The Risale-i Nur Institute has organized the 8th Congress of Risale-i Nur during March 2013 under the title “Said Nursi’s understanding of nationalism for humanity and world peace”. The purpose of the Cong¬ress was to discuss the concept of nationality/nationalism which has an important place in our thinking life and which continues to influence our life in social, cultural and political areas and to descibe the understanding of nationalism by Said Nursi, who followed a road based on Quran. Scientists who attended the Congress carried out in Istanbul with the contributions of Fatih Sultan Mehmet University, Allience of Civiliza¬tions Institute argued about Said Nursi’s understanding of nationalism and came up with important conclusions. The present issue of our journal contains some of the papers presented at the Congress and the declarations of the Congress.
The concept of nationalism has been the subject of different perceptions and definitions throughout the history of thinking. The same concept has recently been discussed in association with national state, human rights, liberty, equality, state of law, globalization, Kurdish problem, terror, etc. Among these discussions we think that attempting to understand the concept of nationalism developed with a Quranic viewpoint by Said Nursi within the framework of concepts of humanity, brotherhood, solidarity, unity, peace, positive action and progress is significant in terms of humanity and world peace.
The construction of national states formed around the concept of nation defined in terms of ethnic memberships within the ideology of nationalism, which was one of the essential ideologies of the 19th century and continue to live even today, has overwhelmingly characterized the last few centuries with war, terror, blood and tears. The destructive effects of national state practices on Muslim societies, which have basically been carried out within an ethnic understanding is a question needs to be examined. Some of the questions waiting replies are how these destructive effects can be eliminated; what will be the place of the Quranic concept of nationality in the reconstruction of a new society; and how an understanding of nationality focused on brotherhood and solidarity can be realized. The general framework drawn by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi gains importance in this context.
It has continuously being discussed whether the concept of ‘millet’ (nation), which points out to the religious togetherness in the understanding world of Islamic societies and which is used as identical to the concept of religion being loyal to the understanding of ‘religion is the same as nation’ in the Islamic literature, can be used in the sense of “ethnic group and race” after being alienated from its previous meaning and whether a nationalism in its latter sense can coexist with an Islamic culture. In this regard while the disintegrations appeared alongside the idea of nationalism, which gained popularity in the Islamic societies have been associated with the ideology of nationalism, it becomes a necessity to identify an approach to the phenomenon of nationality as a social fact. At this point the approaches of Bediuzzaman which take the idea of nationality as a social and political reality might be a guide. Therefore his conceptualizations of “negative nationality” and “positive nationality” are worthy of researching.
Considering the issue from the perspective of Turkey we observe that the nationalistic policies practiced in compliance with the national state understanding during the Republican period which set out with building a national identity and developed projects aiming at modernizing and reforming a people overwhelmed with an ummah conscience, have caused the rise of various problems. In order to understand the structural problems like Kurdish problem which can be defined in terms of ethnicity, we need to discuss the republican identity policies. Among the intriguing questions are how this problem will be overcome; what will be the contribution of democratization process to this matter; how ethnic identities will be defined in the new constitution; and how the fundamental human rights and liberties will be protected. At this point the approaches of Said Nursi, who knows well the internal dynamics of the region; who proposed a set of solutions to the problems encountered and who approaches the nationality problem from the perspective of belief and praying become very important to reach a permanent solution.
Therefore we, as the Institute of Risale-i Nur consider that the papers presented, the proceedings and declarations publicized in the 8th Congress of Risale-i Nur, having the title “Said Nursi’s understanding of nationalism for humanity and world peace” have uncovered to a large extent Said Nursi’s understanding of nationality.
Wishing that the 8th Congress of Risale-i Nur shall be beneficial for humanity and world peace, we hope our readers to enjoy our present journal and meet in the next issue still with the same topic.