In a great formal and public ceremony,… Indonesia grants the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar an Honorary doctorate…

  • | Thursday, 25 February, 2016
In a great formal and public ceremony,… Indonesia grants the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar an Honorary doctorate…

His Excellency affirms…

The Message of Al-Azahr Al-Sharif is to adhere to the methodology of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah with its different schools

Amid formal and public interest, the Governmental Islamic University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim in Indonesia has granted the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the Head of the Muslim Council of Elders, Prof Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, an honorary doctorate, in a great ceremony at the seat of the University in Malang, East Java.

The ceremony was attended by Deans of different faculties, Professors and Indonesian students. Meanwhile, hundreds Indonesians lined up in streets to salute and welcome the Grand Imam.

In the speech he delivered in the ceremony, the Grand Imam stressed that knowledge is our guard against misguidance and going astray from the right path. He showed that the massage of Al-Azahr is to adhere to the Methodology of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah with its different schools of law. Moreover, His Eminence noted that teaching is a message and a way of life and it is sufficient for scholars to be holders of the message of Prophets.

His Eminence noted as well that Al-Azhar Al-Sharif bears the responsibility of the scholastic and Da'wah sides of the message of Islam, because the discourse of Al-Azhar is characterized by adoption of a justly balanced course between followers of the predecessors and successors. The main feature of Al-Azhar discourse is the deep and accurate analysis of the texts of our scholarly heritage. The Grand Imam showed also that the moderate discourse of Al-Azhar receives welcome within and outside the Muslim world because it combines both scientific approach and the spirit of Sufism in a moderate and balanced manner.

Speaking about his upbringing, the Grand Imam said that he was brought up in an Arab and Sufi environment and at the hands of a great father who taught him much. The Grand Imam expressed his happiness for this honoring which mirrors brotherly attitude between Al-Azhar of Egypt and the University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim of Indonesia.

At the end, the Grand imam expressed Al-Azhar's congratulations to this University, and expressed Al-Azhar willingness to send professors and scholars to the university.


Here is the speech of the Grand Imam:

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Companionate

Your Excellency Prof. Dr. Mudjina Raha Radjeo, the Rector of the governmental Islamic University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim;

Brothers and colleagues, Professors of the University;

Sons and daughters from among students!

May Allah's peace and blessings be upon you!

It is a pleasure of mine to meet this honorable gathering of professors, researchers and students at the University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim, and to smell the fragrance of scientific research at your land and to see the desire for knowledge at your eyes. You have reminded me of my pursuit of knowledge, my journeys to seek knowledge at Al-Azhar University, my happiness to read a text from our heritage or to discover a new idea or guide a researcher to his goal.

This feeling of mine is recognizable to any person who takes teaching as a mission and a message of life; it is the message of Prophets. It is a grace for teachers to hear the saying of the Prophet (PBUH) "I have been sent as a teacher." And this feeling will be valued by those who tasted the beauty of discovering the truth after a long journey of pursuit. Imam al-Ghazali used to repeat, "A Sage once was asked: what is happiness?" The sage replied [to reach] a clear evidence and find out a fallacy of a misconception.”

When our ancestors used to practice horseback riding, they found it the most interesting activity, but not more than reading!

Knowledge is the best thing to strive for. It is the sough-after objective of sages and the legacy of the Prophets: “The Prophets did not leave dinars or dirhams as inheritance, but they left knowledge.” It is a key to paradise; "Allah makes the way to paradise easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge." It is the shield that protects the nation from deviation; "Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to the ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray." [Bukhari]

So blessed is this life for those whose rank Allah elevated; "Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees." [Quran 58:11]

More than one thousand years ago, it was in Egypt, the only country that stretches between two continents - Asia and Africa - which marked the birthplace of civilizations and the home of the divinely-revealed religions, that a sublime minaret and beacon of light that disseminate its guiding light all over the world, especially for the Muslim and Arab youth of these two contents.

Thanks to Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, I stand amongst you today. I deem this recognition granted by our Indonesian brothers to be recognition for Al-Azhar as a whole.

As you may know, Al-Azhar is not only an ancient institution or an international university. It rather carries a genuine message and a distinguished intellectual approach.

Indeed, Al-Azhar bears the responsibility for the scientific and Da'wah aspect of the message of Islam; the message of peace, equality, justice and human dignity, liberation from the restraints that overburden humans and belief in all of Allah's messenger and revealed scriptures; "The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination." [Quran 2:285]

To comprehend this message, teach it and call for it, Al-Azhar follows the Islamic orthodox doctrine as represented in the thought of Abu Al-Hassan Al-Asha'ri which is reflected in his works which gave insights into the moderate logical thinking. This doctrine is also represented in the moderate views of the leading Muslim scholars,

Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al-Shafi'i and Ibn Hanbal are renowned names that are always reiterated within the corners of Al-Azhar where their opinions and sayings are taught and compared in order to reach the most outbalancing ones that fulfill the changing needs of the nation.

Throughout centuries, Al-Azhar has produced an approach that is based, first of all, on providing its learners with an excellent command of Arabic, then in studying Qur'an and Sunnah as well as the disciplines that serve them and help deduce legal, scientific and doctrinal rulings from them, i.e. Usool al-Din, Usool al-Fiqh and sciences of Qur'an, Hadith, comparative Fiqh while having sufficient knowledge of modern sciences, Islamic civilization, Eastern and Western philosophy, from which the learners can obtain useful information that might help them understand the past and present, predict the future and be able to give verdicts in light of the changing circumstances based on a scientific approach and approved principles.

If you ask me about the distinctive feature of Al-Azhar's approach, I would say: it is the methodology of accurate, deep and textual analysis of the Arab and Islamic scholarly heritage, which is the fruit of 14 centuries of treasures of our culture. This analysis provides a person with a command of the Shari'ah sciences besides the command of the sciences of Arabic in order to enable our graduates to meet the nation's needs. So, he will be a qualified Islamic reference in the whole Islamic world.

It was destined for me, thanks to God, to enter this ancient institution after a spiritual upbringing at a home of religion and knowledge. I was educated by a father who granted me many things, may Allah reward him. I was directed by famous scholars of Al-Azhar who acquired the Shari'ah sciences according to the methodology of the early scholars, the Islamic wisdom as established by the Muslim Philosopher Yaqoub Al-Kindi and the spiritual order according to the methodology of pious Imams: al-Junaid al-baghdadi, al-Harith al-Muhasibi, Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. This combination spread in Al-Azhar since the innovator Imam Ibn Daqiq al-Eid, Shaykh al-Islam Zakarya El-Ansari, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (the author of "Al-Fath"), Hassan al-Attar, Muhammad Abdu, al-Maraghi, Mustafa Abdel-Raziq, Sulaiman Dunia – May Allah be merciful to them.

These are the principles of the Al-Azhar discourse which is characterized by Justly balanced course between followers of the predecessors who avoid tashbih, and tawil and the successors who prefer tawil according to the rules of Arabic language and the Shari'ah, and according to the statement of Imam Malik who said, "Al-Istiwaa is known, and "how it is" cannot be comprehended, and believe in it is obligatory and asking about it is Bid‘ah (innovation in religion). ". Similarly, we adopt the balanced course between bigotry towards a specific doctrine and ignoring the principles of building argumentations and choosing the preferred view from among the opinions of scholars without knowledge.

Al-Azhar's moderate discourse is welcomed everywhere, inside and outside the Islamic world, due to the fact that it combines scientific thinking and mystic spirit and adheres to the middle course of belief and practice, which reflects the genuine Islamic spirit that prevails the Islamic world, regardless of the trivial counter opinions.

I feel extremely happy to attend this great event in Jawa. I have served the noble sciences of Islam and the new generations in several universities in the Arab and Islamic worlds. I attend today as a representative of you great Islamic institution "Al-Azhar", which I have been entrusted with its leadership in these difficult circumstances. I trust Allah – the Almighty-, your determination, sincerity, enthusiasm for your religion, heritage and our tolerant human culture.

I am grateful for granting me the honorable doctorate which I think is an appreciation for the relationship between Al-Azhar of Egypt and the University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim.

Thanks to you all;

May Allah's peace and blessing be upon you!