Sohbet Society is a non-profit organisation (limited by guarantee company registration no.11613566) providing religious learning and spiritual activities for Muslims. Sohbet is a Turkish word and means ‘to talk, converse, discuss and engage with one another in a friendly, caring, warm and informal manner’. In our context, we use the word sohbet to mean to converse with one another in a study or discussion circle on the big questions of God, purpose, meaning, faith, religion, and society.
Through Sohbet Society, we provide opportunity for religious learning and spiritual growth and development for Muslims in Britain. We achieve this through a series of activities including study groups, mentoring, outreach, retreats, excursions and social action. Religious and spiritual learning is achieved through semi-structured study groups as well as practical experiences such as social action and retreats. In all, we aim to offer a friendly, positive and constructive form of authentic religious expression and an environment for genuine spiritual experience that speaks both to the mind and heart, to the personal and social needs of the individual. We believe this nurtures a religious understanding and spiritual mindset that emphasises peaceful social relations and respect for human diversity and dignity.
Sohbet Society is an active component of Hizmet, an Islamically inspired social movement that focuses on education, dialogue, and disaster and poverty relief work. It originated in Turkey in the 1970s based on the teachings and scholarship of Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar and peace advocate. Today, Hizmet is active in over 160 countries worldwide. Like other social movements Hizmet includes formalised entities and organisations, but is largely based on informal networks and practices. The Sohbet Society is now formalising Hizmet’s pre-existing informal grass-roots religious activism in the UK in order to achieve greater visibility, transparency, professionalism, and structure so that we may be able to diversify the people who benefit from our services and to further develop our projects and services.
Through the Sohbet Society, we aim to:
- Offer religious counselling and spiritual support reflective of contemporary British Muslim needs and challenges
- Formalise Hizmet’s informal grass-roots religious activism to diversify our beneficiaries and develop our projects and services
Sohbet Society is a member of VOICES, a consortium of Hizmet organisations in the UK.
⚑ Where a form of activity or practice has become associated with a particular term in Hizmet, in Turkish or Arabic, we have included a reference to that term and ‘flagged’ it up using this symbol. This does not mean that we, at the Sohbet Society, always use that term – we may use the English term interchangeably.