Anwar Alam, PhD, is Senior Fellow with Policy Perspectives Foundation, New Delhi. Earlier he served as Professor of International Relations at Zirve University, Gaziantep, Turkey, and Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; Director of Centre for West Asian Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Associate Professor at School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Germany, and specializes in West Asian and South Asian Studies.
For the Sake of Allah explores the Gülen Movement, also known as Hizmet, a religio-social movement inspired by Fethullah Gülen, one of the most prominent Islamic scholars of Turkish origin in the modern world. Notwithstanding the current purge of Hizmet under the Erdoğan regime, it is one of the most interesting faith-based movements to arise from a Muslim society in the twentieth century. Since the late 1960s, Hizmet has opened thousands of schools around the world and has also contributed to relief efforts in Turkey and abroad.
In this book, Anwar Alam shares a decade of research and field work based on the religious, educational, political, and social contexts that have shaped the essential dynamics of both Gülen and the Movement. At a time when the Gülen Movement has been primarily analyzed and debated through the “state prism” and “security discourse,” especially following the failed Turkish military coup of July 2016, this book takes a longue durée perspective and provides a holistic treatment of Hizmet as essentially a postmodern phenomenon.
“The book is a detailed and thoughtful analysis of the Gülen Movement in modern Turkey, placing it in the context of the revitalizing and reformist movements. It calls into questions the tendency to characterize such movements as traditionalist or modernist, suggesting that these categorizations need re-examination. Its relevance goes beyond Turkey to the entire Muslim world.”
Prof. Imtiaz Ahmad, New Delhi
“In this authoritative and deeply insightful book, Alam cuts through the noise and aptly captures the projects, hopes and dreams of Gülen (Hizmet) Movement participants, which, he argues, they carry out For the Sake of Allah, the title of his book. Offering an innovative, thorough analysis of Fethullah Gülen’s Islamic philosophy and the rise and expansion of the Hizmet Movement, Alam avoids the trap of political or economic reductionism, instead directly focuses on the power of the individual and of ideas. Based on personal, first-hand interactions with Movement members in dozens of cities throughout Turkey and several countries abroad, Anwar paints a complex, multi-faceted picture of the Movement’s history, describing the intricacies of its shifting relationships with Turkish secularists and sectarian and ethnic groups. His postscript ends the silence regarding Erdogan’s brutal purge of the Movement, and offers a rare, unbiased, scrutiny of the mechanisms used to scapegoat the Movement after the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey. If you want to understand Islam in contemporary Turkey and the Hizmet Movement, this book is a must-read.”
Prof. Sophia Pandya, Chair at California State University at Long Beach, Department of Religious Studies, USA
“Anwar Alam offers an engaging study of Fethullah Gülen's approach to Islam and the question of agency within the religious movement, which Gülen has inspired since 1966. Addressing the core issues of liberal education, interfaith dialogue, and 'the "Political"' in the movement, the book is set to stimulate controversial debates about the foundation upon which religions can flourish in a peaceful, pluralistic, modern world of human rights, freedom of religion, and responsible democracy.”
Prof. Christoph Bultmann
Biblical Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany, and co-editor of Die Gülen-Bewegung zwischen Predigt und Praxis, 2011 (The Gülen Movement between Preaching and Practice)