Badiuzzaman Saeed Nursi was one of the Turkish Muslim mystic, who believed that spirituality is a luminous and universal body of truths that wins the sound hearts and shines brighter. He strongly disagreed with the practices of subjecting spirituality to any narrow interpretation of religion. He rather advocated the universal truths of religion that reach the minds and the hearts of people beyond time and area. Thus, Nursi found the solution to the human problems — both of material and spiritual nature — in the heart of faith.
According to his own exegesis to the holy Quran, Risala-e-Noor, philosophy and reason are not capable enough to embrace all humanity due to their dependency on the material needs. But faith, in accordance with universal values, can meet all human needs and modern necessities. In his commentary on the Quran, Nursi prescribed very effective cures to the ills that have gripped countless individuals. He laid stress on the need for man’s introspection and individual self-confidence being reinforced through psychological renewal. Nursi recommended introspection and self-reform in place of blaming others and hope in the face of despair.
Nursi often resorted to the principles of belief, natural truths and sometimes predictions about the future. Encouraging us to keep our hopes high, he takes our attention towards the belief in Divine Mercy: “Just as every winter is followed by spring and every night by morning, mankind also shall have a morning and a spring, God willing” Nursi espoused one of the basic spiritual principles enshrined in Islam: freedom which leads to psychological renewal and self-confidence. He describes it: “My freedom, which I am most in need of, is the most important principle in my life. I can live without bread, but I can’t live without freedom.” He was of the view that “the true believer is truly free. That is to say, freedom is increased to the degree belief is strengthened”.
Nursi gave prime importance to the transformation of the iman-e-taqlidi (imitative belief) into the iman-e-tahqiqi (confirmative belief). In matters of belief, he says, the greatest enemy is “ignorance”. That is why he repeatedly exhorted interconnecting religious and modern sciences in order to defeat the enemies of ignorance, prejudices, retrogression and narrow-thinking. To spread both spiritual and rational enlightenment in his society, he exhorted people to constantly engage in tafakkur (reflective thinking), something which is the most sought-after secret in our age and is also reflected in one of the 99 divine names of God in Islam: “Al-Hakeem” (All-Wise).
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and a Delhi-based writer. He can be contacted at: email@example.com