How we started
A message from our founder, Dr. Osman Birgeoglu:“It all started in the summer of 1970. I felt there was a big need to translate Risale-i Nur into English in order to reach people outside of Turkey. At that time, I was part of the team of proofreaders of Risale-i Nur books. Zubeyir Gunduzalp was leading this team of proofreaders. Due to poor health, he was unable to participate in the general meetings that were going on simultaneously, but instead he concentrated his energy on the proofreading task of the books which he felt was most important. Thus, I met with Zubeyir Gunduzalp very frequently. Important to note is that only very rarely were people other than government officials able to leave Turkey. The general public simply could not purchase foreign currency to travel during the 60’s and 70’s. God answered my prayer by sending a fellow Risale-i Nur follower, Hussein Demirkan, who asked me to seek Zubeyir Gunduzalp’s blessings for him to attend a master’s program in the United States. This was also my perfect opportunity to personally discuss with Zubeyir Gunduzalp my burning desire to take Risale-I Nur to America.” —Dr. Birgeoglu
After long deliberations:Zubeyir Gunduzalp said, “OK, let’s do it!”. This paved the way for Osman Birgeoglu to bring Risale-i Nur service to America and establish Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s wondrous works. It may be worth mentioning here that in the summer of 1972, at Tahiri Mutlu’s place in Kocamustafapasa in Istanbul, Dr. Birgeoglu’s enthusiasm, eagerness and talent in working with the group of proofreaders/editors in bringing the most correct work of Bediuzzaman’s works as it was intended by the author was recognized by three important figures of the Risale-i Nur service: Mustafa Sungur, Bayram Yuksel, and Abdullah Yegin. Huseyin Demirkan went to the University of Iowa at Ames in 1971. Osman Birgeoglu followed him in the summer of 1973 as a visiting scholar at the same university. He took courses at the university as well as met potential people who could help him facilitate the translations of Bediuzzaman’s works into English. He met Suleyman Kurter at a convention while in Iowa and asked his help with translations. They immediately started translating the biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Ali Ucar, another well known student of Risale-i Nur, came all the way from Germany to help with typing. A short version of the biography was published in March of 1974. Ali Ucar went back to Germany and Hasan Kondu from Turkey came to take his place to help.
From Nur the Light to Nur Publishers:Although the English translations started in 1970, the first fruit materialized in the fall of 1973 when the translation was completed for the Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, and then later was printed as a book in March of 1974. Due to the lengthy process of book printing, it was decided that Risale-i Nur could be delivered to readers faster in the form of a magazine. Four months later, the first issue of “Nur the Light” magazine was printed in July of 1974. Copies were sent to 70 different countries, clearly indicating the immediate and powerful influence and popularity of Risale-i Nur with people seeking deeper meaning and secrets of God’s revelations. Suleyman Kurter’s earnest help continued until March 1975 when he, Osman Birgeoglu, and Hasan Kondu already published the second important book of the Risale-I Nur: “Nationalism in the view of Islam.” Then, there was a need at this point for Dr. Birgeoglu and Hasan Kondu to move to California to be closer to Dr. Hamid Algar, who had promised Mehmet Firinci earlier to do some translations for Risale-i Nur. In March of 1975 the two man team moved to El Cerrito, California and continued publishing the bi-monthly Nur-the Light magazine. After the biography and a small booklet, “Nationalism in the view of Islam,” the third book, “Fruits from the tree of Light”, was published at the end of 1975. Huseyin Demirkan, Mehmet Firinci, Mehmet Buker, and Umit Simsek had come to help with printing and manual binding of the books at the end of 1975 for a brief time. However, Huseyin Demirkan stayed and helped until the summer of 1977 when he too returned to Turkey.
The Risale-i Nur Institute of America:1975, most importantly, was the year Dr. Birgeoglu founded and established the Risale-i Nur Institute of America. The printing branch, Nur Publishers, was later added to the Institute. Dr. Birgeoglu then opened the Nursi School of Theology in January, 2011. Registration with the state of Arizona was made in March, 2011. This permanent platform fulfills his life long dream of sharing the treasures and truths of God through the works of the Risale-i Nur. This monumental birth became the foundation for contributing to Bediuzzaman’s three grand goals:
- Printing and dissemination of the Risale-i Nur collection
- Continuation of Risale-i Nur reading groups
- Publishing the miraculous Quran, a previously unnoticed aspect of Its miraculous nature discovered by Bediuzzaman