Risale Academy

Course date: June 4 – July 24, 2022

Nursi had high expectations for the 21st century. He foresaw the emergence of the information society and the era of communication. He believed science and communicative eloquence would reign supreme in the 21st century and this would eliminate the obstacles in front of a better understanding the message of Qur’an and the global outreach of that message. Risale Academy is a response, from within the information society and the era of communication, to that optimism and hope. It is an attempt to marry science and religion, to read the Book of Universe through the prism of the monotheistic principles of the Holy Qur’an, and to excel in demonstration and argumentation as means of promoting such a holistic reading.

In the Risale Academy program, eight courses are planned to be given in four seasons in one year. The two-hour classes, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, will continue for eight weeks. Registrations will be made for two courses that will be given each semester. Course materials and assessment and evaluation criteria will be notified to the participants by the course instructors before the classes begin. Course contents and times are available on our website. At the end of the program, participants will be presented with a certificate of participation.

Objectives of Course

Discussing fundamental issues of men from the point of Risale-i Nur

Finding answers of existential problems according to Risale-i Nur

Maintaining the perspective of Risale-i Nur as a mind set to respond contemporary questions

Building an intellectual network among Risale-i Nur readers and writers

Learning and testing outcomes of Risale-i Nur teaching


Dr. Mahsheed Ensari

Risale Academy

Modern debates on Prophecy & Prophethood
and Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur

Course beginning date: June 4, 2022

Course time: Saturdays 5 PM – 7 PM (EST)

Dr. Adnan Aslan

Risale Academy

A Total Interpretation of the Universe:
From a Perspective of Risale-i Nur

Course beginning date: June 5, 2022

Course time: Sundays 11 AM – 1 PM (EST)

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Student Learning Outcomes

Encouraging students to write a summary of the discussion before and/or after each class

Interactive and motivating discussion sections for the students

A positive and constructive attitude to help students to be motivational and have creative engagement with the class

To improve writing skills

Required Readings, Textbook or Materials

– Use of graphics audio-visual materials such as prezi, ppt, etc.

– Providing sources or links to the sources of the content benefited.

– Allowing the use of other sources on the topic covered

– One or two short Essays (6-8 pages) writing recommended for the students on the topics they choose with the consultation with the Professor and get a grade through participation, and essays

Program Content

Modern debates on Prophecy & Prophethood and Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur

by Dr. Mahsheed Ensari

Course Abstract

Prophethood is the backbone of the Islamic tradition and the uncompromised tenet of faith; with the impact of modernity however many Muslim scholars were shaken by the ambivalent status afforded to both the prophet Muhammad (s) and the institution of prophethood in the contemporary period. Said Nursi’s (1877-1960) discussion of prophethood is critical due to the context and time of his writings. This course considers the problematisation of prophecy and prophethood in Islam in contemporary times and contextualises the response and discourse that Nursi employs in the Risale-i Nur. It draws upon classical theosophical development of nubuwwa to provide the greater kalamic context for this development of nubuwwa. His discourse retains and is corresponding to much of the classical theology but also addresses the modern contentions of Prophethood. The what, who and how of prophets in the Islamic tradition in Nursi’s theological works Risale-i Nur will be discussed. The course will also cover the key sections of the Risale-i Nur that cover aspects of prophethood in response or in context of the modern debates around the topic. Nursi build his notion of nubuwwa as intrinsically linked to Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad. The two subjects are synonymous to one another and he discusses and addresses aspects of nubuwwa whilst covering the prophecy, miracles and various aspects of Prophet Muhammad’s life.

Course Context

The course will consider the primary sections of the Risale-i Nur that consider nubuwwa but it also draws upon other related texts. The course will also refer to critical contextual discourse around the topic in the modern era -drawn from the instructors’ upcoming book on Modern debates on Prophecy & Prophethood: Muhammad Iqbal and Said Nursi, Routeledge. The course will be an interactive session 8 weeks – and students will be expected to go over material provided and provide input in the weekly seminars.

Student presentations and reflections on the weekly content will commence week 2 onwards. Student will be expected to lead a part of the session. These will be allocated in week 1.

Prescribed Text & Materials

There will be weekly core readings from the Risale-i Nur, these will be supplemented with additional material for some weeks.

Course Objectives

  • Students learn about the classical theosophical discourse of prophethood in Islam.
  • Students understand the contemporary issues around prophecy and prophethood in Islam.
  • Students have greater context for Nursi discussion of prophethood in the Risale-i Nur.
  • Students will learn the the what, who and how of prophets in the Islamic tradition.
  • Students will have comprehensive coverage of most content in the Risale-i Nur dealing with prophethood and prophet Muhammad.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1: Introduction: Demystifying the Prophetic Vocation in Islam – General introduction to the course rationale and introduction of the theosophical dialectics on prophecy and prophethood in the Islamic tradition will be discussed.
Week 2: Theologising Resurgence of Prophetology in the Modern Muslim World: The ideological resurfacing of prophecy and prophethood at the centre of Islamic modernism and the struggle  between reason (aql) and  tradition (naql) in theosophical discourses of nubuwwa will be addressed.
Week 3: Rational Challenges and New Understandings of Prophethood: Building upon previous two weeks, the key theosophical and kalamic rational arguments for prophethood in the Risale Nur will be analysed.
Week 4: Proving the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad:  The connection of Prophet Muhammad to Nursi’s notion of prophethood and a discussion of the Nineteenth Word.
Week 5: Proving the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (Miracles, Ascension): A critical reading of the importance of Nursi’s emphasis on the miracles of Prophet Muhammad and why as well as  brief consideration of ascension treatise.
Week 6: The significance of the Prophetic traditions (Hadith) and Sunnah: Critical discussion of Nursi’s modern approach towards Hadith traditions and its lasting significance to Islam.
Week 7: The significance of the Prophetic Sunnah: Critical discussion of Nursi’s modern approach towards sunnah and its lasting significance to Islam.
Week 8: Personal matters of significance to Prophet Muhammad’s life: The characteristic of prophethood and the need to address certain doubts about certain issues in the Seerah. Why does Nursi focus on certain aspects of the Prophet’s life such as his marriage to Zainab ra?

A Total Interpretation of the Universe: From a Perspective of Risale-i Nur

by Dr. Adnan Aslan

Course Abstract

Faith, can be considered as a total interpretation of the Universe. The unity (al-Tawhid) in Islam, therefore, can only be achieved through connecting the Universe to God Almighty. Such association is only possible through interpretation. Said Nursi in his great works of Risale-i Nur, offers an outstanding interpretation of the universe by employing the Quranic verses. In this series of lectures, we are going to delineate how Said Nursi related the phenomenal world to God Almighty. We are going to explain how the heavens, the earth, mountains, rivers, seas, oceans, scholars, prophets, and the Quran speak with their own tongues the existence and the unity of God as well as his attributes.

Course Objectives

  • To provide a tool by which students would be able to read and interpret the universe from the perspective of their faith in God.
  • To nurture a spiritual consciousness through which students attain a peace with themselves as well as peace with the universe.

Prescribed Text

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Seventh Ray: The Supreme Sign, in The Rays Collection, Risale-i Nur.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1: Orientation Week and Introduction to the Risale.
Week 2
: Concerning proofs of the Divine existence, the testimony of the heavens and all they contain and the testimony of the atmosphere.
Week 3: The testimony of the earth and its pages, the seas and rivers, and the testimony of the mountains and plains, the trees and plants.
Week 4: The testimony of the animal and bird realms, the realm of humanity: the testimony of the prophets and their unanimity, the exacting scholars and their accord, the spiritual guides and their agreement, and the angels and spirit beings and their concurrence.
Week 5: The testimony of upright intellects and sound hearts, Divine revelation, differences between revelation and inspiration and the testimony and nature of inspiration.
Week 6: The testimony of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), nine evidences of the veracity of his messengership and three forms of infallible consensus confirming him.
Week 7: The testimony of the Qur’an, and six ‘points’ showing its greatness, the cosmos, through two vast truths.
Week 8: The testimony of ‘Createdness’ and ‘contingency’, and Universal co-operation, the ‘station’ of direct address to God in His presence, and the continuous, wise, and imperious activity in the universe and testimony of Divine discourse.

Do you have interest for Risale-i Nur courses in Turkish?

Emine Eroglu, Seyid Erkal, Kerim Balci, Dr. Hakan Gok and more.

Enroll Now

You must take at least two courses for the optional plan. Please choose all courses for the seasonal plan. You may make the payment in instalments with a credit card.

Risale-i Nur Academy


Per course

Total: $200

Total min. 16h
Virtual Classroom Support
Certification of Attendance

Do you have a question? Contact us: info@respectgs.us


Respect Graduate School gives need-based scholarships for a number of students. For scholarship applications, please click here.


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About Instructors

Dr. Zuleyha Colak

Dr. Colak is a Senior Lecturer and coordinator of the Turkish and Ottoman Language program at the Middle Eastern Studies department at Columbia University. She taught at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis in the Global Studies department between 2005 and 2010. Dr. Colak received her B. A. in Arabic Language and Literature from Istanbul University, Turkey (1998). She holds two masters’ degrees, one in comparative literature in Arabic Literature in Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey (2000), and one in Central Eurasian Studies/Ottoman and Modern Turkish studies at Indiana University (2003). Her PhD dissertation is on the portrayal of Women of Biblical and Quranic Joseph Story from Indiana University in 2010. Dr. Colak has been a board member at Respect Graduate school in Bethlehem, PA and is voluntarily contributing to the Centre for Risale & Hizmet Studies.

Kerim Balci

Kerim Balci is a Turkish writer, journalist, academic and human rights activist. He is recently the Chief Advisor of London Based Human Rights Solidarity and works as a communication officer at London Advocacy, a litigation based human rights advocacy firm. Balci served as the editor in chief of Turkish Review, and as a columnist at Today’s Zaman and Zaman dailies before these publications were shuttered by the Turkish government. Balci studied his BA in Physics and Political Science at Bogazici University of Turkey, his MA in Islam and Modern Middle East at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his PhD on linguistics at Durham University in the UK. He is currently an LLM student at Leeds Law School in the UK. He lectures at the Respect Graduate School on topics like logic, rhetoric, epistemology and hermeneutics.

Dr. Hakan Gok

Dr Hakan Gök is a Research Fellow at the Center for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility at Leeds Beckett University. Hakan obtained his Masters and PhD in the UK. He studied atheism and theism focusing on the philosophy of Saïd Nursi, earning his PhD degree from Durham University. Hakan’s research interests are: the problem of evil and suffering, arguments for and against the existence of God, atheist philosophy, life and discourse of Ghazzālī, Rūmī and Sirhindī. His papers are: ‘Multiculturalism in Turkey: Possible solutions to the Kurdish issue from The Risāle-i Nur’, ‘Is peaceful co-existence possible? Case of Mawlānā Jalāluddīn Rūmī’, A Comparison between Ahmad Sirhindī and Saïd Nursi’ and ‘Albert Camus and Saïd Nursi on the problem of evil.’
Hakan is currently living in Leeds. He is the author of ‘Atheism or Theism: The Perspective of Saïd Nursi, editor of ‘Selected Readings from The Risale-i Nur’, co-editor of ‘India-Turkey: History, Culture and Politics’, and Essential Rumi Stories books.

Dr. Omer Kuru

Dr Omer Kuru is a Research Fellow at the Theology Department in Aberdeen University. He studied the concept of Self Nafs and “I” (Ego) Ana in relation to Divine Knowledge Marifah focusing on the perspective of Saïd Nursi, earning his PhD degree from Durham University. Omer’s research interests are: Contemporary Sufism, Sufism and Politics, Methods of Science: Qur’anic approach and Materialism, Theism and Atheism, life and discourse of Ghazzālī, Ibn Arabī, Rūmī and Sirhindī. His papers are: ‘The concept of Self Nafs in Saïd Nursi, ‘Sufism and Politics in Modern World’
Omer is currently living in Aberdeen in Scotland. He is the author of ‘The concept of Self Nafs and “I” (Ego) Ana in relation to Divine Knowledge Marifah in Saïd Nursi’

Dr. Adnan Aslan

He educated in Turkey and England. Received MA degree at Kings College London in 1990 and PhD degree at Lancaster University in England in 1995. He has published scholarly articles and books both in English and Turkish. His main interest includes the issue of religious pluralism, inter-religious dialogue, İslam and modernity and perennial philosophy. He worked in various universities in Turkey. He was the dean of faculty of humanities and social sciences at Süleyman Şah University in Istanbul. He was an adjunct professor at the department of philosophy at Notre Dame University and a faculty associate at Indiana University of South Bend.

Dr. Mahsheed Ansari

She is lecturer in Islam and Contemporary Islamic Studies and the Higher Degrees Research Coordinator at the Centre for Islamic Studies & Civilisation, Charles Sturt University. Her research interests include the history of Islamic thought, spirituality and culture. She is also a historian interested in the formation and development of minority communities in Australia. She is currently working on the Muslim heritage research project at the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre at Charles Sturt University.

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