News story

The International Islamic Conference, Amman, Jordan

7th September 2006

Hosted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with an inaugural address by His Hashemite Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, the Conference brought together more than 170 religious leaders and scholars from 40 countries, from the main Shiainfo-icon schools – Ithna Ashari, Ismaili and Zaidi; the four Sunni schools – Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali; as well as the Ibadi and the Zahiri. The Organisation of Islamic Conference – OIC – was represented by its Secretary-General. The Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Aga Khaninfo-icon University, sent, as their delegates, Dr. Farhad Daftary, Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary and Shams Vellani.

Reflecting, thus, the historic plurality that the Muslim Ummahinfo-icon accommodates within the fundamental unity of Islam, the Conference in Jordan achieved a level of participation not matched in similar gatherings in the past. But the Conference was also a substantive departure in that it went beyond broad recommendations. Instead, it succeeded in forging an unprecedented consensus among these schools on the mutual acceptance of the legitimacy of various Muslim denominations held until now in differing levels of suspicion or hostility. The Conference, thus, marked a real break-through, and a turning point, in the recognition of pluralism as a fact of Muslim history and heritage to be cherished as a blessing.


In advance of the Conference, messages and declarations had been invited from the leading Muslim authorities – Shia, Sunni and Ibadi – in support of the Conference goals. These included a message from His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imaminfo-icon of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, the full text of which follows this report.


Among the other leading Muslim authorities and dignitaries, who had presented fatwas, were: Grand Imam Dr. Muhammad Sayyidinfo-icon Tantawi, Shaykhinfo-icon al-Azharinfo-icon; Grand Ayatollahinfo-icon Sayyid Ali-Sistani, Najaf, Iraq; several Grand Ayatollahs from Najaf, Iraq; Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, Iran; Dr. Ali Jummua, the Grand Muftiinfo-icon of Egypt; High Council of Religious Affairs, Turkey; the Institute of Islamic Fiqhinfo-icon, Saudi Arabia; Sheikhinfo-icon Ahmad Ibn Hamad Al-Khalili, Grand Mufti of the Sultanateinfo-icon of Oman; Sheikh Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Al-Wazir, Zaidi leader, Yemen; Sheikh Ahmad Kaftarou (late), former Grand Mufti of Syria; Sheikh Said Abdelhafid Al-Hajani, Grand Mufti of Jordan; Sayyid Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon; Dr. Youssouf Aballah Al-Qardawi, Qatar


Presented at the Conference, and endorsed by its final declaration, these messages affirmed the principle that whoever is an adherent of one of the eight schools of Muslim jurisprudence – madhabib - is a Muslim who cannot be declared or treated as an apostate or infidel, and whose life, honour and property are inviolable.


Resolving that only those qualified within their respective schools of jurisprudence have the authority to issue fatwas, the Conference condemned forthright the practice among extremists of issuing so-called authoritative religious opinions encouraging violence against Muslims whom they accuse as infidels, and upholding and extolling acts of terrorism, whether directed against Muslims or non-Muslims, as not only illegitimate but an affront to all that Islam stands for.