The following are extracts from a khutbah by Sa’dullah Khan titled Pathway to Cape Accord, delivered at Claremont Main Road Mosque on Friday 22 December 2017
Muslims and Christians currently constitute more than fifty-five percent of the world’s population. This makes the relationship between these two religious communities a significant factor in promoting harmonious coexistence between people and for contributing to meaningful peace around the world.
Headlines feed Misconceptions
Unfortunately, violent events on the nightly news provide ample ammunition for those promoting intolerance, bigotry and religious hostility. Negative headlines feed the misconception that intolerance, hate-filled rhetoric, as well as violent action and vicious reaction is the norm in religious circles.
Call for Righteous Cooperation
So, in a period where many people of faith world-wide have been commemorating the coming of Prophet Jesus over 2000 years ago; Prophet Muhammad over 1400 years ago… how close are we to the socio-ethical message and the prophetic spirit of these two great exemplars? Both preached the Golden Rule of “loving for others what you love for yourself” and both responded to the hatefulness of others with compassion.
We live in a world of religious pluralism, in a country (South Africa) where we have freedom to practice our faith … a model of multi-culturalism, hosting a diversity of faiths. As we are cognizant that people have a tendency to be passionate about what they believe, there is a growing concern that an increasing number of people seem to be intolerant o those who have a differing perspective. Often the hostility is most evident within the faith community; as we may witness inter-faith tolerance yet experience intra-faith intolerance.
Be wary of fanaticism
Whether it be inter-faith hostility or intra-faith intolerance; we should realize that we are at a crucial crossroad in our history; a period of great danger where there are tremendous tensions, terrifying crises, frightening conflicts, widespread misunderstandings as well as needless suspicions. All this fuelled to a cauldron of boiling rage by religious extremism on one hand and nefarious political interests on the other. Such fanaticism emanates from minds that are muddled, perspectives that are perverted, hearts that are hardened, and egos that are arrogant. It is obvious that such confusion, destruction, perversion, and arrogance can not emanate from any ideology attached to the Divine.
I venture to suggest that we need to move beyond unwarranted suspicion, deliberate misrepresentations, needless confrontation and preventable conflict towards positive engagement and resourceful alliances; even as we acknowledge our differences.
We need to commit to the Qur’anic call …Co-operate on the basis of that which would lead to righteousness and Allah-consciousness; and do not co-operate on that which would lead to sinfulness and animosity [al-Qur’an 5:2]
Cape Town Accord
It behoves leading organizations in our societies to synergistically ally with one another to proactively engage each other in promoting understanding and fraternal union. An alliance among Muslims that; in the face of intolerance and bigotry, could foster greater cooperation, increase efficiencies, enhance collaboration and facilitate the attainment of higher collective objectives.
In keeping with the spirit of Amman Accord, where leading Muslim scholars from over 80 countries endorsed the Amman Message in Jordan, November 2004; some leading individuals and institutions across our country; have participated in a synergetic alliance, signing an accord; to strive for upholding the dignity of Muslims and promoting a positive image of Islam. It is a commitment to avoid any Muslim individual or group to be the deliberate subject of unwarranted attack or the focus of unnecessary negative publicity.
The Cape Town Accord, being unveiled here today, is a joint commitment to the principles articulated in the Prophetic traditions… A Muslim is one from whose words and actions other Muslims are safe. [Sahih Bukhari]. A Mu’min is one in whom humanity finds security regarding their lives, dignity and belongings [Tirmidhi]
May Allah protect all of us from the scheming of conspirators, from the self-righteousness of extremists… and may He guide all of us to be means and instruments of itqān (excellence) and ihsān (goodness), with ikhlās (sincerity) and imān (faith).
Read full text of the Cape Town Accord below:
THE CAPE TOWN ACCORD
Communities United Against Hate Speech and Discord.
WHEREAS the current geo-political climate of Islamophobia, both internationally and locally, which promotes intra-faith hostility and unwarranted attacks on foremost figures, by individuals and groups within our broader faith community, compels leading organizations in our societies to connect, collaborate and understand each other to proactively engage in promoting concord, fraternal union and the eradication of extremism;
AND WHEREAS, such an alliance fosters greater connectivity, increases collaboration, promotes comprehension and enhances contribution to the attainment of the higher objectives of the Shariah;
AND WHEREAS, in the spirit of the Amman Accord, declared in Jordan in November 2006, endorsed by more than 500 leading Muslim Scholars from 84 countries, Eminent Citizens, Ministers and Heads of State of all 56 countries of the Islamic World; Scholars, Muftis and Alims of Six International bodies and the Jeddah Academy of Fiqh;
AND WHEREAS, such Amman Accord, constitutes a global and universal principle of persuasive and binding effect upon all Muslim Societies,
AND WHEREAS, we, the representatives of Communities United Against Hate Speech, Division and Discord, in the Republic of South Africa;
RECOGNISING the Prophetic Command: “The Believer is never one who taunts, curses; nor is indecent nor abusive.” [Tirmidhi, Bayhaqi]
ACKNOWLEDGING that we live in a world of religious pluralism;
APPRECIATING that South Africa is a state model of multi-culturalism and diversity of faiths;
NOTING that the right to follow one’s faith or conscience is among the basic human rights that underpins our South African Constitution;
AFFIRMING that such right resonates with the Maqasid of the Shariah in promoting the welfare and goodness of the human being;
ASSESSING the critical importance of social stability and peace for the promotion and material welfare of South African Civic Society;
DECLARING our firm resolve to dissuade and/or engage and/ or take appropriate legal action within the framework of the South African Constitution and the Chapter 9 Provisions against any individual or group who abuses the higher ethical principles of Islam as the basis for a deliberate and unwarranted attack on the dignity of a fellow South African citizen or group or entity with malicious intent, publicity and incitement to harm;
DO HEREBY, by our signatures hereunder …
SOLEMNLY AFFIRM the spirit of the Amman MESSAGE and strive to uphold the dignity of Muslims and the positive image of Islam and call upon all South African Muslims to protect, promote and advance this image as commanded by our Prophet MUHAMMED ( Upon Whom Be Peace).
EARNESTLY APPEAL to our communities to be tolerant of the differences of opinion between Muslims and NOT TO escalate intra-faith differences such as: Sufi/Salafi, Sunni/Shia, Hanafi/Shaf’i, Barelwi/Deobandi, and Liberal/Conservative Schools of Thought …
ACKNOWLEDGE that we can agree to disagree without disrespect to each other.
Dated at Cape Town, South Africa,
this 12th Rabi’-ul-Awwal 1439/1st December 2017
ISLAMIC PEACE COLLEGE OF SOUTH AFRICA (IPSA)
MASJIDUL QUDS INSTITUTE
CLAREMONT MAIN RD MOSQUE
AL GHAZALI COLLEGE
AL ANSAAR FOUNDATION
ZEENATUL ISLAM MOSQUE
ABUBAKR SIDDIQUE MOSQUE