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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Imam's Foreword to the International Peace Delegations Book

The Imam's Foreword to the International Peace Delegations Book

International Peace Delegations Book

Foreword

By

His Eminence

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

Professor Ahmad At-Tayyeb,

Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar.

 President of the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE)

 

     Undoubtedly, redefining and demonstrating the importance of the culture of peace in Islam is one of the noblest purposes that must be the core of scholars' concerns and writings. They should focus on removing misreading and misinterpretation-based ambiguity and confusion related to the fiqh of peace, which causes a small group of Muslims to bear arms in the face of their communities and families, instead of their enemies and fighters.

     The culture of peace is an essential constituent of the Islamic civilization. Such civilization was not to spread all over the world in a short period of time, leaving scholars of history and civilization in deep surprise up to this day, unless it was based on the establishment of peace among all peoples. In addition, the Prophet of such civilization has not only been sent as mercy to humankind, but also to the realms of animals, plants, and inanimate objects: “We have not sent you, [Prophet Muḩammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Qur᾿ān, 21:107) Mercy necessitates peace, and both are two sides of the same coin. I think there is no religious, social, or constitutional system that shows mercy to humanity and protects the sanctity of human blood as the Prophet of Islam did.

     It is known that there is no book other than the Qur᾿ān that prescribes two punishments for anyone who commits, intentionally and unintentionally, the crime of murder. S/He should be killed in this world and have great torment in the Hereafter. It is sufficient to say that the Qur᾿ān makes the sins of killing one soul, without legal right or for causing corruption in the land, equal to the sins of killing all people. Similarly, it affirms that the reward of giving life to one soul is equal to giving life to all the human beings:

"On that account We prescribed for the Seeds of Israel that whoever kills a person, other than for [killing another] person or for causing corruption in the land, then it will be as if he had killed the humankind altogether; and whoever gives life to one, then it will be as if he had given life to the humankind altogether. Indeed, Our Messengers have already come to them with supreme evidences; thereafter surely many of them, after all of that, are still indeed excessive in wrongdoing in the land.”

(Qur᾿ān, 5:32)

     Moreover, Islam prohibits the mere act of terrifying safe and peaceful people, even by the way of joking. The Prophet ( pbuh) said, “He who points a weapon at his fellow human, the angels invoke curse upon him even if this is his real brother, so long as he does not abandon it.”

     He also said, “It is not lawful for a Muslim to frighten a fellow Muslim. The Prophet's mercy and compassion to the animal is reflected clearly in the event when he saw a weeping camel with very clear signs of fatigue and exhaustion shown on it. He called the camel's owner, who was a young man from Al-Anṣār and said to him, “Do not you fear Allah about this beast which Allah has given you in your possession? It has complained to me that you keep it hungry and load it heavily and cause exhaustion to it.”

     The revival of peace in Islam is no longer luxurious or optional; it is a must. It is the lifeline to save not only the Muslims but also the entire world from the calamities of terrorism and the disasters of armed extremism. Such terroristic acts are mostly perpetrated in the name of religion. Their perpetrators use the Divine books, after being maliciously misinterpreted, to attack, kill, rob, and displace the innocent people. It is necessary that all the Muslims stand united to put an end to this grave danger that comes from misreading the Scriptures. Such danger is supported by blind global policies and enormous funds that far outweigh those spent to fight poverty, ignorance, disease, and underdevelopment in the third world countries.

     The Muslim Council of Elders (MCE), to which I belong, does its utmost and spares no effort to confront terrorism and extinguish the fire wherever it outbreaks by launching peace delegates everywhere to increase awareness of this holy objective and turn it into a reality in the human lives. This objective has been the reason behind launching the first peace delegation by MCE in collaboration with Al-Azhar in a number of countries in the East and the West.

     We aim at learning more about the Muslims in these countries and work to promote peace among them in hopes to contribute in protecting them from terrorism that does not take into account Allah's protection and mercy. This book includes the results and recommendations of the first groups of delegations and caravans of peace launched to ten countries.

     These results are largely good and promising as a preliminary experience, the case which encourages the MCE to continue and send more delegates as part of its noble mission and duty towards the Muslim people and the entire humanity in these critical circumstances.

     May Allah help the MCE achieve and perform this mission perfectly! May He Almighty accept this work for His sake alone! May Allah make this endeavor sincere to Him!

Ahmad At-Tayyeb,

Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar,

 President of Muslim Council of Elders (MCE)

Cairo, Rabī‛ul ᾿Awwal, 1438 AH/Jan. 10, 2017 CE

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