Print

Inner Dynamics

by Enes Ergene on . Posted in An Analysis of the Gülen Movement

User Rating:  / 9
PoorBest 
From the very beginning of this study, we have tried to express how some Western sociological perspectives are insufficient for studying an Islamic community or movement, for these approaches base themselves on theories of economic, political, and social crises that occur in the context of the modernization. Such theories may disregard the inner dynamics of a particular movement and apply the same analysis used for other movements. Most theories of social movements, be they religious, political, ideological, or civil, can be categorized as one or more of the following:

1Reactionary

2Traditional-conservative

3Reformist

4Revolutionary and separatist

5Expressionist and discursive

This categorization is generally considered a valid form of classification. For a start, the fact that a social movement leads to political or social consequences does not mean that it moves according to the aims and ideals that have been determined by these categories. What we mean here is that each movement may harbor within itself certain tendencies within these categories, continuously or for a certain period of time.

In short, these categories may facilitate analysis, but they may overlook critical inner dynamics of movements. Thus, an objective analysis has to take into consideration the inner dynamics, principles of existence, ways of expression, and types of discourses that pertain to these movements.

When we consider the efforts of Western research concerning movements in the Muslim world, we see that this approach views most of the movements as anti-colonial or anti-Western. In Muslim countries that exist under totalitarian regimes, Islamic movements, communities, and groupings exhibit a tendency to formulate broad social transformation movements, and thus are often designated as reactionary and political. However, that each tendency should carry a political or ideological aim is neither a scientific given, nor a commonly held opinion. The emerging trend of becoming more Islamic in Muslim societies is one such trend. In this trend, there is not a direct connection to politics or to reactionary mobilization. Here, however, we should point out that "forming an agenda or request for social change" has a completely different meaning in society compared to its meaning in the discipline of sociology. That said, the tendency in the society to become more Islamic as a result of internal motives cannot be defined as ideological. This is where "Islamization" and "Islamism" differ.

In regard to the phenomenon of community, this truth must always be kept in mind. Community manifests itself as the result of a tendency that develops on its own in society. The point is not to formulate an alternative to a society’s central identity (as can be observed in radical and ideological movements); rather, in its social and broad tendencies, society demonstrates its ability to express itself in different ways—sometimes as a civil organization, sometimes as a religious community, and sometimes as a political party. There can be nothing more natural than the fluctuating trends of religious tendencies and increased sensibilities in Muslim societies. This tendency manifests itself at times in the shape of organizations, and at times, as broad sweeping movements.

Some articles and studies that analyze the Gülen movement have held onto the schematic tendency to present it as an ideological movement. That is to say, they have tried to weaken its legitimacy by reading it as a reactionary formation that seeks to present an alternative social identity. This effort has turned out to be fruitless. For the Gülen movement considers social and ideological pressure as being opposed to the soul of religious communication. Religious communication addresses free will and freedom of choice, and it calls to the natural mechanisms in human nature. Upon us all, the Creator placed mechanisms that enable each conscience to recognize Him, and to let Him be recognized. This is what the community calls out to: common sense, conscience, and a healthy nature.

The Gülen movement does not use imported methods of propaganda when calling out to the individual and the society. As we have pointed out many times, it has produced its own internal action method and its own dynamics for communicating the faith. It tries to render each worldly relation as spiritual and connected to eternity. All the dynamics of the movement are molded with spirituality and transcendentalism. Consequently, the relations within the movement prioritize altruism, devotion, and loyalty. It avoids promoting worldly aims, benefits, or interests. If we do not analyze a movement with its own inner dynamics and ideals and if we move with ready-made models when considering entirely new frameworks, then we will not be able to come to the right conclusion.