Spiritual/Immaterial Medresetüzzehra (An Project of Open University and Social Transformation)
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Bediüzzaman was placing more importance and giving priority to education and enlightenment of each member of the society one by one. Even at the beginning of the century, he was saying this:
The heart disease of the nation is related to the weakness of the religion. It can get healthy again with its support.” These statements clearly were inspired by the following Hadith: “Watch out! There is such an important piece of meat in the body that, if it works properly, the whole body will be in good condition, if it fails, the whole body is disrupted. Be careful! This part is the heart. “
Here you are, since the place of the faith in the body is the heart, to have the society, which can also be considered as a big human body, be good and function properly at all levels; it needs persons with proper faith. Dealing with the details would not help us. Disinfecting the leaves and branches of a tree whose roots are decayed would not give any result. The weakness of the faith, which is the real source of carelessness towards religion and corrosion of moral values, means that the heart of the nation is sick. The prescription is to prepare the ground for the recovery of society in a permanent and healthy manner by raising up people with strong faith and by supporting their faith. Yes, this job takes a lot of time, but there is no other choice.
“The Educational Approach of Medresettüzzehra”, which was presented by Said Nursi as an innovative education project at the beginning of the Century, meaning “the teaching of natural and religious science together, in a way where they are reconciled and integrated”, which he wanted to come into existence as a grand Islam University had the capacity to make important contributions to the mental transformation that we needed as a society.
He was saying that, the truth could come to light only with the alliance of religious sciences enlightening the conscience with natural sciences illuminating the mind. He was expressing that a student could reveal his/her potential only through this way; that it was not possible to reach to the truth only with a single wing; the balance between the heart and the mind resembles two wings in the search of the truth; that when these two were separated, one would lead to bigotry and the other to disbelief. In other words, while the neglect of natural sciences leads to bigotry in religion, desertion of religious sciences results in deceit of others with lack of moral values, inclination towards self-interest and either denial or suspicion of religious matters as there is ignorance of the religion.
In this respect, the formula that he suggested was as follows:
“The light of the conscience comes from the religious sciences. The mind is enlightened with natural sciences. With the reconciliation of these two, the truth is manifested. The ardor of the student takes off with these two wings. Once they get separated, one leads to bigotry, the second to the suspicion.
Risale-I Nur was written and spread in an unprecedented way that had not been observed in the history until then. In those days, reading and teaching the Qur’an and the writing and publication of all kinds of books with religious content were forbidden. Usage of our alphabet, which was the reflection of a cultural accumulation of 1000 years was also forbidden. Under such unfavorable conditions, it was inevitable to duplicate these works by hand-writing and to deliver them to the people who needed them The material Jihad of the past that had been made with swords was replaced with a grand moral/spiritual jihad, which was to be made with pen and paper.
“Spiritual Jihad”: Jihad is a word that means struggle. If we put it up with the words of our Prophet (Pbuh) the biggest enemy of a person ‘ is ‘ the thing that is located in between his two sides, that is his nafs (self/ago) and his biggest struggle (Jihad) is the spiritual jihad made with his ego. On the other hand, given the changing world order, Bediuzzaman had the following interpretation of Jihad: “You can win against civilized people with persuasion” It is not possible with force, as it is against uncivilized savages who are unreasonable.” Bediuzzaman, who states that in the future, where science/knowledge and technology will be the dominating forces, Qur’an, which targets the mind and gets its provisions approved by it, will be the ruler. He says that the Jihad then will be spiritual/moral and logical and scientific proofs and methods of conviction are just like a sharp moral sword. In other words, in order to defeat and kill the thought of denial, a service will be rendered by struggling with the help of the truths of Risale-i Nur, which is just like a diamond sword and by this way, the duty of conveying the message of Islam of telling about the truth, a duty which is fard /obligatory for every Muslim in this day and age, shall be carried out.
Then, a large number of volunteers, who could write, and ever those who were illiterate, assumed the duty of writing/issuing the copies of Risale-i Nur. The people of Anatolia, who embraced the works written by Bediuzzaman, at a time when there were great efforts for the oblivion of religious values, started a moral mobilization. The works written by Bediuzzaman, who was under tight police control, were being secretly reproduced and distributed.
The preparation of 600.000 copies of these works by hand all over Anatolia in a very short period under such heavy conditions was an unprecedented event that had not ever been recorded in history until then.
Moreover, this was happening in a century where the use of the printing press was spreading.
In the years that would follow, many lawsuits were filed against Risale-i Nur and Bediuzzaman. Too many groundless allegations were made against him, from abusing the religion for politics to attempting to change the regime the order of the state by establishing an organization.
The Risale-i Nur, which was nothing more than a faith service and a way of conveying the truths of Islam, was thoroughly examined and explored. Finally, with numerous sentences of acquittal given by the courts and finally conclusive decision of the Supreme Court, it was fully discovered that, there were no elements of crime in these works and the writer(s) of these works did not have any worldly purposes; that they came together only with a moral/spiritual bond and a feeling of brotherhood.
Bediuzzaman devoted his entire life to the service of Risale-i Nur until his death in 1960. He spent 28 years of his life, a period of suffering, facing many charges in the courts and imprisonments; close surveillance, exiles and forced settlement under the repeated threats of poisoning and death. However, with Allah’s mercy, this grand struggle did not remain fruitless, millions of people voluntarily backed this struggle made in the name of Qur’an and they made all kinds of material and moral sacrifices in order transmit his works to humans in every corner of the world.
Risale-i Nur, which is known to be translated into 47 languages of the world, today has already crossed the borders of Anatolia and has been gaining steam on the way of becoming the common property of humankind.
These works, which have a great influence in demonstrating the fairness/rightfulness of Islam and proving the truths of faith in Islam to the people in whose language they are translated, play an important role in the conversion of non-muslims into Islam. In every part, of the world, numerous academic activities such as symposiums, panels, seminars, and conferences are organized about Risale-i Nur and Bediüzzaman; they are studied within the context of doctorate dissertations. Even the possibility of using them as textbooks in the educational institutions of some foreign countries, the establishment of departments or institutes about them come to the agenda and in some cases, these are also put into practice.
In our country, Risale-i Nur is being published by Diyanet (Directorate of religious affairs); proposals are being made for teaching it as a textbook and the preparatory studies and researches continue for the establishment of Medresettüzzehra, the Ideal that Bediuzzaman had never given up.working for.
Although Medresetüzzehra was not built physically; a global Medresettüzzehra covering all the country, all of its houses, villages, cities and even the foreign countries were built in the hearts and souls with all its magnificence. Any place where a few persons came together and read Risale-i Nur was accepted as being part of the meaning of “Risale-i Nur Classrooms” or “Nur Madrasas” and they became a branch or a lessons platform of Medresetüzzehra on a smaller scale. Of course, locations allocated specially for the service of faith were also opened up with so much material and immaterial sacrifices in many parts of the world and “Nur Madrasas” spread to the whole of the country.
Currently there are so many classrooms of Risale-i Nur, big and small, in all parts of the world that it is not even possible to say their numbers. If we say that this number can be expressed with three digits even just one big city, this may give you an idea. The people of the Anatolia supported these works so much that if they had been put into the curriculum, published and distributed by the state, it would not have been owned by so many people and it would not have been spread to such a vast area.
“This Spiritual/Immaterial Medresetüzzehra have been accepted and owned by millions as an unprecedented project of open university and social transformation where people of all ages, social status could come and listen to Risale-i Nur; where everybody is a student and everybody can give lectures voluntarily and arbitrarily without any formation/qualified being asked for, a place where a very successful human engineering is realized, with branches everywhere.
Risale-i Nur, with this unprecedented campaign of education, has raised idealistic persons of high quality, who read and think and made “honorary professors” who are invited to university platforms to give lectures, out of people who graduated from primary school,
Risale-i Nur will always be remembered by the future generations with appreciation in the pages of history as it rendered great service to this people by raising persons who are beneficial to the nation, and it came to the rescue in terms of saving the eternal lives, like a lifeguard, and it gave hope and enthusiasm to this woeful people and contributed great value to our culture and literature.
The fact that these schools of knowledge are opened on the basis of volunteerism all over the country without any official support and imposition, despite some police prosecutions/practices against it made in the past periods stands magnificently before us, with all of its magnificence, as an example of this county’s people’s high spirit and their heart full of loyalty and sacrifices.
 Risale-i Nur Collection, Hutbe-i Şamiye (Damascus Sermon), p.90
 Source of the Hadith: Bukhari, Faith, 39.
 However, this was a useless effort. Which law could prevent a few men from coming together and having a talk? The ending in acquittal of all the law cases that had been initiated had proved to everybody that the School of Knowledge of Nur was a spiritual/moral school