Serving Humanity through Education-Fethullah Gulen
All people need one another. As mentioned above, we have more to give humanity than we have to take. Today, voluntary or nongovernmental organizations have established companies and foundations and are enthusiastically serving others in the name of Islam. The largescale acceptance of the educational institutions that have spread all over the world, despite the great financial difficulties that they have faced, and the fact that they are competing with, and frequently surpassing their Western peers in a very short period of time, should be proof that what we have said cannot be denied.
The Turkish people have accumulated many problems over the past few centuries. At the base of these problems lies our mistaken concentration on the exterior of Islam and the neglect of its inner pearl. Later on we began to imitate others and surmised that there was a conflict between Islam and positive science. We arrived at this conclusion despite the fact that the latter is no more than discoveries of Divine laws that manifest God's Attributes of Power and Will; it is nothing but a different expression of the Qur'an derived from God's Attribute of Speech. This neglect, in turn, led to despotism in knowledge, thought, and administration; a hopelessness that led to a disorder that encompassed all individuals and institutions; a confusion in our work; we no longer paid any attention to the division of labor.
In short, our three greatest enemies are ignorance, poverty, and an internal schism. Knowledge, workcapital, and unification can struggle against these. As ignorance is the most serious problem, it must be opposed with education, which always has been the most important way of serving our country. Now that we live in a global village, education is the best way to serve humanity and to establish a dialogue with other civilizations.
But above all else, education is a humane service; we were sent here to learn and be perfected through education. Bediüzzaman drew attention to possible solutions and the future by saying: "The old state of affairs is impossible. Either a new state or annihilation is needed." Saying that "controversial subjects should not be discussed with Christian spiritual leaders," he opened dialogues with members of other religions.
In the light of such principles, I have encouraged people to serve the country in particular, and humanity in general, through education. I called on them to help the state educate and help people to develop by opening schools. Ignorance can be defeated through education, poverty through work and the possession of capital, and internal schism and separatism through unity, dialogue, and tolerance. As the solution of every problem in this life ultimately depends on human beings, education is the most effective vehicle, regardless of whether we have a paralyzed social and political system or we have one that operates like clockwork.