Shaykh Al-Azhar Invited to Speak at World Cup Inaugural

Brazilian Ambassador to Cairo Marco Brandão meets Grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb in his office at Al-Azhar to convey special invitation from the President of Brazil to address opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Putting the final touches on World Cup preparations, Brazilian officials have invited the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, to give a speech at the inauguration ceremony of the world’s largest sports event; the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The invitation comes from the President of Brazil, Dilma Vana Rousseff, whereby the Grand Imam has been asked deliver a speech on peace and the need for tackling prejudice and violence in the world.

“The invitation represents a global recognition of the significant role of Al-Azhar in establishing principals of moderate Islam amid the notable increase of terrorism,” Brazilian Ambassador to Cairo Marco Brandão said. In a meeting with Shaykh al-Azhar, Marco Brandão stressed the important role played by the Al-Azhar institution in spreading the values of peace and prosperity, in supporting stability and renouncing violence.

According to Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb after the meeting said that “Al-Azhar is a learning institution concerned with delineating the truths of the Islamic religion that calls for holding fast to religious values, such as the virtues of tolerance and the acceptance of the other.” He also called on the Muslim community in Brazil to “integrate with their society while retaining their Islamic values, in order to become positive additions to Brazilian society.”

The Brazilian Ambassador, for his part, presented a report on the status of Muslims in Brazil and the spread of mosques and Islamic circles in the South American country. He asserted there were numerous mosques and Islamic organizations in Brazil, and that the country’s Muslims were highly integrated into Brazilian society.

The invitation was praised by Mohammad Mehanna, Special Adviser to the Grand Imam. He said that the invitation “emphasizes the fact that the moderate Islamic concepts of Al-Azhar are honoured by the whole world.” He further said, “Islam calls on practicing sports to keep the body fit and healthy. Millions of people will watch this great event and will get to know more about Islam through the speech of the Grand Imam.”

According to the 2001 census, there are 27,239 Muslims in Brazil. However, the Islamic Brazilian Federation puts the number at around one and a half million.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will kick off in a ceremony on June 12.

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‘Peace For Our Time’ By Dr Qari Asim MBE

A detailed report and analysis, by Dr Qari Asim MBE of the Leeds Makkah Masjid, on the recent international conference held in Abu Dhabi titled ‘Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’ under the patronage of Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah and Prof Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar.

qari-asim-mbeOn 9 and 10 March 2014 an unprecedented conference of Muslim scholars took place in Abu Dhabi under the inspiring leadership of Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, head of the Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Professor Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb under the generous patronage of United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The crème de la crème of Muslim scholars and thinkers from all over the world – belonging to different races and countries, speaking different native languages, having different backgrounds, and wearing different national dress of varying colours – gathered in Abu Dhabi to show their extreme concern at the lack of peace in contemporary Muslim societies throughout the globe. These celebrated scholars were invited to be part of a fresh and ground-breaking initiative, aimed at tackling the disharmony and violence that abounds across the Muslim world. They were all determined to put aside their differences for a common goal: bringing peace and reconciliation to the hearts and minds of their followers so that peace may prevail in the world.

It was the first occasion in recent times on which 250 distinguished Muslim scholars, religious ministers and thinkers from across the globe had gathered in one place. Leading Imams, profound thinkers and grand muftis from the Middle East, including war-torn Syria and the recently liberated Libya, the Indian sub-continent, North Africa, South Africa, America, Europe, Australia, Central Asia Bosnia and the Far East -whether Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Sufi or other – came together in search of ‘Peace in Our Societies’.

It was extremely encouraging to see that women scholars and thinkers were part of the Peace forum. Some of the women scholars were moderators of the sessions whereas others were speakers who addressed the audience, thereby dismissing the allegations made by some quarters that women do not have any role in reviving and uplifting the spirit of their communities. Shaykha Halima Krausen, a Germon scholar, opened the second day of the conference and urged the delegates to focus on setting up more institutions to train women scholars. She reminded the participants that their mothers, aunts and grandmothers must have played a key role in their tarbiyyah (raising up) and therefore the role of women in shaping societies and promoting peace in societies cannot be underestimated.

Objectives of the Peace Forum

Highlighting the reason for convening the Peace Forum, the leader Shaykh Abudullah bin Bayyah said: “We have come to the ‘Peace Forum’ to meet the demands of faith and humanity.” The aim of the Peace Forum was to debate key concepts that are being misused and abused, leading to confusion, chaos and turmoil in the world. These following key concepts were all scrutinised by specialists and the extremists’ ideology concerning these was obliterated though intellectually reasoned arguments and debate.

  • Correcting Concepts: Jihad, Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, Adherence to the Law of the Land, Loyalty and Disavowal.
  • Fatwa in a World of Strife: Fatwas and their Conditions and Constraints, the Degrees of Fatwa, and the Qualities and Qualifications of Muftis.
  • Islam’s Contribution Toward World Peace
  • The Humanistic Ethical Values of the Islamic Social Order

The Foreign Minister of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, opened the Peace forum and reminded the participants that they live in a world which is constantly changing and the scholars need to be equipped to guide their communities accordingly. Scholars must enlighten the hearts of their followers with love and their minds with peace, not hatred and resentment towards one another.

Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah’s Leadership

1658498_220691898120103_1044094120_oThe two-day conference was held under the extraordinary leadership of Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah. From European governments to the White House, Muslim governments in the Middle East to the Far East, and from contemporary scholars to ordinary Muslims, the 78 year old Mauritanian scholar, Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah has the respect and the confidence of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

One of the reasons Shaykh bin Bayyah can engage a diverse group of people ranging in age, race, background and knowledge, and they are willingly listen to him, is because of his charisma, command of diverse branches of Islamic knowledge and unique way of explaining complicated subjects. One thing that distinguishes Sheikh bin Bayyah from his contemporaries is his ability to freely weave spirituality with secular rationality and philosophy. Shaykh bin Bayyah serves Muslims as a judicious and astute role model, particularly Muslim youth, who may too easily be swayed by the glitz and glamour of extremist ideologies.

Shaykh bin Bayyah’s key message: Jihad was undertaken by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to bring peace in the land and to the lives of his followers, not to destroy lives and properties.

Shaykh Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb‘s Leadership

maxresdefaultThe two-day Peace conference was convened under the joint-leadership of Professor Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam and Shaykh of al-Azhar. Shaykh al-Tayyeb leads the oldest university in the world, Al-Azhar, where teaching has continued without interruption since 975 CE. This history makes Al-Azhar University a fortress of traditional Islam. Being the Grand Imam of the largest and well-established university in the world makes Shaykh Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb an extraordinarily powerful and academically influential person. In an age where the claimants to authoritative Islam seem to be on every corner, Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayyeb has both the institution, and the personal skills to authentically claim to be a representative of traditional Islam. Due to his academic focus on the reception of Islamic culture and philosophy in the West, Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayyeb’s scholarly influence as a leading intellectual of sunni Islam spans the globe.

The Grand Imam believes in dialogue and openness to the other culturally and scientifically, without compromising Islamic values, in order to create a new civilization that brings Muslim countries to the rank of the developed countries, on one side, and preserving Muslim countries cultural ideology and discretion on the other side. He has called for the consolidation of peaceful values, security and brotherhood through dialogue and educational programmes for the youth so peaceful practices become the natural choices in the daily lives of the new generations.

Root cause of lack of Peace & Ineffectiveness of the UN

The Grand Imam Shaykh al-Tayyeb urged political thinkers and policy-makers to consider the root causes of terrorism because without eradicating those causes, peace will not prevail in the world. Shaykh al-Tayyeb maintained that some nations had adopted a strategy of creating a world “enemy”; a threat to the stability of the world. Those nations and political organisations then “move all aggression, fighting and killing from their own lands to other lands and this strategy is no doubt completely counterproductive to world peace, destroying all humanitarian and ethical frameworks that make peace the most basic right of human beings and society at large.”

Such strategy is contrary to the charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which emphasize the principle of equality between member states and totally refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of others. “Despite the passing of 66 years since the United Nations was founded to confront the threat to world peace, the mighty powers decide who deserves to achieve peace according to their own political gains” said Shaykh of Al-Azhar. The right to veto UN resolutions has been the most dangerous factor in compromising world peace and the most important cause of international terrorism. Citing an example, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb said that armament factories in some powerful contemporary jurisdictions continue to spew out weaponry even though it is prohibited for this weaponry to be used in their own countries. Where else, then, is it being used? And upon whom is it being used? This demonstrates that the so-called gate-keepers of peace are not sincere about peace in the world. The term “Peace” has become a mere rhetoric of international politics.

There is a difference between the Divine understanding of peace – as a basis of progress, prosperity and well-being – and the understanding of peace according to human temperaments which are sometimes volatile, sometimes conflicting and sometimes unjust altogether. Islam holds peace to be the norm in both international and civil and domestic relations between people. “War is but an exception and necessity which only compels Muslims to defend themselves, their beliefs and their lands against established oppressors”, said Shaykh al-Tayyeb

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb concluded his address emphasising the need to act promptly and sharply: “Today, not tomorrow, is the day to act and promote peace in the Arab and Muslim societies.” He called for the forming of direct channels of communication between scholars, political scientists and the decision-making politicians of the East and the West.

Peace in Our Societies

aboudabiforum_330649351Islam has always been, and will always be, the religion of good, tolerance, love and solidarity among human beings. Of late, some isolated minority groups have started to instill hatred among people through their twisted thoughts, narrow-minded interpretations, exploitation of contemporary Muslim politics and to distort the image of Islam and Muslims by creating conflicts and spreading terror.

The scholars at the Peace Forum called on Imams, preachers, leaders and ordinary Muslims to seek peace in their communities and to help build a safe society. Achieving safety and security has been the mission of the Prophets (peace be upon them), in particular Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Peace and tranquillity is a necessity for human society to function. Hence, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would pray after very prayer: ‘Oh Allah, You are peace, and peace is from You, be blessed O Glorious and Honourable.’ The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) also advised people to seek peace to remain always at peace.

Shaykh bin Bayyah maintained that there needs to a shift in Muslim public discourse/narrative: focus on seeking “our rights” needs to move to “peace in our society”. In order to achieve peace, the narrative of Muslim activists seeking “full rights” by any means necessary will have to be put aside in favour of reconciliation.  Compromise and concession is not defeat if it is for the realisation of peace.  Peace is the first and foremost condition (or “right”); once that is secured, other rights can follow.

Shaykh bin Bayyah reminded the audience that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) signed the treaty of Hudaibiyah with his oppressors to bring peace between the oppressors and the oppressed. When the non-Muslims of Makkah objected to the treaty being started with the attributes of  Allah as “merciful and compassionate” and being signed by Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the “Messenger of Allah”, the Prophet of Islam, despite being in a position of authority,  was prepared to accept such objections of the oppressors for the sake of peace.  The fundamentals of Islam – belief in God’s characteristics and the Prophet’s prophethood-  had been dismissed but the Prophet (peace be upon him) agreed for maintaining wider peace in society. Shaykh bin Bayyah continued drawing from the formative period of Islamic history to strengthen his argument that the relinquishing of rights for the greater objective of achieving peace in society is at the core of Islamic practice.  The Prophet’s own grandson, Imam Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him), some decades after the Prophet’s passing away, relinquished his own right to the caliphate for peace and reconciliation.

Shaykh bin Bayyah’s candid and blunt message was: “We must declare war on war so that the outcome is peace upon peace.”

On the issue of Peace, Shaykh Professor Muhammad Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi (Vice Chairman of WAAG International) reminded the delegates of the lack of spirituality in the modern world by stating that mankind had lost inner sense of peace. Hence, there is lack of peace in the world.

Jihad

The scholars at the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies conference attempted to define jihad in the context of current events in the Muslim world. It is a unanimously agreed fact amongst the mainstream orthodox scholars that the term “Jihad” has been hijacked by some who “brainwash” youth into radicalism by distorting the true meaning of the term.

The scholars explained the different forms and contexts which come under the concept of “Jihad”.  “Jihad, in a general sense, means to put in a maximum effort to reach a legitimate goal, to seek Allah’s pleasure”. said Dr Adel Qouteh, a professor at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. Dr Amshanan of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Algeria said jihad involving arms is a last resort, only to be applied when a Muslim state’s security is at risk.

There was recognition amongst the scholars that people need to be vigilant against the practices of those who pretend to be scholars but are actually ignorant of the holistic teachings of Islam. In order to exploit Muslim politics, they have used the exceptions permitted under jihad to apply to general matters.

Armed Jihad was undertaken by the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) to bring peace to the world, not to destroy the lives and properties of the inhabitants of the world, advocated Shaykh bin Bayyah.

Governments

The governments, media and civil community all have to play a role in promoting and communicating Islam’s universal human values. The view from the Peace Forum was that political leaders must also become involved to lessen the spread of tyranny and poverty and to find solutions to chronic issues. It was also suggested that in order to combat radicalism in Muslim states, the governments should provide social justice, because by spreading equality and justice, the increasing level of frustration and anger amongst the youth can be contained.

Loss of dignity and liberty, lack of justice and equality, disregard for pluralism and cultural differences, are all breading hatred amongst young people. We must build institutions for youth and preachers which train them in different forms of dialogue and learning. Compassionate dialogue with youth and the application of proper legal reasoning in sharia will prevent hatred and extinguish the darkness of extremism.

Scholars need to be recognised by governments as being a part of the solution, not the problem. But who is a scholar? The charismatic speaker Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, whilst speaking about the critical role of scholars in promoting peace, maintained that the advent of the Internet had produced “Google shaykhs”, who are bereft of the deeper insight of Islam and are leading young people astray. A scholar’s role is to facilitate the achieving of peace in a society rather than lead the society to conflict and destruction. Speaking of the challenges faced by Muslims in non-Muslim lands, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said the “Creative minority” can overcome challenges through wisdom and patience.

Embracing Diversity

The practice of excommunication, one Muslim declaring another Muslim an unbeliever (takfir), was debated.  The scholars’ view was that takfir is a cancer that is breading hatred and alienation. It is preventing peace and stability amongst the Muslims. Allah is a sufficient Judge and therefore the matters of the heart should be left to Him. “The ideology of takfir contradicts both the objective of love amongst Muslims and the foundations of Islam itself”, said Dr Rouki, President of al-Qarawiyin University, Morocco.

Muslims must learn to manage differences and embrace diversity in religious and political ideology; co-existence between different communities and schools of thought is part of the Divine plan. Learning to tolerate and accept ‘the other’ is the chosen path of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was the message given by Shaykh Professor Muhammad Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi (Vice Chairman of WAAG International) “Benefit and human welfare is the foundation of the fatwa”, said Shaykh Mohammed bin Ambala, Chairman of the Council of Fatwa, and therefore any fatwa given should take into account these two over-arching principles.

Conclusion

The construction of the Ummah is dissolving and the absence of tolerant leadership is a concern. Shaykh Dr Ahmed  al-Tayyeb pleaded for unity for the sake of future generations; he urged scholars to endeavour harder at bringing peace in the communities that Muslims live in. He advised the leaders to stop sectarianism and realise that without tolerance and broad-mindedness, sustainable peace will not be achieved.

The scholars were in agreement that it is high time that Muslim leadership looks inwardly rather the blaming the “other” and endeavour to resolve the frustration and exasperation that exists in Muslim societies. Foreign hands may be involved in destroying peace in Muslim lands, but the lack of visionary and tolerant leadership in Muslim lands is also the cause of killing and hatred in the Muslim world. The scholars were attempting to have a see-change towards the mentality that “Wars begin in the minds of men, so we must build castles of peace in people’s minds.”

Dr Qari Asim, MBE

Imam, Makkah Masjid Leeeds

Twitter: @QariAsim

‘Understanding Shaykh Al-Azhar’ by Dr Mukhtar Jum’ah

 The Federal Minister for Endowments of Egypt, Dr Muhammad Mukhtar Jumu’ah, reflects on Professor Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, in his article titled ‘A Reading into the Thinking of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar’.

awqafProfessor Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, has issued three significant publications which are titled ‘Legacy and Renewal’, ‘A Discourse in Justifications and Objectives’ and ‘A Look at the Thinking of Imam al-Ashári’. As a matter of fact, my intention was to write consecutive overviews on these books; however, I would never miss the opportunity of being present and reflecting on the meeting of the Grand Imam with the European Delegate for Human Rights; a meeting that proved the Grand Imam’s wise philosophy, profound patriotism, and his zeal towards his religion and country.

The meeting took place on the 11th of February, 2014, during which the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar stressed that the difference between cultures, civilizations, norms and traditions, generates a contrast between rights and duties. Thus, human rights in the West which are linked to the nature of its societies, cannot be copied and forcibly imposed on the East, and vice versa. For example, the Western cultures acknowledge the rights of same-sex marriage; however, the Eastern cultures refuse such a thing. Again, the human rights in the West do not allow any kind of Anti-Semitism or denying the holocaust, for discussing such issues is looked upon as a crime or a taboo; however, the East is not obliged to accept these allegations. The Grand Imam warned that the West, which is talking about human rights, is providing the Zionist entity in Israel the funds and the arms to kill the Palestinian people and destruct their fundamental elements to life. Thus, where are the ‘human rights’ in these actions?

Here in Egypt, the West seeks the right of a group or some individuals, and not the right of an entire people facing blind terrorism that does not take into account the sanctity of religion or homeland. The West receives its information from a misleading media biased to a particular party, rather than looking upon the true reality of the Egyptian people who reject terrorism with all its forms, and suffer from its bitterness and the violent actions of terrorist and intolerant groups.

In this context, the Grand Imam stressed two points which are: Al-Azhar is ready to host any team of human rights’ activists, at the expense of Al-Azhar, provided that they receive their information from the reality of the Egyptian people, rather than the foreign media that supports terrorism and intolerant factions. The second point is that the West should be fair while dealing with the East concerning the issue of human rights, rather than treating the East with superiority and imposition. As a matter of fact, the East and the West should have mutual respect for each other’s culture, so that each of them can deal with the other in the light of integration, and not the clash of civilizations. He added that the West has its culture, customs, habits and rights, which the East does not deny, and does not attempt to impose another set of traditions on the West. Additionally, the East too, has its culture, traditions and rights, for which it does not accept, under any pretext or justification, any interference by the West to change the Eastern culture or to impose any other culture rather than its own.

In this context, the Grand Imam pointed out that the Egyptian constitution has fully acknowledged human rights, in the light of our principles, habits and traditions, adding that our people reject any impositions that contradict with their culture and traditions. Consequently, the Grand Imam tackled the relation between the youth and the elders, in which he stressed the importance of communication between generations, since the relation between the two sides is a relation of integration not of clashing or exclusion. The Grand Imam highlighted that both, the youth’s energy and the experience of the elders are indispensable. The Grand Imam clarified as well, to the European Delegate, that not all leaders in Europe or in the West whether presidents, ministers or any other official, are from the youth. Speaking about Western bias in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Grand Imam told the European Delegate that it is not required from the West to seek the rights of some groups and individuals, at the expense of an entire people, stressing that Al-Azhar always seeks reconciliation and reunion; however, the rigidness of a particular faction precluded the completion of the reconciliation process.

Accordingly, I would like to report the following:

1. The European Delegate was greatly astonished at the deep philosophy, frankness and the courage of the Grand Imam, and he could not hide his admiration for the Grand Imam’s broad knowledge and philosophy concerning the issue of human rights. The European Delegate stressed that the Grand Imam’s vision, concerning the issue of human rights, deserves respect and appreciation, and that he, the European Delegate, has benefited from the Grand Imam’s point of view, although he attempted to argue some of its parts.

2. The opinionated party which the Grand Imam has mentioned during the discussion is the Muslim Brotherhood, specially its senior leaders in the Guidance Office, whose interference in the last moments hindered the completion of the reconciliation process.

3. The Grand Imam, with his wise leadership to the Al-Azhar institution, preferred to side with the state in order to confront absurdity and chaos. Again, the Grand Imam and Al-Azhar strongly adopt the approach of tolerance and facilitation and the Fiqh of Coexistence in order to confront intolerance and Takfir (declaring fellow Muslims as infidels).

As for the three books which I have mentioned at the beginning of this article, I would like to refer to the Grand Imam’s vision to the relation between legacy and renewal, which stands in a central area between benefiting from legacy and distinguishing between the constant and the changeable in this legacy. The Grand Imam’s vision emphasizes the conscious rereading of legacy, in the light of data, the gains and the latest developments of our contemporary age. It is a vision that does not accept either breaking off the past, or detaching from reality; however, it is a reading that calls for a balanced vision that takes from the past to establish its present and future, as well as taking from the present and the foreign culture what is useful and convenient.

The Grand Imam’s vision believes in cultural communication and the openness to the other, culturally and scientifically, without contradicting our legitimate constants and cultural values, in order to create a new civilization that brings us to the rank of the developed countries, on one side, and preserving our cultural ideology and privacy on the other side.

Dr Muhammad Mukhtar Jumu’ah

Federal Minister for Endowments of Egypt

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Shaykh Al-Azhar Speaks to Sky News

In UAE, Grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb features in exclusive interview on Sky News Arabia, to be aired this week on prime time television.

Tayyeb on SkyNewsDuring his visit to the UAE for the conference titled ‘Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’, which was held on 9 and 10 March 2014 at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, gave a rare and exclusive interview to the Arabic channel of the Sky News network in a programme called ‘Bi-Sarahah’.

In the important interview, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb presented a brief summary of the role of Al-Azhar in the present circumstances of Egypt and the important charters Al-Azhar was able to formulate with national unity and consensus of the Egyptian society. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb also highlighted the significance of Al-Azhar over the centuries and its important position within the world of Islam. It is a bastion for moderation and the true orthodox understanding of Islamic teachings free from any sense of extremism. It stands tall as custodian to the knowledge and wisdom of Islam.

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb further elaborated on the progress of Al-Azhar during the present tense climate engulfing the Middle East and his own role in safeguarding the interests of Al-Azhar and its independence from any political or factional control.

The interview with the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, is being aired on Sky television channel 855 (Sky News Arabia) this week and is also available to be viewed online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzj8x7glJYo.

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Shaykh al-Azhar calls for Initiative to Promote ‘Mutual Understanding’ between Nations and People

UAE hosts two-day international ‘Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’ with Grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb and Shaykh Bin Bayyah heading over 250 scholars and thinkers from around the world.

  • maxresdefaultThe Grand Imam calls to open networks of communication between Islamic scholars and the decision-makers from amongst the politicians.
  • The Grand Imam calls for amendment to the statute mechanisms of the United Nations because the organisation has failed to safeguard the promotion of real peace.
  • The Grand Imam describes the right to veto as being the most dangerous factor in compromising world peace and the most important cause of international terrorism. 
  • The Grand Imam expresses his concerns about nations that see nothing wrong with inventing enemies who they can then wage war against.

A first of a kind conference titled ‘Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’ was held last week on 9 and 10 March 2014 at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Hotel in Abu Dhabi hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and presided by Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah (President of The Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance) which brought together over 250 Islamic scholars of repute and notable thinkers from around the world including Shaykh Professor Muhammad Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi (Vice Chairman of WAAG International), Imam Hamza Yusuf Hanson (Zaytuna Institute, USA), Shaykh Mufti Dr Shawqi Allam (Grand Mufti of Egypt) under the patronage and leadership of the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar.

The opening address of the conference was delivered by Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar and commenting on the address and the conference, the British delegate Imam Qari Muhammad Asim of the Leeds Makkah Masjid said, “The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies is a timely initiative. Due to the absence of a rational voice and tolerant leadership, sectarianism is tearing the Muslim community apart. It is high time that scholars of the highest calibre such as Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, have come together to ask the scholars to enlighten the hearts and minds of their communities with peace and take practical steps to reconcile hearts. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb’s message was direct: the forum must find a solution to bloodshed.”

The Address of the Grand Imam

In his address, the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, began by saying that the topic of peace is one of many facets and perspectives and though he could not delve into them in detail, he outlined those that he saw as most pertinent. He mentioned how the many questions surrounding ‘peace’, its meaning and relationship to other sciences have continued to persist until today to such an extent that an entire science has now been devoted to the idea which includes the study of war, peace, the causes relating to them and the relationship of all these to the social, political, strategic, military and moral sciences. Philosophers of history are divided about the relationship of peace to human beings. Some are of the opinion that the history of humanity is simply filled with rivers of blood whilst others maintain that peace is a norm in human life; war and violence being an exception and aberration. As for the Islamic perspective, it holds peace to be the norm in both international and civil and domestic relations between people. War is but an exception and necessity which only compels Muslims to defend themselves, their beliefs and their lands against established oppressors.

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb emphasised that the great contemporary nations see nothing wrong with making enemies who they can then rage war against. They move all aggression, fighting and killing from their own lands to other lands and this strategy, adopted by some contemporary political bodies, is no doubt completely counterproductive to world peace, destroying all humanitarian and ethical frameworks that make peace the most basic right of human beings and society at large. He added that the supporters of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can clearly identify from the initial articles of the charter to protect peace and security, the principle of equality between member states, the prohibition of the use of force or the threat of it in international relations and to totally refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of others, are principles mentioned. They cannot be serious about what they themselves say. They allegedly exist for the prosperity of mankind and human development and as such should not then distinguish one state from another, nor should they discriminate a Western man from his Eastern brother. However, it is not surprising to see how an organisation such as the United Nations is unable to do its duty in preventing unjust policies. Despite the passing of 66 years since the United Nations was founded to confront the threat of world peace, the mighty powers decide who deserves to achieve peace according to their own personal advantage and methods of domination based on an immoral approach which revolves around the principle that ‘the ends justify the means’. The statute of the United Nations charter and its major institutions do not allow the implementation of peace based on the values of justice, fairness and rights of others. He emphasised the fact that one of the main factors in compromising world peace is the veto and its excessive and pointless use for individual agendas which restrict the institution from prosecuting offenders and enforcing peace in most places around the world. Many analysts have thus concluded that the American veto in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most important cause of international terrorism.

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb went on to make comparisons between the international charter announced by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during the Sermon of the Final Pilgrimage – in which he declared the rights of peace, justice and equality between people – and the United Nations charter. He presented how the charter of the holy Prophet fully achieved its objectives in spreading world peace while the United Nations’ declaration failed to establish an international umbrella-body which would ensure justice for the oppressed in real terms. The Grand Imam took the cause of the Prophet’s success to be a result of his sincerity in his claim to spreading peace, justice and equality between people. He was not working for only the Arab or only the Muslim, excluding all others, rather he repeated in the duration of his sermon the appeal, ‘let the one who is present inform the one who is absent’.  Many a time he emphasised to his companions that the umbrella of peace and security would soon spread around the world in a short span of time. As for the members of international organisations, which have taken it upon themselves to spread peace, they have not been honest in their proclamations but have been discriminatory between the East and the West. They have discriminated in the rights for peace and protection between the Western world as opposed to everyone else. If that is not the case then tell us, why is there no fighting on American soil nor in European nations whilst the scars of war are specifically found in the East, in Africa and in Muslim countries in particular? We know with certainty that the Western armament factories continue to spew out weaponry for even though it is prohibited for this weaponry to be used in the West itself. Where else, then, is it being used? And upon whom is it being used, if not the East and its people?

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb further emphasised that the greatest problem with the philosophy of peace is that it is garbed in the rhetoric of international politics and has abandoned all principles of morality and established limits. There is a difference between the divine understanding of peace – as a basis of progress, prosperity and well-being – and the understanding of peace according to human temperaments which are sometimes volatile, sometimes conflicting and sometimes unjust altogether.

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb pointed out that the importance of peace in Islam is not only for humans, but also for animals, plants and inanimate objects as well. He mentioned that the necessity of peace for humans in Islam derives from the fact that Islam regulates rights and duties among all people. The first of these rights is that of ‘difference’ since Allah created people different. “And had your Lord so wished, he would have made mankind into one community, but they will not cease to dispute.” [Hud:118] If ‘difference’ is a divine will amongst mankind then it is irreversible and so differing parties must acknowledge this and their relationships must be of mutual understanding and cooperation based on righteousness and piety, as dictated by Islam. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb recommended the adoption of this policy of ‘mutual recognition’ as outlined by the Qur’an. “Oh people! We have created you from a male and female and have made you into nations and tribes so you may recognise one another [have mutual recognition]. Indeed the most noble of you in the presence of Allah are the most God-fearing. Allah is all-knowing, all-aware.” [Hujurat:13]

Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb said that today, not tomorrow, is the day to act and promote peace in the Arab and Islamic societies and so called for the forming of direct channels of communication between scholars, philosophers and the decision-making politicians of the East and the West. He called for the consolidation of peaceful values, security and brotherhood through dialogue and educational programmes for the youth so peaceful practices become their natural choices in daily life. From there he moved swiftly to call on the scholars to act with pure and sincere hearts which are not distracted by smaller issues which have caused our Islamic nation to continually lag behind.

In the end, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb thanked the United Arab Emirates for organising and hosting this important forum on the topic of peace and security in society, and for the revival of the true understanding of peace and its application, which have been lost for over half a century.

The Forum Communiqué

Following the two-day conference, participants at the ‘Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’ recommended the creation of an Abu Dhabi-based Islamic council, comprising of prominent and wise scholars, and mandated to help extinguish the raging fires in Muslim countries.

The proposed body, will be named ‘Majlis Hukama’ al-Muslimin’ (Council of the Wise Muslims) with bylaws scheduled for issuance during the holy month of Ramadan. The participants also recommended holding the forum in Abu Dhabi on an annual basis. They also called for promoting the forum’s outcomes as a key contribution to the culture of peace in Islamic societies.

The final communiqué issued at the end of the forum mentioned that over 30 research papers were presented during the forum. The papers focused on the forum’s four major themes — humanistic values and coexistence, correcting misconceptions, fatwa in the age of upheaval, and Islam’s contribution to world peace. The forum also recommended the creation of annual awards for best studies in the topics of peace and best initiatives for promoting peace in Islamic societies. Also recommended was the issuance of an academic periodical that looks into the research in matters of peace within Islamic societies. The forum called for the formation of a team of young and well-educated Muslims to tour different parts of the world, including the hot-beds of conflicts and tension in Islamic and non-Islamic countries, to spread the message of peace and peaceful co-existence.

The forum stressed the importance of reforming the components of the Islamic societies, as well as the need to strengthen the Islamic nation’s immunity against extremism and violence, regardless of their sources and directions.

The final communiqué also stated that it was time for Islamic communities, individuals, groups, government organisations and nations to cooperate and to favour interests of humanity and of their respective countries, over their personal interests and to adopt dialogue and reasoning as the only approach for comprehensive development. It also emphasised the correlation between the environments of peace, dialogue and tolerance and the concept of reinstating responsibility of scholars in offering advice and encouraging people to do good deeds and avoid evil deeds, while distancing themselves from any political affiliations.

Forum website: http://peacems.com/

Grand Imam’s address in Arabic: http://onazhar.com/page2home2.php?pageNum_articals=0&page1=4&page2=5255

Report by

A Irfani, A Hussain and H Qaasim

WAAG UK

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Al-Azhar Reiterates Prohibition of Depicting Prophets in Film

In view of the upcoming Hollywood epic ‘Noah’, Al-Azhar clarifies the religious position and calls on the Egyptian authorities to ban the screening of the film in the country.

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The issue concerning showing or depicting religious symbols in film, particularly the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, has once again hit the headlines around the world. In the United States of America, Hollywood’s Paramount Pictures is to release a controversial film this month with showings around the world expected for the end of March in which Prophet Nuh (upon him be peace) is depicted with the narrative based on the related biblical story. The film, titled ‘Noah’, has been directed by Darren Aronofsky and features Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins.

In a statement issued in Cairo on behalf of the Grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar as well as the Supreme Council of Senior Scholars and the Islamic Research Academy, Al-Azhar has reiterated the prohibition of any act depicting, displaying or personifying the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, and the Companions of the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), emphasising that such acts are contrary to the status of the Prophets and Messengers. These acts are a violation of the principles and fundamentals of Sacred Law and provoke the sentiments and feelings of the believers.

Al-Azhar further announced that the upcoming film, depicting the Messenger of Allah, Nuh (upon him be peace), is forbidden in Islam and is a clear violation of the principles of Sacred Law which have been stipulated in the Egyptian Constitution and Al-Azhar is the pivotal reference point concerning matters of religion.

Al-Azhar further emphasised its rejection of any use of violence as well as any attempts towards inciting violence. The Supreme Council of Senior Scholars, with all its members, reaffirms the prohibition of personifying and depicting the Prophets, the Companions and the Mothers of the Believers in film and art, and watching such depictions is sinful.

 

Al-Azhar also confirmed that the responsibility of preventing the screening of such films and blocking the presentation of such works does not rest with Al-Azhar and that is not its role; this is the particular role of the Ministries of Media and Communication, and of Culture and Arts. Al-Azhar has formally and officially written to the Ministries in this regard.

The film ‘Noah’ has already been banned in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and further bans are expected in other countries.

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Shaykh Al-Azhar Visits Kuwait on Offical Trip

Grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb leads senior delegation of scholars of Egypt on official trip to Kuwait featuring attendance at Qur’an awards ceremony and meeting with the Emir.

344946_oOn 17 February 2014, the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, led a delegation of scholars from Egypt on an official visit to the Kingdom of Kuwait. He was accompanied by Dr Muhammad Mukhtar Jumu’ah (Federal Minister for Religious Endowment), Shaykh Mufti Dr Shawqi Allam (Grand Mufti of Egypt), Dr Ahmad Abdul Kareem (Member of the Supreme Council of Al-Azhar Scholars), Councillor Muhammad Abdul Salam (Legal Advisor to the Grand Imam) as well as some other senior dignitaries.

Commenting on the makeup of this delegation, the Minister for Religious Endowment, Dr Muhammad Mukhtar Jumu’ah, said, “The selection of this delegation by the Grand Imam has a clear indication in it which reflects the unity of religious institutions in Egypt under the banner of Al-Azhar and the leadership of the respectable Shaykh al-Azhar, especially during these fragile times in the history of the country. Contrary to what has been attempted through regulations to curtail the role of Al-Azhar; nonetheless, Al-Azhar has proven to all that it is united against any penetration and attempts of destabilisation. Al-Azhar plays a leading role nationally in confronting all forms of militancy and extremism and it stands as a serious obstacle in the face of any attempts to trade religion, and it will, God-willing continue as such.” Dr Jumu’ah further stressed that the people of Kuwait have praised the moderation message of Al-Azhar and its determination to spread the tolerance of Islam and its great civilisation and they have also praised the clear and bold stance taken by the Grand Imam.

During the visit, the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, honoured the Grand Imam Shaykh al-Azhar and the Egyptian delegation with a state reception and dinner which was attended also by Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah among many dignitaries and scholars of Kuwait. The Emir of Kuwait greatly appreciated and welcomed the contribution of Al-Azhar towards moderation and stated, “Al-Azhar is a minaret of knowledge, scholars and scholarship. No doubt, Al-Azhar is regaining its historical position under the shade of the leadership of the Grand Imam Shaykh al-Azhar, who has taken a great deal in the struggle of his nation. The betterment of Egypt is the betterment of Kuwait and the issue of Egypt is the issue of Kuwait. This is because Egypt is in our hearts and its esteemed role in the Arab world is clear.” From his part, the Grand Imam Shaykh al-Azhar appreciated the stance of Kuwait stating that this reflected the deep relations between the two countries in matters of supporting the Arab and Islamic world. He said, “Although Al-Azhar is geographically in Egypt, it belonged to all Arabs and Muslims in the world.”

The Grand Imam Shaykh al-Azhar also visited and met with officials at the Religious Endowment authority in Kuwait and the Ministry was honoured to host the Grand Imam. He also attended the national awards ceremony of Kuwait’s Qur’an competition as well as meeting the former Prime Minister of Kuwait, Al-Naser Muhammad Al-Sabah. Ambassadors of Muslim countries in Kuwait also had a chance to meet the Grand Imam in a special session. An informative visit was also organised at Kuwaits ‘House of Zakat’ where the Grand Imam was welcomed by Kuwait’s Minister of Justice and the Minister of Religious Endowment.

 

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Mawlid-Un-Nabi Event Held in Bradford

Bradford’s Madni Jamia Mosque hosts special Mawlid event, participated by the UK Branch of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG UK).

IMG_6998 (Large)On Saturday 15 February 2014, a special Mawlid event was held at the Madni Jamia Mosque of Bradford (UK) to celebrate and honour the birth of the final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The event was titled ‘Morning of Light; a Mawlid special’ and it was organised by the YouthWay organisation and Jamia Al-Karam educational centre, and it was supported by the United Kingdom Branch of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG UK).

The event was attended by numerous scholars, nasheed reciters and Qur’an reciters including the President of WAAG UK, Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada. Hundreds of Muslims, male and female, from the city of Bradford and beyond participated and the event began following the Isha Prayer at 7:30 pm and continuing till 11:30 pm. The event was filled with intellectual talks relating to the holy Prophet’s birth, his seerah and the world before his arrival. Furthermore, nasheed and Qur’an reciters supplemented the event increasing in the beautiful atmosphere of the event. WAAG UK supported the programme with numerous graduates of Al-Azhar University taking part. Booklets and information relating to Al-Azhar and WAAG UK were displayed at the event and distributed to all attendees.

The programme began with a beautiful recitation by a graduate of Al-Azhar University, Qari Muhammad Zia which was followed by nasheeds in praise of the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The first lecture was then delivered by the young Ustadh Ayaz Ur Rehman Irfani on the topic of the world before Islam. He highlighted the condition of the world and the leading empires within it in the sixth century including the Roman Empire, Persian Empire, Ancient Greece, India, China and the state of the Arab World. He reflected on the verse of the Qur’an, “And they were in manifest error before,” pointing at the darkness that existed which was removed from the world by the light of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his teachings.

The second lecture was delivered by Imam Muhammad Asim Mirza, a former Imam of the Madni Jamia Mosque, who gave a powerful insight into the seerah and character of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and how the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) changed the world and the attitudes of people in a short span of twenty three years. The Al-Ni’mah Nasheed Group also contributed by reciting numerous poems and qasa’id in Arabic and English in praise of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) which were enjoyed thoroughly by those who attended.

The Vice-President of WAAG UK, Bakhtyar H Pirzada al-Azhari, then delivered a profound lecture on the miraculous nature of the holy Prophet’s birth and its significance. He then spoke in detail about the condition of the Muslims in the UK and requested the community to reflect on the past thirty or forty years as the elder generation of Muslims migrated to the UK from different countries and now the second generation and the third generation of Muslims must reflect on what the community is doing correctly and how it can better its condition. The elder generation came and built huge mosques and institutions and now it is the duty of the current generation of Muslims in the UK to strengthen these institutions and plan for the future. He paid tribute to the elder generation of Muslims who had contributed immensely in setting up centres of knowledge and learning such as the Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust, Hijaz College, Jamia Al-Karam, Ghamkol Sharif, Muhyudin Siddiqia, Tabligh-ul-Islam and Suffa-Tul-Islam. He then urged the current generation of Muslims to strengthen and support these institutions and build for the future so that the true moderate message of Islam is preserved for the coming generations.

This was followed by a keynote speech by the young and talented Imam Muhammad Asim Hussain who spoke extensively on how the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) nurtured and trained a generation of Companions who continued to spread the light of Islam in all directions of the world. He then reflected on the present state of the Muslim youth in the UK and gave insight on how to bring the teachings of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) into our lives so that the Muslim youth can understand their religion, become practicing Muslims and good citizens and people.

In the end, the President of WAAG UK, Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada, led the audience in a prayer and du’a. The event was also attended by the President of the Suffah Foundation, Imam Omar Hayat Qadri.

Each attendee was given leaflets and booklets to take back and study. These included the important WAAG UK leaflet ‘Islam does not breed Terrorism’ written by the Al-Azhar scholar, Professor Dr Sayyed Bakri Ahmad Abdul Latif, as well as the booklet ‘Muslims in a Multicultural Society’ written by Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada.

Leaflets were also distributed regarding the book ‘Morning of Light; the sun rises over the horizon of Prophethood’ written by the late Al-Azhar scholar and former Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Shaykh Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (d. 1998) taken from his award-winning Seerah book, ‘Sirat Diya’ al-Nabi’.

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Grand Mawlid of Prophet Muhammad held in Birmingham

Birmingham’s Central Ghamkol Sharif Mosque hosts Grand Mawlid event, participated by the UK Branch of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG UK).

01On Saturday 25 January 2014, a Grand Mawlid event was held at the Central Ghamkol Sharif Mosque of Birmingham (UK) to commemorate and honour the birth of the final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The event was themed ‘His Character was the Qur’an’ and it was organised by Darul Qurra Islamic Research Centre and Tariqah Qadiriyyah Boudshishiyyah and was supported by the United Kingdom Branch of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG UK).

The event was attended by numerous scholars, nasheed reciters and Qur’an reciters with a keynote speech by the President of WAAG UK, Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada. Hundreds of Muslims from the city of Birmingham and beyond participated with the programme beginning following the Maghrib Prayer and continuing till late during the night.

The event was filled with intellectual talks relating to the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the significance of the Qur’an. Furthermore, nasheed and Qur’an reciters supplemented the event increasing in the beautiful atmosphere of the event.

WAAG UK supported the programme with numerous graduates of Al-Azhar University taking part. Booklets and information relating to Al-Azhar and WAAG UK were displayed at the event and distributed from a stall at the entrance.

The speakers who spoke on the topic of Mawlid al-Nabi and the Qur’an included the following:

  1. Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada
    (President of WAAG UK, Retford)
  2. Allama Muhammad Qamar-uz-Zaman Azmi
    (Scholar from India, Manchester)
  3. Sidi Muhammad Iqbal
    (Tariqah Boudshishiyyah, Birmingham)
  4. Bakhtyar H Pirzada al-Azhari
    (Vice-President of WAAG UK, Retford)
  5. Imam Muhammad Asim Hussain
    (Scholar and speaker, Bradford)
  6. Maulana Zein Hud al-Azhari
    (Darul Qurra IRC, Birmingham)
  7. Imam Imran Muhammad al-Azhari
    (Scholar and Prison Chaplain, Bolton)
  8. Imam Syed Azmat Ali Shah al-Azhari
    (Scholar and Imam, Hemel Hempstead)

In his keynote address, Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada, emphasised the central role of the love and connection of the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) within the religion of Islam. He further emphasised the need to translate this love into action and the need for Muslims to adopt the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and practically act upon the teachings of Islam with its balance and moderation, to demonstrate the true nature of Islam to the world. He highlighted that acting upon just one Hadith of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has the barakah and potential of changing lives and changing the world.

The Qur’an reciters and nasheed singers who took part included the following:

  1. Muhammad Awais Raza Qadri (famous nasheed reciter from Pakistan)
  2. Qari Abu Adam Rizwan Akhlaq
  3. Qari Abu Ibraheem
  4. Mikhael Mala
  5. Haroon Jamil

At the event, WAAG UK distributed copies of the article ‘Islam does not breed Terrorism’ written by the Azhari scholar, Professor Dr Sayyed Bakri Ahmad Abdul Latif.

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Ummah Channel Airs Dr Abdul Fadeel Al-Qawsi Speech on Islam and Peace

At the Gateway to Divine Mercy conference of 2011, the keynote speech by Dr Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi on the topic of ‘Islam and Peace’ is shown on Ummah Channel TV.

photo 2During the United Kingdom tour of the Vice-President of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates, Shaykh Dr Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi, in 2011, the United Kingdom Branch WAAG UK organised the international conference in partnership with Jamia Al-Karam titled Gateway to Divine Mercy 2011; Guiding our Actions. The conference was held at the Sheridan Suite in Manchester on 26 June 2011 and it was attended by hundreds of Muslims from across the UK and beyond as well as notable scholars, shuyukh and intellectuals from across the Muslim world.

The keynote speech was delivered by Dr Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi on the important topic of ‘Islam and Peace’. The speech was later published in Arabic and English by WAAG UK and distributed around the country. It was also made available online at http://www.waag-azhar.org.uk/download/articles/Islam_and_Peace_by_Dr_al-Qawsi_WAAG_UK_Branch.pdf.

On 2 January 2014, the entire speech with simultaneous translation by the Vice-President of WAAG UK, Bakhtyar H Pirzada al-Azhari, was shown on satellite television on Ummah Channel TV (Sky 828). This showing was received well and Ummah Channel was appreciated for airing this important talk.

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