The Flashes Collection
The Flashes Collection forms the third volume of the Risale-i Nur Collection, a Qur'anic commentary written in Turkish by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and inspiration of a movement for the strengthening and renewal of belief that has continued to gain momentum from the time it was written to the present. Like the first two volumes, this Collection consists of thirty-three treatises or parts, set in order by the author. On various subjects, the main purpose of the pieces is similar to that of the Risale-i Nur as a whole; that is, the expounding of various Qur'anic verses and its teachings concerning the fundamentals of belief in a way that addresses modern man's understanding and is relevant to his needs. To return to The Flashes Collection, a look at its contents shows that in accordance with the Qur'anic way described above, it proves and explains the main truths of belief. At the same time, it answers criticisms of these truths and of Qur'anic verses made by atheists. Examples of this are parts of the Twelfth, Fourteenth, and Sixteenth Flashes, which were written in reply to questions put to Bediuzzaman by his students. Others of the Flashes, particularly the Twenty-Third, the celebrated Treatise on Nature, and in the Sixth Point of the Thirtieth, the discussion on Divine Self-Subsistence, refute in readily understable manner Naturalist and Materialist philosophy.
It is also in the face of attempts to substitute Islam with such philosophy and the enforced innovations that accompanied these attempts, that Bediuzzaman's stress on adherence to the Practices (Sunna) of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) may be seen. Notably in the Eleventh Flash, and his solving of one of the chief points of conflict between the Sunnis and Shi'a in the Fourth-the question of 'the Imamate.'
The Flashes Collection is also distinguished from the first two volumes of the Risale-i Nur in so far as it considers social aspects of belief to a greater extent. For example, the Twentieth Flash, On Sincerity, demonstrates that sincerity is the means of healing the divisions in society and achieving union. The Nineteenth encourages the important Islamic principle of frugality, for which Bediuzzaman himself was the finest example. The Twenty-Fourth discusses the wisdom in Islamic dress for women. While the Twenty-Fifth addresses the sick, and the Twenty-Sixth, the elderly. One explanation for this may be that Bediuzzaman removed from his place of exile in the isolated village of Barla in the summer of 1934 to the provincial centre of Isparta. The Flashes which include the above were written here, where the needs of the various sections of society may have impressed themselves on Bediuzzaman to a greater degree. In addition to this, it may be noted that in the Sixth Section of the Twenty-Ninth Letter, Bediuzzaman points out that of the six main sections of society, irreligion can offer only a superficial and temporary happiness to the youth. For the sick, the elderly, the weak and the poor, the children and the pious it can offer nothing. Thus, on being moved to the more populous centre of Isparta, he wrote the above-mentioned parts of The Flashes, demonstrating how true belief and Islam answer the needs of all sections of society, affording true happiness both in this world and the next. In April 1935 Bediuzzaman was arrested together with one hundred and twenty of his students and sent to Eskisehir Prison. Here he wrote the Twenty-Seventh Flash, which comprises his defence speeches in Eskisehir Court, the Twenty-Eighth, short pieces on various topics, some of which throw important light on Qur'anic verses, the Twenty-Ninth, which illustrates the essence of the way of the Risale-i Nur-reflective thought, and the Thirtieth, another treatise of the greatest importance, which expounds the Six Divine Names of the Greatest Name. The first two parts of The Rays, the fourth volume of the Risale-i Nur, were also brilliant fruits of this harsh twelve months of imprisonment. Despite being written under particular constraints and in particular conditions, the Risale-i Nur and the present work expound a universal Qur'anic way and deal with universal problems in a manner that addresses the needs of contemporary man. This may be seen as the reason for its continued spread and acceptance both within Turkey and throughout the world.