In the year 1911, during the twilight years of the Ottoman rule, Said Nursi delivered a sermon in Damascus. The era was one in which the believers were faced with the most agonizing question: why are non-believers who have abandoned God and religious principles progressing so rapidly in material development, while those regions of the earth where religious faith is strong are stagnating and even regressing towards greater levels of backwardness and poverty?

Said Nursi admits that religious communities are themselves to blame for the malaise that afflicts them. He notes six “dire illnesses” that must be confronted if religious believers are to make a positive contribution to human progress in the coming decades. While noting the failures of believers, he also rejects the godless and materialist solutions proposed by the critics, which he foresees will lead to disaster, a claim which the subsequent history of the century proved to be only too accurate.

  1. The sickness: despair– the cure: hope
  2. The sickness: deceit – the cure: honesty
  3. The sickness: enmity– the cure: love
  4. The sickness: disunity– the cure: unity
  5. The sickness: despotism– the cure: Islamic dignity
  6. The sickness: individualism– the cure: consultation

A fuller explanation, by a Christian writer of our times, can be read here: