Bediuzzaman played no part, but as a consequence of which was sent into exile in western Anatolia along with many hundreds of others. Thus unjustly began twenty-five years of exile, imprisonment, and unlawful oppression for Bediuzzaman. He was sent to Barla, a tiny village in the mountains of Isparta Province. However, the attempt to entirely isolate and silence him had the reverse effect, for Bediuzzaman was both prepared and uniquely qualified to face the new challenge: these years saw the writing of the Risale-i Nur, which silently spread and took root, combatting in the most constructive way the attempt to uproot Islam, and the unbelief and materialist philosophy it was hoped to instil in the Muslim people of Turkey.
The Risale-i Nur
As the New Said, Bediuzzaman had immersed himself in the Qur’an, searching for a way to relate its truths to modern man. In Barla in his isolation he began to write treatises explaining and proving these truths, for now the Qur’an itself and its truths were under direct attack. The first of these was on the resurrection of the dead, which in a unique style, proves bodily resurrection rationally, where even the greatest scholars previously had confessed their impotence. He described the method employed in this as consisting of three stages: first God’s existence is proved, and His Names and attributes, then the resurrection of the dead is “constructed” on these and proved. Bediuzzaman did not ascribe these writings to himself, but said they proceeded from the Qur’an itself, and were “rays shining out of from [its] truths.”
Thus, rather than being a Qur’anic commentary which expounds all its verses giving the immediate reasons for their revelation and the apparent meanings of The Words and sentences, the Risale-i Nur is what is known as a mânevî tefsir, or commentary which expounds the fundamental truths the Qur’an teaches. For there are various sorts of commentaries. The verses mostly expounded in the Risale-i Nur are those concerned with the truths of belief, such as the Divine Names and attributes and the Divine activity in the universe, the Divine existence and unity, the resurrection of the dead, prophethood, Divine Determining or destiny, and man’s duties of worship. Bediuzzaman explains how the Qur’an addresses all men in every age in accordance with the degree of their understanding and development; it has a face that looks to each age. The Risale-i Nur, then, explains that face of the Qur’an which looks to this age. We shall now look at further aspects of the Risale-i Nur related to this point.
In numerous of its verses, the Holy Qur’an invites man to observe the universe and reflect on the Divine activity within it; following just this