In view of the necessity to affirm the unity of the Ummah in confronting the challenges of the age and casting aside the divisions and divisiveness that are prevalent in the Islamic world and in order to realise the unity of our rank and our words which was clear from the call of the Custodian of the Two Sacred Mosques King Abdullah bin Abd Al-Aziz?May God vouchsafe him?to hold an extraordinary summit in Honoured Mecca and for the purpose of affirming the unity of Muslims in spite of the differences among the schools of Islamic jurisprudence and the danger posed by the audacity of those who would dare to declare other Muslims as apostates and who are not qualified to issue fatwas. Both have caused the factionalism among Muslims to subsist and to adversely effect their unity and their solidarity. The ‘ulama’ participating in the Forum of Muslim ‘Ulama’ and Thinkers affirmed what appeared with respect to these issues in the Conference Statement of the International Islamic Conference which was held in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 27-29 Jumada 1 1426 ah / 4-6 July 2005 ce.
The aforementioned conference cast its statement in final form after consulting a number of studies and fatwas which the most eminent scholars of the afore-mentioned schools of jurisprudence presented. Among the most important points which appear therein are the following:
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, it is not possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash’ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is not possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate. Equally, it is not possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and acknowledges 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; 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); alms-giving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (sawm), 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 (furiS) and not as regards the principles and fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furif) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the ‘ulama’ (scholars) ‘is a good affair’.
3. Acknowledgement of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Maihahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: no one may issue a fatwa without the requisite personal qualifications which each school of Islamic jurisprudence determines [for its own adherents]. No one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. No one may claim to do absolute Ijtihad and create a new school of Islamic jurisprudence or to 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 Masjid al-Hashimiyyin, is adherence to the Schools of Jurisprudence and their fundamental methodology. Acknowledging the Schools of 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 that Muslims not permit discord and outside interference between them.
Allah the Sublime says:
The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy. (Al-Hujurat, 49:10)