This book is an attempt to analyze the contribution of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi to the understanding of modern concepts and notions like freedom, democracy, and social change from an Islamic perspective. It shows how Said Nursi responded to the rising notions of political reform and individual rights in the early 1900's and effectively showed that Islamic piety doesn't demand rejection of modernity.
Professor Cengel argues that the progression of humanity has settled in this age on individual rights and freedoms that put the individual at the center stage of justice. Governments have been restructured to establish true justice and to uphold individual rights and freedoms in the broadest possible way, and the political systems have been transformed into democracies in which the public opinion, which is a reflection of the public will, dominates. Change has always met with resistance, often led by conservative and religious entities. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, a scholar of Islam and a philanthropic opinion leader, on the other hand, has been at the forefront of change in accordance with the rising values and realities of his time, instead of being in opposition. While his contemporaries opposed even positive reforms in the name of religion, Nursi applauded such reforms in the name of the very same religion, Islam, and showed that piety and some modern values did not contradict.
Yunus Cengel is a faculty member at Adnan Menderes University in Aydin, Turkey, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno. In addition to conducting basic and applied research, Dr. Cengel has served as a consultant and advisor to several public institutions and private firms in the areas of energu efficiency, renewable energy, energy policies, and education. He is the author or coauthor of the widely acknowledged engineering textbooks such as Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach, whose eight edition was published in 2014.