Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fethullah Gulen, Moral Selfhood and Devotion

(Video Duration: 1 min. 45 mins.)

Margaret J. Rausch
Margaret J. Rausch, Ph.D.
Religious Studies Perspectives on the Hizmet Movement was the topic of the fourth panel at the “International Conference on the Gulen Movement: Paradigms, Projects, Aspirations” held at the International House of University of Chicago in 2010.

In the panel, Dr. Margaret J. Rausch of the University of Kansas presented her paper on The Hizmet Movement and Sufism: Moral Selfhood and Compassionate Engagement. Below are some excerpts from Dr. Rausch’s presentation:

Fethullah Gulen has written and spoken extensively on the process of polishing the heart that underlies the development of moral selfhood and compassionate engagement, central to his life and lives of Hizmet affiliates.

Gulen’s vision of this process is based on the early Sufi scholarship and on the Qur’an and Hadith. It is theoretical and abstract, rendering its practical application challenging, nevertheless affiliates who have never met him view him as their guide undertake it in ever increasing numbers.

Historically promoted primarily by Sufis, but theoretically equivalent to adapt or proper comportment elaborated in non-Sufi manuals, it has recently become the focus of the Islamic reform initiatives.

…Their experiences of affect in self-refashioning related it to five main themes: Self transformation through language, communal interconnectedness, Gulen’s role as a guide and example, Gulen’s passing, development through the performance of the Hizmet.

…An environment of trust, love and companionship surrounds Hizmet people. “When you’re surrounded by living examples of compassion and altruism, becoming filled with the desire to devote yourself, to serving others is unavoidable.”