Unique Features of the Conference
The 3rd International Nursi Studies Conference in India on “Risale-i-Nur: Knowledge, Faith, Morality and the Future of Humanity” which was jointly organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Science and Culture Turkey and Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh on February 11 -13, 2014 had the following unique features:
1. The Conference exclusively avoided the participation of politicians and the political leaders even in the inaugural session – a stand in conformity with the one taken by Said Nursi in the newer phase of his life when he had declared: “O my Lord! I seek Thy refuge from the politics and the politicians!”. The Conference concentrated on the scholarly discussions and instinctual debates around the theme.
2. The Conference successfully demonstrated the participation of ladies in all the affairs: academic,administrative and voluntary services. Amongst the paper presenters ladies were 23; organizers 03, and volunteers 20. In the business sessions ladies equally participated as the audience. This was in consonance with the implications of the Quran that declared: “To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn”. (Surah al- Nisa: 32)
3. The conference was really international both in the letter and the spirit, as pointed out in the valedictory session of the conference by the Pro Vice- Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Brigadier Syed Ahmad Ali. The delegates represented the countries like Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Jordon,Algeria, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, United States, Syria, Afghanistan and of course India. This created a sense of Islamic brotherhood and realized to some extent the Quranic concept of Ummah.
4. The organizers received 160 abstract on the theme, but accepted 108 to be presented in the conference, undoubtedly because of the limited resources and time. Initially the conference was planned for two days only, the over-helming response to Aligarh Conference convinced the organizers to expand it upto 3rd day and to manage the parallel sessions. This conference was chaired (in different sessions) by the learned scholars from the different and divergent disciplines like Islamic Studies, West Asian Studies, Arabic language and literature, Geography, Engineering, Bio-Technology, Sociology, Library Science, Ilmul Advia, Business Administration, Theology (both Sunni and Shia), Psychology,Commerce and Management, English and History. This brought these scholars closer to the mission of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Mr. Hakan Gulerce well commented 2 days before the conference started that the conference had already attained the success; and that the gathering of academicians is now to be managed only.
5. The spiritual and faith- based atmosphere in the conference, the congregational prayers during the sessions, the volunteers’ services wholeheartedly all convinced Mr. Mohmet French Abey, the living student of Nursi to comment on the rainy season on the last day in the dining hall that since the Turkish brothers and sisters were leaving Aligarh it was weeping with tears.
Dr. Obaidullah Fahad
Coordinator of the Conference