In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of the universe, and may God’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions.
Statement of the Forum for Promoting Peace on Afghanistan
A call for peace and working together for harmony August 21, 2021
Since its inception, the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslims Societies has made working for peace, both in principle and in practice, its foremost objective. Hundreds of scholars, intellectuals, and opinion-makers from all over the world have participated in the conferences and programs that have been held by the Forum over the years. We base these efforts on sound theological principles and effective means of communication. Our efforts arise out of a firm conviction of the critical importance of peace as an objective that preserves the five universal aims of the Shariah: preservation of faith, life, intellect, family, and property. Such a conviction stems from various Qur’anic teachings, such as the verse, “O you believe, enter into peace wholeheartedly” (2:208), as well as authentic hadiths that enjoin people to spread peace and to greet others with peace, particularly the hadith that states, “Three characteristics exist in which the one who embodies them possesses all of faith: holding yourself accountable, bringing peace to the world, and charity even when in need.”
Over the years, the Forum for Promoting Peace has worked in various arenas, starting with the Islamic community, in which leaders from every Muslim country as well as Muslims from various other regions all over the world participated. Then, with the New Alliance of Virtue, the Forum began to work together with other faith-based communities and humanitarians. None of these programs and initiatives conflict with Islamic teachings, nor do they contradict the realities of the time in which we live—for today, we are all neighbors to one another on this planet.
These efforts—the projects, conferences, research, and studies carried out by scholars and specialists from all over the world—have provided, praise be to God, a noteworthy knowledge base for others to draw upon. We invite our brothers in Afghanistan as well as others around the world to make use of it. Therefore, out of fraternity, love, and compassion for our fellow Muslims, we at the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies based in the United Arab Emirates turn to our brothers in Afghanistan, who have endured forty years of brutal conflict and instability, at this critical stage in the history of this country, to emphasize the following:
- Spread peace among yourselves: securing and preserving peace is vitally important, as evidenced by explicit religious texts and confirmed by a wise reading of history.
- Bring peace to the world: this phrase, taken from God’s Messenger, is a great statement, worthy of contemplating, as the terms contain profound meanings. What does it mean to bring peace to the world? We see the world waiting for Afghanistan to facilitate a safe passage for all its residents who wish to leave without harming the country or its security. The world awaits Afghanistan to become an abode of peace, and whoever knows war surely loves peace. The world hopes to see the Afghan people at peace in their hearts, as well as peace in their words and deeds. So, what does Afghanistan hope for from the world? One may presume that Afghanistan expects peace and respect from the world, as well as assistance in development and reconstruction efforts. All this can only happen in an atmosphere of comprehensive peace.
- A beautiful portrayal of Islam: The Prophet was keen on preserving the good image of Islam. This can be seen in the incident wherein he responded to someone who asked to kill those accused of working with the enemy, saying, “People will not say that Muhammad kills his companions.” This shows his eagerness, peace and blessings be upon him, for preserving the purity of the image of Islam.
- The importance of engaging with the contemporary age while adhering to our teachings: Our contemporary age presents a set of concepts and values, with the prevalence of terms such as freedoms, human rights, the rights of women and children, and citizenship. Our age is distinguished by its intermingling of civilizations and intermarriage of cultures, constantly changing, with astonishing developments from the atomic to the galactic. As for our teachings, they are followed by adhering to texts, higher principles, and maxims. These were summarily presented by Ibn al-Qayyim as the universals of justice, mercy, wisdom, and benefit. Therefore, the lenient objectives of the Shariah are sufficient for allowing a peaceful and even amicable coexistence on earth in a spirit of tolerance and cooperation.
- The need to actively utilize the instruments of jurisprudential effort to arrive at Shariah compliant solutions (ijtihād): these are found in the various Islamic schools of thought and include the juristic equity (istiḥsan) of the Hanafi school, the consideration of public interests (al-maslahah al-mursalah) of the Malikis, the preclusion of the means to vice (sadd al-d arāʾiʿ), as well as the preservation of the means to virtue (fatḥ al-d arāʾiʿ) in the Maliki and Hanbali schools. In addition, custom (ʿurf) is a principle that all Islamic schools utilized, especially the Hanafi school, in which weak opinions are given preference should they conform with pre-existing practice, as stated by Sheikh Ibn Abidīn. All these instruments help the master jurist (mujtahid) in dealing with issues of governance, the penal system, as well as general cases and contemporary legal responsa, without violating any explicit religious text, authentic hadith, accepted consensus, or any unequivocal analogy.
- Realizing the impact of the time and changing realities: in particular, this reality led to Imam Abu Hanifa’s two companions disagreeing with some of the Imam’s legal responsa and later led to some scholars diverging from the opinions of the other juristic schools’ eponymous imams in some rulings. Indeed, lived realities remain an essential aspect of appropriately determining and applying rulings—this is evidenced by the text-proofs and juristic principles, and is highlighted by the practices of the rightly guided early generations in the fatwas of their time and place.
- Utilizing the magnificent Shariah’s objective of ease: this is one of the characteristics of this religion, as mentioned in various religious texts, such as the Qur’anic verses, “He has laid no hardship upon you in the religion” (22:78); “God intends ease for you—He does not want hardship for you” (2:185); and “It is God’s will to lighten your burdens, for mankind was created weak” (4:28). Bringing ease is also one of the foundational legal maxims, “Hardship results in the necessity of ease,” just as it is one of the higher objectives of the Shariah, as stated by Imam Al- Shatibi. Therefore, we believe that many contemporary issues can be encompassed in a broad- minded interpretation and deep understanding of the purposes of the Shariah and within the framework of justice. “God commands justice and benevolence” (Qur’an, 16:90). We believe, therefore, that it is possible to harmonize and adapt to this principle without deviating from the boundaries and regulations of the Shariah.
- The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the fragility of the human race and the need for cooperation and solidarity among humanity, as the inhabitants of this planet are like passengers of one ship, as illustrated in the authentic hadith, governed by one path and compelled by a shared destiny, such that no one can survive without the others.
- Based on the above, the Forum for Promoting Peace in Abu Dhabi, based on its diligent work to promote the values of peace not just in Muslim lands but throughout the world, stands ready to share its experience with our brothers, the scholars in Afghanistan, and to help in everything that would bring benefit, security, and more stability,
The Prophet Muhammad said, “A good word is charity.” That is our call and our prayer, and we ask God to make our last prayer, “Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds, and peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.”
August 21, 2021