E S K I SH
E H I R
The Arrests Start
On 25 April, 1935, a number of Bediuzzaman’s students were taken from their homes and places of work and held in custody. Two days later Bediuzzaman himself and another group were arrested. It was the start of an event which very often bordered on the ridiculous, despite its seriousness, and was another example of the lengths the Government went to to reduce the standing of influential religious figures and to scare the population away from religion.
According to Süleyman Rüsdü, the affair began when Bediuzzaman went to attend the Friday prayers and thousands of people poured into the streets to see him. The town’s Governor and administrators took fright at this, and when a copy of the Tenth Word, Bediuzzaman’s treatise on Resurrection and the Hereafter, was found on the Governor’s desk, they panicked and sent urgent wires to Ankara saying, “Bediuzzaman and his students have taken to the streets. They are storming the Government Building.”1 In fact, this was part of the ‘plan’ of the authorities to provoke ‘an incident’, as we shall see. The houses of anyone known to have had any connection with Bediuzzaman were then searched and the arrests began.
Tenekeci Mehmed tells how someone sent word to him that this was happening, and he took all the parts of the Risale-i Nur he had in his house together with any other books to do with Islam or religion and buried them in the garden. At that point no less than eighteen police came and searched the house. Despite their thoroughness, they found nothing, and he was one of the few not arrested.2 Besides Isparta and its province, suspects were arrested in Milas, Antalya, Bolvadin, Aydin, Van, and other places. They had been denounced to the authorities as ‘reactionaries’ (mürteji), and were charged under Article 163 of the Criminal Code, which among other things prohibited the exploitation of religion and religious sentiments in any way damaging to the security of the state, and the formation of political associations on the basis of religion. There was questioning and statements were taken, and it was while this was in progress that Binbasi Asim Bey died. He had to make the choice between saying something that could be harmful to Bediuzzaman, and telling a lie, which his honour would not allow. So he uttered a prayer: “Lord! Take my spirit!”, and indeed, the Almighty did take his spirit, and he attained the rank of what Bediuzzaman called “an integrity martyr”.
Meanwhile, a furore was started in the press startling the country with stories of a “network of reactionaries” which had been uncovered. And as though to quell some major unrest which threatened the foundations of the state, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Shükrü Kaya, the Commander-in-Chief of the Gendarmerie, Kazim Orbay, and the Chief of Police travelled together to Isparta at the head of a detachment of gendarmes. Isparta and the surrounding country was put under the control of military units, and cavalry was posted along the road all the way from Isparta to Afyon. Rumours were spread throughout the region that Bediuzzaman and his students were going to be executed, and a general atmosphere of terror was generated. At the same time, in order to forestall any uprising in the eastern Turkey that Bediuzzaman’s being put in prison might provoke, Inönü, the head of that despotic government, set off on a tour of the Eastern Provinces.3
On around 12 May, Bediuzzaman and thirty-one of his students were handcuffed
in pairs as though they were dangerous criminals, and bundled into lorries
at the point of bayonets. Unknown to them, they were to be taken to the
prison at Eskishehir, some three hundred and thirty kilometres to the north.
Thousands of the local people gathered when they were leaving, weeping
families of those arrested, all the people weeping to see Bediuzzaman being
taken from them in this pitiable state.4 One of the gendarmes
sent from Ankara to escort them related this and the journey, first telling
how they had been fitted out with new equipment and how Bediuzzaman had
been described to them in the most exaggeratedly unfavourable terms, Shükrü
Kaya, the Home Affairs Minister, calling him in derogatory fashion, “the
Kurdish Hoja”.5 In fact the order was to offload Bediuzzaman
and his students in some isolated spot on the road and to shoot them. However,
the officer in charge, Ruhi Bey, was sympathetic and did not carry out
the order. Moreover, he ordered their handcuffs to be unfastened at the
appropriate time, so they could perform the prayers. One student records
that he was expelled from the army as a consequence.6 They travelled
as far as Afyon in the lorries, in which they had been permitted neither
to speak nor to open any window for air, and still handcuffed in pairs
and under the bayonets of gendarmes, were transferred to a train. The following
morning they arrived at Eskishehir.7
Conditions in the prison were appalling. Bediuzzaman was put in solitary confinement, the others together in a ward. Their number grew from thirty-two to one hundred and twenty as they were joined by more Students arrested elsewhere. Once they entered the prison they were not allowed to visit the lavatories. After hours some warders came and dug a hole near the door and inserted a pipe. This is what they would have to use, they were not to be allowed out. With the filth, the bed-bugs, and the cockroaches, it was impossible to sleep at night. For twelve days they were kept without food. The fact was they were considered to be condemned prisoners doomed for the gallows.8 Notwithstanding the conditions, Bediuzzaman continued to write, completing five more treatises in the months he was here. These were the Twenty-Eighth, Twenty-Ninth, and Thirtieth Flashes, and the First and Second Rays. He wrote them very much with his students in mind, suffering so unjustly this first imprisonment. He named prison the School of Joseph (Medrese-i Yusufiye), after the Prophet Joseph, the patron of prisoners.
Among those arrested were some that had only the very slightest connection with Bediuzzaman. It was another example of how the Government had blown up the case out of all proportion. These were members of the “network of reactionaries” which was threatening the state! A businessman from Bolvadin called Shükrü Shahinler related his own case and two others:
“I had become acquainted with Halil Ibrahim Çöllüoglu in connection with some business. He then wrote me a letter and requested a reply. The reply I sent was enough to send me to Eskishehir Prison and include me among the students of the Risale-i Nur. Also in that way I was able to see Bediuzzaman in Eskishehir and visit him.
“There was an optician in Aydin called Shevket Gözaçan. Because he had treated the eyes of one of Bediuzzaman’s students, Bediuzzaman wrote him a short note to thank him three or four lines long. They sent Shevket Bey to Eskishehir Prison because of this.
“And again, one of Bediuzzaman students called Ahmad Feyzi Kul had written Bediuzzaman a letter in Barla and signed it ‘The Müftü of Aydin’ [by way of a joke, aydin means ‘enlightened’, as well as being a place-name]. When the affair erupted, they sent the real Müftü of Aydin to Eskishehir although he was not connected in any way at all. Müftü Mustafa Efendi stayed in prison for months together with me. Eskishehir was somewhere where crazy mix-ups like this all came together.”9
Perhaps the most crazy was the case of Bediuzzaman’s treatise on the wisdom of fasting in the month of Ramazan. When searching the houses of Bediuzzaman and his students for copies of the Risale-i Nur, the police had come across this treatise, called in Turkish, Ramazan’a Ait, which can mean either Belonging to Ramazan, or Concerning Ramazan. Besides the holy month of fasting, in Turkey it is also a man’s name. Thus, the police started searching the villages of Isparta for someone of that name. During the operation it was learnt that the neighbour of a house searched in some remote village was called Ramazan. So they came and clapped handcuffs on the unfortunate villager who knew neither how to read nor write, and sent him to Eskishehir Prison, despite his bewildered protestations of innocence. And there he remained for two months until the authorities admitted their mistake and released him.10
“The Prison Became Like a Mosque”
The prison authorities did not neglect to plant an informer in the ward where Bediuzzaman’s students were. ‘Postman Kâmil’ as he was called was doing his military service as a gendarme in Eskishehir when he was assigned to the job. Bediuzzaman sent his students a note one day stuck to the bottom of the teapot warning them not to speak against the Government as there was an informer amongst them. In the event, ‘Postman Kâmil’ was so impressed by Bediuzzaman and these completely innocent individuals that he himself began to perform the obligatory prayers and in his reports wrote that they were innocent. When describing these days to Necmeddin Sahiner in 1985, he told him:
“...While serving in the prison, I was startled by some sudden news: ‘Some condemned prisoners are coming, and they are hojas!’... Several days later Hoja Efendi [Bediuzzaman] arrived, and after him, the other hojas, his students...”
After Kâmil had been instructed to act as informer on the new arrivals, he joined them inside, ostensibly serving the sentence for some crime. He continued:
“Everyone got on well with each other in Eskishehir Prison... They used to perform the prescribed prayers all together, recite the Qur'an, and offer prayers.
“They emptied the juveniles’ ward for Bediuzzaman and put him in it. His students were somewhere else. The juveniles’ ward was large and Bediuzzaman stayed in it all alone. They [the authorities] were always speaking ill of Bediuzzaman to us, so that unavoidably I was influenced by what they said. Then one day I went and kissed his hand. He was a saintly old man, frail, and his hair quite long. His beard had grown a bit, since it had not been shaved. On my being cordial, he embraced me. I was very touched and started to weep. He began to tell me about his life... He said: ‘I only want the Risale-i Nur. I won’t give up these works of mine.’ I was very moved and affected by his terse words, and was sorry at the injustice done to such a great person. I wondered to myself: ‘Why do they bother this elderly man so much?’ Without letting it be known to anyone I kept on visiting him. One time Hoja Efendi drew two fingers over my forehead, and said to me: ‘Repent and seek forgiveness; provide food for sixty people and pay the blood-money.’ This was extraordinary. I hadn’t said I had killed someone, but with his saintly powers, he knew what I’d done. He was a great saint...
“I stayed in the Hoja’s students’ ward, so of course I was in close contact with them. It was not possible to think of anything else in those cramped quarters. They held good talks there, the prayers were performed, and the Qur'an recited...
“That dark prison ward shone with the lights of the Qur'an. Everyone would rise early for the prayers, and take their sections [a thirtieth part] of the Qur'an, then the recitations of the whole Qur'an would begin. After the morning prayer, the prayer for a complete recitation of the Qur'an would be said. From time to time one of the hojas with a fine voice [Mehmed Gülirmak] would sing a ‘kaside’. He used to send us into raptures. Then they would start reciting the Qur'an again. The whole Qur'an was recited several times each day. Those innocent people were saved by the readings of the Qur'an and the prayers. Those were good days..... The prison became like a mosque. If only I had been able to be like them. There’s another thing I witnessed in Eskishehir Prison which has stayed in my mind these fifty years; I always pray for Hoja Efendi’s soul. I had plenty to eat, but he made do with tea and a few olives each day. God’s grace was with him; just how great he was, I didn’t know...”11
It is apparent from the overreaction of the Interior Minister, Shükrü Kaya, and the Government, the furore started in the press, and the rumours put around both in Isparta and Eskishehir, that the intention was to do away with Bediuzzaman. Quite likely when it is remembered that countless people, and especially men of religion, had fallen prey to the secularizing ‘Reforms’, accused of lesser ‘crimes’. The charges were several, and involved the infringement of the principle of secularism and of Article 163 of the Criminal Code through, among other things, exploiting religion for political ends “with the idea of political reaction” and organizing a group which might be harmful to public security. The Court was under pressure from the Interior Minister to condemn Bediuzzaman. It was thus a matter of life and death for him, and his students, but it was not himself he set about to defend in the Court, his defence speeches are for the most part defences of the Risale-i Nur. They are masterpieces which demolish with his usual straightforward reasoning the Government’s baseless suspicions concerning him and the trumped-up charges of the Court. The fact was that due to his percipience and foresight, Bediuzzaman had succeeded in counteracting the depradations into the Islamic faith of the people of Turkey. And more than this, with his writings, he had started a positive movement of renewal without apparently breaking the new laws. And he was able to prove this to the Court.
Thus despite the pressure brought to bear on it, the Court cleared him of all the charges, save one, which concerned a short treatise expounding some Qur'anic verses concerning Islamic dress. A topical subject, it made this the excuse, and arbitrarily sentenced Bediuzzaman to eleven months’ imprisonment, and fifteen of his students to six months.12 The remaining one hundred and two were acquitted; three had already been released. Bediuzzaman objected to this, for if they had been found guilty of the crimes of which they had been accused, it would have resulted in his own execution and at least imprisonment with hard labour for his students. He described it as “the sentence for a horse thief”, and demanded that they show in accordance with the law that his guilt necessitated either his execution or one hundred and one years’ imprisonment, or else give him and his friends and his writings their complete freedom and recover their losses from those who caused them.13
Quite apart from the trumped-up charges and arbitrary sentence, Bediuzzaman was also denied his most basic rights when it came to preparing his defence, which he himself wrote and delivered. While it had taken the Court three to four months to prepare the case, he was allowed only a few days in which to prepare his whole defence; and for some parts of it only a few hours.14 So also, when he found writing by hand so laborious, he was denied a scribe. And he was not permitted to speak with anyone for two months.15 However, Bediuzzaman was not intimidated by these injustices; he was prepared to do all he could so that the Risale-i Nur be cleared and justice upheld. For he recognized the law and the process of the law, and was absolutely opposed to any activities which usurped it, damaged public security, and infringed the rights of the majority. Thus, in addition to answering the charges according to the existing laws, Bediuzzaman told the Court that copies of his defence were to be sent to the Interior Minister and the Governing Body of the National Assembly.16 And when, despite proving quite clearly that Article 163 was not applicable to him and his activities, he was found guilty of one charge by the Court, he applied for the case to be sent to the Court of Appeal.17 And in the event of the Appeal Court upholding the Court’s decision was prepared to send a petition to the highest level of government, the Cabinet.18
One by one Bediuzzaman answered the charges made against him, supporting all his replies with evidence. He told the Court that since the best wile was to be without wiles, he had taken truth and honesty as the basis of his defence. Thus, he openly admitted his service to belief and the Qur'an, which being in no way concerned with politics was not contrary to the law, and exposed to the Court the plot that had been laid against him because of this service. To involve the legal system in this conspiracy, and attempt to achieve its aims in the name of the law, was a grave error and brought the law and legal system into disrepute. He was quite undaunted by the manifest purpose of the Court, his execution. He was after all the Bediuzzaman who had faced the Court Martial set up after the 31st March Incident in 1909, and won his acquittal. He was also the practised preacher and fine orator who had addressed thousands in Aya Sophia the same year, and thousands in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus in 1911. Thus, Bediuzzaman started off his defence with a skilful move which turned the tables on those judging him. He was answering the main charge of “making a tool of religion with the idea of political reaction, with the intention of undertaking an enterprise which might damage public security”:
“God forbid a hundred thousand times that the sciences of belief with which we are occupied should be a tool for anything apart from Divine pleasure! For sure, just as the sun cannot be a satellite of the moon and follow it, so too belief in God, which is the luminous and sacred key to eternal happiness and a sun of the life of the hereafter, cannot be the tool of social life. There is no matter in the universe more important than the mystery of belief, the greatest question and greatest riddle of the creation of this world, so that belief can be made the tool of it.
“Judges of the Court! If this tortuous imprisonment of mine concerned only myself and my life in this world, you can be sure that I would remain silent like I have for these last ten years. But since it concerns the eternal life of many, and the Risale-i Nur, which reveals and explains the mighty talisman of creation, if I had a hundred heads and each day one was cut off, I would not give up this mighty mystery. And even if I am delivered from your hands, I cannot be saved from the clutches of the appointed hour. I am old and at the door of the grave. And so, consider only this mystery of belief concerning the appointed hour and the grave, which will come to everyone, one of the hundreds of matters the Risale-i Nur reveals...
“Can all the most weighty political questions of the world loom larger than death for someone who is certain of death, so that he can make it the tool of those questions. For the time of its coming is not specified. The appointed hour, which may come at any time to cut off your head, may be either eternal extinction or the despatch papers to go to a better world. The ever-open grave is either the door to a pit of non-being and eternal darkness, or the gate onto a world more permanent and full of light than this world.
“...Thus, Respected Sirs, is it at all fair, is it at all reasonable to consider the Risale-i Nur, which uncovers and explains hundreds of questions of belief like this, to be biased books exploiting political currents like harmful writings? What law requires this?... Also, since the secular Republic remains impartial according to the principle of secularism and does not interfere with those without religion, of course it also should not interfere with religious people on whatever pretext.”19
Thus, Bediuzzaman established that it was the cause of belief and the Risale-i Nur that he was going to defend, and then went on to rebut the charges concerning his exploiting religion for political ends. The important questions of political reaction and secularism shall be discussed later.
After pointing out that he had refused Mustafa Kemal’s offers to work alongside the new regime in 1923 because he had already withdrawn from the world and politics, Bediuzzaman described to the Court five ‘Pointers’ showing that he had not “interfered in the state’s business”.
Firstly, for thirteen years Bediuzzaman had not so much as opened a newspaper, newspapers being “the tongue of politics”, which everyone he knew could testify to. Then, for the ten years he had been in the province of Isparta there was not the slightest hint to suggest he had made any attempt “to be involved in politics”, despite the great upheavals that were occurring during that time. His house had been raided and searched thoroughly, and all his private papers and books taken. And though these had been studied by both the police and the Governor’s Office, nothing of any political content had been found. Only, in all the works, they had found a few points they were able to raise objections about. These were mostly scholarly expositions on a number of Qur'anic verses to do with women’s dress and inheritance. However, he told the Court, these short pieces had been written years before while he was a member of the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islamiye, and he had suppressed them when the new laws were passed, which they might be seen as opposing. Only one copy had been sent to someone by mistake. Furthermore, the fact that he had chosen to remain for nine years in a remote village proved Bediuzzaman’s desire to remain removed from all involvement in social and political matters. In fact he said, it was his not applying to the Isparta authorities to be released or transferred elsewhere that had “wounded their pride”, so that they had caused the affair to erupt by alarming Ankara. He told the Court:
“All my friends who are in touch with me know that it isn’t being involved in politics or attempting anything political, even thinking about it is contrary to my basic aim, my mental state, and my sacred duties towards belief. Light (nur) has been given me; the club of politics has not been given me...”20
So too there was absolutely no evidence to support the charge of disturbing public security by exciting religious emotions. On the contrary, as Bediuzzaman pointed out, the Risale-i Nur upheld security:
“The Risale-i Nur, which consists of the sciences of belief, establishes and ensures public security and peace. Yes, belief, the source of good characteristics and fine qualities, certainly doesn’t disturb public order; it ensures it. It is unbelief that disturbs it, because of its bad character.”21
Also, not one of Bediuzzaman’s students, or anyone who read the Risale-i Nur had been involved in any of the disturbances which had been given a religious colouring and had occurred since the ‘Reforms’ had been first enacted. In another part of his defence, Bediuzzaman said: “Those who receive instruction from the Risale-i Nur certainly do not get involved in any public disturbances, which are the cause of the blood of innocents being spilt and their rights being violated...”22 Furthermore, Bediuzzaman pointed out that if Article 163 was applicable to them, it was applicable also to the Directorate of Religious Affairs and all the imams and preachers whom they employed, since they encouraged religious feelings in the same way.23
A further charge, and one that Bediuzzaman was to be frequently charged with, was with instructing in Sufism, for as was mentioned earlier, Sufism had been prohibited in 1925, and the orders disbanded and their tekkes closed. This was another quite baseless charge; as all the Risale-i Nur showed, Bediuzzaman was concerned with the truths of belief. He told the Court:
“As I have written in numerous treatises, this is not the time of Sufism; it is the time to save belief. There are many who enter Paradise without belonging to a Sufi order, but none who enter it without belief. It is therefore the time to work for belief.” There was no one who could come forward and say he had taught them Sufism. What he had taught to a small number of his special students was “not training in Sufism (tarikat), but instruction in the direct way to reality (hakikat).”24 In connection with this, the Court wanted to know what Bediuzzaman lived on. But his extreme frugality was well-known and easily established, as well as his life-long habit of not accepting presents or charity in any form.
Another of the main charges, which was also clearly trumped up, was that Bediuzzaman had set up an organization for political purposes. He was persistently questioned by the Court concerning this, and asked where he had secured the funds for it. Bediuzzaman’s reply was in four parts. He began:
“Firstly. And I ask those who ask, What document, what is there to suggest the existence of a political organization such as that? What evidence, what proof have they found that we have set up an organization with money that they ask so persistently? For the last ten years I have been in the province of Isparta under strict surveillance. I used to see only one or two assistants and in ten days one or two travellers. I was alone, a stranger, tired of the world, felt extreme disgust with politics, and had repeatedly witnessed how powerful political movements had been harmful and come to nothing through their reactions. I rejected and took no part in political movements when among my own people and thousands of friends at the most crucial opportunity, and fled from politics as though fleeing from the Devil considering it to be the greatest crime to damage through political partisanship service to true belief, which is most sacred and which it is not permissible to harm by anything... It is not only me, but the province of Isparta and all who know me, and indeed anyone who possesses reason and a conscience, will meet with disgust the slanders of those who say, There is such a organization and you are hatching political plots, and will say to them, You are accusing him due to your own malicious plans....” Bediuzzaman continued:
“Our business is belief. Through the brotherhood of belief, we are brothers with ninety-nine per cent of the people of Isparta and in this country. Whereas a society or organization is the alliance of a minority within the majority. Ninety-nine people do not form a society in the face of one man...” And he concluded answering this charge by pointing out how unrealistic it was to wonder where someone who had managed to live on a hundred lira in ten years and had worn the same patched cloak for seven years had obtained the money for the organization he was supposed to have formed.25
The main point on which the trial rested, however, was the vexed question of secularism, in the cause of which all the radical changes since the establishment of the Republic had been brought about. What lay at the base of the accusations against Bediuzzaman was that he had opposed the Government and its programme of secularization. While for his part, Bediuzzaman denied that he had opposed it, arguing that “the secular republic means the separation of religion from [the matters of] this world”,26 and that “since, according to the principle [of secularism] the secular republic remains impartial and does not interfere with those without religion, so too of course it also should not interfere with those with religion on whatever pretext.”27 That is to say, secularism should ensure freedom of conscience, and of expression, and other liberties. This conflict of interpretations over the meaning of secularism and how it should be applied remains unresolved to this day. Thus, Bediuzzaman argued that the Risale-i Nur was a scholarly work – and as such should be unrestricted under the secular republic – which silenced materialism and naturalism and the philosophers of Europe and their attacks on the Qur'an; for more than thirty years his attention had been directed towards their attacks. The internal problems of the country, he saw as resulting from their corrupting influence.28 The Risale-i Nur dealt “powerful blows” at them and at the atheists who furthered their interests and plots in the country29 under the cover of secularization. It was these “intriguers” and “their irreligious committees” that Bediuzzaman opposed, not the Government. Bediuzzaman differentiated between the Government and these committees or secret societies working for the cause of irreligion, and warned about their infiltrating the Government and deceiving it. It was they who raised the outcries of “political reaction” and “exploiting religion for political ends.”30
These accusations levelled at people who supported religion were not new, of course. Much use had been made of them after the Constitutional Revolution of 1909, when the debate between those who favoured secularization and total westernization and those who did not was often most virulent, as was described in an earlier chapter. At that time, Bediuzzaman told the court martial set up after the 31st March Incident: “Certain people who make politics the tool of irreligion accuse others of political reaction and exploiting religion for the sake of politics in order to conceal their own misdeeds.”31 And in the Republic, these slogans were used for the same ends: to blacken the names of Muslims and reduce their standing in the eyes of the population, and so by frightening the people away from Islam, to pave the way for the spreading of irreligious ideas. The Menemen Incident was a classic example, and part of the charge against Bediuzzaman was that he had attempted “to imitate” that revolt. It had been a minor incident which occurred in response to provocation, and amid great storms in the press had been suppressed brutally as a “reactionary movement”. Thirty-three people had been executed in the wake of it, and in numerous places repressive measures taken against people known to work for the cause of religion. Reprisals had also been taken against Bediuzzaman, although he had absolutely no connection with it.32 Bediuzzaman explained to the Court how forces representing the same interests had attempted to provoke a similar incident in Isparta, and having failed were now trying to deceive the judiciary. Saying also that the matter had to be seen in the light of the perpetual struggle between belief and unbelief, religion and irreligion, and that “everyone who is aware of the heart of this matter knows that these attacks on us are an assault on religion directly on behalf of irreligion.”33
Thus, Bediuzzaman demanded a fair trial from the Court. He told it: “Among the branches of government, the one charged more than any other with preserving its independence, and, remaining free of outside influences, with considering matters impartially and without emotion is certainly the court.” Nevertheless, irregularities had taken place. For example, while his name was Said Nursi, in his questioning Bediuzzaman was always referred to as “Said-i Kurdi” and “the Kurd” in a way which would inevitably produce biased opinions. 34 Indeed, the intention was to link Bediuzzaman with the constant opposition to the Government and rebellions in eastern Turkey, as is shown clearly from the slanderous campaigns orchestrated against him in the press at the same time. So also, despite his correcting them in all his statements, the dates his works were written were deliberately confused with the dates they were copied out and pieces written over a period of twenty years were shown as having been written in one year.35
It was due to his “scholarly defence” of a few Qur'anic verses concerning women’s dress and inheritance, written before the foundation of the Republic and adoption of the new Civil Code, “against the objections and attacks of European philosophers”,36 part of which had been included in the Risale-i Nur as the Twenty-Fourth Flash, that the Court finally convicted Bediuzzaman and sentenced him in entirely arbitrary fashion to eleven months imprisonment, and as mentioned, fifteen of his students to six months. Sentence was passed on 19 August, 1935.37
An extraordinary event occurred while Bediuzzaman was being held in the prison, occasions similar to which were also recorded while he was in Denizli Prison. One day, the Eskishehir Public Prosecutor saw Bediuzzaman in the market. Being very surprised he went immediately to the Prison Governor and asked him why he had allowed Bediuzzaman out of the prison. The Governor assured him Bediuzzaman was being held in solitary confinement inside the prison. They went and looked, and sure enough Bediuzzaman was in his cell. The event became well-known, though the authorities had to admit they were at a loss to understand it.38
1. Çakin, Süleyman Rüsdü, in Son Sahitler, iv, 141.
2. Sözer, Mehmed, in Son Sahitler, ii, 213-4.
3. Tarihçe, 192.
4. Çöllüoglu, Halil Ibrahim, in Son Sahitler, iv, 121.
5. Karaman, Ismail, in Son Sahitler, ii, 86-7.
6. Gülirmak, Mehmed, in Son Sahitler, i, 84.
7. Çöllüoglu, Halil Ibrahim, Son Sahitler, iv, 121-3.
8. Gülirmak, Mehmed, in Son Sahitler, i, 85; Sahiner, N. Said Nursi, 315.
9. Sahinler, Shükrü, in Son Sahitler, i, 88.
10. Sahiner, N. Said Nursi, 318-19.
11. ‘Postaci Kâmil’, in Son Sahitler, iv, 147-50.
12. Sualar, 312.
13. Tarihçe, 229.
14. Lem’alar (Ott. edn.), 541 and 603.
15. Ibid., 563; Tarihçe, 205.
16. Lem’alar (Ott. edn.), 542.
17. Ibid., 615.
18. Ibid., 624-32; Tarihçe, 229-32.
19. Tarihçe, 194-5.
20. Ibid., 194-6.
21. Ibid., 198.
22. Ibid., 207.
23. Ibid., 218.
24. Ibid., 199.
25. Ibid., 201-2.
26. Ibid., 205.
27. Ibid., 195.
28. Ibid., 198-9.
29. Ibid., 221.
30. Ibid., 214.
31. Divan-i Harb-i Örfî, 12.
32. Mektûbat, 60.
33. Tarihçe, 214-5.
34. Tarihçe, 203.
35. Ibid., 227.
36. Ibid., 222.
37. Sahiner, N. Said Nursi, 308.
38. Tarihçe, 192-3.