Since 2000, Cemalnur Sargut has been the President of Turkish Women’s Cultural Association, Istanbul (TURKKAD),(www.turkkad.org) founded by her teacher, Samiha Ayverdi in 1966. Under her leadership and with the belief that tasavvuf (sufism) can be the common language of humans and societies, TURKKAD has been organizing international symposiums* addressing a wide range of people with a view to offering solutions to today’s problems through tasavvuf, which considers knowledge as a state to be practiced and sees worship as a journey towards love.
Cemalnur Sargut’s teacher, Kenan Rifai once said, “We need to explain the teachings of tasavvuf, which our time desperately needs, in such academic contexts as foundations and associations, and not through mere words but by actually living tasavvuf”. In order to promote such an understanding to ourselves and the whole humanity, she initiated a chair of Islamic studies in 2009 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has been giving lectures since 2000. Another chair as such is about to be launched at Peking University, China. The main objective of such projects is to teach university students the true way of living Islam, i.e. tasavvuf, through scholars practicing it in their lives.
With an intention to introduce Islamic tasavvuf rooted in Anatolia, Cemalnur Sargut has also been taking pioneering steps to have institutes established in collaboration with universities and governments in areas of literature, fine arts, sociology and history where graduate and undergraduate studies can be carried out on the lives and works of sufi masters in Anatolia.
As outcomes of an understanding of service embracing basic human values with a progressive and reformist view, these academic efforts taking place both in and outside of Turkey play a leading role in building a spiritual bridge between the east and the west so that true Islam can be introduced.
Cemalnur Sargut was born in Istanbul in 1952. After receiving her BSc in Chemical Engineering, she taught Chemistry for 20 years. Born into a sufi family, she was interested in philosophy and examined the lives of great philosophers when she was young. After realizing that philosophy is not a kind of knowledge that can be lived, she looked for an example who lived his knowledge and found Rumi. Upon her teacher, Samiha Ayverdi’s request, she started to work on the Quran and conduct a comparative study on Rumi’s Masnavi. Again on her teacher’s request she started giving Masnavi lessons to young people when she was 24, and since then she has reached millions of people.
Her teacher, Samiha Ayverdi tells us about Cemalnur Sargut when she was a chemistry teacher: “Cemalnur Hoca was neither a pedagogue nor a psychologist. As a young woman standing at a teacher’s desk and inherent with the ability to unite the inner and outer forces of humanity as a single power, she must be one of the exceptionally unique ones who come to this earth with the attribute of a human being originating from the mist of love. She would teach her students according to the required curriculum but would delivering mere technical and materialistic knowledge suffice to occupy such a great desk?”
As Sadık Yalsızuçanlar, a sufi researcher and an author, states, “With her deep comprehension in the wisdom of tasavvuf and her infinite love and knowledge, Cemalnur Sargut is the Rabia of modern times. Having received her training through the teachings of Ahmed er Rifai, Ken’an Rifai, Meskure Sargut and Samiha Ayverdi, she has reached spiritual maturity through remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and spiritual discourses (sohbet). She is a lover of Allah and the Prophet and a faithful follower of the Muhammedan path.”
Apart from her studies on sufism, Cemalnur Sargut publishes books of commentaries on the Quran chapters compiled through the commentaries of such great sufi masters as Rumi, Ahmed-er Rifai, Abdulkadir Jilani, Ibn-i Arabi, Mısri Niyazi, Jili, Shams and Sultan Veled. She continuously serves people by giving spiritual discourses and teachings on Rumi’s Masnavi and Ibn Arabi’s Fususu’l Hikem.
Cemalnur Sargut aims at enabling humanity to reach the joy of life where people live in harmony without attempting to change those that are different and see all as one without discriminating between genders, religions, sects or outlooks. Setting an example to such a living by practicing Muhammedan akhlaq (morals) is the reason for her existence and she performs her duty with great ease, only for the sake of God.
- Haji Bayram Wali (2012, Ankara)
- Sultan Veled (2011, Istanbul and Konya)
- Seyyid Burhanettin Tirmizi (2011, Kayseri)
- Servant`s Prayer, Mısri Niyazi (2010, Istanbul and Malatya)
- Enlightened by the Sun: Shams Tabrizi (2009, Istanbul and Konya)
- Modern Era and Ibn Arabi (2008, Istanbul and Damascus)
- Turkish and Balkan Women’s NGO Meeting (2007)
- Woman and Rumi (2007, Istanbul)
- Woman and Tasavvuf (2005, Istanbul)
- Union in Rumi (2005, Istanbul)
Some of her books include
- Hz. Nuh - Fususu'l Hikem 3 [Prophet Noah - Fusus al-Hikam 3], (2012), Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- İnsan-ı Kamil’in Hakikati [The Reality of Perfect Human: A commentary on the 30th-39th verses of the Surah Bakara], (2012) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Bakara II [Bakara II: A commentary on the 20th-29th verses of the Surah Bakara], (2011) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Can-ı Candır: Ahmed Muhammed Mustafa [Spirit within Spirit: Ahmad Muhammed Moustafa], (2011) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Hz. Şit [Hazret Seth, Series of Fusus al Hikam Studies, 2], (2011) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Hz. Adem [Hazret Adam: Series of Fusus al Hikam Studies,1], (2010) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Samiha Ayverdi ile Sırra Yolculuk [Journey to the Secret with Samiha Ayverdi], (2009) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Bakara [Bakara: A commentary on the first 10 verses of the Surah Bakar], (2009) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Kabe’nin Hakikatı [Reality of the Qaba], (2009) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.- Dinle [Listen], (2008) Nefes Publications, Istanbul.
- Ey Insan [Ey Insan: A book of commentary on the Surah Yasin], (2007) Nefes Publishing, Istanbul.
- Kenan Rifai ile Aşka Yolculuk [Journey to Love with Kenan Rifai], (2006) Sufi Book Publications, Istanbul.
- Adı Güzel Kendi Güzel Muhammed [Muhammad: Both His name and Himself is Beautiful], (2006) Timaş Publications, Istanbul.