Has the Gülen Movement ever received any support from Muslim countries or Islamic organizations? Does it currently receive any such support?

Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gülen’s response to this question is short and clear:

Absolutely such a support is out of the question. Earlier or later it was always closed to such offers. As it was not taken in the past, it is impossible to be taken from now onwards.[1]

Later, he makes a detailed and more philosophical explanation relating it to the perception or idea of “freedom”:

We understand freedom, from the perspective of Islam’s spiritual aspect, as “not coming under the yoke of anyone or anything other than God, not bowing before anything.”[2]

Freedom is the title of being able to realize every wish and desire, not in opposition to the spirit of religion, without encountering any obstacle. Nevertheless it is not an unlimited liberty without any criteria; it is only the state of affairs in which there is no any suppression, domination or a yoke.[3]

Another dimension of freedom consists of acting according to the principle that the power is in truth, never saying “I accept the defeat, I give in” in the face of oppressive powers and never being ready to accept the yoke of other powers.[4]

Being in the place or position of “pay back” for a favor is a disgrace. When you lose your independence against some people, to the extent of the number of people you come under as their captive, you would have to pay the proportionate price, in order to stay alive.

But the demands of each one of those who enslaved you would be different. One wants something, another something else. When you are under the obligation to meet each demand, you could not fulfill the obligations of even those to whom you really want to respond positively.

... In one sense, nowadays the situation of Turkey is exactly that. The European Union, the central Asia, The Middle East, and some powerful nations like the United States have all different demands, and sometimes these demands are in contradiction with each other.

If you cannot stand on your own feet and you are forced to be part of some of the plans, if you are unable to have a say in some strategies from at the first degree and if you fail to raise your voice in the planning stage, it means you are not completely independent.

This situation is a proof that you are under some constraints and there is not even a partnership out there. When the state of affairs is like that, you can not satisfy any party, you cannot be adequate for any one therefore, and you cannot free yourself from the captivity.[5]

For this reason, it is very important for the dialog and educational activities, which is also called as the “Movement of Volunteers,” to be independent…

… They, whom I call “heroes of love,” said, “We will go to the bosom of the nation, but we will never be dependent on others and we will not have to pay a price as a quid pro quo to the foreigners,” and set out…

The participants of this movement, first placing trust in God, and then taking the commitment of our nation on their side, without compromising on their freedom, marched on and never in their lifetime begged from strangers, never had indebtedness to anyone…

They did not owe anything to anyone, because the citizens of this distinguished nation by and large were approving the philosophy of dialog and the educational activities.[6]

When the participants join the movement and get to know each other, that issue which warms the heart of each one of them becomes a common denominator among them, receiving strength from each other, all are pitching in their personal commitment and together they are establishing that institution.[7]

Fethullah Gülen believes that when people who made material contributions saw the result of their efforts, they experienced so much pleasure that their commitment increased. “Especially when they saw God gave them ten folds if they had given one, it increased the volunteers’ generosity very much.”[8] He believes that in these modern times there is only one thing which profoundly influences people, moves them, and gets them to act with a sense of renunciation, opening their hearts up to others: faith.

Fethullah Gülen expresses that members of the movement take special care to make sure that the movement is independent, in order to continue the activities of dialog and education, which started as free civic-society initiatives, and to reach the goals set. Every effort is made and extreme caution is taken for the movement not to lose its trustworthiness and to stay away from all outside influences and political tendencies. According to him, this is a public movement (it belongs to the “people”) and it has to remain so. At this point, he states that the activities of the movement can be in harmony with both the Islamic faith and institutional independence:

While you say tolerance and dialog, and stay in a certain relationship with everyone, you would roam within the religiously legitimate boundaries, you would vocalize your servanthood to God, and you would taste a different aspect of freedom and be in an effort to have others taste the same independence.[9]

[1] Doğu Ergil’s interview with Fethullah Gülen.
[2] Fethullah Gülen 2010d, 88.
[3] Ibid., 87.
[4] Ibid., 89.
[5] Ibid., 90–91.
[6] Ibid., 91.
[7] Ibid., 92.
[8] Ibid., 88.
[9] Fethullah Gülen 2010d, 96.

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