Risale Academy

Course date: July 15, 2023 — September 3, 2023

Risale Academy studies Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Epistles of Light as a modern and scientifically robust way of reading the Book of Universe, and the Holy Qur’an as two concentric and consistent revelations of Allah. 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 of the message of Qur’an. Risale Academy is a response to that optimism. 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.

The courses in Risale Academy are organized on three terms round the year (Fall, Spring and Summer) as two simultaneous courses of eight weeks. Students attend two-hour classes on Saturdays and Sundays. Risale Academy presents the participants with a certificate of participation or a certificate of accomplishment depending on their levels of participation and presentation in the classes.

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


Bekir Aksoy

Risale Academy

The Signs of Islamic Eschatology

Course beginning date: July 15, 2023

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

Dr. Omer Atilla Ergi

Risale Academy

Analysis of the Articles of Faith in the Risale-i Nur

Course beginning date: July 16, 2023

Course time: Sundays 10 AM – 12 PM (EST)

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Student Learning Outcomes

Encouraging students to write short essays and/or panel presentations

Interactive and motivating discussion sessions for the students

Equipping the students with intellectual material to engage comparative study of the Risale-i Nur

To improve writing and presentation 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 an overall assessment of accomplishment through participation and essays

Program Content

The Signs of Islamic Eschatology

by Bekir Aksoy

Course Abstract

The concept of eschatology refers to ‘the end time’ events. However, in this course we are going to concentrate on only three matters, excluding the doomsday and what  is  beyond resurrection, namely hereafter.

By utilizing, from time to time, the tools of modern historical-critical methodology, the three themes to be investigated are:

  1. Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, focusing on the second coming of Jesus (Nuzul Isa)
  2. The appearance of Dajjal (Anti-Christ)
  3. The Mahdi Rasul (Messiah)

Course Objectives

The aim of this course is to equip the students with modern ‘Historical-Critical methodology’ and teach them how to approach sensitive theological themes without injuring the sensibilities of the rank-and-file members of the Islamic ummah. To make them familiar with representative verses of the Quran and narrations from the prophet. We will discuss also just few representative personalities from alternative viewpoints, but most of all gain confidence to meet challenges in theology without violating the basic principles, and especially Nass. The following texts assigned are not compulsary and only for the purposes of consultations. Appropriate sections will be assigned during the course and some other short source materials might be distributed.

Prescribed Text & Materials

  • Fazlur Rahman: Islam. Chicago: The university of Chicago Press, 1979
  • Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
  • Ali Unal: Quran with an annotated interpretation.
  • Bediuzzaman Said Nursi : Words (Sozler),  Rays ( Sualar),  Letters (Mektubat), Flashes of Light (Lemalar).
  • Zeki Saritoprak:  Islam Inanci Acisindan Nuzul-I  Isa Meselesi. Izmir:Caglayan Yayinlari  1997.
  • Revisiting  Islamic Eschatology: The Knowledge of the  Hour and Its Imminence in the Quran
  • Arc—The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University Volume 39 (2011): 67–78.
  • The Legend of al Dajjal (Antichrist): The personification of Evil in the Islamic Tradition. The Muslim World, Vol. 93, April 2003.
  • Moojan  Momen;  An Introduction to Shia Islam.  New Haven and London:  Yale university Press,  1985.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1: General Introduction to the themes and historical critical methodology
Week 2: Antichrist, Messiah and second coming of Jesus in other Scriptures. Islam’s relationship with other religions (people of the book)
Week 3: Jesus: His birth, death and second coming
Week 4: Dajjal in different Nass and its reception by the popular religion
Week 5: The concept of Mahdi in Shia and Sunnite Islam and socio-political context in which it had arisen.
Week 6: The Interpretation (ta’wil) by Bediuzzaman in his different works
Week 7: The knowledge of Ghayb (unseen) in the Quran and the Hadith literature
Week 8: Conclusion and personal commitments by the students to any viewpoint by a short paper presentation.

Analysis of the Articles of Faith in the Risale-i Nur

by Dr. Omer Atilla Ergi

Course Abstract

In Islamic theology, the articles of faith form the foundation of Islam. These credal beliefs illustrated by the Qur’an and hadith, are exemplified by layers of interpretive theology that form the simplest and purest expression of Islamic beliefs. Study of these theological interpretations is the focus of this subject which aims to provide an overview of the Islamic creed. The Islamic concept of faith, existence and unity of God, creation, Prophethood, life after and predestination will be covered in this subject.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the theological and scientific arguments for the existence of God.
  • be able to analyse critically arguments for the unity of God.
  • be able to discuss evidence for creation.
  • be able to develop critical thinking on the concepts of Islamic eschatology and the philosophical problem of the coexistence of destiny and free will.
  • be able to comprehend and explain evidence of Prophethood.
  • be able to demonstrate independent research, organisation, written and oral communication skills through the presentation of a substantial work.

Prescribed Text

There is no prescribed text. PowerPoint containing the contents of the subject will be shared. The lecturer will suggest some readings and videos relevant to the contents.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1: Belief and Desblief
Week 2: Existence of God
Week 3: Arguments for Tawhid, the unity of God
Week 4: Possible ways of relating to God
Week 5: Prophethood and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Week 6: Resurrection and the hereafter
Week 7: Predestination and free will
Week 8: Creation and the theory of evolution

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 Academy


Per course

Total: $200

Total min. 16h
Virtual Classroom Support
Certification of Attendance

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


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About Instructors

Dr. Zuleyha Mary Fikret

Dr. Fikret 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. Fikret 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. Fikret 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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