Invitation to Endorse the Amman Statement on Islam
by Sheila Musaji
In 2005 at the behest of the Kingdom of Jordan, Muslim scholars came together and issued what has come to be known as the Amman Statement.
This truly historic document was produced and signed by 200 leading scholars and ulama from 50 countries. The document dealt with three primary issues: (1) Who is a Muslim?; (2) Is it permissible to declare someone an apostate (takfir)?; and (3) Who has the right to undertake issuing fatwas (legal rulings)?
According to Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad in a July 2007 interview in the Washington Post:
1. They specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash’arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim. 2. Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims. 3. Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.
These Three Points were then unanimously adopted by the Islamic World’s political and temporal leaderships at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005. And over a period of one year from July 2005 to July 2006, the Three Points were also unanimously adopted by six other international Islamic scholarly assemblies, culminating with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah (the Islamic World’s leading juridical body), in July 2006. In total, over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide—as can be seen online (at http://www.ammanmesage.com)—unanimously endorsed the Amman Message and its Three Points.
The signed, universal Islamic Consensus on the Amman Message and its Three Points is of the greatest importance because it amounts to a historical, universal and unanimous religious and political consensus (ijma’) of the Ummah (nation) of Islam in our day, and a consolidation of traditional, orthodox Islam. The significance of this is: (1) that it is the first time in over a thousand years that the Ummah has formally and specifically come to such a pluralistic mutual inter-recognition; (2) that such a recognition is religiously legally binding on Muslims since the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: My Ummah will not agree upon an error (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith no.4085), and (3) that it addresses one of the most critical problems facing Muslims today: lack of agreement about what constitutes Islam, and thus lack of agreement about who is a Muslim and what is truly ‘Islamic’.
This much is true: any of the Muslims who are drawn to jihadist violence, or to strident forms of political Islam, are indifferent to, or ignorant of, the nuances of theology; that makes them susceptible to “amateur” fatwas. But as a French scholar, Olivier Roy, points out, it doesn’t follow that such people—when presented with sophisticated religious arguments—would change their mind. In many cases, they have a general aversion to the idea of elaborate theology.
However, what proper awareness, education and understanding of the Amman Message and its Three Points, might well do, God Willing, is prevent 99.99% of Muslims from being influenced by illegitimate fatwas and sliding into takfir and terrorism, as a visceral over-reaction to poverty, injustice and mistakes in Western foreign policy. After all, God says in the Holy Qur’an:
O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for God in equity, and let not hatred of any people make you swerve from justice. Deal justly, that is nearer to piety. Observe your duty to God. Lo! God is Informed of what ye do. (Al-Ma’idah, 5:8)
Finally, proper awareness of The Amman Message, may also, by exposing the illegitimate opinions of radical fundamentalists and terrorists from the point of view of true Islam, help in preventing calls in the West for hostility against Muslims as such. As George Yeo, the Foreign Minister of Singapore, declared in the 60th Session of the U.N. General Assembly (about the Amman Message): “Without this clarification, the war against terrorism would be much harder to fight”. It thus may help to prevent a wider conflict between the over 55% of the world’s population: approximately 2.1 billion Christians and 1.4 billion Muslims….”
It is now possible for all Muslims who believe in the importance of this to sign their names as endorsers of The Amman Statement. Please go to http://ammanmessage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&lang=en and sign this statement today.
Our scholars have spoken out clearly in this statement, and they now there is an opportunity for ordinary Muslims to endorse the statement and let the world know that we stand firmly behind them.
The Amman Initiative: A Theological Counter-Attack Against Terrorism, S. Abdallah Schleifer
International Islamic Conference in Amman, Sheila Musaji