At Nahdlatul Ulama Interfaith Conference: "Islam for Peace and Civilization"
26 February 2014
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,
Asalam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu
“Tree makasee”. Thank you. It is an honour to support Nahdatul Ulama in its work for dialogue. To all of you, to Indonesia's great Muslim community, to friends of every faith, and to the citizens of Indonesia, I bring you Jordan's greetings and Salam from all its people.
May I express our condolences on the loss, this year, of a son of Indonesia and a well-known figure of the Ummah, the esteemed Muhammad Ahmad Sahal Mahfudz.
And may I also offer Jordan's sincerest sympathy to the victims of Indonesia's recent natural disasters. We pray for a swift and complete recovery.
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies,
Brothers and Sisters,
Long before the modern globalised world, there was the Ummah: the global Muslim community. And long before modern technologies brought distant cultures together, Islam was teaching peaceful co-existence, and the equal dignity of all people.
This is the message of traditional, tolerant, plural, and Mathahib-based Islam, dedicated to the love of Allah, following the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him; seeking to live in virtue and treating others with kindness and justice.
Islam's spiritual and social values are vital to Earth's future. And every Muslim has a role − especially our young men and women − to help guide humanity's road forward. To work with others to solve problems, meet challenges and seize opportunities.
Sadly, today, there are forces that seek to hold this future back, by inciting religious and ethnic conflict. In the Syrian crisis, we are seeing the exploitation of sectarian divisions to justify violence and pursue power. But our region is not alone. The dangers of religious conflict threaten the entire Ummah, and indeed, all humanity. And we must respond.
It begins by giving a stronger voice to traditional, moderate Islam. I know that many of you, and many throughout Asia, are working for this goal. It is also the goal of the Amman Message, which I was proud to inaugurate ten years ago. This initiative articulates Islam's teachings on tolerance, humility before Allah, compassion, and peaceful co-existence.
We followed the Amman Message with global outreach. I am grateful to Indonesians for being our partners in this effort. The result has been an historic consensus of Muslim scholars from around the world − the first in 1400 years − agreeing who is a Muslim, forbidding Takfir, and explicitly recognising the validity of the eight Mathahib of Islam: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’I, Hanbali, Jafari, Zaidi, Ibadhi and Thahiri.
The Three Articles of the Amman Message expose the false claims of those who would exploit religion to divide us. As Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim
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.
Saddaka Allahu Al Atheem
Brothers and Sisters,
Last summer, Muslim leaders and scholars from around the world met in Amman, and decisively condemned the incitement of sectarian Sunni-Shiite conflict Fitna. The leaders recognised that Islamic principles and democratic ideals complement each other and that the most feasible model of a viable, sustainable Islamic state is a civic state, founded on institutions, Shura and justice. They stressed freedom of opinion and faith, and the sanctity of human blood.
It is up to all of us to get this knowledge into schools, universities, mosques, the media, and more. We must keep working together − as we are doing, here today − to promote the teachings of our beloved Islam; to reach out to others; and to heal divides.
Together, we also have an immediate role in addressing the crisis in Syria. As in the past, Jordan has acted with compassion to help hundreds of thousands of families. Indeed, today our country is hosting more than 600,000 Syrian refugees. This humanitarian burden requires global help.
As members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, we must work together with the international community to provide humanitarian relief, put an end to the bloodshed and help the parties reach a peaceful political solution, preserving Syria's unity and territorial integrity, and achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people.
And it continues to be essential that we resolve my region's longest-standing crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Extremism thrives by manipulating suffering and despair. The collective voice of the Muslim world, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, presents an alternative message. Jordan, Indonesia, and the 55 other OIC members have unanimously adopted the Arab Peace Initiative, for a final settlement, resolving all final issues, on the basis of the two-state solution. Together, we must be relentless in seeking negotiations toward a future of peace and justice, with a sovereign, independent, viable Palestinian state, on the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The world's people share a common humanity. Indonesia's national motto "Unity in Diversity" applies to us all. And we are called on to be serious about global dialogue and understanding.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.
Saddaka Allahu al atheem
Brothers and Sisters,
Your conference today celebrates the importance of mutual understanding. Jordanians also feel this as a special responsibility. From our home in the Holy Land of three religions, we have reached worldwide.
The "A Common Word" initiative has brought Christians and Muslims together on a continuing basis, reflecting the shared golden commandments of the two religions: to love Allah and love one's neighbour. There are also many other interfaith initiatives that we have been graced to pioneer in Jordan, regionally and for the world, including our Conference last summer on Arab Christianity, the World-Catholic Muslim Forum, the National Park for the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ peace be upon him and more.
Jordan's resolution for a "World Interfaith Harmony Week" was unanimously endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly. This year, in sha’ Allah, I will be presenting a new award for the best event for World Interfaith Harmony.
We undertake these and other initiatives, not only as our duty as a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and as Custodian of both the Muslim and Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem, but as a service to our Ummah, for whom dialogue is fard kifayah, wal-hamdu lillah wahdahu.
As we and others achieve mutual acceptance and respect, we build the future our children deserve.
Where there is conflict, dialogue can bring peace. Where there is peace, dialogue can bring harmony. Where there is harmony, dialogue can bring friendship. And where there is friendship, dialogue can bring joint, beneficial action.
This is your work here today, and it is our work, together, in the days ahead. Jordan stands, with you, for truth, tolerance, and mutual respect. Wallahu wali al tawfiq.
Walsalam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu