Opening speech by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia at the RIS 2003 Convention
Original title: 2nd Conference: Opening speech by Grand Mufti Saudi Arabia
Grand Mufti Saudi Arabia
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His servant and Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.
I greet you with the greeting of Islam and ask Allah to bless us with success. I greet you on the occasion of this Islamic conference being held in Toronto Canada that seeks to revive the spirit of Islam through following the example of Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Welcome to this noble conference. May we arrive at positive results and insightful recommendations. May we then go forth with a firm commitment to illuminate the path of truth and enlighten people about the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) according to the light of the Qur’ân and Sunnah. The Muslims are in desperate need to know about the Prophet’s life so they can truly live according to the Sunnah and realize the true expression of their belief in him. Belief is not something that we merely hope for; it is something that must be firmly planted within our hearts and expressed in our actions. Let us during this conference move forward with Allah’s blessings, and let us therein unite our hearts and our voices to produce solutions that will benefit and guide the Muslims in these distant lands. Dear brothers, at the same time we must be wary not to fall pray to the lies being circulated by our enemies. Our religion is the religion of mercy and goodness. It is not a religion of terror and affliction, as some would have the world believe. It is the blessed religion, the religion of love, as anyone who looks at it objectively will come to know.
Praise be to Allah who perfected His religion and completed his blessing for us. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent Mu`âdh and Abû Mûsâ to Yemen, he said: “Make things easy and do not make them difficult. Go to them with glad tidings, not foreboding.” He also said: “This religion is easy and no one makes it difficult without it overtaking them.”
My brothers, Islam is the religion of mercy. For those who misunderstand Islam and look at it in a negative light, allow us to show you the way and explain it to you so you can see that the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) is nothing but goodness, mercy, and guidance that ensures for those who follow it their welfare in this world and the Hereafter.
May Allah set aright the leaders of the Muslims and guide them to what pleases Him.
My dear brothers, Allah in His mercy sent His Messengers to give to humanity glad tidings and to warn them. They gave glad tidings to those who worked righteousness and warnings to those who engaged in evil. In this way, Allah established His proof against His servants. Allah calls them: “givers of glad tidings and warners, so none will have an argument against Allah after the Messengers.”
Allah who “creates what he pleases and chooses what He pleases” brought forth Messengers from among humankind. He says: “And Allah has selected Messengers from among the angels and from among humanity.” Allah selected them to call the people and guide them to His religion. The first Messenger he selected was Noah (peace be upon him). Allah says to Muhammad (peace be upon him): “I give revelation to you as I had given it to Noah and the Prophets who came after him.” Allah honored some of those Messengers above others. Allah says: “Those Messengers, some We have preferred to others. Among them are those to whom We spoke directly, and some of them we raised in station.”
Allah chose Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) to be at the forefront of these Messengers. From them he selected the two who would be His friends: Abraham and Muhammad (peace be upon them both). Finally, he chose Muhammad (peace be upon him) for the special honor of being His final Messenger and the chief of all the Prophets. Allah says: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is Allah’s Messenger and the Seal of the Prophets.” Allah sent him with a Message for all humanity, commanding him to declare: “O humanity! I am the Messenger of Allah to you all.” Allah says to him: “We did not send you except to all humanity as a giver of glad tidings and a warner.” Allah sent him to everyone, to the Arabs and the non-Arabs, to humanity as well as the Jinn. No prophet will come after him and no new scripture will be sent.
Just as he is the last of the Prophets, the book that he came with is the last of the scriptures and the community of faith that he established is the last and best community of faith to reside upon the Earth.
Allah sent him as the answer to Abraham’s prayer. After Abraham erected the House of Allah in Mecca, he called upon his Lord and said: “Our Lord! Send forth to them a Messenger from among them who will recite to them Your signs and teach them the Book and the Wisdom and purify them. Truly You are the Mighty, the Wise.”
Allah answered his prayer by sending forth Muhammad from the progeny of Abraham’s son Ishmael (peace be upon them all).
Allah sent him as a mercy to all the denizens of the Earth to remove from them their errors and deviations. The reason for this was that after Jesus (peace be upon him), the last Prophet of Israel, was taken up to his Lord, six hundred years went by. During this long stretch of time, ignorance became widespread and knowledge disappeared from sight. Truth became confused with falsehood and people lived in a state of confusion between contending sects and factions. This went on until Allah sent this noble Prophet to illuminate the world after it had been covered with darkness and to unite the hearts of the people after they had become divided. Allah declares: “I only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds.” Through him, Allah brought mercy to everyone in the world. To the believer, He brought success in this world and the Hereafter. To the unbeliever who submitted to the rule of Islam, He brought security for his life, his property, and his honor.
My respected brothers, this Prophet of ours has rights over us. The first of these is to truly believe that he is Allah’s servant and Messenger sent to all humanity to convey the Message of his Lord and to establish the proof of Allah for us and against us. We are pleased with Allah as our Lord and with Islam as our religion and with Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the Prophet and Messenger.
Allah took a covenant from all of the Prophets that if any of them lived to see Muhammad (peace be upon him), they would believe in him. Allah says: “And remember when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, saying: ‘I have given you of the Scripture and wisdom, so when Muhammad comes confirming what is with you, believe in him and support him.’ He said: ‘Do you confirm it and take it as a binding covenant?’ They said: ‘We confirm it.’ He said: ‘Then bear witness and I am with you in bearing witness.’”
Therefore, the greatest right that he has over us if that we believe in him and the universal message that he came with. The Law sent with all the previous Prophets was of limited duration, but the Law sent with Muhammad (peace be upon him) will endure until the end of time.
Allah says: “Muhammad is but a Messenger and many were the Messengers who passed away before him. So, if he dies or is killed, will you then turn on your heels? Whoever turns on his heels will not harm Allah in the least.”
Among the rights that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has over us is that we love him. The basis of this love is the basis of faith and the works that we do because of this love are the works of faith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until I become dearer to him than his children, his parents, and all humanity.”
He also said: “If anyone possesses one of three qualities, he will be able to taste the sweetness of faith. One of these qualities is for Allah and His Messenger to be dearer to him than everything else in the world.”
When `Umar said to him that he loved him more than anything else in the world save himself, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “This is not enough, O son of al-Khattâb.” Then, when `Umar responded that he loved him more than he loves even himself, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Now you have it.”
We must love him truly and sincerely. It must be a love that makes us govern our lives by the Law that he came with and refer back to Him for judgment in all of our disputations.
It is his right over us that we never prefer the opinion of anyone else to his Sunnah. We must make his Sunnah the criterion for everything else, accepting what conforms to the Sunnah and rejecting what violates it. Allah says: “Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain from it. And fear Allah, for truly Allah is severe in punishment.”
It is his right over us that we make our desires conform with the knowledge and guidance that he brought. He said: “None of you truly believes until his desires conform to what I brought.”
It is his right over us that we refer all of our disagreements to the Qur’ân and Sunnah. Allah says: “If you dispute on a matter, refer it back to Allah and His Messenger if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. This is good and it is the best understanding.”
It is his right over us that we govern ourselves and decide our affairs by his Sunnah and that we are pleased with it in our hearts and find no difficulty accepting its rulings. Allah says: “Nay! By your Lord! None of them truly believes until they come to you in judgment over their disputes and thereafter find no difficulty in themselves accepting what you decide and submit to it fully.”
Allah condemns those who fail to refer their matters to his decision except when it is in their interest to do so. Allah says: “When they are invited to Allah and His Messenger to decide among them, a group of them turn away. Then, if the right happens to be with them, they come to you in humility. Is there a disease in their hearts or are they in doubt or do they fear that Allah and His Messenger will deal unjustly with them? Nay, they are truly transgressors.”
Allah then goes on to describe the state of the believers, saying: “The believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to decide between them, merely say: ‘We hear and we obey.’ They are indeed the successful ones.”
It is his right over us that we have no option in what he has brought to us, but that we accept it and believe that it is the truth. Allah says: “It is not for the believing man or woman, if Allah and His Messenger decide a matter, to have any option about it.”
It is his right over us to that we follow his Sunnah in what we say and do. Allah says: “You have in Allah’s Messenger a most excellent example for whoever puts his hopes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah often.”
We must follow his most excellent example in the things we say and do and apply his Sunnah in all aspects of his life. In this way, we will demonstrate the genuineness of our faith. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Pray as you have seen me praying” and said: “Take from me the rites of Hajj”. His Companions have preserved for us his Sunnah, conveying to us all of his words and deeds for us to act upon. We must not deviate from his Sunnah, for following it is the realization of our faith.
It is his right over us that we do not go to extremes in our reverence for him as the Christians did with Jesus (peace be upon him) and the Jews did with Ezra. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to guide Creation to Allah and to knowledge of Allah. He was not sent to be worshipped instead of his Lord, nor was he sent for us to seek help from him instead of seeking it from Allah alone.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Stay away from extremism. Those who came before you came to ruin only because of extremism.”
He also said: “Do not extol me like the Christians extolled the son of Mary. I am but a servant, so call me the servant of Allah and His Messenger.”
He is the servant of Allah. He is a servant who is not to be worshipped and a Messenger who is not to be denied, but obeyed and followed. May Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon him forever and always.
It is his right over us that whenever we mention his name, we ask Allah to bestow upon him His peace and His blessings. Allah says: “Truly Allah and His angels invoke blessings upon the Prophet. O you who believe! Invoke blessings and peace upon him.”
Dear brothers, these are some of the rights that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has over us presented with evidence from the Qur’ân and Sunnah. We pray to Allah to make us all people who revere the Sunnah, follow the Law, and love the Prophet (peace be upon him), so we can be gathered around his fountain on the Day of Resurrection, assembled beneath his banner, and receive his intercession.
May Allah bless us with good and guide us on the path of truth. May He place us in the company of Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the abode of honor. As Allah says: “Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, they are with those upon whom Allah bestows His blessings: the Prophets, the faithful, the martyrs, and the pious. And how great is their company!”
And may Allah’s peace, mercy, and blessings be upon His servant and Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.
Shaikh Abdul Aziz al-Al Shaikh
Mufti Saudi Arabia