At the Opening Session of the Annual Islamic Fiqh Academy Conference
24 June 2006
(Delivered by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammed)
(Translated from Arabic)
Praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Master Mohammad, the honest Arab Hashemite Prophet, and upon the members of his purified honoured house, and his glorified companions.
Your Eminences, excellencies, the nation's distinguished ulama and fuqaha,
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
It gives me pleasure to welcome you to Amman, the capital city of your second homeland, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I extend to you a wholehearted welcome, praying to our sublime God to grant you success in your deliberations in this seventeenth session, convened by your esteemed academy in a crucial stage of our nation's history, an era that challenges and threatens its existence, identity and civilisation. This places on the nation's ulama and fuqaha an additional and tremendous responsibility.
This grand academy of yours was established more than 23 years ago as an international Islamic fiqh institution, representing the nation's ulama and fuqaha. It has sought to realise noble goals, primarily the Islamic nation's unity and its adherence to its faith and interpretation (ijtihad) of contemporary problems in order to find solutions based on sharia, the highest fiqhi authority of the nation.
The third extraordinary session of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in the holy city of Mecca at the end of last year accorded the Islamic Fiqh Academy serious attention when it called upon the academy to confront religious extremism and sectarian fanaticism, and to emphasise the avoidance of takfir (declarations of apostasy) against the adherents to the schools of Islamic thought (madhahib). The Academy was also called upon to emphasise the importance of dialogue among the adherents of these madhahib, of the commitment to moderation and tolerance and of confronting religious edicts (fatwas) that distance Muslims from the immutable principles of the Islamic faith and all that has been established by the madhahib. It was finally called on to assert the necessity of organising the procedures by which fatwas are issued in the Muslim world.
In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, we, by God's grace, were among the first to show interest in dialogue between the madhahib. Aal Al Bayt Foundation for Islamic Thought went to great effort in this field. These efforts have borne positive results, bringing the adherents of all the schools of thought together and enhancing cooperation and complementarily among them.
Our sense of responsibility and duty as members of Aal Al Bayt, an honour we cherish, and descendants of the messenger of God, our Master Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, led us to issue the Amman Message which defines for the world the essence of our faith and counters all that distorts our faith, whether it be ignorance, hatred, or wrongful practices by some in the name of Islam.
We invited the nation's ulama and fuqaha to meet on the principles and rules carried in the Amman Message - the principles and rules that represent the true Islam. Thus, the International Islamic Conference convened in Amman last July. More than 170 scholars from all eight madhahib attended the Conference, entitled, "True Islam and its Role in Modern Society".
After listening to more than twenty fatwas issued by a number of fiqh authorities in the Muslim world, the scholars stated in the final recommendations that all eight madhahib must be respected and that whosoever is an adherent to any of the eight madhahib is a Muslim whose blood, honour and property are sacrosanct. They further agreed that those issuing fatwas must be qualified and that the qualifications and prerequisites for issuing fatwas must be agreed on. Finally, they stated that declaring any adherent to the Islamic madhahib an apostate was illegitimate. These recommendations were unanimously approved.
We see within these resolutions and recommendations, unanimously approved by the nation's ulama and fuqaha, a comprehensive, holistic solution to much of what is happening in our countries: the attempts to disintegrate the nation's unity, to ignite the fire of sedition among adherents of the madhahib and [to cause] sectarian or ethnic strife. It is your duty, in your capacity as the nation's ulama and fuqaha, to endorse these principles and spread them, because a successful political solution in Iraq depends on a comprehensive religious agreement in accordance with the principles confirmed by the International Islamic Conference held in Amman. The foundation of that conference was maximising the things that unite us, such as our adherence to basic principles and certainties and on respecting differences that are related to ancillary branches of religion (furu) and their details.
Hence, we called for convening a conference of Iraq's religious leaders. Urgent conditions did not permit its convening, although all preparations were finalised and most of the participants had arrived already in Amman.
We firmly believe that what concerns us will concern you. In Amman, you are close to the concerns to the East, where the Iraqi people are suffering, and close to the Palestinian concerns to the West, where the blessed Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qiblas and the third of the two honoured Harams, is now under occupation.
We are sure that your resolutions and your fatwas will be channelled towards the nation's unity and towards realising its renaissance; this is your duty towards your faith and your Islamic nation. And this is the basic goal behind establishing your grand academy.
Abolishing the cause for disunity amongst the adherents to the same faith and the same nation, is the first step towards protecting and uniting it. Without this, it would be unreasonable to call for the solidarity and cooperation of Muslims, countries and peoples, on the basis that we are one nation. If there are those among us who declare the adherents of any madhahib an apostate, or who dare to issue fatwas without being qualified or who do not respect the sanctity of Muslim blood, honour and property, then there should be those who stand up to all these matters that fracture the nation and abuse our faith.
God Almighty says:"And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate."
God Almighty also says:
"The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy."
You know, eminencies and excellencies, of the terrorist acts that targeted the capital of your country, Jordan, and of similar acts in a number of other countries. Such acts give a bad image to Islam and invite the world's animosity towards Muslim. This requires all of us to work and act honestly and seriously, to eradicate terrorism, and expose this misguiding takfiri thought that is spread from several entities. We should show that this is a deviation from religion's methodology and from sharia. We are all called upon to exert every effort to lay down comprehensive solutions to all problems and challenges facing our Islamic nation.
Again, I welcome you and ask God almighty, to grant us all success to serve our faith and our nation.
He is the best Lord and the best Aid.
"And say (unto them) Act! Allah will behold your actions, and (so will) his messenger and the believers."
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.