Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fethullah Gulen's Care for All Creation as a Means to Nonviolence

(Video Duration: 22 mins. 25 secs. )

Eileen Eppig, Ph.D.
Prof. Eileen Eppig of College of Notre Dame presents her paper at the conference Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace: The Contributions of the Gulen Movement, held by the Rumi Forum on Oct. 29, 2009 at the University of Maryland, College Park:

The nonviolent and peaceful lifestyle of Fethullah Gulen reflects the Sufi belief that love is the essential element in every creature. Gulen’s own love extends to the entire universe, which is meant to be “read” by human beings in order to achieve faith, knowledge, and closeness to God. With traditional Sufi theology, Gulen relates the inner meaning of the Qur’an to the inner meaning of the natural world. The Qur’an and the universe are two expressions of the same truth.

The Qur’an calls on human beings to study creation for the sake of knowing the Creator. The natural world, like the Qur’an, reveals the Divine Names and so has a kind of sacredness in it. The universe teaches human beings to demonstrate compassion, not only to other humans, but to every living creature. Gulen calls this “the grand orchestra of love.” All creation is to be loved in the way of God’s loving, replacing violence and hatred with peace and harmony.

When human beings respect the beauty hidden in each creature, they see the world from a different perspective. They become people who, like the Prophet, protect plants and animals and can “read the verses of God in the faces of people.” Human beings, as the most significant of God’s creatures, have a responsibility to reflect on their relationship with the universe and explore its inner richness. They have an obligation to embrace creation in the peaceful ways of the Creator and to protect the general harmony of existence.