Tahiri Mutlu Agabey

“Tahiri Mutlu was special, he was like a saint to Bediuzzaman (once Bediuzzaman said about Tahiri Agabey: ‘He doesn’t know that he’s a saint.’) Tahiri Agabey didn’t talk much, he was always serious and quiet, but when he did speak his conversations were very informative and sweet, and we always listened carefully to what he had to say. In the early 1970’s I was visiting Tahiri Agabey and he told us one of his encounters with Bediuzzaman in Van. Bediuzzaman’s early students were not acting very seriously in their chores and Bediuzzaman turned to them and said: ‘YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM!’ And when Tahiri Agabey told us this particular quote, his voice was very loud and we knew that Bediuzzaman was upset with the students.” Dr. Osman Birgeoglu P.S. You may also view a video of Tahiri Agabey at:  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150165257382508      ]]>

"In Everything is a Sign that God is One"

In everything a window opens up onto knowledge of God. In some of the Words we have illustrated with the following comparison the differences between the way of the scholars of theology and the true highway taken from the Qur’an: in order to have water, some is brought from a distant place by means of pipes, tunnelling through mountains. And some of it is obtained by digging wells everywhere. The first sort is fraught with difficulties; the pipes become blocked or broken. But those who know how to dig wells and extract water can find water everywhere with no trouble. Similarly, utilizing the impossibility of causation and causal sequences, the scholars of theology cut the chains of causes at the extremities of the world and then proved the existence of the Necessarily Existent One. They travelled a long road. However, the true highway of the Wise Qur’an finds water everywhere and extracts it. All its verses cause water to flow forth wherever they strike, like the Staff of Moses. Each makes everything recite the rule: In everything is a sign indicating that He is One. Furthermore, faith (îman) is not gained only through knowledge; many of the subtle faculties have their share of it. When food enters the stomach, it is distributed in various ways to various members. Similarly, after entering the stomach of the mind, the matters of faith that come through knowledge are absorbed by the spirit, heart, inner heart, soul, and other subtle faculties; each receives its share according to its degree. If they do not receive their share, faith is deficient. Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi was reminding Fakhr al-Din Razi* of this point.” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (more on this can be found in The Letters, Twenty-Sixth Letter, or  Lights of Reality ) * Bediuzzaman clarifies the teachings of both these scholars. Dr. Osman Birgeoglu ]]>

True Belief and Trust in God

Risale-i Nur (many years ago), although I was indeed a believer, I didn’t know the extent of the power of belief. Bediuzzaman puts belief into such a perspective that we understand the enormous importance of belief in God. When you learn the real power of belief, it gives you indescribable joy and greatly eases the pressures of life. With my belief, I always try to remember God and act accordingly which makes me feel very happy. It’s just an incredible experience to learn and appreciate the value of belief in God. Until the Risale-i Nur, I didn’t have such a deep understanding of the importance of belief. I really enjoy reading the section of the Risale-i Nur quoted below. Each time I read it I get more out of it, and although I’ve read it more than 100 times, I am still looking forward to reading it again and again. I just can’t get enough of it…. And here is the part I am talking about from Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Masterpiece: Belief and Man from the Risale-i Nur Collection: “Belief is both light and strength. Yes, the person who acquires true belief may challenge the whole universe and be saved from the pressure of events in accordance with the strength of his belief. Saying, “I place my trust in God,” he travels through the mountainous waves of events in the ship of life in complete safety. He entrusts all his burdens to the hand of power of the Absolutely Powerful One, voyages through the world in ease, then takes his rest in the Intermediate Realm. Later he may fly up to Paradise in order to enter eternal happiness. But if he does not rely on God, rather than flying, the burdens of the world will drag him down to the lowest of the low. That is to say, belief necessitates affirmation of divine unity, affirmation of divine unity necessitates submission to God, submission to God necessitates trust in God, and trust in God necessarily leads to happiness in this world and the next. But do not misunderstand this, trust in God is not to reject causes altogether; it is to know that causes are a veil to the hand of power and have recourse to them. It is to know that to attempt causes is a sort of active prayer and to seek the effects only from Almighty God; to recognize that the results are from Him alone, and to be thankful to Him.” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (Belief and Man) Dr. Osman Birgeoglu ]]>

Essentials of Belief

The Requirements of Belief  – [An extract from a letter written to some students of the Risale-i Nur at Istanbul university ] “In His name, be He glorified! AT the end of the The Staff of Moses, there is the answer I gave to the question of one of our brothers, Küçük Ali, small in name but great in spirit. Read it, for some critics said to him, in an effort to belittle the Risale-i Nur, “Everyone knows God; the common man believes in God just like the saint.”  They wished in this way to present the exalted, valuable and most essential discussions contained in the Risale-i Nur as superfluous. Now too in Istanbul, with a still more destructive intention, some hypocrites of anarchist persuasion, who have fallen prey to utter unbelief, wish cunningly to deprive everyone of the truths of the faith that are contained in the Risale-i Nur and are as essential to man as bread and water. They say: “Every nation and every individual knows God; we have no great need for new instruction in this matter.” To know God, however, means to have certain faith in God’s dominicality encompassing all beings, and in all things, particular and general, from the atoms to the stars, being in the grasp of His power, action and will; it means believing in the truths of the sacred words, “There is no god but God,” and assenting to them with one’s heart. But simply to say, “God exists,” and then to divide His kingdom among secondary causes and nature and attribute it to them; to recognize secondary causes as sources of authority, as if – God forbid – they were the partners of God; to fail to perceive His will and knowledge as present with all things; to refuse to recognize His strict commands, and to reject His attributes, and the messengers and prophets He has sent – this has nothing to do with the reality of belief in God. Rather the person who does all this, and says “God exists,” does so only in order to find some relief from the torment he suffers in the world after his unbelief has made it a hell for him. Not to deny is one thing, to believe is some­thing completely different. No being endowed with consciousness, in the whole universe, can indeed deny the All-Glorious Creator to Whom every particle of existence bears witness. Or if he does make such a denial, it will be refuted by all of creation, and hence become silent and diffident. But believing in him is, as the Qur’an of Mighty Stature informs us, to assent in one’s heart to the Creator with all of His attributes and names, supported by the testimony of the whole universe; to recognize the messengers He has sent and the commands He has promulgated; and to make sincere repentance and feel genuine regret for every sin and act of disobedience. Conversely, to commit every kind of sin, and then never to seek pardon for it or concern oneself with it, is a sure sign of the absence of any element of faith Thus my spiritual offspring, an important event has become the occasion for a brief exposition of a long and complex matter.” -Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (from The Fruits From the Tree of Light ) Dr. Osman Birgeoglu ]]>

Worship is man's path to true progress & happiness

Risale-i Nur Collection, The Short Words: O you people! Worship your Sustainer, Who created you and those who came before you that you may attain to fear of God, Who made the earth a resting-place for you, and the sky a dome; and sent down rain from the sky, and brought forth with it all manner of fruit and crops for your sustenance. So make nothing the peer or partner of God now that you know.” (Quran 2:21-22) “How worship is the cause of personal attainment and perfection: Consider this: together with being physically small, weak, and powerless, and being one of the animals, man bears within him an exalted spirit, and has vast potentiality, unrestricted desires, infinite hopes, uncountable ideas and unlimited powers, and he has a nature so strange he is as though an index of all the species and all the worlds. As for worship, it expands his spirit and raises his value; it causes his abilities to unfold and develop, allowing him to become worthy of eternal happiness. Worship is also a means of rectifying and purifying his inclinations, and of realizing his hopes and making them fruitful, and marshalling his ideas and setting them in order, and also of reining in and limiting his three powers of appetite, anger, and intellect. Worship also removes the rust of nature from his members, physical and spiritual, each of which when transparent is like a window onto his private world and that of humankind. Also, when performed with both conscience and mind and heart and body, worship raises man to the dignity of which he is worth and to his appointed perfection. It is a subtle, elevated relation, an illustrious lofty connection between the bondsman and the One Worshipped. This relation constitutes the utmost degree of human perfection.” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (from the Risale-i Nur Collection, The Short Words) Dr. Osman Birgeoglu Look at the new life after death…our transition to eternal will be similar!  ]]>

Powerful Medicine for Today's Problems

Sincerity and Brotherhood and I realized that what Bediuzzaman said is very applicable to the current problems we are witnessing here and around the world. For this reason, we chose Sincerity and Brotherhood  for our book of the month. I encourage all of us to deeply reflect on the following wisdom of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, and please share this important material with your friends. We all know how much humanity is hurting today and needs this timeless advice: “The time for enmity and hostility has finished. Two world wars have shown how evil, destructive, and what an awesome wrong is enmity. It has become clear that there is no benefit in it at all. In which case, on condition they are not aggressive, do not let the evils of our enemies attract your enmity. Hell and Divine punishment are enough for them. Sometimes, man’s arrogance and self-worship cause him to be unjustly hostile towards believers without his being aware of it; he supposes himself to be right. But this hostility and enmity is to slight powerful causes of love towards the believers, like belief, Islam, and fellow-humanity; it is to reduce their value. It is a lunacy like preferring the insignificant causes of enmity to the causes of love, which are as great as a mountain. Since love and enmity are contrary to one another, like light and darkness, they cannot truly combine. The opposite of whichever is predominant in the heart cannot at the same time be truly present.” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (from Sincerity and Brotherhood ) Dr. Osman Birgeoglu ]]>

Worldly vs. Otherworldly News: A Comparison

  • Prophet Abraham teaches us obeying God’s commands.
  • Prophet Moses tells us about Eternal Life.
  • Prophet David delivers the Psalms to us.
  • Prophet Jesus teaches us about Judgement Day.
  • Prophet Muhammad talks about the Afterlife’s 50,000 year-long accounting we will all face.
  • The Prophets and Messengers are trustworthy. We need to believe these great Envoys of God and prepare ourselves accordingly. Not to prepare ourselves for our future is not wise. Like preparing ourselves for a summer travel, we need to be prepared for the long journey towards Eternal Life. We cannot afford not to take them seriously. Next time we look at the sky, we should try to remember this: there are many things we do not see that the experts do. We should heed their words, whether worldly or otherworldly, and be grateful that such excellence is delivered to us as good news. Remember to find out more good news from the otherworld through God’s Messengers. Dr. Osman Birgeoglu                                                                             NASA Hubble Telescope image of interacting galaxies Arp 273]]>

    My Memories of Agabeys to Share

     1) One day, Bayram Yuksel Agabey said, “Bediuzzaman would always  walk most tenderly and respectfully when stepping on the rocks  climbing the mountains of Barla or Emirdag.” After hearing that story  (again, this was many years ago), I thought to myself, “wow!”.  This  story opened my heart and allowed me to deepen my awareness and  sensitivity towards inanimate beings. 2) Another time, I heard one of the Agabeys sharing Bediuzzaman’s  memories. One thing he said was, “Bediuzzaman was not  permitting any of his students to break light bulbs which were thrown  away.” (It was a common thing among children to blow up old, burnt out light bulbs by say, throwing them against rocks, walls, anything where they’d make a loud sound.) 3) In the good old days, we didn’t have much isolation within the houses. The windows and doors were frequently left open during summer months. Flies, which were particularly abundant and bothersome in the summer, would easily enter and continue to buzz around us. However, Bediuzzaman was protective of the flies and did not permit his students to harm them. There are quite a number of incidents involving flies with several of Bediuzzaman’s students. Once, I was told that Bediuzzaman said, “do not bother my little birds.”  Whenever flies become bothersome, I always remember what I’ve learned from Bediuzzaman’s close students. 4) As I sit here writing the above memories, one memory in particular just came to me. Molla Hamid Agabey would often speak about Bediuzzaman’s early life. One time, I remember a story of Molla Hamid Agabey; the story goes as follows: One day, Bediuzzaman’s students prepared a meal for themselves in the little house (such houses are now called dersane) they were living in.  After the meal was ready, they left the house to get something. When they returned, they found the door wide open and the meal had been eaten by a wolf.  The students were so disappointed and upset, and they were very angry with the wolf.  They kept talking and talking against the wolf.  Bediuzzaman came and inquired what they were complaining about. Upon hearing the story, Bediuzzaman told them, “do not back-bite the wolf! It’s your own fault you left the door open.”  (As we see here, Bediuzzaman did not allow back-biting against even animals.) 5) In those early years of Bediuzzaman’s life, Bediuzzaman was telling his early students, like Molla Hamid Agabey, regarding the wild-growing fruits found in the mountains and valleys as follows: “do not eat them, they are the sustenance for the wild animals.” I recall especially how delicious the wild pears were, which we were eating before we knew of this story.  I soon learned of the story and ever since I think of this powerful advice by Bediuzzaman. I ask that we continue to think about the ramifications of the principles contained in just these few, small treasures. The wisdom is endless, the benefits are saintly, and the implications are far-reaching for all life on this planet. I have more stories from my many years with the Agabeys.  I will try, inshallah, to share most of them as we go along… Dr. Osman Birgeoglu P.S. Bediuzzaman’s early teachings took place around this mountain, Mt. Ararat. Three pictures of this mountain are the least I can include to honor the good old days of Molla Hamid Agabey with Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. ]]>