Gülen and Ghazzali on Tolerance

Gülen: “As for the Movement; Neither Now, Nor in the Future Should Our Friends
Have Any Ambition for Government” (Mehmet Gundem, Milliyet, 01.29.2005,
retrieved September 2005 from
http://fgulen.com/en-us/press-room/interview-with-mehmet-gundem.html)

M. Fethullah Gülen’s name gains daily prominence in the wake of ever-widening
discussions and scholarly researches into the changing political and religious climate
of Turkey today. Those hoping to influence future Turkish foreign policy invoke
Gülen’s ideals of tolerance and dialogue (see for example Turkish Islam and
the Secular State: The Gülen Movement
). Because Gülen also plainly denounces
political extremism, especially the violent kind that calls itself and all too often
dupes media outlets into calling it “Islamic”, would-be players on the emerging
political scene link their name to his, marking their moderate stance without having
to criticize extremists themselves. Further, because Gülen’s name also gains
gravitas
through frequent linkage in the academic arena with ancient Sufi sages,
these proto-politicians can also lend themselves an air of erudition steeped in
traditional values and reverence for the past. Through association with Gülen’s
“movement” (a phenomenon he himself eschews) the gravity rubs off on them, without
their lifting a page of text with the likes of “Alchemy” in the title. Thereby,
they avoid the moniker “mystical” which would detract from their aspirations to
be viewed as powerful, rational, men of the world. In other words, “Gülenism” has
become political token. The application of Gülen’s ideals to alien contexts distorts
them to the point they require ressourcement.

Positioned as it is in this conference section entitled “Islam and Democracy”,
this paper seeks to show that Gülen does not tender “tolerance” as political tool.
Tolerance is a term linked to love, not power. To Gülen, tolerance is not a way
to accommodate the “other” across stake-holder territories, it is a way to embrace
all in the dissolution of boundaries. Invoking Gülen in the name of “political Islam”
is grave error and does his ideals certain injustice.

Gülen is an advocate for dialogue and tolerance in interpersonal, not international,
relations. Gülen is not an activist and never seeks public profile. He leads no
marches or sit-ins; his life models piety. Living reclusively and ascetically, he
devotes himself to deepening human understanding. He personally has no agenda or
political platform. He asks of life only a quiet burial, wearing his scholar’s cap.
Had he ever wanted a movement-as-incipient-political-party developing in his name
he would time and again have shown himself at conferences and rallies, even (maybe
especially) if he had to be wheel-chaired onstage. This he has repeatedly refused
to allow. Instead, he has richly merited exoneration from charges of this kind of
activity against him. He does not now seek stand-ins who would walk that mile in
his stead while he remains a shadowy string-puller backstage.

Efforts to cast oneself in the name of “Gülenism” into the roiled waters of internal
Turkish and international politics to buoy one’s political aspirations must founder.
His genius requires contemplation in a quiet mind, from whence it may inform action
but must not incite ambition. Gülen’s influence, properly appreciated, is more likely
to draw one away from the political battleground than onto it.

This paper aims to restore Gülen to where he is at home by shining a little light
on his sources, placing him within the Islamic spiritual tradition known as
tasawwuf,
or Sufism. That home is not one that must shut all its doors to the
outside world, as contemporary Sufism does; it is one that embraces the world while,
importantly, shunning worldliness, as Medieval Sufism does. Tolerance in Gülen shows
the way to avoiding power politics, not how to indulge in them.

Toward these ends I compare slices of Gülen’s thinking on tolerance and dialogue,
a utopian vision compiled as Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance
(Gülen 2004), with an equally small serving of the thought of one scion of Sufism,
al-Ghazali (1058-1111 CE), and look at both in relation to the poet Rūmī (1207-1273
CE). Ghazali played a role in defining medieval Islam’s ethical and spiritual values
of tolerance in “Duties of Brotherhood,” a section of The Alchemy of Happiness
(Al-Ghazzali 2002). Rūmī has long defined love for all. First, I distinguish use
of the term tolerance within international relations from tolerance in interpersonal
relations. Understanding the respective definitions of and orientations to “other”
helps clarify the distinction. Second, I position Gülen within Sufism. It would
be ideal if Gülen’s thought could inspire ethical and spiritual practices everywhere,
especially in those who hope to hold power in the new Turkey coming to pass. In
order for that to happen, however, Gülen must be read deeply embedded in his real
context, not in that shallow one of a playbook of political consultancy. Appreciating
Gülen’s mystical dimension serves to prevent the hijacking of his thought for narrow
political – democratic or otherwise – ends.

Coming to Terms with “Tolerance”

Tolerance is one of those words best defined by its opposite, in this case, intolerance.
Belligerence declines tolerance and dialogue, preferring conflict. Tolerance seeks
to avoid hostilities. Tolerance would prevent, with or without concomitant dialogue,
the outbreak of hostilities. However, the common Anglophone understanding of the
term “toleration” does not imply a stretch to compassion. In Gülen’s writings, tolerance
is compassion and compassion is love. As a negotiating strategy, by contrast, tolerance
is put forward as a way to allow potentially contending parties to avoid conflict
without their having to go all the way to embrace of the “other”. To do that would
require acknowledging so much good in the other that one would lose face by seeming
to disown one’s opposition stance.

What tolerance means in this context is that the tolerator simply allows others
to abide without interference, in their own realms of thought from which one still
dissociates oneself. Although this tolerance does not altogether forswear dialogue,
it does not have to seek it out in order to forestall hostility’s eruption. If the
tolerator happens to know, through unsought dialogue, others’ contrary beliefs,
he brackets them and sets them aside. The tolerator puts up with whatever cognitive
dissonance accidental dialogue might generate between what he holds to be the case
and what others hold. Dialogue might accidentally even find a middle way between
opposing positions, but it need not – maybe even had better not try. Tolerance itself
has forestalled hostilities; consensus, unnecessary at best, is icing on the cake.
Compassion is out of the question.

This kind of tolerance-in-abidance can be the sort that puts up with a noisome
child or neighbor, for example, so long as he remains sufficiently subdued to allow
one to pursue one’s own interests. This kind of tolerance definitely has no place
for dialogue. There is no middle ground on differences to seek, because the other
goes largely unrecognized. Even though this tolerance results in no more than a
standoff, it does avoid outright conflict nonetheless. It is nonviolent – so long
as the means to achieve the distance between parties to the pact it preserves has
not entailed, in this example, beating the child or neighbor into submission. Even
if he is acknowledged, one can still take the other’s ideas and interests to be
entirely wrong at worst, or entirely irrelevant, at best. If dialogue takes place,
it serves mainly to define one’s own position over and against the other. In politics,
this has crucial consequences: one retains one’s own following; nobody in one’s
party slips over to the other side. Constituency is consolidated.

In Gülen’s use of the term, on the other hand, tolerance does press past mere
abiding-with and toward genuine embrace of others’ viewpoints. He insists in fact
that dialogue achieve this end. His tolerance can even allow the potential
rightness of what others hold to be the case, over and against one’s own understanding,
or at the very least two truths can live together amicably in acknowledged cognitive
dissonance of the sort that everyday life is bound up with. This kind of tolerance
may even take as a possibility that truth finally is unmonopolizable by any one
party. (Some call this “relativism,” implying that it abrogates commitment to one’s
own beliefs – a definition with which I disagree). This tolerance does more than
just hinder hostilities. In this sense of tolerance, the boundaries between
other
and one become indistinct and lose focus. The mutual acceptance
of the possible open-endedness of truth implies that tolerance entails a dialogue
that actually is a resonance in harmony between two parties. This tolerance-cum-dialogue
is something more than standoff, but something other than identical agreement, concerning
beliefs. Duality in the sense of two opposing stances is removed, but not to the
complete obliteration of one and other (see Kurtz below: both Gülen and Rūmī move
beyond this distinction still cognizant of it). Removing the focus on opposing points
of view obviates the necessity of working out a middle ground between them.

Sufism

It is when appreciating his views in the light of the mystical dimension of Islam
from which they ultimately arise that Gülen’s understanding of tolerance becomes
clearest. Today’s Sufism is not Gülen’s context, however. Few writers on Fethullah
Gülen fail to mention Sufism in characterizations of him, but most are quick to
distinguish contemporary Sufism from its earlier medieval expressions. Father Thomas
Michel, S.J., affirms in his analysis of Gülen and Sufism, “The dynamism of the
early Sufis was often dissipated in the institutional that took shape in the later
Sufi orders. Particularly in recent times, many Sufis divorce themselves from real
life and engage in useless metaphysical speculation”. (Michel 2005, 348)

Anthropologist David Buchman’s recent findings in Yemen paint the same picture
of today’s Sufism. He found the practice of “conventional” Sufism declining today
under pressure from three forces:

  1. Sufism appears to favor an “inward turning that promises closeness (qurb)
    to God, beauty (ihsan) of character, and sincerity (ikhlas)
    in religion,” a principle of withdrawal from the world that contrasts to the
    strong social engagement that mainstream Islam teaches and thus makes Sufism
    seem critique “unIslamic”;
  2. Sufi orders today do not produce teachers to perform the traditional 
    role of spiritual direction and guidance on which the growth of advanced Sufi
    practice depends;
  3. “young people living under current economic hardships are attracted to political
    Islamic movements which promise outward action and material benefits”. (Buchman
    1977, 21-24)

Not to otherworldly Sufism, Buchman’s article implies. What Sufism fails to do
today, the findings suggest, is engage the entrant with the world. However, this
investigator sees the engagement preferred by most youth to be that of conflict
and its supposed rewards. Perhaps modern Sufism’s major failing is not that of refusing
to engage in political conflict, but rather, its failure to engage the world outside
its own insular brand of Islam. Members of the Tarika today join arms and make a
closed circle, chanting only to ones initiated into it.

Sufism in the Middle Ages, like Ghazali’s, entailed engagement with the world
at large. Gülen must be understood in the context of those who do care deeply about
others in the world around them. Yet Gülen does not altogether conform to any generalized
medieval Sufi model much better than he does to any modern one. It has not been
his practice to take on individual students as their “master,” nor has he ever founded
a “school” of his followers, both characteristics of medieval Sufism. Zeri Saritoprak
best states Gülen’s orientation to Sufism, calling him “a Sufi in his own way” (Saritoprak
2003, 169), especially if one bears in mind Michel’s proviso that in the early tradition,
each entrant then, like Gülen is today, was a Sufi in his own way too (Michel 2005,
341).

How then position Gülen within medieval Sufism? Lester Kurtz calls “the Sufi
Solution one of the keys” to understanding Gülen (Kurtz 2005, 377). He refers specifically
to the medieval lyric poet Jalal Al-din Rūmī, citing Gülen’s “Rūmī-inspired duality
of one foot in his own faith tradition while the other roams freely to the faiths
of others” (Kurtz, 378). Rūmī describes his own stance as follows:

What is the solution, O Moslems: for I do not know myself.
Neither Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian nor Moslem am I;
I am not an Easterner or a Westerner, or of land or sea:
Not of nature nor of Heaven: Not of India, China, Bulgaria, Saqsin;
Not of the Iraqs, nor of the land of Khorasan.
My place is my placelessness: my sign is no sign.
I have no body or life: for I am of the Life of Life.
I have put away duality: I have seen the Two worlds as one
(Divan-i-Shams-i-Tabriz, tr. Idries Shah)

Kurtz cites several excerpts from Gülen’s writings that accord in tone with the
above, which sing a language of love that would liquidate the boundaries between
all creatures, without obliterating their individuality. Undoubtedly Rūmī is, as
Gülen himself acknowledges, one potent influence on Gülen’s writings. Kurtz interestingly
precedes his remarks above with the statement, “Gülen’s vision of tolerance goes
far beyond what is ordinarily understood by the term”  (Kurtz, 375) – ordinarily
understood, that is, by Westerners in contrasts to Turks, who take the term
hosguru
which entails embrace of the other, usually translated as “tolerance”
which entails only putting up with.

In addition to Rūmī’s, another name often linked to Gülen’s is that of the medieval
Sufi Al-Ghazali. He represents a medieval Islamic tradition of nonviolence and a
model of peacefulness for Gülen. In “An Islamic Approach to Peace and Nonviolence,”
Saritoprak identifies al-Ghazali’s position as “avoidance of fitnah and
social anarchy” (Saritoprak, 2005, 415). He goes on to establish this as foundational
for “the Sunni tradition of Islam vis-à-vis social disorder and anarchy”.
Elisabeth Özdalga (2000) and others also identify the Sunni tradition, shaped in
part by al-Ghazali, as formative for Gülen’s thought. Saritoprak further connects
Ghazali’s principles to those of nonviolence-theorist Gene Sharp’s categories, “staying
at home” and “avoidance of provocation.” He then brings forward Fethullah Gülen
as also a proponent of this stance (Saritoprak, 415), thereby linking Ghazali and
Gülen via Sharp.

Interiority and conflict-avoidance characterize Gülen’s stance as surely as does
the melancholy of Rūmī’s reed flute. In order to source al-Ghazali after Rūmī as
a second fons et origo of Gülen’s position, however, the question must
be addressed how far Ghazali’s tolerance reaches as compared to Gülen’s. Does al-Ghazali,
or Gülen for that matter, seek ultimately to go as far as compassion and love for
the other? If Gülen can rightly be linked with Rūmī, then he must, because those
sentiments pervade Rūmī’s entire opus. Then logically must al-Ghazali’s too in order
for the sourcing to hold. In order to assess the linkage of Gülen and al-Ghazali,
not only must we understand to what lengths tolerance goes, we must understand to
whom it applies. Who are the beneficiaries of tolerance in Gülen and al-Ghazali?
This is to ask, in effect, who exactly is “other” to each of them. To glimpse that,
we must move to the texts.

Al-Ghazali

 “The Duties of Brotherhood,” book XV, part ii of al-Ghazali’s Alchemy
of Happiness
translated by Muhammad Nur Abdus Salas (2002) spells out one of
that sage’s most straightforward and systematic prescriptions for interfacing with
the “other.” At the outset, al-Ghazali expansively wraps all of humankind in the
tolerant embrace of Tawhīd, the oneness of God and all creation:

Know that the world is one stage of the stages of the journey to God Most
High. All in this station are travelers. Since the destination of journey of
this caravan of travelers is the same, they are all as one. There must be friendship
and unity among them and mutual aid. (Al-Ghazzali,17)

The “friendship and brotherhood” that occur “for the sake of God Most High” al-Ghazali
calls “among the most meritorious forms of worship”. We must go beyond tepid abidance-tolerance,
Ghazali urges, to the loving embrace of one another. Al-Ghazali gives instances
of God’s revealing to the Prophets Muhammad, David, and Jesus that friendships are
great gifts from God bringing with them grand rewards:

And (the Messenger) said: “For those persons who have friendship for each
other for the sake of God Most High a red ruby column is set up on top of which
are 70,000 pavilions. From there they will look down upon the inhabitants of
heaven, and the light of their countenances will fall upon the inhabitants of
heaven, like the light of the sun in this world. The people of heaven will say,
‘Come, let us go look at them.’ They will see them clothed in green brocade.
On their foreheads will be written Those who love each other in God: They are
the friends of God most high.” (Al-Ghazzali, 20)

Al-Ghazali then further distinguishes two types of friendship for the sake of
God. One is that formed with another because he or she leads one to greater knowledge.
The goal of that knowledge is the Hereafter. A teacher, or another whose acceptance
of one’s charity and benevolence leads one to the “peace of mind for worship” (Al-Ghazzali,
21), exemplifies this.

The second type of friendship Ghazali describes, however, far exceeds this. It
is personal, and extends to another because he or she “is a servant of
God and created by Him.” Al-Ghazali calls such love “greater because this arises
from the excess of love of God Most High, so much so that it reaches the boundaries
of passionate love.” It leaks out of the love of God over into love of another,
and even extends then to love of the walls of the beloved friend, the district in
which the beloved friend lives, and even the dog that roams the beloved friend’s
part of town (Al-Ghazzali, 22). This friendship, going far beyond merely putting
up with another, al-Ghazali applies to muslims. It must be remembered that
the term “muslim” can mean to al-Ghazali as to any Arabic speaker simply “one who
surrenders”, thus this impassioned form of tolerance he references need not place
limits upon whom it admits into toleration’s realm; however, if we take “muslims”
to mean “Muslims” in the sense of a member of a formal religion, it might delimit.
I suggest the former reading is more appropriate. Even so, in how it links one to
another it goes far beyond the toleration that is mere abiding with another. Yet
to stop here in al-Ghazali’s “Duties of Brotherhood” would be to stop short.

Al-Ghazali stresses, “They must respect each others rights” (Al-Ghazzali, 17).
Not all have the same rights, however. He carefully describes seven categories of
rights distinguished by with whom one deals. For dealing with the unbelievers, sinners,
and oppressors, al-Ghazali has other guidelines than those for embracing People
of the Book, but there are overlapping areas of grey. For example, in chapters 3
and 4, concerning “Enmity for the Sake of God” and the “Degrees of Anger Against
the Opponents of God,” al-Ghazali counsels that although one should love even a
sinful Muslim for his being a Muslim, one must “hold him as an enemy for his sinfulness”
(Al-Ghazzali, 24).

Chapter 7, “The Rights of Muslims, Neighbors, Relatives, and Captives,” enumerates
the duties attendant upon brotherhood. Al-Ghazali lists twenty-three rights that
accrue to muslims with whom one is not bound in friendship. The
first is a reverse Golden Rule: whatever one does not like done to oneself, do not
do it to another Muslim (Al-Ghazzali, 43). The second is interesting especially
in that it signals the requirement throughout for a carefully nuanced reading of
this text. It reads, “The second right is that no Muslim be troubled by [one’s]
deeds or speech.” This exchange immediately follows:

The Messenger (pbuh) asked: “Do you know who is a Muslim?” They answered:
“God and His Messenger know best.” He said: “That person from whose hand and
tongue the Muslims are at ease.” They asked: “Who is a believer?” He said: “He
with whom the Muslims are secure in their own bodies and property.”

This anecdote underscores al-Ghazali’s understanding “muslim” and “believer”
to mean anyone who has surrendered one’s will to do harm to the followers of Muhammad.
It sounds very like a live-and-let-live policy, one not picky about litmus tests
of orthodoxy and more interested in the orthopraxis of non-conflict. Tolerating
everyone who tolerates you would appear to be the message, especially upon
reading in the next lines, “no one should look at another scornfully; it may be
that the person is a friend of God Most High and (the scorner) not know it; for
God Most High conceals his Saints so that no one may approach them” (Al-Ghazzali,
43). The friends of God become obvious in Paradise, but not necessarily here. One
must allow for the possibility that another’s position, differing even from one’s
own, may prove fully acceptable to God. Recognizing that possibility and exercising
appropriate non-judgmental restraint is not “relativism.”

Further down still, al-Ghazali invokes Sunnah, “Do good with everyone you are
able to; if that person is not of that disposition, you should be so The basis of
intelligence, after faith, is showing friendship to people and doing good deeds
to the chaste and the unchaste” (Al-Ghazzali, 44, italics mine). Here the
text clearly does not restrict friendship either to the “muslim” or to the Muslim.
Nevertheless, Ghazali’s injunctions here do seem to limit toleration to something
short of that practiced in impassioned friendship. It makes no provision for loving
the tolerated one’s walls and district and dog.

In Chapter 7.II, al-Ghazali does draw clear distinctions concerning the extent
of toleration when he writes:

As for the rights of neighbors, there are many. The Messenger (pbuh) said,
“There is a neighbor who has one right: he is an unbeliever. There is the neighbor
who has two rights: he is a Muslim. There is the neighbor who has three rights:
he is a Muslim relative” (Al-Ghazzali, 57).

Just when it seems Ghazali will finally give his reader grounds on which to draw
the line between herself and her fellow believer, he shifts the ground. Instead
of making how closely one is linked in Muslim blood-brotherhood the grounds for
distinguishing those to whom one must be most neighborly, Ghazali makes neighborliness
to all the grounds for distinguishing how Muslim one truly is. Again he quotes the
Prophet:

And he said: “A person is not a Muslim whose neighbor suffers or is not safe
from him.” And he said: “The first of two judgments at the Resurrection shall
be with the neighbor.” And he said “Whoever throws a stone at his neighbor’s
dog gives offense to him.”

You might not have to love your neighbor’s dog – there is a limit – in contrast
to that of your friend’s whom you will love, but you had better not hound the neighbor’s
if you hope to get to heaven. The neighbor will be annoyed, and the result will
not be good:

The Messenger (pbuh) was told: “Such-and-such a woman fasts by day and spends
her nights in prayer, but she annoys her neighbor.” He said: “Her place is in
hell.”

Al-Ghazali’s neighbor, moreover, is not just the guy next door, but “forty houses
to the right, forty houses to the left, forty houses to the front, and forty houses
to the rear.” (Al-Ghazzali, 57) Even in a thickly-settled city, that takes one several
blocks. Outside it, one could easily go a country mile before finding an end to
the tolerance that al-Ghazali hails. It ranges from what could be called friendliness
to that deep love inherent in friendship. Whatever is it called, al-Ghazali considered
it import enough to emphasize by allowing a rare sardonic note to be sounded by
the prophet: “Gabriel, peace be upon him, has always counseled me about the rights
of neighbors to the point that I supposed they would inherit from me” (Al-Ghazzali,
57).

Gülen

Like al-Ghazali, Gülen too begins metaphorically – “we all live in this world
and we are passengers on the same ship” (Gülen 2004, 45) – with the oneness that
is tawhīd:

As we are all limbs of the same body, we should cease this duality that violates
our very union. We should clear the way to unite people we should remove all
ideas and feelings that pull us apart, and run to embrace one another (Gülen
2004, 7).

The means to this goal of embrace Gülen calls tolerance:

At a time when the world has become like a large village and at a point when
our society is on the verge of great change and transformation…tolerance must
permeate all of society (Gülen 2004, 42).

Even if neighbors in al-Ghazali have become nations for Gülen, finally the requisite
tolerance of other involves for Gülen, as does friendship for Ghazali, wrapping
one’s arms about another’s heart. Conflict, based on ideas and ideals – which always
may differ from person to person –  Gülen gives no quarter. (On how there will
always be differences, see especially “Tolerance in the Life of the Individual and
Society” 37ff.) No tepid abidance-tolerance works for Gülen, nor has it
ever:

Our glorious ancestors captured the hearts of people by means of tolerance
and became the protectors of the general peace (Gülen 2004, 42).

As in the impassioned friendship of al-Ghazali, those who embrace all bring
about the dissolution of boundaries between oneself and others: ” they avoid
divisive and antagonist thoughts, such as ‘they’ and ‘we,’ ‘others’ and ‘ours.'”
(Gülen 2004, 100)

Gülen seems to prefer a deeper end of the tolerance ocean even than does Ghazali
overall. Another way to express this difference between Gülen and Ghazali is to
observe toward what vanishing point impassioned tolerance or “friendship” moves.
In Ghazali, the tolerator becomes indistinct from the “other” along a horizontal
axis, as it were. She extends herself outward as far, as we have seen, as the dog
even forty houses in any direction. In Gülen, the practitioners of tolerance experience
vertical uplift resulting from what is their profound rapport with any and all others:

Having been melted in the depths of closeness to God, a closeness which depends
on one’s merit, and in the ocean that is like divine unity, their earthly desires
and corporeal passion take on a new shape [They] breathe the same air as the
angels at the peaks of spiritual life while conversing with terrestrial ones,
fulfilling the licit requirements of life on Earth. (Gülen 2004, 101)

In the end, in both Gülen and Ghazali the distinctions between self and other
no longer matter.

In another way, however, the two still differ. Al-Ghazali’s laying down the law
about not stoning the neighbor’s dog or judging another an infidel points to a different
motivation on his part than on Gülen’s. Ghazali’s time called for a reorientation
of spiritual life with renewed attention paid to the practical application of
shari’a law in daily life. Gülen himself documents this:

After these great compilers came Hujjat al-Islam Imam al-Ghazali, author
of Ihya’ al-‘Ulum al-Din (Reviving the Religious Sciences), his most
celebrated work. He reviewed all of Sufism’s terms, principles, and rules, and,
establishing those agreed upon by all Sufi masters and criticizing others, united
the outer (Shari’a and jurisprudence) and inner (Sufi) dimensions of Islam.
(Gulen 1999, xviii)

Gülen’s time, ours, calls for the re-spiritualization of an era overbearingly
oriented to the mundane and litigious:

What we need now is not ordinary people, but rather people devoted to divine
reality who think to a lofty degree; people who by putting into practice their
thoughts lead, first of all their own nation, and then all people, to enlightenment
and help them find God-in other words, dedicated spirits, people who think what
needs to be thought, who know what needs to be known, who without hesitation
practice what they know and who wander like Israfil, who is on the verge of
blowing the last trumpet in order to prepare dead spirits for the Day of Resurrection,
and who instill hope in everybody. (Gülen 2004, 105)

Gülen and Ghazali share a commitment to balanced overlap in life between the immanent and transcendent dimensions.

Conclusion

Gülen must be located and understood squarely within that Sufi tradition indicated
by al-Ghazali and Rūmī. Both the latter insist on non-belligerence in love and do
not prescribe strategies for foreign affairs. Both move toward the ultimate end
of dimming distinctions between self and other, not of prescriptions for peaceably
protecting borders. Both lean away from the possibility of defining each other as
“other.” Both look on the world of humankind as oriented to eternity, not hegemony.
Both define Gülen.

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Rumi, (1994). Introduction by Idries Shah. In E. Whinfield (Eds.), Masnavi I Ma’Navi: The Teachings of Rumi (pp. xiii-xviii ). London, : The Octagon Press.

Saritoprak, Z. (2003). Fethullah Gülen: A Sufi in His Own Way. In M. H. Yavuz and J. L. Esposito (Eds.), Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement (pp. 156-169). Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Jane B. Schlubach currently lectures on world religions and
ancient to medieval humanities at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
She is also a member of the Oklahoma Board of Directors of The Interfaith Alliance
based in Washington, D.C. Schlubach holds degrees in English history and literature
from Harvard University, in philosophical theology from Yale University, and in
the history of Christianity from the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame that
she studied Islam and Hinduism under the direction of Fr. David Burrell, C.S.C.,
Hesburgh Chair of Theology and Philosophy, and a translator of Al-Ghazzali.

by Dr. Ali Ünsal