The concept of shari‘a in the thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (d. 1960)

Research output: ThesisMasters Thesis


In the current world context, a complex series of questions and dilemmas have been left for the scholars of the great Islamic discipline of Shari‘a – Islamic law. Many scholarly debates centre upon the issue of Shari‘a and its place within the modern secular state.
Since the gradual decline of the last Islamic empires in the 19th and 20th century and the advent of modernisation, many institutions, practices and key structures within the world of Islam were largely destroyed and damaged. One such institution was that of the Shari‘a. Ever since its demise, one way or another, the Islamic world has been trying to reconstruct itself and its institutions.
Shari‘a is also a ‘hot topic’ for many Islamic states, Muslims and Islamists around the world . Due to the poor socio-political, as well as economical, state of many Muslim nation states, together with widespread bigotry and a decline in basic understanding and knowledge of the essentials of Islam within those states around the globe today , many people are unaware of the parameters and horizons within the Islamic tradition. Therefore, the masses are easily swayed and influenced by social engineers who care little for the actual Shari‘a and its great methodology and rich tradition within the world of Islam and merely use it to achieve their desired ranks within the political structures of their countries .
Furthermore, the Shari‘a card has been used and abused in Muslim majority countries, such as Turkey, by the ruling ‘oligarchy’ to ensure resistance to every positive change and even fundamental freedoms by claiming that these changes will pave the way for a Shari‘a regime . Thus, Turkey’s “McCarthyist oligarchy” has been using the pretext of a Shari‘a regime threat and accuse every dissident to their regime of being either members of secret Shari‘a gangs or their supporters .
Amidst this convoluted understanding and projection of Shari‘a today, within its reductionist form that has even subjected scholarly debates and discussions to Hudud based Shari‘a , it is evident that neither the Muslim nor non-Muslim understanding of Shari‘a is balanced. The balance in the understanding and projection of Shari‘a as an external machination to govern Muslim society deemed ‘Divine’ is often misconstrued and does not take into account the ‘rich’ and ‘spiritual’ understandings of Shari‘a . The current discussions on Shari‘a are often too simplistic and do not project a comprehensive understanding of Shari‘a consistent with the rich tradition of Islam, therefore it requires a broader reading of the concept.
Additionally, in contemporary times Muslims have a problem with the concept of Shari‘a: the religious see Shari‘a of the Quran only and think that this conflicts with the laws of nature. This has resulted in the Muslims being reductionist in many ways and not delving into other areas of knowledge as they did in the past. Therefore, it is imperative to explore the ontological and theological understanding of Shari‘a as expounded by a traditional Muslim scholar in the twentieth century to create a balanced awareness and comprehension of the topic both within academic circles as well as the Muslim world.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Arts
  • Shboul, Ahmad, Principal Supervisor, External person
Award date06 Mar 2010
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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