I appreciate that he’s [Fethullah Gulen] an Islamic thinker who spoke out after the attacks on September 11, immediately. In our country, for years after September 11 people kept saying, ‘why aren’t the Muslims speaking up’, and he did speak up but he wasn’t broadcast. He didn’t have the microphone in his mouth, so to speak. And I always regretted that because he was one who did.
“The Hizmet Movement and what Mr. Gulen is inspiring is uniting people around spiritual ideals. And I like the idea in your schools that you don’t really teach religion directly; you teach ethics. I think that’s another hopeful sign that out of this spiritual movement you’re bringing people together of different religious-cultural backgrounds, but they’re uniting around a certain ethical principle of love and care for humanity and service of humanity.
I believe, certainly in the United States as I’m experiencing the Hizmet Movement, I’m experiencing extraordinary hospitality, a great warmth of people, a genuine spirit, an openness, a compassionate style.
I think the Gulen, or Hizmet, Movement represents Islam by, on the one hand, maintaining a strong connection to and being rooted in the Islamic primary sources, such as the Qur’an and the Prophetic teachings, but, at the same time, not neglecting the world around it.
Hizmet Movement is represented by the people that I’ve met. I see that there is a common purpose of like-minded people, in a very grass-root way, coming together, pushing for some ideals that they believe in, in the society, and I’m touched by the genuine motivation of the people that I’ve met. I am impressed with the sacrifice that individuals that believe in this contribute to this collective goal that they are trying to reach.
People who identify with the Hizmet Movement really have influenced the way I view it, in that I can see that it’s gonna have a lasting impact, because Hizmet is really something that demonstrates what’s universal about Islam, for the members of the Hizmet Movement, that there are universal values that you find in other faith traditions as well.
I’m inspired by the Hizmet Movement. I didn’t realize that until I came in contact with the Movement, but all of my life, education and service and dialog have been transformative to me. … This is the work that all of our hearts should be doing. So it remains a source of inspiration for me in my work.
Hizmet seems to me to be a very good representative of the best in Islam, in terms of being open, feeling a responsibility to the world, and the pluralism that is evidenced in the Koran, which tells us to respect all the prophets and all the people of the book.
Hizmet Movement is, in my view, an Islamically-inspired, Islamically-grounded movement, or Islamically-rooted movement, founded on the universal and fundamental principle of peace and—the essential values of Islam—peace, mercy and compassion, as normative, moral objectives and which seeks to translate these principles into—through the dynamic of ta’aruf, the dynamic of coming to know one another, especially coming to know the other—into a reality, into a living sociological and anthropological reality.
Love is a Verb is a documentary by Terry Spencer Hesser exploring the ordinary lives and stories of people in Hizmet, a social movement inspired by the Islamic scholar and teacher, Fethullah Gülen, and geared towards serving all people regardless of their faith and religion through dialogue, education and relief work.