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Methods & literature of understanding & proximity

Jan 22, 2010, 1:18 PM | Article By: Alh. Ousman M. Jah

5. Proximity movement is well established today, its dimensions have expanded noticeably, and it has gained a satisfactory amount of public support. The best proof for this claim is the move made by the world’s greatest jurisprudence complex. That is to say the Jeddah Islamic jurisprudence Complex. That complex established a branch called Shu’abat ut-Taqreeb Bain al-Mazahib ul-Islamiyyah {Branch for Proximity among Islamic Schools of thought} in the year 2005.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of an atmosphere of mutual understanding, freedom of expression, and brotherhood among followers of different schools of Islamic thought at international gatherings is a sign of the warm welcome rendered by various sections of the Islamic World for one another thanks to their shared sources and viewpoints.

In order to boost that mentality the world Forum for proximity of Islamic schools of thought {WFPIST} was established in the Islamic Republic of Iran a few years after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. At the Supreme Council of WFPIST there are Scholars from various Islamic Schools of thought. Among great achievements of WFPIST, I can refer to the establishment of the University of Islamic Schools of thought.

In addition to those moves, the OIC-affiliated Islamic Countries Educational, Scientific, and culture Organization (ICESCO), too, has considered proximity as an objective for itself, having launched several conferences and gathering on the subject around the globe.

The scientific-religious centers in such Islamic countries, as Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. Too, in order to highlight the great significance of the matter have sponsored a number of international panel discussions and conferences so far.

6. It is necessary to clarify what we exactly mean by “fundamentals” so that it would properly be understood what we mean when we say the world Muslims have no differences of opinion over fundamentals of Islam. If we would get a very condensed abstract of the detailed discussions on borders between Islamic and un-Islamic matters {to be a Muslim, or a non-Muslims}relying on Holy Qur’anic verses and exalted Islamic sayings, we would come up with conclusion that those texts have considered the following topics and border lines of being a Muslim:

6.1 General belief in the unity of god

6.2 Belief in Prophet Hood of the Holy Prophet (PHUB) and the need to abide by the orders issued by him and to live in accordance with the living standards set by that Saint (PHUB).

6.3 Belief in the Glorious Quran, in need for obeying all commands issued in it and in the need to refrain from doing all the deeds that a described as forbidden in it

6.4 General belief in the existence of the Day of Judgment

6.5 Believing that Islam is a set of rules aimed at regulating the personal and social deeds of human beings, and that those rules have to be abided.

Of course I believe there is no difference of opinion among the followers of various schools of Islamic thought regarding those rules, although there might be difference of opinion on some details such as:

6.5.1 Almighty Allah’s Attributes and their relation with His Essence.

6.3.1 6.5.2 side issues related to faith, such as “Compulsion & freewill”, “desting and providence”, Intercession etc,

6.5.3 Presentation of proof for some Islamic sayings’ documents or their contents, or rejecting some others, and other resulting differences and disputes

6.5.4 Issues related to caliphate and imamate

6.5.5 Some issues related to issuance of decrees in Islamic jurisprudence

And some other issues of such natures.

Yet, despite all such differences of opinion everyone agrees that if a matter is proved based on Qur’anic verses, or the tradition of the holy Prophet (PHUB), it is necessary to accept it  and to yield to it beyond any doubt or hesitation

It is necessary to point out that some people’s efforts are aimed at issuance of verdicts based on which their opponents are to be regarded as non-Muslims, because the latter believe in certain issues, or certain religious decrees.

Such an approach in this field, so long as the other side has not accepted its authenticity, is unauthentic. That is because if he had been agreed with such conditions, and believed in the above mentioned issues, he would have naturally abandoned belief in that supposedly distorted matter. Therefore, we cannot say that a person is a non-Muslim just because in our opinions the precondition for having belief is such assumptions, or yielding to such religious decrees as the denouncement of the fundamentals of Islam {or one of them}, thus paving the path for accusing him of blasphemy, disbelief, or ascribing partners for Allah.

7. It is clear that the sources of jurisprudence for the entire Islamic Ummah are the Glorious Quran and the Tradition of the Holy Prophet (PHUB), which of course has created no problem regarding the differences of opinion on relations between Quran and Tradition. For instance on such issues as “can the Tradition set conditions for putting into effect the obvious orders in general Qur’anic Verses, or not?” Or the differences of opinion in ways for issuance of a decree relying on the tradition; or the differences on issuance of different decrees based on same traditions; and finally, whether the Holy Prophet (PHUB) issued his decrees relying on authenticity of being a ruler, or that of being the Prophet (PHUB)?

8. We have been warned against instrumental resorting to accusing the others, or creating doubts about them, and about the authenticity of their beliefs

9. Quite obviously, the proximity movement has never intended to merge two, or more Islamic Schools of thought, or to integrate them into one. This movement believes that on the one hand each of these schools is inclusive of a wealth for this Ummah and civilization, and on the other hand, achieving the ideal of having just one school of Islamic thought is too idealistic, and unrealistic to be achieved.

Their reader the (Islamic Center for harmonization of schools of thought) in our beloved mother land (The Gambia} aimed to bring these theories and ideas that help to change certain bad attitudes in some of  our way of Islamic thinking and to unify the nation under the umbrella of unity, brotherhood and harmonization.

No nation in the whole world can develop without co-existence, regardless to differences in colors, mother tongues and beliefs. This last topic (Method & Literature of Understanding & Proximity) exhausted all means that can lead the Muslim Ummah to unite. It is the role of every individual citizen of this country to implement the teachings of the last topic to fight against deviation tribalism and extremism .The Muslim world today is full of troubles, killing each other, hatred, enmity and revenge. And most of those troubles resulted from the new Islamic extremism and terrorism which has destroyed the whole world peace and the nations. In order to avoid all those troubles this center is calling all Gambians to love and accept each other as one nation .May Allah the almighty shower his blessing, peace and mercy over the whole world.

In our next edition we will discuss {Islamic awakening and its Contemporary intellectual Needs).