The Political Theology of the Gülen Movement
The tension between political Islamists and secular elites provided an opportunity for a civic movement to represent Islam on a moderate basis. In this regard, the Gülen (Hizmet) movement emerged as representative of moderate Islam against the rise of radicalism and religious extremism. The movement stayed away from politics. It focused rather on social and religious issues. Gülen refused the idea of forming or being part of a political party. He disagreed with the idea of mixing religion with politics, unlike some other contemporary Muslim scholars such as Abu Ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb. He strongly believed that religion should capture hearts and minds through education, socialization, and spiritual cultivation. In order to understand the political theology of the Gülen movement, some concepts such as democracy, secularism, the relations with the west, the relations with non-Muslims, nationalism, umma or Muslims world, caliphate, shariah, and Extremism will be discussed from the perspectives of Gülen and the movement.