Istighna and ithar: Two forgotten principles of da’wah from the perspective of the Hizmet Movement
The world is in need of Islam and Islam is in need of representation (tamthil/temsil in Turkish). People’s ears are full but their eyes are hungry for role models in all areas of life including da’wah. Istighna and ithar are two important but forgotten principles of da’wah. Da’wah is a form of worship undertaken for the sake of Allah alone, and its reward is to be expected in the Hereafter. To expect any form of reward in this world can harm sincerity and open the path to lesser shirk. Verily Allah does not accept people holding any partners to Him in all deeds, including da’wah. While the word da’wah means ‘to call’ or ‘to invite,’ the best form of da’wah is living by the religion and values that one espouses. Da’wah through action comes before da’wah through words. As Khurshid Ahmad said, ‘Da‘wah is presented primarily through conveying the message, preaching you may call it, and by practicing it and as such presentingbefore the world its livingexample.’ Muhammad Sami’ Allah defines da’i as the ideal person, while Nayeefa Chowdhury defines a da’i as a role model. Whether ideal or a role model, the da’i’s profile must include the practice of istighna and ithar.
As two pillars of da’wah, istighna and ithar are components of Prophetic character, as well as significant practices of the companions of all Prophets, saints (awliya) and great leaders in Islamic history. Well-known examples include Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (682–720), Tariq ibn Ziyad (689–720), Salah al-Din Ayyubi, Imam al-Ghazali, Abd al-Qadir Jilani, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, as well as Ottoman rulers from the founder Osman Ghazi (1258–1324) to Suleyman the Magnificent (1594–1566). All of these leaders had a simple life, gave away or shared what they received as gifts or spoils of war, and did not leave any inheritance.
These pillars set da’wah apart from proselytization. Without these two pillars, da’wah can be perceived as an act of self-interest. Indeed in the West, da’wah has been perceived as the equivalent of missionary work. Such perceptions harm da’wah because of the reputation of missionaries, whose activities were often followed by colonization. Julian Pettifer and Richard Bradley refer to missionaries as ‘the pioneers of imperialism’. A famous quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu sums it up in the following way: ‘When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘let us close our eyes and pray.’ When we opened them, we had the Bible, and they had the land.’ Even if this is not applicable to all missionary activities, it nevertheless represents a considerable majority of it. To perceive da’wah as missionary work devalues it. Moreover, some Muslims also defined it as missionary work and misused the word. As it has been dragged far from its original meaning, that word can not be used to describe the activities of the Hizmet Movement. Gulen’s understanding and application of da’wah is not like that of reactionary Muslim groups who established da’wah centres for proselytizing.
It is important to note that while some missionaries gained power and land, their success in that area was also due to the practical contribution they made to the communities they were preaching to. Their establishment of educational institutions and hospitals and provision of humanitarian aid factor into their accomplishments. Yusuf Ali and Abu Sadat Nurullah point out such contributions when mentioning the success of missionaries in Bangladesh over the last 80 years. This is one factor that is lacking in many faith based works today.
In this article, Iwill explore the concept of istighna and ithar in the Qur’an and Sunnah and explain why these two pillars are necessary for success in faith based activities. I will also focus on practical solutions by givingexamples from the Hizmet Movement, also known in the West as the Gülen Movement.
The notions of istighna and ithar
Istighna is to serve the cause of Islam by all means without any expectations for reward, whether material, social, or otherwise. This means sacrificingone’s resources, includingtime, money, abilities, and networks for servinghumanity. In return, a Muslim is to desire Allah’s pleasure alone.
Wanting financial return and hoping for a political, religious, spiritual or social position is contrary to istighna. Desiring respect for the acts done, or receiving a special title such as efendi, ustad, alim, master, or pir will weaken the sincerity in servingreligion. Even expectingnot to fall into difficulties, experience loss and suffering, or receive criticism is against the principles of istighna. The best role models in da’wah, such as the Prophets and their companions, dealt with danger, sorrow, exile, imprisonment, persecution, torture, and death. Yet in spite of this, they continued to invite others to Islam because their sole purpose was to earn Allah’s pleasure. They did not seek to perpetuate a pious image of themselves or to gain a higher worldly status.
Istighna in the Qur’an
There are 12 verses which state that the Prophets refrained from asking for rewards from those to whom they made da’wah. Ayahs 10:72, 11:29 and 26:109 refer to Prophet Noah; 11:51 and 26:127 refer to Prophet Hud; 26:145 refers to Salih; 26:164 refers to Prophet Lot; 26:180 refers to Prophet Shuayb; 36:20 refers to two unnamed Prophets or disciples of Prophet Jesus; 6: 90, 34:47 and 12:104 refer to Prophet Muhammad saying‘Ido not ask any reward for it’. Prominent Qur’anic exegetes unanimously draw from these verses that reward or return must not be sought or expected when makingtabligh. According to Tabari (838–923) and Ibn Kathir (1301–1373), tabligh is a duty, so a benefit must not be sought. Zamakhshari elaborates on this, saying that the Prophets sought neither personal gain, nor any elevated social status or position, and never desired anything else that would place them above others. From this he concludes that Muslims must follow their examples. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149–1209) goes further, assertingthat a person should not even desire a reward by the heart. Qushayri (986–1074) adds that when making da’wah, refraining from asking for anything is the sunnah of the Prophets and a major principle of all (Companions and) saints.
The Qur’an and the Sunnah encourage believers to give. Even though they were poor, the Companions were hesitant and did not ask for charity (2:273). In his commentary of the verses mentioned above, Nursi states that if da’wah, which he calls khidhmati imaniyya wa Qur’aniyya (service to the faith and the Qur’an), is undertaken with the aim of material advantages, it will slowly destroy sincerity and lead to detrimental results. Moreover, he states that this world is the realm of wisdom and the realm of service; it is not the realm of reward and recompense. The wage for deeds and acts of service done here is given in the Intermediate Realm and the Hereafter. Since the reality is this, the results of actions pertaining to the Hereafter should not be sought in this world. If they are given, they should be received not gratefully, but regretfully.
Nursi believed that sincerity is a condition for success in service to the faith, and istighna is necessary for sincerity. Nursi lived by his principles. Outside of a few instances, he did not accept gifts, even though he knew it was Sunnah. The accepting of gifts in the Sunnah refers to the exchangingof gifts by two parties. His reasons reflect his istighna:
The First: The people of misguidance accuse religious scholars of making their learning a means of subsistence... It is necessary to show this to be false by action.
The Second: Muslim scholars are charged with following the Prophets in disseminatingthe truth. In the All-Wise Qur’an, those who do this say, ‘My reward is only due from Allah’ (10:72).
The Third: …one should give in Allah’s name and take in Allah’s name. Whereas mostly either the one giving is heedless and gives in his own name and implicitly puts the other under an obligation, or the one who receives is heedless; he leaves the thanks and praise due to the True Provider to apparent causes and is in error.
The Fourth: Reliance on God, contentment, and frugality are such a treasury and wealth that they can be exchanged for nothing.
The Fifth: … Acceptingthe people’s gifts necessitates consideringtheir feelings and accepting them at times I do not want to... I find it more agreeable to eat a small piece of dry bread and wear clothes patched in a hundred places, and be saved from artificiality and sycophancy.
The Sixth: And the most important reason for self-sufficiency is what Ibn Hajar (1373–1448)… says, ‘If youare not righteous it is forbidden to accept somethingintended for the righteous.’
Istighna in the Sunnah
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lived by the principle of istighna. Despite remaining hungry for days, he would not ask others for food and other needs. He would sleep on a thin straw mat. Omar ibn al-Khattab saw that it left marks of the Prophet’s back and cried, ‘When the kings of the Persians and Romans live in palaces, can’t youat least have a bed?’ The Prophet replied, ‘O Omar! Would not youdesire that this world be theirs and the next world be ours?’ His life of poverty was not due to a lack of support. However, when he would receive a gift or charity, he would give it away to the poor and needy. One night during the final days of his life, he could not sleep. He asked his wife Aisha if there was money in the house. She replied that someone who owed them money brought seven dinars not long ago. The Prophet requested that it be given out right away, which Aisha did. He said, ‘The upper (giving) hand is better than the lower (receiving) hand’.
AbuSaid al-Khudri narrated that some Madinan people asked for (something) from Allah’s Messenger and he gave to them. They again asked him for (something) and he again gave to them. And then they asked him and he gave to them again till all that he had was finished. And then he said ‘If Ihad anything, Iwould not keep it away from you. (Remember) Whoever abstains from asking others, Allah will make him contented, and whoever tries to make himself self-sufficient, Allah will make self-sufficient. And whoever remains patient, Allah will make patient. Nobody can be given a better and greater blessingthan patience’.
One final example is from his household. Fatima, his beloved daughter, was suffering fatigue and severe blisters from carrying water from the well and had calloused hands. Upon her husband’s request, she asked her father for a servant. The Prophet explained that he could not meet her needs when his companions were still in need themselves. He recommended something better: remembrance of Allah.
Ithar refers to the act of giving preference to others over oneself. It is defined by moralists as seeking benefit for the community before thinkingabout one’s own needs. Sufis express this concept usingthe term tafani. Said Nursi defines this as ‘annihilation in the [Muslim] brother’. This means that a person forgets the feelings of his own carnal soul and lives as part of a collective personality, a jama’ah, and ultimately, the Ummah. In that way, each person is like a bodily organ working together and not harming one another. Just as the hand does not harm the eye, but protects and cleans it, the believers protect and support each other. Other Sufis define ithar as preferring the lives and happiness of others over one’s own. A person who conducts da’wah strives for the well-being and comfort of the community. The opposite of ithar is shuhh which gives birth to miserliness and self-interest. These distance a person from Allah, the community, and ultimately, Paradise. According to Fethullah Gülen, there are degrees of ithar depending on the level and quality of the representation of Islam:
- To look after others while neglecting oneself, such as feeding others while remaining hungry. Observing the rights of all humans and beingcareful not to tread on any person’s rights. This raises a person to a state of perfection.
- Despite everything, to use all bounties, including time, money, health, and personal abilities, only to earn Allah’s pleasure, and then to keep these acts to oneself, or even forget the acts so as to remain humble. This degree is above the first.
- The third degree is the highest level of devotion to the community. Gülen points to the sacrifice of Prophet Muhammad during the Ascension. The Prophet had entered paradise and came close to the Divine Presence, but returned to the world to save his ummah from Hell and to take his ummah to Paradise. This state is a type of annihilation of one’s self.
Ithar in the Qur’an and Sunnah
As was mentioned above, ithar was an atribute of the ashab (the Companions). The Qur’an mentioned this as follows: ‘And those who made their abode in the city and in the faith before them love those who have fled to them, and do not find in their hearts a need of what they are given, and prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them, and whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul, these are the successful ones’ (59:9). Tabari commented on this verse referring to the Ansar who shared everything they owned with the Muhajirin (immigrants), preferringtheir Makkan brothers’ well-beingover themselves. Qurtubi referred to the incident of AbuTalha and his guest. A poor man came to the mosque in Madina and told the Prophet that he had not eaten for three days. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked his wives one by one if there was anything to offer this man at home. They stated they had nothing. Then the Prophet asked his companions. Abu Talha took up the offer and invited the man to his house. AbuTalha’s wife whispered that there was only enough food for one person. Abu Talha told his wife to turn out the light and bring the food. In the darkness, Abu Talha and his wife made it seem like they were eating while the guest ate until the food was finished. For early morningprayer the next day, the Prophet asked, ‘What did youdo that Allah praised you?’ Then he recited the verse above.
During the Battle of Yarmuk, Harith ibn Hisham, Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, and Ayyash ibn AbuRabi’ah were severely wounded and were lyingon the ground. Harith asked for water. One of the soldiers brought water. Harith noticed that Ikrimah was looking at him because he was in need of water. Harith said, ‘Give the water to Ikrimah’. The soldier took the water to Ikrimah, who noticed Ayyash asking for water, and said, ‘Give the water to Ayyash.’ The soldier went to Ayyash, but he had already passed away. The soldier returned to Ikrimah, who had also passed. He finally went to Harith who had passed away too. Just like the Prophet, many companions and great leaders in Islamic history would receive many gifts, spoils of war, as well as an income, but they would prefer others over themselves and give these things to others straight away, keeping either a small amount for their needs or none at all. There are numerous examples from the Prophet and the Companions’ lives, but due to the limitations of this article, they will not be further explored.
Nursi refers to this level of ithar as the peak and views it as a precondition for sincerity. He does not limit the giving of only material items, but continues saying, ‘choose your brothers’ souls to your own soul in honor, rank, acclaim, in the things your soul enjoys like material benefits. Even in the most innocent, harmless benefits like informing a needy believer about one of the subtle, fine truths of belief. If possible, encourage one of your companions who do not want to, inform him, so that your soul does not become conceited. If you have a desire like ‘Let me tell him this pleasant matter so Iwill gain the reward,’ it surely is not a sin and there is no harm in it, but the meaning of sincerity between you could be damaged.’
It may seem contradictory that, on one hand, there is a lot of emphasis on istighna and ithar, and on the other hand, financial sources are necessary for ongoing faith-related projects. If people who work for such projects do not seek worldly or financial gain, it raises the question of how they will sustain a living, especially if they devote themselves to it full time. Muslims in different communities and groups have addressed this issue in various ways. I will focus on one of the more successful global movements, the Hizmet Movement, also known in the West as the Gülen Movement. The full-time devotees to community projects receive a salary, but are expected to work overtime or volunteer. This can be anywhere from 5–40 hours a week, dependingon the person, and include weekends and holidays. This altruism increases the trust of the community towards the employees in the Gülen Movement, which in turn increases the power of the employees to influence others.
The Hizmet Movement as a role model
The Hizmet Movement has established over 2000 schools, more than 3,000 tutoring centers and student dormitories in over 150 countries, and over a dozen universities. They are developingthe largest Islamic banking institution in Turkey (Bank Asya). Other institutions include TUSKON (Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey) with 53,000 members. They have branched into mass media with the Turkish Zaman Newspaper, now published daily in Turkey, Europe, the USA and weekly in eight other countries with a readership of over one million in distribution. They have set up five television channels:
SamanyoluTV, STV Haber (news), Mehtap TV, all broadcastingin Turkey, and Ebru TV in the US. The Gülen Movement also owns Cihan News Agency (CHA) and numerous radio stations. Alongside all of these are several publishing companies which publish in more than 40 languages. There are also humanitarian aid organizations (Kimse Yok Mu), interfaith and intercultural associations, and other civil organizations. While the numbers are not known, this Movement is estimated to employ tens of thousands and grants scholarships to hundreds of thousands of students.
Three reasons for the financial stability of the Gülen Movement are the annual himmet (fund-raising), the large numbers of volunteers, and the self-sustaining character of its institutions. Himmet is the name used for the fund-raising gatherings of the local community. It is translated as spiritual ‘aspiration’ or ‘resolve’. The theological aspect of himmet, accordingto Gülen, includes the more practical religious virtues and duties of beneficence such as infaq (charity), sadaqa (voluntary almsgiving), and zakat (obligatory almsgiving). It is often done during Ramadan, but the foundations are laid throughout the year, during which those in charge reach out to people and business owners, build relationships and emphasise the importance of giving and sacrifice for the well-beingof the community. The organizers of these meetings present the past achievements and future goals or projects of the community, and appeal to the spiritual sentiments of the participants to collect funds. The participants are those within the Gülen Movement and the Gülen Movement’s supporters. Everyone present at the himmet, from local affluent business owners to scholarship students, pledge to make donations for the cause. Donations range from 3–50% of an individual’s annual income. The collected funds are used for local projects.
Support of Hizmet ventures is sustained by generous giving by businessmen associated with the Gülen Movement who understand it to be their ‘calling’ to work hard and produce wealth that can be used for the work of the Gülen Movement. These businessmen, whose numbers rank in the thousands, typically donate 10 to 70 percent of their annual income. They belong to local sohbet communities with whom they meet on a weekly basis for encouragement, fellowship, devotional studies and philanthropic planning (istishara), led by senior members servingas trustees (mutawalli), and in their personal commitment (himmet) they enjoy remarkable social capital and a sense of purpose. Most importantly, Gülen leads this fundingthrough example. Accordingto İsmail Büyükçelebi, one of Gülen’s closest companions for almost forty years, from amongthe over 65 best-sellingbooks Gülen has written, Gülen has donated almost 90% of his earnings from book sales to scholarship funds for the institutions established by his followers or for humanitarian aid. Gülen himself focuses on generosity, and thereby often encourages his followers to be more generous like companions of the Prophet. Gülen himself lives a very simple life and possesses no more than his books and clothes. Those who are close to him and hold significant responsibility in the Gülen Movement follow in his footsteps. They do not own homes or earn more than what they can live on.
The second factor which contributes to financial stability is the great number of people who volunteer for the Gülen Movement. The spirit of volunteerism is strong within the Gülen Movement, as it is preferred not to receive anythingin return. Volunteer hours can range from 4–30 hours per week. People volunteer using their skills (such as construction, mentoring, tutoring) or take part in unskilled work for the projects. The third factor is the self-sustaining model of these projects. Projects are designed to become economically independent within a few years. For example, a school is first established with community funds. Teachers and volunteers put forth great efforts, mostly overtime, during the first few years to set a high standard of quality education and attain academic excellence with few resources. With academic success, the school can attract more students, including those from affluent backgrounds, and increase tuition. In time, the school makes a profit and expands it services with more campuses and academic opportunities.
The fact that Gülen-inspired projects are always locally based and embedded in local circles of supporters locates authority and decision-makingwithin a structure of horizontal relationships, rather than in a vertical, bureaucratic hierarchy. Being responsible for projects, not only financially but in terms of planning, decision making and accountability, is also a powerful force in involving people in the Gülen Movement. From an interview by Helen R. Ebaugh with twelve businessmen within the Gülen Movement, one 48 year old businessman in İstanbul said, ‘People in the Hizmet Movement turn their ideas into projects, [and] they tell how they accomplished their success. People trust them, if they ask for a project, they expect it from the Creator, not from creatures, and that’s why Ibelieve they reach success. If anybody from the Gülen Movement comes to my city and asks for help, I try my best to help them and I encourage my friends around me to do the same.’
The transparency of the Gülen Movement’s income has been controversial, particularly the fundingof Gülen-inspired schools, and since the 1970s has continued to be viewed with suspicion and misunderstanding. Gülen opponents, includingfanatical secularists, the ultra nationalists, some leftists and even some religious groups claim that the Hizmet Movement receives funding from foreign agencies, such as the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Mossad, and the Vatican, and that Fethullah Gülen was the mastermind behind a project designed by the U.S. to destroy the Kemalist ideology of nationalism and independence of Turkey. In terms of fundingeducational institutions, Gülen rejects such claims and states that the Gülen Movement’s financial resources stem from the generosity of the people of Turkey. He says: ‘These schools are the fruits of the Anatolian people’s hearts that show altruism, which they showed in the Independence War, in a different manner today but the source is their hearts.’ Graham Fuller delves into the topic of fundingfor the Hizmet Movement’s schools and other projects, pointingout the extensive network formed through the hundreds of schools of the Gülen Movement, and states that ‘funding comes from within the community, and wealthy businessman for whom building a school has become a modern pious equivalent of buildinga mosque.’
A da’i is a person who has a passion for sustainingothers’ happiness even if he or she suffers in the process and works so that others are in peace and security in all aspects. By applying the principles of istighna and ithar, the da’i seeks Allah’s pleasure alone. If this is not the case, some Muslims and non-Muslims will interpret the da’wah efforts as acts of self-interest. In today’s world, the philosophy of servingone’s own interests is widespread. This is a key difference between Islamic civilization and contemporary materialistic civilization. Accordingto Nursi, the aim of materialistic philosophy is ‘benefit,’ whereas the aim of Islam is ‘virtue and God’s pleasure’.
This aim is further understood with the emphasis placed by the Qur’an and Sunnah on the virtue of giving, especially its preference over receiving and preferring oneself. This giving is not limited to material terms alone, but extends to all aspects of life. A Muslim must give his or her time, energy, knowledge, skills, and other things for the well-being of the local community, Ummah, and humanity. Istighna and ithar are so important that all great Muslim leaders and their close associates saw it as being imperative to practice those principles. Historically, whenever the leader of the Muslims and those who made da’wah followed these principles, they effectively influenced others, conquered people’s minds and hearts, and attained success in their endeavors. Great civilizations began with community-minded leaders and people who followed some or all aspects of istighna and ithar.
Da’wah can only be successful if it follows these principles adapted to the modern world. While the Muslim world is unsuccessful in this regard, it cannot be said that it is strong in regards to giving and managing funds and volunteers. However, with the current atmosphere of revivalism in many Muslim countries, there is good progress that gives hope. Movements and jama’ats can learn from each other’s experiences. Havingstudied the Hizmet Movement, other movements can benefit from the Hizmet Movement’s model because it has grown exponentially and attracted many supporters. It has adapted Islamic principles, including istighna and ithar in da’wah, to the contemporary world. Fethullah Gülen began in the 1970s teachinga single Qur’an course with around 30 students. Now the Gülen Movement has expanded enormously to include thousands of institutions and organizations with millions of followers, students, volunteers, and supporters. One of the leading factors for its success is the istighna and ithar practiced by Fethullah Gülen and leaders in the Gülen Movement throughout the world. When dai’s do not apply istighna and ithar principles, then self-interest and pride may take hold and blur their priorities. This, in turn, will lead to internal conflicts, disunity in the jama’at or community, and the recession of Allah’s favour of them from the Qur’anic (8:46) perspective.
 Fethullah Gülen, Prizma-6, 64.
 Nursi, The Flashes (trans. Şükran Vahide), 218.
 Khurshid Ahmad, ‘Christian Mission and Islamic Da‘wa,’ Proceedings of the Chambesy Dialogue Consultation, 44.
 Malik, ‘Islamic Mission and Call: The Case of the International Islamic University, Islamabad,’ in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 31–45.
 Nayeefa Chowdhury, ‘Presenting Islam: The Role of Australia-Based Muslim Student Associations,’ in Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 205–224.
 Fethullah Gülen, Prizma-1, 81.
 For detailed information look at: Thomas W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam: A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith; Egdunas Racius , The Multiple Nature of the Islamic Da’wa, 1–8; David A. Kerr, ‘Islamic Da’wa and Christian Mission: Towards A Comparative Analysis,’ in International Review of Mission, 150–171; Mark N. Swanson, ‘On the Teaching of Islam at Luther Seminary,’ in Teaching Theology & Religion, 172–175; Jane Ellingwood, ‘The Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA): An Evolutionary Perspective,’ in The Muslim World, 72–94.
 Julian Pettifer, Richard Bradley, The Missionaries.
 Steven Gish, Desmond Tutu: A Biography, 101.
 Yusuf Ali-Abu Sadat Nurullah, ‘Challenges of Islamic Da‘wah in Bangladesh: The Christian Missions and Their Evangelization,’ Journal of the International Islamic University, 87–108.
 Fethullah Gülen himself never had the personal wealth to be able to sponsor projects. Fethullah Gülen was so poor that for a number of years he lived in a corner of a local mosque with barely enough space to lie down. In addition to never having had any personal wealth, he prayed for his relatives to remain poor so as not to raise any suspicion of him gaining from his influence. He is the author of more than 65 books. For more information see his official website: fgulen.com.
 Fethullah Gülen, İrsad Ekseni, 67.
 al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan.
 Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-Karim.
 Zamakhshari, Al-Kashaaf.
 Fahraddin Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir.
 al-Qushayri, Lata’if al-Isharat bi Tafsir al-Qur’an.
 Nursi, The Flashes, 218.
 Nursi, The Letters (trans. Şükran Vahide), 528–529.
 Nursi, The Letters, 32–33.
 Ibn Hanbal, cited in Fetullah Gülen, The Messenger of God: Muhammad, 37.
 Sahih al-Bukhari.
 Nursi, The Flashes, 216–217. A hadith states: ‘The example of the believers in their affection and compassion and benevolence is like the body; if one part of it becomes ill the whole body comes to its aid with fever and sleeplessness’ (Bukhari and Muslim).
 Fethullah Gülen, Sızıntı, 16–192, 1995, 1–2.
 Ibid., 3.
 al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan.
 al-Qurtubi, Al-Jamiu li-Ahkam al-Qur’an.
 Ali al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanzu’l-Ummal, V, 310; Hakim, Mustadrak, III, 242, cited in Muhammed Yusuf Kandehlevi, Hayatu’s-Sahabe, 1–313.
 Nursi, The Flashes, 216.
 Salih Yücel, ‘Spiritual Role Models in Gülen’s Educational Philosophy,’ Tawarikh, International Journal for Historical Studies, 65–76.
 Cüneyt Özdemir, 5N 1K Programı, ‘Gülen Cemaatinin Para Kaynağı Ne?’ Interview with Helen Rose Ebaugh, CNN Turk, cited in Milliyet, 13.01.2011.
 Elif Çakır, Star, 21.7. 2013.
 For further information on the himmet, refer to Helen R. Ebaugh, The Hizmet Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam; Helen Rose Ebaugh and Doğan Koç. ‘Funding Gülen-Inspired Good Works: Demonstratingand GeneratingCommitment to the Gülen Movement,’ Muslim World in Transition: Contributions of The Hizmet Movement Conference Proceedings, 2007, 545–547; Orhan Özgüç, ‘Islamic Himmah and Christian Charity: An Attempt at Inter-Faith Dialogue,’ in proceedings of the conference, Islam in the Age of Global Challenges: Alternative Perspectives of the Hizmet Movement, Georgetown University, 2008, 561–582, available at en.fgulen.com/conference-papers/gulen-conference-in-washington-dc/3102–islamic-himmah-and-christian-charity-an-attempt-at-inter-faith-dialogue (retrieved on January 2,2011); Selçuk Uygur, ‘Islamic Puritanism as a Source of Economic Development: Contributions of the Hizmet Movement,’ 2007, 176–97.
 Özgüç, 2008:561–582.
 Uygur, 2007.
 Greg Barton, ‘Islam, Dialogue and the Hizmet Movement in Australia,’ 114–143.
 Salih Yücel, ‘Fethullah Gülen: A Spiritual Leader in a Global Islamic Context,’ in Journal of Religion and Society.
 Ebaugh and Koç, 2007.
 Çemen Polat, on the function of Gülen-inspired educational initiatives as business enterprises in the philanthropic fashion, ‘The significance of education for the future: The Gülen model of education,’ in International Conference Proceedings, The State Islamic University, Jakarta, available online www.fethullahgulenchair.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=666:dr-cemen-polat&catid =75:conference-papers&Itemid=255.
 Webb, ‘Fethullah Gülen: Is There More to Him Than Meets the Eye?’ 46–49.
 Graham Fuller, The New Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World, 57.
 Nursi, The Words (trans. by Şükran Vahide), 421.
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