The Fourteenth General Conference : The Truth about Islam in a Changing World
The Minister's Introduction
In the Name of ‘Allâh, The All-Merciful The Ever-Merciful
By: Prof. Dr. Mahműd Hamdî Zaqzűq Minister of ‘Awqâf (Endowments)
Islâm has never been exposed all through its history to such a voracious campaign as the one of today, specially through the huge media controlled by prejudiced minds, and suspicious quarters that are intentionally disparaging the image of Muslims and Islam. They seem determined to implant hatred for all that is Arab and Muslim.
Those disparagers take the occasion of September 11, 2001, a pretext to spread their venomous attacks against Muslims and Islam. However, we have not come here to defend Islam, for, from the very outset, Islâm has been declared as a mercy to all mankind. That is how the Glorious Qur'ân expresses through Divine Revelation to Muhammad that ‘Allâh exalted be He) “And in no way have We sent you Muhammad) except as a mercy to the worlds.” “Al- ‘Anbiyâ’ = The Prophets, 107:”
Again, Islâm has come to establish the eminent values of truth and justice, and to implant the pillars of morality; and this has been emphasized by Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy, when he said, “Surely I have been sent forth only to perfect righteous morals.” (1) So, actually Islâm is in no need for us to defend it.
But the trumpets of evil are raging, the darkness of falsehood is brute and the voice of hatred and malice is so loud that the light of truth has been impeded from reaching people of reason and understanding. That is why so many misconceptions and falsehoods about Islâm have been propagated abroad, and have taken firm hold of many Westerners, in an unprecedented manner. It is probable that such ideas have been intensified by what the modern has developed in the way of immense developments and revolutions in the means of communication, satellites, internet and other mass media.
So, our religion of mercy has been associated, in the minds of vast areas of Western common people, with terrorism, extremism, fanaticism, and other forms of prejudice towards aliens and hostility to development and culture.
Such an attitude can never be ignored, for "those ignoring the truth are silent devils"; and in no way should we as Muslims stand helpless, and do nothing in face of such atrocious attacks. Indeed, although we have said that Islâm is no need for defence, it is in great need for us to acquaint the West with the outstanding image of its culture and humanitarian aspects. So we have to present to the whole world, in all languages, the lucid teachings of Islâm to provide all races the truth of our religion from its authentic sources. This would help towards rebutting all queer interpretations about Islâm offered by some ignorant Muslim groups. Such ignorant groups all found in all different cultures and religions, but are kept away from being attributed to such religions, as they are insistently falsely alleged to Islâm.
Our attitude towards Islâm is unfortunately similar to that of a merchant who owns good commodities and another with inferior ones. Such a comparison, which is far-fetched, speaks of the owner of the lower commodities as more proficient in advertising than the other one to the extent that his commodities achieve much greater success.
Thus, we as Muslims have fallen shortest of presenting a truly characteristic image of our religion; for, many of us, who have taken upon themselves the honorable duty of presenting true Islâm to others, are unaware that they distant it by dealing with minor issues, which are far from the basic concepts and traditions.
Such dangerous distortions has made it necessary, on our part, to focus on basic reality of Islâm in this Annual Conference of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. To present the supreme values of our religion in a vastly changing world some of our eminent Muslim scholars, from Egypt and our Muslim countries, are generously participating in this Conference. The Supreme Council is decidedly keen on publishing the articles and discussions of this Conference through all possible media.
Finally, it gives us great pleasure to offer to our readers in Egypt and throughout the Arab and Muslim countries the volume that comprises the articles and discussions of this Conference held under the gracious auspicious of our dear President Muhammad Husnî Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, bearing the title.
“The Reality of Islâm in a changeable World.”
“And favor from ‘Allâh is over and above our deeds.”
24th Muharram 1424 AH 27th March 2003 AD
(1) This Hadith is reported by ‘Al Bukhâri in "Unique Morals".