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Thursday, January 19, 2012

King Abdullah II's three-piece harmony

King Abdullah II (World Economic Forum)

When H.M. King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan introduced his World Interfaith Harmony initiative, he wisely did so in three cumulative steps.

He began with the 1425 AH/2004 CE Amman Message, the stated goal of which was “to declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not.”  As part of the development of this message, King Abdullah II had sent the following three questions to 24 of Islam’s greatest international scholars:  (1) Who is a Muslim?  (2) Is it permissible to declare someone an apostate (takfir)?  (3) Who has the right to undertake issuing fatwas (legal rulings)?

The responses he received led to these “Three Points of the Amman Message”:  First, “a precise definition of who is a Muslim” was arrived at through validating all eight Mathhabs (legal schools) - including Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadi Islam, traditional Ash’arism Islamic theology, Islamic Sufi Mysticism, and true Salafi thought.  With reference to this initial definition, takfir between Muslims was then forbidden.  Last, “the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas” was then set forth - “thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.”  The widespread adoption of the Amman Message within the overall modern-day Ummah (nation) of Islam goes a long way to assure “balanced Islamic solutions” for vital issues such as human rights and religious freedom.

The second major leap towards World Interfaith Harmony that King Abdullah II has made involves the Common Word letter.  Under King Abdullah II’s Patronage, the final version of this letter was presented
at a 2007 CE conference in Jordan.  It emphasized that “the most fundamental common ground between Islam and Christianity, and the best basis for future dialogue and understanding, is the love of God and the love of the neighbor.”

With these two groundbreaking initiatives already underway, King Abdullah II then went on to the third
harmonious piece.  At the 65th UN General Assembly, he introduced a “draft resolution for an annual World
Interfaith Harmony Week.”  This resolution was adopted in 2010 CE - and the first week of February will henceforth be dedicated each year to that noble endeavor.


Copyright January 19, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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