LONDON PRAYER TIME DAWN: 03:52 SUNRISE: 05:40 ZOHR:: 13:06 MAGHRIB: 20:46
One-day international conference on `Proximity amongst the Islamic Schools of Thought: “The Role of Proximity in the Development of the Muslim Ummah & its Future”
One-day international conference on `Proximity amongst the Islamic Schools of Thought`took place for the fourth year running, on Sunday 3rd of October 2010.
Prominent Muslim personalities and intellectuals from different countries such as Algeria, Austria, Britain, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine and Syria attended the event.
The head of the Islamic Centre and representative of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in UK, Hujjatul Islam wal Muslemin Moezi welcomed the participants in his opening speech. He referred to the achievements of previous years’ conferences and underlined the necessity to continue such meetings to provide opportunity for scholars from different Islamic school of thoughts to meet and consult on Islamic world issues.
The head of Islamic Centre of England pointed out that Islamic unity and its high ideals arise from the Holy Quran and are rooted in human nature. He added that proximity among different Islamic thoughts is amongst the religious objectives of the Islamic Centre of England and that holding such conferences every year moves towards this objective. He stated that to realize proximity is an Islamic duty and responsibility, not only for scholars but all Islamic Ummah, it is an ideal worth struggling for. Hujjatul Islam Moezi also referred to the importance of proximity among different religions. Discussing about human dignity Moezi also said that achieving Islamic Unity will be concomitant with achieving dignity and spiritual bliss.
In the name of Almighty Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
The Conference Resolution
The Fourth International Conference on:
The Proximity amongst Islamic Schools of Thought – London
“The Role of Proximity in the Development of the Muslim Ummah & its Future”
Venue: Islamic Centre of England
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” (Surat Al-Imran: 103).
The Almighty said: “Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects - you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do.” (Al-Anam: 159).
All praise be to Almighty Allah, Lord of the Worlds, peace be upon the Prophet of Mercy, Muhammad, his purified family, and his honourable companions.
The Fourth International Conference on the Proximity amongst the Islamic Schools of Thought was held in London by an initiative of the Islamic Centre of England on 03/10/2010 under the title:
“The Role of the Propinquity in the Renaissance of ‘Ummah’, the Islamic Nation, and Establishing its Future”
The Islamic Centre of England, through four years, has actively worked toward, firmly believed in, and assiduously organised several conferences. Its struggle has been in co-operation with the pioneers of propinquity and Islamic unity from various countries around the globe, and is continuously inspired and motivated, amongst other things, by certain vital principles, including:
1 – The adoption of the unity of the Muslim world is one of the fundamental foundations of Islam and the existence of the Muslim nation (Ummah); as Almighty God states: “And indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.” (Believers: 52).
2 - The challenges that are facing the Muslim world are great as they pose a threat to its existence, specifically by attempting to metamorphose its identity and manipulate the minds of individuals.
3 – The Muslim nation bears the heavy responsibility of exercising its humanitarian role in order to achieve happiness; therefore, it cannot exercise this role without joint action, propinquity amongst the different Islamic schools of thought, and ultimate unity.
4 - The history of the Muslim nation should motivate Muslims to establish and activate all propinquity projects, taking into consideration the great common ground that is shared by all Muslims compared to the relatively few disputed details within religious principles. The call for propinquity and promoting it shall reveal the considerable common ground amongst the followers of various Islamic schools, inevitably leading to the conclusion that it is a necessity for the contemporary era notwithstanding its negative and positive aspects.
The three conferences organised by the Islamic Centre in England over the past three years have discussed the need for propinquity and how it is an appropriate tool to support the cause of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and that it is meant to dignify the human being and to promote Islamic unity.
Based on these aspects – especially its humanitarian aspect – a recognized need for propinquity establishes the ground for discussing another practical subject: the renaissance of the “Ummah”, the Muslim nation, and establishing its future, through propinquity amongst the Islamic schools of thought. In light of the recommendations of the previous conferences, the fourth International Conference on propinquity amongst the Islamic schools of thought was held and organized by the Islamic Centre of England.
This year’s conference, which was convened and attended by a wide variety of Muslim scholars, great thinkers, and many devoted Muslims, underscores our responsibility to struggle for the success of similar conferences aimed at the goal of propinquity, to reject and condemn Fatwas that declare others disbelievers, and to refrain from insulting, cursing, or offending the sacred figures of others. Indeed, this responsibility extends beyond those who participated in this conference and its covenants, to all Muslims who, within their different contexts and wherever they are, if they have witnessed, or even have tasted, the bitter consequences of those dangers that the Ummah, the Muslim nation, is facing.
Participants at the conference made many recommendations and agreed on various decisions as follows:
1 - The enormous challenges that face the contemporary Islamic world and believers everywhere, but mainly in the West, where they are facing considerable risks that pose a great threat to their cultural and ideological lives, require us to increase our noble struggle to become well-equipped to the required level. Internal disputes must not divert our main attention from the main struggle such that we lose momentum in domestic clashes. Our logic and approach should remain as intense and as civilized as our great religion, which was revealed to save humankind from its dark egocentrism.
2 - Unity of all Muslims is the ideal status, while being divided is an out-of-the-ordinary condition; thus, propinquity amongst the different factions is our duty. The different schools of thought are only flexible grounds that constantly allow further reflection, create new issues, and develop requirements for each age, provided that these are developed from within by their respective trusted great thinkers. Propinquity amongst the different schools of thought should be a continuous practice, as no generation is exempted or freed from this duty.
Propinquity does not require assimilation, nor does it require any faction to adjust itself to the doctrines of others; however, it means that each faction must try to grasp the different opinions of others, understand the evidence offered in support of their positions, and appreciate that their legal opinions are within the principles of Shari’ah Law. This approach will contribute vastly to the mutual understanding so vitally needed, and prevent Muslims from accusing other members of the Ummah, the Muslim nation, of disbelief, blasphemy, or heresy.
Thus, propinquity is incumbent upon all Muslim scholars and, in particular, upon the scholars of the two major schools of thought, namely Sunni and Shi’ah. Propinquity – in reality – is the first fundamental and primary step towards the unity of Muslims. Muslim unity is indeed the ultimate tool through which the universal aims of the Shari’ah Law shall be achieved. What we witness of any attempt to obstruct and create obstacles against propinquity conferences – convened by devoted individuals who endeavour towards the establishment of Islamic unity – should only make us more aware of our responsibilities and require us, more than ever, to stand firm with courage and determination in order to render these efforts, such as factors determined to divide us, futile and vain.
The conferees appreciate all various forms of condemnations and denunciations that have been issued against such heretics and extremists, particularly the statement of His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, as without a doubt these statements create a common base to build upon a bright future for an united Ummah, Muslim nation.
3 - If propinquity is necessary, and incumbent on us to seek it, then the unity of Muslims should be an ambition of each Muslim: a quest for genuine identity and deep intensity, and to revive the role of Muslims and their divine task in the contemporary world, which is presently overwhelmed with disasters and sedition. Achieving the unity of the Muslim nation should remain continuously the ultimate dream of all Muslims, albeit different tactics and dissimilar methods may be adopted. In fact the unity of all Muslims is neither a frivolous goal nor the aspiration of someone who is detached from reality; rather, seeking it is a practical way of life. Unity does not mean that the whole nation is rendered into a unique body; rather, it means that the whole Ummah, Muslim nation, regains a united heart like a single man, such that it can stand firmly together and remain united in facing the challenges before it. This is not an unrealistic dream that cannot be achieved; rather, it is an ideal reality that we all should aspire towards and seek, relying solely upon and putting our trust in the Almighty God.
4 – We, the conferees, condemn the deplorable act of burning the Holy Qur’an revealed, as it was, by Almighty God to His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH). This appalling act recently became a real threat in a city in the United States. We express our anger regarding this loathsome act, and condemn it, together with the desecration of places of religious worship, cemeteries, and monuments of others, an action which is aimed at disturbing a peaceful global atmosphere, and distracting Muslims from vital issues and pivotal developments throughout the Islamic world, in general, and the Middle East in particular.
The three monotheistic Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) should be supported in their divine words of guidance and their human values, in order to dignify the honour of humankind, creating a harmonious atmosphere amongst them. Such appalling acts, like burning holy books, contradict the standards and principles of Universal Human Rights. It has become obvious and clear how the historical legacy against Islam and the egocentric capitalist interests have incited hatred and manipulated hostility against Islam. It is fully misleading to claim that religion has hardly anything to say about life, as Christianity’s image is erroneously depicted in the West. It is firmly rejected by the common sense of a monotheistic World-view and the social requirement for divinely saving mankind.
5 – All those who advocate division and incite sedition amongst any Muslim sects must be banned, such that they may return to the right path, but, if they refuse to do so, they must be impeached, held accountable for their contentious acts, and publicly denounced. The recent incident and sedition-causing revelation against the mother of believers, Aisha, the Prophet’s (PBUH) wife, is despicable; it is rejected and condemned. A similar condemnation goes against anyone inciting opinions of hatred (Takfir Fatwas), from various pulpits declaring other Muslims to be disbelievers, and similar attacks against the symbols and sacred figures of Muslims that are instigated by the public mass media, especially certain cable and satellite TV channels. We will not allow others to incite hatred, to promote fighting amongst Muslims or a policy of exclusion or eradication against other Muslims. The dialogue between the individuals of the Ummah, the Muslim nation, and, in particular, the laity, is also a matter of concern amongst those who promote propinquity, as we believe one must renounce extremism and excessive methodologies, and refrain from negatively loading the laity throughout all Muslim communities.
6 - Palestine is and shall remain the first Muslim case for all Muslims that must be advocated and supported by all of them. We congratulate the Palestinian people for their heroic and firm resistance against the enemy, and all those who are struggling to manipulate them. Our great respect and honour goes out for the brave resistance of all of those who defend their properties and what is rightfully theirs. We condemn all various forms of occupation around the Islamic world, and even the whole world, but very much in particular the unjust siege of the patient community in Gaza that has remained steadfast against the occupants. We pay great tribute and respect to all resistance that defends itself against the hegemony of the occupier.
7 - There were many suggestions and recommendations by the conferees, including:
A - Establishing common institutes that adopt reasonable programs to maintain constructive dialogue.
B - Establishing centres of research and undertaking studies of the future, evaluating internal and external challenges in order to organize priorities and prepare to handle them.
C - Searching the common approaches in order to standardize unique codes of Islamic da’wah.
D - Searching for constructive and practical mechanisms to promote serious dialogue amongst ethnic groups in the light of respecting diversity and verity amongst Muslims.
E - Establishing and activating global committees to revive and promote propinquity amongst the Islamic schools of thoughts around the world.
8 - We call on all scholars and Muslim leaders, and the Organization of Islamic World Conference to examine the challenges and consider resolutions that are based on a profound understanding to come up with civilized and feasible answers to these dangers. The most dangerous of these challenges:
* The growing cultural vandalism against the Muslim world coming from the Western media and its hegemonic centres.
* The increased Zionist influence in the global decision-making centres.
* The fabrication of fake animosities amongst the communities of the Muslim nation.
* The political lining up and monopoly of the Western hegemonic power against the development of the Islamic world and its control of modern scientific technology.
* Failure to remember the Palestinian cause and the ignoring of their legitimate resistance of the occupiers.
* The imposition of Americanized globalization values and norms beyond the territory of the United States.
* The revival of sectarian violence and internal clashes.
* The lack of careful planning and of adopting effective strategies.
* The opening of the door for irresponsible religious Fatwas.
* A reliance on a large number of inaccurate historical incidents.
* The emphasis on extremism, intellectual backwardness, and a rational log jam as the representing the front line of the Islamic world.
* Poor educational programs in the Muslim nation and its failure to provide appropriate Muslim academic institutions that are well equipped to meet the challenges of the contemporary era.
* The weakness of media institutions in identifying the priorities of the Islamic faith.
* The absence of an effective role for Muslim women in the majority of Islamic countries.
* The lack of continuous communication amongst the Muslim communities throughout the Muslim world, and especially in the West.
* The lack of respect for the human rights of Muslims throughout the Muslim World.
9 - Standing consciously and bravely to support all oppressed people around the globe, to call for an end to all forms of occupation in any Muslim country, and to support any development projects in the Islamic World, as no one has the right to prevent Muslims from managing and controlling their wealth, to develop their potential by themselves, and to make use of their advantages for themselves.
10 - The conference recommended that we should strive to develop a well-balanced, effective, responsible, and constructive discourse for the mass media, including the TV-satellite channels of the Islamic world, as a moderate discourse – both in theory and practice – which can help to influence and constructively build Muslims spiritually and improve their cultural level, which will assist them in refraining from any offensive act deterring unity amongst Muslims.
11 – Our great thanks and gratitude go to all the representative participation of the mass media, which resulted in an appropriate coverage of the conference, to all participants and contributors for successfully convening the conference and especially the director of the Islamic Centre of England. It shall prevail that the responsible word will exercise its influential role in constructing and providing opportunities for a peaceful coexistence amongst individuals, nations, societies, countries, and civilizations.
“And he who fears Allah — He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he expects not. And he who puts his trust in Allah — He is sufficient for him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. For everything has Allah appointed a measure.” (Holy Quran, C. 65: V. 2-3).
The Fourth International Conference on the Proximity amongst Islamic Schools of Thought – London, 03/10/2010 – 23 Shawwal 1431 (AH)