TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY
an article by On Islam
Amid increasing anti-Islam propaganda worldwide, a council of elite Muslim scholars met in Abu Dhabi, discussing methods of renovating Islamic education and developing a new strategy to send peace delegations to global hotspots “to stop the game of death”.
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“The goal is to reach an agreement that Islam is innocent of the terrorism going on,” Dr Kaltham Al Muhairi, professor at Zayed University’s Institute of Islamic World Studies, said during the meeting of the Muslim Council of Elders, The National reported on Sunday, February 15. “Dialogue also aims to make other parties recognize the right of Muslims to portray the true image of Islam.”
The Muslim Council of Elders met in the Emirati capital to discuss ways to modernize the way Islam is taught in schools to fight misconceptions. The meeting, held last Thursday, discussed methods to improve interfaith dialogues, including sending peace delegations to global hotspots “to stop the game of death”.
Abdullah bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, said delegations would be sent to areas of conflict to correct misunderstandings of Shari`ah and explain that these “bloodbaths” benefited no one.
Dr Mohammed Shihab, former Indonesian minister of religious affairs, said that interfaith activities should go further than talk and bring together young people from all religions to work for the good of society. He also suggested renovating curriculums to focus on Prophet Mohammed’s merciful teachings. “We have some old books that were written during the conflict between Christianity and Islam – we should not focus on that,” Dr Shihab said. “This does not mean we will neglect it.”
Bin Bayyah said the peace delegations would engage in dialogue from which everyone could benefit, “whether it is ISIL or other than ISIL”. They should consist of elite intellectuals who could “face the current of violence and random conflict”, he said. “Searching for rights during a destructive war will not lead the ummah [community] to anything,” bin Bayyah said. “It will end with destruction and everyone will be defeated. “Even if one imagines he is victorious, there is no victory if the ummah is burning.”
He added that it is the job of scholars, intellects, universities and good politicians to act as “firefighters in this deadly atmosphere”. “Many of the disputes that we think of as internal are in fact due to foreign interference, so it requires two things: to talk to the doers on the land and those behind them,” Mr bin Bayyah said.
Question related to this article:
How would we define a progressive Muslim?
Here is a rough translation of
by Mustapha Cherif
Fasting is to be at peace. If someone tries to bother us, we can answer quietly: “I am fasting. “The concept of peace in Islam is central, in addition to being one of the beautiful names of God, Salam, the importance of which is at least equal to Rahman, the Merciful.
Ramadan calls, first of all, for a culture of peace. This concept is directly related to living together in peace. In this sense, peace requires recognition of the other, keeping in mind that there is no peace without justice. The action reflecting this orientation is that of sharing, which must be conducted in a reasonable manner. To accept differences, personally, in human relations, needs to be with an open heart and mind. Hospitality is a virtue.
The responsibility of the Muslim imperative of justice
The concept of peace in Islam is greater than any other: it is religious, human and cultural and beyond.
The qualities of the believer, generous, hospitable, good, all converge in the sense of achieving peace vis-à-vis oneself, others and the world. The Constitution of Medina established by the Prophet reflects the concept of peace and the hospitality to those who are different. That which defines, first of all, the identity of human beings in the city is not the confession, worship or religion, but citizenship.
Indeed, secularism and human rights are affirmed. The friendship between human beings in general and in particular between the “People of the Book,” the monotheistic brothers who recognize Abraham, is fundamental. In Islam, the recognition of the right of difference is essential. In addition, the secular dimension is recognized. We can say that the sky does not over-ride the earth: man is not bound by faith, but, on the contrary, he is accountable. Revelation leaves open spaces where the responsibility of the Muslim can and must assert itself. Each of us is required to examine our own conscience and contribute to the culture of peace.
When we find ourselves in a time of crisis with a weakening of social ties, it is then that we must seek forms of solidarity and coexistence. Coexistence between citizens is based on much more than mere tolerance. Sometimes the complexities of history have compromised these meanings and distorted these references. The responsibility lies with us as individuals and not with the text or His Messenger.
The conduct of the Muslim, especially during Ramadan, instead of falling into error, should be shaped by the concept of peace and justice. The insistence of the Qur’an about justice, fairness and equality should make Muslims sensitive to these dimensions as essential to our social relations.
The character, mind and behavior of Muslims can only be profoundly marked by the imperative of justice. A Muslim is not fully a believer until he applies justice and equity. To be a righteous man is of major importance in the Qur’an.
In law, the world of Islam is supposed to be the world of justice. Justice and Islam are theoretically synonymous. To be just, according to the Qur’an, is to be pious. “Justice is close to piety.” Furthermore, the Qur’an states:” Say: My Lord demands equity “and again:” You who believe, testify to equity. Even if others hold grudges, do not yourself fall into injustice. Be fair. ‘
It remains to measure the distance between the principle of justice in everyday practice, and the search to understand the real causes of deviations. The Qur’an addresses humanity, the last sura repeated five times the concept of humanity, people, beings. Revelation is the people as a whole. We must never be opposed to difference, but we must oppose injustice.
In the Qur’an, everyone is free and responsible for his actions. Nobody can boast of irresponsibility or unconsciousness. For most of the themes and issues, the Qur’an makes it easy to take into account the variety of situations and allows us freedoms to reflect, discern, adapt and evolve. Its provisions favor the conditions of justice and coexistence, change and metamorphosis, and it helps us distinguish right from wrong, the lawful and the unlawful, so that we may be good citizens.
The ijtihad, a free reflection to be able to live together
For three centuries, Muslim women have been troubled by the marginalization of their thoughts and knowledge, disturbed by the internal problems of development and the problematic trajectory of the powers that agress them. They have difficulty to interpret this. Today, the majority have recognized the need to return to creativity.
For the question of interpretation, ijtihad is central. If we want to grow, to develop, it is necessary to think, learn and educate. All truth, including revealed truth, is understandable if we think within a context where the clear and the less clear are interwoven and between the lines. It is true that we cannot attack the block with a bludgeon, but we must find meaning gradually.
The ijtihad is at the heart of thought. It requires us to open our minds, to take responsibility, to humanize and to innovate. It is essential to adapt ijtihad to the circumstances of modern life. To do this, we must clarify the meaning of contemporary ijtihad.
Not to accommodate to the contemporary epoch or bend to the demands of materialism, but above all to respect the human spirit. One must distinguish positive aspects from negative aspects on each occasion and reinvent a culture that is open, living and humane. And there should be no doubt that men should not turn their backs on the world.
It must be emphasized that ijtihad which is reasonable does not turn its back on the times, but at the same time does not conform at any price. There is light and dark in all periods. We understand, above all, a ijtihad that is creative, faithful and innovative at the same time.
Neither close-mindedness nor dilution. An intellectual must be a renovator, a spokesman for the scholarly interests of society and preserve scrupulous.y its interests and aspirations. He must meet the cultural needs of the people, their internal voice of peace, a life that is open, balanced, responsible and dignified. For Islam, contrary to the claims of extremists, this is not only possible but vital.
The exegesis of texts must be based on adequate knowledge of scientific and linguistic rules, ethical and fundamental knowledge and values. Any interpretation should facilitate rather than complicate. It should not contradict healthy reason or violate firmly established scientific facts. While making the efforts of research and reflection, pushing deconstruction, searching for truth and right opinion, one should be detached from one’s own passions and preferences.
The intellectual must defend peace and justice and the general interest and rely on reason to seek the common good and understand the issues of our times, the issues that are emerging being aware of their demands. This approach allows us to recognize new contexts and put them to the test with an open and insightful mind. It is our duty to contribute to the emergence and consolidation of a culture of peace and social cohesion.
The generic word, ijtihad, thus refers to the principle of free and responsible thinking which is demanded of competent intellectuals so that we can participate in the renewal and invention of new concepts, new practices, and interpretation of the Qur’anic discourse and Sunnah adapted to our time. This aspect makes ijtihad open to evolution and responsive to the interests of individuals and societies, accommodating all times and all places.
The ijtihad is this act of renewal which distinguishes between opportunities and uncertainties, between what hinders and what allows progress. We must not only accept but create changes to control our history, in the general interest of society to preserve its balance and stability and strengthen its open commitment to modernity and civilization.
The ijtihad is effective, efficient and relevant to the society, if it is practiced with transparency, respect for common values, taking into account the secular, the common memory and respect for human dignity. This is what is valid in all times and in all places. Because Islam came to build peace, the open-minded individual, and a just, balanced society with a goal of humanization. Linking science and spirituality, modernity and authenticity, educating and cultivating is to assume with vigilance and wisdom to live together in justice and to make sense of the challenges of the time.
* Mustapha Cherif is a philosopher, university professor and author of books on coexistence and dialogue between cultures.