Theology is a rational endeavor to understand everything about God, from within a faith tradition and its scriptures, and in response to problems posed by the conditions of a particular time and place. God in Islamic Theology: Tawhīd in Classical Islamic Theology and Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur engages and gleans classical and contemporary understandings on the central tenets of God in Islam. The book makes a substantive contribution to Islamic Studies in four main ways. First, it grasps and justifies the use of the language and genre of theology in relation to scholarly efforts to relate Qur’anic teachings about God to human understanding. The development of Islamic theology and its evolving scope are explored to produce a fresh framework in the study of Islamic theology. Second, it directly addresses some of the challenges facing Islam, including its multi-layered theological positions and how these influence its internal coherence and its external relations, especially with Abrahamic faith traditions and Western philosophy generally. Third, presenting a new understanding of Islamic epistemology, it drives to the prime essential of Islamic theology in its attempting to prove the existence, oneness, and relatability of God. Fourth, it highlights and justifies the place of Said Nursi as an informed and theologically rigorous contemporary source in Islamic theology.
Mehmet Ozalp is associate professor of Islamic studies and founder and Director of the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) at Charles Sturt University.
Chapter One: Defining Islamic Theology and the Theologian’s Tension
Chapter Two: Modern Theological Islamic Revival
Chapter Three: Islamic Epistemology and Nursi’s Thought
Chapter Four: Existence of God
Chapter Five: Tawḥīd—The Oneness of God
Chapter Six: Ma’rifat Allah—Knowing and Relating to God
About the Author
Ozalp's book on Islamic theology is a vital contribution to the contemporary discourse, as the field is often overlooked in today's world. With insightful analyses of core theological concepts such as God, epistemology, causality, and spirituality, Ozalp successfully bridges the gap between classical Islamic theology and modern-day questions and issues. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Islamic theology.
Through a close attention to the history of theology, Mehmet Ozalp shows how the work of Said Nursi provides a refreshing option for a contemporary understanding and appropriation of Islamic beliefs. Ozalp is deeply sensitive to the tension noted in Islamic scholarship between understanding and relevance. Nursi offers an alternative to a well-established indifference to evolving scientific, political, and cultural change.
An Islam that is at once classical and modern begins with The One, The Creator. Ozalp shows how reimagining divine oneness hinges on a theological discovery of the natural world and cosmos. His claims are universal in the best sense – they establish an intellectual and spiritual basis for experiencing the unity of all things within a God-centric worldview.
Mehmet Ozalp’s book is an important contribution to the growing field of Nursian Studies. By directly examining Nursi's Risale-i Nur's relationship to classical Islamic theology, or Kalam, Ozalp shows the important and critical ways in which Nursi draws upon the classical sources to construct his vision of a modern Islamic theology, a theology that is very much still relevant to us today. Ozalp displays a great understanding of both Nursi's writings and thought and the classical Islamic theological discourse that he puts Nursi's thought in conversation with. This book will be valuable to those who wish to gain a greater insight into how Nursi's writings fit within the broader currents of Islamic theology as well as those who have not yet encountered Nursi's thought.