Al-Azhar and Contemporary Challenges

By: Abdullah Abdeen

  • | Wednesday, 29 December, 2021
Al-Azhar and Contemporary Challenges

     While the world is trying to develop a new vaccine for treating Covid19 and its destructive sequence on the earth, our contemporary world faces others serious problems and challenges. Some of these are political, economic, social or even environmental. It seems that the world is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster if we do not pay more attention to the current threats surrounding us from different sides.  One of the most complicated problems that threatens the globe is climate change and its considerable impact on human life.

Climate change is a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea-level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events, according to NASA. However, global warming is just one aspect of climate change.

Out of its social responsibility and awareness and religious role that aim at fighting extremist ideology and preserving the environment, Al-Azhar decided to hold a three-day-conference entitled “Climate Change: Challenges and Confrontation”.  This comes as part of Egyptian institutions’ preparations to host the COP27 United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2022 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

In his speech, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Prof Ahmad al-Tayeb explained how the present Al-Azhar Conference on Climate reminds us of the first international conference for religions held in London in 1936, in which the then Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Al-Maraghi, contributed. Al-Maraghi announced that there is no way out for the world from what it goes through except through religiosity and adherence to religion. He further refuted the argument that religion is the cause of the civilizational downfall.

In this context, the Grand Imam stressed that the story of human creation clearly indicates that when man settled on earth, Allah (Glory be to Him) regarded him as his vicegerent i.e responsible for protecting the earth from all kinds of mischief as He says, “and do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order: that will be best for you, if ye have Faith" [1]

He added that fifty years ago, the Glorious Qur’an paid our full attention to the widespread corruption that would take place in both land and sea and that Allah would make people taste a part of this corruption. Allah (Glory be to Him) says, “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]”.[2]

In addition, the Grand imam warned people that if the trial of corruption takes place, then its disasters will not be confined solely to the wrongdoers but also to those who kept silent towards these heinous crimes. Allah (Glory be to Him) says, “Beware of a trial that will not only affect the wrongdoers among you. And know that Allah is severe in punishment”. [3]



[1] The Qur’an: 7: 85.

[2] The Qur’an: 30: 41.

[3] The Qur’an: 8: 25.

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