Attaining Inner Peace According to the Risale-i Nur

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Islam meaning peace becomes an important point in the discussion of inner peace; Muslims believe the religion of Islam is a source of inner peace for them, citing various Qur'anic verses and h?adi¯th in support of this notion. Furthermore, tasawwuf (Islamic mysticism) is rich with discussion of concepts relating to inner peace, such as ri?a (contentment), sakina (serenity) and it?mi¯na¯n (peacefulness). This further strengthens the idea that inner peace is part and parcel of Islam. However, when Islamic literature is reviewed, very little is found on the topic of inner peace. Based on the approach of Said Nursi (d. 1960), a twentieth century Islamic scholar, I would argue that the little information found on inner peace can be attributed to a consensual assumption among Muslims scholars that one who has belief has inner peace; that is, inner peace is a default state for one who believes. According to Nursi, the intellectual and spiritual decline within the Muslim world in the twentieth century has shaken belief, so certain states and specific beliefs can no longer be assumed to be inherent in a believer; inner peace as a state and belief in the hereafter as a specifi belief would be prime examples. This awareness becomes Nursi's driving force in his writings; the Risale-i Nur (Treatise of Light), a commentary of the Qur'an. This puts Nursi in a unique position, where seeks to convincingly argue and thus establish the foundational beliefs and states which are necessary for a prosperous life and after life for a believer. Specific to this thesis his emphasis on the notion Islam gives its adherents inner peace. Thus the objective of this thesis is to draw out Nursi's understanding of how one attains inner peace though Islam. However, the description of inner peace is not so simple and necessitates formulating based on inductive research of the Risale-i Nur. Through the research, it becomes apparent that inner peace is a process, according to Nursi, a process that has three phases. The process commences with belief and knowledge of God with great emphasis on the names of God while still remaining focused on the oneness of God (tawh?i¯d). This is followed by knowledge of one's self, which feeds back to knowing God, since knowing the self means knowing God. But it also becomes the starting point to understanding how to best use the self for optimal outcomes. The final part of the process is the tawh?i¯d-centric worldview one should have, particularly in relation to suffering and calamities. The previous two steps (knowing God and knowing one's self) become the building blocks to construct the worldview. It is a cyclic process so the worldview further enhances belief and knowledge of God, and so the cycle continues spiralling upwards. Based on this process, inner peace is attained when the world is decoded through the names of God, so life and events can be given meaning in a way that satisfies the heart and mind. More briefly, it is giving life and events a tawh?i¯d-centric meaning. If this is the definition of inner peace according to the Risale-i Nur, then Nursi become the lived example of inner peace. While one is the theory, the other is the practise.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Australian Catholic University
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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