In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

May the Blessings and Peace of Allah be upon Prophet

Muhammad, on His Household and His Companions

 

 

 

 

Islamic Lecture

 

 

 

Delivered by

Professor Abbas EL JIRARI

 

 

Thursday 23 Ramadan 1415

23 Février 1995

 

 

 

 

Topic :

 

The Islamic doctrines viewed from

The perspective of religious truths,

Historical positions and modern challenges

 

        

 

 

In accordance with Almighty Allah’s saying :

 

“O ye who believe ! obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle if ye do believe in God and the Last Day : That is best, and most suitable for final determination”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Islamic doctrines viewed from

the perspective of religious truths,

historical positions and modern challenges

 

 

 

 

 

         I seek refuge with Allah from the Evil One, the Accursed. In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. May the best prayer and Peace of Allah be upon Sidna Muhammad as well as on His Household and Companions. There is no power or might save in Allah, the Most High, the Exalted in Power.

 

 

         “Glory to Thee : Of knowledge we have none, save what Thou hast taught us : In truth it is Thou who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom”.

 

 

         “O my Lord ! expand me my breast, ease my task for me ; and remove the impediment from my speech”.

 

 

 

         Your Majesty the Commander of the Faithful,

 

         My heart is filled with love, faithfulness, veneration and loyalty to Your Majesty as I sit here in your august presence, trying to keep abreast of your far-reaching perception of the reality and future of the Muslim Ummah from the perspective of development, innovation and unification. I ask Your permission, may Allah enhance Your status, to address a topic which, I admit from the outset, is thorny and difficult. I would not have dared to tackle it in Your august presence amidst this honourable academic assembly had I not been convinced of Your vast knowledge and patience. I hope, therefore, that my presentation will be favoured with Your Majesty’s satisfaction, acceptance and forgiveness of whatever possible errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

         The present lecture is entitled : “The Islamic doctrines viewed from the perspective of religious truths, historical positions and modern challenges”. It is delivered on the basis of the following saying of Almighty Allah :

 

“O ye who believe ! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle if ye do believe in God and the Last Day : That is best, and most suitable for final determination”.

 

 

         The presentation is divided into thee parts. The first part speaks about the above verse and some related matters. The second part raises the matter of the differing views of Muslims and attempts to show the reasons for these differences and their political and intellectual manifestations. As for the third part, it talks about the possibility of overcoming this divergence.

 

         The verse under consideration in the present lecture is the fifty-eighth verse of Al-Nisae Surah. Al-Nisae Surah is a long Surah, made up of one hundred seventy five verses. Succeeding the Al-Baqarah and Al-Imran Surahs, it contains a lot of legal provisions relating to the woman, the family, the matrimonial bonds, the inheritance and the Islamic polity in its relations with other entities. It also deals with the People of the Book, with the hypocrites and with the issue of Jihad.

 

         Scholars are almost unanimous about the fact that Al-Nisae Surah is Madaniyah (i.e. revealed in Al-Madinah), except for the following verse :

 

“God doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due”.

 

         This verse was revealed in connection with the story of the key of the Kaabah. When the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, entered Mecca, he recovered the key of the Kaabah from Othman Ibn Abi Talha and his cousin Shaybah, and entered the Kaabah. No sooner had he got out than this verse was revealed to him. He therefore got the key back from his uncle Al-Abbas and gave it to its guardians, saying :

 

 “Take if forever as an inherited relic. Whoever usurps it from you is a downright wrongdoer”.

 

         One testimony to the fact that this Surah is Madaniyah is the saying of Mrs. Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, concerning this Surah :

 

“When the Al-Nisae Surah was revealed, I had already been with [i.e. married] the Apostle of Allah, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him”.

 

         The was in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah.

 

         Others said that it was revealed in the Hijah time. Some scholars, such as Al-Nahhas, thought that it was rather a Meccan Surah on the grounds that the opening address is directed to the people :

 

“O mankind ! reverence your Guardian-Lord”.

 

         This generalization, which asserts that all verses which begin with an address to the people are Meccan is not always true. You have, for instance, Al-Baraqah Surah which contains two verses started with an address of the people and is Madaniyah :

 

“O ye people ! adore your Guardian-Lord”,

 

         and

 

“O ye people ! eat of what is on earth, lawful and good”.

 

         Others, like Alqamah, thought that the first part of the Surah was Meccan. However, the likeliest opinion is that it is a Madaniyah Surah.

 

         As for the reasons behind its revelation, the book of the exegesis from the Sahih of Al-Bukhari says, reporting on Ibn Abbas, that it was revealed in connection with Abdullah Ben Hudafah. Abdullah Ben Hudafah, who was dispatched for a mission at the head of a detachment, summoned them and asked them to gather some wood and light a big fire. But they refused saying that they believed in Allah and the Apostle only to escape fire. When they referred the issue to our Master the Apostle of Allah, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, he approved the reaction.

 

         Reporting on Al-Saddi, Al-Tabari said that it was revealed in connection with an event involving Ammar Ben Yasser and Khaled  Ben Al-Walid. When Khaled was Commander of the Muslim army, a man asked for Ammar Ben Yasser’s protection, which he accorded to him. Khaled Ben Al-Walid, not appreciating this decision, referred the matter to the Apostle of Allah (PBUH). Thought  the Prophet approved Yasser’s act, he still admonished him not to do such a thing again unless he consults his commander.

 

         The verse deals with two issues. First, it enjoins people to obey Allah, the Apostle and the ones in charge of authority. This injunction succeeds the order to give back the trusts to their owners. By the ones in charge of authority is meant the rulers in addition to those who tend to the affairs of tbe Ummah, including the scholars, the governors, and the like.

 

         Scholars have different interpretation of the expression “those in charge of authority”. I will not address them for Your Majesty, may Allah support You, are well aware of them.

 

         The second issue tackled by this verse concerns the reference of any divergence regarding the fundamentals, branches and the related matters to the Almighty Allah and His Apostle, that is to say to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah in accordance with Almighty Allah’s saying in Al-Shura Surah :

 

“Whatever it be wherein ye differ, the decision thereof is with God”.

 

         The topic verse of the present lecture establishes a link between the pursuit of arbitration in both the Book and the Sunnah and the state of faith : “If ye do believed in God and the Last Day”. The verse likewise contains several linguistic and stylistic indications, such as the lexical repetition of the verb “obey” instead of using it only one be saying “Obey God and the Apostle”. What is the reason for this lexical repetition ? The repetition here is intended to assert the obligatory nature of obedience to the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, and to show that it is more important than obedience to those in charge of authority. The aim is also to avoid that people should think that obedience to the Apostle is restricted to matters which Allah has enjoined him to convey to mankind and does not apply to other matters relating to the worldy and religious concerns. Another goal lies in the fact that the Apostle of Allah, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, discharges the role of conveying the message as well as of implementing it whereas the role of those charged with authority is confined to executive matters.

 

         It has been noted, Majesty, that when in other verses there is no mention of those charged with authority, the verb “obey” is not repeated. In Al-Amran Surah, for instance, it is said :

 

“And obey God and the Apostle”,

 

         and in Al-Anfal Surah, it is likewise said :

 

“And obey God and His Apostle”.

 

         The second indication is found in the verb “differ” in Allah’s saying :

 

“If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle”.

 

         Difference here is intended in the sense of mutual divergence and disagreement over interpretation of some provisions in the Quran and other matters. Almighty Allah says in Al-Anfal Surah :

 

“And fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart”.

 

         The third indication relates to the term “anything” in

 

“If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle”.

 

Anything is an all-encompassing term, covering all matters.

 

The fourth indication concerns the phrase :

 

“Refer it to God and His Apostle”.

 

         In this same part of the verse, which is used in a metonymical sense in which God and His Apostle stand for the Holy Book and the Sunnah.

 

         The fifth and last indication relates to the phrase :

 

“If ye do believed in God and the Last Day”.

 

         Which is formulated in the conditional mode for inducement and warning purposes. The seme of belief is repeated here after it has been mentioned in the beginning of the verse : “O ye who believe !” The  phrase “If ye believe” therefore means : “If you are real believers”.

 

         I will now move, with Your Majesty’s permission, to the second part of this lecture.

 

         Islam came as a religion which called upon the Arabs and the entire mankind to adopt monotheism, seek knowledge and promote the mental faculties. Such a call has an extensive impact on the elevation of the self, the development of thought, the refinement of refinement of conduct and the promotion of the individual and society alike, within the framework of one Ummah that embraces the entire mankind with faith and tolerance.

 

         In the era of the Apostle, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, Islam emerged as a crystal-clear religion, which dealt with matters of faith, legislation and regulation in a transparent manner. With regard to the affairs relating to the societal system, Islam did not adopt an approach which could cause discord and dissension. It therefore secured strict adherence to the legal provisions as well as to the obligations and rights they entail. It did not tackle the matters of faith, particularly with regard to the potentially controversial issues of the deity in view of the fact that the latter’s inviolability had been proven in the Quran and the Sunnah.

 

         But what happened afterwards ? The Muslim’s approach and thinking were beset by certain phenomena which diverted them more or less from the straight path that they had been following in the era of prophet hood. These phenomena may be summarized in two :

 

         The first phenomenon is related to politics. Following the death of the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, there arose the problem of his succession. He left it to Muslims to choose the system which suited them best provided that they would build it on the basis of three principles, namely monotheism, justice and consultation.

 

         With your permission, Majesty, I will provide some basic data in this connection.

 

         Following the death of the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, Muslims gathered in Saqifat Beni Saidah and elected Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. Abu Bakr would subsequently write a covenant nominating Omar Ben Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. As for Omar Ben Al-Khattab, he would set up a Consultation Council, made up of six Companions, namely Othman, Ali, Talha, Al-Zubayr, Abdu Rahman Ben ‘Awf and Sa’ad Ben Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with them all. Omar added his son Ubaydullah Ben Omar, but he had not say in deliberation, except in the case of a tie, in which he had the casting vote.

 

         However, a calamitous event took place. It was the assassination of Omar Ben Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, who was stabbed by Abi Lueluah. Othman, may Allah be pleased with him, took over, but he was faced with a thorny problem, that of inflicting a sanction on Ubaydullah Ben Omar. Ubaydullah Ben Omar had hit Al-Hurmuzan, who was a Persian Prince, and also struck Jufaynah, who was a Christian. In addition, he broke into Abi Lueluah’s house and killed his daughter.

 

         Othman, may Allah be pleased with him, solved the problem in his own way by granting pardon to Omar’s son, saying : “How can we slay today the son whose father was murdered yesterday ? No, this can’t be done” He therefore granted pardon to Ubaydullah Ben Omar, pledging to play the blood money from his private funds.

 

         Yet, this solution did not appeal to some Muslims, particularly those who were not fully satisfied with the policy followed by Othman, may Allah be pleased with him. Rebellion soon broke out and his opponents demanded his abdication. But he clang to his divine right and to the divine ordinance. By the way, that was the first time that such an idea was formulated. The rebels, however, broke into his home and assassinated him, may Allah bless him.

 

         Allegiance was subsequently proclaimed in favour of Ali, may Allah bless him. Ali, for his part, faced two problems :

 

1.     Restoration of security ; and

2.     Death of Othman.

 

         He faced two oppositions, one led by Mrs. Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, along with Talha and Al-Zubayr, although Al-Zubayr withdrew in the end. This opposition culminated in the Al-Jamal War, which broke out in the year 36 of the Hijra. The second opposition was led by Muawiyah during the Siffin War in the year 37 of the Hijra. This war was bypassed through a decision to have recourse to arbitration on the basis of the Brook of Allah over the matters in which they differed. Two arbitrators were thus selected, each one representing one party. While Ali was represented by Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari, Muawiyah was represented by Amru Ben Al-‘Aas. The arbitrators agreed among themselves to depose the two opponents. When it came to the declaration of the result of the arbitration, Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari said his opinion first. When it was the turn of Amru Ben Al-‘Aas, he said : “This man has deposed his leader and I do depose him too, but I confirm my leader”.

 

         As a result, the domination of the Islamic Caliphate was split in two, with Iraq and Al-Hijaz going to Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and Al-Sham and Egypt going to Muawiyah. Tension exacerbated to the extent that some Muslims, who were said to be from the Khawarij, thought about solving the problem through killing the three dissenting parties altogether, namely Ali, Muawiyah and Amru Ben Al-‘Aas on 17 Ramadan 40 H. However, it was Ali alone, may Allah bless him, who was assassinated.

 

         Following Ali’s death, his supporters, in addition to the Shiites, rallied around Al-Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him. But Al-Hasan had a soft personality, which made Muawiyah succeed in attracting him through the many promises he made. He died in the year 50 of the Hijra, probably poisoned as upheld by some people. Al-Husain, may Allah be pleased with him, came afterwards. He resembled his father like two faces of a coin. He rallied under his banner the Shiites who used to sympathize with his father, and tried to wage war. The Karbalae War then broke out in 61 of the Hijra.

 

         In the aftermath of these events, the Caliphate system took on new dimensions thanks to the Umayyad polity which established its reign firmly, the the Abbasside polity. Yet, these two polities were net with a strong opposition on the part of the Khawarij, on the one hand, then the Shiites, on the other.

 

         The second phenomenon concerns the development of the Islamic thought and its subjection to some of the influences brought by followers of other creeds and religions, such as the idea of embodiment advocated by the Jews, and the sayings about the deity which were upheld by some of those who converted to Islamic out of good or bad faith, such Abdullah Ibn Sabae, in addition to the idea of idea of venerating the Imam to the extent of deification.

 

         You have other influences, such as the ideas relating to man’s freedom, which were circulated by some Christians, notably John Al-Dimashqi.

 

         Perhaps the most outstanding intellectual reaction was the emergence of Ilm Al-Kalam (Schotastic science) with a view to defending the Islamic faith through putting forward rational evidences, with emphasis on two questions, the qualities and the fate.

 

         The attitudes adopted by Muslims vis-à-vis this type of science were two-fold. The first attitude was one of acceptance. The Holy Quran contained indeed supporting arguments in this connection. Says Almighty Allah in Al-Baqarah Surah :

 

“Say : Produce your proof”,

 

         and in Al-Nahl Surah :

 

“And argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious”.

 

         Those who rejected this science also found in the Quran and the Prophetic traditions substance for supporting their views. They invoked Almighty Allah’s saying in Al-Imran Surah :

 

“It is He Who has sent down to thee the Book : In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning) ; they are the foundation of the Book : Others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say : ‘We believe in the Book, the whole of it is from our Lord :’ and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding”.

 

         They also invoked the hadith of the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, in which he said :

 

“People cannot go astray after having been guided to the straight path unless they indulge in controversies”.

 

         These two positions brought about the division of Muslims into two categories. The first category consisted of people who advocated man’s absolute free will in the sense that whatever happens to the Muslims is the very working of the Muslims themselves and that the divine will does not interfere there. Famous among this group were Ma’bad Al-Jahani and his disciple Ghilan Al-Dimashqi.

 

         The other group were determinists who believed that man was not free. Foremost among them was Jaaham Ben Qafwan, who thought that faith was knowledge of Allah and that infidelity was ignorance of Almighty Allah. He used to think that the act was the working of Allah alone and that deeds were ascribed to man only by extension. He used to say that the science dealing with the deity was an innovation, which led him to talk about the creation of the Quran.

 

         The influence of the foregoing two political and intellectual factors sowed the seeds of discord among Muslims, first at the political level, and then it turned into a divergence over questions of faith, which adopted argumentative techniques that led to excessive interpretations to adapt texts to a specific case or an imposed reality. Thinking methods and argumentation techniques thus differed and became complicated.

 

         The issue of faith and infidelity was thus viewed from the perspective of their perception of faith. Is it just an act of believing with the heart and acknowledging with the tongue or should belief be supported with action ?

 

         It is from this perspective that each political party used to criticize the other party. The Khawarij linked faith with work and considered anyone who did not combine them in his conduct to be committing a grave offence, indeed an infidel who would dwell forever in Hell. It should be mentioned that the Khawarij had confirmed the Caliphate of Abi Bakr, Omar, Othman in his early reign, as well as that Ali before the Arbitration. They viewed those who accepted the Arbitration, those who were behind the Al-Jamal War, in addition to Muawiyah, the Ummayyads and the Abbassides as perpetrators of the (Kabirah) Grave Offense.

 

         As for the Shiites, save for the Zaydites who were moderate, they adopted a position of deep reflection vis-à-vis all those whom they viewed to be usurpers of the caliphate. They considered that the Imamah of Ali in succession of the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, was expressly stipulated in such texts as the hadith of Ghadir Khum, in which the Prophet had said, on his way back from pilgrimage :

 

“Ali is master of whover I am master of . May Allah support those who support him and be hostile to those who are hostile to him”.

 

         The Sunnah people, for their part, regarded this hadith as a mere honouring of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and a tribute to his indisputable stance. The Shiites thought that the Imamah was one of the pillars of religion and that it should not have been neglected by the Prophet, May the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, nor should he have delegated it to the public. They thought that the extirpation of the Caliphate from Ali was an injustice to him, or a wisdom on his part.

 

         There are other groups, such as the Murjiah who were a peace-loving, neutral people. They viewed the perpetrator of the Grave Offense as still a faithful whose case should be referred though to Almighty Allah. They perceived faith as an act of belief without need of work.

 

         Then you have the Mu’tazilah who also opted for neutrality, saying that the perpetrator of the Grave Offense was neither a faithful nor an infidel. He was in a middle position. They  used to support the opinion upheld by the proponents of man’s free will, and supported also the determinist’s theory about the qualities of Allah. They were famous for their rational approach to religious questions.

 

         In the morass of these diverging doctrines, there emerged a moderate current, advocated by the Ahl Sunnah and Al-Jama’ah. In general, the Ahl Sunnah were the counterpart of the Shiites. The appellation applies to those who follow the guidance of the Sunnah of the Prophet, may the prayer and peace of Allah be upon him, and proceed on the path charted by the Companions and the Successors. According  to the Shiites, it was the Ahl Sunnah who supported the rise of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. The Ahl Sunnah doctrines was further crystallized by Abi Al-Hassan Al-Ash’ari, who tried to formulate faith in a rational way.

 

         Amidst these political differences and in view of the extensive geographic scope of the Islamic lands and the complicated nature of issues and events, there emerged some trends which looked into the fiqh provisions and formulated rules accordingly. They examined occurrences and issued the suitable judgements. This era may be considered a phase marking the Ijtihad process and ramifying, later on, into the famous doctrines, namely the Abi Hanifa doctrine, the Imam Abi Malek doctrine, the Al-Shafii doctrine, the Ibn Hanbal doctrine, the doctrine of Jaafar Al-Sadeq who was the sixth Imam of the Ithnay Ashariya, the doctrine of Zayd Ben Ali Ben Al-Husain Ben Ali Ben Abi Taleb, and the doctrine of Abullah Ben Ibad Al-Khariji.

 

         These doctrines managed, with varying degrees, to attract the Islamic public opinion, an appeal which could not be secured by the Ilm Al-Kalam (scholastic knowledge) in spite of the fact that Al-Ash’ari spared no effort to get near to the people. These doctrines soon prevailed on the scene to the extent that Ijtihad could not be undertaken elsewhere than within the framework of one of these doctrines. People observed their dictates so much that this led to a stagnation which prevailed throughout the late centuries to date.

 

         Now, with Your Majesty’s permission, we come to the third and last part of this lecture. First of all, it should be mentioned that the political positions adopted and the thought embraced or produced served to shape the Islamic sects, the Sunnah, the Shiites, the Khawarij, and others. Then the Ijtihad undertaken by these sects or groups gave birth to subsidiary doctrines, some dealing with faith and others with the fiqh. These groups used to approach provisions from their own perspectives, blending the religious with the political, sometimes in a spontaneously reconciliatory way and often with excessive interpretation.

 

         Perhaps it goes without saying that all these stances were the offshoot of a specific epoch and peculiar conditions characterized by contradictions and conflict. Today, there is no longer any room for such conflicts. There are, in fact, some vestiges but they are not based on any grounds any more and do not interfere in monitoring relations among Muslims. Their existence is confined to the books of History.

 

         Today, we are in pressing need for distinguishing between what is purely historical, which was subject to certain conditions and factors, and what is a religious truth. In addition, we must differentiate between what relates to the faith and what relates to the fiqh provisions. Regarding faith, there are no grounds for divergence because faith is not subject to Ijtihad. As for the fiqh provisions, there are matters which are considered immutable and are not subject to difference. However, there are some matters which are governed by events and cases. Even in this latter instance, it is possible to ward off differences. We have, for example, a rule of utmost importance in connection with the bringing of doctrines closer together. This rule calls for taking into consideration differences and surpassing them through exchanging provisions, particularly those which are supported with a cogent evidence although produced by a differing doctrine.

 

         Perhaps if we look closely into this rule, and into other rules as well, and if we take into consideration the objectives in gearing our provisions, we will then realize the possibility of establishing rapprochement among the doctrines, and maybe attain consensus after divergence as say mot of the Fundamentalists (Usuliyun). Before and after starting this operation, we must contemplate the sources and truths of Islam and look into the future of Muslims, their fate and their needs.

 

         Today, Muslims are faced with a reality fraught with contradictions and conflicts. The most conspicuous aspect of this reality is their lagging behind on the road of progress. Likewise, Muslims are in a state of perplexity in the face of this reality, entangled as they are in their political and doctrinal differences as well as in their conflicting positions regarding adherence to religion, language, heritage and identity in general.

 

         Muslims are also beset by a civilizational strife which lays bare their dispersion. Among the features of this strife is the rocking of their faith as a result of the rampant spread of all types of deviation. Muslims also suffer from stagnation, a situation caused by the halt of Ijtihad and Istinbat (derivation) as well as the current incapacity of the fiqh to grasp the essence, reasons and objectives of matters and its consequent failure to respond to several problems. They are likewise beset by intellectual lethargy, which impeded creativity in the various fields of science.

 

         Consequently, there is a pressing need for a genuine understanding of Islam and a conscientious comprehension of its truths and secrets. In other words, we must comprehend the principles, characteristics, provisions, objectives, values and components of Islam, in addition to understanding, in a sound way, the reality in order to be able to solve problems in the light of these facts and on the basis of a sound perception of the dynamism of history and its mutations.

 

         The moment we manage to do that, we will surely grasp fully the brilliant, crystal-clear and positive aspects of Islam, which are apt to help forge our authentic identity. We will then be able to make our conduct compatible with this identity whether in the Muslim’s private or societal life. The Muslim individual will take pride in his Islamic personality. Contradictions will vanish and harmony between word and deed will prevail in accordance with a logic stemming from the Islamic perspective which is based on the Wasatiya (Middle way), facility, tolerance, rejection of excess and extremism and compatibility with the natural disposition of man. The Muslim individual will be endowed with a balanced personality which gives him the capacity to adapt, the faculty to contain any event and the power to assimilate any innovation in line with his interests, particularly that the observance of interests is one of the basic pillars of legislation.

 

         If the faithful are genuine believers, they must know that there is no solution but to refer all matters to the Almighty and to His apostle as stipulated in the verse under consideration in this lecture. In other words, they must go back to the sources of the revelation, to the Holy Quran and to the Pure Prophetic Sunnah.

 

         Going back to these sources means to understand them in the crystal-clear way in which they came, without rehashing unuseful matters or going anew through the already available lore. Interpretation should not be taken to extremes to the extent of leading to deviation, fanaticism and excess.

 

         To go back to the sources is only possible if we transcend the phase of stagnation fiqh so closely linked with traditions, to enter into the era of Ijtihad and innovation just like what did the Imams who deduced the doctrines to which we are adhering and in which we take immense pride. We should start from these doctrines, and endeavour to develop, expand and innovate them bearing in mind the necessary to achieve rapprochement in the areas of discord.

 

         In this context, it should be mentioned that the Ummah’s scholars and fuqaha should not retreat to their ivory towers, thinking that the fiqh and faith questions are extraneous to the general reality of Muslims who are aspiring to change this reality.

 

         Indeed, the Muslims are looking forward, today, to recovering the distinct status that they have lost and retrieving their dignity which is being trampled, hoping they will secure the might whose way they have lost because they have forgotten that it is Almighty Allah who is the originator and source of might. Almighty Allah says :

 

“Says : ‘O God ! Lord of Power (and Rule), Thou givest Power to whom Thou pleasest, ant Thou strippest off Power from whom Thou pleasest : Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest Low whom Thou pleasest”.

 

         There can be no power or honour for Muslims except through the crystal-clear Islam. Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, was right when he said : “We are a people who have been empowered with Islam. So whenever we seek power without Allah, the Almighty will cause our humiliation”.

 

         Majesty,

 

         In their pursuit of power and honour, the Muslims suffer, today, from political, economic, social and cultural problems. Islam contains, though, a set of great perennial values which may lead to the solution of these problems. Among these values, we can cite faith in Allah, fear of Allah, justice, charity, tolerance, peace, acquaintance with other people, in addition to other values stipulated in numerous verses, such as :

 

“God commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin”.

 

“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood”.

 

“O mankind ! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other”.

 

“Ye are the best of Peoples, evolved for mankind”,

 

         and

 

“Hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God (stretches out for you)”.

 

         So numerous are the verses which deal with values. They are also widely known. But who implements them ? Rather, who is able to abide by them, or use them to awaken Muslims from their lethargy, to overcome their differences and to join their ranks in order to proceed ahead on the Straight Path likely to change their reality and achieve for them a brighter future ?

 

         This is a very intricate and thorny matter which should take into consideration three items, namely the Islamic Society, knowledge and the State.

 

         The Islamic Society is ready to overcome these differences. As for the State, it should lay the groundwork for a reconciliatory system in terms of doctrines provided that it determines its political or regulatory pattern according to the short-term or long-term circumstances.

 

         It is possible to give substance to this aspiration through setting up, at a first stage, an intellectual and spiritual institution which cements all rifts. Its to all Muslims in such a way as to unify them and harmonize their position in an attempt to reconcile the religious truths stemming from the Quran with the various social systems. This requires the establishment of basic mechanisms founded on the sturdy Islamic pillars, in addition to patterns and models of such systems. It also necessitates, first and foremost, the existence of the pioneering leader.

 

         These requirements seem to be quite out of reach. Their achievement is a difficult enterprise, or perhaps impossible as some would say. However, if we leave aside compliments no matter how sincere and objective they may be, for indeed your lofty thought and status transcend them, I can earnestly say that Your Majesty has been favoured by Allah with the qualities necessary for shouldering such a mission in view of your prominent status among those charged with authority in the Muslim Ummah, including rulers and scholars. You are the precious jewel adorning the noble Alaouite crown. Over and above, You are the grandson of the Trustworthy Apostle of Allah. You stand at the vanguard of those who defend his Sunnah. You are leading a people who has demonstrated its love of the pure family of the Prophet ever since it hosted Moulay Idriss. Your people are still reconciling between the Sunnah and Shiites. They still read a poem composed by Al-Shafii, may Allah bless him, in which he says : “If the love of Muhammad’s Family is viewed as Rafd, let the humans and the jinns then bear witness that I an a Rafidi”. It shoulc be mentioned that Rafidi was the title given to all the Shiites and was also used to call those who left Zayd Ben Ali in reaction to his sound stances vis-à-vis the Companions. Moroccans therefore combine between a love for the Sunnah and a leaning towards the pure Shiite.

 

         This is why it is only natural that you should assume such a mission. You have already made numerous initiatives in this connection. Suffice it to mention Your appeal for bringing the Sunnah and the Shiites closer together, when You received the members of the Islamic Revival Conference in September 1990. You are still following up this rapprochement with keen interest and care. Shall I remind of Your esteemed speech with which You opened the previous Summit Conference, and in which You called for setting up a supreme organ to serve as a reference framework in matters of Islam, which would also publicize the pure image of Islam and rid it of the allegations which have been wrongly ascribed to it ? This organ would also endeavour to bring Muslims closer together, observing all the while the characteristics of each environment and region.

 

 

 

         We beseech Almighty Allah to achieve this hope at Your hand. The Muslims throughout the world, are looking forward to that day.

 

         We pray the Exalted in Power to crown Your efforts with success, to perpetuate the Ummah’s rally around You, to support You with the devotion of the sincere and loyal members of this Ummah, to grant You his assistance and to lift Your banner ever high with the might of Islam. May Almighty Allah give You his strong support, grant You perfect health and quietude and extend to You his lavish favours and blessings. May the Almighty preserve Your beloved Crown Prince His Royal Highness Prince Sidi Mohamed as well as his loyal brother His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid and the entire honourable Royal Family. May the Most High bless the reforming, militant Imam Moulay Mohamed V, honour his soul and make him rest in peace, Amen.

 

 

 

         I turn the floor to the Commander of the Faithful to conclude.

 

“God and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet : O ye that believe ! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect”.

 

 

“Glory to thy Lord, the Lord of  Honour and Power ! He is free from what they ascribe to Him ! And Peace on the Apostles ! And Praise to God, the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds”.