While in Barla, Bediuzzaman put the treatise on the resurrection of the dead and the pieces that followed it together in the form of a collection and gave it the name of Sözler (The Words). The Words was followed by Mektûbat, Letters, a collection of thirty-three letters of varying lengths from Bediuzzaman to his students. This was followed by Lem’alar, The Flashes Collection, and Şualar, The Rays Collection, the present collection, which was completed in 1949. Together with these are the three collections of Additional Letters, for each of Bediuzzaman’s main places of exile, Barla Lahikası, Kastamonu Lahikası, and Emirdağ Lahikası. Bedi-uzzaman also compiled various other collections from the above works, in order to address particular sections of society. Among those mentioned in the present work are The Illuminating Lamp (Siracü’n-Nur), A Guide For Youth, Zülfikâr, and The Staff of Moses (Asâ-yı Mûsa).
The way the Risale-i Nur was written and disseminated was unique, like the work itself. Bediuzzaman would dictate at speed to a scribe, who would write down the piece in question with equal speed; the actual writing was very quick. Bediuzzaman had no books for reference and the writing of religious works was of course forbidden. They were all written therefore in the mountains and out in the countryside. Handwritten copies were then made, these were secretly copied out in the houses of the Risale-i Nur ‘Students’, as they were called, and passed from village to village, and then from town to town, till they spread throughout Turkey. Only in 1946 were Risale-i Nur Students able to obtain duplicating machines, while it was not till 1956 that The Words and other collections were printed on modern presses in the new, Latin, script. The figure given for hand-written copies is 600,000.
The Rays Collection
In the course of his twenty-five years of exile, Bediuzzaman suffered three terms of imprisonment together with varying numbers of his students, and the treatises he wrote during each of these he later included in the Risale-i Nur. In The Rays Collection are ‘fruits’ from all three of his sojourns in the ‘Medrese-i Yûsufiye,’ as he called prison, recalling the unjust imprisonment of Joseph (PUH) and that prison is essentially a place of education and training. The Second Ray was the final fruit of Eskişehir Prison (1935-’36), while The Eleventh Ray has as its name Meyve Risalesi, The Fruits of Belief, and was written for his fellow-prisoners in Denizli Prison (1943-’44). It consists of eleven ‘Topics,’ which offer irrefutable proofs of the six main ‘pillars’ of faith. The last two of the Topics, however, were written in Emirdağ, Bediuzzaman’s place of compulsory residence after Denizli.