رد: Religion in Kurdistan was in contact with both Muslim modernists and leading Kurdish nationalists and where he became involved in attempts at popular education. In the Balkan War and World War I he served as a commander of Kurdish militia troops, distinguishing himself incidentally by saving Armenian families from the massacres of 1915. His dream was to educate his people and lift them from the ignorance and backwardness in which they lived. The tariqats, in their state then were to him part of that backwardness. The education he proposed was both Islamic and scientific. In the early 1920s Sa`id broke with the Kurdish nationalist movement, in which he had belonged to the non-separatist wing, and devoted himself to writing his magnum opus Risalei Nur (Treatise on the [Divine] Light). This is a series of texts of varying length on various moral and religious subjects, based on dreams and visions, strongly mystical in tone, and written in an idiosyncratic, old-fashioned Turkish. It became the sacred text of Sa`id's increasing numbers of disciples, who came to be known as Nurjus, "Devotees of the [Divine] Light." The Nurju movement, in spite of persecution by the state, kept growing in numbers and has at present several million followers throughout Turkey, Turks as well as Kurds.25 The Nurjus constitute probably the most tolerant and open-minded of the various Sunni Muslim movements in Turkey and have from the beginning distinguished themselves by their positive attitude toward modem science. This is not to say that among the followers of so large a movement there are not here and there fanatical groups. It is ironical, given Sa`id Nursi's rejection of the sufi orders, that the Nurju movement has itself assumed some of the structural characteristics of a tariqat, with a hierarchical organisation based on closeness to the late master and degrees of initiation in the arcane secrets of the master's texts. I have even met Nurjus among the Kurds who were also Naqshbandis. There are at present several separate tendencies within the Nurju movement emerging out of conflicting views on the political stand that the movement should adopt. Among the Kurdish Nurjus a moderately nationalist tendency has emerged in the 1980s that names itself after the Medreset-üz-Zahra, the university that Sa`id Nursi had dreamt of establishing in 25 0n Sa`id-i Nursi and his religious teachings, see Hamid Algar, "Said Nursi and the Risala-i Nur", in Islamic Perspectives: Studies in Honor of Sayyid Abul A!a Mawdudi (London, 1978), pp. 313-333; Serif Mardin, Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey: The Case of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989). On the Nurju movement see Paul Dumont "Disciples of the Light: The Nurju Movement in Turkey," Central Asian Survey 5:2 (1986): 330. See also Rusen Çakır's observations in Ayet ve slogan, pp. 77-99.