Approaching the Night of Power

Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Power. And what can make you know what is the Night of Power? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.” Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger (ASM) said: “Whoever prays during the Night of Power with faith and hoping for its rewards will have all of his or her previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari, Fadl Laylat al-Qadr) Hadrat ‘Aisha reported: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: tell me what should I say (pray) on Lailatul Qadr if I know which night it is?” He said: say, “O Allah, You are forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me.” [Sunan Tirmidhi, Vol 2, page 191] Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi discusses the Night of Power in the following excerpt: “And on the Night of Power, each word is counted as thirty thousand merits. Indeed, the All-Wise Qur’an, each of whose words yields thirty thousand eternal fruits, is like a luminous Tree of Tuba that gains for believers in Ramadan millions of those external fruits. So, come and look at this sacred, eternal profitable trade, then consider it and understand the infinite loss of those who do not appreciate the value of those words. To put it simply, the month of Ramadan is an extremely profitable display and market for the trade of the hereafter. It is an extremely fertile piece of land for the crops of the hereafter. For the growth and flourishing of actions it is like April showers in the spring. It is like a brilliant holy festival for the parade of mankind’s worship in the face of the sovereignty of Divine dominicality. Since it is thus, mankind has been charged with fasting in order not to heedlessly indulge the animal needs of the instinctual soul like eating and drinking, nor to indulge the appetites lustfully and in trivialities. For, by temporarily rising above animality and quitting the calls of this world, man approaches the angelic state and enters upon the trade of the hereafter. And by fasting, he approaches the state of the hereafter and that of a spirit appearing in bodily form. It is as if man then becomes a sort of mirror reflecting the Eternally Besought One. Indeed, the month of Ramadan comprises and gains a permanent and eternal life in this fleeting world and brief transient life. ” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, Twenty-Ninth Letter. Dr. Osman Birgeoglu [caption id="attachment_2467" align="alignleft" width="800" caption="NASA image of the Andromeda Galaxy"][/caption]


The Enormous Power of 'Bismillah' (In the Name of God)

“The Quran is in Fatiha; the Fatiha is in Besmele (Bismillahirrahmanirrahim).”  –Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, 25th Word. “Bismillah brings God’s help and concern. And that Divine concern becomes like a helping spirit for the person’s affairs. Therefore, noone should leave any of his or her affairs without Bismillah.” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur, Signs of Miraculousness Before the revelation of the Quran, God’s Most Noble Messenger used to say, “Bismikallahumma” (in the Name of our Lord). Then God Almighty revealed to him the Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (in the Name of God, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate). Subhanallah, what a difference! One is man-made; the other is God’s Word carrying enormous power. Dr. Osman Birgeoglu  ]]>

Ramadan Around the World!

In Turkey, people break their fast at sunset with a meal (“Iftar”) which commonly includes a special freshly-baked flat bread  called “pide”. The atmosphere is carnival-like as the mosques are lit up and colored lights are strewn on trees and buildings. Booths in the streets sell religious books, treats and things for children. The mosques also fill up quicker than normal as people come to pray and listen to recitations of the Qur’an. In Lebanon, Egypt, as well as in Turkey, drummers go around town beating their drums and chanting Ramadan songs to wake people up for the early morning meal of “sahur”. With modern technology, though, this tradition is fading in the cities, but it still remains popular in the smaller towns and rural areas. In Egypt, the symbol of Ramadan is the “Fanoos Ramadan”, which is a brightly colored lantern. The lanterns are put up on balconies and in the streets. Children love them and they commonly carry them around and sing Ramadan songs. In Malaysia and Indonesia, the brightly colored festivities continue. In Indonesia, a carnival called “Dorderan” is held right before Ramadan for people to prepare for Ramadan. Additionally, the first three to five days of Ramadan is a holiday. Some schools even give the whole month off for students. In Malaysia, Eid ul-Fitr, the celebration after Ramadan, is known as Hari Raya. Muslims there celebrate this day by opening their homes to family and friends and serving lots of food. Guests bring a small gift of sweets or fruit. Even the king and queen and the prime minister and his wife have open houses for all who want to attend. In the United States, it is of course different for Muslims during Ramadan. As most are not Muslim, the same sense of celebration is only apparent in the Muslim communities, but it is not a widespread, public phenomenon. However, mosques in the United States perform a similar role as the ones in Muslim countries. In fact, many Muslims in the US go to mosques in the evenings for Iftar. Last night, President Obama himself offered Iftar to Muslim American leaders. Regardless of wherever Ramadan is celebrated, the most important thing for Muslims during this Holy month is to get closer to God through prayer. Additionally, family ties are strengthened and charity is emphasized, while fasting facilitates an awareness that God is provider of all things. Muslims are very much attuned to the fact that during Ramadan the rewards for their good deeds are multiplied 1,000 (and 30,000 times on the single, unspecified Night of Power). Dr. Osman Birgeoglu [caption id="attachment_2390" align="alignleft" width="660" caption="Ramadan in Jerusalem"][/caption]     Sources:]]>

To Believe or not to Believe: The Supreme Choice

ability to know and find God. This choice is a great tragedy and results in not only permanent misery for those who choose this, but it also affects the entire world we live in, precisely because God designed this world as a carefully interwoven and interdependent tapestry.  If the ego does not submit to God, it is a dangerous choice. Without submission, the ego claims: ownership, self-subsistence, authority, and godliness over self. Only with faith in God may we as humans come to realize a number of critically important things:

  • We are never alone, God is always with us.
  • We are not the owners of anything, God is.
  • When we ask God for help, He answers us each time.
  • God is the Provider of all things.
We may visit Bediuzzaman Said Nursi‘s words from the Risale-i Nur to gain further insight: “Belief makes man into man, indeed, it makes man into a king. Since this is so, man’s basic duty is belief and supplication. Unbelief makes man into an extremely impotent beast.Out of thousands of proofs of this matter, the differences in the ways animals and man come into the world are a clear indication and decisive proof. Yes, these differences show that humanity becomes humanity through belief. For when animals come into the world, they come complete in all points in accordance with their abilities as though having been perfected in another world; that is, they are sent. They learn all the conditions of their lives, their relationships with the universe, and the laws of life in either two hours or two days or two months, and become proficient in them. Animals like sparrows and bees acquire in twenty days the power to survive and proficiency in their actions that man only acquires in twenty years; that is, they are inspired with them. This means that the animals’ fundamental duty is not to be perfected through learning and progress by acquiring knowledge, nor to seek help and offer supplications through displaying their impotence, but in accordance with their abilities to work and act. Their duty is active worship.” “This means that man came to this world to be perfected by means of knowledge and supplication. In regard to his nature and abilities everything is tied to knowledge. And the foundation, source, light, and spirit of all true knowledge is knowledge of God, and its essence and basis is belief in God.” “Say, ‘My Sustainer would not concern Himself with you but for your supplication,’ ” which has the meaning of:  What importance would you have if you did not offer Me supplications? He also commands: “Call upon Me and I will answer you.” If you say: “We frequently offer supplications, but they are not accepted. But the verse is general, it states that every supplication is answered.” The Answer: To answer is one thing, to accept is something quite different. Every supplication is answered, but its being accepted and exactly what was sought being given is dependant on Almighty God’s wisdom. For example, if a sick child calls the doctor, saying: “Doctor! Doctor!”, and he replies: “Here I am, what do you want?”, and the child says: “Give me that medicine!”,  the doctor will either give him exactly what he asks for or something better and more beneficial for him. Or knowing that it is harmful for his illness, he will give him nothing.” -Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, excerpts from the Twenty Third Word Dr. Osman Birgeoglu ]]>

In Memory of Dr. Ibrahim Abu Rabi & his Service to Risale-i Nur

I wish to dedicate this post to my friend, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Rabi. His services to Risale-i Nur were outstanding, to say the least. His sudden and unexpected death came while traveling to Jordan, Saturday, July 2nd, this year. His death at the early age of 55 shocked many of us,  indeed, it was very sad news for all of us to lose such an exceptional scholar and important friend. We pray for his family now.  We also pray that his invaluable services to better understanding of Islam in the United States will continue.  Dr. Ibrahim was the first full-time Muslim faculty member at an accredited Christian Seminary, the Hartford Seminary. Once, in 2005,  I was attending a conference at the Seminary in Connecticut, Dr. Ibrahim was the Chairperson for the conference.  He and I were also in the company of Mehmet Firinci Agabey and Sukran Vahide, both arriving to the US from Turkey. We all really enjoyed the presentations on the Risale-i Nur.  Dr. Ibrahim was the one person responsible for this conference taking place. I was coming from Phoenix, Arizona and at one point, Dr. Ibrahim told me: “how about if we have the next Risale-i Nur conference in Phoenix?” I was very happy for his encouragement of this suggestion. Inshaallah, his soul will be blessed and rewarded whenever our team holds seminars or lectures in Phoenix. Needless to say, he brought so much good to very many people around the world.  We will not forget him. May Allah increase His blessings on our good brother, Ibrahim Abu Rabi. Ameen. Dr. Osman Birgeoglu  ]]>

Norway Tragedy, Terrorism: Poor Education About God

A truly God-believing person does not harm any life. This has been true throughout the history of mankind. When we see people doing anything contrary to this truth, we need to examine their education system concerning God. About 70- 90% of the Western World and 95% of the Middle East believes in God. These numbers are remarkably high. Thus, within these “believers” we shouldn’t expect such a tragic outcome as the death of any innocent life. How to respond and correct such tragedy:

  • by educating and proper upbringing
  • by consulting teachers and scholars
  • by facilitating and promoting the availability of preventive measures to the needy
  • by emphasizing the need to care about each other
We understand that each society or nation will implement these measures differently based on their style. What we recommend is to incorporate God into these measures. However, I wish to emphasize that this is not about my God vs. your God, nor your religion vs. my religion. Why? Because God is Universal, meaning, the 70-95% of believers (previously mentioned statistics) should unite under the One True God.   In theology, we call all these believers, the People of the Book. So, we may now ask, “Why do the believers of God not unite?”  The reason is because too many of these believers do not have the crystal clear understanding of  God.  Sadly, this unacceptable shame is happening in our modern time of advanced knowledge and technology, a time in which we have much deeper understanding of everything except God. The solution is not, “Who is right about God?”, but rather, “What is right about God?”. To find the solution, scholars of all faiths need to brainstorm together, objectively. Our input to them about this dilemma will be presenting a masterpiece on God: the Risale-i Nur Collection by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi.  Today, millions of people around the world testify to this fact that Bediuzzaman makes the truth of God crystal clear. He brings great clarity about God through his unique methodology utilizing sound reasonings and logical proofs of God. This is our contribution to the scholars’ quest of seeking what is right about God. Dr. Osman Birgeoglu ]]>

Greatest Human Quest: Connecting to God

finding God and actualizing their dreams in their ordinary lives. People crave the extraordinary because they realize they themselves don’t have it. A perfect example of this occurred this weekend with the opening of the final Harry Potter movie. According to the Los Angeles Times, the film had the highest-gross-opening of all time at the domestic and international box office. Interestingly, one theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Mormon capital of the US, sold more tickets than any other theatre in America. Just in three days, the film grossed $168.6 million in the US and Canada, plus $307 million overseas in 59 countries.  It is expected to pass $1 billion overall at the global box office. These statistics reflect the unprecedented numbers of people yearning to reach beyond their ordinary lives to connect with the non-ordinary. Experiencing the extraordinary is possible, but all dreams come true only through God, no other means. Thus this deep spiritual hunger people feel for the extraordinary is possibly only through God. The Risale-i Nur published by Nur Publishers states it best, “If you find Him, you found everything.” I will add my input on this: If you don’t have everything you need, want, desire in your life, then your journey to God isn’t finished, you are not there yet.  Your unanswered needs will serve as your indicator that you need to push yourself harder and further on your journey. It’s perfectly OK to go see the Harry Potter film which stirs our hearts and spirits to obtain things of the extraordinary, mystical realms. We simply need to realize our next step then is to seek these things with God because the real power is with Him and comes through Him to His loved ones. And, becoming one of His loved ones is certainly within the reach of each of us. When we seek God genuinely we begin to see and experience the extraordinary in the ordinary; your dreams soon become real. And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record. [The Quran, 6:59] The answers we seek for our dreams, hopes, and desires are in the manual of life: God’s Revelations through Archangel Gabriel ( The Psalms, The Torah, The Bible, The Quran). Dr. Osman Birgeoglu [caption id="attachment_1755" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="the phenomenal journey to God"][/caption]  ]]>

Risale-i Nur says: Acts here produce fruits there

acts of service to elevate and benefit our permanent life in the Hereafter. Ustad Bediuzzman Said Nursi visits this exact topic in the Risale-i Nur and says the following: “This world is the is the realm of wisdom, the realm of service; it is not the realm of reward and recompense. The wage for deeds and acts of service here is given in the Intermediate Realm and the Hereafter. Acts here produce fruits there. This being the truth of the matter, the results of actions that look to the hereafter should not be sought in this world. If they are given, they should be received not gratefully, but regretfully. For in Paradise, the more fruits are picked, the more they grow. So it is hardly sensible to consume in this world in fleeting fashion the fruits of action that pertain to the hereafter, which are lasting. It is like exchanging a permanent lamp for one that will last a minute and then flicker out.” – from the Risale-i Nur by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Lights of Reality Dr. Osman Birgeoglu  ]]>