My name is Senad Agic**. I was born in Bosnia. I was raised in Bosnia and took my education in Sarajevo. I graduated from the Gazi Husrev Beg Madrasa.
I worked for some time in the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1989 when I was appointed by the supreme leader of the Islamic Community in Bosnia to be the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago here in Northbrook.
And, in 1994, during the war, the grand mufti of Bosnia at that time, Dr. Mustafa Ceric appointed me to be the head Imam for Bosnian-Americans. And I performed that duty for about 15 or more years.
I had a privilege to learn about Fethullah Gulen and to learn about the movement being able to visit Hocaefendi in Pennsylvania on 2 occasions.
That was the experience which helped me to understand how sincere a person he is and how knowledgeable he is and how humble he is. It also helped me to understand that he is someone who, in my opinion, is an extraordinary human being with very strong charisma, a good teacher, a good and strong leader, respected by everyone who comes into contact with him.
Mr. Fethullah Gulen’s orientation is in line with the noble Quran and Hadith, with the noble Quran primarily because he is so dedicated to the spread of knowledge, he is so committed to providing everyone with education. So, this gives me a view of him that he started from the first revelation. He understood that the most important prerequisite of any successful Muslim is education, which is “Iqra..” “Read in the name of God who creates.”
Hocaefendi understood that human beings are not created for themselves. The purpose of the creation of the human being is to serve other human beings. That view is in line with another famous hadith, “La yu’minu aHadukum Hatta_ yuhibba li akhi_hi_ ma_ yuHibbu li nafisihi” “None of you will be true believers unless he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
He reminds me of one American humanist, Martin Luther King, who said, “Unless we are for the other, we are against ourselves.”
Hocaefendi’s life is exemplary and it’s almost impossible to imitate him fully because he raised the bar so high that an ordinary human being cannot reach it so easily. He is a true altruist. He is the one who dedicated all of his time, all of his energy, all of his human resources to the welfare of others.
His legacy, as far as we can see now, is not going to be the legacy of most of the people, which is mostly in some material form. He is not going to leave behind houses, cars, land. His legacy is a prophetic legacy. Prophets did not leave behind material wealth but they left knowledge.
So, in that sense, Mr. Fethullah Gulen resembles the prophets, but especially Prophet Muhammad (saw).
The most important contribution of Mr. Fethullah Gulen and his movement to the world is –has global meaning, a global connotation I would say—that he does not confine his mission to one group. He does not confine and limit his activities to Muslims only, or he also does not limit his mission to Turkey only, but his mission has become global.
He was able, Alhamdulillah, to reach almost every part of the world. And his contribution to education, I think, is the most significant one. Just the fact that he established educational institutions in about 160 countries in the world, shows how successful the movement has been under Mr.Fethullah Gulen’s leadership.
Again, education is the most important contribution. Yes, the movement has been also helpful in providing food, but food is given as a short term requirement. But education has a lasting impact on people. It’s, in the long run, very important to enable people to take care of themselves, to find good jobs. So, education is the most important contribution of Mr. Fethullah Gulen’s work and his movement.
Being in the United States for the last twenty or more years I haven’t seen a more enthusiastic, a more helpful and hopeful movement and activities by any other organization, by any other individual such as what Mr. Fethullah Gulen and his movement has shown.
I would like to say that the Muslim community is a big body, but without a head that body does not behave properly. It’s in disbalance. For a long long time, it was lacking the head, the brain. And I think that, I feel, at least I feel that this big, huge Muslim body is getting brain, is getting mind, is getting head in the person of Mr. Fethullah Gulen.
And his followers are helping all the projects directed to show the good side of Islam, to show the smiling face of Islam. And it’s giving us a lot of hope.
**Profile: Dr. Senad Agic is the head imam of the Islamic Association of Bosniaks in North America since 1994. He received Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Foundation. He is also a graduate of the Gazi-Husrev Beg Medresa in Bosnia and the University of Sarajevo. He is the 2004 recipient of the Jalaluddin Rumi Prize in Islamic Studies.
*Produced by Spectra Media exclusively for Irmak TV, Atlas of Thoughts (Fikir Atlasi) connects the scholars, politicians, jurists, religious figures, journalists, and academics reflecting on Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement with the audience. Each episode features a person from a different segment of the society with diverse experiences regarding the Hizmet activities and its volunteers. If you are interested to hear about the Hizmet and Mr. Gulen from these people’s perspectives, do not miss this show! .