Ahmed El-Tayeb: God created people to be different in their faith, beliefs, languages and the relations we have with others is one of acquaintance and cooperation
His Eminence Dr Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders has reiterated Islam’s tolerant and noble jurisprudence which most Muslims and non-Muslims have lived happily under; during his message to primary and secondary school students of Al-Azhar institutes in the latest edition of the ‘Islamic Culture’ book which was published by the ‘Sawt Al-Azhar’ newspaper to commemorate Christmas celebrations.
The Grand Imam added, “Despite Islam’s tolerance towards those who violate its laws, abnormal ideologies began to be developed over time by certain individuals who lack the ability to deal with people from other religions which in turn deviated Islam from its original pure and graceful form.”
He went on to add, “These damaging relations have caused strife and division among people of one community until they became separated and engaged in non-ending quarrels. The concept of citizenship in Islam does not differentiate between the rights of a Muslim and a non-Muslim, therefore everyone must be equal in their homeland. There have also been false fatwas issued which prevent Muslims from congratulating their non-Muslim friends or neighbors on their holidays or comforting them in times of grief. These unfortunately contradict the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and his companions who treated non-Muslims with dignity and respect.”
The Grand Imam concluded, “I strongly advise you all to beware of corrupt thoughts that insult Christians or call for takfir of Muslims or the hate of the nation and its leaders. All these weak thoughts are deviant from Islam and its Prophet’s graceful message of charity and goodwill towards non-Muslims. We are not alone in this world, and the relations we have with others is one of acquaintance and cooperation and not of conflict or force where we offend the beliefs of others. As per Imam Ali, “People are either your siblings in religion or your counterparts in creation.” Just as we don’t like to be offended or detracted from, it isn’t permissible for us to offend others and belittle them.”