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Unity of the Ummah in the Perspective of Modern Challenges Conference
(UKIM Birmingham South, UK)
On Sunday 30th April 2017, UKIM Sparkbrook Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre Birmingham hosted a critically important conference on the the Unity of the Ummah in the Perspective of Modern Challenges. Eminent Ulama and Scholars belonging to all Muslim schools of thought spoke eloquently and passionately about the myriad of factors influencing our ability to become a united Ummah.
The Conference was opened with a beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran by one of UKs leading Qaris, Qari Mahmood Hasan Bukhari; a graduate from Al Azher University, an expert in the science of Tajweed and a world-renowned expert in seven Qiraat. This was followed by an introductory speech by the organiser of the Conference Mufti Muhammad Farooq Alwi, the Chief Imam of Sparkbrook Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre and a prominent Mufti and research Scholar in the UK focused on Intra-Faith dialogue. The key message from this opening speech can be summarised by Surah Anfal And obey Allah and His Messenger(SAW), and (do) not dispute lest you lose courage and (would) depart your strength, and be patient. Indeed, Allah (is) with the patient ones.
Addressing the topic Importance of Unity in the light of the Quran and Sunnah Shaykh Abdul Hadi Umri, President Jamiat Ahle Hadith UK, highlighted the importance of dialogue not debate and open communication between Muslims from all schools of thought. He also emphasised how we should concentrate on how much Shia and Sunnis have in common - especially with respect to Aqeedah and that differences in opinion should be accepted; as they will never be eliminated. Here, Ulama and Scholars have a major responsibility to ensure vile hatred is not preached from our Mimbars misleading our congregations; allowing us to move towards unity, at least at a local level, as repeatedly encouraged within the Quran.
The importance of Tawheed, respect and breaking down barriers between different Madhabs to work towards the common good were themes expounded by many speakers including; Dr Muhammad Khalid (Distinguished Research Scholar and facilitator for Shia/Sunni Intra-Faith dialogue), Dr Zahid Parvez (Director, Markfield Institute for Higher Education, Leicester, UK), Shaykh Aymen Yaqub al Azhari (Director, Babul Ilm Birmingham), Maulana Amir Hussain Naqvi (Prominent Shia Scholar and active Intra-Faith worker), Maulana Ashraf Qureshi (Inspirational orator and Author of Fiqh and History books), Pir Shabzada Misbah-ul-Malik (Scholar and Secretary General, Jamaat Ahle Sunnat UK), Mufti Abdul Majeed Nadeem (Scholar, Educationalist and Imam of UKIM Alum Rock Islamic Centre, Birmingham).
The Chief guest speaker, Dr Aagha Muhammad Ali Shomali (Representative of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Eminent Scholar, Author and advocate of Unity of Ulama) addressed the important topic of Unity in the Perspective of Modern Challenges in this Society. His illuminating speech accepted that Muslims from different schools of thought may not agree 100% on all aspects of the Religion and challenged if we all need to be the same? Dr Shomali insisted that to achieve Unity we must have Purity of Heart qalb-e-saleem and differences in opinion should not stop us from being sincere. Additionally, we must value the instructions of the Quran to dedicate ourselves to Allah (SWT) and it is imperative that we respect each other and work together in Brotherhood to address common challenges. Dr Shomali also emphasised that the most important attribute we must have is total submission to Allah (SWT). This core value will help us to work for unity, sacrifice for unity, sit with others for unity, collaborate with others for unity and ultimately love each other for the sake of Allah (SWT).
This Unity Conference was concluded by the President of UK Islamic Mission, Br Sikander Zulqarnain Mirza who congratulated all the speakers and attendees on delivering an excellent Conference and recommended practical steps to be adopted; firstly, the formation of a multi-disciplinary action committee from the speakers panel which will meet quarterly and secondly, the removal of hateful literature harming Intra-Faith Unity amongst Muslims from the public domain.

 

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