King calls on Muslims to cast aside differences.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

FOLLOWING IS THE full text of His Majesty King Abdullah's speech at the opening session of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference extraordinary summit in Mecca:

In the name of God, the most Merciful, the Compassionate
And praise be to God, the Lord of all the worlds,
And prayers and salutations on our master Mohammad, and the righteous and sincere members of His House,

Your Majesties, your Excellencies, your Highnesses, Kings, Presidents and Emirs of Muslim States,

Peace be upon you, God's mercy and His blessings,

The convening of this extraordinary summit, in Mecca, by a gracious invitation from the custodian of the two sacred mosques King Abdullah Ben Abdulaziz, comes at a time when the Muslim ummah (nation) is facing several challenges that cannot be confronted or overwhelmed except through casting aside the differences within the ummah, through enhancing cooperation and complementarity among them and through unifying their word, their ranks and their stances towards these different issues and challenges, with a unified vision and rules based on the essence of Islam — Islam that brings people together and does not divide them, and that calls for the unity of Muslims irrespective of differences in colour, gender or madhab (school of thought).

In spite of our conviction of the importance and vitality of the subjects and topics listed on the working agenda of this summit, and the draft of the ten-year programme for action for the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, we still reaffirm anew, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, that the subject that should have priority over all these subjects is the consensus among us as Muslims on who is a Muslim and on the conditions of ifta. The absence of consensus on these two issues has led to divisions and differences, accusations of apostasy (takfir) and internecine fighting. It is not plausible for us to talk about cooperation and complementarity among Muslims or about uniting our ranks and stances in facing the challenges of our age or our relations with other nations and peoples, before we agree among ourselves that an adherent to any madhab is a Muslim, and on the conditions of ifta which regulates relations among us and unifies our stances towards the issues and challenges of this age.

With Almighty God's praise, and with the success that He granted us, we convened in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan the International Islamic Conference, in Amman from July 4-6, 2005, in which more than 170 scholars participated. The scholars hailed from different Muslim countries and were adherents to the eight Islamic schools of jurisprudence (madhahib). These scholars, in accordance with the fatwas issued unanimously by all the Muslim religious authorities, approved the following:

First, whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali), the two Shiite schools of jurisprudence (the Ja`fari and the Zaydi), the Ibadi school of jurisprudence, and the Thahiri school of jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declarations proclaiming any one of their followers an apostate is invalid. Verily his (or her) blood, honour and property are sacrosanct. Moreover, it is not valid to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ashari creed or whoever practices true Sufism an apostate. Likewise, it is not valid to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.

Equally, it is not valid to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in Allah (God) the Almighty and Sublime and His messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and respects the pillars of Islam and does not deny any necessary article of religion.

Second, between the various schools of jurisprudence, there is more in common than there is difference. The adherents to the eight schools of jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam. All believe in Allah the Almighty and Sublime, the One and the Unique; that the noble Koran is the word of Allah revealed and that our master Mohammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, is a prophet and messenger unto all mankind. All are in agreement concerning the five pillars of Islam: The two testaments of faith (shahadatayn); the ritual prayers (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (sawm); and the pilgrimage (Hajj) to the sacred house of Allah. All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief: Belief in Allah, His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgement, in divine providence — good and evil. Disagreement within the ulama is only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu) and not the principles and fundamentals (usul). Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion is a positive thing. Long ago, it was said that variance in opinion among the ulama “is a good affair.”

Third, acknowledgement of the schools of jurisprudence within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: No one may issue a fatwa without the requisite personal qualifications which each school of jurisprudence defines. No one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of jurisprudence. No one may claim to do absolute ijtihad and create a new school of jurisprudence or to issue unacceptable fatwas that directs Muslims away from the principles and certainties of the Sharia and what has been established in respect of its schools of jurisprudence.

We presented the recommendations of this conference to Mecca's Forum of Muslim Scholars and Intellectuals, which was convened in Mecca by an invitation from the custodian of the two sacred mosques. The participating scholars in the forum, especially the Committee for Islamic Thought, Culture and Education, adopted these recommendations, in order to facilitate their presentation to this summit.

On this basis, we reaffirm our stance that it is necessary to include the text of the above mentioned recommendations and decisions of the International Islamic Conference, convened in Amman, in the final communiqué of this summit; and to designate these recommendations and decisions as a term of reference and a basis to settle differences among Muslims, and to close the door on some of those who practice ifta without having the right to do so, declaring some Muslims apostates and killing them in the name of Islam, when Islam disavows illegitimate practitioners of ifta.

This is the essence of the Amman Message, which is in complete harmony with the Civilisational Islam (Islam Hadari) project which was submitted in Malaysia.

Finally, I would like to extend deep gratitude and appreciation to the custodian of the two sacred mosques King Abdullah Ben Abdulaziz, the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Secretariat General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference for hosting this conference, and for the meticulous arrangements and preparations for this summit.

Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you.

(Jordan Times

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