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?"
Fethullah Gülen born April 27 in Erzurum's Pasinler (Hasankale) County at the village of Korucuk.
At the age of five mastered the Koran and pursued prayer.
Fethullah Gülen began elementary school.
Fethullah Gülen abandoned elementary school as the family moved to the village of Alvar. (Later on passed an equivalency exam and thus completed it)
Fethullah Gülen took Arabic lessons from his father Ramiz Gülen thus continuing his religious education.
Fethullah Gülen became a student of Haci Sitki Effendi.
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.
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.
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.
Fethullah Gülen went to Edirne giving informal religious lectures.
At August 6 became formally the Imam second in line at Ucserefeli Mosque. He stayed there for the next two and a half years.
Fethullah Gülen received a wedding proposal that was not to be. Read last rites to two prisoners at death row.
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.
In Erzurum gave conferences lecturing extensively on Mevlana. Attended the opening of one of Struggle with Communism Committee.
At July 4th began work as Koran teacher in Edirne.
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.
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.
Fethullah Gülen went to Haj at Mecca.
Fethullah Gülen set up meetings at coffeehouses lecturing extensively at the provinces and villages of the Aegean part of Turkey.
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.
23rd of February, get transferred to Edremit, serving 2 years.
Fethullah Gülen attended Haj at Mecca for the second time.
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.
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.
28th of September, was transferred to Izmir, Bornova.
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.
Actively supported the Journal in titled Sizinti and sees it through its publication.
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.
20th of March, took a permanent leave of absence.
Fethullah Gülen visited Ahlat.
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.
1st of January, started preaching in Valide Sultan Mosque in Uskudar of Istanbul.
16th of June, ended his preaches. 21st of September, addressed in the Symposium on the Prophet Muhammad.
5th of May, paid a visit to Turgut Ozal, the 8th President of Turkey who had a prostate operation in Dallas, Texas.
28th of June, his mother, Refia Gülen (80), passed away in Izmir.
Fethullah Gülen attended the opening gala of the Foundation of Writers and Journalists.
Fethullah Gülen gave a press conference with regard to his meeting with the Prime Minister.
Fethullah Gülen paid a visit to Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Newspapers Sabah and Hurriyet.
Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast with the Foundation of Writers and Journalists at the Polat Renaissance Hotel.
Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast with the Foundation of Writers and Newspaper Journalists at the Ankara, Hilton Hotel.
Fethullah Gülen attended a meeting with Mr. Bulent Ecevit.
Fethullah Gülen paid a cordial visit to Mr. Hikmet Cetin.
Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Turk Ocaklari Foundation.
Met a second time with Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.
Fethullah Gülen visited and had a meeting with Mr. Mesut Yilmaz.
Fethullah Gülen gave a press conference with regard to his meetings with the political leader.
Fethullah Gülen went to Sarayici in order to watch the Kirkpinar Wrestling matches.
Fethullah Gülen was a guest on the TRT television station, on Mr. Reha Muhtar's Ates Hatti program.
Fethullah Gülen received a thank you award from the Mehmetcik Foundation.
Fethullah Gülen paid a visit to the head of Parliament Mr. Husametttin Cindoruk.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to Mr. Eyup Can of newspaper, Zaman, mainly about his own "Horizon Tour".
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to Mr. Oral Calislar of newspaper, Cumhuriyet.
Fethullah Gülen went for a check up over a heart ailment.
Fethullah Gülen attended a soccer match designed to benefit the children of Bosnia.
Fethullah Gülen designed a press conference and lectured on Ultimatum and Government in Crisis.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to a Dutch television station.
Fethullah Gülen attended an awards ceremony at the Ciragan Palace of Istanbul.
Gave an analysis of the assassination of Mr. Sabanci the terrorist activity in general.
Gave a substantial donation to the Police Department.
Fethullah Gülen personally attended to the wake of Mr. Kasim Gulek.
Fethullah Gülen attended and broke fast at dining at the Ankara, Hilton Hotel.
Fethullah Gülen paid a get-well visit to Mr.Aydin Menderes.
Met with Patriarch Bartholemeos.
Fethullah Gülen received an award from the TUSIAV Foundation.
At the Olympic awards, ceremony said "The achievement of the schools amounts to Turkey's voice being heard around the globe".
Fethullah Gülen paid a visit to Mr. Aydin Menderes in the United States.
Personally attended to the wake of Hanife Ustaoglu.
Gave an interview to the Aktuel Money Magazine on the subject of education.
Gave a briefing based on his visit to Mr. Mesut Yilmaz.
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"
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Bulgarian Newspaper, Trud.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to a Bulgarian television station.
Fethullah Gülen gave journalists his views on various subjects.
Fethullah Gülen answered Mr. Tuncay Ozkan's variety of questions posed on the subject of Susurluk scandal on television channel Kanal D.
Personally attended to the wake of Mahmut Bayram.
Fethullah Gülen attended Iftar dinner at the Foundation of Journalists & Writers.
Gave a press briefing on his speech at the Foundation of Journalists & Writers.
Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of his uncle Mr. Nurettin Gülen who passed on in Erzurum.
Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Foundations of Workers and Artists.
Fethullah Gülen went for a yearly physical at the American Hospital of Istanbul.
Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of Mr. Kemal Erimez.
Was a guest at the television station STV's "News Critique" program.
Fethullah Gülen attended the wake of Mr. Alpaslan Turkes of the president of Nationalist Movement Party.
At an interview with Mr. Yalcin Dogan, of television channel kanal D answered questions on various subjects.
At an interview with Mr. Yalcin Dogan, of television channel kanal D answered and clarified certain accusations leveled against him.
At a press briefing answered questions and clarified subject matter regarding the decisions of the high military commission pertaining to him.
Fethullah Gülen answered the questions of the Time Magazine regarding political developments in Turkey.
Fethullah Gülen received an invitation from the Russian literary writers.
Fethullah Gülen answered questions of Mr. Hakan Yavuz of newspaper Milliyet, on politics and Islam.
Answered questions of Ms. Yasemin Congar of the newspaper, Milliyet, on the political developments in Turkey.
Gave a critical analysis of the political and social crisis of February 28 in Turkey.
Answered questions on the subject of the southeast matter. (Turkish government's more than fifteen-year-old struggle with the PKK terrorists)
Fethullah Gülen answered the questions of Mr. Ali Aslan of the newspaper, Zaman, regarding the subject of the West and nationalism.
Met with Cardinal O'Connor in the United States.
Fethullah Gülen returned to Turkey from the United States where he had been for the purposes of medical treatment.
Received an award on his contributions to education from the Union for Turkish Education.
Received a visit from George Marovitch, the representative of Vatican to Istanbul of Turkey and associates.
Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of Mr. Bayram Yuksel.
Gave a press briefing regarding the decisions of the High Military Commission with regard to matters pertaining to him.
Fethullah Gülen attended the gathering arranged by the Foundation of Journalists and Writers.
Fethullah Gülen answered questions of Mr. Mehmet Ali Briand, a famous journalist at a program, 32nd Day.
Fethullah Gülen answered questions of Ms. Ozcan Ercan of newspaper Milliyet on the subject of woman.
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.
Received a message from John Paul II for the Ramadan Holiday.
A message is broadcasted in honor of the Ramadan Holiday.
Fethullah Gülen attended the program arranged by the Foundation of Writers and Journalists for the holidays.
Before visiting to the Vatican, he met with Prime Minister, Mr. Bulent Ecevit.
Fethullah Gülen visited and had a meeting with Pope John Paul II.
Fethullah Gülen gave a press briefing concerning his visit to the Pope.
Met with the head Rabbi Eliyahu Bakhsi Doron, religious leader of the Jews.
Fethullah Gülen attended a question and answer session of television station NTV with hosts Cengiz Candar and Taha Akyol.
Fethullah Gülen attended the Celestial Meeting of Religions.
Fethullah Gülen personally attended the wake of Mr. Sezer Tansug, a famous art critic.
Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Turk 2000 Foundation for his contributions to Turkish Culture.
Answered questions on current events by Ms. Ozcan Ercan of the newspaper daily Milliyet.
Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Turk Ocaklari Foundation.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Russian television station ORT.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Italian newspaper journalists on his meeting with the Pope.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to the Aksiyon Magazine regarding certain allegations against him.
Fethullah Gülen gave an interview to Mr. Avni Ozgurel of the daily newspaper Radikal.
Fethullah Gülen received an award from the Silk Road Foundation.
Gave an interview to Mr. Necdet Acan of magazine Aktuel about the issues of education.
Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a message about the Ramadan Holiday.
Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a sympathetic message concerning the passing away of musician Mr. Baris Manco.
Fethullah Gülen attended the wake of Mr. Baris Manco and commented, concerning the late musician, "he was the true voice of the land".
Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a get-well message to the governor of Cankiri Mr. Ayhan Cevik.
Fethullah Gülen sent a message to the day of mourning for the fallen soldiers.
Fethullah Gülen went to the United States for medical treatment of an ailment.
Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a sympathetic message for the passing on of President of Kyrgizistan Mr. Cumabek Ibrahimov.
Fethullah Gülen broadcasted a sympathetic message for the fallen Turkish soldiers in Northern Iraq.
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.
Fethullah Gülen answered Mr. Reha Muhtar's questions concerning the so-called cassette conspiracy.
Sent a message to the Religions of the World Parliament meeting in Cape Town of South Africa.
Fethullah Gülen gave an analysis concerning the Hisbullah Terrorism.
Fethullah Gülen sent a message to the Symposium of Judaic Religions being held at Harran.
DGM's District Attorney in Ankara requested an arrest warrant on behalf of Mr. Fethullah Gülen.
The court turned down the warrant request.
A new request for an arrest warrant has been issued.
Fethullah Gülen's attorneys released a press briefing on arrest warrant.
Fethullah Gülen's attorneys opposed the arrest warrant.
Fethullah Gülen's case has been transferred from Ankara to the Istanbul DGM court.
The DGM court in Istanbul dismissed the arrest warrant.
Fethullah Gülen's case has been again transferred to Ankara DGM.
The DGM district attorney again opened the case against Mr. Gülen.
The case against Mr. Fethullah Gülen began in Ankara DGM court.
The second session of the trial took place.
The third session of the trial took place.
Fourth session of the trial took place.
A conference on Fethullah Gülen was held at the University of Georgetown in the United States.
Fethullah Gülen was given the great contribution award.
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.
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.
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.