President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Speech at the International Symposium on “Imam A’zam and the modern world”

05.10.2009 14:00, Dushanbe city

In the name of the God, the Compassionate the Merciful!
Distinguished guests!
Dear compatriots!
Honorable scientists and respectable researchers!

I would like to welcome all of you in Dushanbe – to the capital of the Republic of Tajikistan in the way as it is used in Sunna of Islam - “Assalamu-alaykum va rahmatullahi va barakatuhu”.

Today we are here at the remarkable meeting that has gathered outstanding scientists, researchers and famous personalities from almost fifty countries all-over the world in our ancestral land to discuss and exchange views on the life and the heritage of Abuhanifa Nu’mon ibni Sobit or Imam A’zam - a person of historic dimension in the Islamic world, the author of the Hanafiya School that is one of the greatest in the world of Sunna of Islam.

It is a great privilege and honor that 2009 - the year of the honoring of Imam A’zam has been celebrated both in our country and the Islamic world.

Distinguished guests, we consider your presence at this important meeting today, as recognition of a historic personality of Islamic world on the one hand and as a support of the initiatives of Tajikistan on the other hand.

Dear audience!

The world community has entered a new millennium under the contradictory and conflict environment. Over the last decades of the past century and the turn of the new century, we have been the witnesses of sweeping and qualitative changes that in result initiated the globalization.

It is notable, that globalization has become an eminent element of progress and extensive changes in various fields, including science, engineering, cutting-edge technologies, production and consumption as well as contributed to the integration among peoples and nations all-over the world.

At the same time, the globalization caused new threats and challenges in many regions of the world, including terrorism, extremism, radicalism and separatism, international organized crime and other challenges that pose threats to the humanity.

To top it all, this all-embracing trend caused acute financial and economic crisis that is still affecting the economy of the majority of the countries in the world.

Moreover, the globalization threatened the national values of the nations and led to the clash of civilizations.

The most outstanding politicians and researchers of the Eastern and Western worlds have considered this issue as of a vital importance over the past three decades.

Therefore, the scientists and experts warn the world community about the consequences of the clash of civilizations and believe the dialogue between the civilizations as one of the most efficient ways to stand against an undesirable trend of the modern world.

The Tajik nation who more than once has passed through complicated times, over thousands years of its history has always used tolerance and dialogue and proved many times that use of force for conflict resolution and contraposition of different world view and ideas can not only damage morality, culture and civilizations, but can also lead to the loss of the statehood.

Today the people of Tajikistan keep in mind the experience of its ancestry and always stand for the dialogue between civilizations.

Therefore, Tajikistan from the high rostrums of the most influential international organizations including the United Nations has been always warning the world community about the consequences of indifference toward self-consciousness, history, culture and other national values.

The ancient peace-loving philosophy of the Tajik nation that is a patient nation itself is widely expressed in the heritage of the outstanding personalities of our people including the heritage of Imam A’zam and today it can be used as a good example of a dialogue between cultures and civilizations.

When announcing our initiative on the Year of honoring of Imam A’zam, we set a prime goal along with paying tribute to the great personality to make the life and the timeless heritage of the author of our native Hanafiya School more familiar to the people.

On the other hand, thus we tried to reflect how a religious heritage can be used to bring the people together through the dialogue of civilizations. Given the lack of mutual understanding, cooperation and progress in the relations between each other, addressing to the life and the heritage of a person of historic dimension is a necessary and an efficient step.

At the same time, I would like to stress the point that declaring the Year of the honoring of Imam A’zam nobody meant or set forth an aim to prefer one school to another.

On the contrary, along with paying tribute to the historic services of the outstanding personality, we tried to draw the attention of the world community to his valuable doctrine, including first of all, to the peace-loving aspects of his teachings and given today volatile situation, to use these values in order to strengthen the unity, mutual understanding and cooperation in the Islamic world and the world at large.

We know by the experience of our ancestors that the nations that along with paying tribute to their cultural heritage and religious values had wisely used them in accordance with the needs and aims of the society, in the results had succeed in making eminent progress.

Indeed, Islam in which tavhid is a fundament of the religion originated in the Holy Qur’an that was dispatched from the words of the God, is the guidebook for every Muslim.

Our ancestry accepted it with all the heart more than thirteen centuries ago and Salmoni Fors who was together with Muhammad – the Prophet is the demonstration of that.

Thereby, over the past centuries, Islam has been mixed up with our ancient culture and now it is an integral part of our culture.

Due to the independence, the moral and religious values in our country today have an utmost importance.

We consider these values as a divine guideline, source of morality, an efficient way of good breeding and the guide toward self-consciousness of the people.

Therefore, along with protecting national and state interests, we recognize responsibility for preserving and maintaining religious values as well as preventing various manifestations of religious extremism.

We have learnt it from our great and outstanding ancestry including Imam A’zam - the author of our Hanafi School.

Abuhanifa is a recognized personality in the history of Islamic culture and thus his name is immortalized along with a number of other Imams of Sunna School including Imam Molik, Imam Shofei, Imam ibn Hanbal as a great personality of Sunna.

Moreover, it is notable that the doctrine of Abuhanifa is recognized as one that is based on both faith and order of the fiqh.

That is, the doctrine of fiqh of Abuhanifa is based on Holy Qur’an, Sunna, prescriptions of the Prophet’s associates, generalization, comparison, selection, traditions and it covers almost all aspects of the life of Muslims.

The great services of Imam A’zam first of all, consist of the fact that he used to support the Holy Islam not as a factor of setting off, but as an important element of putting people together that is actually the main point of the words of Allah.

He succeeded to institute a school that within the background of its religious values provides efficient ways of conflict resolution and implements a dialogue between the civilizations. Moreover, it expresses the historic experience, the religious outlook, philosophy and national thought of many Muslim nations.

It was the mixing of religious, cultural and philosophical thoughts and practices that allowed Hanafi School to be recognized as one of the most influential ones in the Sunni world and to be promulgated to Africa, Central Asia, China, Russia and Europe since it was found Kufa.

Due to the aspects that it embraced and the attention it used to pay to the day-to-day life of Muslims this School became popular in the Islamic world and today it is recognized as an official doctrine in many Islamic countries.

Fundamental values of Hanafi School allowed preserve the national self-consciousness of many peoples and nations including Tajiks over the past 1300 years.

It is notable that the main point of the Doctrine of Abuhanifa corresponds to the supreme universal values that are humanism, equality, protection of the human status and it contributes to material welfare and spiritual advance of the humankind.

Over his public activities, Abuhanifa was always adherent to this point and used to protect the regulation of the Shariat(h) of Islam.

As it is known, after his return to Kufa from Basra he basically spent his time to develop Fiqh and to ease the life circumstances of the people he established the Fiqh regulations that even in his time became more simplified for understanding, more popular and more efficient then the other ones in Sunna School.

The public activities of Abuhanifa in political sphere were always aimed at introducing and strengthening of the supremacy of the regulations of the Holy Shariat.

It should be also stressed, that the period of Imam A’zam was a period of conflicts and volatile situation.

It was a period of nationalism and extremism of the ruling circles when the Muslims of other countries were under the pressure and the equality of Muslim peoples was a matter of dispute.

Given this sensitive historic period of separation of Muslims, Abuhanifa succeeded to establish Hanafi School - a comprehensive Islamic doctrine that put the most of the Muslims together, as well as supported and promoted equality, social justice and the eradication of international dissention.

Thereby, the Hanafi School succeeded to tackle the problem of separation in the Islamic world and consolidated the most radical groups through tolerance, compromise, patience and strong arguments.

As it has been previously mentioned, the public activities of Abuhanifa concerned mainly the implementation of the regulations of Shariat in the society’s life. For instance, he proposes the procedure of open and transparent elections of caliph from Quraysh tribe and introduces some requirements for the nominee according to which one should be fair and well educated to take part in the election.

Unfair person could not be appointed to a position and people had the right to not submit and obey to a caliph if he is unfair.

As for the fair trial and the status of court Imam A’zam believed that only a man can be appointed to the post of judge who is able to implement the justice of Shariat which means to have hold on the governors, military leaders and other authorities.

This idea of a great personality expresses the equal protection of the Shariat for everybody as well as stresses the independent status of the court.

When Caliph Mansur from the Abbasid dynasty offered Abuhanifa the position of the Judge, he said, “Your surroundings need people that will suit your caprices, and will respect them owing to you. As for me, I am not able to manage this job and I will never judge in the way that contradicts Shariat and the justice”.

These courageous words prove the fact that Abuhanifa prefers Shariat and divine justice to the instructions of the caliph.

He believed the procedure of the implementation of Shariat’s regulations concerns everybody including the caliph and everyone has equal protection of the Shariat.

Thus given the volatile political situation of that time in caliphate along with the Holy Qur’an and Hadithes that are the fundamentals of Islam, he succeeded to institute his fiqh based on comparison, selection and generalization that led to the bases for tolerance and stability among the Muslims.

Imam A’zam expressed clear ideas on various aspects of political and social life of that time and considered the reforms in the society as important factor of social progress.

In this field, his thoughts were progressive enough to be used as a ground for the creation of a new culture in the first stage of the development of Islam. The ideas of this great personality are still critical today and they lead people to the path of the righteous, wellbeing of the country, love of motherland, respect of national values, freedom and independence.

To ensure political, social and religious independence of every Muslim he promoted the idea of economic liberties and self-sufficiency as political and social independence depends on economic situation of everyone.

Imam A’zam being guided by the Holy Qur’an and the Hadithes of the Prophet considers wealth as a major component of social reforms, the factor of progress of the people and the country, the factor of the happiness of the people and even a sword of a Muslim.

As it is said, a wastefulness of wealth leads to the poverty and the poverty in its turn leads to rash actions.

The poverty along with ignorance and lack of culture has been always considered as the source of extremism, hostility and other unhappiness of the humanity.

The funds of a Muslim must be also earned by fair means and this is a dispensable term of Islam. The charity is allowed Imam A’zam be from one’s fair own means only.

The precept “fair means”, “fair funds” enclose the philosophy of work, efforts, job training and protection of idea of fair job and the final aim of which is prevent the society from wastefulness, corrupt practices and other undesirables.

Imam A’zam besides he had achieved a high grade of science, however he has been living in a manner of trade and commerce like Prophet Rasul Akram. He spent all his time learning sciences and conducting trade and commerce.

Alongside with doing trade affairs he had been always engaged in deep learning of science and following prophetical hadithes on the fact that «the better profession is a trading one» and «the most better wealth that, which is honestly gained at the expenses of true labor».

For other peoples, Imam A’zam was an example of meeting the needs of indigent people, caring for homeless families and material support to students.

One of his followers Abuyousuf says, that his preceptor had been assuming a responsibility of financing himself and his family members until he was in the age of twenty and all His generosity and nobility were according to prophecies of Kalamullah (Prophet Musa) and on the expenses of trading earned by fair means.

Due to the fact, Imam A’zam was a guarantor of people’s property and His house was known as «majlis-ul-baraka».

These examples of Imam A’zam’s doctrine and his lifestyle would be a stiking illustration of pattern of morality and adherence in the modern world where human’s behavior is some-how demoralized.

Along with this, it should be said that creative theory of Abuhanifa concerning individual freedom, diverse social affairs and spirit of belief would be currently used as a solid ground for coexistence of varied nations and civilizational and cultural ties of the world.

Imam A’zam was always urging that the values of Islam do not belong to any separate ethnic group or nation, but they do embrace a vast and forceful meaning.

We know from the historic sources that at the initial stage of development of Islam religion, ethnic groups and nations of different customs and traditions had created a community under the wings of caliphate, which besides ideological affinity it had theoretical contradictions of this mazhab.

At this circumstance, Imam A’zam with the view of resolving group conflicts, divergence of views, strengthening Shariat(h) prescriptions, equal using of theology system and simplisticly settle the problems of Muslims, particularly to consolidating of Islamic community He laid down the principles of that Mazhab which was accepted by the Islam world both from the point of view of belief and execution of Shariat(h) prescriptions.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Today independent Tajikistan is securing sustainable socio-economic development of the country based on concrete programs, which reflect both national values and scientific-technical, and technological achievements.

We exert every effort to build a modern and civilized state and we wish our people be in a progress of all fields of science, art and technology and as well as be aware of customs, tradition and of their own national and religious values.

In its turn, it is one of the efficient ways of resistance of Tajik nation to extremism in all forms and manifestations, which is the important chapter of Imam A’zam’s doctrine. From this point of view, we are attracted towards the fate of Muslims in the world and problems and challenges they face in the new millennium.

However, it is a matter of concern, that in some countries Muslims having not adequately realized a reality of new world they still are in affection to prejudice.

Some of them opposing each other based on controversies and external challenges open a pathway for varied phenomena of extremistic movements in the Islamic world, conflicts and killings of Muslim brothers and defamation of Islam and its values by enemies of Islam.

Other part does not want to understand a reality of modern world, likewise do not wish to perceive a progress of science and up-to-date technology, to keep abreast with the times and improve own living standard.

In our opinion, today a time has become for all Islamic countries relying on good and constructive substance of nobleness and beneficience and strengthening goodwill collective relationship to seek the ways of avoiding these restrictions and elimination of extremistic operations, in order to secure peace and stability in the country, create favorable national and Islamic conditions and effectively deploy scientific-technical achievements for decent life and the progress of Muslims around the world.

It seems that for resolving these requirements most of all intensification and expansion of multifaceted trade, economic and cultural cooperation among the countries is needed.

Thereupon, understanding and applying a doctrine of Imam A’zam would be very impactful for closer relations of technologically developed wester countries with rich of spiritual and natural wealth eastern countries.

Yet in 2005, I have voiced my point of view regarding the urgent issues of modern world at the extraordinary Session of Organization of the Islamic Conference Summit in Mekkah. Although it will be reiteration, I would like to remind major points once again.

It is crystally obvious that strategic goal of any nation and state is a secure decent lify of the people and naturally, it is too difficult to implement it.

However, we – Muslims have huge and advantageous opportunities for implementation of this primary goal. As far as our countries possess enormous natural resources – water, arable land, oil, minerals, intellectual and labor potential, traditional and cultural values as well as historic experience of cooperation. So, then we are capable to achieve this great and noble goal.

Certainly, attainment of this aim will be possible in the case when all Islamic countries around the globe following a sure and proper instruction of Qur’on «Muslim is a brother of Muslim» will succeed to set a real unity and mutually beneficial cooperation.

To this end, it is also necessary that prosperity of Muslim world, in particular, economic development, technical, technological and scientific progress have to be a priority of state policy of every Muslim country.

In this context, encouragement of investment activities of powerful Islamic states in other developing Muslim countries is of utmost importance.

If with an expression of political will and sense of brotherhood and equality we will use each others opportunities, then we would be able within a short span of time to guarantee sustainable economic development of our countries and to significantly improve a living standard of our nations, in order to provide a deserving life of every Muslim brother and strengthen a power and an image of Islamic world.

Dear friends!

Until today, a lot of works have been done by scholars and scientists of Holy Islam towards explanation, definition, propaganda and publication of narrated sources Islam religion.

However, it has to be mentioned that analyzes, assessment and mechanism of solution of religious theoretical issues, settling religious conflicts and legal issues, which mostly have socio-political meaning and varied socio-political interests of movements and clashes are hidden behind their scenes are not yet properly executed.

Therefore, now, considering the peculiarities of modern world, scholars and theologists of religion should deeply analyze the pressing issues of religious affairs and different movements, which put obstacles in the way of welfare and prosperous life of all Ummah.

A doctrine that has been considered by Abuhanifa and his followers according to some facts 60 thousand and to other facts over 83 thousand issues at the time of kalifats of Ummah and Abbos, had formed a unity of Islamic community on that basis, appeals all scientists and theologists of religion to be seriously engaged in this work, using the fundamental sources of Islam religion and to carefully analyze new phenomena and challenges within the framework of Shariat.

At first sight, this problem seems simple, but in reality, it is indeed very complicated and delicate, because a peaceful life of more than one billion Muslims of the world depends on its solution.

It is underlined in the religious literature that after Imam A’zam, the scientists of Hanafiya mazhab have been only engaged with the commentary and explanation of his stories and there was no scholar and theologist who have ever achieved his excellency.

Of course, this opinion testifies the great background of Abuhanifa in the doctrinal science.

Therefore, it is necessary for the Islamic experts and scholars to jointly consider the theoretical and practical aspects of the life of Islamic community using the peaceful ideas of religious study and Islamic education.

Any forms of negative phenomena and extremistic challenges in religious affairs should be first of all, estimated by the religious experts. This work, at the first step, requires an active participation of all scientists and Islamic theologists in the regional scale.

Moreover, religious centres and schools of Islamic world should be involved into the axis of solution of aforementioned issues.

Main centers of studying the doctrines of fiqh have to reinforce relations and facilitate mutual cooperation, involve prominent intellectual potential of Muslim community in exploration of varied aspects Islamic education to preventing negative and destructive phenomena and challenges in the studies of people and society, especially to lay down a solid ground in the sectors of social and political life of the population.

As far as if, vacuous area will be occurred in a religious space, it will be immediately occupied by separatism and extremistic processes.

Distinguished audience!

An outstanding service of Imam A’zam for Muslim Ummah and humanity was that during his activity in a span more than fifty years on the basis of theological and Shariat studies he could prevent Islamic community from conflicts and disintegration into counteracting groups, he succeed in uniting all different nations and Muslim peoples under the banner of Islam and protect Islam Ummah from devastating and baneful clashes.

From another point of view, a doctrine created by him for the social welfare and prosperity was kept alive and safe from the negative impact and prejudice of unfavorable times, and played a great role in the life of majority Muslims of the world.

All aspects of problems, considered by Imam A’zam in religious, cultural, doctrinal and moral affairs had been proven by the history and today became to principal values of religious education and culture and play a key role in the history of Islamic thought.

Consequently, thoughts and studies of Abuhanifa in religious education may have following meanings for further enrichment of religious principles and belief:

First, it will serve as an important source of science;

Second, it would be an important document and substantial source for assessing by principles of Shariat and Fiqh new phenomena of Islamic enlightenment and undesirable and distressing events;

Third, a method of studies and doctrine of Imam A’zam can be applied as an outstanding model of actions of theologists and modern scholars;

Fourth, in the course of dialogue of civilizations can be an important factor establishing reconciliation, unity and solidarity;

And fifth, its peculiarity of patience can encourage good relationship of Islam with other world religions.

Even nowadays, the studies of Abuhanifa exhort humanity to compromise and forgiveness, friendship and mutual understanding, respect of universal values and refrain from violence.

Today, having learnt and evaluated life and instructive creation of Imam A’zam we once again come to conclusion that despite a long time has passed, his doctrine still keeps its importance and meets the major needs of the every-day life of the people.

As far as religious and philosophical school of mazhab, as well as comprehension of Imam A’zam embraces a mission of creativeness, prosperity and progress of society. Abuyousuf knowingly said about his master «the Almighty Allah enriched Abuhanifa with fiqh, knowledge, charity and morality of Qur’an».

Moreover, today a greatness of skills and knowledge, strong will, firm belief and inherent devotion of Imam A’zam is a bright example of moral and religious image of Tajik nation who in the most complicated period of the history of islam could comprehend a greatness and essence of this religion and demonstrate unique strength in a persistence and support of national culture and native language.

Nowadays, cognizance and observance of Abuhanifa doctrine becomes more critical for the followers of this maznab, especially among young generation when hostility and collisions, dominancy and conflicts have embraced a number of Islamic countries.

Great Imam A’zam was indeed a personality who initiated an elimination of the conflicts among Muslim Ummah and humanity. Since, he founded a fiqh mazhab, which had simplified a manner of resolving clashes of civilizations in accordance with shariath prescriptions and genuine traditions of Islamic culture.

In the hope of further bright prosperity of Muslim Ummah, wellbeing of all mankind and strengthening good relationship among all nations of the globe I conclude my speech and wish all participants of Symposium good health, happiness and every success.

In conclusion, we raise hands to pray almighty Allah, a shining spirit of prophet Muhammad mustafa, all messengers and beloved of Allah, particularly great spirit of Imam A’zam – Sufi, thinkers, scientists, theologists and all ancestors and beg Lord in the Highest for saving mankind, grant a welfare to noble people of Tajikistan and inspire our endeavours for the progress and prosperity of the world.

We also cherich a hope to wish Allah protect all of us in His Haven of Goodness.

Wish you good health and every success!

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