Text of my Welcoming Speech at the recent Public Lecture by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, held in conjunction with the launch of the ‘Traveling Light” DVD series and fundraising for the Cambridge New Mosque Project and Islamic Outreach ABIM charity activities.
Al-Hamdulillah, wa Sallallah wa Sallama `Ala Sayyidina Rasulillah, wa Alihi wa Sahbihi wa Man Walah, Wa Ba`du;
Our honorable guests Shaykh Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad, Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, Muhammad Razak Idris, President of ABIM, Dr. Mohd Farid Mohd Shahran, Chairman of HAKIM; Distinguished Guests; Ladies & Gentlemen:
Assalamuaalaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh:
The relentless pace of technological development in our modern world, which is unique in all of recorded history, places an equally unique responsibility upon all Muslims. In the past, Islamic Outreach-ABIM has always striven to meet the various challenges to our mission in the modern world. Although previously targeting Muslim youth, we now realize that all segments and levels of our Ummah must be engaged together in this struggle for the very survival of our so richly blessed Ummah.
Accordingly, Islamic Outreach-ABIM has invited one of the prominent Muslim scholars from the western world, Shaykh Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad, to share his wisdom and assist us in meeting the challenge of this acceleration in all of our skills and human knowledge, which is needed so urgently. Shaykh Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad will introduce his “Traveling Light” project.
The “Traveling Light” project is an ambitious attempt to film respected scholars giving lectures to students on the 40 books of Imam al-Ghazali’s masterpiece, the “Ihya Ulumuddin”. Each DVD introduces one of the forty ‘books’ which comprise this massive work. Each set is made up of 4 DVDs and this first set relate to ‘Saving Practices’ (munjiyat).
Speakers are chosen for their deep knowledge of the text, and for their continuity with ancient chains of transmission going back from teacher to teacher, to the Imam himself.
The locations chosen represent the diversity and beauty of the settings where the “Ihya” has been taught. They include historic mosques, tekkes, and khanqahs which are showcases of Islamic art and architecture. Each lecture begins with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an, and includes songs drawn from the indigenous spiritual culture which has flourished in the lands where the lectures are taking place. Some of the films include interviews with local experts and scholars who explain the impact of Imam al-Ghazali’s work in their communities. All proceeds from sale and broadcast of these films are donated to the Cambridge New Mosque Project.
Knowledge such as that imparted by the “Travelling Light” series is vital in educating the Muslims and in our da’wah to the non-Muslim world. As our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) has promised to witness for us on the Day of Judgment, so we must fulfill our Qur’anic obligation to witness for the human race. We must therefore strive and pray without ceasing, to transform our clashes with the non-Muslims into convergence toward the peace and unity so clearly implied by our Tawheed. And we need knowledge such as that of Imam al-Ghazali in order to do this.
We now have two types of struggle to wage in meeting this obligation. The first type is in alleviating the “culture clashes” first identified by American sociologist Samuel P. Huntington more than ten years ago. On behalf of our brothers and sisters under siege in areas such as Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Rohingya, South Thailand, Northwestern China, Mindanao, and doubtless others to come, we must, as the westerners say, “put our money where our mouth is”. We must put an end to what Professor Huntington calls “Islam’s bloody borders”.
Secondly, while striving to resolve these sieges being imposed upon us by force-of-arms, we must somehow bring the western world into convergence with the Islamic Ummah by regaining full rights and access to the incredible riches buried in our lands.
Although armed resistance may be mandatory in some situations, we must admit that we will never win in violent clashes with the Islamophobes of the world. It is therefore imperative that we deploy CONVERGENTLY our maximum effort as well as our inexhaustible capital of the Divine and our limited Human Knowledge, in the struggle before us. Our intention is to propagate one of our great sources of human knowledge that is at the same time fully informed by divine knowledge, that is, in the teaching of al-Ghazali.
On behalf of the organizers, I would like to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to Shaykh Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad for accepting our invitation to deliver a public lecture this evening. Also to our partners, Fajr Symphony Sdn Bhd and the Assembly of Young Intellectuals (HAKIM) we thank you for your commitment and support. We would like to thank all volunteers for your enthusiasm and dedication. Since this event is being organized entirely by students and volunteers, we apologize for any omissions or errors we may have made. Last but not least, we thank you our generous sponsors and audience for making this evening’s event a success.
We pray every strength from Allah swt to our honored guest Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad, and we humbly beg for Allah’s Pleasure in these few days of his visit, as well as in our continuing and diligent follow-through in the days to come, AMIN.
Azril Mohd Amin, 27 March 2010/11 Rabiul Akhir 1431