Respect Graduate School
Request Info Apply Now

Virtual Retreats: 4 Books in 4 Seasons

3. Virtual Retreat Date: August 28, 2022

Respect Graduate School is pleased to present the third of its virtual retreat series on the works of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Titled “Four Books in Four Seasons” the aim of this retreat series is to introduce the four main books authored by Said Nursi: a scholar of the 20th Century tafseer/commentary of the Qur’an emerging as an attempt to answer the challenges facing Islam in the modern period bridging understandings and the essentials of Islamic principles to core questions. 

The designated readings for this particular session are all from The Letters (Mektubat) of the Risale-i Nur, the Epistles of Light.

Virtual Retreats: 4 Books in 4 Seasons

3. Virtual Retreat Date:
August 28, 2022

Centre for Risale & Hizmet Studies is pleased to present its first effort, by the Risale Academy, to facilitate a virtual retreat on the works of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Titled “Four Books in Four Seasons” this retreat is an attempt to introduce the four main books authored by Said Nursi: a 20th Century tafseer scholar who bore witness to transitions of modernity and Islam and then advanced a vital commentary bridging our understanding and rooting Muslims in this modern era.

The designated readings for this particular session are all from The Letters (Mektubat) of the Risale-i Nur, the Epistles of Light.


The objective of this virtual camp is to focus on reading selected texts from the Risale-i Nur collection and have short discussions on the fundamental topics in a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere by experts who are grounded in their education heavily on Nursi’s tafseer collection the Risale-i Nur/ Epistles of Light.

2022 Summer Reading Camp 3
on “The Letters” by Said Nursi

🔸All are welcome, however, due to the rigor of the camp we encourage those in university and beyond to attend.

🔸The language of instruction will be in English, and all texts will be read from English translation.

🔸Each session will be read out loud by an English speaker and all students are expected to follow the text available on screen. Following this, a scholar of the Risale-i Nur will present the topic further and a Q&A will follow.

🔸This retreat marks a first of its kind. The last session will host a panel by the students of Dr Mahsheed Ansari who taught a course on Nubuwwah/Prophethood in Islam in Risale Academy summer session and the students will cover the topic of Nubuvva from Risale-I Nur in this panel.

Focus on Risale-i Nur Collection

1-Day virtual retreat

Discussions and Q&A

Participating is free, but donation is recommended 🙂

Retreat Format

The virtual camp will be moderated by Iysha Arun, Ceyda Sablak and  Tuleyb Sablak.


by Seniha İpekçci, Zainebou Mbaye, Ceyda Sablak, Tuleyb Sablak, Hamza Camci, Ersin Kilic and Ahmet Ipek.


by Kerim Balci, Dr Adnan Aslan, Dr Züleyha Mary Fikret, Dr Hakan Gok, Prof Zeki Saritoprak and Dr Mehmet Ozalp

Retreat Program

9:15 – 9:20 – Welcome Speech – Ground Rules, Iysha Arun & Tuleyb Sablak

9:20 – 9:30 – Introduction to The Letters / Mektubat, Tuleyb Sablak

9:30 – 09:45 – Who is Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and what was the historical contect of the Letters?

09:45 – 10:10 – READING 1: Selections from The Letters on Nursi’s Stance on Politics and Engagement with the Government and Bureaucracy of his time READER: Seniha İpekçi

10:10 – 10:50 – LECTURE – Q&A: Old, New and Third Said’s Stance on Politics LECTURER: Mr Kerim Balci

10:50 – 11:00 – BREAK

11:00 – 11:20 – READING: 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th Letters READER: Zainebou Mbaye

11:20 – 12:00 – LECTURE – Q&A: Sainthood, Sufi Orders and Ascetism LECTURER: Dr Adnan Aslan

12:00 – 12:30 – READING: 8th, 10th, 12th and 13th Letters READER: Ceyda Sablak

12:30 – 13:10 – LECTURE – Q&A: Compassion versus Love and Nursi’s own path of impotence, poverty, compassion, and reflection to reach Allah LECTURER: Dr Züleyha Mary Fikret

13:10 – 14:00 – PRAYER & LUNCH BREAK

14:00 – 14:20 – READING: 24th Letter READER: Tuleyb Sablak

14:20 – 15:00 – LECTURE – Q&A: On the Beautiful Names al-Rahim (The Compassionate), al-Wadud (the Most Loving), al-Hakeem (The Wise) and Theodicy LECTURER: Dr Hakan Gök

15:00 – 16:00 – KEYNOTE SPEECH: Does Risale Matter to the World? Why? SPEAKER: Prof Dr Ian Markham

16:00 – 16:10 – BREAK

16:10 – 16:40 – READING: 22nd Letter READER: Hamza Camci

16:40 – 17:20 – LECTURE – Q&A: Brotherhood of the Nur Community LECTURER: Prof Zeki Saritoprak

17:20 – 17:30 – BREAK

17:30 – 18:05 – READING: 20th Letter READER: George Smith

18:05 – 18:45 – LECTURE – Q&A: Tawheed: Monotheistic Faith LECTURER: Dr Mehmet Ozalp

18:45 – 19:15 – READING: 19th Letter READER: Ahmet Ipek

19:15 – 20:25 – PANEL DISCUSSION: Nubuwwah – Prophethood and the Miracles of the Prophet PANELISTS: Merdan Mametsheripov: Miracles of Prophet Muhammad in the Context of Modern Times
Inci Sultan Coskuner: Prophet Muhammad: Mercy to the Worlds
Halyna Dutchyn: Prophet Muhammad as an Educator
Ceyda Sablak: Miracle of Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad in The Letters

20:25 – 20:30 – Closing Remarks, Iysha Arun & Ceyda Sablak

Register Now

Participating our online retreat is free of charge, but registration is required. A donation to support the projects of the Centre for Risale & Hizmet Studies will be much appreciated. Recommended donation amount for this event is $25.

Once you register in our system, the system will send you a separate Zoom registration link, where you will only enter your name and email address. Please use an email address you control frequently. Zoom will generate a participation link unique to you, which you should save and not share with anybody else.


Here is what Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies says about Said Nursi:

“Said Nursi (1876 –1960), the most influential Islamic scholar in modern Turkish history, is the inspiration behind the hugely popular Nur movement (Nurculuk). Guided by his masterwork, the Risale-i Nur, Nursi’s followers shun political ambition, focusing instead on a revival of personal faith through study, self-reform and service of others. Nursi lived through the upheavals that led to the establishment of a vigorously secular Turkish republic in place of the dismembered Ottoman caliphate. Nursi was educated through the medrese system in the traditional Islamic disciplines but also mastered modern Western philosophical and scientific ideas in order to address the challenges Muslims face now. In some ways the Risale-i Nur functions as an interpretation of the Qurʾan for the contemporary world; millions within and outside Turkey have found solace in that interpretation.”

The four books are the four major collections of Said Nursi’s treatises: The Words, The Letters, The Flashes and The Rays.

Among these, The Words explains and proves the fundamental matters of belief, such as God’s existence and unity, the manifestation of the divine names and attributes in creation, the resurrection of the dead and the life of the hereafter, prophethood, the miraculousness of the Qur’an, the angels, and the immortality of man’s spirit, together with such questions as the true nature of man and the universe, and man’s need to worship God. The Letters is largely a compilation of answered Said Nursi gave to his students. These letters cover issues from daily life of Said Nursi to explanations of the truths of belief and mysteries of the Qur’an, from nationalism to sufism and various treatises on how to read the Book of the Universe. The Nineteenth Letter, which describes the miracles of Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon Him), is unquestionably the core of this book.

The Flashes (a.k.a. The Gleams) continues to expound the fundamental truths of belief, existence and science, the Practices (Sunna) of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), and various topics relating to the social and personal lives of Muslims, including the treaties on brotherhood and sincerity.

The Rays is the final collection of the Risale-i Nur containing both argumentations on the existence of God and Nursi’s defences in the courts is a guidance for the Risale-i Nur’s way of life and for a spiritually enlightened life at the same time. The dual cores of the collection are The Supreme Sign (The Seventh Ray) which provides a wholistic testimony to God’s necessary existence and unity, and The Shining Proof (The Fifteenth Ray) which not only summarizes the argumentations on God’s existence put forward in the Risale-i Nur, but also adds short treatises on spiritual realms.

The Virtual Retreat is a virtual one. It will be on Zoom only. There will be reading sessions where native speakers will read the selected texts; and there will be discussion sessions where experts will explain certain segments of the text further. The discussion sessions are meant to add interactivity to the program. The retreat will be colored with Kahoot, Jeopardy and the like.

Although open to non-Muslims and Muslims alike, Virtual Retreats deal with texts particular to Islam. These texts are rich in references to Islam’s holy sources and tradition. No prior knowledge of Islam or of Said Nursi’s writings is required to participate, but an introductory knowledge of Islam and Islamic demonstrations of pillars of belief will certainly benefit the participants.

Contact Us

If you need advice on our program or registration, please feel welcome to contact us.