Amman, 28 Jumada 11427 ah / 24 June 2006 ce


Eminent, venerable, and distinguished scholars and jurists of the ummah, As-Salamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

I am happy to give the warmest of welcomes to you in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, your home for these five days. I ask our great and glorious Lord to grant you success in your seventeenth session, which your venerable Academy is convening at a difficult time for our ummah, as it confronts challenges that threaten its existence, its culture, and its identity. For the scholars and jurists of the ummah, this is an especially grave responsibility.

Your esteemed Academy was founded over thirty years ago, to be a global, Islamic legal institution representing the scholars and jurists of the ummah. It strives to realize its high ideals by emphasizing the oneness of the Muslim ummah and its devotion to its beliefs, and by studying the problems of con-temporary life and the ijtihad which is used to address them. In its role as the highest legal authority for the ummah, it presents us with solutions that come from the Shari’ah.

The Third Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference, which was held in Makkah towards the end of last year, gave the Islamic Fiqh Academy a serious responsibility. It called for it to deal with religious extremism and sectarian bigotry; to reaffirm that there is no takfir for the followers of the [different] Islamic schools of Jurisprudence (mathahib); to reaffirm the importance of dialogue between the followers of the schools of thought; to reaffirm the practice of fairness, moderation, and tolerance; to oppose those fatwas which take Muslims away from the principles and immutable truths of religion as well as what has been established by its schools of thought; and to reaffirm the need for a system of authority for the issuing of fatwas throughout the Islamic world.

We in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have placed great importance on increasing dialogue between the Islamic schools of thought. The Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought has carried out significant efforts in this regard. Their efforts have had the positive result of bringing the followers of the schools of thought closer together, and of bolstering their cooperation and integration.

From our sense of responsibility and from the duty placed upon us by the honor of being descended from the Family of the Prophet and the Messenger of God (our master Muhammad, may the best prayer and purest peace be upon him), we launched the Amman Message, which makes the glory of our religion clear to the world, and which rejects all the slanderous and vicious attacks made against it, whether these assaults be out of ignorance, rancor, or due to the misguided actions of some who act in the name of Islam. Therefore we called upon the scholars and jurists of the ummah to bring about a consensus on the principles and foundations conveyed in the Amman Message, which represent the reality of Islam. The International Islamic Conference was held in Amman in July of last year under the title “The Reality of Islam in Contemporary Society,” and was attended by more than 170 scholars from various Islamic schools of thought.

In their final recommendations, the scholars affirmed and unanimously agreed, after hearing more than twenty fatwas from a number of legal authorities in the Islamic world, that the Islam of those who follow all eight Islamic schools must be respected; that the blood, honor, and property of Muslims is sacrosanct; that there are certain conditions and qualifications for the issuing of fatwas; and that it is impermissible to declare any follower of one of the schools to be an unbeliever.

We consider these resolutions and recommendations, agreed on unanimously by the scholars and jurists, to constitute a comprehensive and global solution to much of what is happening in our countries’ efforts to fragment the oneness of the ummah, to fan the fires of conflict amongst the followers of the [different] mathahib, and to create sectarian and ethnic strife. It is your duty, as the scholars and jurists of the ummah, to implement and disseminate these principles, because a true solution to the political situation in Iraq can only come about with a comprehensive and global religious solution?a solution based on the outcome of the International Islamic Conference held in Amman, one which celebrates what we have in common, brings us together on principles and perennial truths, and respects the differences that exist on ancillary and secondary issues. This is why we called a meeting of the religious leaders in Iraq, which could not be held due to aggravating circumstances, although preparations had been completed and most of the participants had arrived in Amman.

We believe that the grief which affects us will affect you, because in Amman you are close to the grief of Iraq to the east, as the people of Iraq undergo a great struggle, and you are close to the grief of the Palestinians to the west, as the blessed al-Aqsa mosque, the first qiblah and third in the triad of Holy Places, suffers under occupation.

We trust that your resolutions and fatwas will come to focus on the oneness of the ummah and on bringing about its revival. This is your duty before your religion and your ummah, and it is the main goal for which your esteemed academy was founded.

Respected scholars:

We must eliminate the causes for division amongst the people of the one religion and the one ummah in order to protect it and to protect the unity of its tenets. Otherwise, we cannot reasonably expect Muslim solidarity and cooperation in accord with the ummah’s unity, neither between people nor between states. Since there are those among us who declare followers of the recognized schools of thought to be unbelievers, and since there are those who recklessly issue fatwas, and who declare un-sacrosanct the blood, honor, and property of Muslims, we must stand against them and against anything which divides our ummah and does harm to our true religion.

God, Most High says: Holdfast, all together, to the rope of God, and do not be divided. (3:103)

And He says, glorified and sublime is He:

The believers are brothers. There-fore make peace between your brothers and be pious towards God, so that you may receive mercy. (49:10)

Esteemed and respected scholars, you all know of the terrorism that has affected the capital of Jordan, and of numerous other similar acts which have taken place in other countries. They harm Islam, and create enmity against Islam around the world. This is a call to action and to a heartfelt and sincere effort, all together, to uproot terrorism, and to strip away this notion of takfir, which deludes people in so many ways, and expose it as a distortion of our religion and the principles of the Shari’ah. We are all absolutely commit-ted to finding comprehensive solutions to the problems and challenges our ummah faces.

Once again, I welcome you, and I ask the Lord, Most Great and Most Sublime, to grant us all success in serving our religion and our Ummah. How excellent a Lord is God, how excellent a Helper.

And say, go on working. God will see your work, as will the Messenger and the believers. (9:105)

Wa’l-Salamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.