Speech by Grand Imam Prof. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb Sheikh of Al-Azhar In Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem

  • | Monday, 22 January, 2018
Speech by Grand Imam Prof. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb Sheikh of Al-Azhar In Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem

Held at Al-Azhar International Conference Center
Nasr City, Cairo
29 Rabī‛ ul-Ᾱkhar - 1 Jumada al-Owla 1439 AH
January 17-18, 2018 AD

     In the name of Allah, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
All praise be to Allah, may peace and blessing be upon our Prophet Muḥammad, his Family, his Companions and those who have followed his right path.

His Excellency President Maḥmoud ‛Abbās, Head of the Palestinian State,

Distinguished members of the panel,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Honorable Attendants,

May peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. You are welcome to Egypt, your second home country, and to Al-Azhar. I would like to thank you for accepting Al-Azhar’s invitation to attend and participate in this international conference to support Jerusalem and Al-ˀAqşā Mosque, the first of the two qiblas, the third of the Muslim Sacred Mosques, and the place of the ˀIsrāˀ (The night journey of the Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH) from Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (the Holy Mosque) in Mecca to Al-Masjid Al-ˀAqşā in Jerusalem.) of the Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH).

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since April 1948, Al-Azhar has been holding successive conferences about Palestine, Al-ˀAqşā Mosque and the Muslim and Christian sanctities in Jerusalem. From 1948 to 1988, Al-Azhar held eleven conferences that were attended by great Muslim and Christian thinkers and scholars of Africa, Europe and Asia. During these conferences, several highly precise, deep and detailed pieces of research were presented by those who had little or no hope to achieve any significant results.

These conferences frequently declared the rejection of the Zionist violation of the Muslim and Christian sanctities, the occupation of Al-Aqşā Mosque, burning thereof and violating its sanctity by the excavations, tunnels and massacres taking place in its yard. They also declared a rejection of the violation and destruction of the Christian monuments, such as churches, monasteries and cemeteries in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Jaffa and other cities.

Today, Al-Azhar calls for holding its twelfth conference after thirty years of the last conference held about the Palestinian issue and the Muslim and Christian sanctities. Despite the participation of Eastern and Western bright-minded people who have clear consciences, the conference is not expected to add new facts rather than what has already been stated and written with regard to this issue and its related scientific, historical and political dimensions. However, it is enough that this conference rings the alarm, reenergizes the resolution and determination and confirms the unanimity of the Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and intellectuals of the world. They are all united concerning the necessity of resisting the barbaric Zionist corruption during the 21st century which is supported by international agendas of other parties. Such parties do tremble with fear if they think about deviating from the plots of the Zionist entity and the Zionist policies.

I am firmly convinced, as theologians say, that any occupation will inevitably come to an end even though it might seem impossible at the present time. Indeed, days are changeable and the fate of the oppressor is predictable and confirmed, no matter how long waited for it may be. Let us recall the history of Rome in the East, the Persians in the East of the Arabian Peninsula, the Crusades that comfortably stayed for two hundred years in Palestine. You can also ask the countries that were always proud of the fact that the sun never set on their settlements, or the European colonization which finally left Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, the Levant, Iraq, India, Indonesia and Somalia. Ask them all to realize that disappearance is the inevitable fate of the oppressors, and that any authoritarian power, according to Ibn Khaldoun, is destined to become deteriorated. This is a universal truth and a divine law, and having doubts about it will be deemed "contempt for knowledge, reasoning and reflection".

This fact is conjoined with another one that precedes it, i.e. the possession of the strength which terrifies the enemy and obliges it to consider carefully before implementing its absurdity, tyranny, and authoritarianism. However, Allah knows that we are promoters of peace which is based on justice, mutual respect and fulfillment of the rights, excluding the intention for any purchase or bargaining. Our peace does not involve humiliation, submissiveness or compromising a tiny part of the homelands or the sacred places; rather it is supported by the power of knowledge, education, economy, market control and armament that is capable to powerfully face any attack and deter any one who tries to harm the people and the land.

If our fate is to live currently with an intruding enemy who understands only the language of power, then we have no excuse before Allah or history, for being weak, defeatist or humble while we have all the factors of power and its material and human resources.

I am one of those who believe that the Zionist entity is not the reason behind our defeat in 1948, 1967, or in any other war and clash. Rather we have made our defeat because of the underestimation and short vision regarding the imminent risks, and adopting carelessness when the necessity required seriousness. Indeed, a nation that has a conflicting and torn up identity cannot stand against an entity that fights with a rooted doctrine and under a united flag. It is then impossible to defeat it or bring down its flag: Almighty Allah says, "Do not contend against one another, that you might not be disheartened or your vigor goes away." (Qu'ran: 8: 46)

Distinguished Attendees

I am completely aware that my speech will not achieve new results and that it is emitting from a source packed with sorrow and pain. I am also recognizing the fact that its impact will not exceed that of the speeches delivered by the great scholars of politics, science, thought and media throughout seventy years. They cannot change reality, put an end to greediness, or stop blood shedding, sufferings and pains to which the Palestinian people, youth, women and children, have been exposed. Such Palestinian hardships have also been witnessed in prisons while unrelenting resistance and hard determination of the Palestinian people have never weakened or faded away.

Indeed, this may be said about my speech or our conference. However, I think that you agree with me that today's conference is very different from the preceding ones because it is held under circumstances similar to that of clouds pregnant with hurricanes. Furthermore, the countdown is actually started to divide and split the Arab region and to place the Zionist entity as the commander of the whole region whose orders should be strictly obeyed. If we consider the conspiracies plotted against our homeland on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea and the east of the Mediterranean and its extensions in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, we will recognize how dangerous. Repetition of speeches and rumination of slogans are no longer appropriate for the conspiracies plotted against us. In fact, the next generations would curse us and our descendants be ashamed to call us their parents or grandparents if we followed the same traditional ways used throughout seven decades to counter these fatal conspiracies.

My predicted hope is that our conference will achieve untraditional and practical results for which the efforts are invested even though they sound so little or insignificant. The top and utmost result that I hope to be achieved is increasing the awareness of the Palestinian cause in general and Jerusalem in particular. The harsh reality is that the curricula in all our educational stages have failed to create any form of awareness of such cause for millions of Arab and Muslim youth. There is no a curriculum devoted to illustrate the danger of the Palestinian cause, its history, its position at the present or in the future and its impacts on the future of our youth who are supposed to bear the flag of the defense for Palestine, without even knowing any significant facts about the cause.

On the other hand, the Israeli youth is supported, from their earliest age, with educational curricula, chants and supplications which contribute in forming their hostile conscience and feeding their racism and hatred against all the Arabs and Muslims. Likewise, our mass media hardly present anything significant apart from a piece of news or a monotonous report on the Palestinian cause whose effect will fade away once the report is ended or the speaker moves to another piece of news.

The second proposal is that the unjust decision of the American president, which is rejected by more than 128 countries and denied by all the peace lovers around the globe, should be confronted with new Arab and Islamic thought that focuses on affirming the Arabism of Jerusalem, inviolability of Muslim and Christian sanctities and their real belonging. This affirmation should be transformed into a local and international culture for which the capabilities of the Arab and Muslim media should be harnessed. It is worth mentioning that our enemy succeeded in harnessing the mass media, while we failed to do so.

We must not hesitate to deal with the Palestinian cause from religious Islamic or Christian prospective. I am so surprised by the marginalization of the religious aspect of the Palestinian cause. Meanwhile, all the claims of the Zionist entity are purely religious and they do not hide them or feel ashamed as to this respect. In fact, the Zionist entity has no justification to usurp the land, which does not recognize it, other than being obsessed with religious texts and myths that attempt to legalize aggression and justify blood shedding, and violating both chastity and properties of people. Moreover, the modern Zionist Christians, supporting that entity, depend on nothing more than false religious interpretations strongly rejected by church clergymen and Christian scholars, Jewish rabbis and monks.

A proposal that I present to you to consider is making 2018 the year of Jerusalem. During this year, we can work on increasing the awareness about Jerusalem, providing financial and morale support to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, organizing regular informative and cultural activities to be sponsored by official organizations such as the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, religious institutions, Arab and Muslim universities and civil society organizations, etc.

In the end, I call upon the elites of the nation to pay heed to the fact that our enemies are plotting conspiracies against the Nation's religion, identity, educational curricula, unity and co-existence. The Nation must rely on its resources and regain trust in Allah and in its own capabilities. It should no longer rely on promises of foreign oppressors who turned their back to us and trespassed all the red lines. Allah Almighty says, "Do not incline toward those who do wrong, lest you be touched by the Fire, Otherwise, you would not have any protector apart from Allah; then you would not be any helped." (Qu’rān, 11:113)

Thank you for good listening.
Peace and blessing be upon you.