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Resolution 152: Islam and the One Ummah, and the Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence

Resolution 152: Islam and the One Ummah, and the Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence

DECLARATION 152

ISLAM AND THE ONE UMMAH, AND THE SCHOOLS OF ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE (MATHAHIB)

The international islamic fiqh academy, a subsidiary of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which held its seventeenth session in Amman in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 28th Jumada I until 2nd Jumada II1427 ah/ 24-28 June 2006 ce, having discussed the questions presented to the Academy on "Islam and the One Ummah, and the Mathahib," and after hearing debate on it, and after listening to the resolutions put forth by the Organization of the Islamic Conference which was held 1425/2005, which called for the study and adoption of the principles included in the Amman Message—principles which were adopted by the meeting of scholars and intellec- tuals which was held in Mecca the Blessed in preparation for the Third Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference—has decided:

FIRST
That all of the investigations prepared on this subject are in keeping with the fundamental universal principles of Islam, and consider the Mathahib to be ijtihads by the scholars of Islam undertaken with the intention of facilitating its [i.e. Islam's] practice. They all seek to maintain the oneness of the ummah, as well as to enrich it intellectually and to affirm the perennial message of Islam. The investigations around this subject also coincide with the ideas which gave rise to the Amman Message, which consists of a declaration and explanation of the reality of Islam and its role in contemporary society. The efforts of His Majesty Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (may God protect him), in taking up these principles and making them known on a global scale, deserve special appreciation and praise.

SECOND
To reaffirm of the resolutions which came out of the International Islamic Conference held in Amman, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, under the title "The Reality of Islam and its Role in Contemporary Society," for the sake of agreement bewteeen them and the discussions and debates on this subject. The preamble of these resolutions has already pointed out the fatwas and resolutions coming from the fatwa bodies and the great 'ulama of the various schools which support those resolutions, and they are:

  1. Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence {Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali), the two Shi'i schools of Islamic jurisprudence {Ja'fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Shaykh Al-Azhar's fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash'ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.
    Equally, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any other group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him), the pillars of faith (Iman), and the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.
  2. There exists more in common between the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence than there is difference between them. The adherents to the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam. All believe in Allah (God), Glorified and Exalted be He, the One and the Unique; that the Noble Qur'an is the Revealed Word of God preserved and protected by God, Exalted be He, from any change or aberration; and that our master Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, is a Prophet and Messenger unto all mankind. All are in agreement about the five pillars of Islam: the two testaments of faith (shahadatayn); the ritual prayer (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (saivni), and the Hajj to the sacred house of God (in Mecca). All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief: belief in Allah (God), His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, in Divine Providence in good and in evil. Disagreements between the 'ulama (scholars) of the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu) and some fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the 'ulama (scholars) "is a mercy".
  3. Acknowledgement of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Mathahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: no one may issue a fatwa without the requisite qualifications of knowledge. No one may issue difatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. No one may claim to do absolute Ijtihad and create a new opinion or issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of the Shari'ah and what has been established in respect of its schools of jurisprudence.
  4. The essence of the Amman Message, which was issued on the Blessed Night of Power in the year 1425 ah and which was read aloud in the Masjid Al-Hashimiyyin, is adherence to the schools of Islamic jurisprudence and to their fundamental methodology. Acknowledging the schools of Islamic jurisprudence and affirming discussion and engagement between them ensures fairness, moderation, mutual forgiveness, compassion, and engaging in dialogue with others.
  5. We call for casting aside disagreement between Muslims and unifying their words and stances; reaffirming their mutual respect for each other; fortifying mutual affinity among their peoples and states; strengthening the ties of brotherhood which unite them in the mutual love of Allah. And we call upon Muslims to not permit discord and outside interference between them.

Allah, Glorified be He, says:

The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that perhaps ye may obtain mercy. (Al-Hujurat, 49:10).

Praise be to Allah Alone.

THIRD
To reaffirm Academy resolution 98 (1/11) on the question of Islamic unity and the attached recommendations and to put into action the proposed means for the realization of Islamic unity. This resolution ended with a request from the secrateriat of the Academy to form a council from its various members to produce a practical and actionable study and to produce means to realize unity in the fields of culture, society, and economics.

FOURTH
To put in place general principles for judgments that are agreed upon, and to make them widely known, and to set bounds upon differing judgments, and to refer them back to the legal principles from which they came, and to place unrestricted trust in the schools of jurisprudence (mathahib) in a framework of celebrating what unifies us and of respecting our differences. When one prefers to follow something that has a stronger proof or is more true to realizing the goals (maqasid) of Islamic law, this should be done without giving precedence to the school of jurisprudence to which the person belongs or which is predominant in some country or society.

FIFTH
To teach the fiqh pertaining to Islamic unity to students at the university and secondary level, and to teach them how to have courteous disagreement and argument, the most importantly that one should not disparage opinions other than one's own.

SIXTH
To support reviving the spiritual schools which follow what is required by the Book and the Sunnah, as they are means of mitigating the materialism so dominant in our age, and in order to protect people from the confusion, as regards the spiritual path (suluk), caused by that which is foreign to and ignores Islamic principles.

SEVENTH
That the scholars of the various schools should rise up to encourage the way of justice and moderation through various practical means, such as meetings which aim towards clarification, councils for specific disciplines, general conferences, and making use of the institutes specifically geared towards bringing the schools closer together. The goal should be to correct peoples' opinion of the legal, theological, and spiritual schools, as they constitute various ways of following the principles and rulings of Islam, and because there can be difference of variety and complementarity which is not a difference of opposition. The schools, with their virtues, special characteristics, and great works, must become more widely known and appreciated.

EIGHT
That respect for the schools cannot be attained without honest criticism whose purpose should be to emphasize points of agreement, and to deemphasize the points of disagreement. There must be opportunities for dialogue between the Islamic schools, in the light of the Book of God, the Sunnah of God's Messenger (may God bless him and grant him peace), all with the goal of celebrating Muslim unity.

NINTH
That we must oppose the schools and contemporary intellectual trends which contradict the clear requirements of the Book and Sunnah. We cannot, either through action or neglect, accept just any notion. We must emphasize the im-mutable tenets in order to be worthy of the name Islam.

TENTH
That the legal, theological, and spiritual schools have no responsibility for the mistaken actions that occur in their name, such as the killing of innocents, dis-honoring the honorable, and seizure of property and possessions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The council of the secretariat of the Academy recommends that councils and meetings be convened with the goal of addressing the causes which lie behind the transformation of the various schools into a state where their followers are in discord, so much so that it is feared that this may lead to actions that will fragment the ummah. This can occur due to texts and ideas which are badly under- stood, put into practice, or popularized, such as:
    1. The question of allegiance and enmity (al-wala' wa'l-bara').
    2. The hadith of the "saved sect", and what has come to be based upon it.
    3. Rules of determining who is a kafir, a fasiq, a heretical innovator, without excess or neglect.
    4. The question of apostasy, and the conditions for carrying out its punishment
    5. Widening the definition of great sins (kaba'ir), and the results of describing one as having committed them.
    6. Declaring someone an unbeliever for not putting the Shari'ah completely into practice, without regard to circumstances.
  2. The council recommends that the relevant authorities in Islamic countries take steps to prevent the printing, distribution, and circulation of publications that deepen division, or which describe some Muslims as being unbelievers, or midguided, without a justification from the Shari'ah that is agreed upon.
  3. The coucil recommends that the relevant authorities continue to give comprehensive authority to Islamic law in all laws and practical applications, as has been made clear in the resolutions and recommendations of the Academy in the past.
 


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