdom, lifelong respect for the Absolute Truth, veneration and self-assurance for the spirit of the Prophet, the Master of all existence, are but a few of the drops from the vast oceans of his admirable qualities which he demonstrated in various fields. This great man deserves to be analyzed in all his aspects and to be introduced to Turkish youth, indeed to the entire world, through the establishment of an institute carrying his name.

Süleyman Efendi (Hilmi Tunahan 1888 - 1959)

Child of a noble family in Silistre, Süleyman Efendi returned to and started teaching in his hometown, like his father. Having reached a high level of maturity, he was able to combine his spiritual wealth with the education he had received in Istanbul . His family, anticipating his mission and bright future, were thankful that what they had expected had come true, and were overjoyed as they saw the expanding circle of students, companions, and brothers gathering around him in utter submission and loyalty.

Süleyman Efendi was a hero of struggle, one of those very rare people who never show any weariness throughout their life. He determinedly defended the Sunni way of belief, as he chose to struggle at a time when religious feelings and thinking were constantly under attack. He weaved the lacework of our soul, using religious thought and historical consciousness as a canvas; he tried to make the essentials of existence audible to all by opening schools, hostels, and boarding houses all around the country, and he never retreated from carrying out his mission until the day of his death.

It is impossible to describe this great man of action in a few lines. To describe such a hero of soul and meaning would take up many volumes of books. This hero, despite many obstructions, furnished every corner of the country, from Edirne to Ardahan, with education and learning in a very short time.

We shall leave the analysis of the mission, action, interpretation, and philosophy of this very important personality to the research of academics with enquiring and spiritually open minds, hoping that this small attempt may later be transformed into much greater works.

When considering the intellectuals of the second half of the twentieth century, we have to bear in mind Nureddin Topçu, a real son of the nation, a creative thinker, a hero of love and excitement-despite some of his controversial approaches which conflict with our basic criteria. We must take note of Sezai Karakoç, the very distinguished intellectual and great thinker, the great poet and author of the century, who patiently incubated thought for the future, persevering on his path with the utmost pains, but in silence. We must recall with the greatest respect Es'ad Efendi, Sami Efendi, Arvasi Hazretleri, Ali Haydar Efendi, Mehmed Zahit Kotku, Imam of Alvar, Seydah of Serdehl, and Muhammed Rasit Efendi of Menzil and think about their love, enthusiasm and actions in the tradition of serving others.

And could it ever be possible to ignore Bediüzzaman, who overturned all the plans of unbelievers and atheists with his strong faith, thoughts, and head-spinning activism?

So much has been said and written all over the world about this writer, one of the most widely read authors of the century, a man whose works have been translated into all the major languages. Long descriptions are not required to make him better known, so it will suffice to quote a short passage from the introduction written for one his works.

Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (1877-1960)

Bediüzzaman's life is a rich source of research for scholars, enabling them to present his work and personality to all of humanity. He was the number one figure of the modern age who succeeded in presenting Islam's vast ocean of faith, moral values, and conscience in the most efficient and purest way. A sentimental attachment to Bediüzzaman and his thoughts is not an adequate way of remembering him and his works. Sentimentalism does not sit well with the seriousness of the issues he persistently examined and bravely proclaimed. He led his life in the shade of the Book and the Prophet's tradition, and under the wings of experience and logic, a man of sound judgment filled with love and enthusiasm to an incomparable degree.

Many publications and conferences have been dedicated to Bediüzzaman's outstanding qualities such as devotion to lofty ideals and his deep concern for today's world, simplicity, all-embracing humanism, loyalty, fidelity to his friends, chastity, humility, modesty, and contentedness. As a matter of fact, each of these qualities deserves to be studied in separate volumes, and Bediüzzaman frequently refers to them in his works. Moreover, there are so many of his companions still among us, each of whom is a living witness blessed with the good fortune of having been close to him during his lifetime and having seen in person his spiritual vastness and intellectual prosperity.

His outward appearance was quite plain and simple for such a scholar. However, he always displayed a very strong character through his thoughts and life of activism, seen in few other historical personalities. He embraced the whole of humanity with regard to the universal matters that all people suffer. He hated unbelief, tyranny, and apostasy, and fought against despotism smiling in the face of death. He displayed loyalty to his cause and chivalry to such a degree that he felt nothing but contempt for his own survival. Besides being highly spiritual in his personal life in the matters concerning his mission, he always managed to act in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunna, and in the guidance of reasoning and logic. His behavior was shaped by the two parts of his pure inner character: the first was a heroic person, a great soldier of conscience, a man of love and enthusiasm; the second was a far-sighted thinker, leading his contemporaries from the fore, a balanced intellectual putting forward outstanding plans and projects. This perspective on Bediüzzaman is highly significant, as one of the rings in the chain of great people in Islamic history, will help us comprehend better what he really means for us in this age.

Although some seem purposefully to ignore him, his contemporaries acknowledged Bediüzzaman to be the most serious thinker and writer of his time, the spokesperson and leader of the masses, while still managing to maintain his humility and keep himself away from any kind of ostentation. "Fame is the same as hypocrisy and a venomous honey which kills the heart," is one of his epithets on this topic. He has always been one of the most admired authors in the Islamic world of the twentieth century, and today is one admired all around the world. His works have been read carefully with sincere feelings of appreciation and will continue to be relevant as time passes.

Bediüzzaman's works are the fruit of a serious effort expounding on certain isssues needed to be addressed from the perspective of the time he was born into. The reader can hear the cries, hopes, and eagerness of Anatolia, as well as that of the entire Islamic world. Although he was born in a small village in one of the farthest corners of Eastern Anatolia, he expressed our feelings like a gentleman brought up in Istanbul and embraced the entire country with a vast compassion and pure sincerity.

Bediüzzaman directed our people, who were socially impaired by shocks one after another, to the fountain of Khidr,(3) and inspired resurrection with his works that glowed with faith and hope at a time when materialism had capsized our intellectual life, when communism had reached its climax, and the world was undergoing an unfortunate period filled with chaos. Before anyone else, he confronted and tried to deal with the anarchy that was based on unbelief and atheism, defining it as a most significant problem that should be solved urgently. His efforts were outstanding and almost superhuman in this respect. Coming face to face with such a chaotic world, Bediüzzaman was fully conscious of the responsibility he had to shoulder, and as he bore this tremendous burden, he was a person of utmost modesty, while still having the full confidence one should have in God the All-Mighty's infinite power and never-ending bounty.

At a time when all of humanity was being dragged into atheism through the abuse of science and philosophy, when brains were being washed with communism, and those who were trying to stop these unfavorable developments were being sent into exile, when the most embarrassing deportations were being conducted in every corner of the country (and all of these were being done for the sake of civilization and modernization!), and when nihilism was the most widespread sorcery, Bediüzzaman reminded us of our inner jails, our various self-imprisonments in our souls, the murders and exiles that we commit against ourselves; he awakened human virtues in our spiritual dimension and conscience that had long been inactive; he quenched the thirst of our hearts with sublime knowledge; he displayed our inner capacities for the otherworld and poured down upon us all the wealth of our schools and Sufi lodges (takka, zaviya, maktab, madrasa) .

At a wicked time when the nation was suffering from barren intellectualism, when every social problem developed into chaos, when people had to confront hundreds of blood-chilling events all over the country, and when Islamic and national values had been destroyed, Bediüzzaman analyzed the causes and proposed solutions like a prudent physician. He observed unfortunate generations sinking deeper into swamps of unbelief, deviation, and doubts as they strived to break out, and he felt deep in his conscience the gravity of the grim picture before him. his life was nevertheless filled with enthusiasm; he reflected continually, producing alternative ideas and presenting them to the government and society. He fought to remind this glorious but unfortunate nation and country of its vast legacy from the past.

Bediüzzaman traveled through many provinces of the country, starting at a time when Devlet-i Aliye (Ottomans) was still standing, and visited all the residential areas, from the largest cities to the remotest towns, the most populous areas, as well as almost deserted villages. He was appalled to see that in every place he stopped ignorance prevailed; the masses were suffering the abject poverty, and our people were impeding and damaging each other due to a variety of conflicts As a leading intellectual who interpreted his time at the highest level of understanding, he desired to inspire the desperate and miserable masses with a spirit of learning and knowledge. He pointed out the causes of the current poverty and economic problems, sought solutions for dissensions within the society, and continuously proclaimed unity and collective existence, never abandoning the nation to its destiny, even at the most chaotic times: "If all these intermingled troubles are not dealt with and our wounds are not treated by competent and specialized hands, our diseases will become chronic, and the wounds will become gangrenous. It is clear that we must identify our problems in relation to our learning, social existence, and administration; we must make a start on solving our troubles, whether materialistic or spiritual. This is how we can protect ourselves from more dangers to come, those that gnaw at our existence, shaking our foundations, and dragging us into deadly pits."

Bediüzzaman analyzed three major factors which were at the basis of all the troubles then, and still remain so today: ignorance, poverty, and social disunity. Ignorance, in the sense of indifference toward God and the Prophet, a lack of interest in religion and historical dynamics, is the primary trouble from which we suffer. Bediüzzaman dedicated his life to fighting this fatal virus. In his view, the hope of salvation for our nation would be in vain unless false and deviated ideologies were prevented, society was illuminated with learning, knowledge, and systematic thinking. It is due to this ignorance that the Qur'an and the universe have been separated from one another; the former became an orphan in the fantasy dungeons of fanatic souls, who are uninformed of the secrets of existence, formations, and phenomena, while the latter is perceived as nothing but chaos in the eyes of incomparably ignorant materialists who are totally blind to the spiritual realm.

Ignorance stands as the foremost reason today why this blessed part of the world is so afflicted with destitution and poverty, even when the same land is covered by the most productive plains, fields, and with flowing rivers; despite all this, the inhabitants today are little more than beggars waiting at the door.

Likewise, it is also a very interesting contrast that we are rundown, almost bent double under heavy foreign debts, even when we possess rich mines hidden underground; countless supplies obtained from our lands are being shoveled into the treasuries of others.

Due to ignorance and poverty again, laborers and farmers toil day and night, worn out by ceaseless work, with no full return for their efforts, gaining no wage that can lead them to affluence. They can never be happy, and one can see them deteriorate day by day, step by step.

Ignorance and the social unity it brings about prevent societies from taking action against disaster, exile, oppression, humiliation, misery, various addictions and the calamities that is endured in our lands, despite never-ending bloodshed, rape, and countless violations of human rights; the entire world is drifting unconsciously from one side to another, entrapped in the web of imbalance. In the face of all these, we fail to rid ourselves from disunity, unable to bring an end to this catastrophy and distress. We cannot provide the Islamic world with any remedy for its ailments; there is no cure for falling off yet another cliff, each cliff more dreadful with every passing day. We cannot be inspired with the spirit of unity, thus challenging the time in which we live.

We have been engulfed in pain due to the above mentioned circumstances; in the meantime, some among us have been overwhelmed, their eyes dazzled, their sight blurred, and their heads made dizzy by the ostensible and material progress of the West. Instead of attaining material-spiritual richness by engaging their minds with positive sciences and their hearts with religious truths, these enchanted people chose to behave as if they were totally without a soul and detached from their roots; they overlooked our most fatal national and religious dynamics, and deprived the masses of their morals, of their virtue, of their historical consciousness, isolating them from their own national character by blind imitation. Although this was meant to save society, blind imitation proved to be more harmful and induced incurable damage in the society's spirit.

Our society has suffered from this choking nightmare of ignorance and disunity for years, while also being separated from our national identity, devastating our virtues, spiritual nobility, and global activism.

Bediüzzaman stood firm withstanding wrong treatments that have been ever applied for the society, as well as further nationwide complications. He incisively evaluated our century-old maladies, diagnosed the disease, and prescribed the cures, dedicating his entire life to healing, until the day he passed from among us in Urfa . He was always sincere in his words and actions, and brave in expressing his thoughts.

It is not an easy thing to introduce new thoughts and ideas into the collective mind of a society. It is equally difficult to eradicate well-established thoughts, conceptions, and traditions, be they right or wrong. The masses have been under the influence of such residue-useful or not-from the past; individual or collective lives have been shaped accordingly, rejecting everything that is not in conformity with what they are used to, that is not in line with shared feelings. These feelings or preconceptions may not always be appropriate. Considering the fact that collective preconceptions are for the most part deeply rooted, having been experienced and accepted for a long time, then society certainly must be freed from them, being adorned with what is appropriate instead.

Bediüzzaman was always occupied with similar thoughts, from a very young age. He considered it as a disloyalty to his country and his people to conceal even the tiniest truth in this respect; he stood at the mouth of a road and cried out "this is a blind alley" when he saw bad policies jeopardizing the fate of the nation. He was disposed by nature to become agitated when he noticed wrongful things that disfavored religious values. He was a man with a broad vision, and a man of effort; almost tantamount to that of the greatest Prophets. This lion-hearted hero never was able to close his eyes to the devastation of an entire nation. By revealing all the shortcomings and factors that led to our downfall, taking to the deepest ends and most-hidden points, he assisted society in how to perform self-questioning. He frequently reminded us of the reasons behind our decline and produced solutions. He voiced the most painful truths without any doubts; he rode against false preconceptions, rotten thoughts, unbelief, and atheism. Throughout his life he strived to resist the obstacles that hindered the maturing of the epistles of truth.

At the most atrocious times, when nobody dared let slip a word concerning religious truths he alerted the society to the threat of delusion. He waged war against ignorance, poverty, and disunity and shook the foundations of the many anxieties with which society was infatuated. He established a front against atheism and the choking heresy and superstitions at their own impasse. An Arab proverb says "branding is the final remedy." His exceptional civil initiative brought about perfect analysis by placing the burning iron on our centuries-old ostentation. His words echoed in the souls of all, from the royals to the chieftains in the East, from the shayks to the military staff. Although by nature he never enjoyed being venerated, the kind of things he did were "by nature" fascinating for all of society, with all its cross-sections.

The constant jihad, he warned, was to shake off the yoke and chains with which our thoughts and souls were imprisoned. He inspired the young generations with glad tidings of a resurrection, and he guided them to the paths leading to Islamic thought. He was worried that the country would be fragmented, but more than that, narrowing minds, impaired spirits, blind imitation, and modeling on the West severely aroused his concern, as these could lead the nation into all kinds of catastrophes.

He always referred to "knowledge, activating minds, and hard work," and he endeavored to work toward a perfect and affluent society, trying to save individuals from loneliness. For such an ideal he thought "education" was the guidance-education everywhere and at all times-an educational mobilization in which he thought mosques, schools, barracks, streets, playgrounds, and even jails should participate. This was necessary, for with the help of education only can we accomplish a unity in which all minds are focused to the same objective. The company of minds who are not in peace with each other cannot last long. It is preconditioned that consciences join together first, causing hearts and hands to follow suit. This kind of unity is possible only when our life is enjoyed according to religious disciplines which are expounded in the best possible way for contemporary minds, in full deference to the Book, the Sunna, and the pure interpretations of the followers (salaf al-salihin).

Our society had to be introduced to the modern age and be reconciled with its meaning and inspirations. We could in no way stay in retreat inside our small shell while the rest of the world was rapidly progressing. To experience the day, one has to bring willpower and endeavor into harmony with the overflowing waterfalls of life. Hopelessly resisting the overwhelming current would result in destruction.

If only a few hundred intellectuals could have embraced Bediüzzaman's messages when he was breathlessly submitting them all over the country, perhaps we could have become one of most affluent and civilized nations of the world today, strong enough to overcome all the obstacles to come and perhaps we would have set about this illumined path at the turn of the 20th century, the illumined path on which we seem to have taken the first steps nowadays, and we would not have had to suffer many of the problems which we have undergone. We are still hopeful, and I would associate those who claim that our society is completely detached from its spiritual roots with indolence and negligence. We cannot deny that our society has fallen like many others have; however, this does not mean that we cannot recover. Predilection for comfort is now being transformed into vigilance, and our souls, once shaken with harem thoughts are reviving with freshness. Joyful spring days will surely follow these developments. Bediüzzaman is a good sign for those many heroes like Khidr who will turn our hills into green gardens of worship and Elijah(4) who is to come and set sail for vast oceans.

"The genius does not choose." That is to say, the genius does not make judgments as to whether they would do certain things and would not do others, or claim doing something to be useful or harmful. The genius is a wonder of creation who, like a power source, has gathered all kinds of strength to meet the most complicated, external, esoteric, spiritual, or societal needs of their society, empowered with a divine talent, spiritual impulse and yearning. Observers of his life and works can easily distinguish all aspects of genius in Bediüzzaman. He always maintained his outstanding level, even in his earlier works which indicated the first signs of his exceptional wisdom, and certainly in his later works, which were each a fruit of an agonized lifetime, filled with court cases, imprisonment, and exile.


[1] Babiali Raid (1913): The armed raid carried out by the Ittihad ve Terakki Party on the Central Office of the imperial Ottoman government in order to take over the administration.

[2] National War: Turkish war to save Turkey from invasion by the Allies after the First World War (1919-1922).

[3] Khidr, peace be upon him, is a blessed person whose name is mentioned in the Qur'anic commentaries and the hadith (Bukhari, Tafseer, 249). Khidr (or Khadir) literally means green or a place with abundant green plantation. According to a hadith Khidr was named so because he sat over a barren white land and it turned green with plantation after (his sitting over it) (Bukhari, Anbiya, 29). It is also reported that since Khidr drank from a fountain in Paradise , every place he stepped on turned green (Makdisi, III, 78).

[4] One of the prophets whose name is mentioned in the Qur'an (37:123-130), Elijah (or Elias), peace be upon him, lived in the ninth century BC and came to revive the faith and law of Moses among the people of Israel. It is reported that he was raised to a different level of life and he meets with Khidr every pilgrimage season (see Nursi, The Letters, The First Letter).