on al azhar Egypt
Mr. Morris Sadek-ESQ President-The mosque and university are named in honor of Fatima Al-Zahraa, the daughter of Muhammad, from whom the Fatimid Dynasty claimed descent.
The mosque was built in two years beginning in 971 AD. The school of theology (madrassa) connected with it was founded in 988 as an Ismaili Shia school, but it later became a Sunni school, which it remains to this day. It claims to be the oldest Islamic university in the world,
The core academic life of Al-Azhar has remained much the same for over a millennium: its students study the Qur’an and Islamic law in detail, along with logic, grammar, rhetoric, and how to calculate the lunar phases of the moon. Most of this learning is done by listening in a circle (halqa) at the feet of a sheikh and rote memorization. As students advance, they may engage in Socratic dialogue with their teachers or instruct their juniors.
Al-Azhar does not admit students who are not practicing Muslims but provides training in secular professions; it is thus a unique combination of a theological seminary and regular university, with faculties of medicine and engineering established in 1961.
Al-Azhar is considered by most Sunni Muslims to be the most prestigious school of Islamic law, and its scholars are seen as the highest scholars in the Muslim world. Its stated objectives remain the propagation of Islamic culture and the Arabic language.
To that end, it maintains a committee of ulemas to judge on individual Islamic questions, a printing establishment for printing the Qur’an, and trains preachers trained in da’wa and the propagation of religious publicity. Al-Azhar is run by a Supreme Council that establishes general policy, headed by a Grand Imam, styled the “Sheikh Al-Azhar.”
There are two problems in Islamic teaching at Al-Azhar: in the first place, there is no recognized central authority. Not even Al-Azhar, Cairo’s illustrious university, is recognized by everyone. Thus imams and muftis (those who declare fatwas, juridical rulings) exist by the thousands. One has but to study a bit of Koran to claim status as a mufti. At one time, 30 years ago, this was not the case: each country had at most one mufti recognized by the entire nation. Instead, today, all imams claim to be muftis and each have their own followers.
The other problem is the teaching done by the ulemas (scholars, men of learning). In actual fact, these ulemas are “men of learning” only in one limited field: they have learned the Koran by heart, they have learned the thousands of sayings attributed to Mohammad; they have memorized thousands of the juridical rulings of a large number of imams. But they have never studied math, sociology, psychology, foreign literature; they are not able to read a book in a Western language. History is limited to the Islamic world; religions are studied only as a function of how to respond if Islam is criticized. It is a kind of study, which is very restricted and closed in on itself. Al-Azhar University itself and all others in the world are characterized by this closed quality. They are therefore unable to analyze Western cultures, unable to understand situations that are different from those where Islam makes up the majority. And, in the end, they are unable to understand the world of Muslim Europe: their criteria are valid only for an Islamic world where everyone is Muslim. They are able to understand only this type of medieval situation. They cannot understand a secular society like Turkey. They wish therefore to label everything as Islamic: banks, politics, science, medicine etc.
Terrorism is not the unexpected result of Islam, but the direct result of what is being taught at Al-Azhar, traditional schools. And not only because many schools give training in terrorism and guerrilla warfare, but mainly because they educate in fundamentalism. They depict religion as the solution to any problem and look at the world and the West in an intransigent and radical way, through which the only solution is jihad, the destruction of the West and all that seems to conspire against religion.
They tell them the Qur’an verses, which they study in al Azhar
Nevertheless, is Islam a religion of peace? Many of its advocates say that it is. Let’s see what the Qur’an actually says.
The Qur’an tells Muslims to kill and go to war to fight for Islam: Qur’an, chapters (Surahs) 9:5; 2:191; 2:193; 3:118; 4:75,76; 5:33, 8:12; 8:65; 9:73,123; 33:60-62.
Fight for Allah: “And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers, (Qur’an 2:191).
Muslims are to battle for Allah: “Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! The devil’s strategy is ever weak,” (Qur’an 4:76).
Kill those against Islam: “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter,” (Qur’an 5:33).
Beheading: “When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger. 13That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger. Whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, (for him) lo! Allah is severe in punishment,” (Qur’an 8:12).
Allah urges war: “O Prophet! Urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand,” (Qur’an 8:65).
Slay non-Muslims: “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful,” (Qur’an 9:5).
Allah urges war: “O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination,” (Qur’an 9:73).
Allah urges war: “O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil),” (Qur’an 9:123).
Allah urges killing: “…the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and the agitators in the city do not desist… 61Cursed: wherever they are found they shall be seized and murdered, a (horrible) murdering. 62(Such has been) the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah, (Qur’an 33:60-62).
Beheading: “Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens…” (Qur’an 47:4).
Allah loves those who fight for him: “Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure,” (Qur’an 61:4).
As you can see, the Qur’an definitely teaches that its people are to fight for the cause of Islam. This list of verses is important because they are within the holy book of Islam. What are we to conclude if a Muslim is to take the Qur’an seriously? Is he not obligated to slay non-Muslims, to go to war, to kill those against Islam, etc.? Isn’t this what the verses are teaching? Yes, they are and this is the source of Islamic Terrorism.
In Islam, there is no guarantee of salvation except in one instance, dying in Jihad. Jihad is the struggle, the battle against those who would oppose Islam and what Islam stands for. This is very important because in the Muslim religion, there is no guarantee of salvation. Please consider the following verses:
Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy, 7Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. 8 But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light, – 9Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. (Surah 101:6-9)
In Islam, there is no assurance that the Muslim will be forgiven of his sins. As you can see, the Qur’an teaches a system of works righteousness. Therefore, no Muslim can ever know whether or not he has done enough good in order to please Allah. This is a burden that many Muslims do not like to bear.
If we can see that the Islamic system of salvation based upon works cannot guarantee salvation, but fighting in jihad can, and we could see why Muslims terrorists would be eager to die (and take others with them) for the cause of their religion. It is the only way they can be guaranteed paradise. It is this fundamental principle in Islam that encourages terrorism.
“Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah, – whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).” (4:74, Yusifali).
“Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah guarantees (to the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out,” (Hadith Vol. 9, Book 93, # 555).
The result of Al Azhar and its teaching produce imams and professional individuals such as Ayman el Zawahiry, Omar Abdel Rahman, and Mohamed Atta who spread hatred and terrorism in the world. We ask Al Azhar to modify its teaching to its students to spread love and peace.