Exegeting Sūra al Fātiḥa for the Masses: Bediüzzaman Said Nursi and Haji Muḥammad Saʿīd bin ʿUmar

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.main##

Peter G Riddell

Abstract

Purpose: This article considers exegetical perspectives on the best known Sūra of the Qur’ān from two exegetes who lived in diverse contexts in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Caliphate. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi is arguably the most influential theologian to emerge from  in Ottoman Turkey in its long history. Haji Muḥammad Saʿīd bin ʿUmar, by contrast, enjoys a local reputation as a scholar in the Malay-Indonesian region but is unknown outside of that area.


Methodology: This research is based on a comparative analysis of the exegesis of both scholars on Sūra al-Fātiḥa, exploring the techniques they used to reach ordinary Muslims with their exegesis, not just highly educated Muslims.


Findings: Said Nursi and Muḥammad Saʿīd bin ʿUmar came from quite different backgrounds and contexts. Moreover, their exegetical styles were fundamentally different, with the former’s being more thematic and the latter’s being more literalist. Nevertheless, each succeeded in producing exegesis that reached the masses, thereby meeting their overall goals of reinforcing the commitment to faith and dynamic spirit of Muslims in their respective contexts.


Originality: This research is original in various ways. First, comparative studies of Said Nursi and Malay-language exegetes are few in number. Second, the identification of similarities in the results of studies on exegesis despite the use of different methods requires greater scholarly attention. This article should stimulate interest in further studies on the matter.

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.details##

Keywords

Tafsīr
Said Nursi
Sūrah al-Fātiḥa
Malay-Indonesian
Risale-I Nur

Section
Articles in English
References
Abdullah, Mustaffa. Khazanah tafsir di Nusantara. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 2011.
Abdullah, Wan Mohd. Shaghir. “Muhammad Sa'id Umar Kedah - Pengarang Tafsir Nur al-Ihsan.” Ulama Nusantara. 12 November 2006. http://ulama-nusantara.blogspot.com/2006/11/muhammad-sa-umar-kedah-pengarang-tafsir.html (accessed October 7, 2020).
—. Penyebaran Islam dan Silsilah Ulama Sejagat Dunia Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: Pusat Penyelidikan dan Penyebaran Kazanah Islam Kalsik dan Dunia Modern, 1999.
Anon. “‘Abd al-Qadir b. Haji Mustafa b. Muhammad Faqih al-Fatani, Shaykh (1818-95).” Center for Patani Studies: Resources for the Study of Patani's History, Culture, and Society. n.d. https://patanistudies.com/muslim-scholars/abd-al-qadir-b-haji-mustafa-b-muhammad-faqih-al-fatani-shaykh-1818-95/ (accessed October 21, 2020).
Anon. “When were Risale-i Nur treatises written?” The Pen. 2014. http://www.thepenmagazine.net/when-were-risale-i-nur-treatises-written/ (accessed November 26, 2020).
Armağan, Mustafa. “Abdülhamid, Said Nursi’yle hiç karşılaştı mı? (Has Abdülhamid even met Said Nursi?).” 14 Eylül 2010. http://www.mustafaarmagan.com.tr/genel/abdulhamid-said-nursiyle-hic-karsilasti-mi/ (accessed November 25, 2020).
Asyari, Saifuddin Bin. Metode dan Corak Penafsiran al-Qurʿan Muhammad Said Bin Umar dalam Tafsīr Nūr al-Ihsān serta Implementasinya dalam Penafsiran. Jakarta: Undergraduate Dissertation, Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah, 1431/2010.
Çoruh, Hakan. Modern Interpretation of the Qur’an: The Contribution of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
Faizan, Bahrum, and Haziyah Hussin. “Kaedah Terjemahan Nas al-Quran dalam Tafsir Nur Al-Ihsan (The Method of Translation of al-Quran in Tafsir Nur Al-Ihsan).” Islāmiyyāt 36, no. 1 (2014): 33-40.
Hermansen, Marcia. “Said Nursi and Maulana Ilyas: Examples of Pietistic Spirituality among Twentieth-Century Islamic Movements.” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 19, no. 1 (January 2008): 73-88.
Ibn Kathīr, Ismāʻīl ibn ʻUmar, and Ṣafī al-Raḥmān Mubārakfūrī. Tafsir ibn Kathir (abridged) . Riyadh: Darussalam, 2000.
Kaur, Amarjit. “Indian Labour, Labour Standards, and Workers’ Health in Burma and Malaya, 1900 –1940.” Modern Asian Studies 40, no. 2 (2006): 425-475.
Khoo, Kay Kim. “Malaysia: Immigration and the Growth of a Plural Society.” Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 71, no. 1 (1998): 1-25.
Mahamah, Yalee. Metode dan Corak Tafsir Nur Al-Ihsan. Semarang: Undergraduate dissertation, Institut Agama Islam Negeri Walisongo, 2007.
Mardin, Serif. Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey : The Case of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi. New York: State University of New York Press, 1989.
Markham, Ian S., and Suendam Birinci Pirim. An Introduction to Said Nursi: Life, Thought and Writings. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011.
Messick, Thomas. “Bediüzzaman Said Nursi: A Politico-Religious Opponent of the Early Turkish State.” In Islam and Politics, by Ruth Nicholls. Melbourne: MST Press, 2021.
Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said. “Ishārāt al-I‘jāz.” eRisale: Webdeki Risale-i Nur Külliyatınız. n.d. www.erisale.com (accessed September 26, 2020).
—. Signs of Miraculousness: The Inimitability of The Qur’an’s Conciseness. Edited by Şükran Vahide. Istanbul: Şözler Publications A. Ş., 2013.
—. The Damascus Sermon. Edited by Şükran Vahide. Istanbul: Sözler Nesriyat ve Sanayi A.S., 2nd edn., 1996.
Redhouse, J.W. A Turkish and English Lexicon. Constantinople: A.H. Boyajian, 1890.
Riddell, Peter G. “Variations on an exegetical theme: tafsīr foundations in the Malay world .” Studia Islamika (UIN Syarif Hidayatullah) 21, no. 2 (2014): 259-292.
Robequain, C. Malaya, Indonesia, Borneo, and the Philippines. London: Longmans, 1958.
Tanis, Haci. The Sufi Influence in Said Nursi's Life and Thought. Philadelphia: PhD Dissertation, Temple University, 2016.
Turner, Colin. “The Six-Sided Vision of Said Nursi: Towards a Spiritual Architecture of the Risale-i Nur.” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 19, no. 1 (January 2008): 53-71.
ʿUmar, Muḥammad Saʿīd bin. Tafsīr Nūr al-Iḥsān. 4 vols. Maktabah wa Matbuah al-Hadi wa Auladuhu, 3rd edn., 1391/1971.
Yavuz, M. Hakan. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Yusuf, Zulkifli Haji Mohd, and Hamzah Bt Muhammad. “Biographi Haji Muhammad Said dan Sejarah Penulisan Tafsir Nur al-Ehsan.” Al-Bayan: Journal of Qur'an and Hadith Studies 3 (May 1426/2005): 65-82.
Yusuff, Mohd Sholeh Sheh, and Yusuf Haji-Othman. “Information Management from the Interpretation of Al-Quran: Study on Tafsir Nur Al-Ihsan.” Rahat-ul-Quloob 3, no. 2 (July-December 2019): 1-6.
Zulkarnain, Iskandar. “Disertasi Ilmiah 9 - Kitab Tafsir Nur al-Ihsan.” 2007. http://disertasi.blogspot.com.au/2007/07/disertasi-ilmiah-9-kitab-tafsir-nur-al.html (accessed April 22, 2014).