A Universal Islamic Phenomenon in Turkish Religious Practice: the Fethullah Gulen Case

Istanbul. Sultanahmet behind the Bosphorus Bridge

Feb 7 ’16

The Sufi character of Gulen’s philosophy of education and the teacher as spiritual mentors

According to Gulen, education should be embedded in values, and the teachers must live these values. The reform process must start with the person itself, and who wants to reform the world, must reform himself first. This apprenticeship is based on the Sufi understanding “man ʿarafa nafsahū fa qad ʿarafa rabbahū” which has become known as ḥadīṯ and means “„Who knows himself, knows God“

Read this article
Fethullah Gulen Dialogic Sufism

Aug 7 ’15

Fethullah Gülen’s Dialogic Sufism: a theological framework

In Gülen’s thinking, tolerance is indispensable to Sufism. Above all, he has signified the tolerant nature of Sufism by the three principles of Sufism, as “overflowing with Divine Love and getting along with all other beings in the realization (originating from Divine Love) that the universe is a cradle of brotherhood”, “giving preference or precedence to the well-being and happiness of others” and “being open to love, spiritual yearning, delight and ecstasy.” Further, Gülen directly related this quality of tolerance to love in describing the Sufi knowledge of God.

Read this article
sufism and its origins

Mar 13 ’15

Sufism and its origins (by Fethullah Gulen)

Sufism requires the strict observance of all religious obligations, an austere lifestyle, and the renunciation of carnal desires. Through this method of spiritual self-discipline, the individual’s heart is purified and his or her senses and faculties are employed in the way of God, which means that the traveler can now begin to live on a spiritual level.

Read this article

Dec 19 ’13

Political Activism for Peaceful Coexistence in Rumi and Gulen

Gulen echoes Rumi also in telling us not to ignore the laws of the universe, not to sit around aimlessly, but rather to exert all our energies to change this world into a world of peaceful coexistence and justice. Gulen’s ideal man, man of action, does his best until this world is turned into paradise; and also struggle for a better world, to be stopped by nothing except death itself.

Read this article

Dec 4 ’13

Rumi and Gülen’s Main Message and Acceptance of the Other

Although Rumi lived about 800 years before Gülen, they both lived in cosmopolitan environments and thus both made intercultural dialogue their main tool of social innovation and conflict resolution for social inclusion, coherence and peaceful coexistence. They inspired the lives and practices of their students, sympathizers, followers, scholars, and the larger community to contribute to solutions that better the world.

Read this article

Oct 28 ’13

Fethullah Gülen: Following in the Footsteps of Rumi

Thomas Michel The writings of Jalal al-Din Rumi, the thirteenth-century mystical poet and founder of the Mevlevi Sufi confraternity, have influenced the thinking and behavior of many Muslims down to our own times. One of the modern Muslims who have appropriated Rumi’s attitudes and integrated them into their own understanding of Islamic faith and practice […]

Read this article

Oct 7 ’13

Can the Gülen Movement be characterized as a Sufi order?

Doğu Ergil Can the Gülen Movement be characterized as a Sufi order? Is it possible to call it a Sufi order considering the teachings regarding the spiritual realm and practices of daily life? Although the basic dynamics of the Gülen Movement and the dynamics of the classical Sufi traditions appear similar, in terms of organization […]

Read this article

Jul 5 ’13

An analysis of Gülen’s Humanism

Heon Kim Gülen’s perception of humanism is at the heart of his thought, so much so that it serves as the reason for the existence and activities of the Gülen movement. My attempt here is to lay bare some constructional and distinctive characteristics of Gülen’s humanism. As a leading contemporary Islamic theologian, Gülen proposes his own […]

Read this article
Rain Falling on Red Tulips

Jun 28 ’13

Sufi influences in Gülen’s early life

Mustafa Gökçek Gülen is primarily a scholar, who, while far from establishing a Sufi order, aims to revive and combine the activism of Prophet Muhammad and his companions, the asceticism of the first generation Sufis, and the Sufi terminological knowledge and consciousness of the later Sufi scholars. At a time when the gap between Sufis […]

Read this article

Apr 14 ’13

Fethullah Gülen’s sufi solution to tolerance and interfaith dialogue

Lester R. Kurtz Born into an Anatolian village family of considerable spiritual fervor within the Muslim tradition, Fwethullah Gülen’s parents raised him with a pervasive spiritual perspective on life. Gülen recalls that his mother “taught the Qur’an to all the village women and me at a time when even reciting Qur’an was prosecuted.”[1] It is […]

Read this article