Does the Hizmet Movement alienate some Islamic communities by denying their opportunities within the public domain?
Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi has indeed touched upon the principles of positive action in many of his weekly sermons published on the web site, herkul.org. Fethullah Gülen repeatedly expressed that no matter how others act, the key responsibility is to treat people with tolerance, as he states, “No matter what anybody does to us, thinking positively of them and being tolerant is what falls upon us.” If we do come across the flaws of others, we must say “Possibly God Almighty is putting me a test by showing me these things!” and be very careful to not have negative opinions or false assumptions of others.
He emphasises that when we are evaluating others (in the way of not expecting anybody to be perfect) we must not expect anybody to be a hundred percent perfect, as we cannot claim that we ourselves are a hundred percent perfect. In the words of Rumi, “Don’t insist on one hundred, ninety will do / For what you call a human, deficiency will do / Don’t you dare get haughty, what little do you have / Don’t think you are all there is/ without you everything will do.” Mentioning this, Fethullah Gülen emphasizes that we must hold such an understanding and, not only avoid talking negative of others, but refrain from even thinking badly of each other.
He voices that positive thought and interactions between people, families, religious communities and movements are characteristics of a true belief, further saying, “Till this day, those who have shackled their lives to destroying others have never been able to present anything of permanence. In this sense, it is necessary to always be a part of mending and positive actions.” In addition to this, he states: “It is necessary for us to embrace differences and accept them as riches of modern society provided that one does not act in contrary with the religious principles while doing so.”
Fethullah Gülen also recounts an incident that recently took place: An elder who visited Mongolia met the principal of a Turkish school there. During the conversation between them he asked, “Are there other groups here doing similar educational and cultural activities?” He replied, “Yes, thanks to God, the students of the honorable Süleyman Effendi have some educational centers.” The elderly individual was shocked and said, “Interesting, do you guys (people of the Hizmet Movement) say, ‘the honorable Süleyman Effendi’”?He replied “I swear to God that I have never heard Hocaefendi mention Süleyman Effendi’s name once without praising him with ‘the honorable.’” Once this event was described to Fethullah Gülen, he replied as follows: “For 40 years, I always referred to him as such. Likewise, I never simply said ‘Mahmud Effendi’ (another spiritual leader in Turkey) and continued. While referring to them, I have never used the popular phrases, such as ‘Çarşamba Community,’ which carry some negative implications. I always said ‘the honorable Mahmud Effendi’ and always believed that all of them accomplished very important religious and community services.
Fethullah Gülen further expresses that, if we give our willpower its due, act always in a positive manner, show tolerance and acceptance of everyone, applaud every service and treat everyone with respect, one day there will be pure souls that also act the same way. All these positive actions and manners will be considered as prayers by God and He will bless us with unity and concord. He has also advised us to include those of other religious groups and communities in our prayers and to say, “O God, correct all of our hearts... O God, keep all of us away from all feelings of envy and envious rivalry; keep us away from such negative feelings, as far as the distance between the North and South poles!”
Finally, Fethullah Gülen expresses the following: “Ideas such as ‘Let them vanish so that we can take their place’ are the disease of people who have lost their soul to some worldly status and vanity. On the contrary, those who have sacrificed themselves to this lofty service for faith should never fall into the web of such evil thoughts!”
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