Lives in Context

M. Hakan Yavuz

in Toward an Islamic Enlightenment

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199927999
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980543 | DOI:
Lives in Context

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This chapter examines Gülen's life story within the context of larger sociohistorical factors. Gülen's vision and mission are crucially grounded in the prevailing social and historical context of Eastern Anatolia and Turkey. The most critical factors that shaped his vision are: the frontier conditions of Erzurum and the struggle for dominance by competing empires and ethnic and religious groups. The city was also one of the main destinations for Ottoman Muslims in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries fleeing war and ethnic cleansing. The second critical battleground was between Ottoman Islamic tradition and identity and the radical policies of the new Kemalist Republic to disestablish Islam and create an authoritarian, secular, and homogeneous Turkish state and society. The Kemalist revolution was deeply resisted by the religiously inspired Nur movement of Beddiuzzaman Said Nursi, as struggle for the Turkish soul that continues today. Fethullah Gülen's own life story and worldview are constructed in terms of these critical events and struggles.

Keywords: Dadaş; Nakşibendi; Armenians; Said Nursi; Edirne; military coups; Turkish-Islamic synthesis; Hocaefendi; Saylorsburg

Chapter.  10146 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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