A delegation of British ulema and Imams have attended a training course hosted by the Dar al-Ifta of Egypt. The group comprised of elder and younger British Imams, including Al-Azhar graduates and WAAG UK members, from various towns and cities across the UK and were welcomed by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shaykh Dr Shawqi Allam.
In pursuit of its global role in combating extremism, promoting correct teachings of Islam and eradicating Islamophobia, the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide (Dar al-Ifta Egypt) celebrated the graduation of 16 British Imams from various UK Islamic centres who completed training in Islamic Jurisprudence and the issuance of religious decrees (fatwa). The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shaykh Dr Shawqi Allam and the British Ambassador to Egypt, Mr John Casson, attended the graduation ceremony.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shaykh Dr Shawqi Allam said: “Imams and preachers in the West are key in promoting correct Islamic teachings and values, spreading peace and correcting misconceptions. Providing Imams with the necessary religious training is a very important step in the system of renewing the religious discourse. It is important that the Imams and preachers be trained to deal with the Shari’ah texts in light of the reality of time, and possess the tools to address the moderate religious discourse and its correct methods.” The Grand Mufti added that the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide is fully ready to provide Imams worldwide with the necessary religious support and can benefit from their expertise in combating extremist groups and ideologies.
The Secretary-General of the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide, Dr. Ibrahim Negm, stated that it is the duty of authorized Imams and scholars to eradicate extremist discourse that exists in Western communities through promoting moderate true religious teachings. This helps Muslims living in non-Muslim communities to fully and positively integrate with their societies and achieve peaceful coexistence.
The British Ambassador to Egypt, Mr John Casson, thanked the Grand Mufti for organising the event, stressing that the religious doctrine of Egypt of adopting the middle way is what the world needs to confront terrorist groups and organizations. He added that Britain is ready for further collaboration at all levels in order to eliminate extremism and terrorism that is sweeping the world.
The group consisted of Imam Qari Muhammad Asim MBE (Leeds), Dr Ather Hussain al-Azhari (Leicester), Allama Umar Hayat Qadri (Huddersfield), Dr Musharraf Hussain al-Azhari (Nottingham), Mufti Muhammad Ismail (Nottingham), Mufti Yar Muhammad (Birmingham), Allama Ghulam Jeelani (High Wycombe), Sahibzada Misbah Ul Malik Luqmanvi (Birmingham), Pir Tayyib Ur Rehman (Birmingham), Mufti Hassan Raza (Bradford), Dr Mustafa Beg Qadri (Manchester), Sahibzada Israr Ul Haq (Bradford), Mufti Zubair Tabassum (Norway), Allama Rabbani Afghani (London) and others.
Some members of the group also visited the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG) at Al-Azhar University and met with the Vice-Chairman, Shaykh Dr Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi.
Commenting on the training course, Imam Qari Muhammad Asim said: “At Dar al-Ifta Egypt, we have been exploring the methodology of issuing a fatwa (religious verdict), discussing Maqasid al-Sharia, the ‘wisdoms behind rulings’, the fiqh and contextualising religious rulings/the importance of ‘urf in Shari’ah. Dar al-Ifta Egypt is considered among the pioneering foundations for ‘fatwa’ in the Islamic world. It has a religious task of answering any religious question, even those received in different languages. In addition, it trains foreign students studying at Dar al-Ifta, issues various religious statements and conducts researches along with other legal tasks. Some of the senior scholars of al-Azhar are leading sessions on the ‘art of Issuing a fatwa’. During the we visit have met various Egyptian scholars, interfaith leaders, staff and students of Dar al-Ifta and Al-Azhar University. The delegation is hosted by Dar al-Ifta in conjunction with al-Azhar.”