The established social practice of the Gülen Movement focuses on the role and needs of the individual. It emphasizes individual needs for self-reflexivity and self-realization. Without straying into forms of narcissistic behavior, or the individualistic search for self-affirmation and instant gratification, the Gülen Movement testifies to a profound change in the status of the individual and his or her problems. Through socio-cultural efforts and services, the Movement addresses the individual dimension of social life, and thus with the products it provides, it may then affect the whole of society. Its space and the level where new forms of social action originate is not political space or power, nor government, nor regime. It educates and socializes individuals without individualizing and politicizing the social. It acknowledges that neither individuals nor a system ever undergo change at all levels at the same time and in the same way. Change requires a lengthy period of time, enormous sacrifice, commitment and patience, and it can be achieved only through education, peace and co-operation of like-minded citizens and civilizations.
As a contemporary reformulation of the teachings of Rumi, Yunus Emre, and other classical Sufi teachers, Fethullah Gülen emphasizes the self-development of heart and mind through education. He encourages engaging proactively and positively with the modern world. He advises reaching out in dialogue and a spirit of cooperation between different religious communities, social strata and nations.
Fethullah Gülen has concentrated his efforts on establishing dialogue among the various ideologies, cultures, religions and ethnic groups of Turkey and of the wider world, far beyond traditional religious circles alone.