Egyptian scholar Sabr Abdel Fattah Al-Mishrif published a very important article about Fethullah Gulen’s ideology on nesemat.com, zamanarabic.com and in the Arabic media. Making very important findings about the Hizmet Movement and Fethullah Gulen, Al-Mishrif noted that Al-Azhar University, one of the most respected Islamic Sciences centers in the world, and the Islamic Research Association, has examined the works of Gulen, and that found no contradiction to the school of Sunni Islam. He noted that it did not make sense for the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs to report and act according to the wishes of President Tayyip Erdogan.
Al-Mishrif’s the article is as follows:
It is a hypocritical morality to go out of the circle that Allah made halal/allowed at the time of hostility. Our Prophet (pbuh) stated in a hadith regarding the hypocrites: “When they are hostile, when they are corrupt, they go out of the halal circle”. Attitudes such as making accusations without evidence, overflowing with the ambition of revenge, humiliating others, betraying, and attempting to move people away from them are among their most important qualities. At the same time, this situation contradicts concepts such as dignity, affection and tolerance that Islam promotes.
If such an issue (accusations without evidence) arises from the communities who do not know the basic principles and tolerance of the Islamic religion, it may be excused, but such a situation exists from an institution that aims to spread the tolerance among the people, representing the consciousness of Islam and aiming to spread its tolerance, and to live the society together, in such a situation, no apology can be accepted for that institution.
What Happened to the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs?
The Ministry of Religious Affairs was an exemplary institution in a period when it made programs to improve the morality of the society, especially to save the young people from various viruses such as drugs and to support such positive activities carried out by civil society organizations. While for a period of time, the Ministry of Religious Affairs stayed away from political movements in the country, during this period, they plunged into the ugly swamp of domestic politics. And they were ready to organize social and spiritual plots against all those who were not agreeing with the regime. So much so that they have been organizing panels to organize conferences in order to defame the enemies of the political regime, using the foundation’s financial resources. However, all their activities are based on information about lies and slander, which is obvious even when viewed with the evilest eye.
Those who follow events in Turkey will know that it is natural for The Ministry of Religious Affairs to be in line with Erdogan’s slanders against the Hizmet Movement. However, it is not reasonable or understandable for Erdogan to publicly describe the Hizmet Movement as a perverted community in front of the cameras and criticize Mr. Gulen as a scholar.
It is strange that they are not even ashamed of themselves, trying to deceive people in this way. Because until recently, they were praising the work of Mr. Gulen and the Hizmet Movement and trying to participate in all their activities.
God made me witness these two periods. Yeni Umit and Hira magazines gave me the opportunity to participate in the programs organized in many provinces in Turkey, such as Istanbul, Gaziantep and Izmir. I prepared many reports about these conferences. The most striking aspect of these programs was the participation of clerics from all countries of the world. At the forefront of these participants there was also the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs, and other prominent personalities and political leaders on behalf of Turkey. They gave the opening speeches and praised the participating guests with the activities of the Hizmet Movement that have been going on for forty years. They were especially talking about the scientific personality of Mr. Gulen and his contribution to the civil society.
Mr. Gulen, Through the Eyes of The Arab Intellectuals
In one of my articles I analyzed Mr. Gulen’s discourses during the past crisis and noted that Mr. Gulen not only didn’t have a secret personality, but he was also one of the most prominent Turkish figures of the world. Therefore, his life, his background, his view and his talks with different segments of the public, his sermons, lectures, interviews, his works, and his published articles are open to public. Everyone, especially those who love and sympathizers, tries to follow him. These works are printed in Cairo after the approval of the Islamic Research Association, which is affiliated with Al-Azhar University. The Islamic Studies Association has written reports that the works of Mr. Gulen are not in any way contrary to the idea of the way of the prophet and the Sunni Islam. Most of these works are being cultivated by Arab intellectuals, and many conferences, panels and meetings related to these works have taken place. One of the most important of these meetings was the conference titled “The Future of Reform in the Islamic World and Fethullah Gulen” within the Arab League in 2009. Many important figures from Egypt and from different geographies and opinion leaders attended this conference. At this conference, the opinions about Mr. Gulen’s ideas and personality are as follows.
The answer to the questions “Who are we and who are the others? How should a dialogue be established with others?” should be sought. Those who are investigating the Gulen Movement can find the keys to unbind these issues. (Ahmed Tayyib – Al-Azhar Sheikh)Fethullah Gulen’s devotion to Islam, the Turkish history, culture and traditions of its people, by my opinion, all represent his experience with social and religious adherence to universal values prevailing in the Islamic geography. The fact that Mr. Gülen grasped the appropriate ones from the western intellectual within the framework of the size of the Islamic culture and belief constraints has contributed greatly to this culture. One of the most important reflections of his understanding is that he handles Islamic culture by spreading Islamic culture through formal education by combining religious education and positive education. This movement is a movement that needs to be taken and applied in our geography and benefiting from the field of education. We need respond to this call (Undersecretary – Tariq Al-Bishri – Egypt).
Moreover, scholars and enthusiasts from different parts of the world talked about the personality, works and Hizmet Movement of Mr. Gulen with praise. One of them is Muhammad Imara, an Islamic thinker and writer. He says: Because of the fact that the mind is a light put in the heart of our Islamic civilization, and the dignity of Mr. Gulen is a fruit of our civilization, he has gathered wisdom and mind and prudence and heart together. Because the Quran determines his method in his life and idea. His life is a clean word, his original is fixed, and his branches are like a tree that has spread all over it and bears fruit at all times with the permission of Allah. Since the revelation of the Qur’an has always been with faith and deeds, this pious scholar, along with his friends, has embraced the words as great works and fertile lives and opened them like flowers all over the world we live in.
In the eyes of others, the life of Mr. Gulen shows us that he has never changed his principles from the first day to this day and that he has gone on a single road. He is an inviter who calls to Islam, just as before. He is a mujaddid (renewer or regenerator) about the application of Islamic discourse in the modern age and has never crossed lines. Despite of Turkey’s fluctuating period with philosophical and intellectual currents, Mr. Gulen has always been stable on his path. Also, Mr. Gulen has studied the different intellectual and philosophical trends (right-wing, leftist, religious, liberal, communist, nationalist) in his country and abroad, and he has become a very knowledgeable person of all the problems of faith and existence faced by humanity. It is understood from his conferences and the books he wrote at the end of the sixties that Mr. Gulen had deep understanding about these issues and he was successfully discussing about them. One of these is the books of “The Doubts of the Century” and the other is the “Theory of Evolution and the Fact of Creation.” In these works, we see that the theories that have been occupying the world for a long time have been broke down as incorrect using science, religion and logic. For many years, humanity had used these theories for political and philosophical purposes. Another work written by Mr. Gulen in this field is “Metaphysical Dimension of Being” and “Human in Depression”.
Why Mr. Gulen’s Books Are Banned in Turkey?
As mentioned earlier, many scholars, researchers and thinkers read the books of Mr. Gulen, attended conferences and panels, and then shared their views and impressions about the Hizmet Movement. Articles related to the Hizmet Movement can be found on this website: www.nesemat.com.
For this reason, the first job of the Turkish government and the affiliated Ministry of Religious Affairs was to ban the printing of Mr. Gulen’s books and to prevent access to the media affiliated to the Hizmet Movement. But all religious books and publications in Turkey have different content. The main issue here is the concern of the revelation of unfounded lies and accusations raised by the regime and the Religious Affairs.
Mr. Gulen is a Hanafi Sunni Muslim
As the sources of knowledge and ingenuity he looked at great scholars who lived in Turkey and has the scientific resources owned by sheikhs and opinion leaders. Many researchers have written about the ingenuity and knowledge sources of Mr. Gulen. Sulayman Ashrati, the Algerian mufti, summarized them in three basic sources. Firstly; The Qur’an, the sunnah, and Sufism. The second is modern world culture and ingenuity. The third one is historical knowledge and historical adventure of civilizations.
Likewise, many authors in the Islamic and Arab world wrote articles related to Mr. Gulen and his movement. One of the most prominent Moroccan scholars, Farid Al Ansari, in his novel “The Return of the Cavalry”, wrote about Mr. Gulen’s life. Likewise, Egyptian thinker Abdulhalim Uveys, Iraqi literary writer Edip Eddebbag, and Suleyman Ashrati, and many other scholars have written about Mr. Gulen’s life. The Gulen Movement is shown as an example for the development of the community and society through communique and invitation.
Beyond these works, in some universities, especially Al Azhar, many master’s and doctoral theses on the subject of Hizmet and Mr. Gulen have been published. The most recent of these is the master’s thesis titled “Fethullah Gulen’s Communiqué Experience and Community Development” addressed by researcher Muhammed Yasin at Al Azhar University. During the defense of the thesis, the jury members praised this movement by emphasizing that the Hizmet Movement, which Mr. Gulen has established, is in line with the prophet’s way and the Sunni Islam.
In addition, a doctoral dissertation on “The Efforts of Mr. Gülen in the Communiqué” was also recorded at Al Azhar University. Prior to these, many other theses about “Hizmet Movement and Mr. Gülen” were published as masters and doctoral theses in Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan, Lebanon and other Arab countries.
Al Azhar Scholars’ Views on “The Infinite Light”
Al Azhar scholars are very interested in the works of Mr. Gulen. The Infinite Light, which describes the blessed life of our Prophet (pbuh), is one of the popular books among these scholars. Dr. Fathi Hijazi, an Al-Azhar is a scholar, taught this book in his own courses and these classes were published on Al-Azhar’s YouTube channel. In addition, Egyptian scholar Dr. Ali Juma who participated in many programs organized by Hira and Yeni Ümit magazines, responded to the unpretentious accusations of The Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs, made praises about Mr. Gulen and the Hizmet Movement and recommended Gulen’s works to his friends.
The troubles and difficulties that only the people of higher spiritual degree will endure are the fate of the people struggling to spread the light of religion. They feel the pain and sorrow of their people more than themselves. They are more aware of the dangers surrounding them. They search for solutions to eliminate problems of the society.
They love helping others live on the right path than they love their own lives. In this way, they do not mind those haters and cruel tyrants who slander for their grudge and accuse them of infidelity and mischief. The determination of Abu Hamid El Ghazali regarding this issue was as follows: “Don’t esteem highly those who are not envied and who are not slandered.” Which inviter is a more beautiful and intelligent inviter than our Prophet. Which word is more faithful than the word of Allah. As the poet says: “Salvation of all enemy is hoped, other than the grudge of the enemy…”
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