Nine salient points make Bediuzzaman’s birth year of 1873 a crystal-clear definitive truth, a reality ‘carved in stone’. Truth cannot and must not be argued, to do so is minimally most foolish, as well as misguided, disrespectful and dangerous. Today’s researchers on Bediuzzaman’s life come across six different birth years. However, the year 1873 is the accurate birth year. The following nine points illuminate this truth:
1. Bediuzzaman himself proofread his own Autobiography published as the first edition in 1958, two years before his death. Bediuzzaman had dictated to his students what to write and then instructed his students to read aloud three separate times (which Mehmet Firinci Agabey, still living, witnessed) as he listened to what his students had written. The opening first line was thus read aloud which Bediuzzaman heard on three separate occasions. This first sentence clearly states the double-dated year of his birth as 1873M-1290H.
2. Bediuzzaman is widely accepted without question as a Master. His students acknowledge this fact. Mastery itself necessitates truth, it does not involve gross mistakes, especially regarding the Master’s knowledge of his own life. To doubt the Master does not change his mastery, rather it reflects the weakness, arrogance, disrespect and/or falseness of the one doubting. A Master speaks or writes with clear intention, not with dubious words. Bediuzzaman was highly aware of whatever he said or wrote.
3. The fact that Bediuzzaman intentionally orally dictated a double-dated birth year, namely Lunar calendar corresponding with the Solar calendar, carves this truth into stone.
4. A general yet vital principle in any undertaking is the notion that the first step sets the stage, establishes the path, directs the true course of that which follows. Bediuzzaman, as a Master, was obviously aware of this crucial element which is reflected in his first sentence of his Autobiography being the double-dated birth year of 1873. The very first line on the first page of the first chapter of the book opens the door of the entire Risale-i Nur, and as the grand opener, it can not be, should not be and is not wrong. This first sentence clearly illustrates this widely accepted principle which all of us need to contemplate deeply.
5. Any different birth year other than 1873 is a grave and dangerous mistake. It weakens all subsequent works and hurts the truth of the Risale-i Nur in the eyes of the readers without them even realizing it.
6. The early students instructed to write and read Bediuzzaman’s Autobiography had ample opportunity at the time of publication (which included their reading and writing of the book) to question the truth and validity of Bediuzzaman’s birth year. If there was a mistake, they would have corrected it. We may thus conclude there was no mistake in the original book.
7. For thirty years after Bediuzzaman’s death, nobody questioned his birth year of 1873. All of Bediuzzamans early students respected this original autobiography.
8. Much like organic chemistry, everything connects to everything else in the Risale-i Nur in proper and precise order and amount. The Risale-i Nur has an unbroken order and harmony. Anything other than 1873 breaks this chain.
9. Praising his autobiography, Bediuzzaman stated (which was later included in the book), “This book has the value of twenty of my other books.” The extreme worth of this original autobiography is obvious and Bediuzzaman would not, could not and actually did not allow any mistake in it.
Osman Birgeoglu, Ph.D.