Changes in Gülen’s thinking regarding his worldview

In my speeches and assessments, it is unavoidable to have changes depending on time, place, and human factors. For instance, in my early preaching, when I considered the problems that arose from the behavior of the Jews, I used to consider them with an approach of generalization, and I used to interpret some verses and the sayings of the Prophet within that framework. But, in the atmosphere of dialog that began after the 90's, I distanced myself from that approach.

Changes in Gülen’s thinking regarding his worldview

Doğu Ergil

What changes took place regarding his worldview and at what stages? Namely, what are the mental and philosophical stages in his thinking from the first days of his preaching until he became an opinion leader and held the influence that he holds today?

Gülen’s answer to this question demonstrates that from early on, he took a holistic approach in his worldview, which evolved as time went by. It would be safe to attribute, at least partially, this perspective to his wide reading of the classics from the East, as well as the West, during the period of his childhood. For this reason, he believes that in all of the time that he has been preaching in mosques, there has not been a serious wavering in his thought. Of course, this does not mean that his thinking has not been enriched by the knowledge and the life experiences that he acquired later. Only, that he maintained a stable, solid course in his thought and general approach. As he explains it, there was “no change from black to white.” He then adds:

But, in my speeches and assessments, it is unavoidable to have changes depending on time, place, and human factors. For instance, in my early preaching, when I considered the problems that arose from the behavior of the Jews, I used to consider them with an approach of generalization, and I used to interpret some verses and the sayings of the Prophet within that framework. But, in the atmosphere of dialog that began after the 90’s, I distanced myself from that approach. I brought forth the idea that the counter arguments given in the Qur’an and the hadiths should be approached with a holistic view, rather than taken as specific accusations directed towards specific individuals. I did this because, it is more in line with the universal message of Islam, and I advise the people who are listening to me to take it that way as well.

A society, which has been settled and stable for a long time and is open to reason, will have a philosophy of life and a national manner of speech which, is inherently unifying. (1)

(1) Doğu Ergil’s interview with Fethullah Gülen in January 2003 and February 2006.

Source:

Ergil, Doğu. 2012. Fethullah Gülen & The Gülen Movement in 100 Questions. New York: Blue Dome Press. Page 9-10.

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