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  • 12/10/2017

    Unlike other world religions, Islam is in an unprecedented focus equally by its apologists and islamophobists. The apologists argue that Islam is a religion of peace (salām) and moderation (wasat), whereas islamophobeists say that Islam is a religion of terror (irhāb) and extremism (tetarruf). The former quote from the Qur’an and the Sunnah to prove their point, while the latter take violent acts carried by some Muslims to prove their case. It seems that no one is winning this quite controversial debate about a religion, which has brought about so much good to the world culture and civilization, but some people seem to be confused about its real message.

    The great Egyptian scholar Muhammad Abdullah Draz (1894–1958) has spared us time and effort proving that there is an Islamic ethics independent from Greek ethical thought. In his master theses “La Morale Koran”, which was prepared in France during World War II, Shaikh Draz has remarkably proven the fact that the Holy Qur’an contains the teachings of ethics and morality in its own right. Indeed, he was awarded for it the degree of Ph.D. in 1947 at Paris-Sorbonne University. This doctoral theses was published in a form of book in French language by Al-Azhar in 1950 and then translated into Arabic in 1973 by Dr. Abd Al-Saboor Shaheen under the title: “دستور الاخلاق في القرآن”. Taking into account theoretical and practical aspects of an Qur’anic authentic ethics and morality, Sheikh Draz dealt with key ethical and moral issues such as the issue of moral obligation (الالزام), moral responsibility (المسؤولية), moral consequence (الجزاء), moral intention and motivations ((النيّة والدوافع, and hard work (الجهد).

    Obviously, our task here is not to dwell on Sheikh Druz’s theses in its entirety but to point out that Sheikh Druz demonstrated that the often cited complaint that there is no an independent Islamic ethical and moral thought except what some Muslim scholars have inherited from the Greek ethical thought has no ground whatsoever. This complaint often starts with the great Muslim ethical scholar Abū ʿAlī Aḥmad ibn Muhammad Miskawayh (d. 1030), a Persian of the Buyid era. Indeed, Miskawayyh was a Neoplatonist, whose book ” تهذيب الاخلاق وتطهير الاعراق“ (“Refinement of Character”) is a reflection of the Greek ethical thought with an Islamic cultural touch. However, the first significant step of departure from the Greek ethical and moral stigma which has been sticked to the Muslim ethical and moral thought had been made by the great Muslim scholar Abu al-Qasim Al-Raghib Al-Isfahani (d. 1108). His book ”كتابالذزيعة إلي مكارم الشريعة“ (“A Path Toward the Ethics of al-Shari’ah”) is unique for the very fact that the great Imam al-Ghazali (d.1111) used to hold it in his packet for consulting it wherever he was going. This book though is not unique only because it had made a significant break through from the mere Greek moral thought, but also because it has introduced a new approach toward ethics and morality in Islam in terms of making the science of ethics and morality the core principle of Shari’ah, the God’s Law as such. The Al-Raghib Al-Isfahani’s statement that all moral actions are worship, but all worships are not necessarily moral action is really fascinating: – Be aware, Al-Isfahani said, the worship is more general than moral action. Hence, all moral actions are worship, but all worships are not necessarily moral action… It is not fitting for man to be God’s vicegerent on Earth, nor to perform his worship properly, nor to build his place on Earth if he is not of a pure soul that is cleaned of its filth and its dirt. For, the soul has its dirt as the body has its dirt. However, the body’s dirt is seen with the naked eye whereas the soul’s dirt is seen only by the eye of insightful mind or intelligence. And the reason why man without pure soul does not fit to be the God’s vicegerent is because vicegerency is an imitation of it as much as humanly possible in terms of acquiring a sort of divine actions… Because the one whose soul is not clean means that his word and his action are not clean either because each man is behaving in accordance with his inner being…

  • 11/05/2017

    The word “Wahhabism” has become a boogeyman in the West, deemed responsible for the radicalization of Muslims around the world. And since Wahhabism is a strain of Islam that has its origins in the Arabian Peninsula and is the dominant religious doctrine of Saudi Arabia, that country is often viewed as the prime culprit in the propagation of violent extremism.
    But blaming Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia for Islamist radicalism is a dangerous red herring. This single-cause explanation distracts from the complex political, economic and psychological reasons people join terrorist groups. In doing so, it impedes our ability to effectively fight terrorism.
    Wahhabism is, in fact, a loaded, anti-Saudi synonym for Salafism, a puritanical strain of Islam that encourages emulating the “salaf,” or predecessors, the first followers of the Prophet Muhammad. Salafism has historically been apolitical and the overwhelming majority of Salafis are not violent.
    Most Islamist militants have nothing to do with Saudi Wahhabism. The Taliban, for example, are Deobandis, a revivalist, anti-imperialist strain of Islam that emerged as a reaction to British colonialism in South Asia. Most members of Al Qaeda follow a radical current that emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that defined itself largely in relation and opposition to the West and its values. While some terrorists do identify as Salafi, Islamic sects that are ideologically opposed to Salafism — Naqshbandi Sufis and Shiites, among others — have engaged in violent jihad in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
    And yet much of the Western news media and far too many pundits put forward a different picture entirely, pinning the blame for terrorism on Wahhabi ideology emanating from Saudi Arabia. These arguments lead one to imagine that European terrorists end up joining the Islamic State by wandering the streets of Paris or Brussels and stumbling upon a Saudi-funded mosque. In this mosque, they read a single book, “The Book of Monotheism,” by Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, the 18th-century sheikh who founded Wahhabism. A week later, the book’s fundamentalist message inspires them to travel to Syria’s front lines or to plot terrorist attacks in Europe.

    The reality is much more complex. Most of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Europe have been petty criminals who were known to drink alcohol and take drugs. Their radicalization has little to do with theology. Some European Muslims reportedly purchased books like “Islam for Dummies” before embarking on journeys to take part in jihad in Syria. What they all have in common is a belief that the Muslim world and the West are locked in an irreconcilable clash of civilizations.
    It is similarly inaccurate to condemn Wahhabism or Saudi Salafism for the jihadist groups that have emerged in the Arab world in recent years. Tunisians account for the largest foreign population in the Islamic State. The group’s top ranks emerged from Iraq. Syria, of course, is a hotbed of jihadists of all stripes. And yet, these countries until recently were ruled by secular dictators, who banned Saudi missionary activities and, in the case of Iraq and Syria, viewed Saudi Arabia as an adversary.
    On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has been engaged in missionary activities in India, building mosques, schools and social service centers. And yet barely any jihadists have emerged from among India’s population of more than 170 million Muslims.
    The revival of a politicized form of radical Islam, which has been taking place in the Arab world since the 1970s, is not driven just by ideology, but by the failure of Arab governments to meet the expectations of their own populations and the brutal reprisals they have employed to quell demands for better, more transparent governance. Like the social and psychological alienation that drives some European Muslims to join extremist groups, this root cause must be addressed in order to truly fight terrorism.
    There is no doubt that while certain strains of Salafism are intolerant, intolerance does not necessarily lead to terrorism. Ideological intolerance is a problem in its own right, one that carries risks and dangers and requires its own treatments. But conflating its dangers with the causes of violent extremism can diminish the effectiveness of serious counterterrorism efforts.
    It is Saudi Arabia — the country accused of promoting ideas that lead to violent extremism — that has effectively harnessed religion to fight radicalism. Saudi Arabia has fought Al Qaeda not only operationally, but also by countering its ideology with religious arguments. Scholars have been mobilized to condemn both terrorist acts and rhetoric. Salafi scholars have been instrumental in the success of the rehabilitation programs for those convicted of aiding and abetting terrorism.
    In the 1990s, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Abdul Aziz ibn Baz, issued a fatwa condemning suicide operations. The current grand mufti, Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, is also on record advocating against Saudis’ joining groups fighting overseas and, in keeping with traditional Salafi teachings, has called on all Muslims to remain obedient to the legitimate leader’s dictates and avoid any form of organized political activism.
    Blaming Wahhabism or Salafism for violent radicalism is not merely an intellectual slip or an injustice to Salafis, it is a distortion that stands to obstruct fighting violent radicalism and understanding its causes. Any religious ideology adopted by radicals is often a mask for other issues. Blaming or even destroying an ideology like Salafism will not end radicalism.
    By The New York Times

  • 10/19/2017

    Dr. Abdullah bin Fahd Al-Lhaidan, Advisor to the Minister supervisor of the Knowledge Exchange Program, participated in a symposium on the future of religious tolerance in Islam organized by the Interfaith Dialogue Center in Kansas City, Missouri, in which David Nelson ,Vern Barnet and Dr. Ahmad Elsherif of the United States participated. David Nelson started the meeting by talking the crises Which passes through the world because of religious intolerance and The beginning of the full knowledge of most Americans begins with the events of September 11, 2001, explaining that we have to play important roles to achieve coexistence giving example of  the city of Kansas where the followers of different faiths live in peace. Perhaps Dr. Al-Lhaidan from Saudi Arabia tells us about tolerance in Islam. “Dr. Vern Barnet talked about the idea that  The essence of Christianity and Islam call for peace, but there have been religious interpretations that have led to extremism and violence,” he said, adding that even in the history of Christianity there were periods of intolerance. He distanced himself from periods of intolerance in Christianity, such as during the Crusades, but said the West had moved and criticized intolerance and reviewed the history of reformers in the West and now Islam should do something similar. For his part, Dr. Ahmed al-Sharif said that Islam does not force anyone to enter it, citing the Almighty saying (no compulsion in religion) and then the judgment on the Day of Resurrection to God the Lord of the Worlds . he illustrate life in a general is like a road in which all types of cars  and nevertheless they are running  without collision and this is what is required to us we live together in this life and what we disagreed in God will rule on the Day of Resurrection and  Dr. Ahmed Al-Sharif, saluted King Salman and the Crown Prince, and the steps  carried out by them to take the Kingdom  to catch up with civilization while preserving its Islamic religion.

    Dr. Al-Lhaidan explained that tolerance is characteristic of Islam as distinguished by a number of orientalists, most notably Thomas Arnold, the British orientalist and author of the book” Preaching of Islam”. Arnold explained that one of the most important reasons for the spread of Islam is the tolerance practiced by Muslims when they did not force anyone to abandon their religion in addition to the fact that Muslims practice their religion sincerely which attract non Muslams to Islam.

    In the modern era, scholars and thinkers of Islam accepted the Western civilization at the beginning and throughout the nineteenth century as a civilization of tolerance, science and humanity. What has happened since the end of the 19th century? He replied that the invasion of the European powers to the Islamic countries and colonization and humiliation and then after the beginning of the twentieth century fell Caliphate and in the middle of the century was the occupation of Palestine so some of the intellectuals of Islam started viewing Western civilization as a civilization of injustice and oppression and lost the positive aspects of Western civilization  amid these negatives and began a phase of closure and protection of identity at Muslims.

    Then, in the 1980s , the intellectuals of Islam began to feel confident and there was no fear of loss of Islamic identity and  with the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, They began to demand openness to Western civilization and to benefit from its positives and cooperation with it, but we also witness the rise of extremism by the beginning of the 21st century, extremists resorted to terrorism and violence to sabotage the stage of openness and I think extremists have had  the support of some international political circles for mysterious  objectives  which has not been fully revealed so far.

    Dr. Alhaidan concluded by saying that the scholars of Islam, the Islamic thinkers and governments call for tolerance and cooperation and all Islamic countries fight extremism and organize conferences and seminars to reject terrorism. For example, the Kingdom’s government, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and The Islamic organizations in the Kingdom have exerted great efforts, foremost among them the efforts of the senior scholars who have prohibited terrorism and violence against other religions and the importance of protecting them and giving them their rights. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs showed a great effort to retrain more than 100000 Imams to fight extremism and started the Knowledge Exchange Program to call for peace and coexistence. However the success of Islamic countries in these efforts also depends on the cooperation of the international community to defeat evil and terrorism and stop some countries from supporting terrorism to achieve Mysterious goals. At the conclusion of the seminar, Dr. Al-Lhaidan thanked the organizers and the express readiness of the Exchange Program to participate in any sincere effort to reach the truth and cooperate in righteousness and piety.

  • 10/08/2017

    The Quran teaches about friendship, not hatred. Sadly some people misconstrue some of the verses of the Quran, when the Quran talks of how not to befriend particular groups of people, they don’t understand the context of those verses, they forget there was a historical reason for those revelations and they forget totally this verse: “Perhaps Allah will put between you and those to whom you have been enemies among them, affection. And Allah is competent, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Al Mumtahana: 7). In fact the Quran predicted they would be your friends and in another place, Allah says: “You will certainly find that those people who are nearest to you, those who like you the most are those people who are Christians. Because amongst them there are the monks, amongst them are people of knowledge and people of God” (Al Ma’idah: 82). So the Quran is already telling us to befriend the other, rather than to hate them, rather than to break up that friendship. So we have equality, we have cooperation, and we have friendship and there is another one, which is mutual understanding. As the Quran says “O people of the book! Let us come to those that are common amongst us, let us build on our commonalities and our similarities rather than on the differences” (Ale Imran: 64). Of course there are some disagreement with regard to Prophet Jesus since some Christians think he is God or son of God but religious disagreement does not stop Muslims from being friends with Christians in the social and political levels.

  • 09/11/2017

    Astana (IINA) – The first summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Science and Technology, at the level of head of states and governments kicked off Sunday in Astana, Kazakhstan. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his capacity as the current chairman of the 13th OIC Summit Conference, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen were among the leaders who attended the opening session.
    The Astana Summit marks a historic milestone as it will evolve a unified collective position at the highest level of decision-making in the OIC member states with a view to advancing the different fields of science, technology and innovation, while emphasizing the Muslim world’s resolve to promote scientific and technical development.
    The summit is important as it underscores the member states’ support for scientific fields by demonstrating the Muslim world’s knowledge contributions away from the negative stereotypes that have become widespread recently.
    The two-day summit is also of significance considering that Muslims make up a quarter of the world’s population, and their countries possess abundant natural resources, although many Islamic countries still suffer poverty and diseases. It is therefore imperative to address these challenges using available resources, especially as this summit is only the starting point for finding solutions to the countless problems facing the Muslim world using science and technology.
    Statistics have shown that OIC countries are below the 2016 Innovation Index general rate standing at 36.9, particularly in the areas of space, information technologies, pharmaceutical industries and electronics. Muslim countries, however, have a large youth population; a situation that imposes more challenges but also offers greater opportunities. The Summit could contribute to combating extremism and terrorism by reducing unemployment rates and attracting the youth to work in scientific and technological fields.
    It is worth mentioning that member states’ interest in the areas of science and technology started since the 10th Islamic Summit held in Malaysia in 2003, the 3rd Extraordinary Islamic Summit in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which adopted the OIC 10-Year Program of Action, and the 13th Islamic Summit Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2016, which launched the 2nd 10-Year Program of Action (2016-2025). The 12th Islamic Summit held in Cairo, Egypt, in 2013 had mandated the OIC General Secretariat and the Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) to organize the first Islamic Summit on Science and Technology in the history of the OIC. All those summits emphasized the need to attach importance to the areas of science, technology and innovation for the development of socio-economic sectors in OIC countries.

  • 09/03/2017

    Washington – The Saudi embassy in Washington announced that Riyadh is prepared to stand side by side with the United States in wake of Storm Harvey that caused huge damage in the southern states of Texas and Louisiana.

    Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, telephoned Texas Governor Greg Abbott to confirm that Saudi Arabia supports the American people in light of such a crisis.

    Saudi cultural attaché in the US participated in volunteer work and ground support teams in Texas, particularly Houston, which was swamped by Storm Harvey.

    Some 300,000 food rations were donated by Saudi Aramco to families and victims and were distributed by the “Hand by Hand” organization.

    Hurricane Harvey, one of the worst storms in the past 50 years in the US, left 50 dead, displaced over 1 million people, raised river levels to record levels and destroyed supplies.

    US President Donald Trump visited Texas for the second time on Saturday to meet flood survivors and volunteers who helped with rescue efforts.

    The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress asking for $ 7.85 billion for initial recovery efforts and disaster management. Trump announced a $ 1 million donation in the campaign to save Houston.

    The New York Times reported on Saturday that Trump would ask Congress for an additional $ 6.7 billion by the end of the month, raising the figure to $ 14.5 billion.

  • 07/10/2017

    The Department of Religious Studies Central University of Kashmir, orgainsed a two-day international conference on “Conservation of Environment and Role of Religion” from 5 to 6 July 2017. The conference was organised in collaboration with the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), New Delhi and sponsored by Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation (NLCO), Srinagar,
    the department had called for papers on the main and subthemes of the conference through the university website and local media. The response was overwhelming with the department receiving more than 60 abstracts from scholars and academics from across the country and abroad. The conference was spread over sixteen sessions including the inaugural and the valedictory sessions.

    Some of the prominent participants included Leonard Swidler, Professor of Catholic Thought & Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University. He has published more than 300 articles and 75 books. Paul B. Mojzes is from Croatia (former Yugoslavia).and now a Naturalized citizen of the United States of America. He is a professor emeritus of religious studies and co-editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies with Leonard Swidler. Mustafa Ceric, is Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia and has studied at · University of Azhar, Cairo, 1978 (B.M.) before going to · University of Chicago, for his doctorate. Puninder Singh is a doctoral student in linguistic anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. His doctoral research focuses on religious language. Professor Dr. Siddharth Singh, is the Ex-Head, Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.), Varanasi and about more than fifty other prominent scholars and researchers from the country and abroad. The representative of Knowledge Exchange Program(KEP) Shaikh Mustafa Ceric gave the following speech:
    The Moral Crisis & Environment
    Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D.
    Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia
    If you see the moon, you see the beauty of God… If you see the Sun, you see the power of God… If you seethe Mirror, you see the best Creation of God…But if you see the Nature that is polluted today, you see the worst of man’s behavior. Indeed, the humanity nowadays is in the worst moral crisis ever when we talk about the state of natural environment. This is stated in the Holy Qur’an in this way:

    ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ.

    – Corruption or pollution emerged in land and in sea because of what human hands have done (to the Nature). God will make them all suffer because of what some people have done so that all people might come back to their senses (Qur’an, 30:41).
    What is moral crisis? The moral crisis is a state of mind where man is fully aware that what he is doing is wrong, but he is doing it anyway. The question of environment is a case in point where every one is aware that our Planet Earth is in danger because of our dirty hands, but we still do what we believe we shouldn’t do. This is called a Great Moral Crisis of today. As we know, the religion, al-Din, has some ethical norms for the environment. Indeed, al-Din has accorded some moral significance to all creatures, and proposed some ethical responsibilities on the part of humans, although these ethical dimensions are usually secondary, or inferior, relative to responsibilities to other humans. Al-Din has understood the Earth to have some kind of divine message, or religious value, and that humans have some religious obligations to care for its creatures. It is greed and destruction that are strongly condemned by al-Din whereas restraint and protection of the Nature are affirmed by religious morality. Unfortunately, these religious concerns for the environment faded with the rise of modern philosophy, which has cancelled the idea of a Covenant with God or any responsibility before God. Man is thought to be responsible only to himself by himself. This idea made man selfish and negligent toward the needs and rights of future generations. Modern man is concerned only about himself and his temporal well being. He is careless about his offspring. The religious attitudes toward nature have largely disappeared in modern societies. It is in the past few decades, that some religious authorities have returned to their origins to recover their pre-modern religious environmental teachings to present them as religious environmental ethics – indeed, as a new Covenant with God in building the Noah Ark…
    I believe that the first step we ought to make is to recognize that we are in a deep moral crisis about environment. This issue is not exclusive to any particular faith or nation. We are all in one boat and thus we will all be saved by the Noah Ark or none will be saved if any one of us rejects to participate in building the Noah Ark before the eyes of God for the sake of our salvation on Earth before our salvation in the Hereafter… It is time that the humanity make a New Covenant (al-Mithaq) with God which has been broken so far, namely, to preserve and conserve the Planet Earth from further deterioration, corruption, pollution and destruction… This Covenant must be sincere, honest and fulfilling…

  • 10/01/2016

    The Imam and preacher of the Grand Mosque Sheikh Dr. Khaled Al-Ghamdi explained that the attacks accusing the Muslims and the Kingdom of the two Holy Mosques of terrorism and extremism is indeed an attempt to weaken the Muslims in general.
    He said that God is the owner of virtue and grace from the beginning until the end. He is the one who motivates people’s hearts and helps them perform their duties such as Hajj. He expressed his thanks to the Almightily God and to those behind facilitating the rituals of Hajj for the pilgrims. They serve and helping them. They work on maintaining their security and safety as if they were their guardians.
    He pointed out to the established rules that precede Hajj. These rules are legitimate, they are repeated yearly, and they aim at establishing Muslims’ unity and gathering under one word and in harmony with the Islamic principals.
    Dr. Al-Ghamdi explained that the Muslims unity and the union of their word, gathering among them on one approach and on one sunnah (way) is one of the most important surviving and successful parameters from the gloomy seditions and imminent dangers for Muslims nowadays.