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November 10, 2011, Thursday

Barla: What did you get from persecution?

I recently saw the movie “Allah’ın Sadık Kulu” (Allah’s Devoted Servant), which depicts the life of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi in the Barla district of Isparta while he was in exile between 1927 and 1934.

Almost the entire audience in attendance was made up of conservative families. What attracted my attention was that half of the audience was between the ages of 10 and 15.

Drawing the attention of children to the movie was the right move. Bediüzzaman’s love and affection for children was one of the main themes of the movie. This new approach makes him lovable. The movie actually describes Bediüzzaman as just another human being who lived among us. We see a person become deeper as we come to know him.

The story of Bediüzzaman’s seven-year exile in Barla is full of lessons to be learned. Just as all prophets were brutalized, persecuted and tyrannized in their times and had to deal with animosity towards and the torture of believers, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi experienced the same. There is not a single example of a man who devoted himself to the path of Allah who did not suffer. But when the movie finished, what crossed my mind was this: Nobody could do anything to those who are favored by Allah, and nobody could praise those who fell from Allah’s favor. Bediüzzaman said this beautifully: “People persecute, but fate does justice. Pains open doors to suffering and suffering to pursuits.”

A part of the movie was particularly well-narrated. In a district only accessible by boat at a time when there was no land road, a few people wrote pamphlets on small pieces of paper and forwarded them to the Eğirdir district, and then on to Isparta. These pieces eventually reached hundreds of thousands of people in every part of Anatolia. And ordinary people did this.

We have to stop here. Allah always has the greatest jobs done by people considered ordinary by the society. The criteria are determined by Allah, not people. Official position, rank, wealth, family, power and glory are the worldly criteria held by people, but Allah amazes and tells man his weakness. He takes a servant in a remote village, protects him against his enemies, then strengthens him and makes him speak to the world. Is not the Prophet Muhammad the greatest example of this? The road between Mecca and Medina is 400 kilometers. It is an arid and stony land. When the Prophet traveled this road with his friend Abu Bakir, there were many kingdoms and sultanates in the world. The world was heavily occupied with certain matters and issues that were extremely important to those kingdoms and sultanates. But only two people traveled that road. Not the wars or developments that concerned people back then but rather this march changed the course of history because the real winners are those who remain devoted to Allah.

These pamphlets written in Barla reached people via ordinary people despite all brutality and persecution. Allah, who makes a seed carry the huge fig tree, converted Barla into a seed. What attracts our attention? A handful sincere people in Barla welcome Said Nursi. We have to consider this important. A nation embracing your views is invaluable. A cause and a movement should appeal to the people and the nation. Whatever fails to rely on the nation will eventually be eliminated.

As I watched what had been done to persecute Bediüzzaman in the movie, I drew connections with the present. Today, we also have lies, slander and intimidation. What is the difference between the grave lie that a huge number of weapons were hidden in the mountains and the placement of guns in “houses of light” to justify legal action against devoted Muslims as part of the Cage Action Plan? When the movie is over, you inevitably think: What did you get from persecution?

We need to know Said Nursi better as a man the guardianship system tried to silence because of his attempts to make connections with the past of the nation. New generations will love him more as they get to know him better. The movie “Allah’s Devoted Servant” is a good step towards ensuring this. It is a bold step as well. I believe that in the future, better works will be done in terms of technique, scenario and visual appearance. It is necessary to congratulate the firsts and encourage them.

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