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"In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Gracious!" بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
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Articles > Conferences > International Conference Islam Hadhari Responses to Global Challenges, Selangor, Malaysia

Address speech

of Chairman of Russiamuftis Council

Mufti sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin

On the international Conference

“Islam Hadhari Responses to Global Challenges”

Malaysia, January 26, 2008

Bismillahi rrahmani rrahim!

In the name of God, Merciful, Gracious!

Let me cordially greet you by brotherly greeting:

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Peace be upon you, His Mercy and Blessings!

Honoured Presidium of the Conference! Honoured muftis!

Your Majesties! Your Excellencies!

Brothers and sisters! Ladies and gentlemen!

In the name of Muslims of Russia let me express to you most kind feelings of respect, wish you fruitful work and wish success to the guests and participants of the present Conference.

Allah the Almighty bestowed the religion Islam as integral and universal system for all the mankind, embracing all norms of human activities. Islam is much greater than mere religion, greater than mere following and fulfillment of religious rites, - it is the way of life, behaviour with own regulations and rules, obligatory to every Muslim. In our comprehension, the main mission of Islam is forming personalities, families, societies overflow with goodness and virtues, upbringing a person with healthy body and sole, and everyday activities in harmonic civilized world.

The modern world changes quickly. An intensive and at the same time rather complicated and thorny process of Muslims integration is being observed in the recent years. The main difficulties on this way are tied with both internal and external factors. Nowadays, when we have to acknowledge that the Islamic world is lacking behind in science, technologies and, therefore, in economy, resulting in crisis along with many other adverse developments, it is very important to bank on positive ideological potential of Islam, its openness to knowledge and science.

Aspiration for knowledge and progress are intrinsic to Islam, not only to the West civilization. In this connection actual is the thought outspoken by Prime-Minister of Malaysia Abdulla Ahmad Badawi on the First Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Madrid last week: We can learn a lot from each other and we must cooperate with each other and exchange knowledge and to contribute to mutual understanding of cultures.

Nowadays the Islamic world becomes more and more united, becomes collective subject of international relations. Within Muslim nations rises the need for unity, cohesion and solidarity that are inherent to the concept of Islamic umma.

It can be noted, that in the context of the process of globalization, alliance and unity of countries, mixture of cultures and values, many countries of the world witness the cult of earthliness and immorality. An obligatory condition necessary to overcome the world crisis is building intercivilizational dialogue, based on respect of the stock accumulated by each culture, each civilization, to the reasonable perception to what has been worked out by the history of nations development.

Islam today is a dynamically developing religion, and this is verified by quickly growing number of its adherers. Nowadays Islam is represented in more than 120 countries of the world (including Russiaand Republics it consists of) and the number of its followers is now about 1.4 billion people. According to various estimates, the number of Muslims in Russia amounts to 20 million people, some data show 25 million.

Starting with the spread of Islam in the VII century and its victorious peaceful demonstration in Middle Ages, being a Muslim meant being a part of victorious civilization. This victory was peaceful, Islam expanded not by sword but through enlightment. This was the time when Islamic empire stretched from Spain in the West to India in the East.

Contrast between gone into history glory of Islam of Middle Ages and modern state of many Muslim countries , deepening disparity in the level of life between the majority of population in Muslim countries and prospering West countries worsens the crisis events of historical development.

We must get rid of inferiority complex originated from realizing that Muslim countries are lacking behind in the area of scientific progress of the last decades. It should be objectively estimated whether the danger exists that the national identity of Muslims to be destroyed from introduction of western principles of economy, imposing of values of consumer society and its negative developments such as earthliness and amorality.

Islam does possess what to set against this peril: it is important for the Muslim umma to follow the commandments of our blessed religion brought to us by the word of the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him and Mercy). A necessary condition for Muslim integration in the face of serious challenges is the development of Islamic thought and broad implementation of the achievements in this field.

Due to all this Islamic enlightment and education nowadays acquires special responsibility and actuality. Time demands competent and wise approach to enlightment in Islam, thus today’s djihad is educational djihad - djihad, aimed at spread of true understanding of Islam and struggle against its distortion by all possible and legitimate means, including use of all the achievements of modern civilization. It is this battle field where most serious efforts should be made by Muslims.

The key to success in conveying the basics of Islam is in following the deeds of Allahs Messenger in his appeal. And if we succeed at least partially to reproduce in ourselves the qualities of the messenger of Allah (Peace and Mercy be upon him), then the Almighty himself will open to us the ways of dialogue, ease our task , grant us a particle of wisdom so necessary in the modern complicated and contradictionary world.

Books and theories as such hardly can change us. As we can witness, people in their lives are motivated by examples. Realizing the fact that each person is the best creature of our Lord, sign and manifestation of Allahs grandeur – must become the basis of our wisdom and true belief should reveal in our ability to live in peace and consent with all peaceful people independently from their believes and nationalities.

According to the teachings of Islam, Muslims are obliged to be patient and sincerely call the others for truth and justice, lead the dialogue and to explain their position reasonably.

At no time Islamic appeal was aimed at imposing its view, its teaching, forced or hasty converting people to Islam. Thus a reminder to us is the appeal of Allah:

- There is no coercion in the religion

Its important for Muslims to be exemptions for others but no less important is providing for non-distortion of the image of Islam and Muslims in the eyes of the others, what is unfortunately sometimes done purposely.

Islamic civilization is now facing the necessity to choose the prospects of developments of Muslim world in the light of projects of its democratization and political reforming.

Until recently sophisticated Islamic thought also didnt reveal necessary commitment when discussing the problems of democracy, political reforms and the possibilities of including the Muslim world in the process of globalization. And without such support, without deep philosophic realizing of such problems, Islam hardly can respond to the global challenges.

Time from time can be heard the voices of those who want to separate the Islamic philosophic thought from the rest of the World. Beyond the Muslim countries some people affirm that surrender traditional Islamic values is a fundamental condition for establishing democracy in Muslims countries, and along with this they offer a new, not admissible for Muslims Eastern doctrine, derogating from the rights and dignity of Muslim nations.

It is evident that it is not enough to use surface interpretation of Islamic provisions and regulations alone for accepting liberal reforms according to the western model. All the more that reforming the society according to western examples isnt panacea for acute social problems, born by modernization. In all cases the basic is our responsibility in front of the Almighty in the hereafter for every big and little deed performed in this life. And the greatest responsibility is upon the leaders who make the decisions.

Answering the global challenges, to the demonstration of radicalism, the actions of extremists, Muslim countries, contemporary Muslim scholars offer the ways of worthy development of the Islamic umma, the Muslims of the world. Nowadays is successfully developing a new strategy - Al-Wasatyya, based on the teaching of Quran itself and Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (Allahs Peace and Mercy be upon him!).

The choice by the Muslim world of the priorities of their global strategy on the modern stage is based on the principles of average and moderation.

It is very important to realize that moderation in Islam is not a new regulation of our religion. It is immense to convey this to the mankind and to enlighten the Msulims themselves in this spirit. This issue is being discussed continually; Muslims all around the world are in an active search of achievement of middle, moderate way. Humanistic values in Islam arent something deliberately thought out, it the essence of the Islamic teaching and practice, what is unfortunately nowadays obscured from the attention of the world society by the mass media coverage about terrorist acts and aggression.

Our holy religion Islam is the religion of middle way, Islam does not admit extremity. The task for Muslim leaders and scholars - enlighteners is to engrain to our youth the sense of responsibility in front of Islam and Muslims of all around the world. Behaviour and deed of each of us is reflected in the attitude of the followers of other religions to Islam and Muslims. Our efforts are determinative for the rise of the authority and image of Islam and Muslims.

Islam has enough ideological potential for avoiding confrontation in the conditions of the world crisis and to suggest to its followers efficient and based on Islamic approach formula enabling to combine adherence to Islamic values and active mastering the achievements of modern civilization.

Therefore it is important to refer to internal potential of Islam, to approach to existing realities not from the point of narrowly interpreted certain instructions of traditional Shariah, but based on its fundamental values and common principles.

Islamic thought of the XXI century must use everything that our holy religion contains, especially the ideas of Muslim reformers of the end of the XIX the beginning of XX century. And although they mostly limited themselves to appeal for renewal of idjtihad and didnt refer to other sourced of the Shariah for the justification of the Islamic view as it is at the changing world, today actual are analytical works of those Muslim scholars who put accent on invariable bases of the Shariah as opposed to its specific issues.

This streamline of Islamic thought we perceive as most promising for the grounding of the strategy of the modern Islam and Muslim world as a whole. Uniting efforts and creation of efficient system of solving global problems will enable the mankind to resolve complicated problems such as prevention of aggression and humanitarian disasters, the necessity to confront which is based on the very fundamentals of our religion, which initially doesnt admit radicalism and extremism.

We affirm that emerge of radical feelings and movements in different countries is mostly result of social and economic problems, that appeared both from internal and external reasons. It is not religion that gives birth to terrorism and extremism; religious feelings are stirred up to boiling only on the background of social and economic problems and vicissitudes and this as a rule goes along with somebodys certain political interests. Tragic events in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the arising conflict around Iranpeace nuclear program merely reflect common discontent with the fact that our world has univocal course of development.

Identification international terrorism with hazards allegedly emanating from the Islamic world arouses concern. We stress that in conditions when along with the danger of spread of international terrorism shows up another menace the danger of polarization of the world by religious attribute, it is immensely important to prevent the new confrontation confrontation of religions.

Essential is ideological prevention of extremism and motivation of Islamic alternative to its position, on the grounds of the fact that dictate of power does not give birth to anything but reciprocal force action.

Muslims and their religious organizations openly declare their desire and readiness to lead constructive dialogue with the representatives of all religions and hope that the similar approach will be manifested from the other side.

The idea of moderate Islam has always dominated in Russia mufties Council. More than thousand years experience of peaceful co-existence of the representatives of different confessions in central Russia today serves as an example and a lesson for all the world society. Unifying the intellectual resources of Muslim scholar thought in the centers for spread of moderate Islam will enable to enlighten people, and firstly, the youth, the ones who are to find answers to the challenges of time.

I would like to cite the words of former Prime-Minister of Malaysia Mahatkhir Muhammad that were said at the Organization of Islamic Conference memorable session of the states and governments leaders in 2003:

It was prescribed to us to read and to seek knowledge. Early Muslims understood it in the right way and started to study ancient Greeks, elaborating their teachings with own achievements. As a result they gave the world great mathematicians, physics, astronomers, leaving all the other nations behind in the field of knowledge. Therefore they were able to multiple their wealth, to build advanced armies, to defend their nation and give them prescribed by Islam own way of life. At the time the Europeans lacked behind, enlightened Muslim had already built their great civilization, respected and powerful, that was more than capable to compete with the rest of the world and to defend Muslim people from outer aggression.

But later new interpreters of Islam came, who understood science merely as Islamic theology. All the rest was turned down. And the regress began.

Prophet Muhammad (salallahu ‘aleihi wa sallaym) appealed his followers to go even to China in search of knowledge. At that time it was truly revolutionary appeal for his people, and this appeal remains as well for our time. Muslims should not shy away from such fields of life as jurisprudence, political science, economics, quantum physics, astronomy and biology everywhere, in any field they will find Miraculous signs of the God, witnessing His power and universal wisdom.

It is essential for us today to be realistic, as the attacks on Islam will continue. Its not a secret that the number of Muslims in the World is raising. And, reasonably, the growth of the number of adherents of our holy religion in the West Europe and on the American continent is negatively evaluated by the western world. The Muslim umma must be ready to give a decent answer. Our answer is enlightment, development and integration of our culture, embracement of all the positive progress experience not contradicting Islamic teaching and the way of life. This is possible only given high level of education subject to the youth receiving quality education along with learning the basics of Muslim doctrine and studying the achievements of the modern science in order to become high-class specialists in various fields. Only education and mutual cognition makes possible success in the development of all the mankind. Todays world is so cramped and all the processes in it are interdependent.

The model of society development Islam Hadhari civilizational Islam, supported by the government of Malaysia, reflects the importance of both economic progress and social harmony prescribed in the Holy Quran and represented in our religion as the way of life. Islam Hadhari pays special attention to the necessity of balanced development that involves both physical and spiritual side of life and aimed at raising the level of life with preservation of spirituality. The term Islam Hadhari as well as Al-Wasatyya isnt a new regulation of our religion, it stems from the Holy Quran and is capable to become, together with the development of the strategy Al-Wasatyya the basis for the all-embracing model of development of the world umma.

Its time for Muslims to realize that today we must be leading in all spheres of development. Islamic world mustnt be confined in history, and in order to achieve it, it is necessary to remember and to evaluate according to merit own history, the history of Islamic civilization, that enriched the world science and gave a lot to the western civilization not only through the works of the medieval geniuses Ibn Sina, Ulugbek, Zakariya Ar-Razi, Horezmi, Farabi, Ibn Rushd all-round scholars who were the creators of the best examples of world science of culture for all times. And nowadays also in the lists of world most high awards in the fields of science and culture the names of the followers of our religion Islam are represented.

Possession of great knowledge and the achievements of the world science and culture, enriched by the priceless heritage presented to us by our civilization, possession with the Muslim culture and the traditions of Islam, that saved the best in the relations among people, families, the attitude to the elder generation, the question of children upbringing in the family, arising from the following of the basic principles of the Shariah it is such combination is able to give the response to the global challenges.

We, Russian Muslims, and I think that Muslims all around the world will agree with us, consider that the XXI century will not become the century of confrontation and opposition as was predicted by the western ideologists, but will become the century of the dialogue of civilizations.

It is said in the Holy Quran:

We created you from a man and a woman and made you nations and tribes for you to cognize each other

And it is also said:

And cooperate in kindness and the fear of God, and dont cooperate in sin and enmity.

Allah the Almighty appeals to us, the followers of various religions, the representatives of various nations, different civilization, for cooperation, to conduct dialogue and not to be at enmity, but to live in peace and consent, by the appeal of our Single Creator Allah:

Enter the world jointly…

Wassalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

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