It is a unique approach to read the universe ... ...like an elegant book. It is a new way of understanding science... ...to strengthen your belief and establish sound character.
5D Thinking Team
Integration of Scientific Knowledge and Revelation in Said Nursi by Dr.Necati Aydin
5D Thinking Team
5D Thinking Team
07 Jun 2022 12:10

In his youth, Nursi was amazed by scientific knowledge and thought it served as a stairway to the truth and understanding of God. Therefore, he passionately dedicated his time to studying science, even memorizing some textbooks. However, he later recognized that scientific knowledge was taking him away from God. After carefully reviewing the problem, which took 30 years, he realized that the problem was not with pure scientific knowledge. Instead, the problem is that the embedded secular ideology comes with scientific knowledge. He formulated his understanding in four key concepts: niyyah (intention), nazzar (reflective perspective), mana-i harfi (other indicative), and mana-i ismi (self-showing/self-referential). Nursi uses these concepts to diagnose the problem and offer a solution to integrate knowledge. Initially, he planned to establish a new university to teach this perspective. However, due to political adversities, he completed his project by establishing civic and educational centres (darshanah) to partially fulfil his dream of integrated knowledge. This article will examine the integral relationship between four concepts before exploring how they could serve as a model for an integrative approach to scientific knowledge and revelation. 


Nursi believed that there are two dimensions of existence: mulk (observed/material) and malaakut (hidden/Divine). These dimensions are synonymous with the philosophical concepts of phenomena and noumena. The mulk dimension is like a mirror which reveals the signs of the malaakut dimension. Thus, understanding the ultimate reality is possible only if we go beyond the mulk dimension and perceive the manifested malaakut dimension within the mulk dimension. In the mulk dimension, apparent causes are employed, while in the malaakut dimension, the Divine power is the true cause of the observed phenomena. The starting point of penetrating the malaakut dimension is niyyah (intention). We do not see without the intention to see whatever we want. That is because our attention always follows our intention. Therefore, we start with the intention of seeing the malaakut dimension. Then, we look through the correct perspective. That is nazaar (reflective perception) which functions as a lens to the observed reality. When we observe any object, only paying attention to its material existence, we will see ‘matter’. Nursi defines this as an ismi nazaar (ismi perspective). If we try to perceive meaning reflected in that object/phenomena, that will be a harfi nazaar (harfi perspective). If we use the ismi perspective, we can only see the mulk dimension. On the other hand, the harfi perspective could go beyond the mulk dimension and show the malaakut dimension.

From the Quranic perspective, everything points to some meaning beyond its own existence. Thus, all observable things are signs (ayah) indicating meaning beyond their existence. The mulk dimension is a signifier, while the malakut dimension is signified in these ayat. Taking the example of a traffic light, we know that it is a sign that has a meaning, and we learn how to read them accurately. However, when we drive a car, we do not focus on a traffic light's design, size, and composition. Instead, we focus on the color of the light in terms of its meaning. Furthermore, we do not ascribe the light to its pole. We know that it is constructed by the authorities to guide us in driving to avoid accidents. Similarly, the harfi perspective teaches us how to read the entire existence as signs in our journey in this world.

We could develop three approaches by applying the above four concepts to scientific studies of the universe. First, we could limit science to the mulk dimension and use the ismi perspective to study that dimension while letting philosophy and religion handle the malaakut dimension. In other words, science deals with apparent facts, while philosophy and religion provide the meaning of unveiled facts. In such cases, we have integration at a curricular level providing facts and information in science subjects while helping students to derive meaning from them in philosophical and religious studies. The second way of integration is to have the dual teaching of both subjects at the course level for each topic. Science will cover the mulk dimension of the phenomena, while philosophy and religion give meaning to the malakut dimension. The third way of integration is extracting meaning from scientific facts rather than adding religious messages. In other words, we will read the signs in the mulk dimension and derive meaning for the malaakut dimension. We think the mana-i harfi perspective offers the third type of integration for physical, biological, and human sciences. In other words, instead of adding the Quranic verses and hadiths to scientific knowledge to make it Islamic, we extract the embedded Divine revelation from existence as we read them through the harfi perspective.

Most of the existing curricula in Muslim schools add religious text to existing scientific knowledge. Nursi suggests that we first filter the embedded ideology and then provide the “harfi perspective” to students to view the Divine power behind everything and read the Divine names manifested within everything. The harfi perspective assumes that true knowledge of existence comes with embedded knowledge about the Creator. We need to extract this knowledge by reading everything as a meaningful expression. However, this reading should begin with the self to view how the Divine Power works within us. Once we do that, it will be easy to recognize the Divine Power working within everything.


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It is a unique approach to read the universe like an elegant book. It is a new way of understanding science to strengthen your belief and establish sound character.
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