Dr. Mozammel Haque "Saudi Gazette"
Sunday, 08 March 2009 - 11 Rabi Al-Awaal 1430 H
“LET’s make a pact, an alliance. It is the alliance of values. The difference in values means the alliance between the wise. The alliance of values means competition for the good of every nation that seeks to offer the best it has in the cause of love and justice. The alliance of values means finding means for peace and alternatives to war. The alliance of values is a striking proof of the failure of the enemies of the humanity, and all the crime and evil. The alliance of values is a choice, will power, behavior, education and lifestyle,” said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, one of the Muslim world’s eminent living jurists and a well-known and highly-respected scholars, at an Evening of Thanksgiving, organized by Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance in cooperation with Radical Middle Way at the Hilton Hotel, Paddington, London on 26 June, 2008.
The Evening of Thanksgiving was attended by more than 200 eminent invitees, who included among others, Dr. Canon Guy Wilkinson, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for inter Faith relations; Professor David F. Ford, Director of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, Faculty of Divinity; Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr. Farhan Nizami, Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Sheikh Ghannoushi.
Sheikh Abdullah observed, “We hope to turn religion from being the problem or the source of it to the solution. From a call to war to a call of accommodation and co-existence. We hope to turn the values of confrontation and resistance into values of solidarity: values that cooperate rather than fight, meet rather than confront. We aim at turning the youth in the diaspora from protestation and marginalization to the state of interaction so they can participate in a positive way in their societies. In this situation we will be able to ask their community to honor them. ”
Speaking about the youth, Sheikh Abdullah said, “We will call upon the youth to emphasize the idea of life over death. We will call upon them to build families, attain knowledge and equip themselves with material and spiritual knowledge as way out of nihilism. We feel this our responsibility, the responsibility of the politician and world’s leaders. ”
Sheikh Abdullah also said, “We need to direct the intellect of others to indicate three things.
• First, there exists one common human value, be it religious or human.
• Second, we must accept the differences in terms of culture and values.
• And third, if there is no way but to look at this disagreement in a negative way, then we should dig and try to find at least one virtue in the subject of our disagreement so we can celebrate and praise instead of exaggerating his weakness. ”
The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teaching adds the value of “love” and the value of “human brotherhood” in that one feels strong ties to the human family. Sheikh Abdallah said, “Love is a beautiful value since every human being likes to love and be loved. You can hardly find someone who wishes to be hated by others.
The irony that there are some people who fight each other by claiming that the others don’t like them. They are mistaken as our Mauritanian friend has said,” stressed Sheikh Bin Bayyah and added, “Once love prevails, hostility vanishes between the two sides. Love is a feeling, a mode of behavior, a way of life and a declaration. That is why, it is narrated in the Hadith “If someone loves his brother, he must tell him that he loves him.”
“The most important value that could be a key to solving the problems of the world is not the respect for disagreement, but rather love of the difference so that it is viewed as enrichment of the beauty and serves as a base to the common humanity,” said Sheikh Abdullah and added, “By doing so, we are establishing harmony that shall not only prevail in the societies with different cultures, but we need to establish harmony in every individual who belongs to those different cultures. Let’s try to focus our attention to the obvious aspect instead of hatred and violence. Let’s channel the energy and the enthusiasm of the young people into creative ways and common interest instead of hatred.”
The deadly weapons could destroy our planet entirely, and we are at the mercy of the double fright by the devilish and dead consciences; the terrorists could acquire destructive capabilities. The fanatic governments possess weapons of mass- destruction, Sheikh Bin Bayyah warned.
To get out of this horrible situation, Sheikh Abdallah said, “We are offering a unique intellectual product. We organize forums with intellectual leaders in order to discuss its aspects.”
He added, “We are offering our humble contribution, but we are calling others, who are more powerful than we are and whose voice is louder than ours, to join us and to lead the efforts if they wish to do so.”
We call upon everyone to look for the 21st-century project which differs from that which is being supported by war advocates of war and death.
Sheikh Abdullah concluded by saying, “It is through our management of differences and the enhancement of virtue, in addition to the respect for human rights, that we could lay the corner stone for the revitalization of the common values. Thus the differences turn into harmony and animosity turns into love. The Qur’anic verse says:
وَلَا تَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡحَسَنَةُ وَلَا ٱلسَّيِّئَةُۚ
ٱدۡفَعۡ بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ
فَإِذَا ٱلَّذِى بَيۡنَكَ وَبَيۡنَهُ ۥ عَدَٲوَةٌ۬ كَأَنَّهُ ۥ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ۬
“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.”
(Qur’an: Fussilat: 41:34)
It is a moral precept stressed by the Qur’an. Performance of good deeds results in similar ways, and love breeds love.
Earlier, while introducing Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, chairman of the Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance, Dr. Abdullah Naseef, said, “We have noticed and witnessed many wrong things in the last 10 or 15 years. People went astray, went wild. They found reasons to be against the harmony of the society. May be they have their own reasons. But it is our duty to bring wisdom to them, bring them back to the mainstream, and fight whatever wrong ideas prevailed among them.”
Dr. Naseef said, “I came to this country in 1967 to do my Ph.D., i.e. over 40 years ago. I came to Leeds University and was amazed to see how organized this society was and how law and order prevailed and how the government was respectful of the human rights and the more amazing things was that the Muslims were enjoying their freedom of worship and freedom of life. I have been saying for a long time that the British society is lucky to have such kind of environment, such kind of government and I hope our institute will work to produce young leaders to safeguard this message we are trying to put forward.”
Earlier, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah and Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef had a meeting with William Chapman, Director of Policy at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation where they discussed interfaith dialogue.