Said Nursi, also widely known as Bediuzzaman (the Wonder of the Age) was born in 1877 in eastern Turkey. Bediuzzaman displayed an extraordinary intelligence and ability to learn from an early age, completing the normal course of religious school education at the early age of fourteen, when he obtained his diploma. He became famous for both his prodigious memory and his unbeaten record in debating with other religious scholars. Another characteristic Bediuzzaman displayed from an early age was an instinctive dissatisfaction with the existing education system, which when older he formulated into comprehensive proposals for its reform.
Bediuzzaman had immersed himself in the Holy Book, searching for a way torelate its truths to modern man. In Barla in his isolation he began to write treatises explaining and proving these truths, for now the Holy Book itself and its truths were under direct attack. The first of these was on the Resurrection of the Dead, which in a unique style proves bodily Resurrection rationally, where even the greatest scholars previously had confessed their impotence. He described the method employed in this as consisting of three stages: first God’s existence is proved, and His Names and attributes, then the Resurrection of the Dead is ‘constructed’ on these and proved.
Mevlânâ Celâleddin Mehmed Rumi was born in Afghanistan (which was the Persian city of Balkh) in 1207. Loosely translated, Jalal means “majesty”, Din means “religion”, and Rumi means “the Roman”, which means “Majesty of Religion”. The Anatolian region in Turkey that Rumi died in was then part of the Byzantine Empire.
- Diwan-i Kebir, called poets, poems, book collecting. Diwan-ı Kebir “Big Book” or “Great Divan” means. Mevlana’s poems on various topics, all the Courtiers said. Divan-i Kebir in the Persian language, although a small number of Divan-i Kebir in Arabic, Turkish and Greek poetry is in the half. Diwan-ı Kebir 21 small couch (Bahir) and consisted of a combination of the Court of Ruba. Diwan-i Kebir couplet number exceeds 40,000. Mevlana, Divan-i Shams Kebîr’deki some of the poems he wrote under the pseudonym of this sofa, also called the Diwan-i Shams. Poetry on the sofa in the meter and rhymes designed taking into consideration.
- Masnawi, the classical eastern literature, is the name of a style of poetry. Literally, “two, ikişerlik” means. Meters in the same literature, and separately between each couplet rhyming verse forms of his name was Mesnevi.
Meters in the same rhyming couplet, but each separately because it is easy to write Mesnevi great. For this reason, long-lasting issues or stories through poetry söylenilecekse, Mesnevi rhyme style is chosen because of the ease. In this way, poetry, couplet couplet goes on.
Although the classical style of poetry is a doğu’şiirinin Mesnevi the “Mesnevi” to mind, they say, “Mevlana Mesnevi” income. Mevlana wrote at the request of Mesnevi Hüsameddin’in Celebi. Chalabi says the clerk Husamaddin Mevlana, Mesnevi Meram’da couplets while visiting, sitting, walking or even while singing the Sema, as you would with Celebi Husamaddin.
Mesnevi Persian language. Currently, the Mevlana Museum in the exhibition are dated 1278, and the oldest copy of Mesnevi, according to the number of couplets is 25618. Mesnevi verse: Fa-Fa i la i la by all by all – FA i lün’dür. The Masnavi Mevlana 6 large volumes, mystical ideas and thoughts to each other in ulanmış tells stories.
- Fih-i Ma-Fih
It connotes “What’s within is within” and contains Hz. Mevlana’s lectures. Mecalis-i Seb’a: As the meaning of the title “Seven Sermons” implies, it contains Hz. Mevlana’s seven lectures.
It consists of the 147 letters Hz. Mevlana wrote to relatives, including his son Sultan Veled, and to friends, rulers, and officials of the State.
The discipline of Mevlevi Order was established by Mevlevi’s son Sultan Veled, his disciple Chalabi Husameddin, and his grandson Ulu Arif Chalabi in order to pass on his teachings to future generations. Ever since then, the “order” has been presided over by a Makam Chalabi (Chief Master) elected from among Mevlana’s offspring.
Confucius was born around the year 551 BC in China, in a very humble environment. It is said that he was orphaned as a small boy, since there is no records of his parents. While he was growing up China was in despair with warfare and corruption running rampant. This gloom in China is what some felt led Confucius to teach his philosophies of having a good moral standing or having jen which means humaneness. Confucius is will known for some phrases that give meaning to what a good up standing citizen represents. Two of my personal favorites are the following:
A BRIEF HISTORY
A man for all seasons, M. Fethullah Gülen was born in tiny village of Korucuk, in Erzurum Province, Eastern Turkey, in November 1938. His family tree is traced to a noble lineage. He comes from a long line of learned scholars. Born with an insatiable appetite for learning, Gülen received his initial education from his parents who were scholars and teachers in their own right. Later he continued his studies under the tutelage of some of the most prominent Islamic scholars in Eastern Turkey. Sheik Muhammed Lutfi and Sheik Alvarli are two who immediately come to mind. Blessed with extraordinary oratory skills, even at the ripe age of 15, Gülen was recognized as one of the more accomplished preachers in the early 1950s, mentioned in the same breath with some of the more learned scholars, many years his senior, in Eastern Anatolia.
In 1958 he was granted state preacher. s license, receiving the highest exam score and assigned to a mosque in Edirne, Turkey. After a stint in Edirne, followed by military service, and an assignment in Kirklareli, he was promoted to a preaching post in Izmir, the third largest province of Turkey in 1966.
Izmir assignment marks one of the most important milestones in his life, as it was in this city of diverse intellects that he started and crystallizing his theme, expanding his audience base, and emphasizing in sermons and speeches pressing social issues of the times. His initial batch of disciples who currently make up the core of his followers, was trained in Izmir during these formative years.
In Izmir, he did not restrict himself to teaching in the inner city circles alone. Unsatisfied with the small congregation his weekly sermons, he decided to reach a wider cross section of the Anatolian population and started to roam the eastern Aegean shores in a . whistle stopping. style. He lectured not only in mosques but also at town meetings and corner coffee houses. This enabled him to reach a more representative cross section of the population and a larger audience. Also at this time he started to attract the attention of academic community, especially the student body, main target. The subject matter of his, speeches, be they formal or informal, was not only limited to religion but ranging from education, economy, science to social justice and Darwinism. It was the depth and quality of his speeches in a wide range of topics that impressed the academic community most about him and won the respect and attention of intellects.
After Izmir, he continued his official duties as preacher in Edremit , Manisa and Bornova, in Western Turkey, until retirement in 1980. During 1988-91 he gave a series of sermons as preacher emeritus in some of the most famous mosques in major population centers, while continuing his message in the form of popular conferences not only in Turkey but also in Europe. These gatherings attracted tens of thousands of admirers. He has since been concentrating his efforts in establishing a dialogue of understanding and tolerance among factions representing different ideologies, cultures, religions and nations. He attends meetings and conferences to prepare the humanity for the birth of the century of tolerance and understanding which will lead to the cooperation of civilizations. He constantly meets with prominent national and international figures to share this message. Today, he communicates to much broader cross-section of people through media.
He is a prolific writer. He writes the editorial article in Yeni Umit, Sizinti and the Fountain magazines. He has written more than twenty books, hundreds of articles, and recorded numerous audio and video cassettes. Some of his works, such as The Infinite Light (The Life of Prophet Muhammad), The Questions, Criteria, Prophet Muhammed as Commander, The Essentials of Islamic Faith, Towards the Lost Paradise, have been translated into English. Some of his books have also been translated into German, Russian, Albanian and Bulgarian. His Poems have also been compiled in a book titled “Broken Pick”, pick as in playing a string instrument.
M. Fethullah Gülen is familiar with Arabic and Persian. As a student of hadith, tafsir, fiqh, and tasawwuf, he occupies his rightful place among his contemporaries in Islamic sciences. His admirers are estimated to be millions worldwide.
A MAN OF EXTRAORDINARY DIMENSIONS
Known for his modesty and austere life style, M. Fethullah Gülen, affectionately referred to as Hocaefendi* by his admirers, is a man of extraordinary dimensions. He has taken great pains in communicating to the society the importance of human understanding and tolerance. His efforts since 1960s especially for educational reforms, have made him one of the most well known and respected figures in Turkey. His biography, which was published recently, has made the fiftieth edition.
Gülen has devoted his life in to finding solutions to ills and spiritual deficiencies of mankind. As a peace activist, intellectual, religious scholar, teacher, preacher, author and a poet, he leads by example and lives what he preaches. In himself he offers us an ideal model to emulate.
GÜLEN AS AN EDUCATOR
Totally dedicated to solving the society. s problems, M. Fethullah Gülen believes the road to justice for all is paved with an adequate universal education of all. Only then would there be sufficient understanding and tolerance to show respect for the rights of others. To this end, he has over the years encouraged society. s elite and the community leaders, industrialists as well as small businessmen to support quality education. With donations from these sources hundreds of schools were established not only in Turkey but also abroad. His tireless efforts in this area have begun to bear fruit for the society as the students graduating from the private schools in Turkey and especially Central Asia, fostered through his inspirations, and run as trusts, have taken top honors in University placement tests and consistently finished at the top in International Science Olympics, producing a number of world champions, especially in math, physics, chemistry, and biology. In fact, recently as July 1997, a chemistry team from Yamanlar High School in Izmir, competed in the Chemistry Olympics, in Calgary, Canada and took the top honors from among fifty nations.
M. Fethullah Gülen has long had a dream of a golden generation, a generation of impeccable moral fiber, in quest of a society – almost a utopia – where peace and harmony will be the rule; a society where no wide disparity shall exist between the haves and have-nots, between the strong and the weak, between the learned and the unlettered, between the selfish and unselfish; where individual rights and freedoms are respected and protected, where equal opportunity for all is more than his dream.
Gülen believes, is not beyond the reach of man provided, however, the attainment of knowledge is accomplished parallel with high moral and spiritual values to protect man against the enemy within, his greed. He warns us against unbridled power, unbridled with moral and spiritual values.
His efforts to establish schools all over the world is aimed at a complete education of tomorrow’s leaders to attain the required knowledge tempered with moral and ethical values, to run the affairs of the world for benefit of the whole mankind.
He maintains, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be”. In the area of education he has inspired the use of mass media, especially television, to inform the public, especially those unable to attain a formal education, of the pressing matters in the society.
VIEWS ON POLITICS AND POLITICAL SYSTEM
As a political and governing system, democracy is the only alternative left in the world he maintains. In spite of its many shortcomings, according to Gülen, mankind has not yet designed a better governing system than democracy. We must, therefore, be fully committed to Democracy and make it work, as no other alternative is acceptable. Man shall always demand freedom of choice in the way they run their affairs and especially in their expression of spiritual and religious values. For someone with such indubitable views in politics, he has always shied away from involvement in formal politics.
. Do not despair in the face of adversity and do not yield to anarchists,. he emphasizes time and again, and he warns us constantly to guard against despair. To him “hopelessness is a quicksand that devours human progress and kills the will to succeed; it is a noose that chokes and drowns will of man.”
M. Fethullah Gülen attempts and succeeds in bridging the past with his vision of the future. His keen desire to find a solution for the dilemma society is faced today presents, in his writings and speeches, itself as statements coming one after another like a priceless pearls arranged perfectly on a necklace. In his inimitable style and vocabulary in his speeches and writings, he offers a formula for us to find a way out of “material quicksand” in which we find ourselves today.
Today. s man is in search of his Creator and the purpose of his creation, Gülen contends. To questions, why was I born, what is the purpose of my living, he gives very practical yet singularly scholarly and convincing response. In his speeches and writings one encounters statements like “man has come to a crossroads, one leads to despair, the other to salvation; may God give us the wisdom to make the right choice.” He gives us many hints to find the right choice. In his daily life man must maintain that delicate balance between material and spiritual values, he emphasizes. Only then could man enjoy serenity and true happiness. Man must guard against unbridled greed. After all, he adds, is not the greed of man that has brought many a calamity to him throughout the history.
A TRUE INNOVATOR AND SOCIAL REFORMER
At a time when humanity is in acute need of leadership, we find a true innovator and a leader in the person of M. Fethullah Gülen. A unique social reformer, Gülen has brilliantly synthesized the sciences with divinity, reconciling those “apparent” differences between the two. In his writings and oral presentations, he admirably combines the ideology and philosophies of East and the West. As for the method of getting others accept your ways, he tells us, the days of getting things done your way through brute force are over. In today. s enlightened world, the only way to get others accept your ideas is by persuasion through convincing arguments. “Those who resort to brute force to reach their goal are intellectually bankrupt souls,” he quips.
A MAN OF PEACE UNDERSTANDING AND TOLERANCE
With his acute perception, M. Fethullah Gülen feels the positive change in the spiritual climate in the world. He envisions a 21st century in which we shall witness the sprouting of a spiritual dynamics that will dust off the moral values dormant for so long. He envisions the birth of the age of tolerance and understanding leading to the cooperation of civilizations and ultimately to the fusion of the two into one body and not some cynical souls believe to be the clash of civilizations. Human spirit shall triumph all obstacles on the way to intercultural dialogue and sharing of values.
Steps taken by Gülen to promote cultural, ideological and religious dialogue, tolerance, and understanding, promises great hope for the future. He started his crusade against those perpetrating tensions for personal gains and struggling for dialogue of friendship and understanding among the people of his own country, Turkey. He pioneered the founding of The Foundation of Journalists and Writers for the promotion of dialogue for tolerance among people. He has been a central figure at meetings and special events with leading journalists, columnists, intellectuals, TV personalities, and politicians.
His All Holiness Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Vatican Ambassador to Turkey, the Patriarch of the Turkish Armenian community and the Chief Rabbi of the Turkish Jewish community are among his constant companions at important gatherings for inter-religious dialogue and understanding. He has recently intensified his overseas activities and visits with such religious personalities as Cardinal John O. Connor of New York Archdiocese of Roman Catholic Church.
Those who have responded to his call to a universal friendship, understanding, and tolerance, have done so only after being totally convinced by his simplicity of life, moral principles, uniquely sterile life style, and strong conviction to his mission. His devout disciples make great personal sacrifices with no expectations of personal gains to perpetuate his legacy of promoting world-wide dialogue, understanding, and tolerance. “Love and understanding shall overcome over hatred, but the champions of this cause shall have to be steadfast in their stand.” he warns.
His cry gets its strength from the same source, the divine love, as the immortal words of Mawlana Jalaleddin Rumi “come, whoever you are, whatever you are, come join us.” calling everyone to join in universal brotherhood, so eloquently state. Gülen calls on the silent majority of the world who share much in common to make a better world for . ourselves..
A BUNCH OF BLOOMS OF HIS INSPIRATIONS
-More than 500 hundred elementary, secondary schools and courses, almost 200 hundred of which are abroad ranging from Tanzania to Russia, Albania to Yakutsky. -A university in Turkey, Fatih University of Istanbul, and 5 in Central Asia. -A number of non-profit organizations – foundations and associations- Scholarships in tens of thousands by these organizations. -A television network covering a viewing area from Near East, Central Asia to Indian subcontinent. -A daily paper of major circulation in Turkey, Zaman, also published in 16 countries including the USA. -A number of periodicals specialized in various fields, e.g., Ekoloji (Ecology), Sizinti (Scientific), Yeni Umit (Theology), Aksiyon (News magazine) and The Fountain (Scientific).
GÜLEN-BARTHOLOMEW TWOSOME FOR UNIVERSAL PEACE AND TOLERANCE
The collaboration between M. Fethullah Gülen and His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is a living testimony to the bright future of the peace movement started by these two great leaders. This outstanding friendship of the two well-respected citizens of Turkey, though of different religious persuasion, but to a large extent of the same culture, offers an ideal example to emulate mankind in the way to a lasting peace and brotherhood.
At the doorstep of the new millennium, these two leaders term the 21st century as the century lasting peace, understanding, tolerance, and cooperation between the civilizations. And, who are more qualified than these two outstanding personalities, as leading figures of two great religions, to lead the world in this long odyssey to peace, prosperity and spiritual awareness?
The two great leaders have already sown the seeds of love and understanding ready to bear fruit. This should be a clear message to those who may hope to profit from a new world disorder, that peoples of the world are ready to follow the wisdom, rhyme and reason of such unselfish, dedicated personalities who have unconditionally dedicated themselves to the cause of lasting peace and friendship. This unshakable relationship between the two outstanding world citizens shall set the tone for a universal understanding that will carry the peace banner beyond the followers of the two great religions they represent.
After centuries of harmony between the great Greek and Turkish nations, these amicable relations of yester years have fallen victim to the latest fashion of animosities currently troubling the leaders of these two great nations. If the enviable friendship between these two leaders, however, is barometer, this is about to change. These two leaders with their unique styles have paved the way to a lasting amicable cooperation between Greece and Turkey. Now it is up to the political leaders to take it a step further.
To this end, bringing together Gülen and Pope John Paul will add another important milestone to the efforts of Patriarch- Gülen twosome in their sacred mission directed to achieving a universal peace. The cause of great wars, so have argued the political leaders of the world for centuries, religion shall be the driving force for the peace movement.
* Pronounced as Hodjaefendi, a term used to describe a learned scholar who is unequally qualified to teach.
Rumi was born in the city of Balkh in 1207, at a time when all of Asia was suffering from social, political, and military problems. His father, Muhammad Bahauddin al-Siddiqi, was part of the tenth generation of the descendants of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first caliph of Islam. According to Tahir al-Mawlawi, Rumi’s mother was also from the descendants of the Prophet. He was the blessed fruit of a hallowed family tree. Being known as the Sultan al-Ulama (the Leader of Scholars), his father was a man of truth and an heir of the Prophet. Like many friends of God, he was persecuted and eventually compelled to migrate. Accordingly, he left the land of Kharzam, where he was born, and underwent a lengthy journey that encompassed various destinations.
The successes the people of misguidance have achieved and the power they demonstrate and their victories over the people of guidance show that they rely on some power and truth. That means either that the people of guidance possess some weakness, or that they possess some truth?
Guidance is a light that God kindles in those people who use their free will in the way of belief. Only God can guide. Many Qur’anic verses state this fact clearly. For example: If God willed, He could have brought them all to the guidance (6:35); If it had been your Lord’s will, all who are on earth would have believed, altogether (10:99); You do not guide whom you like, but God guides whom He wills (28:56); and For verily You cannot make the dead to hear, nor can you make the deaf to hear the call when they have turned to flee. Nor can you guide the blind out of their deviation. You can make none to hear save those who believe in Our Revelation so that they surrender and become Submitted (30:52-3).
Since it is God Who guides, we implore Him in every turn of our daily prescribed prayers, saying: “Guide us to the Straight Path.” God’s Messenger says: “I have been sent to call people to belief. Only God guides them and places belief in their hearts.”
Besides the verses above and many other similar ones, we also see in the Qur’an other verses which state that God’s Messenger calls and guides people to the Straight Path, such as follows:
Surely you call them to the Straight Path. (23:73)
Thus We have revealed a Spirit to you from Our Command. You did not know what was the Scripture, nor what the Faith was, but We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of Our servants. You are indeed guiding to a Straight Path. (42:52)
The verses do not contradict each other. God creates everyone with the potential to accept belief. However, one’s family, education, and environment play a certain role in one’s guidance or misguidance. To call people to belief, throughout history God sent Messengers and gave some of them Books whereby people could reform themselves. Prophet Muhammad is the last Messenger, and the Qur’an, which God revealed to him, is the last Divine Book. The Qur’an contains the principles of guidance; the Messenger, whether through the Book or his personality, conduct, and good example, functions as a means to guidance. He recites Divine Revelations to the people, shows them the signs of God, and shows them the errors behind their misconceptions, superstitions, and sins.
Everything that exists in the universe is a sign pointing to God’s Existence and Unity. Therefore, if one sincerely desires belief, struggles against carnal desire and temptation, and uses his or her free will to find the truth, surely God will guide such a person to Himself. He declares in the Qur’an: Fear God and seek the means [of approach to and knowledge of] Him, and strive in His way in order that you may succeed and be prosperous [in both worlds] (5:35); As for those who strive in Us [in Our way and for Our sake and to reach Us], We surely guide them to Our paths; and verily God is with the good (29:69); and Whoever fears God [and keeps his duty to Him], He will appoint a way out for him (62:2).
In order to find or deserve guidance, one must sincerely strive for it and search for the ways leading to it. Those whom God has blessed with guidance should first of all represent guidance personally and set good examples for others, and then call others to it through all lawful (Islamic) means. In many verses, God commands His Messenger to do just that: Warn your tribe of near kindred [of their end and the consequences of their deeds and of the punishment of Hell] (26:214); Remind and give advice, for you are one to remind (88:21); Proclaim openly and insistently what you are commanded (15:94); Call to the path of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the most courteous manner (16:125); and Surely in the Messenger of God you have a good example for him who hopes for God and the Last Day, and remembers God oft (33:21).
God’s Messenger communicated God’s Revelations to people and called them to belief in the best and most effective way, and bore all of the resulting difficulties and persecutions. He rejected without a second thought the most alluring bribes offered to him to abandon his call to belief in One God, and continued his mission without expecting any worldly reward. He sought only God’s pleasure and the prosperity of people in this life and the next.
According to the rule that one who causes is like the doer, those who lead others to guidance receive the same reward as the others earn thereafter. Their own rewards do not decrease. Similarly, God’s Messenger says: Whoever establishes a good path receives the same reward as those who follow that path thereafter until the Last Day. There will be no decrease in their reward. Whoever establishes an evil path is burdened with the same sins as those who follow it thereafter until the Last Day. There will be no decrease in their burden.
Those who lead others to guidance should not keep bringing it up by saying, for example: “If I hadn’t brought you to this guidance, you never would have found it.” Doing so is a grave sin and shows ingratitude to God, as only God guides and causes one to lead another to guidance. Similarly, those who found guidance through someone else should never attribute their guidance to that person and say, for example: “If I hadn’t met you, I never would have found this guidance.” Instead, those who lead others to guidance should think: “Praise be to God, for He has allowed me to perform such a meritorious a deed as leading someone else to guidance. God is so powerful, so merciful, and so munificent that He creates clusters of grapes on wood. As wood has no right to ascribe to itself the grapes growing on it, I am no more than that wood to attribute another’s guidance to myself.” Those who find the guidance should think: “Go, seeing my need and helplessness, has used one of His servants to guide me. All praise be to Him.”
Nevertheless, those led to guidance should be thankful to those whom God used to lead them to guidance. After all, God created us and whatever we do, and also creates the means that enable guidance and misguidance. However, this does not negate or diminish the part that our free will plays in our guidance or misguidance.