Report Al-Mustafa Seerah & Peace Conference 2012
For the first time in the history of Ireland on the occasion of the birth of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw), a Peace Conference by the Muslim community in Ireland was organized with such devotion and passion, that the main hall of Crown Plaza Hotel Blanchardstown was filled with the love towards the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
This conference, organised by Al-Mustafa IECC on the 19th February 2012, presented the merciful and peaceful personality of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the wider Irish Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, and how his life and teachings are relevant to our situation today.
The guests in the conference included Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Michael Jackson, Sheikh Hussain Halawa from the ICCI, Sheikh Dr. Ali Saleh from the Milltown Islamic Centre, Sheikh Yahya Al-Hussein from the IFI, Sheikh Ghulam Dastagir from Cork, Logan Raju from the Integration Centre, Halvard Iversen from the Universal Peace Federation, Revd. Alan Martin from the Church of Ireland and Adrian Christea from Churches in Ireland.
Opening the conference Sister Hafswa Omar, teacher at Al-Mustafa IECC, said that with the conference Al-Mustafa IECC aimed to highlight the merciful and peaceful personality of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). She added that in current times the true image of Islam was being distorted and often portrayed as being associated with extremism and violence.
The proceedings of the Peace Conference got underway with the recitation from the Holy Quran followed by recital of ‘Qaseeda Burda Shairf’ by Syed Jawad Haider Shah.
Imam Yahya Al-Hussein, Imam of the IFI, spoke to the large crowd about how the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) dealt with his enemies and opponents with patience.”He did not greet evil with evil” said the Imam.
Sheikh Umar Al-Qadri, Founder and Head Imam of Al-Mustafa IECC, spoke about the reality of Jihad.
Sheikh Umar Al-Qadri said that when the word Jihad is uttered or heard, the image of fighting and killing automatically comes to mind. This causes disrepute to Islam and distorts its identity. It must, therefore, be made clear that the term ‘jihad’ does not denote any kind of fighting, combating, torturing or killing. On the contrary, it means extreme exertion, effort, and struggle for a good cause.
The Sheikh then explained that as for meaning of Jihad, it has five dimensions.The first meaning of the greatest of jihad actions connote spiritual dimension. It is known as jihad bi al-Nafs—your struggle for self-purification. It is a fight against the evil desires of your lower self, to purify your inner self, to make one a good moral and ethical personality who could work for the sake of Allah, get rid of arrogance, greed, lies, aggression, aggressive attitude, negative propensities and who could work for the betterment of human society and purify his inner self too. This is purely spiritual dimension, which has no link with arms.
The second dimension of its meaning is academic and intellectual. The third one is the social dimension and this is jihad bi al-‘Aml. The fourth dimension is jihad bi al-Mal. It is financial dimension of the word ‘jihad’ and concept jihad. This is just an act of charity and Qur’an has emphasized particularly in two areas of jihad.
And the fifth dimension is the defensive dimension. This relates to the defensive war when you are attacked. Then there is a war of self-defense, and a defensive war.Throughout the history, the concept of just wars and lawful wars has existed continuously in every era. This is the defensive dimension of jihad.
The Sheikh explained that even in the defensive dimension of Jihad it is forbidden to harm the children, woman, elderly and those who are not armed according to Prophetic teachings.The Prophet Muhammad (saw) has even forbidden to damage corps, land, places of worship during the defensive dimension of Jihad.
The Sheikh also mentioned that Islam means peace and security for not only the followers of Islam but for the whole humanity. He told the large gathering that terrorism cannot be justified in any form under the teachings of Islam. He said that a small minority of Muslim population wrongly interprets the teachings of the Holy Quran. Unfortunately, the majority are peaceful and peace-loving Muslims and remain unheard, as they don’t make any news. On the other hand, that minority people who create mischief and nuisance get huge coverage in the media headlines, which gives a false impression to the people living in the West that all Muslims are extremists, which is totally wrong.
Sheikh Hussain Halawa spoke on the Prophet Muhammad (saw) as an ideal family member and mentioned that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said that the best among you is not he who spends his nights in worshipping and days in fasting, but the best among you is the one who is the most kindest to his family.
Sheikh Hussain Halawa gave various examples from the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) explaining how the Prophet (saw) despite his duties towards his followers was an ideal family member.
Archbishop Jackson spoke on ‘Opening the Doors of tomorrow’s Ireland today’. Observing that the location of the conference was just off the M3, he said this was symbolic as “we are all on a journey together” and said it was important to build on the community of tomorrow. He used the word ‘community’ in the singular because he said, “I am convinced that we are all one community together. We often speak of ‘the various communities’ in Ireland but we are of one community and it is a community of affection and understanding”.
Dr Jackson said it was important that there be a dialogue of ideas among those of different scriptures so that people of different faiths could learn from each other and understand each other. But he added that there was also the “dialogue of life” in which people go about their day to day lives together and women, children and men get to know each other.
Sheikh Dr Ali Saleh, leader of the Shia Community in Ireland, praised the organizers of the conference and said Dublin has a good Muslim community. He said that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) thought Muslims to respect those who were not Muslim.
After the lectures by the guests a video message of Sheikh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran International, was shown to the participants of the Peace Conference.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, in his video message, said that the entire world had become global village and humanity had a shared stake in the establishment and maintenance of peace. He said that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave the lesson of brotherhood, tolerance, moderation and peace. All Prophets and religions propagated the message of peace and harmony in the world. He said that it was important to prove ourselves a true inheritor of this legacy and dedicate ourselves to establishment of peace in the world. He hoped that Peace Conferences like these would become the basis for further strengthening interfaith ties between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.
Addressing the Muslims, Shaykh-ul-Islam asked them to unite for the establishment of peace, respect, dignity and welfare of humanity. He asked them to dissociate with the Islam of Osama Bin Laden and become the true followers of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He urged them to reject the ideology of Al-Qaeda and submit themselves to the real teachings of Islam.
After the video lecture a Q and A session was held in which Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri answered various questions from the audience.
The Peace Conference was concluded with Salawat 0 Salaam, the sending of greetings and salutations to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), and Duaa.