Weakening and lag of Islamic societies that had experienced great
fluctuations and changes since the second half of 19th century is one of the main
problems, which the thinkers of the periods are concerned with. Particularly Ottoman
Empire’s entry into dissolution and destruction process made searches for salvation
more rapid, and this led to revelation of and discussion on different opinions concerning
the situation. While a climate of discontent giving birth to an imitation together
with Western institutions is surrounding the whole Islamic world, corruption in
the state governance, Western dominance in military and technical fields were shown
as the reasons for regression. Popularization of positivist ideas after Tanzimat,
which accelerated the process of imitation of the West in all aspects and resulted
in deep changes in the cultural field, led to strengthening of the understanding
that considers the religion as the source of regression. On the other hand, ulema’s
agreement with some intellectuals on the consideration of religion as the source
of regression brought about discussions finding reflections in different fields.
In such an intellectual ground, harsh discussions on religion began. Questions as
“Is religion prevents progress? How must the relation between Islam and modernism
can be built?” tried to be answered.

Participated in this discussion process in late 19th century, Bediüzzaman Said
Nursi suggested original solutions based on Koran and sunna to problems experienced
by ISlamic societies. Considering “regression” as the enemy of Islam, Said Nursi
analyzes reasons for Islamic societies’ regression in different aspects and shows
ways out. With his determination that “Foreigners run down us under their despotism
with the weapons of science and industry”, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi highlighted the
ways to getr id of this pressure, and addressed diffferent areas in the way of progress.
Seeing “material progress” as one of the musts of the time in this context, the
most important objections of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi were against the positivist
approaches concerning that religion makes us lag behind. Compared Western civilization
with Koran civilization in his articles, Said Nursi stated that in case of obedience
to Koran, real civilization will be experienced and material and spiritual progress
will realize.

Expressed civilization’s beauty as the Muslims’ property, for Said Nursi, identification
of progress with irreligion and regression with religion-Islam is an issue that
must be overcome. In this framework, Hutbe-i Şamiye told by Bediüzzaman Said Nursi
in 1911 in Damascus Emeviye Mosque in Arabic analyzes Islamic societies in all aspects.
Interpreted socio-cultural and psychological condition of Islamic societies in a
different manner than classical approaches, Hutbe-i Şamiye diagnoses the illnesses
that lag Islamic societies behind and shows the ways of treatment. While searching
the reasons of and remedies to the defeat against the West, Hutbe-i Şamiye not only
addresses to the general needs of Muslim people that lived in the previous century,
but also sheds a light for the next centuries and determines the future roadmap.
Including ideas to contribute to world peace by emphasizing the concept of humane,
Hutbe-i Şamiye can be considered as a manifest in the process of Islamic civilization’s
recreation. Therefore, it is important to put the ideas in Hutbe-i Şamiye addressing
Islamic world’s basic problems and solution ways in to Muslim’s agenda.

Based on these issues that we as Risale-i Nur Institute try to attract attention
to, for the purpose of carrying Hutbe-i ŞAmiye to Muslim people’s agenda in its
100th year and discussing the ideas within the text, 6th Risale-i Nur Congress titled
“Said Nursi’s Project of Islamic World: Hutbe-i Şamiye” that we held in Damascus
between 19-20 March 2011 led to multiple notable results. With table discussions
that can be considered as annotations to Hutbe-i Şamiye, many problems affecting
the Islamic world and solution suggestions were discussed in the light of Bediüzzaman
Said Nursi’s ideas. Coincided with the days, when freedom movements in Islamic world
accelerated, the congress was like the messenger of the accrual of the ideas in
Hutbe-i Şamiye.

We allocated this issue to the papers of 6th Risale-i Nur Congress. With the
congress presentations that deal with all above issues, it was aimed at analyzing
Hutbe-i Şamiye in all dimensions. While presenting to you the papers of 6th Risale-i
Nur Congress titled Said Nursi’s Project of Islamic World: Hutbe-i Şamiye with the
hope that we will see the happiness that Bediüzzaman gave the good news for a hundred
years ago, we hope to be with you via our next issue on the same subject.