BEDIUZZAMAN SAID NURSI
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1877-1960), one of the greatest Islamic scholars, spent his entire life inviting people to believe in God and to live by the morality prescribed in the Qur'an. He suffered great hardship in this cause, but was always pleased with his lot and met every difficulty with faith in God, patience, and joy. Bediuzzaman's Qur'anic commentary, the Risale-i Nur Collection, is full of precious advice reflecting his exuberant love of and faith in God and his devotion to God's religion. For this reason, his works are an important reference source for all believers.
Bediuzzaman wrote extensively on Jesus' second coming, particularly about his struggle with the Dajjal, the representative figurehead of all godless ideological systems. Jesus will eliminate godlessness and declare the rule of God's law with the help of the Muslims.
In this part, we will deal with his views on Jesus' second coming and related matters.
Jesus' Ascent to God's Presence
In the introduction to The Letters, Bediuzzaman speaks of three levels of life: that of our life, that of the life of Khidr, and that of the life of Jesus. Bediuzzaman explains the second level of life, as follows: "...they can be present in numerous places at the same time. They are not permanently restricted by the requirements of humanity like us. They can eat and drink like us when they want to, but are not compelled to like we are..."
Bediuzzaman says the following about the third level of life:
(1) The Third Level of Life is that of Enoch and Jesus (May God grant them peace) which, being removed from the requirements of humanity, rises to an angelic level of life and acquires a luminous fineness. Quite simply, Enoch and Jesus are present in the heavens with their earthly bodies, which have the subtlety of bodies from the World of Similitudes and the luminosity of star-like bodies. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, Letters, "First Letter." All quotations from Bediuzzaman are taken from www.bediuzzaman.org)
Bediuzzaman also points out the existence of doubt over Jesus' second coming. Bediuzzaman reminds us that our all-powerful Lord Who has created the universe from nothing, is certainly able to bring Jesus back for a second time:
(2) Indeed, it is not far from the wisdom of an All-Wise One of Glory Who all the time sends the angels to Earth from the heavens, sometimes in human form (like Gabriel appearing in the form of Dihya), and sends spirit beings from the Spirit World making them appear in human form, and even sends the spirits of most of the dead saints to the world with similitudes of their bodies, it would not be far from His Wisdom-even if he was not alive and present with his body in the skies of the world, and had truly died and departed for the furthest corner of the Hereafter-to clothe Jesus (upon whom be peace) in his body and send him to the world, so to bring the religion of Jesus to a good conclusion; for such a momentous result. Indeed He promised it because His wisdom required it to be thus, and since He promised it, He will most certainly send him. (Letters, "Fifteenth Letter")
Jesus Will Be Recognized by the Light of Faith
(1) The question of exactly how Jesus will be recognized on his second coming has been asked ever since his ascension to God's presence. Bediuzzaman says that he will be recognized by the light of his faith. However, Bediuzzaman also points out that only those who are close to him and have deep faith will be able to recognize him:
When Jesus (upon whom be peace) comes, it is not necessary that everyone should know him to be the true Jesus. His elect and those close to him will recognize him through the light of belief. It will not be self-evident so that everyone will recognize him. (Letters, "Fifteenth Letter,")
(2) He also says that only a few people will recognize him, at least in the beginning, and that the irreligious currents will be very strong:
It says in a narration in connection with Jesus (Peace be upon him) making the Dajjal ineffective: "The Dajjal will have a colossal form, he will be extraordinarily big and taller than a minaret, while Jesus (PBUH) will be very small in comparison."
None knows the Unseen save God. One interpretation must be as follows: It is an allusion and sign that quantitively the spiritual community of mujahideen [those who struggle in God's cause] who will recognize Jesus (peace be upon him) and follow him, will be very few and small comparatively to the "scientific," physical armies of the Dajjal. (Rays, "Fifth Ray,")
"... the 'scientific,' physical armies of the Dajjal...": Through this expression, Bediuzzaman reveals that Jesus' opposition will be very strong in terms of education, military power, and financial might. While their education system propagates irreligion, the military is working to disseminate the same irreligious ideologies.
"... the spiritual community of mujahideen...": This expression describes Jesus' followers. The word "community" indicates that they are close to one another and act together. This community's members will make great efforts to establish the morality of religion where the powers of irreligion rule, and will be dedicated to work on God's path. They will engage in a great ideological battle to destroy the irreligion created and spread by the education system and the military. The word "spiritual" points out this community's genuine faith, as its members are fully aware of the spiritual dimension of things as well as their material appearance. "Mujahideen" stands for a group of people who work for the cause of God, actively promoting His religion throughout the world.
Jesus Will Rule with the Law of Islam and Adhere to the Qur'an
Bediuzzaman reveals that Jesus will return at a time when irreligious ideologies rule the world. As the following quote states, he will rule with, and be bound by, the Qur'an on his second coming. Christianity and Islam will unite and succeed by living according to the Qur'an's morality. The Risale-i Nur says that:
(1) "At the end of time, Jesus (upon whom be peace) will come and will act in accordance with the Shari'ah of Mohammed (may God bless him and grant him peace)," indicates that at the end of time the religion of Christianity will be purified and divest itself of superstition in the face of the current of unbelief and atheism born of naturalist philosophy, and will be transformed into Islam. At this point, the collective personality of Christianity will neutralize the fearsome collective personality of irreligion with the sword of heavenly revelation; so too, representing the collective personality of Christianity, Jesus (upon whom be peace) will make the Dajjal ineffective, who represents the collective personality of irreligion, that is, he will neutralize atheistic thought. (Letters, "First Letter")
"... in the face of the current of unbelief and atheism born of naturalist philosophy": Bediuzzaman reveals that Jesus will lead a great struggle against the irreligious movements created by Darwinism and those who deny God's existence.
"... the religion of Christianity will be purified and divest itself of superstition ... and will be transformed into Islam": Here, Bediuzzaman interprets the hadith that says that when Jesus returns in the End Times, he will abide by Islam's law and rules. His struggle will begin by cleansing Christianity from all of the myths and false beliefs that have entered into it over the centuries, and thereby return it to Islam.
In this way, Christians and Muslims will unite to form a great power. Jesus will make the Dajjal ineffective, who is the representative of all irreligious systems, and eradicate them.
(2) At that point when the current appears to be very strong, the religion of true Christianity, which comprises the collective personality of Jesus (upon whom be peace), will emerge. That is, it will descend from the skies of Divine Mercy. Present Christianity will be purified in the face of that reality; it will cast off superstition and distortion, and unite with the truths of Islam. Christianity will in effect be in a way transformed into Islam. (Letters, "Fifteenth Letter")
Although the Dajjal will appear to be very powerful, Jesus will return to Earth and reveal true Christianity. As stated earlier, the first thing that he will do is restore Christianity to its original form by removing all false and baseless practices and beliefs and all unnecessary rules and traditions. This has not happened until today because Jesus is the only person who can end Christianity's ongoing 2,000-year process of change.
"... [Present Christianity will] unite with the truths of Islam. Christianity will in effect be in a way transformed into Islam...": Once Christianity has been returned to the state of its first revelation, it will integrate itself into Islam.
(3) Following the Qur'an, the collective personality of Christianity will be in the rank of follower, and Islam, in that of leader. True religion will become a mighty force as a result of its joining it. Although defeated before the atheistic current while separate, Christianity and Islam will have the capability to defeat and rout it as a result of their union. Then the person of Jesus (upon whom be peace), who is present with his human body in the world of the heavens, will come to lead the current of true religion, as, relying on the promise of One Powerful Over All Things, the Bringer of Sure News has said. Since he has told of it, it is true, and since the One Powerful Over All Things has promised it, He will certainly bring it about. (Letters, "Fifteenth Letter")
"... Following the Qur'an, the collective personality of Christianity will be in the rank of follower, and Islam, in that of leader...": This transformation of Christianity, beginning with Jesus, will conclude in everyone adhering to the Qur'an, as required by the final book of revelation. Both Jesus and Christianity as a whole will adhere to Islam.
"... Although defeated before the atheistic current while separate, Christianity and Islam will have the capability to defeat and rout it as a result of their union...": A great power will form when Christianity, under the leadership of Jesus, adheres to the Qur'an, because the world's two greatest religions are two huge powers in terms of politics, economics, and spirituality. After their unification, they will have enough power to destroy all forms of irreligion. Materialist philosophy, which distances people from their true purpose in life and forces them into selfishness, lovelessness, and aggressiveness, will be eradicated, along with all forms of irreligion.
"... Then the person of Jesus (upon whom be peace), who is present with his human body in the world of the heavens, will come to lead the current of true religion...": This alliance, when combined with the Christians' acceptance of the Qur'an, will achieve a global majority status and move as one body led by Jesus. Bediuzzaman reminds us that Jesus' leading of the true religion is based on the hadith and stresses that this news is therefore true knowledge.
Jesus' Struggle Against Irreligious Movements
When speaking of the End Times, Bediuzzaman asserts that two ideological movements will create disorder in their quest to establish the rule of irreligion. One of these will try to destroy the morality of Islam from within, while the other movement will reject God's existence openly. Its members will claim that matter has always existed and will continue to exist forever, and that life emerged from lifeless matter by means of a series of coincidences. This movement will represent the naturalist and materialist philosophies. (Naturalism is also known as the philosophical dimension of Darwin's theory of evolution.)
This definition forms the basis of all atheist ideologies. Ever since the beginning of recorded history, materialists have opposed true religion and fought those who adhered to it and called others to do so. They oppressed people, made war, and were always found at the forefront of all kinds of decadence. In his second coming, Jesus will fight this materialist Darwinist mentality and defeat it, by the will of God.
(1) In his Collected Works, Bediuzzaman says the following:
A tyrannical current born of Naturalist and Materialist philosophy will gradually become strong and spread at the end of time by means of materialist philosophy, reaching such a degree that it denies God... The members of that current, who deny God, each ascribes dominicality to his soul like a little Nimrod. And the greatest of them, the Dajjal, who will come to lead them, will manifest awesome wonders, a sort of spiritualism and hypnosis; he will go even further, and imagining his tyrannical, superficial rule to be a sort of dominicality, he will proclaim his godhead. (Letters, "Fifteenth Letter")
Bediuzzaman refers to the destructive effects of the naturalist-materialist philosophies on society. His words "a tyrannical current born of naturalist and materialist philosophy" seem to indicate materialism and Darwinism, the foundations of atheism. In the end times, these two philosophies will spread around the world on the back of the materialist philosophy and openly deny the existence of God. Its proponents will deny the infinite power of God and instead believe themselves to have powers independent of Him.
(2) He gives the following account of the irreligious powers formed by the Dajjal:
Moreover, in the world of humanity, with the intention of denying the Godhead, the secret society of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) will overturn civilization and subvert all mankind's sacred matters. A zealous and self-sacrificing community known as a Christian community, but worthy of being called "Muslim Christians," will work to unite the true religion of Jesus (peace be upon him) with the reality of Islam, and will neutralize and rout that society of the Dajjal, thus saving humanity from atheism. (Letters, 515)
"... with the intention of denying the Godhead, the secret society of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) will overturn civilization and subvert all mankind's sacred matters...": Bediuzzaman defines the irreligious movements represented by the Dajjal as a secret society that will overturn civilization and subvert all mankind's sacred matters in order to deny God's existence.
"... A zealous and self-sacrificing community known as a Christian community but worthy of being called 'Muslim Christians', will work to unite the true religion of Jesus (peace be upon him) with the reality of Islam...": Bediuzzaman calls the devoted Christians who will work tirelessly with Jesus to unify the Christian and Islamic faiths after Christianity has been purified, Muslim Christians. This "Muslim Christian" community will destroy the irreligious ideological systems represented in the being of Dajjal, according to Bediuzzaman.
Another explanation by Bediuzzaman on the subject reads:
(3) "He [the Anti-Christ] will be so powerful and long-lived that only Jesus will be able to kill him [make him ineffective]; nothing else will be able to." That is, it will only be a revealed, elevated, pure religion that will be able to overturn his way and rapacious regime, and eliminate them. Such a religion will emerge among the true followers of Jesus, and it will follow the Qur'an and become united with it. On the coming of Jesus and emergence of the true Christian religion, the Antichrist's irreligious way will be wiped out and will cease. The Antichrist's person could otherwise be killed by a mere germ or by influenza. (Rays, "Fifth Ray")
Bediuzzaman draws the attention to the hadith that indicates that only Jesus will be able to destroy the Dajjal and his established and aggressive regime, and abolish his irreligious way. He will be accompanied by the genuine Christians who have freed themselves of myths and have surrendered to the Qur'an. With Jesus' second coming, the Dajjal's irreligious way will die out.
"Antichrist's irreligious way will be wiped out and will cease. The Antichrist's person could otherwise be killed by a mere germ or by influenza": Bediuzzaman touches here on a very important subject. What matters is not to incapacitate those people one by one who work to spread irreligion ideologically, but to eradicate all schools of thought which enable irreligious movements to exist. It is not difficult to have individuals ideologically incapacitated.
(4) It could only be a wondrous person with the power of miracles who could neutralize and change the way of the awesome Dajjal, who will preserve himself through wonders, bestowed on him by God in order to lead him astray, such as magic, hypnotic powers, and spiritualism, and will spellbind everyone. And that person will be Jesus (Peace be upon him), who is the prophet of the majority of mankind... (Rays, "Fifth Ray")
Bediuzzaman reveals here that Jesus is the only person who can eradicate the irreligious movements that are trying to increase people's denial by deception and through misleading them, and that only he can force the Dajjal to change his chosen way.
(5) ... The Great Dajjal will abrogate the injunctions of the Christian Law, and destroying the bonds in accordance with which the life of Christian society is administered, he will prepare the ground for anarchy and Gog and Magog. (Rays, "Fifth Ray")
Bediuzzaman uses the word "Dajjal" to define all the irreligious thought systems combined, and states that it is a movement that seeks to do away with all of the injunctions in Christianity, to destroy all the spiritual bonds between people, and to entice them to rebellion, corruption, and anarchy.
(6) Bediuzzaman defines the annihilation of irreligious movements by Jesus and the Christians as follows:
It will be the truly pious followers of Jesus who will make ineffective the collective personality and the huge statue of materialism and irreligion embodied in the Dajjal-for the Dajjal will be made ineffective by Jesus' sword-and destroy his ideas and disbelief, which are atheistic. Those truly pious Christians will blend the essence of true Christianity with the essence of Islam and rout the Dajjal with their combined strength, in effect making him ineffective... (Rays, "The Fifth Ray")
"the huge statue of materialism and irreligion": With these words Bediuzzaman likens the globally influential materialist movements to a huge statue. This statue could be indicating that these movements will be established and strong. It is a hard task to uproot and destroy a big statue. However, with its destruction, materialism as well as irreligion will disappear.
"... will blend the essence of true Christianity with the essence of Islam": When Jesus returns, he will be subject to God's final book of revelation, restore Christianity to its original form, and unite it with Islam.
"... rout the Dajjal with their combined strength, in effect making him ineffective": When the two true religions of God unite, they will have gained much power in the wider sense of the word. They will defeat the materialist ideologies ruling the world and free all people from their hegemony.
In all of his statements concerning Jesus' second coming, Bediuzzaman stated that Jesus will abolish all irreligious systems in conjunction with Muslims, unite with sincere Muslims, and do away with all the sufferings inflicted upon people by irreligious systems.