The Twelfth General Conference:Islam and Mutations of the Epoch
In the Name of Allah The All-Merciful, The Ever- Merciful
Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Hamdy Zaqzouq
Life, by nature, is in constant and renewed motion, and man as a
part of this universe, submits to the Divine laws in it. But Allah wanted
him to be distinguished from other beings with attributes that are not
available to other living or non-living beings. On top of these attributes
comes the human mind.
For this reason, Allah made man successor in the earth, honored him
and entrusted him with inhabiting this universe materially and morally.
This means that man, by Allah's will, is deemed responsible for this
universe, which Allah has subjected everything in it to him, as the Qur'an
says, "And He has subjected to you whatsoever in the heavens and
whatsoever in the earth, altogether from Him. Surely, in that are signs for
people who meditate". (Al-Jathiyah: 13).
The universe is full of Divine signs. But only those who use their
minds and intellectual capabilities can recognize them, as stated in the
above mentioned Verse, and this will not be accomplished but through
knowledge, which Allah has provided man with so that he can recognize
Allah's cosmic and human signs in the proper way, and take, meanwhile,
his responsibility for inhabiting this universe, and making life easier in it.
Knowledge is limitless. Hence, Allah instructed Muhammad
(P.B.U.H) to ask him to increase his knowledge as the Qur'an says, "And
say: Lord, increase me in knowledge": (Taha: 114).
The World around us witnesses daily huge scientific advancements,
the last of which was discovering the minutes of the human genome in the
few last weeks. This discovery is seen as a new scientific revolution not
less, in value, than space invasion or landing on the moon.
It is worth mentioning the fact that whenever the scientists score, the
area of ignorance gets wider before them, and thus, they exert intense
efforts to discover more. How abundant is that which man is ignorant of,
Allah has wanted man to be bound to seeking knowledge to the Day of
So, one wonders: Where are the Muslims in all of that? Are they not
urged, on religious grounds, to look for Allah's signs in the universe and in
man? Where are they in this constant scientific confinement, which is real
Jihad in the cause of Allah?
Surely, seeking knowledge is a duty on every male and female
Muslim, and is a worship as well, and the angels contract their wings to
the knowledge seeker as a sign of satisfaction for what he is doing.
Moreover, scholars in the Islamic vision are the most fearful of Allah:
"Surely, only men of knowledge are the ones of His bondmen who are
apprehensive of Allah" (Fatir:28).
This means that Muslims, according to the teachings of their
religion, must be leading the garrison of knowledge. And if it is imperative
for them to be as such in any age, it becomes more imperative and more
persisting to be as such in our present time, as we live in an age whenever
he who owns knowledge owns power, entertains aspect, and can fulfil
Allah's will to inhabit this universe. Hence, it is not permissible for
Muslims to drop behind the convoy of knowledge, and no excuse can be
accepted from them in this regard, as the issue of science and its
applications has become the main concern of contemporary world,
especially after the communication, information, and technology
revolution, and finally the discovery of the human genome.
Within this turbulent flow of science and technology, we felt an
urgent need to assign one of the conferences held by the Supreme Council
for Islamic Affairs to study, that is, the twelfth conference which was held
in the first half of June under the title "Towards a Civilized Project for the
Renaissance of the Muslim World- Islam and Mutations of the Epoch"
with the aim of manifesting the great importance of this issue which the
Ummah should do her best to ingrain it into the awareness of the Muslim
masses. It is unbelievable that the developed world is doing its best to erase
the technological illiteracy among its subjects, while the Muslim world is
still suffering from alphabetical illiteracy, as it is an unacceptable situation
for a nation with such a record of civilization that history knows, and with
such religious teachings and values which motivated her to the foremost in
advancement and elevation.
The scholars who participated in this conference were up to the duty,
their contribution was rich, their enthusiasm was great, and their
participation was effective, and, no doubt, all of this will contribute to the
awakening of the awareness of the Ummah, activating its memory, and
urging it to change, which is a law of life.
Science is our means to change the situation of the Muslim Ummah,
as it has lost a lot, and has wasted its efforts in conflicts and disputes that
paralyzed its effectiveness and crippled its movements. So, there is no
chance for the Ummah nowadays to keep itself busy with marginal issues
and disputes that serve no purpose. This trend was clearly manifested in
the papers that were delivered to the conference, and the discussions that
enriched its sessions.
We, as usual, are about to issue a complete volume of the
proceedings and events of the Twelfth Conference. However, we have
made it customary to issue for the reader, after each conference, a booklet
comprising the words that were delivered in the opening session, some
lectures, as well as the declaration and the recommendations concluded by
the conference, in order that the reader may come to know some
important events of the conference until we issue the complete volume by
the beginning of next year, Allah willing. We ask Allah that this may
motivate the will, incite the determination, and ignite the enthusiasm of
the Muslim Ummah to go ahead racing with the aim of catching up with
the gigantic scientific and technological advancement, so that it may find a
place for itself on the world map in the new century.
Allah is the Reckoner for us, and how excellent is the Ever-Trusted
Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq
Minister of Al-Awqaf (Endowments).