A Study on Said Al-Nursi – An Idea ology for A Call on Islam in Turkey

Mohammed Abdulrazzaq Abdulhameed


Studies on the life and thought of Turkish Islamic activist Said Nursi, colloquially known as Bediuzzaman or ‘wonder of the age,’ have increased both in intellectual breadth and quality over the past decade. Whereas this work has tended to focus on Nursi’s theology, theosophy, hermeneutical method, and approach to the modern sciences, comparatively little scholarly attention has been paid to Nursi’s social and political thought. This relative lack of scholarship seems strangely unwarranted, considering Nursi’s impact on Islamic social activism since the end of one-party rule in Turkey. Indeed, given the increased influence of Islamic social movements and political parties in Turkey – most notably the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the national and international organizations of Fethullah Gülen – inquiry into the socio-political, religious, and philosophical roots of these groups becomes all the more necessary.

 Such inquiry leads invariably to Said Nursi, whose corpus of writing – particularly his Qur’anic commentary, the Risale-i Nur – reveals a strain of explicitly political thought designed to fuse the republicanism of the Kemalist state with his own brand of neo-Sufi Islamism. Understanding this deep intellectual history in Turkish Islam is imperative for developing a nuanced understanding of contemporary Turkish society and politics.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Mohammed Abdulrazzaq Abdulhameed

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