The Speech of Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar at UIN Jakarta

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Grand Syeikh

Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar Prof Dr Ahmad Muhammad el-Thayyeb accompanied by the Rector Prof Dr Dede Rosyada MA prepared to give a speech on humanity

Assalamualaikum Wr Wb

I begin my lecture by expressing praise and thanksgiving to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) who has given me the opportunity and the delegation, both from Al-Azhar and the Muslim Council of Al-Hukama, to visit the Republic of Indonesia and meet with people who are extremely hearty, especially with the brothers in Islam. They are Muslims who appreciate Egypt, it is reflected in the strong relationship between the two sides in the history of Muslims where they hold onto the beliefs of Islam and noble morality.

Maybe I’m not exaggerating if I say that Indonesia was God chosen, as the country where the spread of Islam as a religion that calls upon good fortune as well as maintain the originality and still receive all the new things that they integrate both the individual and the people of Indonesia.

The Indonesian people have also been able to uncover the treasures of the holy Islamic values ​​and Islamic law and morality, by creating values ​​of justice, equality, openness to others and motivate them ,to have sources of strength in the field of science and technology ,by relying on Allah , along with optimal business skills so that the strength of the material and spiritualism is still achieved simultaneously.

Therefore, the ability of Indonesia combines science, faith and charity has made Indonesia strong enough to be able to perform jumps to become one of the most advanced countries in Asia. We can firmly say Indonesia has become an Asian tiger. Indonesia has also been made to establish Islam as the religion of the world, life and happiness considering the hereafter, and a universal religion of humanity.

Indonesia also has been able to refute the allegations a lie whilst witnessed by the enemies of Islam, that Islam is a religion of idealness and productivity so that the people are developed even Islam as a religion that inhibits economic and political progress. Currently, Indonesia has become a model Islamic country which can render all Muslims proud around he world, because Indonesia has been able to achieve remarkable economic progress, especially in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia embraced Islam through the intermediary of Muslim traders. God has created the archipelago soft-hearted and very interested in Islam, because Islamic teachings are very clear, intolerant and full of justice. In addition, the archipelago is an Asian region that first accepted Islam, with time Islam continued to progress in the Indonesian archipelago to become the world’s largest Muslim country, and the Indonesians are also people who love Allah and His Messenger, and Al-Qur ‘ an and teachings.

The corresponding relationship between the people of Indonesia and Egypt as presented by historians, the association has started several centuries ago through trade, education and culture, where a lot of Indonesian pilgrims who had come to Egypt to study at Al-Azhar. European historians noted that in the mid19th century AD, was the start of new students coming to Al-Azhar Indonesia, studying from previous scholars of Al-Azhar in Egypt.

Indonesian scholars at Al-Azhar in Egypt, was supplied with hostels, which was called “Ruwak Java”. In addition, many publishers in Egypt publish works from Indonesian Muftis into Arabic. Indonesian students in Egypt are much affected by the reform movements in Egypt, especially the doings by Sheikh Mohammad Abduh and his students, plus the national movement led by Mustafa Kamel Egypt and other national leaders at the time.

Currently there are about 5000 students from Indonesia studying at Al-Azhar many of them received scholarships. At this time every year Al-Azhar provide 20 scholarships for Indonesian students, each year Al-Azhar sends Arabic language teachers to schools in Indonesia with a total of 31 people.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Our age is facing various problems and a very serious crisis, particularly in the fields of politics, economy and environment. Issues such as these are the most common, especially in the third world cases that threaten health security, society and the State. In addition, we also face the threat of the loss of a sense of peace that followed by wide spread chaos and anxiety as well as the domination of certain powers which dominate the weak people. It’s even worse things like that happen with much evil in the form of war and bloodshed in the name of religion, especially in the name of Islam by terrorists deliberately embedding characteristics in Islam, where at the same time none of the religions of the Book who attributed with nature of terrorism. Of course, this characterization is a deceptive sense and tyrannical, and this charge is contrary to the reality and history of Islam. For many people of other faiths who actually use a lot of violence and crime that use the name of their religion, it is as well recognized by their own the characters or by regular followers. If you do not believe please explain what’s going on with the crusade in eastern Islamic world and the war in the name of religion in Europe, coupled with the courts handed down a verdict on Jews and Muslims. See all the action and this war is a form of terrorism and crimes that undermine the values ​​of humanity throughout history?

There are those who say that the errors, are errors that have occurred historically been very long and there is no influence on our lives today. If you like it ,please dig deep into what’s called the second crusade , in which this war has been the entrance of the long conflict in the Arab world and the Islamic world. Even an American writer: John Fifer, wrote a book called Crusade II: a new colonial war against the West and Islam. Of course here I cannot explain in detail what was described by the author, but I want to emphasize that the measures encroach beyond the provisions of Islam made by a small number of adherents where it is opposed by Islamic scholars and thinkers even civilians was not able to receive it, the attitude is also invasive on other religions in which the perpetrators will get the promised paradise.

I confirm that by reading back to the comparative history of terrorism, it is clear that the Muslims are extremely fair and objective in which they can distinguish between religion and the attitude of some of the followers. Muslims assess war undertaken by the west against Islam, most of the European wars against Muslims and does not condemn the religion professed by Europeans as the ideological basis of occurrence of war. This is to distinguish between religious values ​​and behavior of its adherents who sells religion very cheaply. This is one manifestation of respect for the religious beliefs of Muslims, Muslims around the world are suppressed and always eliminated. It’s just that we cannot remain silent on the attitudes of Muslims, the mass murder of Muslims as happened in Myanmar amid the silence of the international community and the media, although they claim to be people who appreciate the value of humanity, without discrimination between Muslims and non-Muslims.

We also may not keep silent about what’s happening with Al-Aqsa .It’s the Muslims ‘first Qiblah and the place of Isra’ Mi’raj of the Prophet, It is very much valued ​​and is a heritage site for Muslims. Many in the western world show a hostile attitude toward everything that happened to the Christians in the east, but in the East they can live in peace, side by side with Muslims, they also keep silent against any hostilities that befell Muslims killing women and children –their children. Upon this I address religious institutions in the west, then I also had to play my part to call upon those who have the intellect and feelings around the world to solve the problem and hostility, Muslims and non-Muslims to Muslims both in the east and in the west. This I do for the sake of peace and human values ​​both in the east and in the west.

Ladies and gentlemen…

Verily Allah has not sent down religion to divide mankind, nor to give a bad name and fear to mankind but He (God) sent down religion as a light source, a guide to show mercy and compassion. Wherever Muslims are creatures that are very distant from places reeking of terrorism and acts of violence, bloodshed and human waste.

I personally have never found any books on other religions, that threatens all perpetrators of terrorism and bloodshed with very severe punishment, as contained in the holy book of Muslims. Where Islam threatens offenders with a very heavy punishment, either in this world or in the hereafter. Thus, how could Islam be called a terrorist religion, but Islam is a religion of Truth, Islam is that which guarantees every person safety and security from the actions and words of his neighbors. The Prophet said, Every Muslim is forbidden to other Muslims bloodshed, confiscation of property and honor. Islam does not only prohibit murder, but also prohibits the scaring of people even though only joking. Therefore it doesn’t make sense. Islam is accused of being a religion of terrorism and violent thirst, when the Apostle referred to as the carrier of love to all mankind.

Al-Qur’an itself contains the words love, honesty, fairness, trust, forgiveness and promise many times and even mentions that Islam teaches love, other evidences is that love is taught by Islam not only for fellow Muslims but should apply to all people throughout the world, both living beings and inanimate objects. If you pay attention to the history of the prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) then you will be surprised by his behavior which is so full of love for the values ​​embodied in the good behavior to humans, animals and other creatures.

Therefore I hope that all attendees can compare between morality and noble values ​​taught by Islam even in the event of war, in the form of a sense of justice to the enemy, it’s forbidden to kill women, the elderly, and young children. This attitude proves that Islam strongly emphasizes the values ​​of compassion even to the enemy. Therefore it does not make sense if the current haphazard convicted Islam as a religion of violence. If today Islam is littered with some of the behavior of those who dare to commit murder to shed the blood of Muslims and other people rate this as an act of jihad (in the way of god) for the sake of upholding Islamic State, renders them Kafir (a non-believer), this is an action that is not Islamic, Islam strongly opposes such actions. For that Al-Azhar is a very large undertaking for sharing this message because we are asked by Allah on the Day of Judgment to remind and improve attitudes and the notion of a small number of adherents of Islam who, is without the understanding, that these attitudes are not part of the teachings of Islam, which is very damaging to the image of Islam and its values ​​are very sacred, and open the door to the enemies of Islam to insult Islam and sass. For that Al-Azhar urged the youths affected deviant thoughts so they soon realize and return to the right path and warned that those who argue for extreme behavior is a behavior that is forbidden in Islam. Therefore, in order to carry out the mandate remind Muslims, especially the youth, I call on those who pollute this religion to get back and regret their actions, and to repent to God for the actions that have been polluting the teachings of Islam. Here I would like to remind myself and scholars throughout the world, where we all will be held accountable before God on Judgment Day to spend all efforts to edify each other in order to maintain the integrity and purity of the faith of their children from teachings that are extreme and vulgare. We should also remember the need to immediately invest the full facilities of jurisprudence in order to combat extreme Jurisprudence with westernization efforts striving to anticipate and destruction of Muslims and their religion, in earnest. We also need to improve the system of education in instilling the full jurisprudence facilities accept others by basing everything on the Quran and the Sunnah with avoiding various minor differences in things that are not of principle.

I also call upon the people requesting a ruling on the expert knowledge that in embracing the understanding of Sunnis, as well as of those who dominate modern findings in this century. They also need to be aware of the many challenges faced by Muslims, where the fanaticism of sects have become a major cause of disunity, so that the enemy can easily divide Muslims and spreading hatred against Muslims.

Finally there is nothing we can do now except to cling to the Qur’an and Sunnah to avoid disunity. In addition, as all scholars of this Ummah should remember, warning of the Prophet Muhammad that people equate these last days as the food that can be eaten easily and contested by the enemies of Islam, for that we have to be really aware of the warnings of the Prophet, which is to avoid divisions that make Muslims as people who just become the object of other people and without effort. We need to maximize all means at our disposal to maximize the resources that we have to improve the conditions of people for the better, so if really do this then Muslims will get success, as the success experienced in the past. May this be a reminder to us all.

Wassalamu’alaikum Wr Wb

Speech delivered in Peace and Humanity in Auditorim Harun Nasution, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Interpreter: Sayeed Safee Peters