By Olgay Serbetcioglu (8 April 2009), Marawi City
All praise is to Allah alone, and from Him do we seek help
First to arrive on March 16 were the CDO dershane students. Immediately, they, together with some Marawi dershane students, kindled the fire of reading. Next came Pagadian dershane residents on March 24, enlarging the circle of brotherhood and adding to the commitment to study knowledge of Allah (marifetullah) .. . A few days later flocked the readers from Zamboanga and Basilan further heating the rather cool, mountain air with burning passion to finish their assigned books.
Exclaims a new reader on his first 50 pages of day one. “This is already a miracle! For me to read this much, when before, I abhorred reading.” Another realizes: “Before, I could read only up to 100 pages per day, but the reading camp improved my speed to 200 pages per day, and increased my love for reading. My day is incomplete without reading. My nerves are longing for books!” Someone else expressed it this way “if I am made to read the collection 10 times, I would read it with an endless 10 times, for I am in love with recognizing the names and attributes of my Creator.!”
According to the campers, the values of patience, constancy, repetition as tool of learning, self-discipline’ developed in themselves quickly in such a short time just through the process of sitting down with the Risale-I Nur book and reading for hours straight.
Ustad Bediuzzaman’s statement: “ Minds should be enlightened with sciences, while hearts need to be illumined by religion” is what strikes one brother most. Elaborating, he says “It dawned on me that science and religion are not contradictory. The empirical study of the universe, or science, is inspired to us by Allah, in order to have faith and strengthen faith in Him. Through the rational proofs that are supported by scientific research, our faith in our Creator can reach absolute certainty (hakkal yakin). I believe that if one knows and understands that everything from the smallest atom to the biggest stars glorify Allah (SWT), he will be closer to and a better worshipper of his Creator.”
“Patience and thankfulness to Allah even at the most difficult times; and courage at the scariest times are three important lessons I receive from reading Risale-i Nur and Ustad’s life,” reflects a brother.
“Ustad Bediuzzaman’s biography taught me about sacrificing one’s whole life for the sake of Allah. It has fully convinced me to lay my life for the service of Allah” , emphatically volunteers one of the younger campers.
Recommends a university student, ‘the Risale-i Nur collection is truly a work of a genius—I haven’t seen a work of Islam as beautiful, understandable and clearly explained as Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s writings. I feel every single part is a treasury, bounty from Allah. It made me realize that worldly life and desires are worthless compared to life in the Hereafter. Every page is full of knowledge, guidance and inspiration especially for young people like us. I feel bliss reading Risale-i Nur. I hope Allah will guide other young people like me to the Risale-I Nur.
A “ lively and vigorous” exchange of ideas and ways of understanding characterized the lectures and accompanying workshops; developing everyone’s understanding of the Risale-I Nur. Says one, ‘one of the great learning I gained from the workshops is the miraculousness of the Qur’an through its eloquence and comprehensiveness , I understood how the Qur’an is truly beyond human capacity. It is the speech of the All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-perfect, therefore it is inimitable.”
Mostly, it was the tounge of disposition/ behavior (lisan-I hal) of the participants which the other campers found amazing. “on our way to the camp, we were burdened with worry about tribal clashes. Our history is replete with conflicts and clashes between our tribes it has affected our perceptions and attitude. However, the collective spirit and sharing in the camp – of knowledge of Allah (marifetullah) of stories , of food, cooking and cleaning duties, of feelings, of plans was so spontaneous that all the fears of prejudice disappeared. there was very strong bond of love and brotherhood. We are one.”
All found the whole experience humbling, faith strengthening , prejudice-breaking, inspiring, illuminating, transforming. Gushed one, “I have tremendously changed for the better in just a few days. I feel I have come to know my Sustainer better now.”
As some of the participants left and some stayed for more reading, the 23rd letter from our dear loyal seems to assure everyone. “For brothers of the hereafter and the truth like us, differences of time and place form no obstacle to their conversing and intimacy. Even if one is in the East, one in the West, one in the West, one in the past, one in the future, one in this world, and one in the hereafter, they still may be considered as being together and they may talk together.”
Our sustainer! Grant blessings and peace to our master Muhammad, who said “ the believer is with respect to the believer like a firm building, of which one part supports the other” and to his family and companions.
Glory be unto YOU; we have no knowledge except that which you have taught us; indeed You are all knowing-all wise (Qur’an 2:32)
And all praise is to Allah alone; and from Him do we seek help