The Short Words - From The Book of Light (Risale-i Nur)

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The Short Words is a short summary of the Nine Words taken from The Book of Light (Risale-i Nur) which is one of the most influential and original works of Qur’anic exegesis and Islamic theology written in the past two hundred years; and yet considering its stature, it is relatively little-known in the West, even amongst Muslims. Comprising around one hundred and thirty epistles across five thousand pages, there are few books that treat a larger range of questions relating to every aspect of Islam, from creed and theology to ethical, social and liturgical questions. What is more, there are even fewer works, because of the outstanding intelligence and scholarly standing of its author, which discuss and answer them with such perspicuity.

The Risale-i Nur was written between 1926 and 1949 in Turkey. For literally millions of dedicated readers there, reading The Book of Light is a practice by turns devotional, spiritual, therapeutic and intellectual. Regular readers of the Risale-i Nur report that it palpably strengthens their faith, refreshes consciousness of their sense of servanthood to God, increases their desire to worship God, draws them into closer spiritual proximity to the Prophet Muḥammad, blessings and peace be upon him, and helps to chart out a road to the achievement of the perfection of those human attributes that God asks all people to acquire. Perhaps one of the reasons underlying its unique appeal (no work in the Islamic sciences of the past hundred years enjoys anything approaching its wide readership) is the manner in which The Book of Light defies categorisation or genre; for the many followers of the Nur movement that it gave rise to, it is not merely a book of knowledge, but an event, a methodology for the systematic service of Islam, a mass movement and a guiding friend that can seem almost alive.

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