I have stated that I am someone who has not concealed that he was a member of Nur congregation since I was a little boy and proudly expressed it on several occasions. As a result of this situation, I stated in my previous article that I received interesting reactions and this stems from other people’s prejudices.
In order to address this issue and break some misperceptions about congregations, I would like to express some facts by giving examples from my own life.
I learned the concepts such as justice, consultancy, humanity and freedom which belongs to Qur’an with the help of Risale-i Nur books in the congregation I am a member of. I can also show many faithful young people who will be witnesses to me. They would put their signature under these statements though. As for reading issue. In my beautiful country where unfortunately there is lack of ideas, congregations, especially, Nur congregations contain people who read the most books and are most concerned about the material and spiritual wellbeing of the homeland and the nation. We consider every single day spent without reading, as not lived...
In the circumstances, recommending young people, who are members of the congregation, to read books is a bit absurd. There are thousands of faithful young people who study in the fields of Medicine, Genetics, Astronomy, Law, Engineering and many other scientific fieldsand develop themselves. These young people read the works related to their fields with great interest and feed their intellectual worlds both materially and spiritually. On the other hand, I wonder that how many books people, who strongly recommend us reading other books than religious books, read about spirituality.
How can you presume for a youth who reads a Master’s workto stay away from science and technology while even this master always says that “The light of conscience is religion. The light of reason is modern sciences. The combination of the two manifests the truth.”. Does this youth stoop to an unfinished perfection?
Nevertheless, recommendations insistently given to every congregation member in the same consistency and tone, as if they are recited by heart, show how wrong and sharp prejudices there are about congregations. And add to this that people with a lack of self-confidence put their faults on their congregations’ shoulders…
We, the faithful Islamic youth, willingly do the service of faith and Qur’an in our congregations with our own free will. Furthermore, we feel the need to do so in our own souls. Nobody forces us to do this. Our minds are not under anyone’s control. Other than that, the lessons we learn from Qur’an suggest us to contemplate, to reason and to draw a lesson. Our prophet Mohammed (pbuh) also teaches this. We are the people of a religion that advises to think and reason at every opportunity and brings the freedom of ideas to the world centuries ago.
We learn from Said Nursi’s works, who says that even his own words should not be accepted without pondering. Our minds are not under anyone’s control. But we are persistently told that we should not put our minds under anyone’s control. I wonder if can those who persistently recommend this to us through the glasses of bias use their minds and take out of their own earthly pleasures? I wonder…
Science, natural sciences, philosophy… We value them seriously. But of course, we do not see them as adorably. We are curiously searching and learning because the truths of the matter help us to show the rightfulness of the religion of Islam and to help us to remove the misapprehensions on Islam.
We know that it is very difficult for a person who does not know mathematics, science, philosophy, physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy to search and find the creator. Make sure that, we know very well that the way to attain true faith is through recognition of the Universe and this is achieved through science. We think that we need to learn science not just for our earth but also for our afterlives and at some points, we attach more importance to science than thought. We see science as a tool and therefore, we accept science as a supporter, not as an alternative to religion and belief. But we are curious about what those mean by telling us ‘attach more importance to science’. We think that they think wrong about us and they should overcome the prejudices and get to know us again. We also hope that they would give up the assumption that Islam religion is against science.
Let us touch on ‘Tiktok’ issue. We, the faithful Islamic youth, think more rational than you think. Since we appreciate the value of time, we stay away from trivial things. Therefore, we try not to waste our time with applications such as ‘Tiktok, Sbapchat, etc.’. Moreover, we have no lack of self-confidence so that we do not satisfy ourselves with likes and comments on social media. We do not live in an imaginary world. We deal with real issues in real life and we respect ourselves.
These kinds of applications are not freedom for us, this is an environment of captivity which is an indicator of the need of people’s appreciation and favour. We live real freedom. We do not make concessions from ourselves and our values for people’s appreciation and fame. If you have prejudices about these issues, someday sit with a young member of congregation and talk about politics, science and philosophy. In this dark era where youth drowns, you will see especially how the Nur youth will shine brightly.
If you find an opportunity, please sit with a young member (high school or university student) of Yeni Asya Nur congregation and talk about justice, republic, liberty, democracy and consultancy. I am sure that you will be amazed how Bediüzzaman Said Nursi gives an education that goes beyond the ages with his works. In this era when the truths of Qur’an and everything are darkened, you will see how Risale-i Nur illuminates this young blood with the light of freedom and justice, and how Risale-i Nur nourishes young minds in this century which youth fluctuate and you will say ‘The benefit of the homeland depends on these young people.’
Leave aside your prejudices and fears about congregations, let’s get to know each other with our true forms apart from prejudices. Listen to us in our own language, not the language of others. In first place, the scientific rationality you emphasize very much, requires that.
Bilal Said Parlakoğlu
Translation: Hilal Yurtseven