January 5, 2016

Can religion and politics have common goals, work together and overlap in Gulen’s opinion?

Dogu Ergil

According to Gulen
acceptance of the religion’s expression of its sacredness would be not to use it for any worldly purposes; it would not be exploited for worldly or spiritual gains. Religion should not be used as a vehicle for the pleasures in heart or for per­sonal considerations. Politicizing religion, looking at political matters through the prism of religion and sanctifying our personal political and administrative understanding would be an insult to the religion. Second, when we base our political thoughts, considerations, and party politics on religion, in some ways our shortcomings and faults and deficiencies are reflected in the religion; reactions to us bring reactions to the religion. In other words, those who hate us feel hatred toward the religion. The truth of the religion should be represented in such a way that it should be above all political consider­ations. Whereas when religion is politicized and when we say we represent the religion, we would in a sense be seeing others outside of it. Even if this seems to be caring about the religion, … since we make shadow over religion through our acts and behavior, since we blacken it, and since the religion receives its share from the hatred directed toward us, in my opinion, those who politicize it would be doing a grave harm to the religion.

Religion is a matter between God and the servant. The foundation of it is sincerity, honesty, and gaining the pleasure of God; it is a matter relat­ed to the soul rather than the body. It is one’s passing his life on the emerald hills of the soul. By totally ignoring or neglecting this aspect of religion, understanding and practicing it as a ceremonial matter and trying to display it as if making a show off to others would be wrong. (1)
In Gulen’s approach to Islam, there is no place for a political orga­nization. He is strongly against using services (Hizmet) as a means to gain worldly or political benefits. Gulen advocates understand­ing Islam as a religion with its basic tenets within the immutable framework.

(1) The interview given to Yalçın Doğan, Kanal D, 16 April 1997.

Source: Ergil, Doğu. 2012. Fethullah Gülen & The Gülen Movement in 100 Questions. New York: Blue Dome Press. Pages: 240-41

Published on http://www.gulenmovement.us/can-religion-and-politics-have-common-goals-work-together-and-overlap-in-gulens-opinion.html, 30 October 2015, Friday