The head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia spoke at an interfaith forum in Tokyo
On September 21, the Head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, Mufti of Moscow, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation Albir Hazrat Krganov, as part of the interreligious Russian delegation, took part in the international interreligious peacemaking conference in the capital of Japan. The Forum is held as part of a series of international events organized on the initiative of the World Congress "Religions for Peace". It is the largest international interfaith organization with many years of experience and its goal is to promote the ideas of peace. The organization's regional offices are located in more than 90 branches at the national level in Europe and Asia. The Congress also consists of a number of interfaith youth unions aimed at promoting interreligious cooperation between various religious communities to establish peace and global well-being at the worldwide, regional and local levels.
The conference, which will be held in Tokyo for four days, is attended by religious leaders, politicians, experts and representatives of civil society from various countries. The purpose of the forum is to develop proposals to prevent conflicts in the world, discuss the role of spiritual leaders in joint efforts to accelerate the cessation of violence, promote reconciliation and restore peace in war-affected countries.
In his speech, the Head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia noted
In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Gracious!
Dear chairman, dear participants, brothers and sisters!
Let me thank the organizers of the forum for the invitation and the opportunity to speak at the meeting.
I greet you on behalf of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, my fellow members of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and on my own behalf.
Japan is a bearer of a unique culture and ancient traditions. I am honored to recall that in 1930 my fellow tribesmen and co-religionists moved to Japan and built the first Tatar wooden mosque in the center of Tokyo.
Tamindar Muhit and his wife Salisa, along with their countrymen, bought land to build a mosque and, because there was no official organization at the time, registered it with the Turkish embassy. At that time they were here as refugees and were only granted citizenship in 1974. Kazi Gabdrashit Hazrat Ibragimov, famed in Russia, became an imam and the chief Muslim of Japan. They are buried on your land; I would be honored to visit this mosque and their graves.
The year 2022 is a special year for the Muslims of our country. According to the decree of President Vladimir Putin we are celebrating at the federal level the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by the people of Volga Bulgaria.
There are more than 20 million Muslims in Russia, eight thousand mosques, about twenty Islamic universities and the Bulgarian Islamic Academy. The Foundation for the Support of Islamic Science, Culture and Education helps Muslim organizations to implement their social and educational projects.
Muslims in Russia support and develop longstanding partnership traditions of cooperation and dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church, Judaism, and Buddhism; they share common views and approaches to understanding fundamental issues of the foundations of faith and basic values, and major social and government problems.
Dear forum participants!
We are gathered around this table at a special time when the whole world is witnessing an enormous change in the entire system of relations. The world is rapidly transforming from a unipolar to a multipolar world.
It is obvious to everyone that the world will be different.
The legal architecture is changing; the economic system is becoming more and more digital. Relying on artificial intelligence, robots are replacing humans more and more often. At the same time, some foreign policy players are artificially fomenting interreligious and interethnic conflicts amid fears of losing their leading position.
This is predictable from a religious point of view, since apart from the Almighty, everything in the world changes. Mankind was created by the Most High to be diverse, and this is His mercy. And He has commanded us to find harmony according to our conscience and reason.
The Almighty in the Holy Qur’an says: “If Allah had not held some people back by others, the earth, indeed, would have been in disorder. But Allah is full of mercy for all the worlds,” (2 Surah, 251 ayat).
Man is created weak. Not only physically, but also spiritually. This means that throughout life virtues go hand in hand with some “defects” that altogether form the portrait of a person. This does not mean that we are bad or that we are “cursed from birth.” It is simply a reality that must be taken into account, and despite which one can still justify the high title of “God’s vicegerent on earth” (Sura al-Baqara, ayat 30).
However, among those very weaknesses and shortcomings are those that are especially repugnant to the Creator. So much so that the Almighty deprives them of His love. What are these traits? Let’s turn to the Qur'an for an answer.
Arrogance. In surah al-Nahl (“The Bees”) it says: “He does not love the arrogant” (ayat 23). The Qur’an says: “Do not turn your face away from people out of arrogance and do not parade haughtily around the land. Surely, Allah dislikes all conceited and boastful people.” (surah “Lukman,” ayat 18)
Arrogance according to one hadith (from Abdullah ibn Mas’ud) “is the rejection of the truth and contempt for people.”
The essence of arrogance is to exalt oneself above others, it is to deny or ignore facts and arguments, to exclude one part of reality while inflating the significance of another. The question is how do some countries and corporations behave toward those whom they call the third world nations?
Transgressing the boundaries of what is permissible.
Everything has limits and boundaries. The Almighty forbids transgression of those boundaries, going beyond what is permissible and reasonable, but He does not forbid the use of the benefits and pleasures He has sent down.
The Qur’an says: “O those who believe! Do not forbid the benefits which Allah has made permissible for you, and do not transgress the boundaries of what is permissible. Surely, Allah loveth not criminals” (surah al-Maida, ayat 87).
Question, is applying sanctions to countries and especially to its people, who suffer more, a God-sanctioned mechanism?
Treachery and Treason.
Islam emphasizes the importance of contracts as a way to regulate relationships (business, personal, and governmental). The Almighty warns: “for every promise you will be questioned,” so that people do not neglect the commitments they have made, do not let others down, and do not destroy the foundations of trustworthy relationships.
Such people are among the “unloved” by Allah: “And if you fear treachery on the part of men, then cast aside treaty obligations, so that all may be equal. Surely Allah loveth not the traitors” (surah al-Anfal, ayat 58).
As Ibn Qasir said: "Surely Allah loveth not the traitors! - even treason against infidels, for Allah does not like that either. The question is, is it not a violation of human rights to continually violate an agreement at international levels? What will the world come to with the systematic violation of previous agreements and the double standard of their application?
The Qur’an says, “Allah does not love those who spread wickedness” (sura al-Maida, ayat 64).
Another ayat says: “Do good, just as Allah has done good for you, and do not seek to spread wickedness on earth, for Allah does not love those who spread wickedness” (surah al-Qasas, ayat 77).
As the scholars say, “The spreading of wickedness on earth may manifest itself as polytheism and the committing of sins, with sins including everything forbidden - killing people, intimidating them, seizing their property, enslaving them, colonizing them, degrading their dignity, defiling property, attacking the minds of men through witchcraft and drugs, and other kinds of bad and destructive acts.”.
The above traits are traits for which a person ceases to be loved not only by his Creator, but also by others.
For many thousands of years, the lofty sentiments of philanthropy, compassion, mercy, and justice propagated by religion have helped the world save itself.
In this regard, I want to appeal collectively to politicians pay attention to these immutable values! Religious leaders and prominent politicians from different corners of the world must tirelessly promote dialogue for the sake of friendship and peaceful coexistence.
We, living in a multi-religious society, do not abandon our religious ideals, even if they are theologically divergent from others, but in humanistic matters we share universal values.
In this connection it is pleasant to ascertain that at our Forum there will be an exchange of experience, an exchange of the best practices of interreligious interaction and implementation of joint socially significant projects and initiatives. Regular meetings of representatives of religious organizations and the general public to strengthen dialogue and mutual understanding, exchange experiences of cooperation, discuss common problems and develop joint solutions will hopefully bring us even closer to the mercy of the Creator.
Dear friends! The modern world has come to the fundamental understanding that the most important condition for the preservation and development of human civilization is the stability of human relations, mutual understanding and cooperation of international actors based on the principles of mutual respect, justice and non-violence, the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Dialogue practices on intercultural issues and problems of harmonization of interreligious relations at the international and regional levels are of particular importance and relevance under current conditions.
We, Russian Muslims, are deeply convinced that in the mode of dialogue and cooperation it is necessary by our canonical, social, educational and cultural and educational activity to strengthen faith, assert humanity, justice and compassion for people, everywhere and in all places protect human dignity without discrimination based on religion or nationality, promote peace and harmonization of interreligious relations, and unite society. Allah Almighty in the Qur’an calls: “Unite in goodness and piety, but do not help in sin and enmity.”
I am convinced that an active discussion of the topics of our Forum and discussions of the issues on the agenda will contribute to further deepening of dialogue and cooperation in the world, our understanding of the common problems of modern civilizational development.
I wish all forum participants good health, happiness, and success.
Thank you for your attention!