Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish influential Muslim intellectual who inspired a series of social activities, including a transnational education and business network, inter-faith dialogue forums, and multi-cultural encounters.
Indeed he is a man for all seasons, M. Fethullah Gulen was born in the small 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, Gulen received his first studies from his parents who were Muslim scholars and teachers. He has been from his earliest years a gifted Islamic scholar and thinker, and a creative writer and poet. Known by his simple and austere life style, M. Fethullah Gulen was a scholar of extraordinary proportions. His father taught him Arabic and initiated in him his profound love of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his Companions. Later he continued his studies under the guidance of some of the most prominent Islamic scholars in Eastern Turkey. He received further training in the religious sciences from Mohamed Lutfi, a celebrated Muslim scholar and spiritual master. Fethullah Gulen so distinguished himself that he was asked to begin teaching when he was only fifteen. He did this while continuing his studies in the religious sciences.
Blessed with extraordinary oratory skills, even at young age, Gulen was recognized as one of the more accomplished Islamic preachers in the early 1950s, mentioned in the same breath with some of the more learned scholars, many years his senior, in Eastern Anatolia.
He has devoted his life trying to solve society's ills and spiritual sufferings.
In Gulen‘s 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 hints in his work methods in search of the truth. 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. Inequitably distributed wealth should be channeled through private charities to the needy. Gulen has lead the establishment of many charitable organizations to handle the welfare of the underprivileged.
At a time when humanity is in a desperate need of leaders, we find a true innovator and a leader in the person of M. Fethullah Gulen. A unique social reformer, He has brilliantly synthesized the positive sciences with divinity, reconciling those apparent differences between the two. In his writings and oral presentations, he admirably brings closer the ideology and philosophies of East and West. With his acute perception, He feels the positive change in the spiritual climate in the world.
Gulen envisions a 21st century in which we will experience the sprouting of a spiritual dynamics that will dust off the moral values that have remained inactive for quite a long time.
Gulen attempts and successfully manages to bridge the past with his image of the future. His deep desire to find a solution for the dilemma society is faced today presents, in his writings, itself as a row of sentences set one after another like priceless pearls on a string. In his inimitable style and choice of vocabulary, which he exhibits so richly, he offers a formula for a way out of material quicksand in which humanity find itself today. As for getting others accept your ways, he tells us, the days of getting things done by brute force are over. How to make your voice reach out to the world and get people listen to you? It is through persuasion and the use of convincing arguments.
Gulen retired from formal teaching studies in 1980 having inspired a whole generation of young students. Fethullah Gulen is profoundly learned in the religious sciences of Islam, but he also mastered the principles and theories of the social and physical sciences of this age. He knows Arabic and Persian.
Currently, he is involved in the organization of meeting and conferences to prepare the humanity for the next century. He teaches spiritual enlightenment to a large of divinity graduate students under his private tutelage as his disciples. He, with his writings makes valuable contributions to a number of journals and magazines.
Mr. Fethullah Gulen has written a number of well-known books, most of which are among the best seller in Turkey. And they have been translated into English such as The Infinite Light, Questions, Towards the Lost Paradise, and Truth through Colors.
During his whole life-time, Fethullah Gülen has tried to voice the cries and laments of all Muslim peoples in particular and the whole of mankind in general, as well as their belief, hopes and aspirations. He is of the character that he can bear his own sorrows, but the sorrows arising from the calamities visiting people crush him. He feels each blow delivered at humanity to be delivered first at his own heart. He feels himself so deeply and inwardly connected to the whole creation that once he was quoted saying:
“Whenever I see a leaf fall from its branch in autumn, I feel as much pain as if my arm was amputated.”