Sheds light on one of the most important religious thinkers in the modern Muslim world.
Distinguished scholars in Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Modern Turkish Studies examine the life and thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1877–1960) using a variety of approaches—theological, philosophical, sociological, and historical—to shed new light on one of the most important thinkers and religious leaders in the modern Muslim world. Early in his life Nursi had hoped to save the Ottoman Empire from collapse, but after the empire gave way to the modern Turkish Republic, Nursi found himself in disagreement with the vision of a secular, Western-style state fostered by Turkey's new leadership and withdrew from public life. Deemed a potential threat to the young Republic, he was condemned to a life of exile and imprisonment. This isolation, however, allowed him to write the works that were to form the basis of a "faith movement" that would not only keep alive the Islamic religion in Turkey, but also in later decades would become one of the most important religious movements in contemporary Turkey and an inspiration to millions throughout the Muslim world.
Contributors include Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi>, Redha Ameur, Mehmet S. Aydin, Mucahit Bilici, Kelton Cobb, Dale F. Eickelman, Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Ayize Jamat-Everett, Metin Karabasogûlu, Bilal Kuspinar, Oliver Leaman, Serif Mardin, Lucinda Allen Mosher, M. Sait Özervarlı, Taha 'Abdel Rahman, Fred A. Reed, Barbara Freyer Stowasser, Sükran Vahide, and M. Hakan Yavuz.
Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi' is Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary. He is the author of Intellectual Origins of Islamic Resurgence in the Modern Arab World and the editor of The Mystical Teachings of al-Shadhili: Including His Life, Prayers, Letters, and Followers. A Translation from the Arabic of Ibn al-Sabbagh's Durrat al-Asrar wa Tuhfat al-Abrar, both published by SUNY Press.
"…the editor is to be congratulated for attempting to bring contemporary ideas and analyses of Said Nursi's writings and subsequent movements to the scholarly foreground." —Miiddle East Studies Association Bulletin
"Nursi comes across as more complicated and nuanced than a mere oppositional figure; his ambiguous placement between a traditional thought world and a more contemporary, international, even secular and scientific world, is what makes him interesting. This collection finds alternative categories to situate Nursi and his followers in the context of the modern, secular Turkish Republic." — Karl K. Barbir, author of Ottoman Rule in Damascus, 1708–1758
"I am impressed by the breadth of coverage. I have rarely encountered a collection of works on a particular Islamic intellectual that is so thorough and varied." — Ralph Coury, coeditor of The Arab-African and Islamic Worlds: Interdisciplinary Studies