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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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An Alternative Approach
The contemporary conception of science leads to an understanding that science is universal through cultures and civilizations. Therefore, it is conceived that science crosses borders and goes beyond cultures and civilizations. This conception is a misleading mentality resulting from the globalization rampant in the last two centuries. The speedy mass communication and transportation facilities enables us to reach other scientists’ writings and to come together to discuss issues and ideas we develop independently. This misleads us to think that science is universal. Consequently, this conception imposes its secular and atheist perspective on all other scientists. If a scientist opposes this secularist atheism of science s/he is at once pushed out of the boundaries of scientific activities. Some scholars argue that the secular atheism prevalent in scientific circles does not belong to science but rather to the scientist who introduces his/her interpretation to his/her findings. This naïve idea is entertained by usually religious minded scientists who are succumbed into the folly of the contemporary global conception defending the universality of science. They defend the idea that science is neutral, but scientist is not and cannot be neutral. We, on the other hand, defend the idea that any activity that depends on human beings whether it is science, or any other social activity can never be neutral and value-free.

That is why this program is designed to introduce an epistemological perspective in teaching science that is not using the global mental framework utilized in scientific activities and especially in teaching science. Since this socio-epistemological perspective pays attention to the socio-cultural conditions of the world, it will try to pave the way to introduce a novel approach coined by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi as “letteral perspective or other indicative meaning” (mana-i harfî). We need to elaborate briefly the epistemology of science utilized in this application.

As human beings whenever we do something we do it in accordance with whatever we have as knowledge related to that activity; the totality of that knowledge which is accumulated in our mind as clusters of concepts in an orderly manner is called “worldview”. Hence, everything in life takes place in accordance with our worldview.

The complete process of acquiring scientific knowledge is based on our knowledge system which works in a similar fashion as our digestive system. Now, the human system of digestion is universal, just like our system of knowledge. However, the manifestation of these systems are not universal and that allows us to develop different culinary culture as well as knowledge culture upon which scientific traditions are built. In today’s world as we live in a global system in future perhaps many differences will fade away and we will reach a general but not universal framework within which we all continue our scientific activities. It is this state of affairs that lead us to come up with some minimum requirements that will leave room for cultural varieties and differences in scientific mental frameworks so that our cooperation becomes more meaningful. We can in this way defend a holistic conception of science based on our understanding of the letteral perspective as well as recognizing the framework of other scientists.

Every society has its own worldview as a dominant mental conception. If this is the case then since every scientist will carry out his/her scientific activities in accordance with her/his worldview then there will necessarily be a difference in their conception of science. This does not mean that they cannot cooperate in scientific activities; on the contrary, they can, but they will hide in this cooperation their beliefs within their worldviews and ideas that may lead to disagreements in their collaboration. After they complete their research they will express their ideas differently. However, the current conception of science is almost exclusively based on an atheistic and secularist perspective which almost completely abandons a religious perspective. Our program aims at developing a new perspective which enables the scientist to look at things not as things in themselves but rather as things beyond themselves. This way of looking brings a fresh breathing space for those who appropriate a conception of science that reserves room for faith approach.
Keep Reading Said Nursi
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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LIFE AND THOUGHT OF SAID NURSI
by Prof.Alparslan Acikgenc, President of Nursi Society
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1876-1960), the author of the Risale-i Nur Collection (Risale-i Nur Külliyatı), is a contemporary scholar and thinker who recognized the realities and challenges of time. The present work we introduce with a new translation is a part of this collection. He started writing the Risale-i Nur in Burdur, a city near the West Mediterranean region of Turkey where he was exiled. He refers to this phase of his life as “New Said” differing from his previous life as he called “Old Said” period (1878-1923) when he was active politically in order to serve religion and sciences. However, the New Said withdrew from politics completely in order to teach Islamic belief in its purity and it is in this vein that he wrote the present treatise. With an exception of a few treatises, the first phase works pay attention mostly to the social and religious issues in the Muslim world and tries to offer solutions for them. The New Said emerged following the Ottoman defeat in the First World War and continued the first thirty-eight years of the Turkish Republic. By way of introducing this work we may briefly mention Nursi’s life and thought, but we hope that his thought would be more manifest in his work presented here in a fresh translation. He was born in the village of Nurs of Bitlis province in Eastern Turkey and spent his early adolescent years studying the classical Islamic curricula in the traditional madrasas. His father was a villager with a smallholding of land whose family belonged to the settled non-tribal Kurdish population. Nursi was indeed a gifted student and that is why soon he excelled in his studies and received his certificate of completion in 1892 at the age of 14. Later when he moved to Van he then undertook privately an exhaustive study of natural sciences at the library of Tahir Pasha, Governor of the province.
“I shall prove and demonstrate to the world that the Qur'an is an undying, inextinguishable Sun!”
In his later life, he tried to establish a new university, which he named “medresetüzzehra”. As he realized he needed to establish a new institution of higher learning he needed to get permission from the central authority and for that purpose he went to Istanbul where he was between 1907 and 1910. But his request was rejected. His life afterward was spent in struggles but with the breaking of WWI, he was recruited as a regimental mufti. He was captured as a war prisoner and sent to Kosturma on the Volga in north-western Russia. He escaped in 1918 and made his way to Istanbul where he was until 1922 when he decided to go to Ankara upon repeated invitations by the new Government to join them. With the establishment of the new Republic, however, he realized that the new government is heading in a new direction which appeared to exclude the Islamic tradition. Although the new Congress approved Nursi’s project of a university in Van, he realized that it would not be possible to carry out his original plan he decided to withdraw from politics completely and thus returned to Van as New Said in April of 1923. Until this date Nursi had life oscillating within turmoil that emerged out of the global events in the political arena; now the same kind of turmoil shatters his life with the difference that it now comes from the existing local administration in the name of secularism. His life in exile from city to city started first under the pretext that he may be part of the Kurdish revolt that broke out in February 1925. He advised everyone not to take part in the revolt because his style is not to oppose violence; an approach which he later called “positive or peaceful action” (müsbet hareket). Although he was spending most of his time especially in the summer months with some of his students on mount Erek in an earthen hut, where he spent his time in prayer and contemplation, nevertheless he was sent into exile. The rest of his life passed either in exile or imprisonment. But he never stayed without writing his books and publishing them with the handwriting of his students. Then they would distribute these books throughout the country privately.
“He advised everyone not to take part in the revolt because his style is not to oppose violence; an approach which he later called “positive or peaceful action” (müsbet hareket).”
Nursi was in Barla, his first exile village near Isparta, and the city of Burdur, from March 1927 until July 1934. Most of the treatises were written during these somewhat peaceful years in Barla. With his students, he was brought Eskişehir for trial which took place between May 1935 and March 1936. Nursi tried to encourage his students under such dire conditions and asked them to turn the prison into a school which he called “Medrese-i Yûsufiye” referring to the Prophet Joseph who also taught prisoners their religion. When he was released he was given one year’s compulsory residence in Kastamonu where he was exiled from March 1936 until September 1943, which is another seven years of settled life under strict police surveillance. It is during these settlements that he composed the major works that are called The Words (Sözler), The Letters (Mektubât), The Flashes (Lem’alar), and The Rays (Şu’alar). He also included his older books which he published during his stay in Istanbul between 1911 and 1922, a period in his life to which he refers as “Old Said”. The rest of his life was spent mainly in Emirdağ in the province of Afyon where he was also sent to prison in Afyon for trial on 23 January 1948. But again, he was released on 20 September 1949.
“Nursi tried to encourage his students under such dire conditions and asked them to turn the prison into a school which he called “Medrese-i Yûsufiye” referring to the Prophet Joseph who also taught prisoners their religion.”
A significant change took place in May 1950 when the new Democratic Party won the elections. The new government was sympathetic towards religious freedom. Therefore, Bediuzzaman enjoyed some freedom during this time albeit still with some restrictions. The last ten years of his life is called by him as “The Third Said” (September 1949–23 March 1960). Then the general amnesty of 14 July 1950 brought Bediuzzaman his freedom and he decided to settle in Isparta, where he kept with him a small number of young students to train and to assist him. During these Third Said years, Nursi still devoted much time to tasks related to the Risale-i Nur. He instituted the communal readings and faith sharing sessions by reading the Risale-i Nur that were to become the central activity of the Nur community, and each day would hold readings with the students who stayed with him. All over Turkey, Nur centers (medrese or dershane) where the students would gather opened. Bediuzzaman made a series of visits to Ankara and Istanbul at the end of 1959 to visit some of these, but by early 1960, his health was failing.  On 20 March 1960, he set off with three of his students for Urfa in south-east Turkey, where on 23 March he died.
Nursi was a passionate advocate of personal rights and freedoms, as exemplified by his saying “I can live without bread, but not without freedom.” He objected any association of Islam with oppression and tyranny, stating that Islam came to this world to end injustice and despotism, and defined despotism as “It is the basis of tyranny. It annihilates humanity. It is despotism that reduces man to the most abject valleys of abasement has caused the Islamic world to sink into abjection and degradation, which arouses animosity and malice, has poisoned Islam… and has caused endless conflict within Islam.”
Unlike many of his contemporaries who associated Islam with politics, Nursi abstained from mixing religion with politics and remained distant from the notion of political Islam.’ Instead, he advocated the personal dimension of belief and religion and stated that saving the faith of one person is more important than gaining the supremacy of the whole world. Despite all the injustices and harassments, he was subjected to, he always practiced positive action and never advocated violence. He repeatedly expressed that wars in this age of enlightenment and civilization are fought with the pen, and not the sword unless there is an outright attack from outside. Indeed, whoever conquers the minds and the hearts of people in modern times will conquer the world. Moreover, he viewed aggressive atheism as the greatest threat to humanity and expressed that Muslims and truly pious and spiritual Christians, temporarily refraining from the discussion and debate of points of difference, must join forces to overcome this threat which endangers the eternal life of all. In Nursi’s view, the three greatest common enemies are ignorance, poverty, and conflict.
“... and stated that saving the faith of one person is more important than gaining the supremacy of the whole world.”
Belief in unity of God (Tawhîd) and the Hereafter (Resurrection)
The hallmark of Nursi’s writings is its emphasis on belief – especially belief in God and belief in the hereafter, which are common aspects of all Abrahamic religions. After the formation of the new Turkish Republic in the 1920s and the imposition of aggressively secular policies, Nursi devoted himself to saving and strengthening belief in God and the other tenets of belief that came under attack. In the “Tenth Word”, Nursi presented very convincing arguments with powerful mental scenarios about the existence of life after death.  He views death as a new beginning rather than an end, and offers a striking perspective: “Death is not execution, or nothingness, or annihilation; it is not cessation or extinction; it is not eternal separation, or non-existence, or a random event, or an authorless obliteration. Rather, it is a discharge by the One Who is All-Wise and All-Compassionate; it is a change of locations. It is a dispatch to eternal bliss, to your true home.” To Nursi, gaining a strong belief is like gaining an eternal world, and thus it is more important than gaining supremacy of this temporary world. Therefore, these two articles of faith are the foundation of human identity that gives him a responsibility in this world to be God’s vicegerent on Earth in order to preserve the order and prevent corruption (see the Qur’an, 2: 30f).
“After the formation of the new Turkish Republic in the 1920s and the imposition of aggressively secular policies, Nursi devoted himself to saving and strengthening belief in God and the other tenets of belief that came under attack. ”
Nursi points out that people have desires and hopes that stretch to eternity, thoughts and imaginings that embrace the universe, the earnest desire for everlasting happiness and Paradise, and an innate capacity and abilities on which no limit is placed and which are free. People are exposed to the attacks of innumerable enemies and the blows of innumerable calamities despite their innumerable needs and their weakness and impotence. Under the constant threat of death, they live out their brief and turbulent lives in wretched circumstances. Looking to the grave, which for the misguided is the door to everlasting darkness, they suffer the continuous blows of death and separation. He then concludes that: “In belief there is a sort of paradise in this world, too, and in misguidance, a sort of hell.” Nursi argues that a man who fails to discover his Creator leads a life in vain, and is at a great loss even if he appears to be surrounded by earthly pleasures. Nursi likens believers to holders of “belief coupon” worth eternal treasures waiting for the call with profound pleasure and real spiritual delight to collect the ticket.
“In belief there is a sort of paradise in this world, too, and in misguidance, a sort of hell.”
Learning and Sciences
Nursi states that ours is the age of learning and sciences, and directs people to learning and sciences in the name of religion: “In the future mankind will turn to sciences and learning. It will obtain all its power from sciences. Power and rule will then pass to the hands of sciences and knowledge. ... When a civilization becomes prevalent, the world will be ruled by knowledge and sciences.” Nursi expresses that the main mission of people is “to progress by acquiring knowledge”; that is, “to aim reaching perfection via knowledge”. He also states that the ultimate goal of a human being is to reach the most comprehensive service to God via knowledge and perfection. He adds that the superiority of human beings over angels is by the acquisition of knowledge. Nursi states his approach to science in terms of four concepts which he delineates indirectly in the following way: “during the forty years of my life and thirty years of study, I have learned four words or phrases and four sentences. The phrases are: 1) the other-indicative (mana-i harfi) being, like a letter, pointing to God rather than to itself; 2) the self-indicative (mana-i ismi) meaning to be disconnected from God. It is a claim that beings indicate none other than their own existence; 3) intention; and 4) viewpoint”. His intention is to conceive science in the second category with a specific good intention and perspective.
“Nursi expresses that the main mission of people is “to progress by acquiring knowledge”; that is, “to aim reaching perfection via knowledge”. He also states that the ultimate goal of a human being is to reach the most comprehensive service to God via knowledge and perfection.”
The Risale-i Nur Collection represents the universe as a meaningful grand book that awaits to be read and understood rather than a pile of ink-tainted papers, and the creatures as the lines or pages of that book. These discussions are based to a large extent on observations and reasoned arguments, and thus they are fully compatible with the scientific approach. Nursi draws attention to the artist when examining an art, the author when examining a book, and the maker when examining a being.  This way, he made the practice of reading the universe and noticing the reflections of the names, attributes, and the essence of the Creator in all existence an effective vehicle in ascending to the heights of belief in God, knowledge of God, and love of God. Nursi provides the glasses that show the meaning and significance of existence and connects them to their origin. Therefore, Risale-i Nur guides in mastering the art of reading the book of the universe, and viewing existence as “other-indicative” and not only as “self-indicative”. Nursi argues that the secret of true enlightenment and the everlasting joy lies in the correct reading and study of the book of the universe, and the resulting deepened understanding that indulges the reader. He thus introduces this perspective as a significant approach for contemporary scientists hoping that they will utilize it in their scientific study of the universe and problems therein. There is another issue that is very much related to the contemporary understanding of the scientific method which considers nature as acting on the basis of causation.
Nursi provides the glasses that show the meaning and significance of existence and connects them to their origin. Therefore, Risale-i Nur guides in mastering the art of reading the book of the universe, and viewing existence as “other-indicative” and not only as “self-indicative”.
Causation and Creation
Nursi produces mainly two arguments to develop his idea of causation; one is from the point of theodicy that is based on two principles. The first principle declares that “Might and majesty require causes to be veiling occasions of God’s Omnipotence for the human mind.” According to this principle, if causes are not set as veils for God’s acts, the human mind can directly infer God in all natural phenomena and then attribute the seemingly evil results of these actions to Him; an inference which harms God’s might and glory. God creates things for certain good ends, but our minds may not be able to see these good results immediately and thus blame God for evil. Therefore, God acts behind these seeming actors which our mind perceives as “cause”. On the other hand, the second principle declares: “God’s uniqueness (tawhid) and glory require at the same time that causes withdraw their interference from the actual efficacy.” This principle sets the ground for Nursi’s second argument that is purely philosophical. He maintains that when we examine the nature of an effect we observe within it a plan and a perfect order that is the result of rational planning and at the same time power to actualize that plan. If we can observe these qualities in the causes that produce this effect then it is the true cause. If not, then the true cause is something that can never be observed by the senses, and it can thus be deduced only by the mind and experienced by the awakened heart. In fact, there is no cause in this material universe that can produce even the simplest effect that we may think of. Hence, there is only one true cause; and that is God who assures us the causal nexus through the first theodicy principle. This, on the other hand, implies that Nursi follows a specific epistemology in his works which he does not always directly address, however, from here and there he makes references to it.
“He maintains that when we examine the nature of an effect we observe within it a plan and a perfect order that is the result of rational planning and at the same time power to actualize that plan.”
Compassion and Love
Mercy (al-Rahmân) and Compassion (al-Rahîm) as the prominent attributes of God declared in the Qur’an receives the focal attention of Nursi, and he lays emphasis on the common reflections of them in creation, particularly in human and animal mothers and even the plants. As the most exalted divine reflection in humans, he attracts attention to the purest and most indulging joy in giving and receiving compassion and he labels the path that he follows as the path of compassion and wisdom. Being the creations of the same creator, he views all creatures as relatives, and sees treating them with compassion out of respect of their Creator as an obligation. It is out of this compassion that he struggled all his life to helping humanity achieve eternal happiness.
Nursi advises people not to let negative emotions like animosity and hatred enter their hearts, and points to their grieve consequences. “What I am certain of from my experience of social life and have learned from my life-time of study is the following: The thing most worthy of love is love, and that most deserving of enmity is enmity. That is, love and loving, which render man’s social life secure and lead to happiness are most worthy of love and being loved. Enmity and hostility are ugly and damaging, have overturned man’s social life, and more than anything deserve loathing and enmity and to be shunned.” Nursi stresses that the time for hostilities has passed, and now is the time for love: “The time for enmity and hostility has finished. Two world wars have shown how evil, destructive, and what an awesome wrong is an enmity.”
Happiness and Worldly Pleasures
Nursi’s ultimate goal is to lead people into happiness in this world and to eternal happiness in the hereafter. Nursi was well-aware that people of this age are highly inclined towards worldly comfort and pleasures, and asking people to give up the certain of the present for the probable of the future would fall on deaf ears. He demonstrated that the purest, highest, and longest-lasting pleasures even in this world are in belief in God and in leading a virtuous life.
“He demonstrated that the purest, highest, and longest-lasting pleasures even in this world are in belief in God and in leading a virtuous life.”
Political ideas and Contemporary Politics
Nursi withdrew from active political life. He thought that in our time religion is used in the way of politics so much in our times that it is not possible to avoid this malpractice. Moreover, since he would like to represent the goodness in religion everyone equally needs that goodness. But if he supports a political party then the people in other parties will shun away him. In that case, the best thing is to avoid all politics and try to guide people who are in political life. This will take the form of educating them in belief and the right rule. That is why he states that all forms of leadership, including the presidency of a nation, are indeed servanthood, and he bases this notion on a Hadith: “Whereas a Hadith which is a constitution of Islam states ‘The ruler of a nation is the one who serves its citizens;’ that is, public officials and administrators are not chiefs, but servants to people. Democracy and freedom of conscience can be based on this fundamental law of Islam.” Moreover, Nursi regards constitutionalism (later republicanism) as ‘sovereignty of people’ in the sense of democracy, and defines it as follows: “Constitutionalism is the sovereignty of people. That is, the elected representatives that are the embodied form of public opinion rule, and the government is a service provider and thus a servant.”
“ ‘The ruler of a nation is the one who serves its citizens’ that is, public officials and administrators are not chiefs, but servants to people. Democracy and freedom of conscience can be based on this fundamental law of Islam.”
Conclusion
No matter what we say about a scholar the best is for him to speak for himself. We thus leave you with his short work presented here to judge him with his work. However, for further reading, we can recommend the following works about Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s life and ideas and a reference to the Risale-i Nur Collection at the end :
Abu-Rabiʻ, Ibrahim M. Ed. Islam at the Crossroads: on the Life and Thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub., 2010
Abu-Rabiʻ, Ibrahim M. Ed. Spiritual Dimensions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's Risale-i Nur, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008
Aydın, Necati Said Nursi and Science in Islam: Character Building through Nursi’s Mana-i Harfi, London & New York: Routledge, 2019
Markham, Ian S. and Zeyneb Sayılgan, editors. The Companion to Said Nursi Studies, Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2017
Ozkan, Tubanur Yesilhark A Muslim Response to Evil: Said Nursi on the Theodicy, London: Routledge, 2018
Sayılgan, Salih An Islamic Jihad of Nonviolence, Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2019
Turner, Colin The Qur’an Revealed: A Critical Analysis of Said Nursi’s Epistles of Light, Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2013
Vahide, Şükran and Ibrahim M Abu-Rabiʻ Islam in Modern Turkey: An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008
Look through the telescope of the following story which is in the form of a comparison, and see the differences between Qur’anic wisdom and that of philosophy and science... KEEP READING...


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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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Guiding Questions
(why) does science and religion contradict/complement each other?
Why does modern education produce excellence without a soul?
How can we view the universe as a meaningful book?
How can we read the book of the universe?
How can we derive character lessons from scientific studies of the universe?
Why character point of average (CPA) is more important than grade point of average (GPA) in bringing higher subjective wellbeing and success?

Keep Reading 5D Thinking
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
Get the Flyer
5D Thinking
The program will use five-dimensions (5D) as an ethico-epistemological perspective to teach a scientific reading of the universe. Each dimension is designed to give the student a new insight into first an understanding of scientific approach to cosmos which will help develop good character towards both scientific knowledge and its object that is our universe. The model assumes that God speaks through His words in various revelations and through His works in His creative acts in the universe. It aims to derive God’s character lessons embedded in scientific studies of the universe. It will link Divine acts manifested in the universe to Divine names and attributes.

The program aims to cover certain character traits such as hardworking, persistence, patient, humility, honesty, compassion, self-confidence, self-worth, other regarding. Those character traits will be taught through derived lessons from scientific knowledge. They will be reinforced through relevant citations from major religious texts such as Old and New Testaments, Quran, etc.

The program curriculum is based on 5D thinking model which provides a holistic vision to see science and religion as expressions of a single reality. The model consists of the following thinking dimensions:

The first dimension (analytical/scientific thinking) demonstrates how to filter embedded atheistic ideology from pure scientific knowledge. It explores a particular cosmic phenomenon based on scientific understanding without ascribing the ultimate reality to material causes, nature, or chance.

The second dimension (analogical thinking) compares and contrasts the observed phenomena in the cosmos with human-made phenomena for better comprehension. This dimension is based on the phenomenological approach assuming that the knowledge of the transcendent self is the key to learn everything else. It provides a useful analogy that helps readers learn and interpret unknown phenomena through their knowledge of known phenomena.

The third dimension (critical thinking) helps readers question how the observed phenomena might have come into existence. Through critical thinking, it encourages readers to question material causes, natural properties and chance as possible sources of our observed reality. It aims to guide readers beyond material causation and natural properties to pursue hidden realities.

The fourth dimension (metaphysical thinking) helps readers seek the Maker of the observed phenomena and understand the hidden messages/meanings of His acts. It makes an argument that given the interconnectivity of everything in the universe, the Maker of one thing is the Maker of everything. It also shows how to read God’s knowledge by reflecting on His works in the universe like a meaningful book.

The fifth dimension (moral thinking) encourages readers to reflect on the benefits of the observed phenomena and emphasizes how everything is custom-made for a specific beneficial outcome. It encourages readers to reflect on God’s creation as a unique and precious gift for them and/or others. It guides them on how to derive character lessons from the observed phenomena as a result of the contemplation included in the previous dimensions. It invites them to feel sincere appreciation for the special gifts granted by the Most Merciful and Most Kind. It encourages them to show kindness to others through good character.

In short, the 5D thinking approach aims to develop positive views of science from a holistic perspective, as a means for building better character. It will show how to gain character lessons by studying the universe for both instrumental and meditative knowledge.
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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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Courses
The certificate program will consist of two courses which are equivalent to 6 semester credits in total as shown below:
RNK-PHIL 542: Epistemology of Science: A Theoretical Approach
3 credits
RNK-PHIL 543: Philosophy and Teaching of Science: 5D Thinking Approach
3 credits
RNK-PHIL 544: Reading Said Nursi Reading the Creation
3 credits
More detailed syllabus for each course will be provided.

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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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Schedule & Delivery
The program will run from June 7th to July 23rd of 2021. In total, there will be 42 teaching hours for each course within 7 weeks. The weekly class schedule is provided below.
Though students are strongly encouraged to take three courses, they might be allowed to take one or two only.
Classes will start at 15:30 pm Istanbul time.
COURSE M T W T F S
RNK-PHIL 542
Epistemology of Science
A Theoretical Approach
15:30-18:30 pm Istanbul time 15:30-18:30 pm Istanbul time
RNK-PHIL 543
Philosophy and Teaching of Science
5D Thinking Approach
15:30-18:30 pm Istanbul time 15:30-18:30 pm Istanbul time
RNK-PHIL 544
Reading Said Nursi
Reading the Creation
15:30-18:30 pm Istanbul time 15:30-18:30 pm Istanbul time
The courses will be taught through live lessons via Zoom App
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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
Get the Flyer
Instructors
COURSE Leading Instructor Guest Instructors
RNK-PHIL 542
Epistemology of Science and Five-Dimensional Thinking
A Theoretical Approach
Prof.Alparslan Acikgenc
The author of Islamic Scientific Tradition in History, ISTAC, (2014) Malaysia.
Prof. Edward Moad
Prof.Yunus Cengel
Ms. Şükran Vahide
Ms. Nadine Kamal
Prof.Ibrahim Ozdemir
Prof. Mustafa Tuna
Prof. Abdulmajeed Khan
RNK-PHIL 543
A New Understanding of Science through 5D Thinking
A Practical Approach
Prof.Necati Aydin
The author of Said Nursi and Science in Islam: Character Building Through Nursi’s Mana-i Harfi (2019), Routledge.
Prof. Edward Moad
Prof.Yunus Cengel
Ms. Şükran Vahide
Ms. Nadine Kamal
Prof.Ibrahim Ozdemir
Prof. Mustafa Tuna
Prof. Abdulmajeed Khan
RNK-PHIL 544
Reading Said Nursi
Reading the Creation
Dr.Colin Turner
The author of Qur'an Revealed: A Critical Analysis of Said Nursi's Epistles of Light (2013), Gerlach.
Prof. Edward Moad
Prof.Yunus Cengel
Ms. Şükran Vahide
Ms. Nadine Kamal
Prof.Ibrahim Ozdemir
Prof. Mustafa Tuna
Prof. Abdulmajeed Khan
Brief Bio of Instructors
Dr. Alparslan Acikgenc (President of Nursi Society)
Dr. Açıkgenç holds a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago. His main interest of research is the history of scientific traditions of diverse civilizations, primarily Islamic and Western. He wrote a number of books and articles on religion and science, particularly on epistemology and sociology of science. His most recent work, Islamic Scientific Tradition in History (Kuala Lumpur, 2014) won the national science book award of Malaysia for the year 2014. Currently Dr. Açıkgenç is the president of Asian Philosophical Association and a member of Turkish Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Necati Aydin (Vice President of Nursi Society)
Dr. Necati Aydin is a professor of economics exploring wellbeing and moral economy from a multi-disciplinary perspective. He has two doctoral degrees, one in education and the other in economics. He worked as a researcher in the USA for a decade completing over forty research projects before embarking on his academic career. He has authored nine books, translated two, co-authored three books, and published many peer-reviewed articles. He has published several articles within the Islamic moral economy based on Nursi's writings. Last year, he published a book through Routledge titled as "Said Nursi and Science in Islam, Character Building through Mana-i Harfi Approach". He is also a recent book titled "3D of Happiness: Pleasure, Meaning, and Spirituality". He is the project leader of science workbook series based on the mana-i harfi approach. He is the founding member of Nursi Society. He currently serves as Vice President of the Society.
Dr. Colin Turner (Ph.D. in Islamic Studies), Professor (retired) of Islamic Thought, Durham University, UK
Dr.Turner is Director at International Foundation for Muslim Theology. He taught for over twenty years several courses on Islam at Durham University. Though his research covers a wide range of topics such as Muslim theology and philosophy, the history of Muslim political thought, Sufi spirituality, the Qur'an and Qur'anic exegesis, he recently focuses on the life and works of Said Nursi. In addition to several journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters, he authored the following books on Nursi: Makers of Islamic Civilization: Said Nursi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009; Qur'an Revealed: A Critical Analysis of Said Nursi's Epistles of Light, 2013.
Dr. Yunus Cengel (Ph.D. in mechanical engineering), Professor Emeritus, Nevada University
Though Dr.Cengel has a Ph.D. in engineering and taught conventional science courses several universities for many years, he recently shifted his research toward philosophy of science and spirituality. He is an international academic bestseller authoring the following textbooks from McGraw-Hill, Inc.: "Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach" (8th ed, 2014), “Introduction to Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer (2nd ed, 2008), "Heat and Mass Transfer: Fundamental and Applications (5th ed, 2014), “Fundamentals of Thermal-Fluid Sciences” (3rd ed, July 2007), and “Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications” (3rd ed., 2014), Differential Equations for Engineers and Scientists (2013)
Dr. Ibrahim Ozdemir
Dr.Özdemir is known for his studies in environmental philosophy in general and Islamic environmentalism in particular. After finishing his dissertation, The Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude Towards Nature (1997), he focused on Religion and Ecology. In his first major work, The Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude Towards Nature, Özdemir suggested that there is a philosophical and ethical dimension to environmental problems. While the technological, scientific and other relevant dimensions of the problem are acknowledged, the main emphasis is given to the ethical dimension of the issue at hand. He co-edited the following book with Dr.Ian Markham: Globalization, Ethics and Islam, editors: Ashgate. 2005.
Dr.Mustafa Tuna (Associate Professor at Duke University)
Mustafa Tuna (Ph.D. 2009, Princeton University) is Associate Professor of Russian and Central Eurasian History and Culture in the Departments of Slavic and Eurasian Studies & History at Duke University and is affiliated with the Duke Islamic Studies Center and the Duke Middle East Studies Center. His research focuses on social and cultural change among the Muslim communities of Central Eurasia, especially Russia's Volga-Ural region, Central Asia, and modern Turkey, since the early-nineteenth century. He is particularly interested in identifying the often intertwined roles of Islam, social networks, state or elite interventions, infrastructural changes, and the globalization of European modernity in transforming Muslim communities. His first book, titled Imperial Russia's Muslims: Islam, Empire, and European Modernity, 1788-1917, is published by Cambridge University Press in the "Critical Perspectives on Empire Series." His second book project, titled Said Nursi's Path of Light: Faith, Practice, and Spirituality in the Works of a Twentieth-Century Scholar of Islam, aims to establish the relevance of the teachings of Said Nursi (1878-1960), a Kurdish scholar of Islam from Turkey, in negotiating the changing modern world's challenges for Islam and Muslims. He also investigates the transmission and evolution of Islamic knowledge and practices comparatively in the Turkish and Soviet contexts in preparation for a third monograph. Dr. Tuna is married and has two sons.
Dr.Abdulmajeed Khan (Professor of Contemporary Islamic Thought at Aligarh Muslim University.)
Dr. Abdul Majid Khan, teaches at the Department of Islamic Studies of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is a member of several national and international academic bodies. He has contributed to numerous prestigious conferences on historical, philosophical and theological themes. On the other hand he does extensive fieldwork, meeting and interviewing the leaders and workers of Muslim states, associations and institutions of learning, the world over, and remains abreast of the latest writings on the Muslim world. A number of his research articles on Culture, Mysticism, Human Rights, Environment, Globalization and Consumerism have been published in various reputed journals. He has worked on contours of ‘Qur’ānic Exegesis’. His books Muhammad Asad: An Intellectual Giant of Contemporary World and Muhammad Asad Explains Al- Quran to the Modern Man speak of his scholarship in the field of contemporary explanations of Al-Qur’ān. As is evident from his studies and contributions, he holds the rare distinction of commenting on contemporary issues and developments but from the vantage of an intimate understanding of profound considerations of history, philosophy and theology. He is growingly able to see and show the continuous working of the Islamic spirit in comprehending, shaping and improving the Muslim civilization and Human Culture at large.
Ms. Nadine Kamal
She is a Secondary Science teacher and co-author of 5D Thinking Workbook Series. She earned her Bachelor of Science (Honors Biology) degree from the University of Waterloo and is currently in the process of completing a Master’s in Education from the University of Dundee. She has taught children between the ages of 8 and 18 and has experience teaching the International Baccalaureate, American, and English National curricula. She has an avid interest in international education, refugee education and the wellbeing of children and young adults. Nadine has always been fascinated with how science and spirituality intersect. She feels that the current school system lacks an element of ‘wonder’ and leaves little room for children to ponder upon the mystical elements of the universe.
Dr. Berghout Abdelaziz (Professor of Islamic studies and Civilisation)
Dr. Abdelaziz serves as a full professor at Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia. In the last 20 years, he has taught many subjects at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels including; Islamic Civilization and History, Introduction to Research Methodology, Research Methodology, The Islamic Worldview, Critical Studies of Philosophy in Islam, Parenting and Family Management, Tawheed and Methods of Human Sciences, Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving, Lessons from Sirah and Islamic History, Methods of Dawâh, Sciences of the Qurân, Introduction to Fiqh, Lessons from the Biography of the Prophet, Man in the Qurâan and Sunnah, Principles of Dealing with Sunnah, Early Development of Islamic Thought, and Issues in Contemporary Islamic Thought. Professor Berghout has extensively contributed through his writings and publications on different areas of interests such as; Islamic theory of civilization, the Islamic worldview, culture, education, social change, Islamic economic theory, strategic planning, quality assurance, internationalization of higher education, civilizational dialogue, globalization, rise and fall of civilization. He has to his credit over 50 articles in national and international journals and 10 books in various areas of expertise. The major books include Prophetic Methodology and Social Change, (Ummah Book Series, No. 43, Qatar, 1995), Foundations of Civilizational Renewal and its Universal Dimensions: A Study on Malik Bennabi’s Thought, Towards an Islamic Theory for Civilizational Development: the Contribution of Said Nursi, Research Centre, (IIUM, 2006), Materialization of the Civilizational Project of Islam in Contemporary World, (Ministry of Religious Affairs, Kuwait, 2007), Introduction to the Islamic Worldview:

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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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Testimonies from Participants
This is the fourth round that the 5D thinking program is being offered. It was offered in Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 during the regular academic calendar. Then, it was offered in an intensive form in January 2021. Nearly 100 participants have benefited from the program. Below, we will provide several testimonies from them:


“I can say that this program have turned my mind right side up. I have learned "how to learn", in fact, how to teach with a method of Thinking and Questioning, and,‘lit so many unlit' torches inside and outside me and now am able to see that there are multiple approaches to understand reality...” Bilkeesa Bhat Bhat
“My learning curve increased significantly and truly opened my heart and mind to many topics I was never aware of. The in-class exercises were thought-stimulating and we were given the chance to speak our minds regardless of our insufficient background. It was extremely helpful to hear other learning partners’ thoughts and opinions, especially since each one of us came from a different field and from a different culture. I would give it a 10 out of 10 without a second thought. It is truly heartwarming, mind opening and life changing.” Aisha Al Owais
“5D thinking opens up new dimensions and provide answers to some of the crucial existential questions that modern man encounters at some point in life… 5D broadens the myopic view of an individual by encouraging him to look beyond the apparent reality and acknowledge the Ultimate Reality.” Saba Irshad Ansari
“5D thinking is a stern belief that ideology free science and authentic Divine messages go together in an integrated manner, and do not contradict each other as their source is the same. This program was indeed an eye opener.” Assoc. Prof. Radika Mahajan
“The program has not only changed my perspective about the already accumulated knowledge but has opened new horizons and new ways of learning the fresh one.” Asst. Prof. Sheikh Javaid Ayub
“Using the 5D Thinking model helps to appreciate the Creator's benevolence on mankind in all aspects of life natural, scientific and unscientific.”  Asst Prof Showkat Ali
“You know when you find yourself lost in a hot desert and suddenly someone will appear and bring you a cup of cold water? This how the program appeared to me. The best thing is I saw a lot of people from different nations and countries, and they have boosted my willingness to pursue more knowledge and read a lot in order to sustain my beautiful connection with the creator” Noora Al-Ameri


Here are additional testimonials from an anonymous survey at the end of the program:
“This program has helped me improve many areas of my life, clarifying a lot of my confusion” 
“I have learned about different scientific approaches and I have realized that some of life’s problems can be solved by applying the ma’na-i harfi methodology.”
“The lectures were very informative and compelling. I was particularly impressed by the brain exercises and the way the instructor replied to questions. Thanks a lot for such an enlightening program.” 
“This program has actually changed the way I see and live my life.”
“Overall it was a mind-changing and thought-provoking experience.” 
“This program opened up a new dimension of how to think about life’s realities. Now my perspective on every life event has changed and I have begun to look for the wise purpose behind all things. My worldview has changed and as a result, I have set myself a range of new life objectives .”
“I am a person with a new mentality! My spiritual awareness has enhanced as I now link everything to Divine purpose more than I used to.” 


Keep Reading Who shall take it ?
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
Get the Flyer
Who shall take it ?
The program outputs will be valuable reference for those who look for integrating character lessons in their curriculum. The language will be inclusive to make sure anyone who are interested in exploring the converging path of meaning, science, and character development would benefit. The program targets the following audiences:
Scholars/researchers who specialize in science, philosophy, education, and religion
Graduate students who want to study science and philosophy through 5D thinking approach
Undergraduate sophomore who are interested in new perspectives in science and education.
Teachers who want to teach science through the five-dimensional approach
Curriculum developers and educators who want to write books or develop a new curriculum on science, religion, and character development
Keep Reading Tuition and Scholarship
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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Tuition and Scholarship
Tuition is $250 per course
Full or partial scholarship is available for anyone who can not afford to pay the tuition as long as they provide the following information :
A brief statement on the financial state of the applicant showing his/her need for scholarship
At least a half-page statement on the expected value and importance of the program for the applicant

Keep Reading College Credits
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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College Credits
Will it count for a college credit ?
Each course will count for 3 college credit for advance undergraduate and master level programs.
However, you shall discuss with your advisor to make sure that it will be counted for your degree since every university has its own policy.
Once you successfully complete both courses, you will be given a certificate along with the transcript.

Keep Reading Textbooks & Reading Materials
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
Get the Flyer
Textbooks & Reading Materials
More Resources
Sample chapter from 5D Thinking Workbook I on Brain and Five Senses (biology)
Sample chapter 5D Thinking Workbook II on the Earth and Five Cycles (earth science)
Sample chapter 5D Thinking Workbook III on the selected topics from physics
Reading Materials from Nursi’s Risale Collection

Keep Reading Course Syllabi
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
Get the Flyer
Course Syllabi
USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
Get the Flyer
Enrollment Form
Please fill out this form if you are interested in the program.
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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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Contact
If you have any question regarding the program, please fill out the form below


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USKUDAR UNIVERSITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
June 7 2021 Deadline: May 15th, 2021
EXISTENCE & MEANING:
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH
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INTRODUCTION
The program aims to teach a unique method that enables one to derive certain character lessons from scientific knowledge. It is based on the assumption that ideology-free science and authentic, Divinely-revealed knowledge do not contradict each other, as they both come from the same source. It assumes that the universe is an eloquent book, replete with meaningful signs. It considers pure science to be an excellent way of revealing the Divine signs which make up the book of the universe. However, it claims that most modern scientists do not know how to ‘read’ the book. The program will present the ‘five-dimensional (5D) thinking approach’, inspired by a Muslim Scholar Said Nursi’s mana-i harfi method of reading the book of the universe. Participants will gain a new understanding of scientific knowledge through 5D thinking which comprises: 1) analytical thinking; 2) analogical thinking; 3) critical thinking; 4) meditative thinking; and 5) moral thinking. The 5D thinking approach is expected to function like 5D glasses, showing multiple dimensions of reality and wellbeing.
Keep Reading An Alternative Approach
Analytical Thinking
Analogical Thinking
Critical Thinking
Meditative Thinking
Moral Thinking
Physical Reality
Metaphysical
Reality
Moral Reality
Sensual (bodily) pleasure
Intellectual pleasure
Spiritual & moral pleasure
5DThinking
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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