Risale-i Nur Colloquium

Where knowledge becomes wisdom.




What is Risale-i Nur?

“Taking inspiration directly from the Qur’an, we must introduce to the age, Islam” This ideal expressed by Mehmet Akif, the poet of religion, fatherland and freedom in the name of the Muslim World hoping a light and a good message from our holy book, the Qur’an has become realized through the collection of the Risale-iNur, the books you hold in your hands, which have been written by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Thus the messages of the Qur’an to the people of this age have been announced by means of these books.

The Self (Nafs) in Nursi

March 31, 2021

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi defines self (nafs) as a mirror to the manifestation of Divine Oneness. Owing to its function as a mirror, Nursi places the self (nafs) at the centre of man’s/ woman’s constant struggle to achieve a true understanding of God and the universe. If self (nafs) is employed by all other internal faculties, and especially by anā (which means I, self, ego in Arabic), as a mirror to reflect the names and attributes of God in the way defined by the Qur’ān and the Prophetic tradition (Sunnah), then man can rise up to the level of certainty in his/her belief. There are important key concepts in the writings of Nursi; other-indicative meaning (maʿná-yi ḥarfī) and self-referential meaning (maʿná-yi ismī) to understand the Qur’an through the lens of his collection of Epitomes of Light (Risale-i Nur).

Speaker: Dr. Omer Kuru

The Qur’an and Holistic Therapy: Does Qur’an read the reader?

March 21, 2021

Allah says: “ We are sending down the Qur’an in parts it is a healing and a mercy for the believer.” (17:82). Researches show that the Qur’an can be therapeutic, particularly for those who have psychological problems. However, many people are not aware of how this holistic therapy can be achieved. This conversation will focus on the Qur’anic healing and its holistic methodology.

Speaker: Dr. Salih Yücel

Beyond Death: Resurrection and Visions of the Afterlife in the Risale-i Nur

March 3, 2021

Is there an afterlife? Is there any evidence that afterlife exists? Is it possible for us to show some logical evidence about afterlife? How does Said Nursi provide evidence on the existence of the hereafter? Belief in resurrection and reality of the afterlife are necessities among the articles of faith that all Muslims must believe. In this talk, Dr. Saritoprak will examine Nursi’s understanding of these as found in his 10th Word (The Treatise on Resurrection) as well as other writings.

Speaker: Dr. Zeki Saritoprak

Atheism or Theism?

February 18, 2021

Is there a God? The question is arguably as old as humanity itself. In this Lecture, Dr Hakan Gok looks at how different sides of the debate and how they have argued to prove their points. The lecture particularly focuses on the philosophy of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and it tries to shed new light on the question.

Speaker: Dr. Hakan Gök

A Critique of Modernity: From the Perspective of Risale-i Nur

February 11, 2021

One of the greatest problems of our century is the problem of modernity. Generally, Muslims are confused about it. Should we except it as whole or reject it? Or could we synthesize between İslam and modernity? In this live talk, “A Critique of Modernity: From the Perspective of Risale-i Nur”, Prof. Dr. Adnan Aslan will try to answer these fundamental questions.

Speaker: Dr. Adnan Aslan

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About Instructors

She is a Senior Lecturer and coordinator of Turkish and Ottoman Language program at Middle Eastern Studies department at Columbia University. Previously she taught at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis in Global Studies department between 2005-2010. She 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 Ph. D dissertation is on the portrayal of Women of Biblical and Quranic Joseph Story from Indiana University in 2010. She has been a board member at Respect Graduate school in Bethlehem, PA and voluntarily teaching courses on Islam. Some courses are Islam 101, Who is Muhammad? and recently a graduate course on Essentials of Islamic Spirituality.
Dr. Zuleyha Colak
Columbia University
He 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. He is on the advisory board of Mevlana International Journal of Moral and Values Education (MIJMVE). His previous 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 Comparision between Ahmad Sirhindī and Saïd Nursi’ and ‘Albert Camus and Said 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’, and co editor of ‘India-Turkey: History, Culture and Politics’ books.
Dr. Hakan Gök
Leeds Beckett University
He completed his Bachelor of Islamic Theology – a five-year program and equivalent to undergraduate and Masters Degree – at the University of Ankara in 1982. He undertook various ecclesiastical roles for ten years for the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Turkey. Subsequent to attaining his Australian permanent-resident status, he completed Master of Theology at the University of Sydney in 1996. He continued his postgraduate studies in United States and completed his doctorate at Boston University in 2007. His doctoral research was on "The Effect of Prayer on Muslim Patients Well-being" Salih also worked as a Muslim Chaplain at Harvard Medical School's hospitals for seven years. After ten years in the United States, he returned to Australia in 2007. A/Prof. Yucel worked as lecturer and senior lecturer at Centre for Religious Studies at Monash University between 2008-2014. Currently he teaches at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at Charles Sturt University in Sydney. He is also Provisional CPE Supervisor. He is author of four books, co-author of one book and number of articles and book chapters.
Dr. Salih Yucel
Charles Sturt University
He received his Ph.D. in Islamic Theology from the University of Marmara in Turkey and has authored more than thirty academic articles and encyclopedia entries on topics in Islam, in addition to his latest book “Islam’s Jesus.” Before an audience made up of members from multiple faiths, interested in learning whether the Jesus of the Bible was consistent with the Jesus of the Qur’an and Hadith, Dr. Saritoprak examined multiple intellectual traditions regarding the eschatological role of Jesus in Islam, as well as different interpretations of the return of Jesus. Dr. Saritoprak’s lecture illustrated that even though there has historically always been a plurality of interpretations regarding aspects of the mythos of Jesus, the message of the prophet has always remained the same. He argued that Muslim’s and Christian’s shared belief in Jesus presented an excellent opportunity for finding understanding, and as more than half of the world’s population, he reasoned, such an understanding could be a foundation for global peace. He then illustrated this by highlighting some prominent current figures that he considered were best representing the spirit and teachings of the prophet Jesus through their work promoting interfaith dialogue and religious harmony.
Dr. Zeki Sarıtoprak
John Carroll University
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. Adnan Aslan
Indiana University of South Bend
He was born in Gaziantep in Turkey. He has been working on Said Nursi’s collection called Risale-i Nur /(Epistles of Light) for more than 30 years. Dr. Omer Kuru completed his bachelor degree at the University of Istanbul in 2000. His readings from Epistles of Light started out of his curiosity at an early age, and later has accelerated with a Ph.D. titled “The Self in Relation to The Concept of God” in Durham University in the UK in 20013. He has worked in various Universities and he currently works as an academic member of Theology Department at the University of Aberdeen and works on “Contemporary Sufism: The Relation between Self and Ego from Nursian Perspective” as his Post-Doctoral Research. Dr. Kuru is also interested in Methods of Science, he thinks that the Nursian approach to Methods of Science is unique in that it proves that there is compatibility between (positive) Science and Religion. He has written one book and a number of articles.
Dr. Omer Kuru
University of Aberdeen