Principles From The Risale Discussed At International Islamic University Malaysia
A three-day intensive programme was carried out by international scholars at the International Islamic University Malaysia. This prestigious university hosts students from over 100 different countries around the world.
In 1983, the university was formed as a result of generous contributions from a host of muslim nations - namely Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, The Maldives as well as Malaysia. The center of the university campus features a large mosque and surrounding it are the Faculty Of Divinity, Rector building and Main Library. Such an architectural plan is a sign of a historically traditional Islamic style.
Students are required to take lessons from outside both the area of religious sciences and their preferred focus of study, given the inter-disciplinary focus of the syllabus. Alongside the traditional lessons on Hadith and Qur'an there are lessons and modules on engineering, economics, psychology, architecture and more. The school, while being open also to non-muslims, does require that people conform to modest forms of dress.
Many doctoral and masters students from a variety of countries attended our three-day programme, "Original Dimensions Of The Islamic Sciences Of The Risale-i Nur".
Prof. Dr. Farid Alatas from Singapore National University gave the opening talk titled "Methods Of Academic Argument and Concept Formation". He discussed and explored four methods of argument that was discussed by the muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun in his famous work "The Muqadimma". These methods of argument were specifically that of 1) Proofs, 2) Dialectics, 3) Rhetoric and 4) Poetics. Alatas also discussed how Bediuzzaman Said Nursi used each of these methods in his Risale-i Nur in a successful manner and for different purposes.
"The soul tends to choose easy and immediate pleasures over greater long-term happiness"
Dr. Osman Yapar gave a talk about how the characteristics of the soul and ego tend to threaten the personal life and social harmony as a result of its addiction to short-term pleasures and gains. This addiction also threatens the eternal life prospects of those who succumb to the soul's habitual inclinations.
Dr Osman said that "Such a soul inclined to these short-term pleasures may result in a temporary defeat of the central characteristics of human beings - namely the intellect and the spiritual heart. These are the centers which allow the human being to perform sound judgements with respect to actions and intentions". He then mentioned that the main way to resolve such a problem is to incorporate education about the ego's lower passions within a moral values education programme. Such a programme features curricula inspired by themes and principles discussed in the Risale-i Nur and Dr. Osman mentioned that he has been developing such a curriculum for pre-service teachers, with growing interest in future participation from scholars and educators around the world.
"A Human Being's Character Is Based On Education Given By The Family"
IFSC Executive President Said Yüce gave a talk on the issue of education and reform, paraphrasing at first the words of Said Nursi who said that "Indeed, the first teacher and influence on a person is his mother". The child's first experience and first form of training and cultivation is via his mother. Later on, said Mr Yüce, both the father and mother contribute towards providing a good example for their child as well as inculcating certain manners and required habits.
Mr Yüce went onto say that, "A child who remembers the co-operative behaviour of his parents will replicate and repeat that behaviour when it grows up and sees somebody needy and who requires help. He will recall how his parents behaved. Likewise, and in contrast, a child who witnesses parents telling lies or resorting to trickery and deceit or aggression and anger will resultingly adopt that as a model behaviour. Typically, a person does not see harm or risk in applying what he witnesses from his family in the future."
Mr Yüce stressed that in our modern education systems we see that whenever a natural event is described or analysed there is often a description of the phenomenon as "creating itself" or "self-organising/self-developing" or "naturally evolving". Mr Yüce mentioned also that the materialist education system has depicted our universe as being without an agent, aimless, lacking wisdom and having occurred merely by chance. "Such a worldview has inflitrated the modern mind like a religion", he remarked.
"A generation of youth is being brought up to believe that the universe is aimless and accidental and thus meaningless. In addition, such an adrift and empty world has no special place or meaning assigned for human beings. Given the meaninglessness of the universe, by extension mankind too is meaningless and aimless and thus cannot be objectively understood. He merely comes into this world briefly and then dies. Is this worldview good for human happiness?"
There were several other important speakers at the programme. Siti Farihi, for instance, gave a talk on the Damascus Sermon that was given by Said Nursi at the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus. She stated that this sermon is still very relevant for our generation today and that it contains key remedies for the spiritual ailments that currently afflict us. Dr. Şerife Kartini gave a talk on the synchronicity of the nouns and various other linguistic contents of the Risale. Dr. Ridani Faulika's talk was titled "Concept of Man's Creation And Disposition In The Risale-i Nur" and finally Prof. Dr. Elmira Akhmetova, of Malaysia Islamic University gave a talk and presentation on "Historical Context In Knowledge Formation".