The Nineteenth century is a period of time when Islamic societies faced
a series of disasters and experienced great fluctuations and changes. The
weakening of Islamic societies and their regression against the West, and
the bitter consequences of the First World War are among the topics discussed
by the Muslim thinkers of the period.
An evident supremacy of the West over the Muslim geography in the
fields of military, economy, and technology caused the Muslim world to fall
into a deep unrest; therefore the deterioration in the state administration
system and the military and technical supremacy of the West were considered
as the reasons for the decline and the defeats. Besides that the proliferation
of positivist ideas brought together the discussions that religion is
the source of backwardness and then the religion was openly accused to be
among the causes of regression.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi joins the arguments, when answers are sought
for questions like “Does religion prevent advances? What is the relationship
between Islam and modernization” and suggest for the problems of the
Muslim societies original solutions based on the Quran and the Sunnah.”
In this context the event which relates to the readers as “An Address in
Dream” and which he describes with his own words as “a really wondrous
spiritual event” in his work Sünuhat written while he was a member of
Dar-ül Hikmet in Istanbul has an important place in these discussions.
essay with the title “An Address in Dream” does not only interpret the tragic
events experienced by the Muslim society living in the Ottoman lands,
but also draws a road map that inculcates hope for the future of the Muslim
society. Therefore an analysis of that short text gains importance in terms of
overcoming the problems facing the Muslim world as well as the humanity.
An Address in Dream consists of questions asked by “a magnificent
assembly gathered for the future of Islam” to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi concerning
the reasons and results of the First World War that was closely
related to the future of Muslim world and humanity and the answers given
by him. These questions’ not only being about the Ottomans, who were
defeated in the war and about to disintegrate but also being the destiny of
Islam, carries the text to our time and makes it interesting. The explanation
of the defeat by spiritual and moral factors rather than by material reasons
in the analyses which are in the form of questions and answers uncover and
show how important Islamic values are for the destiny of Muslim societies.
We need to research thoroughly what these values are and how they can be
into practice.
On the other hand the interpretation by Bediuzzaman of big disasters
like WW1 which compelled men and societies to change under the light
of positive developments in the long run, is very important in terms of the
originality of the Islamic viewpoint. Bediuzzaman bases his interpretation
about reasons and results of the WW1 on the good news that “Welfare
may arise even from a disaster” and indicates that this war which caused
humanity to suffer the ever worst persecution in the human history might
lead to changes which would set the stage for the eternal happiness of humanity.
What these changes are; how can we prevent a secularization which
can cause the spiritual destruction of man and society and a modernization
which brings about a moral degeneration are questions that still must be
answered even today.
As a result the reasons of the defeat explained in this essay by Bediuzzaman,
who was labelled by the assembly who had invited him as “the man of
the age of disasters and destructions,” still have the qualities of leading the
Muslim societies to overcome their present problems and instabilities. Because
among the issues dealt with in the essay are those that we still discuss
today like Islamic brotherhood, maintaining peace and justice among the
layers of the society, the reasons of backwardness, the ways of progressing,
the attitude that must be assumed against modernization, the bases of the
Western civilization, the essential qualities of Islamic civilization, world
peace, practicing the fundamental worshipping in the social life.
Therefore in the 128th issue we have studied Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s
essay, “An Address in Dream” in terms of the concepts such as “hope, hopelessness,
Muslim societies, the future of Islam, WW1, caliphate, Islamic
brotherhood, Europe, modernization, secularization, imitation, tradition,
social layers, captivity, labour, civilization, freedom, Western civilization,
the Quranic civilization, power, conflict, dissolution, self-interest, negative
nationalism, positive nationalism, racialism, moral degeneration, Islamic
morals, world peace, basic needs, poverty, halal, haram, rights, justice, equilibrium,
equality, virtue, love, religious bonds, social bonds, cooperation,
union, coalescence, progress, spiritual perfection, guidance, humanity, mean
desires, evil ego, hedonism, salat (praying), sawm (fasting), zakat (almsgiving),
… ” and we tried to draw attentions to An Address In Dream as a
vision of a new civilization that will bring peace to humanity.
We have also published in this issue the proceedings of workshops
analysing the essay, “An Address In Dream” organized by Risale-I Nur Institute.
We invite you to enjoy reading our periodical and hope to address
you in the next issue with the topic of “Middle-East” a bleeding wound of