The Quran emphasizes tawhid or belief in one God as the momentous choice before each human being. Why is tawhid so crucial? This volume offers a peek into the intellectual, spiritual, and life transforming implications of tawhid through providing selected translations from a distinguished Muslim theologian, Said Nursi (d. 1960). Nursi’s Risale-i Nur or Epistle of Light, penned mainly in Ottoman Turkish, offers a particularly insightful and perceptive approach to the Quran.
"In this lucid translation from the Ottoman Turkish original of the reflections of Said Nursi, these two authors have placed us in their debt. The treatises and the commentary on it jointly elucidate the core binding theme of divine unity, understood differently by members of the trio of Abrahamic faiths. We are three faiths but a single humanity - under one God. Given his catholic range of interests -from orthodox doctrine about Islamic monotheism to its practical application in mystical discipline, from the newly emerging role of pluralist secularism to interfaith collegiality - Nursi is a Muslim thinker of enduring relevance. I applaud the two authors who use his text to advocate human flourishing and the good life, inside increasingly sterile advanced capitalist cultures."
Shabbir Akhtar, University of Oxford
"Erudite and loyally steeped in the scholarly tradition yet innovative and keenly aware of the conditions of the world, Said Nursi is one of the most noteworthy representatives of Islam in the modern era. However, he remains a “famous unknown” to English-speaking audiences. His name is familiar to many who are interested in Islam, yet only a unique few among them can claim an understanding of his groundbreaking contributions. A key one among the causes of this puzzle is the accessibility of the existing translations of his works in English. Living the Qur’an with Joy and Purpose combines a selection of translations from Nursi’s writings on monotheism – the most central theme of his thought – with lucid introductions and helpful annotations for each text. The result is probably the most accessible English-language book on the “Great Master” written to date that introduces his ideas without compromising the depth of his scholarship and spirituality."
Mustafa Tuna, Duke University
Table of Contents (v)
A Note on Abbreviations and Diacritics (ix)
Introduction. Nursi’s Quranic Hermeneutics (1)
Selections from Epistles of Light (Risale-i Nur) (27)
1 Bismillah: In the Name of God (29)
2 Nature: Window onto the Causer of All Causes (37)
3 Only One God: Good News and Healing (53)
4 It is Never Too Late to Throw Off the Yoke of Shirk: The Light of Tawhid in Old Age (67)
5 Surrendering to the One: The example of Prophet Jonah (79)
6 You are the Artwork of the One God and Your Soul Longs for the One (87)
7 Gratitude is Awareness: Receiving Blessings Only in God’s Name (95)
8 Belief: Light and Strength (103)
9 Calling unto One God: Prayer (115)
10 Signs of God in Regularity and Diversity (121)
11 Joyful and Radiant Consequences of Tawhid (131)
12 The World is Speaking of Tawhid: A Parable (151)
13 Superficial vs. True Tawhid: Unpacking the Parable (177)