Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fethullah Gulen and the Concept of Ikhlas [Pure Love for God, Fidelity]

(Video Duration: 1 min. 35 secs.)

Fr. Thomas Michel
A conference titled “Muslims between Tradition and Modernity: The Gulen Movement as a Bridge between Cultures” was held at Potsdam University in Berlin on May 26-27, 2009.

Presenting a conference paper titled “The Concept of Ikhlas [pure love for God and sincerity in Islamic literature] in Gülen's Teachings,” American Professor Thomas Michel said “gaining the approval of God” without expecting anything in return from people is a central tenet in the teachings of Fethullah Gülen. Noting that even reaching heaven is not a motivating factor in his teachings, he said the acquisition of worldly gains does not exist in Gülen's understanding of Islam.

In this video, Fr. Thomas Michel responds to a question about the concept of Ikhlas in Gulen's teachings:

To respond to the question about "Ikhlas"

This has been commented on this concept by Muslims in every century. But when Fethullah Gulen focuses on Ikhlas, there are these two ideas that are always there.

The first one, Ikhlas is an element of the mystery of the person's individual relationship to God. Ikhlas is whenever we do; whether picking up people at the airport or whether it's providing drinks at the coffee break. If you do this for God, this has a value which only God knows and rewards.

The second aspect of Ikhlas, which is important to Gulen, is in the unity of the community; how is unity maintained in the community. Well, nothing breaks a community apart more than some people going after privileges, are ambition, are rivalry, are competition. But focus on Ikhlas helps people to maintain that unity by saying that everything that is done, is done for the pleasure of God. These are the two foci that we find in Gulen's treatment of Ikhlas.

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