The Belief in Angels in the Islamic Faith According to Said Nursî’s Study in Risale-i Nur
Said Nursî (1877–1960) is considered one of the most influential Turkish Muslim theologians of the twentieth century. In the collection of his works called Risale-i Nur (Epistles of Light), among many other theological topics, he discusses angels as a problem of Islamic theology concerning the unseen world. Nursî states that the existence of angels is a certain fact that cannot be disputed or doubted by believers. It is one of the central principles of faith, without which Islamic faith would not be complete. Therefore, believing in angels is a part of the faith (īmān) and one of requirements for being considered a believer in God. Their existence is as certain and definite as the existence of human beings.
This paper will catalogue and analyze Nursî’s writings on this topic. I will consider Nursî’s views about the concept of angels and examine his interpretations about these unseen creatures by studying their relation to human beings, their duties to God, their kinds, their essence of creation, and their significance for humans. I will argue that, for Nursî, angels function as examples for certain aspects of human religious behavior. Furthermore, I will argue that angels function as connectors between the endless universe, which shows the magnitude of divine power, and the earth, inhabited by humans. This analysis of a prominent Muslim scholar’s perspective on angels will introduce an Islamic view to complement the concept of angels contained in the other two Abrahamic traditions.