The Hizmet Movement: Reflections from Sri Lanka

Learnium International School, Sri Lanka
Learnium International School, Sri Lanka


Date posted: November 14, 2013

Hameed Abdul Karim

‘Be so sympathetic and tolerant that your bosom becomes as wide as the ocean. Be inspired with faith and love for your fellow human being. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a helping hand and about whom you remain unconcerned.’ – Fethullah Gulen

How many of us have heard the words Kimse Yok Mu? To most of us this might sound Greek. But in actual fact its Turkish and it means ‘Isn’t Anybody Out There.’ Kimse Yok Mu is a worldwide social and charity movement under the banner of the Hizmet Movement, inspired by the indefatigable humanist Turk, Fethullah Gulen.

Seated in his modest room in Pennsylvania in the US, being treated by his doctors for a number of ailments, you might dismiss this stately man as a retired wealthy aristocrat. But he’s far from that. He’s not rich and yet he has admirers and supporters all over the world, willing to do his bidding at the drop of a hat.

His movement, Kimse Yok Mu, was among the first to respond to the devastating tsunami that hit Sri Lanka. Large amounts of food and other requirements that the tsunami victims needed were supplied without any fanfare.

Of a Sufi bent of mind, Gulen was greatly influenced by the thoughts of Sufis like Jallaludin Rumi and Said Nursi. His father was an influential imam. He followed his father’s footsteps and himself became an imam. He delivered his first sermon when he was only 14. As he grew older, he began to develop new ideas based on the teachings of his master, Said Nursi. He expanded his horizons and went into social service setting up educational institutes in Turkey. As his work attracted attention, his fame spread all over Turkey as well as in other countries. Support came from his admirers in the form of donations in large amounts. Thus was born the Gulen Movement.

Service to humanity

The Gulen Movement took off in Turkey in the 1970s as a faith-inspired movement to give educational opportunities to local communities. But as the movement progressed, Fethullah Gulen, being a modest man, thought that it would not be appropriate for the movement to carry his name as the funding for the movement came from his admirers and supporters from Turkey and other parts of the world. He therefore proposed the name be changed to Hizmet Movement. Hizmet means service to humanity. It is reported that the vast line-up of supporters of the Gulen-inspired Hizmet Movement contribute anything between five to 10% of their incomes to support the educational and social service efforts of the organization.

From its humble beginnings, the movement has grown all over Turkey, setting up huge universities in many Turkish cities, and making it easy for those in rural areas to access modern education. It has also spread to other corners of the world, incorporating educational, intercultural and interfaith movements that bring people of different cultures and faiths together as one in humankind.

In Sri Lanka, the Hizmet Movement started the Learnium School as well as the Intercultural Dialogue Foundation. Initially, the funding for the school came from the Movement until it managed to support itself on its own income.

Paying a tribute to the Movement, Prof. John Esposito of Georgetown University said, “The Gulen Movement has become a very influential voice in the world in both dialogue of religions and the civilization of societies.”

In another tribute, Turkey’s former Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit said, “Gulen reminds us of the understanding of Islam, which stems from the love of god and love of human beings that is practised in Turkish public Sufism.” Fethullah Gulen shuns political leaders as a matter of principle and Bulent Ecevit happened to be just one of two political leaders he had met.

This in itself speaks volumes for the man and his mission.

Source: Ceylon Today , November 14, 2013


Related News

Saudi Scholar al-Qarni: Gulen serves with wisdom

One of the most celebrated scholars of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world at large, Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni delivered sermons on “Tabi’in” (a referral to the people who lived in an age right after the Prophet Muhammad’s companions’ generation) at several salatin mosques (mosques built by Ottoman sultans) in Istanbul, on June 1 thru 9. […]

GYV says arrest warrant for Gülen motivated by upcoming election

The Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (GYV), of which Fethullah Gülen is the honorary president, issued a statement on Wednesday slamming the government-orchestrated arrest warrant for Gülen as a government election tactic.

On Hizmet exceptionalism

What is perhaps saddest about this witch-hunt is that Hizmet is a priceless resource for any government. It serves without any burden on public funds and efforts. It is a rich source of reliable manpower devoted to selfless service and ready to raise the banner of Turkey, on peaceful terms, alongside the flags of all other nations around the world. Instead of being propelled by this free energy, and benefitting from its resources, the Turkish government acts in jealousy, and tries to destroy it.

Efforts to accuse Hizmet movement of conspiracy failed, says lawyer

With the courts continuing to release police officers arrested in government-backed investigations, the lawyer of one of these officers says the court decisions have shown that the government is failing to demonstrate that the faith-based Hizmet movement was behind efforts to overthrow the government.

A Visit with Turkey’s Controversial Religious Movement

Piotr Zalewski / Diyarbakir, Turkey If anything, the tiny, informal gathering in Diyarbakir reveals a side of the Gulen movement that is key to its power — its management at the grass-roots level. Opening an Excel file on his laptop, Ozdemir the teacher asks each of the eight men present to report how much money […]

Turkish cleric demands fatwa to amputate hands, feet of Gülen followers

Turkish cleric Nurettin Yıldız demanded a fatwa from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate suggesting that supporters of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government and Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup in July, be executed, their opposing hands and feet be amputated or be exiled instead of keeping them in prisons.

Latest News

Crimes Against Humanity in Erdogan’s Turkey

Exiled journalist warns of a genocide in the making in newly released book

Vague terrorism charge used to target supporters of the Gülen movement: UN special rapporteurs

ECtHR urges Albania not to deport Gülen follower to Turkey

Woman detained over links to Gülen movement after giving birth

Formerly Gülen-linked schools in Albania face growing gov’t pressure

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

In Case You Missed It

Turkish PM Erdoğan’s chain of mistakes

Irvine’s new arrivals — Turkish asylum seekers, after a failed coup and a sadly successful purge

Candidates on ‘red list’ denied jobs despite high test scores, Taraf reports

Students from 70 countries celebrate graduation in Turkey

Panel on Middle East perspectives held at Ishik University

AK Party government removing critical voices from state bodies

D.C. Group Holds Annual Peace and Dialogue Dinner in Albemarle

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News