To the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice,
and Ministry of Home Affairs1
All members of the Government who saw the Proclamation of the Constitution, the First World War, the Armistice Period, the setting up of the Nationalist Government, and the Republic know me well. Nevertheless, with your permission, we shall take a look at my life as though on a film.
I was born in the village of Nurs in the province of Bitlis. As a student, I debated with the scholars I encountered, and through Divine favour, defeating in scholarly debate all who opposed me, I came as far as Istanbul. In Istanbul, winning calamitous fame, a victim of my rivals’ trouble-making, I was dragged to the lunatic asylum on the orders of Sultan ‘Abdulhamid. On the Proclamation of the Constitution, I attracted the attention of the government of the Committee of Union and Progress with my activities during the Thirty-First of March Incident. I confronted them with the proposal to open an Islamic university in Van called the Medresetü’z-Zehra, resembling al-Azhar University. I even laid its foundations. On the outbreak of the First War, I gathered together my students and took part in the War as the Commander of a militia force. I fought on the Caucasian Front and was taken prisoner at Bitlis. I escaped from where I was being held and returned to Istanbul. I was appointed a member of the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islâmiye. During the Armistice period, I worked against the occupying forces with all my might, and on the victory of the National Government, in appreciation I was summoned by it to Ankara, where I repeated my proposal to open the university in Van.
The life I had lived up to then had been that of a patriot. I had wanted to serve religion by means of politics. But from then on, I turned my back on the world completely, and in my own words, buried the ‘Old Said’. As the ‘New Said’, devoting myself entirely to the hereafter, I withdrew from the world. Retiring from social life, I went into seclusion on the hill Yusha Tepesi in Istanbul. Later on I went to Bitlis and Van, in my native region, where I lived in a cave. I remained alone with the pleasures of my spirit and conscience. That is to say, taking as my principle “I seek refuge with God from the Devil and politics,” I plunged into the depths of my own spiritual world. Passing my time studying the Qur’an of Mighty Stature, I started to live as the ‘New Said.’ But the manifestations of Divine
This piece was written by Ustad Bediuzzaman’s lawyers, with his permission while he was being held in Afyon Prison, and was sent to the government ministries mentioned. Signed, Sungur