Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah calls for a revival of “The jurisprudence of peace”

ABU DHABI: In a recent gathering of scholars planning the landmark Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the Muslim world’s pre-eminent scholars and jurists, and Chairman of the Forum’s Scientific Committee, has called for a revival of what he termed “the Jurisprudence of Peace (Fiqh al Silm)” in Muslim societies, emphasising that a condition of peace can only exist if hearts are filled with love and goodwill to all humanity, a precept that is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him. Sheikh bin Bayyah stressed that spreading a culture of peace was critically important at a time when the Muslim world was plagued by sectarianism, extremist ideologies, civil violence and civil war. “Chaos, conflicts and wars do not guarantee human rights or, in fact, anything at all. Peace is an ultimate human objective and fundamental human right that supersedes Islamic legislation as a guarantor of other rights,” he said.

He explained that this was the primary motivation for launching the “Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies”, which will be hosted by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi on March 9th and 10th. According to the Sheikh, in order to restore the principle of peace as a priority certain areas of Islamic jurisprudence, which have been misunderstood and misinterpreted, such as the doctrine of jihad and the concept of ‘promoting virtue and preventing vice’, need to be clearly defined, as well as the nature of social relationships and civil peace.

He explained that these misunderstandings and misinterpretations are caused by three grave trends: the widening gap between a true understanding of Qur’anic commands and activism based on ignorance; 2) a misconception that ends justify the means; and 3) the abandonment of wisdom, justice, compassion and goodwill, that are four values that underpin and are intrinsic to the application of religious law (Sharia).

Sheikh bin Bayyah, who is the Director of the UK-based Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance and one of the world’s leading Maliki jurists, called on journalists across the Muslim world to report news responsibly and objectively, without igniting controversy, sewing seeds of confusion and inciting communal hatred, given the parlous state many Muslim societies are in. Muslim journalists, he said, as members of the Community, have a responsibility to try to defuse civil and political strife and conflict, not exacerbate it.

He also called on governments across the Muslim world to bring men and women of knowledge and wisdom across many disciplines and professions into the process of establishing a platform to prepare for achieve peace in their societies in the same way that governments have a platform and infrastructure for war. “Just as war enlists the best and brightest of people and changes societies, it is absolutely imperative for peace to be given the same priority,” he said.