Islam Came to Unify Mankind: UAE Foreign Minister

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UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan speaks at the Abu Dhabi Islamic Forum on the issue of 'Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies' on Sunday. AFP photo
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan speaks at the Abu Dhabi Islamic Forum on the issue of ‘Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies’ on Sunday. AFP photo

Sheikh Abdullah says one of the main causes of sectarian wars and disputes that tear nations apart is the absence of a rational approach

ABU DHABI, March 10 — The tolerant Islamic Shariah was sent from Allah with noble intentions and values — the most important of which was the promotion of peace and the preservation of human lives, to avoid bloodshed and to spread peace, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said on Sunday.

In his keynote inaugural address at the “Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies” forum in Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Abdullah said that one of the main causes of sectarian wars and disputes that tear our nations apart is the absence of a rational voice, and the collapse of the principle of respect for differences, on which humanity is built. Also, the pseudo-learned men who take leadership and prominent positions, issuing fatwas and occupying high positions in different media organizations, manage to misinform some of those who follow them and do not know better.

In order for nations to get back on the right path, the real learned religious men, who are aware of the necessities, changes and requirements of the present age in which we live, should be at the forefront. A learned man who lives separately from the reality of his nation, unaware of the needs of the nation and ignorant of the changes in civilisation and culture that require re-examination of many issues of Shariah to be rational, balanced, and unable to respond to the needs of human beings, cannot have a positive effect on his nation, he said.

Here is the text of his speech:

“Our religion has come to unify mankind, to spread love and the spirit of fraternity among people, regardless of their different religions and doctrines. Islam therefore has come to unify us. So why do some people who are Muslims use it to divide us?

“I ask this question, with great sadness and bitterness, of our Muslim brothers who are fighting in different parts of the world, with each one claiming to have the right on his side. The key figures are fighting for political gains and material profits, while the young are being tempted to fight crushing wars on their behalf, being told that they will go to Heaven. Is Heaven now for people who kill their brothers — without any right — and in the name of God? Our Prophet has said, “Cursing a Muslim is immoral, and fighting him is blasphemous.”

When we look closely at the Prophet’s lifetime and meditate on his characteristics, we find a huge distance between his and his immediate successors’ behavior and that of many of those who claim to be following his path today. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who was supported by God’s inspiration, refused to have the mountains surrounding Makkah collapse on the people who hurt him and accused him of lying.

How would these people who use religion for their personal purposes act if they were given the same option to bring mountains down on those who disagree with them? Would they hesitate?

One of the main causes of sectarian wars and disputes that tear our nations apart is the absence of a rational voice, and the collapse of the principle of respect for differences, on which humanity is built. Also, the pseudo-learned men who take leadership and prominent positions, issuing Fatwa and occupying high positions in different media organizations, manage to misinform some of those who follow them and do not know better.

In order for nations to get back on the right path, the real learned religious men, who are aware of the necessities, changes and requirements of the present age in which we live, these men should be at the forefront.

A learned man who lives separately from the reality of his nation, unaware of the needs of the nation and ignorant of the changes in civilisation and culture that require re-examination of many issues of Sharia to be rational, balanced, and unable to respond to the needs of human beings, cannot have a positive effect on his nation.

You scholarly men, you hold the responsibility of enlightenment, because our Islam, since its inception and until the end of mankind, with the grace of Allah, will remain a religion that calls on human kind to think deeply, to co-exist. Therefore, we highly appreciate your historic role in extinguishing the fires of sedition and bringing different points of view together, to enlighten minds and encourage hearts to believe in the principles of peace.

We do not expect you to agree on everything, this is an unachievable goal, but what we call for is respect of mankind, and the right to differ, to acknowledge the principles of diversity that guarantee freedom and rights without any party impinging on them, without trying to enforce ones’ views on other people, as Allah has guaranteed them the right to think and believe in what they want.

In this gracious gathering, which has enlightened our community and brought happiness to our hearts, we look forward with the hope that this will not be an ordinary meeting, a place to just make speeches and discuss things in a passing way, after which everyone leaves empty-handed. We hope, and I am fully confident, that you will come out with new initiatives that aim at reform of ourselves — bringing back the fighting factions to the path of true rightfulness. This responsibility is in your hands, as it is in the hands of the politicians.

I would like to assure you that we will not interfere in your work, but we will be enlightened by it. We put our hands in your hands, to work together to spread love and peace among human beings, using the good work that has been planted by the late Shaikh Zayed, may he rest in peace, a plant that bears fruit everywhere, all the time.-Wam

 

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