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Fethullah Gülen by FG Forum

Fethullah Gülen (Gülen)



Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader, educational activist, and preacher emeritus. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide social movement of human values known as the Hizmet (Service) Movement or the Gülen Movement


Fethullah Gülen is respected by his readers and listeners as a living model of high values like wisdom, faith, love, ardor, respect, sincerity, piety, sensitivity, and service to humanity. Fethullah Gülen is considered among the most influential intellectuals not only of the modern Turkey but also of the entire globe. In July 2008, Fethullah Gülen was listed among the top hundred public intellectuals by Foreign Policy magazine. Despite the high regard millions hold for him, Fethullah Gülen considers himself only one of the volunteers of the civil society movement he helped generate and denounces being its leader. He spends most of his time reading, writing, editing, worshiping, and receiving medical care. Feeling sadness with the falling leaves and sharing the suffering of humans in every corner of the world, he has always been known for his deep respect for and connection to all creation. “Living to let others live” is the core principle of his understanding of service. His position of dialogue, empathic acceptance, and harmonious coexistence can best be reflected in a comparison with that of Rumi, one of his sources of inspiration. While the latter calls, whirling, "Come, come, whoever you are; ours is not the caravan of despair," Fethullah Gülen announces, walking, "I am coming, whoever you are; is not ours the journey of hope?"

Source: Fethullah Gülen's Biography on guleninstitute.org



Fethullah Gülen's Life Chronology

Date Description
1941 Fethullah Gülen born April 27 in Erzurum's Pasinler (Hasankale) County at the village of Korucuk.
1945 At the age of five mastered the Koran and pursued prayer.
1946 Fethullah Gülen began elementary school.
1949 Fethullah Gülen abandoned elementary school as the family moved to the village of Alvar. (Later on passed an equivalency exam and thus completed it)
1951 Fethullah Gülen took Arabic lessons from his father Ramiz Gülen thus continuing his religious education.
1952 Fethullah Gülen became a student of Haci Sitki Effendi.
1954 Fethullah Gülen became a student of Sadi Effendi, the grandson of the Imam of Alvar Honorary Muhammed Lutfi. Within a couple of months mastered Emsile, Bina, and Merahi (=grammar books) reciting them verbatim. Completed Izhari. Was not required to do Kafiye and continued on to Molla Cami.
1956 Imam of Alvar Honorary Muhammed Lutfi died. Fethullah Gülen studied at the religious school next to Kemhan Mosque for the next six months. After leaving, he went to Tasmescid. Within his means arranged a room at the Ahmediye Mosque and stayed with a friend. Gülen stayed there until his trip to Edirne. Started studying with Osman Bektas. Gave religious lectures at the Korucuk and Alvar villages.
1957 Due to Ramadan festivities Fethullah Gülen took a trip to Amasya, Tokat, and Sivas giving religious lectures and setting up meetings. Made the acquaintance of Risale-i Nur, a series of books by Said Nursi.
1958 Fethullah Gülen went to Edirne giving informal religious lectures.
1959 At August 6 became formally the Imam second in line at Ucserefeli Mosque. He stayed there for the next two and a half years.
1960 Fethullah Gülen received a wedding proposal that was not to be. Read last rites to two prisoners at death row.
1961 On November 10 Fethullah Gülen began his military service at Mamak in Ankara serving out his preliminary duties there before shipping out to Iskenderun. Gave religious lectures there as well.
1963 In Erzurum gave conferences lecturing extensively on Mevlana. Attended the opening of one of Struggle with Communism Committee.
1964 At July 4th began work as Koran teacher in Edirne.
1965 July 31st got his transfer to Kirklareli, inviting Necip Fazil Kisakurek, a famous poet and writer, had him lecture in a conference setting. Took his leave and took a tour of Turkey's various places.
1966 March 11th got his transfer to Izmir, holding on to a managerial position there close to five years at Kestanepazari, staying at a small shack and not accepting any wages for his services.
1968 Fethullah Gülen went to Haj at Mecca.
1969 Fethullah Gülen set up meetings at coffeehouses lecturing extensively at the provinces and villages of the Aegean part of Turkey.
1971 Fethullah Gülen left Kestanepazari and set up student dormitories at Izmir, Guzelyali At 12th of March an ultimatum having been given some of his companions having been arrested, struggled attempting to free them but to no avail. May 3rd having been arrested but was released 9th of November under the conditions of having been banned from public lectures.
1972 23rd of February, get transferred to Edremit, serving 2 years.
1973 Fethullah Gülen attended Haj at Mecca for the second time.
1974 29th of June was transferred to Manisa. Became a supporter of the cause; preliminary courses preparing students for the University. 20th of September, his father died.
1975 Began a series of conferences in titled Science and the Holy Koran, Darwinism, Golden Generation. These conferences took him to Ankara, Corum, Malatya, Diyarbakir, Konya, Antalya, and Aydin.
1976 28th of September, was transferred to Izmir, Bornova.
1977 Fethullah Gülen visited Germany, lecturing at variety of places. Gave first religious sermon at the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul. Then Prime Minister, Mr. Suleyman Demirel, and Secretary of State, Ihsan Sabri Caglayangil were among the attendants.
1979 Actively supported the Journal in titled Sizinti and sees it through its publication.
1980 September 5 took the podium for the last time also taking a leave of absence for the next 20 days. 12th of September, the military coup took place in Turkey, his home was raided, he averted being arrested by the virtue of not being home. Obtained a 45-day leave of absence. Residence where he attends as a guest was raided. After a 6-hour interrogation procedure, he was released. 25th of November, he was transferred to Canakkale, yet due to illness he was not able to serve.
1981 20th of March, took a permanent leave of absence.
1985 Fethullah Gülen visited Ahlat.
1986 6th of April, after 6 years took the podium once again, for the occasions of the opening of the Camlica Mosque and the religious holiday of Mirac Kandil. Attended Haj in Mecca for the third time. He was linked and investigated concerning a court case involving one Mehmet Ozyurt at Diyarbakir. Rejected the desires from his friend asking him to reside at Medina. Due to enormous love of country and his people crossed the border on foot with great difficulty to Turkey.
1989 1st of January, started preaching in Valide Sultan Mosque in Uskudar of Istanbul.
1991 16th of June, ended his preaches. 21st of September, addressed in the Symposium on the Prophet Muhammad.
1992 5th of May, paid a visit to Turgut Ozal, the 8th President of Turkey who had a prostate operation in Dallas, Texas.
1993 28th of June, his mother, Refia Gülen (80), passed away in Izmir.
Date Description
29.06.1994 Fethullah Gülen attended the opening gala of the Foundation of Writers and Journalists.
06.11.1994 Fethullah Gülen gave a press conference with regard to his meeting with the Prime Minister.
30.11.1994 Fethullah Gülen paid a visit to Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.
Date Description
23.01.1995 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Newspapers Sabah and Hurriyet.
11.02.1995 Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast with the Foundation of Writers and Journalists at the Polat Renaissance Hotel.
23.02.1995 Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast with the Foundation of Writers and Newspaper Journalists at the Ankara, Hilton Hotel.
20.03.1995 Fethullah Gülen attended a meeting with Mr. Bulent Ecevit.
10.05.1995 Fethullah Gülen paid a cordial visit to Mr. Hikmet Cetin.
26.05.1995 Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Turk Ocaklari Foundation.
09.06.1995 Met a second time with Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.
15.06.1995 Fethullah Gülen visited and had a meeting with Mr. Mesut Yilmaz.
24.06.1995 Fethullah Gülen gave a press conference with regard to his meetings with the political leader.
02.07.1995 Fethullah Gülen went to Sarayici in order to watch the Kirkpinar Wrestling matches.
03.07.1995 Fethullah Gülen was a guest on the TRT television station, on Mr. Reha Muhtar's Ates Hatti program.
25.07.1995 Fethullah Gülen received a thank you award from the Mehmetcik Foundation.
02.08.1995 Fethullah Gülen paid a visit to the head of Parliament Mr. Husametttin Cindoruk.
13.08.1995 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to Mr. Eyup Can of newspaper, Zaman, mainly about his own "Horizon Tour".
20.08.1995 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to Mr. Oral Calislar of newspaper, Cumhuriyet.
14.09.1995 Fethullah Gülen went for a check up over a heart ailment.
19.09.1995 Fethullah Gülen attended a soccer match designed to benefit the children of Bosnia.
11.10.1995 Fethullah Gülen designed a press conference and lectured on Ultimatum and Government in Crisis.
19.10.1995 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to a Dutch television station.
Date Description
04.01.1996 Fethullah Gülen attended an awards ceremony at the Ciragan Palace of Istanbul.
16.01.1996 Gave an analysis of the assassination of Mr. Sabanci the terrorist activity in general.
20.01.1996 Gave a substantial donation to the Police Department.
22.01.1996 Fethullah Gülen personally attended to the wake of Mr. Kasim Gulek.
03.02.1996 Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast at dining at the Ankara, Hilton Hotel.
26.03.1996 Fethullah Gülen paid a get-well visit to Mr.Aydin Menderes.
04.04.1996 Met with Patriarch Bartholemeos.
18.04.1996 Fethullah Gülen received an award from the TUSIAV Foundation.
21.04.1996 At the Olympic awards, ceremony said "The achievement of the schools amounts to Turkey's voice being heard around the globe".
01.06.1996 Fethullah Gülen paid a visit to Mr. Aydin Menderes in the United States.
17.09.1996 Personally attended to the wake of Hanife Ustaoglu.
19.09.1996 Gave an interview to the Aktuel Money Magazine on the subject of education.
24.09.1996 Gave a briefing based on his visit to Mr. Mesut Yilmaz.
30.09.1996 Fethullah Gülen gave a speech on the third anniversary of the Journalists and Writers Foundation at the meeting in titled "Hand-in-Hand for Happy Tomorrows"
15.10.1996 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Bulgarian Newspaper, Trud.
03.11.1996 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to a Bulgarian television station.
08.11.1996 Fethullah Gülen gave journalists his views on various subjects.
Date Description
01.01.1997 Fethullah Gülen answered Mr. Tuncay Ozkan's variety of questions posed on the subject of Susurluk scandal on television channel Kanal D.
17.01.1997 Personally attended to the wake of Mahmut Bayram.
27.01.1997 Fethullah Gülen attended Iftar dinner at the Foundation of Journalists & Writers.
30.01.1997 Gave a press briefing on his speech at the Foundation of Journalists & Writers.
30.01.1997 Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of his uncle Mr. Nurettin Gülen who passed on in Erzurum.
23.02.1997 Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Foundations of Workers and Artists.
04.03.1997 Fethullah Gülen went for a yearly physical at the American Hospital of Istanbul.
15.03.1997 Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of Mr. Kemal Erimez.
29.03.1997 Was a guest at the television station STV's "News Critique" program.
08.04.1997 Fethullah Gülen attended the wake of Mr. Alpaslan Turkes of the president of Nationalist Movement Party.
16.04.1997 At an interview with Mr. Yalcin Dogan, of television channel kanal D answered questions on various subjects.
03.05.1997 At an interview with Mr. Yalcin Dogan, of television channel kanal D answered and clarified certain accusations leveled against him.
27.05.1997 At a press briefing answered questions and clarified subject matter regarding the decisions of the high military commission pertaining to him.
30.05.1997 Fethullah Gülen answered the questions of the Time Magazine regarding political developments in Turkey.
10.08.1997 Fethullah Gülen received an invitation from the Russian literary writers.
11.08.1997 Fethullah Gülen answered questions of Mr. Hakan Yavuz of newspaper Milliyet, on politics and Islam.
31.08.1997 Answered questions of Ms. Yasemin Congar of the newspaper, Milliyet, on the political developments in Turkey.
01.09.1997 Gave a critical analysis of the political and social crisis of February 28 in Turkey.
03.09.1997 Answered questions on the subject of the southeast matter. (Turkish government's more than fifteen-year-old struggle with the PKK terrorists)
04.09.1997 Fethullah Gülen answered the questions of Mr. Ali Aslan of the newspaper, Zaman, regarding the subject of the West and nationalism.
19.09.1997 Met with Cardinal O'Connor in the United States.
30.09.1997 Fethullah Gülen returned to Turkey from the United States where he had been for the purposes of medical treatment.
21.11.1997 Received an award on his contributions to education from the Union for Turkish Education.
21.11.1997 Received a visit from George Marovitch, the representative of Vatican to Istanbul of Turkey and associates.
23.11.1997 Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of Mr. Bayram Yuksel.
12.12.1997 Gave a press briefing regarding the decisions of the High Military Commission with regard to matters pertaining to him.
25.12.1997 Fethullah Gülen attended the gathering arranged by the Foundation of Journalists and Writers.
Date Description
06.01.1998 Fethullah Gülen answered questions of Mr. Mehmet Ali Briand, a famous journalist at a program, 32nd Day.
21.01.1998 Fethullah Gülen answered questions of Ms. Ozcan Ercan of newspaper Milliyet on the subject of woman.
22.01.1998 Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast with the Alarko group owned by Uzeyir Garih and Ishak Alaton, leading members of the Jewish Community in Turkey.
23.01.1998 Received a message from John Paul II for the Ramadan Holiday.
29.01.1998 A message is broadcasted in honor of the Ramadan Holiday.
03.02.1998 Fethullah Gülen attended the program arranged by the Foundation of Writers and Journalists for the holidays.
04.02.1998 Before visiting to the Vatican, he met with Prime Minister, Mr. Bulent Ecevit.
09.02.1998 Fethullah Gülen visited and had a meeting with Pope John Paul II.
14.02.1998 Fethullah Gülen gave a press briefing concerning his visit to the Pope.
25.02.1998 Met with the head Rabbi Eliyahu Bakhsi Doron, religious leader of the Jews.
27.02.1998 Fethullah Gülen attended a question and answer session of television station NTV with hosts Cengiz Candar and Taha Akyol.
07.03.1998 Fethullah Gülen attended the Celestial Meeting of Religions.
19.03.1998 Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of Mr. Sezer Tansug, a famous art critic.
28.03.1998 Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Turk 2000 Foundation for his contributions to Turkish Culture.
05.04.1998 Answered questions on current events by Ms. Ozcan Ercan of the newspaper daily Milliyet.
18.04.1998 Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Turk Ocaklari Foundation.
06.05.1998 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Russian television station ORT.
18.05.1998 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Italian newspaper journalists on his meeting with the Pope.
06.06.1998 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Aksiyon Magazine regarding certain allegations against him.
21.06.1998 Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to Mr. Avni Ozgurel of the daily newspaper Radikal.
05.07.1998 Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Silk Road Foundation.
Date Description
14.01.1999 Gave an interview to Mr. Necdet Acan of magazine Aktuel about the issues of education.
19.01.1999 Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a message about the Ramadan Holiday.
02.02.1999 Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a sympathetic message concerning the passing away of musician Mr. Baris Manco.
03.02.1999 Fethullah Gülen attended the wake of Mr. Baris Manco and commented, concerning the late musician, "he was the true voice of the land".
06.03.1999 Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a get-well message to the governor of Cankiri Mr. Ayhan Cevik.
17.03.1999 Fethullah Gülen sent a message to the day of mourning for the fallen soldiers.
21.03.1999 Fethullah Gülen went to the United States for medical treatment of an ailment.
11.04.1999 Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a sympathetic message for the passing on of President of Kyrgizistan Mr. Cumabek Ibrahimov.
06.06.1999 Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a sympathetic message for the fallen Turkish soldiers in Northern Iraq.
09.06.1999 Fethullah Gülen arranged a press conference and a briefing with regard to the issues of eavesdropping by the police department; known collectively as TeleEar Scandal at Police Dept and other alleged matters.
22.06.1999 Fethullah Gülen answered Mr. Reha Muhtar's questions concerning the so-called cassette conspiracy.
01.12.1999 Sent a message to the Religions of the World Parliament meeting in Cape Town of South Africa.
Date Description
12.02.2000 Fethullah Gülen gave an analysis concerning the Hisbullah Terrorism.
13.04.2000 Fethullah Gülen sent a message to the Symposium of Judaic Religions being held at Harran.
03.08.2000 DGM's District Attorney in Ankara requested an arrest warrant on behalf of Mr. Fethullah Gülen.
07.08.2000 The court turned down the warrant request.
11.08.2000 A new request for an arrest warrant has been issued.
12.08.2000 Fethullah Gülen's attorneys released a press briefing on arrest warrant.
18.08.2000 Fethullah Gülen's attorneys opposed the arrest warrant.
23.08.2000 Fethullah Gülen's case has been transferred from Ankara to the Istanbul DGM court.
28.08.2000 The DGM court in Istanbul dismissed the arrest warrant.
29.08.2000 Fethullah Gülen's case has been again transferred to Ankara DGM.
31.08.2000 The DGM district attorney again opened the case against Mr. Gülen.
16.10.2000 The case against Mr. Fethullah Gülen began in Ankara DGM court.
04.12.2000 The second session of the trial took place.
Date Description
29.01.2001 The third session of the trial took place.
28.03.2001 Fourth session of the trial took place.
26.04.2001 A conference on Fethullah Gülen was held at the University of Georgetown in the United States.
27.04.2001 Fethullah Gülen was given the great contribution award.
21.05.2001 The fifth session of the trial was held.

Source: Fethullah Gülen's Life Chronology on fethullahgulen.org


Interesting facts about Fethullah Gülen from well known sources

Though simple in outward appearance, Fethullah Gülen is original in thought and action. He embraces all humanity, and is deeply averse to unbelief, injustice, and deviation. His belief and feelings are profound, and his ideas and approach to problems are both wise and rational. A living model of love, ardor, and feeling, he is extraordinarily balanced in Fethullah Gülen's thoughts, acts, and treatment of matters.

Turkish intellectuals and scholars acknowledge, either tacitly or explicitly, that Fethullah Gülen is one of the most serious and important thinkers and writers, and among the wisest activists of twentieth-century Turkey or even of the Muslim world. But such accolades of his leadership of a new Islamic intellectual, social, and spiritual revival—a revival with the potential to embrace great areas of the world—do not deter Fethullah Gülen from striving to be no more than a humble servant of God and a friend to all. Desire for fame is the same as show and ostentation, a "poisonous honey" that extinguishes the heart's spiritual liveliness, is one of the golden rules he follows.

From Fethullah Gülen's Biography

How does Fethullah Gülen see himself: When you look at the mirror of fate, how do you see yourself?

There is an attraction toward me(Fethullah Gülen) here, and there's my own view. In my own view I am an ordinary one trying to be truly human. During my youth, there was an Alvar imam whom I admired very much. He frequently said with an Azeri accent "Herkes yakhshi men yaman; herkes bugday, men saman." (Everybody is good, I am bad; everyone is wheat, I'm straw.) I always say the same thing.

From Nurie Akman's interview, Sabah daily, 1/23-30/95

To Fethullah Gülen: Do you cook?

I can make ten different dishes from flour or potatoes. Some of these are my own recipes. Potato stew is made a little differently in Erzurum. I added pastry made with fried potatoes. I even made dessert from potatoes. I experimented by frying mashed potatoes dipped in egg and then pouring sweet syrup over it.

From Nurie Akman's interview, Sabah daily, 1/23-30/95



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