In a crowded public gathering, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, lectures Indonesian youths and scholars on the pivotal role of national unity in facing crises


The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar likens "Islamic civilization" to "a glowing ember" that never extinguishes despite what is heaped upon it.


The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar: No civilization has endured for 14 centuries despite devastating blows, except for Islamic civilization 


The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders: The nation that placed humanity on the clear path has now reached a point of weakness and retreat


From Indonesia, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar emphasizes that division and internal strife are the weak points through which colonizers penetrated Muslim lands 


The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, warns of a phenomenon capable of demolishing Muslim society and destroying it from its foundations


The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar warns against the audacity of declaring others as infidels, corrupt, or heretical, and justifying the violation of lives, honor, and property


From Indonesia, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar calls for diligence and action, following the example of nations that operate and strategize in silence 



The Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta held a public meeting today with His Eminence Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, on the occasion of his visit to Indonesia. The event was attended by university professors, researchers, Indonesian students from various universities, several ministers, ambassadors, and heads of religious institutions, and was under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia.

In his speech during this public event, which focused on "The Unity of the Ummah in Facing Challenges," the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders emphasized that the Muslim nation illuminated the entire world after it had been engulfed in darkness from all sides. This Ummah, he noted, corrected the course of humanity with its Noble Quran and its Great Messenger, setting humanity once again on a clear path, a path as bright as daylight, from which only the doomed deviate. "The Muslim Ummah is currently afflicted, as you know, with symptoms akin to those of endemic diseases," His Eminence added. "Addressing one symptom often leads to grappling with a myriad of others, leaving the efforts exhausted."

He stated that those who contemplate the greatness and strength of Islamic civilization, which was founded on justice and fairness, will be greatly astonished when they look at what it has now become. Although it has not disappeared or vanished, it has undoubtedly reached a state of weakness and withdrawal that is hard to miss by the eyes of Muslims themselves before non-Muslims.

His Eminence further stressed that one of the marvels of this civilization is that, even while it suffers from frailty, it inspires boundless hope for recovery, revival, and renewal. It resembles a glowing ember that never extinguishes despite the layers of thick ash that accumulate on it from time to time throughout its long, bright history. People are unaware, even to this moment, of any civilization that has persisted and remained steadfast for fourteen centuries despite the deadly blows it has faced and continues to face, other than the civilization of Islam and Muslims.


The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar continued, stating that this civilization, with its glorious history, now finds itself begging from the West for its philosophies, cultures, educational methods, social structures, and economies. It is as if its people, once custodians of knowledge, literature, philosophy, legislation, history, and arts, have been reduced to a primitive nation emerging from the graves of history. They seem to have lost all knowledge of humanity, having not been illuminated by a refined civilization in the East or West for centuries. He identified the affliction of this nation as internal division, discord, and conflict—a pernicious malady that historically served as the weak point through which colonizers infiltrated Muslim lands in the past two centuries. This same insidious malady now allows Western colonization to creep in afresh in the twenty-first century.

Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam warned that the maxim "divide and conquer," which we learned as children, is now being repurposed under banners of clash of civilizations, creative chaos, globalization, and the end of history, raised here and there in Muslim countries to either subjugate them under it or to incite them to fight each other, acting as proxies for the new colonizers. This occurs despite our constant recitation of the Qu’ran every morning and evening, our competitive spirit in teaching it to children, and our pride in their ability to memorize and recite it. The Quran warns Muslims relentlessly, echoing day and night with the verse: "Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not dispute with one another, or you would be discouraged and weakened. Persevere! Surely Allah is with those who persevere" [Anfal: 46].

His Eminence the Grand Imam posed a poignant question that everyone concerned about Da’wa must address: How can Muslims reconcile among themselves? This pressing query casts a shadow over the current landscape, where Da'wa discourse, entrusted to du'āh (callers to Islam), often fuels division and fragmentation among Muslims rather than fostering unity. This has led to intense animosity among the youth: How many sects in the realm of da'wa now stand behind the mutual antipathy among Muslim youth, inciting them against each other? Where have the critical issues of the Muslim nation gone from the concerns of these young male and female preachers and du'āh? Do these major issues not deserve a single slot in their agendas that almost forbid what is lawful and allow what is forbidden?

He further questioned whether the Muslim youth are as informed about Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque and their plight as they are about the doctrinal disputes between Ash'aris, Salafis, and Sufis. Do they devote as much research to the reality of their nation as they do to trivial disputes that have outlived their relevance? Do they accept their academic syllabi as readily as they accept the books or pamphlets of this preacher or that? How do we steer our youth away from imposed division, towards Muslim unity, and engage them in a fiqh (jurisprudence) where the voluntary blends with the obligatory, and the disliked with the prohibited?

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar pointed out that the distinctions among the five Sharia rulings have blurred or nearly disappeared, with families in the Islamic community preoccupied with minor issues not mandated for action, neglecting critical issues of profound consequence in Islamic law. These include honoring parents, kindness to neighbors, the value of work and time, cleanliness, mercy towards people, and other moral and social duties that have been relegated to the margins in this strange jurisprudence. He highlighted another factor driving the nation towards this bleak path: the blatant manipulation of the jurisprudence of the four Imams, imposing a new legal framework that obliges people with what is not obligatory and what cannot be reasonably considered obligatory, such as optional prayers before Maghrib or specific types of grains for Zakat al-Fitr, unfamiliar to the majority of the nation and not practiced in their mosques as endorsed by our trusted jurists.

His Eminence emphasized the urgent need to address a phenomenon that could severely undermine Islamic society and dismantle it from its foundations if left unchecked by proper jurisprudence and clear, pure knowledge. This phenomenon is the audacity of declaring others as infidels (takfir), corrupt (fasiq), and innovators (mubtadi'), along with the reckless behavior that justifies violating lives, honor, and property. How can such ideas proliferate in a community where scholars and leaders from all three schools of thought have universally agreed on foundational principles? We were taught these in the corridors of Al-Azhar as young students. These principles include the following: "We do not declare anyone from the people of the Qibla (direction of prayer) as non-believers. We pray behind every righteous and sinful person, and nothing expels one from Islam except the denial of what brought them into it." Such principles have preserved the cohesion and unity of the Muslim nation throughout history, rooted in the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in an authentic hadith: "He who prays our prayer, faces our Qibla and eats our slaughtered meat is a Muslim under the protection of Allah and His Messenger. Do not betray Allah in his protection."

At the conclusion of his speech, the esteemed Grand Imam urged the nation's people to commit to diligence and action, stressing that the time is now for serious work, not just speeches and sermons. The nations around us operate in eerie silence, with intense cunning and strategy, and we have grown weary of words that do not translate into action on the ground. I remind you of the golden words of Imam Malik, the Imam of Dar al-Hijrah - may Allah be pleased with him and grant him peace - who said, "I dislike speaking about matters that are not accompanied by action."



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