Lecture in Abu Dhabi stresses awareness about true Islam
ABU DHABI // Greater awareness of Islam and its true meaning must be raised, religious and academic experts have said.
In the Islamic world, Muslims must protect minorities by law but that has proven challenging as terrorist groups have persecuted them in the name of God.
“We need to create awareness and a bridge between Islamic scholastics and Islamic knowledge and the modern context that we see,” said Sheikh Habib Ali Al Jifri, founder of the Tabah Foundation in Abu Dhabi. “We have to face those people who have corrupted understandings and who left the majoritarian Islam.”
He was speaking in the capital during a lecture on peaceful co-existence: the Covenants of Prophet Mohammed and the Christians of the World.
“We are at a historical turning point,” Sheikh Al Jifri said. “In the history of Muslims, blood has been shed and there have been wars, but what is new today is that what is happening is taking place in the name of God himself, and trying to connect an atrocity to God and his Prophet.”
He said religious leaders must stand with political leaders, media, intellectuals, opinion-makers, businessmen and academia on a single front to tackle the challenge.
“It is a painful reality,” he said. “What we need is an attempt to join the authentic religion, intellectuals and scholastics of religion, and the reality of the world that we are seeing. We do not need a reformist movement of Islam, we need a renewal in the way Muslims understand the religion.”
He said there was legal understanding that minorities should be protected.
“The Prophet Mohammed said he would be the enemy of anyone who harms a person from a minority community, on the day of judgment,” he added. “This understanding helps ensure that society begins to honour a law that exists.”
Dr John Andrew Morrow, a professor at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, US, and director of the Covenants Foundation, said the covenants of the Prophet Mohammed were many, including those with the monks of Mount Sinai, the Christians and the Jews.
“The covenants have been transmitted from the seventh to the 21st century in an unbroken chain,” he said. “They are as solid as diamonds and, with the Christians, they contain fundamental principles.”
These include granting Christians the freedom of belief and practice and obligation of Muslims to protect them, he said.
Dr Morrow said Muslims must take Christians under the wing of their mercy and treat them with kindness while protecting them from those who oppress them, to ensure that they are treated justly and fairly.
“We do not need to go to the West in search of human rights. Muslims have within their own religion the solutions to problems they face today. When fake Muslims take up arms in the name of Islam, not only do millions of Christians flee, but so do millions of Muslims, so we must return to Islam and revive it.”
Updated: March 14, 2015 04:00 AM