Muslim scholar and intellectual (b. 1876, Nurs village / Bitlis – d. 23 March 1960, Urfa). He didn’t have a formal education. He started his education when he was nine at Madrasah Muslim School. He took lessons from his elder brother Mullah Abdullah, from Mullah Mehmed Emin Efendi at Tağ Madrasah, Hizanlı Şeyh Seyid Nur Mehmed Efendi , Şeyh Emin Efendi in Bitlis and Şeyh Mehmed Celali Efendi at Bayezid Madrasah. After three months, he received his diploma from these last three scholars. He met many scholars at the Eastern Anatolian Madrasah and had famous discussions with some of them. Beside his education at Madrasah, he was avidly interested in national and world matters.
One of his greatest ideals was founding a large Islamic University in Eastern Anatolia. With this aim, he went to İstanbul in 1907 and talked to Abdülhamid II. But he received a negative reply and was sent to a mental asylum and then to prison because he dared to reject the proposal of the Sultan, which was working for a living instead of opening a university. After prison, he had discussions with the important people of the Union and Progress Party. During the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy, he made a speech in Hürriyet square in Thessalonica which harshly criticized autocracy and which honored freedom (1908). He was disturbed by the cold attitude of the Unionists towards Islam and he became one of the founders of Union of Muhammedan Party in 1909. During the “31 March” events, although he actually tried to pacify the rebels, he was suspected as being one of them; he was put on trial and then released (1910). After a year he went to Damascus and delivered his famous sermon on the problems of the Islamic World at Emeviye Mosque. After returning, he gave lessons to the students at Horhor Madrasah in Van. The following year, he went to Germany with Sultan Reşad. He persuaded Sultan Reşad to accept the Zehra Madrasah project. With some allocated funds he started the foundation of the school, but at the beginning of World War I, he couldn’t continue.
In World War I he fought against the Russian and Armenian Armies together with his students. He was taken prisoner and exiled to Siberia (1916). After escaping and coming to İstanbul, he published his seventeen works. He was given the rank of judge by the Army. He was chosen as the member of the School of Islamic Sciences (1919). He protested against the occupation of İstanbul by the English and the Greeks in his booklet called Hutuvat-ı Sitte (Rejection of the Six Lies of the English) (1920). He protested against the legal opinion of Şeyh-ul-Islam (the grand mufti), which was against the National Independence Army. He was invited to Ankara and greeted by Mustafa Kemal where a “Welcome” ceremony was organized for him. With his speech at the National Assembly, Said Nursi congratulated the veterans of the Independence War and he invited the deputies to act according to Islamic Law.
A year later, he published his declaration which consisted of ten articles and which included his wishes about acting according to Islam. Because of this his relationship with Mustafa Kemal was damaged. As a result, the second period, which he called “New Said”, started. This lasted until the end of his life and during this period he spent his life in prisons and he was frequently exiled. Although he did not have any connection with the Şeyh Said Rebellion, he was exiled to Barla village in Isparta (1926). After spending eight years in Barla, he was brought to Isparta and he was arrested (1934). The years in Barla were his most productive years. Here, he wrote his works Sözler (The Words), Lem’alar (The Rays), Mektubat (The Letters), which represented most of the study called Risale-i Nur Külliyatı (Treatise of the Divine Light, complete works). After the publication of these works, they attracted much attention in society and again life in prison, banishment, attempted poisoning and trials followed. In 1934, he was sent to Burdur from Barla and then to Isparta. In 1935, he was arrested and brought to Eskişehir. After being released, he was sent to Kastamonu (1936). After seven years in exile in Kastamonu, he was again arrested and brought to Ankara (1943). In the same year, he was sent to Denizli Prison. On being released after two months, he was sent to Emirdağ. After a four-year exile spent in misery (1948), he was arrested and sent to Afyon Prison for twenty months.
During his last court cases, the Democracy Party, whose leader was Adnan Menderes, was in power. During the period of the Democracy Party, the malice he faced lessened. He spent his last years according to his wishes in Isparta and Emirdağ to complete and publish his Risale-i Nur Külliyatı (Treatise of the Divine Light, complete works). While he was traveling to Van in 1960, he became ill and died in Urfa on 23 March 1960. After the 27 May Revolution, the military government made a surprise night raid on 12 July 1960, brought his corpse to Isparta and buried him at an unknown location. His works have been published many times and translated into many languages. Detailed information about his life is in his book Tarihçe-i Hayat (Life Story).
Nutuk (The Speech, 1910), İşârât-ül İ’caz (Concise Signs, 1918), Münâzarât (Debates, 1910), Hutbe-i Şamiye (Sermon of Damascus, 1911), Sünuhât (Inspirations, 1920), Divân-ı Harb Örfî (Divan* of War Customs, 1910), Muhâkemât (Reasoning, 1911), Lemaât (The Rays, 1929, with the name Lemalar - The Rays, 1956), Hakikat Çekirdekleri (Seeds of Truth, 1920), Şuaât (The Rays, 1920, with the name Şualar - The Rays, 1957), Rûmuz (Symbols, 1920), Tulûât (Improvisations, 1920), Mesnevi-i Nuriye (Poem on Luminosity, 1920), Sözler (The Words, 1956), Mektubât (The Letters, 1956), Âsây-ı Musa (The Rod of Moses, 1957), Sikke-i Tasdik-i Ğaybî (Garment of Invisible Affirmation, 1957), Barla Lâhikası (Barla Appendix, 1957), Kastamonu Lâhikası (Kastamonu Appendix, 1957), Emirdağ Lâhikası (Emirdağ Appendix, 1957), Tarihçe-i Hayat (Life Story, 1958).
SEPARATELY PUBLISHED BOOKLETS: Gençlik Rehberi (A Guide for the Youth, 1947), Nur Aleminin Bir Anahtarı (A Key to the Divine Light of the World, 1958), Yirmiüçüncü Söz (The Twenty-third World, 1958), Tabiat Risalesi (Booklet of Nature, 1958), İman Hakikatleri (The Truth of Faith in Islam, 1958), Gençlik Rehberi (A Guide for the Youth, 1958), Hanımlar Rehberi (A Guide for Women, 1958), İhtiyarlar Risalesi (Booklet for the Old, 1958), Meyve Risalesi (Booklet on Fruits, 1958), Haşir Risalesi (Booklet on Resurrection, 1958), Küçük Sözler (Little Words, 1958), Miftah ûl İman (A Key to the Faith in Islam, 1958), Uhuvvet Risalesi (Booklet on Fraternity, 1958), İhlas Risalesi (Booklet of Sincerity, 1958), Sünnet-i Seniye Risalesi (Grand Booklet of the Sünnet*, 1958), Zühret’ün Nur (Appearance of the Divine Light, 1958), Hastalar Risalesi (Booklet for the Ill, 1958), Nurun İlk Kapısı (First Door of the Divine Light, 1958); Hizmet Rehberi (A Guide to Duty, 1958), Ramazan-İktisat-Şükür Risaleleri (Booklet of Ramadan-Economy-Gratitude, 1958), Hakikat Nurları (Rays of Truth, 1958), el Hüccet’ül Zehra (Document on Zehra, 1958), Beyâ-nât ve Tenvirler (Declarations and Illuminations, 1958), Latif Nükteler (Nice Witticisms, 1958), Münâcât (Supplication, 1958), Hüve Nüktesi (Witty Words, 1958), Tiryak (Antidote to Poison, 1958).
REFERENCE: Eşref Edib / Bediüzzaman Said Nur ve Nurculuk (1963), Necmeddin Şahiner / Bilinmeyen Taraflarıyla Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (1974), Necip Fazıl Kısakürek / Son Devrin Din Mazlumları (1977), Necmeddin Şahiner / Son Şahitler Bediüzzaman Said Nursi’yi Anlatıyor (5 cilt, 2. bas., 1989) - Belgelerle Bediüzzaman’ın Kabir Olayı (1996), Sadık Albayrak / Siyasî Boyutlarıyla Türkiye’de İslâmcılığın Doğuşu (1989), Şerif Mardin / Bedizzaman Said Nursi Olayı (1991), İhsan Işık / Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Üstad Said Nursi (5. bas. 2012) - Ünlü Fikir ve Kültür Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 3, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).