Category Archives: General

Extremists distorting message of Islam by manipulating religious texts: Lecture

ABU DHABI, Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance and bestows mercy upon everyone, but extremists have sought to distort its message by sowing fear and confusion with their manipulation of religious texts, scholars Abdulrahman Saeed Ali Al Shamsi and Maria Mohamed Ali Al Hatali, told a packed house at the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed on Wednesday.

During the course of their panel discussion, titled The Manipulation of Religious Texts by Extremists, Al Shamsi and Al Hatali said extremist groups had misinterpreted sacred texts from the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Hadiths, using them to serve their own agendas and political goals. The discussion was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, as well as other dignitaries.

Al Shamsi, Director of the Preaching Department at the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE), and Al Hatali, Chief Preacher at GAIAE, said extremist groups have always sought to use fiery and passionate rhetoric, shunning the language of reason and logic, to try and sway the public, especially the impressionable youth. They have also steered clear of the true scientific approach followed by scholars to protect Islam and its tolerant values from misrepresentation, distortion and ignorant interpretations.

The extremist groups have attempted to distort Quranic concepts and prophecies by quoting Sharia texts out of their historical and scientific contexts, the Majlis heard. They have also chosen to ignore the specific context within which the Quranic verses were revealed and the hadiths uttered, Al Shamsi, who is also co-preacher at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and Al Hatali, a member of the Committee for the Preparation of Preaching Content, pointed out. They said extremists had confused fundamental verses with abrogated ones, the general with the specific, and the absolute with the restricted, as well as other essential concepts that were key to understanding religious texts on which genuine scholars have based their interpretation.

For instance, the extremists had tried to distort the concept of Hijra (the peaceful migration of Muslims to countries where they would be spared persecution), in the Quranic verse: “He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah, finds in the earth Many a refuge, wide and spacious: Should he die as a refugee from home for Allah and His Messenger, His reward becomes due and sure with Allah: And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” Verse (4:100) These extremists groups have wrongly interpreted this verse to mean that Muslims should migrate from the house of Kufr (disbelief in Allah) to the house of Islam, claiming that Muslims dwell in the house of Kufr if they have to live and interact with non-Muslims, the panelists said. They have incorrectly urged people to head out of their safe homelands and abandon their stable lives to migrate to a place of conflict and unrest.

Yet, the migration referred to was specific to the time of the Prophet, when people did not enjoy freedom of belief and religion and their lives and property were under constant threat from the Quraish tribe in Mecca. That is when God ordered them to migrate to Medina, and this migration ended with the Conquest of Mecca. The Prophet’s Hadith clearly states: “There is no Hijra after the Conquest.” The extremists have instead deliberately taken this out of context.

They have similarly manipulated textual references to jihad which speak of the necessity of defending the homeland. The groups have distorted these references to suggest that Muslims should fight those who disagree with their belief at all times and places, by selectively quoting the Quranic verse: “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them.” Verse (9:5) There is nothing to indicate that the Prophet fought Mecca’s polytheists because they disagreed with his beliefs. Even when he led an army against them, it was to make sure that the battle was not fought on his land, with the understanding that hostilities would end the moment Mecca’s polytheists ceased their aggression: “And if they incline towards peace, you should also incline towards it.” Verse (8:61).

Clearly, there is nothing to support the extremists’ claim that those who hold different beliefs should be attacked, and it provides another instance of how extremist groups act contrary to the Prophet’s teachings. Nor would the Prophet have fought those who disagreed with his beliefs for the Quran is full of verses that speak of forgiveness, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

The panelists concluded by saying that the community had a responsibility to counter the extremists’ discourse by highlighting the humanitarian, tolerant and moderate values of Islam. The extremists’ attempts at distorting the message of Islam has to be defeated and replaced instead with teachings that spring from genuine, tolerant Islam, they said. Spreading its true message of peace and equality, accurately and powerfully, is the need of the hour.

Source: Emirates News Agency

President receives written message from King Salman

ABU DHABI, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, received today a written message from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, inviting him to attend the 14th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, to be held in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the message as he received Turki Al Dakhil, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the UAE, at Al Bateen Palace.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and Al Dhakhil exchanged greetings on the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Saudi diplomat conveyed the greetings of King Salman to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and his best wishes for further progress, prosperity and welfare to the people of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed reciprocated the greetings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, expressing sincere wishes of more development and security for the people of Saudi Arabia.

Source: Emirates News Agency

OIC condemns attacks on commercial vessels near UAE’s territorial waters

JEDDAH, The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, has strongly condemned the sabotage of commercial vessels near the territorial waters of the UAE in the Gulf of Oman.

In a statement today, the OIC said that this sabotage action threatens the security and safety of international maritime traffic, calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to ensure maritime traffic and safety, and to ensure the stability of the security of the region.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UNHCR, ERC, Nashwa Al Ruwaini Charity Foundation hold Ramadan Iftar charity benefit

ABU DHABI, The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, and the Nashwa Al Ruwaini Charity Foundation held a Ramadan Iftar charity event to collect donations for refugees around the world.

Organised by the Pyramedia Media Consultancy and Production Group, the ceremony, which was held at the Majlis Tent in Al Hudayriat Island, Abu Dhabi, was attended by many public figures, philanthropists, experts and journalists.

During the event, the UNHCR screened a film documenting the suffering of refugees, and Khaled Khalifa, Regional Representative of the UNHCR to the Gulf Cooperation, GCC, Countries, spoke about the UAE’s role in assisting refugees, and expressed the UNHCR’s appreciation for the efforts of the UAE and its leadership in supporting international refugee programmes.

He also commended the partnership between the UNHCR and the ERC and thanked the foundation for hosting the charity event.

In his speech, Houssam Chahine, UNHCR Regional Private Sector Partnerships Manager in the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, Region, said, “We are honoured to cooperate with the ERC, the Nashwa Al Ruwaini Charity Foundation and Pyramedia in organising this event during the Holy Month of Ramadan, to assist refugees and support the poor, especially needy families, families of widows and the elderly, and families who care for orphans.” The event is an opportunity to collect donations for refugees, he added.

“We are here today during the Holy Month of Ramadan, the month of giving and sacrifice, to remember our kin who are facing difficult conditions and had to leave their homes, communities, jobs and even their families and parents to save their lives and find shelter and protection,” Nashwa Al Ruwaini said.

“This is also the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, which demands caring for the needy and underprivileged regardless of their religion, race and language, wherever they are,” she added while calling on everyone to donate money, to support refugees and give them a better life.

Source: Emirates News Agency