"Necip Fazil Wanted to Simplify the Risale-i Nur Collection"

What is your opinion on Risales being translated into a language that today's people are better able to comprehend allowing them to take pleasure from reading it? Because people who read English already understand them comfortably. Would you encourage such a thing?

There are people who dedicated their life to this work, who have said, "This is goal of my life." I believe, it depends on being respectful to their thoughts. Let me present you with an anecdote related to this:

We were invited by the late Necip Fazil [Kisakurek, a renown Turkish poet] to a conference in Kirklareli. I was the preacher there at that time. He had come with his students. The friend who brought him by car rather benefited from Nurs, he was a friend feeling respect for the Bediuzzaman [Said Nursi]. On the way, his manners, attitudes, and behaviors had a great influence on Master Necip Fazil. He [Necip Fazil] praised him there. We had a dinner that evening. Nice things were talked about. I expressed my respect [for Necip Fazil]. Necip Fazil said to me that --I confess this with all my sincerity-- : "Bediuzzaman is a great man just like the architect of the Sultanahmet [Mosque]. This great man has great thoughts. However, there are people living under the bridge on the pontoons. These [people] do not understand Bediuzzaman and the remarks of this great architecture. I wish I had been allowed to simplify it [the Nur Collection] to the level of understanding of those people living on pontoons." I see here Necip Fazil's humility and mortality. I said to him in my own language: "My master, this is beyond me. There are people who served at his side, who advised him, wrote, published and distributed his books. The word is theirs on this subject. The mediation is on me. I do mediate." He had been much softened. Even, he wrote consecutive issues of the "Great East" [Buyuk Dogu]. Our friends examined these writings. A very loyal one who would give his life for the Master examined them.

He didn't like it, that is

No, he didn't. Later, our late Mr. Bekir Berk came. He was referring to Necip Fazil when he said to me: "What did you do Keceli? You made quite an impression on this guy. You promised a book to him. [I hear that] you will give him Kulliyat [Collection]. Come and give [it to him]." I went to Istanbul to give him the books. That day, a friend whom we had had dinner with was with me as well. However, someone who doesn't think like us, but someone whose feelings I cannot hurt, called me. He gave me a serious scolding. "These books cannot be given casually to whoever wants them. Who is he to simplify [them]." Then, I said to Mr. Berk: "My brother you ruined me. I promised to do this job. I came here, I was subjected to his rage.' He replied: "My brother we cannot understand everything. They know better." He also has respect for the person who said those words. He passed over the issue lightly.

This is such narrow-mindedness, is it not?

I don't want to think such things; that person is dead and offered very important services. But, I wish, it wasn't so. That could be done by a person such as Necip Fazil with a certain credibility and style, with the ones who love him. It is late. I simplified some pieces without the right to do so; with fear, shuttering, and with my own incoherent sentences. It came out as a book consisting of excerpts. Then, someone who believes deeply in those works of arts and regards them as sacred wrote a letter. I behaved with respect for these feelings as well. I, in return, wrote a piece named "Inkisar" [curse]. However, with fidelity, he wrote me a letter saying, "You do not fall into despair, you do not experience a curse." I quit simplifying. At the very least I intended to relate Sufism, which is misunderstood, within the concept of the followers of Mohammed and his companions, as well as the communities of the sects (ehl-i sunna vel-cemaat), to the "Kalbin Zumrut Tepeleri" [Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism]. At the beginning, there was no sketch or project in my mind. Then, friends said: "Let it continue. It is going well. It is important for the future generations. Sometimes, Tasavvuf [Sufism] is misused, within the frame of Sunnis; it [Kalbin Zumrut Tepeleri] is subjected to interpretation, it would be good." We experienced such an adventure as well. I scolded myself twice.

Later, other publishing houses went on to simplify "Sozler" [The Words] by appending the words below. Now, no one says anything: however, what is right to me is that it would be nice for people to be able to understand some ambiguous statements and original determinations directly, even though it is not as much as some who reads them a great deal. I agree with your idea of simplification. "But, I wonder if my limited mind wouldn't understand it? Is there something I do not understand," I ask myself.

I would like to tell you about one of my memories. With the same considerations, some parts were being published in simplified form in the Sule magazine. I was in Konya [at that time]. I entered a bookstore with the intention of buying that month's issue. A girl who I wouldn't not have thought would be interested in Islamic subjects came in. With excitement, she asked: "Has Sule arrived?" My eyes filled with tears. But, some said: "Why is it simplified? It is distorted." I would not say that they were totally wrong in their considerations. However, I wonder, wouldn't it be better if the works of art of this great person, the century's architect of thought, were simplified by a person who has beautiful expression and style in such a way that everyone would be able to understand. It was translated into English, it is read in England. It was translated from English to Spanish. It is read in Argentina. [It has been translated into Portuguese] and is read in Brazil. It was translated into German and it is read in Germany. It is even being translated into Far Eastern languages. It has been translated into Korean.

Everyone benefits. However, the real source is the place where Bediuzzaman was raised. He knows the psychology of the society very well. That society understands very well the things he stated. He was not a stranger to them. But, it is the issue of language. I wonder, if it were [an issue of language], what would have been? The ones who defy Risale-i Nurs [known as a spiritual commentary, or commentary which expounds upon the meaning of the Holy Book's truths], defy it regardless. When they hear about it, they get delirious.

These works of art are not monopolized by anyone...Why is it required to keep the words only for a few?

Who knows, maybe this is our weakness. We are completely motivated by this thought of tolerance. While searching for tolerance all over the world, to hurt, offend, and cross our friends with whom we stay close, share many things, and benefit from the same sources...You say, "tolerance", but, why do you hurt your own friends? I wonder, are we under the influence of such thing? Or, do we misunderstand the meaning of respect? Are we doing something different? Or is it such that maybe it is necessary not to do it out of respect for the copyright. Who knows? We are hung up with some considerations that I wouldn't know about. Of course, I wouldn't dare do such thing. Besides, I must confess, I cannot state such things. For a deep person who uses the language very well to do this with a partner has no drawbacks. We do the same things in our quotes anyways.

Who monopolizes this then? Can you name names?

I cannot say it is monopolized by a single person. There are publishers for a while now. One day, I practiced praying with a person whom I like and who was respected for education activities. I think, I was the Imam. He said to me: "My brother, The Master should not be changed that much. There are some remarks of the Master that, even though they seem easy and simple, have very deep meanings." He gave me this example: "In this great mosque of the universe, the Koran reads the universe. Let's listen to it. Let's repeat it constantly." ("Şu kainat mescid-i kebirinde Kur'an kainati okuyor. Onu dinleyelim. Vird-i zeban devamli dilimizde onu tekrar edelim.) For example, this is a very beautiful statement. If others take this and change it to, "In the great mosque of the universe, the Koran is read, Let's listen to it," it loses its meaning. This is weak. In fact, the Koran in the great mosque of the universe, reads the universe. The Koran is a book that reads the universe. If these difficult statements are changed, I wonder, would their depth remain?" To be honest, I hushed up. I mean, his conscience wouldn't be at peace in this subject. Saying, "Yes. I am satisfied," is one issue, to be respectful to the feelings of people is another issue. However, I completely agree with your thoughts. I wish, a courageous one would come forth and simplify it without breaking anyone's heart and in a way that everyone would be able to understand. Take, for example, the 25th Soz [Word]. Even more so, there are things that he pointed to solely with the verses from the Koran. To me, publication of them by opening them a little would be a victory. I could say that no one was granted to state the Koran at such level.

I question my own decisions as well

You mentioned the importance of brainstorming in a group talk for your guests. I will bring up a criticism: Here a brainstorm is not formed. No one puts forward views against you. In general, you are listened to in silence. The situation of acceptance is the norm, not discussions. Would you welcome the appearance of different ideas and the shaping of an environment of democratic discussion? There is something here that pressures one who is an individual.

Some of the friends do not want to express themselves all the time, perhaps mostly because of the influence of their respect. However, moments that you wonder about are not few. There are many who talk, they state their thoughts. Perhaps, sometimes they are shy or they get upset about thinking that "we made a statement against his thought," but I always include friends. Abu Hanife, [the greatest Imam], had always discussed issues with his students. A decision had been reached. Sometimes, it was in the direction of his view. Sometimes it was more in line with Abu Yusuf's, Imam Mohammed's or Seybani's. Sometimes, when a decision was made in the direction of Abu Hanife's view, he would say: "I reviewed the sources one more time. Not what I said, but what you said is correct." We talked about these with the friends as well. In order not to say, "With a submissive spirit, definitely such and such person always speaks correctly."

I question myself so as these could be wrong. My interpretations are personal. You may not agree with these. But, there is something if they are correct and are reinforced by Koran and sunnah, it would be pointless to brainstorm about them.

I mean, do you sense a danger? What I mean is, belonging to someplace has positive sides; however, doesn't it have a side that weakens the culture of being an individual, and that smoothes and pressures individual characteristics?

Most certainly, it has an influence. It is possible to feel respect and then be crushed under it. However, this doesn't happen all the time. We need to solve this all together. I do not have a view such as Abu Hanife in that matter. However, friends should state their thoughts freely. This is not possible on television as it is not like a discussion. There is a science, old people preached about, called the science of debate. That is within the limits of manners, we could debate any topic openly by keeping respect for each other. [The Light of the Truth is made from clashes of thoughts. ---Namik Kemal] ("Müsademe-i efkardan barika-yi hakikat doğar.) I believe this will happen in time. Now, everyone here very comfortably puts forward his/her own thoughts. If it is correct, it is accepted. This matter could be discussed: but it cannot be said that such narrowness exists. So as not to generate such complex sparks before the guests...

But, in general, the spirit of the group has a psychology. Everyone wants to resemble one another. To be contrary is not encouraged much. This is the case at the schools, at the parties.

It is a Turkish manner. This is in the culture. When you say, "express your thoughts," that is the time one starts to speak improperly, nonsensically and colloquially just for the sake of speaking. Besides, I believe in the period you are here things are talked about that had been previously written and that other masters had reached a consensus on. They [people] do not say anything to these. This could be respect for sources and the speaker as well.

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