This introduction by me as a professor of Oriental studies might be seen as an incentive to attract attention, but I hope that the reader will welcome this book by Muhammed Fethullah Gülen from the very first pages.
Fethullah Gülen is affectionately and respectfully called "Hodjaefendi" in the Muslim world. In the rest of the world he is a welcomed as a well-respected contemporary thinker, better known as a democratic figure and social renovator who appeals to the common sense of large masses. The Messenger of God: Muhammad by this respected author has been translated in due time addressing the needs of Russian readers.
Modern civilization calls for new ideas to be thought up and new words to be uttered. It seems as if Fethullah Gülen has been sent to our irresolute and apprehensive world by God Almighty to pronounce these.
It is well-known that the Qur'an names Christians and Jews, together with Muslims, as the People of the Book, i.e. believers of one God. Members of monotheistic faiths will embrace this book as a renewed confirmation of this truth, which is a common property of all of humanity. God Almighty has embedded in the essence of humankind a natural inclination to search for the deeper aspects of things and events, to look for love and beauty, and to reach perfection. Religious belief has been genetically injected into the nature of human beings, as the author of this introduction, as well as his colleagues concerned with natural sciences, have written countless times. The essentials of faith and practiced religious duties are in perfect harmony with the needs of human nature.
The Messenger of God is overflowing with faith in God Almighty, the One and only Creator of everything, and it is woven with a deep love of humanity, along with a complete trust in the triumph of "goodness" and "faith." These two concepts have always been indispensable constituents that make up the basis for the continuity of life. Other works of the prominent scholar Fethullah Gülen need to be considered within the scope of the significance attributed to this work.
Until the end of the 20th century, everything about Islam, the Qur'an and its teachings, God's final Messenger Muhammad-peace and blessings be upon him-and everything related to him and his Sunna have been faced by various kinds of opposition. Clear truth is obscured where there is oppression and persecution. Deliberately or not, the casual interpretation of anything related to the Prophet and the Qur'an from time to time has paved the way for replacement of Qur'anic truths with exaggerated slogans.
This book by Gülen is a satisfactory work for Muslims who are well aware that such casual interpretations of the Qur'an not only harm individuals but the entire society. The situation is even more critical for Muslims in Russia. This book will surely help people to comprehend the Qur'an more deeply and reflect on it in parallel with modern science, thanks to its academic qualities, carefully chosen expressions, and clear style.
Hopefully, this work by Fethullah Gülen will be a means to feel the Divine Revelation in our hearts and minds, to comprehend it better. I see The Messenger of God as a book to be read by different generations in a family, which will teach them the moral principles of Islam, contribute to the birth of a healthy society, and spread tolerance among them.
As for the non-Muslim audience, the readers can find various positive remarks and the true values of Islam undistorted by political considerations. As a person of a special position and deep spirituality, Fethullah Gülen presents how dialogue, a dialogue between people who give credit for different opinions and give others a chance to speak, but lead their own lives according to their free will and conscience, yields wonderful fruit.
Fethullah Gülen does not tell us to tolerate everything and that we should reach an absolute consensus on every subject. The non-Muslim audience will find various reasons that push them to have arguments with the author in their minds. At the same time however, the reader will see how removed Islam is from terror and other similar vices which endanger human life and make life more difficult for us. On the other hand, there have always been good on one side, evil on the other. The choice depends on individuals. This work will be a means for the human spirit to meet the Absolute Truth, in other words, God Almighty. Dear reader, all that I have said so far makes me dare to say, the book you are going to read is a book of "goodness."
Translated from the foreword by Vitaliy Ivanovich Sheremet, for the Russian edition of the book.
Dr. Vitaliy Sheremet is a professor at the Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Fountain, January-March 2006, Issue 53