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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.