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November 03, 2011, Thursday

What does ‘Allah’s Devoted Servant’ say?

The movie “Allah’ın Sadık Kulu” (Allah’s Devoted Servant) opened in 234 theatres across Turkey on Thursday. This movie recounts the story of exile of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi in Barla, a village in Isparta province in southwestern Turkey, between 1927 and 1934.

The outcome of three-and-a-half years of hard work by the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, this 3D feature-length animation created with motion capture techniques is a first in Turkey. I am personally looking forward to seeing the movie. Hopefully, I will watch it today with my wife and will write an evaluation and critique for my Wednesday column.

Said Nursi was tyrannized because of his religious beliefs; perhaps there is none in Turkey who was more brutalized than he because of his endeavor to serve Allah. There is a reason for the saying, “Your treatment is pleasant, so is your grace.” He is a hero, maybe the greatest, who reminded the nation of the power of faith, its value and significance. Said Nursi acted as barrier by standing on the edge of the abyss in order to protect this nation, which became alienated from its own values and started to part ways with its own nature. He was a strong voice in the times when Mehmet Akif asked, “Is there any voice that would at least say ‘no’?” He not only served as a barrier but he also defended the idea that positive sciences should be accommodated with religious studies, opening up a new horizon in our country, which at the time was unaware of technology. His remedies for the Kurdish issue, the most important problem in Turkey today, as far back as 80 years ago are still invaluable for our unity and sense of brotherhood.

But young generations do not know him, while others misunderstand him because he undermined the strength of the guardianship regime and because he was accused of being pro-Shariah, a Kurdish rebel, an enemy of the republican regime, and so on. He was made to endure extensive violence and torture due to these accusations. I believe that this movie will help new generations get to know Said Nursi better. To this end, it will be an opportunity to love him and benefit from his ideas and works, which can lead to a certain mental awakening and awareness among young people today.

That this movie was made tells us that some truths cannot be kept buried. Hiding gems in mud will not devalue them. Eventually the day will come when servants of the truth clean the mud and expose their glorious beauty again. We do not remember the names of most of those who brutalized Bediüzzaman, who attempted to poison him a number of occasions and incarcerated him without respect for his advanced age. Now those prisons have become theatre halls and millions will be marching to these halls to see him.

“Bedii” means extremely beautiful and uniquely pretty. Said Nursi was a precious and incomparable scholar of his time. It seems that he still sheds light even after his demise through his ideas, scholarly aptitude and approach. I can even go further to say that he serves as guide for the support of conservative democrats in Turkey towards democratization. Let me reiterate some of his statements for those who may find this argument to be exaggerated:

“If you are asking about a secular republic, I know that secular means impartiality, in other words, a government that acts in reliance on the principle of freedom of conscience, that does not do anything to those who commit sins or are atheists, but also does not take action against religious people and individuals who are fearful of Allah.” (“Şualar,” p. 317).

“It is a fact that there are opponents and dissidents in every government. With the condition that they do not undermine the security and safety of the people, nobody should be held responsible for an idea or opinion he or she agrees by heart or conscience. This is a legal reality and fact. … Opposition to injustice, brutality and illegality cannot be considered a crime in any government. Quite the contrary, opposition is a legitimate and sincere element of a balanced justice [system].” (“Tarihçe-i Hayat,” p. 564)

“The institution of justice does not subscribe to any movement or move to any party. This is a major element of religious freedom and freedom of conscience that is prevalent and dominant in all parts of the non-Communist world including the East, the West, and all justice institutions in the world.” (“Tarihçe-i Hayat,” p. 564)

I believe that “Allah’ın Sadık Kulu” will please the soul of Said Nursi owing to the interest and attention it will attract.

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