A Brief Look at Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Life,
The Risale-i Nur, and The Rays Collection
The Rays Collection forms the fourth volume of the Risale-i Nur Collection, and follows on after The Words (Sözler), Letters 1928-1932 (Mektûbat), and The Flashes Collection (Lem’alar). It consists of fifteen independent pieces or ‘Rays,’ which were written between 1935 and 1949. While the Second, Third, and Fourth Rays, the Seventh Ray, which is the celebrated Supreme Sign, and the Fifteenth, contain some of Bediuzzaman’s finest proofs and expositions of Divine unity and the other truths of belief, the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Rays consist of parts of his defences of himself and the Risale-i Nur and its way in the Courts of Denizli and Afyon, in addition to letters written to his fellow-prisoner students. To assist readers in setting these various pieces in context, included here is a brief outline of Bediuzzaman’s life and the writing of the Risale-i Nur.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi was born in 1877 in eastern Turkey and died in 1960 in Urfa, also in eastern Turkey. Readers may refer to his biography for details of his long and exemplary life, which spanned the last decades of the Ottoman Empire, its collapse after the First World War and the setting up of the Republic, then the twenty-five years of Republican Peoples’ Party rule, well-known for the measures taken against Islam, followed by the ten years of Democrat rule, when conditions eased a little for Bediuzzaman.
From an early age Bediuzzaman displayed an extraordinary intelligence and ability to learn, completing the normal course of medrese (religious school) education at the early age of fourteen, when he