1st Edition

A Muslim Response to Evil
Said Nursi on the Theodicy

ISBN 9781138592421
Published April 24, 2018 by Routledge
224 Pages

USD $51.95

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Book Description

While Christian approaches to the problem of evil have been much discussed, the issue of theodicy in Islam is relatively neglected. A Muslim Response to Evil explores new insights and viewpoints and discusses possible solutions to theodicy and the problem of evil through the early philosophy and theology ofIslam as well as through a semantic analysis of evil (sharr) in the Qur’ān. Reflecting on Said Nursi’s magnum opus, the Risale-i Nur Collection (Epistles of Light), Tubanur Yesilhark Ozkan puts Nursi’s theodicy into discourse with so called ’secular’ theodicy or ’anthropodicy’, supported by scholars such as Newton, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume, and Kant. Her study offers a fascinating new perspective on the problem of evil for scholars of comparative religion, philosophy of religion, and Islamic thought.

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction. Part I Sharr in The Qur’an and in General Muslim Thought: The perspective of the Qur’ān on Sharr; Mainstream Muslim thought; Avicenna, Averroes and Al-Ghazālī on Sharr; As we approach the topic: oneness (tawhīd), being (wujūd) and non-being (‘adam), life after death. Part II The Nature of Sharr: The nature and definition of Sharr according to the Risale-i Nur; Why God creates Sharr; Human being’s function in regards to Sharr. Part III The Moral Aspect of Sharr: The notion of the divine trust (amānah); Free will (juz’ῑ ikhtiyār) and divine determining (qadar); Existential theodicy in Nursi. Conclusion

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Tubanur Yesilhark Ozkan holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Durham University. She graduated in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations (MA) from Hartford Seminary, USA.


’At last a new and distinctive young female Muslim voice has emerged. Tubanur Yesilhark Ozkan has written a bold, fascinating, deep study of Islamic theodicy. She has taken the concept of sharr, combined it with the exegesis of Said Nursi, to produce a distinctive and compelling theodicy. Naturally scholars of Islamic studies will want to have this book on their bookshelves, but it should be read more widely by philosophers and theologians. It is a truly great book.’ Ian Markham, Virginia Theological Seminary, USA ’Evincing an impressive command of the Risale-i Nur, Tubanur Yesilhark Ozkan provides in this book an astute and insightful study of Said Nursi’s theodicy. In ten crisply argued chapters Ozkan explores the Qur’ānic conception of evil before going on to analyse the creative way Nursi addresses the challenge with which evil confronts the believer. This fine study will be an important resource not only for Nursi scholars and students of Islam, but for all thoughtful people struggling with the challenge the problem of evil poses to theism.’ David Law, University of Manchester, UK