Hizmet: From Futuwwa Tradition to the Emergence of Movement in Public Space

The aim of this paper is to first analyze exhaustively the genealogy of the concept,
futuwwa linked with da’wa in religious terms, which literally means call or invitation.[1]
Da’wa is the umbrella term that includes modern socio-religious activism
and Islamic movement organizations. Today this term is confused with terrorism,
Islamic war and preaching, but scholars have given few attention to this term from
a semantic perspective to distinguish da’wa from its usage by different so-called
Islamic groups. In historical context, the term is changing and by the late nineteenth
century it was used to refer to the struggle and encounter with colonizers. Second,
I consider hizmet, a key term meaning the service in Gülen movement, as the
emergence of movement in public space and how this term contributes largely to participation
in social economic daily life, not only in Muslim context but also in non Muslim
context. Hizmet has been previously attributed to the service to others,
with related to Islamic traditional concept futuwwah. The traditional authority
of futuwwah is concretized and problematized in new opportunity areas such
as education, media, and charity activities. The practice of Gülen movement creates
new structures and organizations to inculcate values that are part of social
in their life. The development of movement should be understood as revivalism
and social project addressing to the other and which strive to realize good deeds
in favor of humanity. In order to comprehend Gülen’s ideas and the movement’s actions,
it is important to analyze the classical Islamic tradition and the roots of Hizmet
in Islamic Ottoman history, unfortunately Gülen movement is analyzed less in
traditional terms. One suggests the similarities with Jesuits[2], Calvinists[3]
or Protestants missionaries[4]. We talk about a reformist and Protestant
Islam represented by Gülen. In this article, we would like to bend over to study
the term hizmet that covers the traditional term da’wa which is revived
and combined the activist piety which produces also the secular actions. We tend
to find out about the Gülen movement philosophy and their understanding of Islamic
da’wa locating its philosophy in futuwwah-malamatis orders and
organizations. We are addressing to draw attention this historical
futuwwa experience and akhis organization background serving as an
example concrete for Gülen movement. This particular attention on the idea of
malamatiyya and akhis organizations contributes our perception
how Gülen puts in practice in global era. Firstly, we underlie the revivalism of
Gülen movement in classical da’wa term. I’d like to define the classical notion
of Islamic da’wa. I will draw upon these works; my concern is how Gülen movement
understands da’wa and introduces the term into their activities in different countries.
I pay particular attention to the shift in the meaning of this term that Gülen movement
has used in recent years. Gülen has drawn attention to its treatment within classical
exegetical writings; especially rectify what they regard to be erroneous accretions
in Islamic practices. In fact, we can touch the essential purpose of how a Muslim
can be involved in secular world carrying religious principles. A lot of attention
was paid to the radical reformist tradition. In their view, they accuse the society
of being jahili, and excommunicate Muslims. When we analyze the Gülen movement,
the main task is to avoid these clichés and mainstreams that give way to the misusage
of this term and the classical significance of term is transformed in public space,
thus the aim of movement is not islamization of opportunity spaces in which the
movement operates.

by Dr. Ali Ünsal