Dictionary / Arabic - Turkish Terminology

IRTIJÂ’ - ارتجاع


Literally: A return. A going back after a return.

The definition, which is accepted and used as “a political guilt, crime and being opposed to the regime” which started being used by the oppressive regime and government of the Constitutional Period that was ruling at the last period of the Ottoman Khilâfah for the reaction against the reforms and changes pertaining to the matters of religion and the Sharî’ah. Supporters of the Sharî’ah and those who were against the reforms were accused to be murtajî and their reaction was called irtijâ’ by the owners of that oppressive regime. After the fall of the Ottoman Khilâfah, the new government of the Turkish Republic has also accused the zealous Muslims who are against the laws of the Republic, which are completely opposed to the Sharî’ah with being murtajî and committing the crime of irtijâ’.


“I say the following in reply to the accusation that I exploit religious emotions for politics:

I cite as witnesses my whole life and those who know me and call on them to testify that even at the time I was political I did not exploit religion for politics, but strove with all my strength to make politics serve religion and follow it. The story of my life and my friends will testify to this. Moreover, at the beginning of the Second Constitutional Period when those who wanted the Sharî’ah were being hanged, the chairman of the military court and its members declared in the course of the trial of that terrible military court set up by the Operational Army, on the day it has condemned fifteen men to the gallows: “You’re a murtaji’! You wanted the Sharî’ah!” Is it at all possible that the person who replied: “I am ready to sacrifice my rûh for a single matter of the Sharî’ah! If constitutionalism c the tyranny of one party and it acts contrary to the Sharî’ah, let the whole world bear witness that I am a murtaji’!” – is it at all possible that such a person, who attaches not the slightest importance to his execution and would sacrifice his whole world and everything he has for the Sharî’ah, would exploit religion and the Sharî’ah for some political ends. Anyone who deems it possible could not be a Sophist even.”  Emirdağ Addendum-2 (130)



Some parts of the work titled “The Testimonial of Two Schools of Misfortunate or The Military Control and Said Nursî

بِاسْمِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَاِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ اِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ


At a time when freedom was recalled with madness, this spineless tyranny turned the mental institution into a school for me.

At a time when equitability and istiqâmah are muddled in irtijâ’, the extreme tyranny of the (current) constitution turned the prisons into a school for me.

Oh you, surveying my testimony! Please send your rûh and imagination as a guest to the state of mind of a hot-tempered nomadic student whose intellect and body are in turmoil due to his recent involvement with this new civilisation. So that you do not fall into the mistake by accusing me. During the 31st of March Incident, I said the following to the Military Court:

-As a student, when I come across a matter, I apply the criteria of the Sharî’ah. I know our nationality to consist only of Islam. That is why my judgements are always from the perspective of Islam.

Here in is my speech as I stand at the door of al-‘âlam al-barzakh, which is called prison, and as I wait for the train going to the âkhirah at the station, which is called the gallows. I present my criticism of the ruthless conditions of human social life, directed not only to you but also rather to the whole of humankind. That is why in accordance with the mystery of يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ1 the naked haqiqah has come out from the grave of the heart in complete starkness. Those who are non-mahrams should not look at it. With complete yearning, I am prepared for the âkhirah and am willing to go together with these people who have already been hung. Just as a Bedouin who is a lover of amazing things hears of the astonishing beauty of Istanbul but has never before seen it; how desirous he would be to see and visit it! I too am desirous to visit and see al-‘âlam of the âkhirah; the adobe of wonder and amazement. I still have that enthusiasm. To exile me there is not a punishment for me. Instead, if you have the power you should try to torture my conscience! Any other form of torture you will put me through will be an honour for me, not a punishment!

During the time of despotism, this government had enmity towards the mind; now it has animosity towards life. If this is what governing is about, long live madness! Long live death! And long live hell for dhâlims! I have wanted a platform on which I could express my thoughts. This Military Court has become ideal for this. At first, I too faced the same line of questioning as everyone else. I was asked by the Military Court:

-“So you too want the Sharî’ah?”

To which I replied:

- “If I had a thousand rûhs, I am ready to sacrifice all of them for a single haqiqah of the Sharî’ah. Because the Sharî’ah is the means of happiness, absolute justice and fadhîlah. But not the way the revolutionaries want it.”

Moreover, they asked:

-“Are you a member of the Muhammadan Union (asm)?”

I replied:

-“Proudly! I am of their smallest member. But in accordance with my description. Who is not part of that union other than irreligious? Show me!...”

Here I present you that speech, so that I may save the constitution from any blemish, the people of Sharî’ah from despair, the people of this century from labels of ignorance and of madness before history and the haqiqah from any wahm and doubt. Here I begin. I told them:

-“Oh, Pashas and Officers! The summary of the reasons for our imprisonment is this:

اِذًا مَحَاسِنِى اللاَّتِى اَدَلُّ بِهَا كَانَتْ ذُنُوبِى فَقُلْ لِى كَيْفَ اَعْتَذِرُ

That is: The virtues, which are the cause of my honour, are now considered as a sin. How am I to express regret; I am left baffled. I say by way of introduction:

One who is brace does not stoop to crime. And if he is accused he will not fear its punishment. Moreover, if I was to be hung unfairly, I will receive double the reward of a shahîd. If I was to remain in prison; under a government in which freedom is only given lip service to, the most desirable place must surely be prison. It is far superior to die as someone oppressed than to live as the dhâlim.

I will also say that: Some people who make politics the instrument of irreligiousness accuse others of irtijâ’ and as making religion an instrument of politics.

The spies of today are far worse than what they used to be. How can their loyalty be relied upon? How can justice be built on their findings? Moreover, by jarbaza, man commits a dhulm while trying to deal with justice. For nobody is without fault. However, through jarbaza, a man brings together the dispersed mistakes of another – who over a long period of time, has already corrected himself by having good deeds amongst his wide range of other characteristics; he imagines the mistakes to be embodied in the person all at once and deems that person worthy of extreme punishment. Whereas this approach is an extreme form of dhulm.”  Biography (66-67-68)


Its Fifth Libellous Calumny: Its using the term “an accursed idea” to refer to irtijâ’ and retrogression, that is, returning to the injunctions and morality of Islam, is a disbelieving slander in a manner of being kâfir that would cause the globe of the earth to tremble, and is a betrayal to not only the people of Isparta and the Nur students but also to al-‘âlam of Islam.

Said Nursî,
Who is very ill and very old.

Emirdağ Addendum-2 (194)


“They also wrote that "a person is guilty of irtijâ’ if he calls bid’ah, dhalâlah, and ilhad, the reforms, such as the closure of the takkas2 and zaviyes3 and the madrasas; the acceptance of secularism; the establishment of nationalist principles instead of Islam; the wearing of the hat; the banning of tasattur; the enforced use of the Latin alphabet in place of the Qur'anic alphabet; the adhan and iqâmah being recited in Turkish; the prohibition of religious instruction in schools; the recognition of equal rights for women and in inheritance; and the abolition of polygamy."

Unfair committee! The Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition has every century been the sacred, samâwi guide of three hundred and fifty million people, the programme of all their happiness, and the sacred treasury of the life of this world and the âkhirah. If it is possible to deny numerous of its sarîh âyahs, which do not bear interpretation, about the tasattur, inheritance, polygamy, dhikr of Allah, instruction in ‘ilm of religion and its dissemination, and the preservation of the shaâ’er, and to make guilty the crimes of all the Islamic mujtahids and all the Shaykhs al-Islam, and if you can annul the passage of time, quash the numerous court acquittals, and the legal pardons, and abolish confidentiality and the private side of things, and freedom of conscience and freedom of thought, and intellectual and scholarly opposition, and remove them from this country and its governments, you can make me guilty of these things. Otherwise, in the court of haqiqah, haqq and justice, you will be awesomely guilty!” The Rays ( 428 )


This is a haqiqah of the greatest importance which I was made to write due to a ma’nawî warning.

Introduction: I have given up politics for nearly forty years and most of my life has passed as a sort of recluse and I am not busy with social and political life, and therefore did not see a serious peril. Recently, I have felt that a danger is preparing the ground to cause serious harm to both the Islamic nation and to this country and Islamic government. I am compelled therefore to explain three points which have been brought to me with a ma’nawî warning for the politicians who work for the good of Islamic nationhood and sovereignty and this country, and for those who zealously work for the human community.

First Point: Although I have not listened to the newspapers, for the last year or two I have heard the phrase accusation of irtijâ’ being repeated over and over again. I listened attentively with the Old Said’s head and saw quite clearly that: it is a boundless infinite injustice that the covert enemies of Islam who exploit politics for irreligion, and strive to revert (irtijâ’) to one of the fundamental laws of nomadism and one of the most savagery of humankind and have donned the mask of patriotism in a completely unjust fashion branded with the cruel accusations of irtijâ’ and imagine to be harmful for the country of those striving to reinforce this Islamic government with the ma’nawî strength of Islam and to secure for it four hundred million true brothers as a reserve force, and to save it from begging to certain dhâlim Europeans through the aspect of being Muslim and being zealously religious or having powerful îman utilizing politics for religion and making them subservient to it but not exploiting religion for political ends. The time has come to explain, in the second point, the chief of many examples, as a barrier against the awesome dhulm of this century.

There are two sorts of irtijâ’, which have two fundamental laws as their source:

The first is true irtijâ’, which is political and social. Its fundamental law has led to much abuse and dhulm.

The second is the basis of true progress and justice, which has been given the name of irtijâ’.

Second Point: Those who attack religion in the name of civilization are reverting to a fundamental law remaining from the nomad, savage eras of mankind due to irtijâ’ to that savagery and nomadism. That ghastly, barbaric fundamental law, which annihilates humanity’s salâmât and justice and general peace, is now wanting to infiltrate our wretched country. A kind of dispute is appearing like the beginning of inculcation of some currents such as obstinate and biased partisanship. That fundamental law is this:

Due to the mistake of a single member of a group, or of a current or tribe, all the members of that group, that current and that tribe are condemned and falsely imagined to be enemies and responsible. One mistake becomes a thousand. Brotherhood and citizenship, and love and fellow-feeling, which are the foundations of unity and unanimity, are overturned. Yes, obdurate opposing forces that clash, lose their power. In order to make the irreligous supporters for themselves, they are obliged to give material and ma’nawî bribes, for the nation and country cannot be served justly due to the weakness arising from this loss of power. In the face of this cruel, inquisitional, primitive and savage fundamental law mentioned above, in accordance with the samâwî, sacred definite nass, وَ لاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ اُخْرَى 4 , which is pure justice, a fundamental law of the Qur’an, which ensures true love and brotherhood and saves these people of Islam and this country from a big danger, which says: “No one can be held responsible for another’s fault. No one may be said to share in a crime committed by his brother even, or his tribe or group, or party. If he supports the crime somehow, he will be a ma’nawî sinner for which he will be responsible in the âkhirah, not in this world.” If this fundamental law is not promulgated swiftly as a fundamental principle, human society will fall to that barbaric irtijâ’ which is asfal sâfilîn, equal in destruction to that perpetrated during the two world wars.

The following is the basis of the politics of those wretches who give the name of irtijâ’ to such sacred fundamental laws of the Qur’an as the above and accept the fundamental law of barbarism and savagery: “Individuals may be sacrificed for the good of the community. Personal rights may be disregarded for the welfare of the country. Minor injustices may be ignored in the interests of state policies.” so that they do not consider the rights of the thousand innocents by destroying a village because of a criminal. They consider jâiz the killing of a thousand people because of one criminal. They throw into misery thousands of innocents due to one man being wounded. On such pretexts, two hundred men being lined up and shot is overlooked. In the First World War, thirty million wretched human beings were wiped out due to the errors of three thousand. There are thousands of such examples. So to label murtaji’ and accuse those self-sacrificing people of îmân and students of the Qur’an who oppose the awesome injunctions of that barbaric irtijâ’ and who strive to secure true justice, unity and brotherhood in line with the fundamental law taught by the âyah, وَ لاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ اُخْرَى 5 , which is one of hundreds of the Quran’s fundamental laws, resembles preferring the accursed Yazid’s dhulm to the justice of the ‘Umar. It resembles preferring a cruelly savage law of the Inquisition to the above-mentioned law of the Qur’an, which is the means to humanity’s highest progress and justice.” Emirdağ Addendum-2 (82-83)


A selection of Bediuzzaman Said Nursî’s Defence Speeches in Eskişehir Court 1935

It was ascertained in Eskişehir Court that Bediuzzaman Said Nursî was not engaged in any kind of political activity and was actually indicated due to the tafsir of one Qur’anic âyah.6 Under no court of law in the world had it even been the case that a mufassir was punished for a tafsir of the noble âyah. This most certainly amounted to a legal error.


I say to the Judges! They have arrested me, accusing me of four or five matters.

THE FIRST MATTER: We have been reported as intending to carry out activities that may threaten public security by using religion as an instrument through the idea of irtijâ’.

The Answer: Firstly, a possibility is one thing, while a reality is something totally different. It is a possibility that every individual can commit many murders. Can these possibilities of murder even be the grounds for laying a charge? It is possible that every match stick can burn down a house. Is it fair to destroy all match sticks due to the possibility of such a fire?

Secondly: Hâsha, a hundred thousand times Hâsha! The ‘ilms of îmân we are engaged in cannot be the instrument of anything other than the pleasure of Allah. Yes, just as the sun does not orbit the moon, and is not dependant on it. So too îmân, the luminous and sacred key of eternal happiness and a sun in the life of the âkhirah, cannot orbit and be used as the instrument of social life. Indeed, there is no matter more significant than that of the mystery of îmân, which is the riddle of the creation of this ‘âlam, and the greatest matter in the universe so that matters concerning the mystery of îmân should become an instrument for it.

Judges of the Court! If this torturous imprisonment of mine was merely related to my personal and worldly life; be certain that I would have kept silent, just like I have for the last ten years. However since my arrest relates to the eternal lives of so many people, and the Risale-i Nur which is a tafsir of the unveiling (kashf) of the mighty enigma of the universe; if I had a hundred heads, and one was cut off every day I will not abandon this mighty mystery. Even if I am saved from your captivity, I certainly cannot escape the clutches of the appointed hour of death. I am now old and at the door of the grave. It is evident that the Risale-i Nur (being a mufassir of the Qur’an) displays the magnificent unveiling (kashf) of Al-Qur'an Al-Hakîm, which is the revealer of that mighty enigma of the universe. Out of a hundred matters of that enigma, look at how the Risale-i Nur unravels the mystery of îmân relating to the appointed hour of death, and the grave that everyone is certain to enter.

Can a person who believes the appointed hour of death, consider the mighty political matters of this world as more important that he should make it an instrument for those worldly matters? Since the time of death is unknown, and since it can come at any time to cut-off one’s head, the appointed hour of death is either an external execution, or it is to receive the discharge papers to be sent to an ‘âlam far more beautiful than this one. And the door of the grave which never closes; is either the door opening to a pit of nothingness and eternal darkness, or it is a door to a world more luminous and permanent than this one.

This is how, through the faydh of the Qur’an’s sacred kashf, the Risale-i Nur demonstrates with the certainty that two plus two equals four, that there is a solution to transform that appointed hour of death from being an eternal execution to a document of discharge from the duties and make it the means to transform the grave from an endless pit of nothingness to a door leading to magnificently decorated gardens. Even if all the sovereignty of the world was mine, I would sacrifice it without hesitation to find that solution. Indeed anyone who is truly intelligent will sacrifice it...

Sirs! What type of mind would view the Risale-i Nur, which has unveiled (kashf) the realities and is an explanation of hundreds of such matters of îmân, as though they were harmful documents, and – Hâsha hundreds of thousands of times Hâsha!– as though they were malicious books that are instruments of political currents? What type of fairness, what type of law would permit this? Do you not think that generations in the future, the people in the real future of the âkhirah, and its Zuljalâl Hâkim, will not bring to account those who have caused this? Moreover, with regards to the duty of governance, it is a requisite for those who govern this sacred nation’s people who are religious in fitrah, that they should favour religiousness and encourage it. Since a secular republic in its own principles remains impartial, and with the same principles does not interfere with irreligious, then surely it is also necessary that it does not make excuses and interfere with the religious either”. Biography (229-230-231)


“If some unfortunate people who have taken irreligiousness and kufr as their path, influenced certain members of government and deceived them under the guise of achieving a political objective, or entered official ranks of public service in order to destroy the Risale-i Nur with schemes and to silence me with threats, said: “The time of religious zealousness is over. We are in need of forgetting our past and looking towards the future with all our strength. Your powerful, lessons of religion and îmân in a manner of  irtijâ’ are not welcome.”

The Answer: Firstly, that which you consider the past, has been transformed into the future. That is the true future and we are all going there.

Secondly: In honour of it being a tafsir, the Risale-i Nur is tied to Al-Qur'an Al-Hakîm. As for the Qur’an, it is a haqiqah of attraction like that of gravity tying the Earth to the ‘Arsh. Those who have ruled in Asia cannot conflict with the tafsir of the Qur’an like the Risale-i Nur. They will rather make peace with it, receive benefit from it and protect it.

But as for silencing me; there are many honourable people who sacrifice themselves on the path of ordinary discoveries, in the pursuit of unimportant political ideas and for the sake of a worldly honour. Surely, on the path of a wealth that will yield a result of the great Jannah, for a water of life that can assist in gaining eternal life, and for a discovery that will leave all philosophers in wonder; if I had heads to the number of atoms in my body and each of them needed to be sacrificed, I  would sacrifice them without hesitation. To silence me through threats and destruction will bring to speech a thousand tongues instead of a single tongue. I am hopeful of Ar-Rahîm Zuljalâl that the Risale-i Nur which has been instilled in people’s rûhs for the last twenty years, in place of my single silenced tongue, bring thousands of tongues to speak.” Biography (247-248)


1 (On the Day when all secrets will be laid bare.)

2 (The gathering places for dhikr or lesson. Especially for the Sufi darwishes.)

3 (small takka)

4 (No bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another, 6:164 )

5 (No bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another, 6:164 )

6 (24th Flash- Risale on Tasattur, which is the tafsir of the âyah 33:59)

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