Can religion and politics have common goals, work together and overlap?

by Doğu Ergil on . Posted in Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement in 100 questions

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Fethullah Gülen

Acceptance of religion’s expression of its sacredness, another aspect of approaching it in this manner would be not to use religion for any worldly purposes. It would be not to exploit it for worldly or spiritual gains. Religion should not be used as a vehicle for the pleasures in heart for personal considerations, either. Politicization of religion, religion being the foundation for some political ideas and acts, looking at matters through the prism of religion, garbing our personal political administrative understanding within religion, would mean making our personal opinions sacred, therefore, it would be an insult to the religion. Second, when we base our political thoughts, considerations, party politics on religion, in some ways our shortcomings and faults and deficiencies are reflected in religion, reaction to us brings a reaction to it. In other words, those who hate us feel hatred toward the religion, also. The truth of religion should be represented in such a way that, it should be above all political considerations. Whereas when religion is politicized, when we say we represent it, in a sense, we would be seeing others outside of it. Even if it seems to care about religion, since we make a shadow over religion through our conduct and behavior, since we blacken it, and since the religion receives its share from the hatred directed toward us, in my opinion, those who politicize it would be doing a grave harm to religion.

Religion is a matter between God and the servant, the foundation of which is sincerity, honesty, gaining the pleasure of God, it is a matter related to heart, to go deeper as much as possible into the inner recession, as well as it is about dealing with the external. It is one’s passing his life on the emerald hills of heart. By ignoring or neglecting this aspect of religion altogether, understanding and practicing it as a ceremonial matter and trying to display it as if making a show off to others would be wrong.[1]

In Fethullah Gülen’s approach to Islam, there is no place for a political organization. He strongly advises against giving the impression that religion is being exploited for political purposes. Fethullah Gülen advocates understanding Islam as a religion, with its basic precepts within the immutable framework.

[1] The interview given to Yalçın Doğan, Kanal D, 16 April 1997.