Known by his simple and austere lifestyle, Fethullah Gülen, affectionately called Hodjaefendi, is a scholar of extraordinary proportions. This man for all seasons was born in Erzurum, eastern Turkey, in 1941. Upon graduation from a private divinity school in Erzurum, he obtained his license and began to preach and teach about the importance of understanding and tolerance. His social reform efforts have made him one of Turkey's most well-known and respected public figures during the 1960s.
Though simple in outward appearance, he 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 his thoughts, acts, and treatment of matters.
Turkish intellectuals and scholars acknowledge, either tacitly or explicitly, that he 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 him 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.
Gülen has spent his adult life voicing the cries and laments, as well as the beliefs and aspirations, of Muslims in particular and of humanity in general. He bears his own sorrows, but those of others crush him. He feels each blow delivered at humanity to be delivered first at his own heart. He feels himself so deeply and inwardly connected to creation that once he said: "Whenever I see a leaf fall from its branch in autumn, I feel as much pain as if my arm had been amputated."
For more information on Fethullah Gulen, please visit http://www.fgulen.com/