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Grand Mufti of Egypt Abdel Karim Allam takes pot shots against hardline groups within Islam:The Economic Times

Mar 19, 2016 NEW DELHI: Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawki Ibrahim Abdel Karim Allam has taken pot shots against certain hardline groups within Islam for

Mar 19, 2016

NEW DELHI: Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawki Ibrahim Abdel Karim Allam has taken pot shots against certain hardline groups within Islam for misinterpreting jihad and espousing extremism.

Speaking at the World Sufi conference in Delhi on Friday, Abdel Karim Allam noted that many different groups have emerged in Arab and Islamic societies in numerous different guises, names, and ideologies. “They preach the Islamic system and way of life and strive to return Muslim societies to the right path. But herein lies the problem. None of these groups pursues spiritual reform as the basis for returning to Allah the Almighty and for individual and social reform.”

Some of them focused only on political reform, maintaining that governance is the basis for everything. However, the experience, or rather the numerous experiences, in Egypt and elsewhere are a testament to the failure of this theory, the Grand Mufti noted. “Those groups did not revise their stance, but sought to correct their mistake only to commit another. Their political struggle shifted to militant terrorism that has inevitably pushed them toward self-destruction.”

Some others ostensibly advocated a return to the way of al-Salaf al-Salih without paying due attention to the moral dimension. If they did indeed grasp the truth, spirituality, essence, moral refinement, wisdom, and the intellectual and methodological enlightenment of the Salaf, they would not have been downed by appearances and taken the people down with them. Some other groups took an excommunicative approach, espousing violence and terrorism. They misinterpreted the verses on jihad, accused Muslims of disbelief, and maintained the lawfulness of killing peaceful civilians from among the People of the Book. They tarnished the image of Islam, projected it as a terrorist, violent, and uncivilized religion, and made it a laughing stock in the eyes of all nations,” the Mufti said in his speech that had resonance of PM Narendra Modi’s speech at the key conference, a day before.

“They found support in the enemies of Allah and Islam who supply them with arms and wealth. So deep is the conviction of the enemies of Islam that those groups represent the greatest destructive power that can succeed to defeat Islam where warships, warplanes, tanks, and bombs have failed, that they furnish them with the means for their power and survival.”

“To all of those groups, we say you have gone astray. You contradicted the teachings of the Qur`an and deviated from the Prophet’s guidance. You reaped nothing save what is detrimental to Islam. You tarnished the true Islamic beliefs in the eyes of non-Muslims. You are nothing but a source of distress and suffering for the people!”

Pointing out that true Sufism has great potential in the struggle against terrorism and extremism, the Grand Mufti noted Sufism can defend the true teachings of Islam and its image, as well as defend homelands, which are the substance for their citizens’ hopes and the protectors of their security and future. Sufism is moreover capable of acting as a guardian of societal peace and coexistence due to its prevalence across the globe.

It is worthwhile to invest the wide proliferation of Sufism and the great number of followers it has attracted in the battle against terrorism and radicalism.

“Throughout history and especially during times of crises, Sufism served as the most prominent religious, political and social exponent of Islam, not only in the domain of proselytization but also in the jihad against imperialism and defense of homelands. It is therefore of crucial importance to connect and coordinate between licensed Sufi orders. At this point, I would like to commend the pioneering event of the World SufiForum that is hosting this important conference in the sister Republic of India and the tremendous efforts expended to unite Sufis and develop initiatives that have made true Sufism part of the solution in a chaotic world full of challenges. From this platform, I call upon coordinating the efforts of Sufi scholars to introduce positive Sufi values into the academic curricula of the different stages of education. I also propose hosting Sufi sheikhs of good repute and scholarship to take part in religious and cultural activities at universities and youth centers and publishing introductory and organizational Sufi material and books by Sufi luminaries. It is equally important to use the internet as a key tool for the same purpose,” according to Grand Mufti.

“I invite you to invest major conferences and events not only to raise awareness about Sufi teachings, but also to disseminate their proper understanding and utilize them to create aversion to extremism through different channels such as lectures, brochures, and posters. We must also utilize social media to promote positive Sufi ethics and virtues such as patience, perseverance, obedience to Allah’s rulings, piety, righteousness and so forth, which are of particular appeal to the youth, thus imbuing religious rites with true heartfelt emotions…instilling the concepts of true Sufism is indeed the first step in the effort to defeat terrorist ideology that operates under the guise of Islam,” he noted