Sufism and Modernity in the thought of Fethullah Gülen
In trying to bring together two such disparate concepts as “Sufism” and “modernity” in the thought of Fethullah Gülen, I realize that I have undertaken a slippery task. On the one hand, Sufism, the generally accepted term for the Islamic mystical tradition, is not one clearly defined religious movement, but an interrelated network of ideas and practices, all aimed at a deeper understanding and faithful pursuit of the Qur’anic message.
Non-Muslim scholars, as well as Sufis themselves, who attempt to give a succinct definition of Sufism inevitably pull out certain elements and emphases that have been central among some Sufis at various periods of history, while disregarding or glossing over other characteristics that do not fit in and perhaps even contradict their definition.
One can also find an embodiment of the ideals enunciated by Gülen in the Mission Statement of the Journalists’ and Writers’ Foundation, an organization created by associates of Fethullah Gülen to promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation.