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The Holy Land's Destiny: The Muslim Ummah Is Facing Internal And External Existential Threats

25 June 2016

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

This country is destined to be the heart of the Muslim world. Over 1.5 Muslims turn their faces toward Makkah for prayers five times a day. They long to visit the holy land at least once in their lifetime, and look up to us for aspiration and religious guidance.

It has been so since Allah told Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) to build His House, the Kaaba, in previously unknown valley of Makkah.

Since then, pilgrims have been heading from all parts of the globe toward the holy land. Great men and women led the masses. Prophets, kings, philosophers, scientists and scholars rulers of the world humbly and obediently, answered Abraham's call.

Our destiny and honor has always been to welcome, serve and accommodate the Guests of Allah and to preach His message of love, unity and tolerance.

King Abdulaziz was well aware of all that. Soon after he ruled Makkah in 1924, he called for an Islamic conference.

Delegations from India, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and other parts of the Muslim world answered the invitation. They agreed to give the honor of administrating the holy land to the government of the king of Hijaz. King's wisdom and his dedication to serve pilgrims helped in uniting Muslims and serving Islam.

After the fall of Arab and Muslim nations under Western colonial powers, as a result of the disintegration of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1923, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Saud Bin Abdulaziz raised the banner of Islamic solidarity.

The Muslim World League, under the aegis of then Crown Prince Faisal, was founded in accordance with a resolution adopted during the meeting of 22 Muslim religious leaders in the General Islamic Conference, held in Makkah, in May 1962.

King Faisal bin Abdulaziz continued what his father and brother had begun. He toured around the Muslim world, calling for solidarity of the Muslims. After Israelis burned the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, he called for an Islamic summit in Makkah. But when King Hassan II of Morocco offered to host it in Rabat in 1969, he welcomed the change of venue. Faisal was keen to have all on board, including unfriendly regimes like Egypt under President Gamal Abdul Nasser, Iraq under Baathists and Shiite Iran. The first secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (recently named as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) was Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaysia.

According to its charter, ''the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology.''

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz called for Dialogue of Civilization, an initiative that was later taken up by the United Nation. An international center was later established in Vienna in 2012 to facilitate such dialogues among religions and faiths. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre of Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to foster dialogue among people of different faiths and cultures that bridges animosities, reduces fear and instills mutual respect. He also called for dialogue among Muslim sects in an Islamic conference held in Makkah, 2008, and proposed the establishment of Center in Riyadh to facilitate it.

We need to do more much more. Today, the Muslim Ummah is facing internal and external existential threats. Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Al-Hashed Al-Shaabi, and the rest of Iran's sectarian militias are causing chaos and destruction all around. Cheerleaders, Israel and its supporters, could not be happier. The incitement against the different other, the calls for holy wars against Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is endangering our peaceful coexistence at home and with the rest of the world.

We should lead the way. Preachers of hate and division should not be tolerated. Laws must be put in place against hate speech. The Shoura Council must vote on the proposed National Unity Law no more delays and resistance! The Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Education Ministry, the Information Ministry, as well as the rest of us, should join hands, hearts and minds to fight the ''fitnah'' virus, spreading among Muslims. It is a shame that instead of focusing on building a brighter future, we dig in the past to find reasons for more division and confrontation!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi

 

  EsinIslam.Com

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