Determining the principles on which societies of different religions, cultures and ethnic structures will base the formula of living together is one of the general problems of the modern times. Our world which is becoming like a small village with globalization is forced to address the increasing social, political, and economic changes. Especially the changing and transforming societies with different religions, cultures and ethnic structures are in search of formulas that would provide living together. The socio-political evaluations and propositions that do not rely upon human values and do not lead to the global peace do not gain approval. The recent developments taking place in the Muslim world have speeded the pluralistic searches that would hold the differences together in peace. The bloody and catastrophic events ending with civil wars have multiplied questions on how these lands, which had once represented the civilization of peace, brotherhood, and tolerance could attain the desired climate of happiness.
The phenomenon of ‘living together’ is a Quranic approach that enables the societies consisting of individuals with different beliefs, cultures, traditions, races and mental maps to live in peace and tranquility. This Quranic approach that categorically rejects the differences as the means of superiority strengthens the social structure and peace by highlighting the principles of belief and morality such as respect, sharing, solidarity, zealousness, and piety. The question of how to revitalize and rebuild this Quranic structure by the Muslim societies which have difficulties in realizing the morality and bases of Islam and which have been experiencing various problems need to be answered.
When we think in relation to Turkey, the general discontent born by unsolved ethnic based problems, discussions moving to area of religious sects, and the isolating, factionalizing, exclusivist and polarizing situations caused by the Gezi events necessitate the remembrance of the historical and Islamic experience in terms of living together. How can we introduce into our life the historical codes manifesting themselves in a huge empire like the Ottomans which kept differences living together, and how can we put forward the resources that would transfer the experiences of the Era of Bliss like the Document of Medina are some of the issues that must be discussed.
The phenomenon of ‘living together’ also opens to discussion the concepts like factionalizing and bring forward many similar problems encountered in contemporary societies. Modern societies which have difficulty in operating many issues such as human rights, freedom of religion and conscience, democracy, plurality, multi-culturalism, tolerance to differences in favor of human beings are searching for having a structure based on rights and justice. At this point the opinions of Said Nursi who carried to our time the Islamic heritage and experience which prioritizes the basic human rights and freedoms instead of authoritative elements prevailing the society; which accepts the differences as elements of richness become important.
How should we behave in relation to despotic practices and discussions going on around certain concepts like social movements, civil guardianship and authoritarianism which threaten the social peace and tranquility and which sometimes extend to anarchism? The positive action principle in Risale-I Nur waits to be understood by people as a guiding movement in such a situation. Understanding the underlying basic codes of this positive action which point out to many different areas and behavioral patterns beyond acting constructively and which act as an armor against negative opinions and movements which begin with individuals and spread to society and threaten generations everywhere gains importance. The principle of positive action aims at constructive elements such as disseminating the service of belief in individual, social and political arenas, preventing disbelief, defeating vice, providing public order, preventing anarchy and chaos, not to retaliate to destructive actions in a similar way, being just, behaving optimistically, keep being patient and grateful, shunning from extremism, being able to read the associative meaning of the universe, giving priority to brotherhood, taking sincerity and loyalty as the basic principle, sticking to values like respect-compassion-mercy-alliance, all of which maintain the salvation of man and society. Therefore Understanding the principle of positive action is very important for the people and societies of our age who have been looking for happiness.
Therefore, the Institute of Risale-I Nur organized the ninth Congress of Risale-I Nur in İstanbul between the dates of 5-6 April 2014 in order to make contribution to the searches for living together and answer the above mentioned questions. The subject matter of the Congress was decided to be “Societal Movements and Living Together according to Said Nursi” and the subject was studied at five different tables. In this issue you will find the papers presented at the congress and the proceedings of the tables.
Putting forward the principles of living together developed with a Quranic viewpoint within the framework by said Nursi with the concepts of peace, respect, love, freedom as described by Sharia, rights, justice, brotherhood and positive action was the main goal of the congress. We hope that this humble attempt will be a preventive barrier to the factionalizing, exclusivist and authoritative considerations that bring about many attitudes which limits basic rights and freedoms and against bloody civil wars that threaten humanity.
As we leave you alone with the journal, we want to meet you again about the same topic.