Risale-i Nur through African eyes 

Metin Uçar – A.Furkan Yeşilova

The biggest problems of this century result from the decline and lack of the studies of faith. With the grace of Allah, Imam Bediuzzaman Said Nursi produced such an amazing work and a great role model that he led to a lot of beautiful things to happen and is still contributing to good results today.

We know and witness that the Risale-i Nur works are a benefit to many countries around the world. When I visited Sudan for an event on the youth, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to our African brothers who stay in the madrasas of Hayrat Foundation. I was really impressed when I felt their love for the Risale-i Nur. I was happy to see that the Risale-i Nur, a blessing given to us in our homeland, also benefited our brothers living in Africa. However, this also caused me to realize that we must work even more.

The Risale-i Nur is a unique work that is going to enable us to meet at the axis of the Islamic faith and the Qur’an and at the line of Sunnah al-Saniyya. You will see this in the following interviews. I wish to bring that atmosphere to you through our magazine.

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our brothers who serve the Islamic faith in Africa and all over the world, and I ask your prayers for them.

May Allah grant us and all Muslims who serve Islam to be able to do blessed services with integrity! Now I give the floor to our brothers.

WHENEVER I GO OUT I WANT TO RETURN TO THE MADRASA

[Muhammad Mufir Muhammad Zubayr]

Can you first introduce yourself and then tell us how you discovered the Risale-i Nur?

My name is Muhammad Mufir Muhammad Zubayr, from Sri Lanka. I met the Risale-i Nur in Yemen, for I stayed and studied there for a long time. There used to be a book fair every year in Yemen. In one of them I saw that there was a stall for Risale-i Nur. They introduced me to some risalas (epistles) there. I bought some of them and read them. I really liked those books. I could not buy more risalas because the fair was over. I completed my education in Yemen and returned to Sri Lanka. I worked as a lecturer for a while. Then I went to Sudan for a PhD. Before I got to Sudan, I contacted some Sri Lankan students who stayed in the madrasas of Hayrat Foundation. The first among them is Husayn. By means of him brother Ismail, the representative of Hayrat in Sudan, arranged my Risale-i Nur education and a place to stay. I stayed in Sudan for four months. That was when I really met the Risale-i Nur; I started reading the risalas more carefully.

What did you like in the Risale-i Nur? What attracted your attention most?

What attracted my attention is the style of Imam Nursi. His risalas are not like the other books. He first of all presents us a reality, and then he gives a nice daily example about it. Bediuzzaman has an amazing style with the help of allegories; and this interested me very much and led me to go into more depth of the Risale-i Nur.

What quality and difference do you see in the Risale-i Nur?

First of all, I read the risalas in Arabic. The style is very beautiful. It is very fluent and compelling. I see this as one of the most important qualities. Another thing is that there are a lot of allegories and examples. And another characteristic of the Risale-i Nur is that Imam Nursi gives examples from the physical sciences.

What did the Risale-i Nur reveal in your life?

This is the second time I have come to Sudan. It has been a week now. It was eight months ago that I have come here for the first time. I stayed for four months in a madrasa of Hayrat Foundation. I benefited a lot during that time. After I returned to Sri Lanka, I gave lectures at the university, mosque and various centres with the contribution of the Risale-i Nur; I was really impressed by the risalas. I benefited from them a lot while preparing my lectures. When I was in Sudan, I used to ask brother Ismail or Ridvan some subjects in the risalas, for I did not have in-depth knowledge of them. And they would tell me where to find and read those subjects in the risalas, and I would benefit from them. When I was about to return to Sri Lanka, I would not take risalas with me. However, Ismail said that I should not go like that and gave me three books from the Risale-i Nur Corpus. And I was really impressed by them and they helped me a lot in my academic and scholarly life.

What did the Risale-i Nur change in your life?

Risale-i Nur affected me spiritually very much. It increased my effort in that aspect. As I always say to brother Ismail, when I stay in madrasa I do not want to go out. Whenever I go out I want to return to madrasa.

***

RISALE-I NUR SATISFIES THE HUMAN SPIRIT

[Muhammad Emin Sisi]

Can you first introduce yourself and then tell us how you met the service of the Risale-i Nur?

My name is Muhammad Emin Sisi. I am from Senegal. I came to Sudan in 2013. I am a final year student at the Faculty of Communication. I joined a Risale-i Nur camp of Hayrat Foundation at the beginning of 2014 and discovered the Risale-i Nur there. After that program I started to often come to the madrasa. Now I have been staying here for two years.

What did you like about the Risale-i Nur? What attracts your attention most?

I loved the Risale-i Nur with its every subject, with its every matter, with its every thing; because it is tafseer (interpretation) of the meanings of the Qur’an. I can say that some of the subjects that attracted my attention most are “the difference between the imitative faith and critically verified belief, basmala interpretation, interpretation of the Names Quddus and Adl of Allah, sincerity” and many others. The Resurrection Epistle and A Guide for Youth have also attracted my attention most.

What is the quality and difference you see in the Risale-i Nur?

There are many features I see in risalas. The most important one is that they are the interpretation of the meanings of the Qur’an and they save the faith of people. Their messages are daily, open and objective. And another very important feature of them is that they invite people to unity.

What did the Risale-i Nur reveal in your life?

The Risale-i Nur has completely changed my life. I have seen a lot of progress in myself since I started to come to the madrasa. It has made a great change in me in terms of faith, body and soul; I cannot express it in such a short interview.

What did the Risale-i Nur change in your life?

The change is that I started to live the Risale-i Nur. It changes your manner. It changes your manners in your relations and worship. Whether in the madrasa or outside you start to behave with grace and good character toward other people. You start to give up bad character traits like anger. I feel all of these and I believe this changed all of my behaviours.

Can you tell us what benefits you got from the Risale-i Nur?

As I said, I benefited from the risalas a lot. I especially benefited in terms of manners. I really benefited with regards to faith and spirituality. The Risale-i Nur really satisfies the spirit of human. I benefited from every subject that I studied myself or in group works.

***

WHAT ATTRACTED MY ATTENTION MOST IS THE SINCERITY OF THOSE WHO DO SERVICE

[Isa Awwal Musa]

First of all can you introduce yourself and tell us how you discovered the Risale-i Nur service?

I am Isa Awwal Musa from Niger. I am a student at the Faculty of Economics in the International University of Africa. I am doing my master degree on economics. I found the Risale-i Nur, with the grace of Allah, by means of brother Usama, who is the representative of Hayrat Foundation in Niger now. In 2010 and following years Usama used to stay in the madrasa and we would go and visit him there. This way I started to know about the Risale-i Nur.

What attracted your attention most in this service?

It is the sincerity of those who serve in this service. People in every field of this service are really sincere. Whether a representative of the foundation or a caretaker of a madrasa, they all do their service in sincerity.

What is the quality, the difference of the Risale-i Nur?

The most important quality I think is that it is contemporary. As you know there are a lot of problems today: extreme ideas, not understanding the religion, accepting the religious sciences as the only science or seeing the religious sciences as backward. There are also some extreme ideas that only accept the physical sciences as science and deny the life after death. One of the most important features of the Risale-i Nur is that it combines these sciences together. It links the physical sciences to the religious sciences. Thus, it enables understanding the religion in a correct way. For this reason it appears as a contemporary work in this century.

What benefits did you get from the Risale-i Nur and what did it change in your life?

My benefit from the Risale-i Nur is really a lot. It caused me to understand that everything we learn in every part of life is introducing Allah to us. It makes you think “I can serve the religion with this thing like that” after you learn subjects or while you are still learning them. It contributes to understanding our religion. It led us to worship Allah and get to know Him. These are some of the many contributions I have got from the Risale-i Nur.

It is said that the Risale-i Nur is a huge sea without a shore. You will really realize that it is a rich culture and you feel great enthusiasm to get benefit from that. It has a general knowledge that cannot be found anywhere. You can learn a lot of things and be broad minded. Risale-i Nur affected me very much and made me cool headed and earnest. It has changed my view to things from seeing them as meaningless to realizing that they all have meanings. It has made me notice that there is a sign on everything that points to Allah.

***

WE FOUND THE SOURCE OF BROTHERHOOD IN TURKEY

[Hasan Abdullah Muhammad Ishak]

How did you meet the service of the Risale-i Nur?

First of all I thank you. I am from Sennar province of Sudan. I graduated from University of Bahri; I studied Civil Engineering. I am married and have a son; his name is Ismail. I am 29. I met the Risale-i Nur service in 2007-2008 school year while I was preparing for the university exam. I used to go to the library of the International University of Africa to study. One day I met Tayyar, a Turkish brother, after the afternoon prayer in the library. He was new in Sudan then and could not speak Arabic well. And I did not know Turkish. Despite this we met, had some chat and gave our telephone numbers to each other.

He wanted me to visit the madrasa. Before I met him, I had some evil thoughts. They would disturb me a lot. I even became so helpless that I could not sleep at nights. They were thoughts that evoked deep and negative ideas about the existence of Allah. When I studied at the library, I would perform my prayers there and I would not directly go back to studying. There were circles of lectures; I used to join them and look for answers to the questions in my mind. However, I could not find any answer.

Then we started meeting with Tayyar more. He invited me to the madrasa again; but I declined his invitation, for the university exam was soon. “I am going to visit you after the exam,” I said. Then he called me after the exam. He said, “Let’s meet. Come and join our program. There are Sudanese friends here. You can meet with them.” I said OK; we met at the university and went to the madrasa. They gave me A Guide for Youth as a present. First I read that book without much understanding. Then they invited me to the general weekly lectures on Tuesdays. Dr Uhaymir used to give the lectures at that time. The evil thoughts in my mind started to be solved; I began to find answers to my questions. I continued those weekly lectures and did not miss any of them.

Later I could not go to the madrasa for three months, because I started to work until the university enrolment. When I started studying at the university, we started Saturday lectures for university students. After some time they asked me to stay in the madrasa. I started to help Turkish brothers with Arabic and I began to benefit from the risalas. I really benefited a lot during that time. All my doubts were cleared away and now I was able to sleep well, alhamdulillah.

What attracted your attention about the service? What did you love in the service of the Risale-i Nur?

The brotherhood in this service attracted my attention most. For instance, we gather in one of the madrasas for the first time, but everyone has a brotherhood like they know one another for years. There is a fraternity based on loyalty and annihilation in your brother, in other words tafani.

I stayed in madrasa from 2008 to 2013 and I did not see any two individuals arguing. This is really amazing. When you look at two siblings from the same mother and father, they get up against one another in just a few days; they have arguments. I know this from myself. But I did not witness such a thing in the service and madrasas, and this is really surprising.

When I first met the brothers from Turkey here, I thought that they came from the same town in Turkey and they knew each other. But I realized that they did not know each other before and they met one another here. I was really surprised at this.

This service addresses every walk of life. It addresses the youth, the sick and many others.

You learned Turkish and then went to Turkey. What attracted your attention there about the service?

After a 6-month Turkish course in Sudan, I went to Turkey. We were a group of ten. Brother Ismail met us at the airport in Turkey. This was in 2013. We found the source of brotherhood, which we had here, in Turkey. We realized that the fruits we saw in Sudan had come to Sudan from Turkey.

The meeting at the coach station also made us very surprised. We went to different provinces as groups of two. And our share was Elazığ where we met brother Mirza. When we arrived at the coach station, we were looking outside the window and asking “Who is going to meet us?” My friend said “There they are!” He was pointing at a few brothers who were waiting among a huge crowd. I think this is a mercy in the service. Maybe there were hundred people there and you can spot one or two people among them who are bright students of nur.

We got off the bus and they met us as if they knew us from earlier. They took us to very beautiful places like Harput Castle and Euphrates River – places for tafakkur. May Allah be pleased with them all!

**

I GOT AN INVALUABLE TREASURE – THE RISALE-I NUR

[Babekr Khalifa Osman]

First of all can you introduce yourself and tell us how you met the Risale-i Nur service?

My name is A’sh-Shaykh Babekr Khalifa Osman. I work as a researcher and lecturer in Hayrat Foundation. I met the Risale-i Nur, the work of mujaddid Imam Said Nursi, by means of brothers Sadık Abdullah and Zekeriya. I first met them when I went to visit a sick brother in the hospital. They invited me to the madrasa. Alhamdulillah, I had the blessing to meet the Risale-i Nur and its students. Since then I have this invaluable treasure of Risale-i Nur and I became a student of it.

What did you like about the Risale-i Nur? What attracted your attention most?

I liked Risale-i Nur’s method of explaining the truths of the Qur’an through allegories which make them simple to understand. There are a lot of things that attracted my attention. For instance, Imam Nursi covered the miracles of the prophets in an unprecedented way. It is a great tajdid that will contribute the ummah’s understanding of the miracles.

Similarly, one of the most important things that attracted my attention is that Imam Nursi presents such solutions to disputes that he does not offend anyone and handles the subjects of unity. This is a style that will be a means to unite the Muslims.

He instils love in people; he teaches people to love one another for the sake of Allah. Bediuzzaman diagnoses the illnesses of the ummah and gives effective and healing medicines from the pharmacy of the Qur’an. He treats the illness of seeking personal benefit with the medicine of ikhlas (sincerity). He solves the social problems through Islamic fraternity, the political problems through consultation assemblies and Islamic freedom of thought.

What quality and difference do you see in the Risale-i Nur?

It has a lot of qualities, but let me mention just one of them. The Risale-i Nur uses a scholarly style that depends on evidence. Its method of dialogue and persuasion and its constructive style are just some of the very important qualities of the Risale-i Nur.

What did the Risale-i Nur reveal in your life?

It revealed the sensitive, hopeful and affectionate side of my character. It saved me from the non-constructive style of my old life, Alhamdulillah.

What did the Risale-i Nur change in your life?

The biggest change is that it has become a guide in my life. With the obedience to Sunnah al-Saniyya, which Imam Nursi mentions, my habits have turned into worship, and this has enlightened my life.

Can you tell us what benefit you got from the Risale-i Nur?

My benefit is that my life has become lively with the hope, sensitivity and contemplation that the faith gives.

**

I STARTED THINKING OF THE UMMAH

[Ammar Ismail Muhammad Ahmad]

First of all can you introduce yourself and tell us how you met the Risale-i Nur service?

My name is Ammar Ismail. I am from Sudan. I am a graduate of the University of Khartoum. I met the Risale-i Nur service through the students from Hayrat Foundation, who studied at the University of Khartoum, at university residence. There were Risale-i Nur lessons in the residence four times a week. And I discovered it through these lessons.

What did you like best in the Risale-i Nur? What attracted your attention most?

The best thing I liked about the Risale-i Nur – and which caused me to continue my relation with it – is that its students practice the style of the Risale-i Nur. In this way, they become role models to live the Risale-i Nur in daily life.

What quality and difference did you see in the Risale-i Nur?

The characteristic of the Risale-i Nur is that it is a hope for entire humanity. It enables human to stand against every difficulty with the truths it proves. One of the very important features of it is that it is contemporary. Today people have a view as “Things that cannot be seen do not exist” with the influence of a western outlook. The unseen things are not believed in. The Risale-i Nur is a very important work that refutes this point of view with evidence of reason, logic and manifestations of the Divine Names apparent on beings. I see the Risale-i Nur as a present sent by Allah to the humanity in this day and age. Today reason looks at things only through the eyes; it is impossible to find another work like the Risale-i Nur [which can overcome that view].

What did the Risale-i Nur reveal in your life?

It caused my life to completely change. My outlook on existence changed a lot. I started to be enlightened through the understanding that every creature is a manifestation of the Names of Allah. It made me a person who looks at things positively. The Risale-i Nur gives a positive point of view. In this way, I started to view the Islamic world in a more positive way. I became a more sensitive person with the view “the future is Islam’s” which I learned from the Risale-i Nur.

What did the Risale-i Nur change in your life?

Brotherhood, sensitivity, love. I gave up bothering about differences. I became a person who adopted the idea that the future will be Islam’s. I became a person who thinks of the ummah, not just of himself.

Can you tell us what benefit you got from the Risale-i Nur?

I benefited from the Risale-i Nur a lot in all fields of my life; especially with regard to faith. Whenever you listen to a lecture or read a part from Risale-i Nur, you realize that your faith increases. Since the Risale-i Nur was written for the cause of the truths of faith, I benefited most from this aspect.

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