The world can now become better acquainted with one of the greatest Islamic thinkers of the 20th century, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, thanks in part to John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. JCU recently opened the Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies, which is dedicated to the man who is best known for his 6,000 page Risale-i Nur Collection.
The Chair was formed in 2003 at John Carroll University and its official opening ceremony was held last month. Assoc. Prof. Zeki Saritoprak holds the Chair. Prof. John Esposito, Renowned Islam expert and the Director of the Muslim-Christian Understanding Center, gave a conference entitled 'Islam and Modernity' at the Chair.
The activities of the Chair focus on inter-religious dialogue. It held a traditional meeting entitled, 'Mysticism in the Abrahamic Traditions' last Tuesday. Along with Saritoprak, Fr. Howard Gray SJ of JCU and Rabbi Yakov Travis of Siegal College spoke at the meeting.
According to information submitted, some Turkish and American businessmen as well as members of the Muslim congregation in the Cleveland region contributed to the Chair's founding. The University reportedly examined all the works of Bediuzzaman and then decided to dedicate the Chair to him.
The Works of Bediuzzaman had attracted attention at Bucharest University two years ago as well. Prof. George Grigore lectured about the Nur Collections to his students in the Foreign Languages Department. He emphasized that the clash of civilization could be prevented through the Collection.
Meanwhile, the University of Notre Dame held a Nur Symposium last year and one of the participant faculty members, Dr. Asma Afsaruddin, stated that she has found many humanitarian values, such as 'patience and tolerance', among the pages of the Nur Collection.
Who is Bedizuzzaman Said Nursi?
One of the greatest Islamic thinkers of the 20th century, Bedizuzzaman Said Nursi was born in 1876 in the village of Nurs near the city of Bitlis.
His intellect and extraordinary abilities became the center of attention when he had completed a classical madrasah education in only three months. Normally it takes years. He proved his superiority in knowledge thorough debates with well-known thinkers. Said Nursi started to be known as 'Bediuzzaman', which means the unique beauty of the century. He completed his experience in the science of religion with various scientific researches in other fields. Bediuzzaman passed away in Urfa, in March 23, 1960, but not before penning the 6,000 page Risale-i Nur Collection