Grand Imam pledges support for Human Fraternity efforts
By Robin Gomes
One of the most respected and influential authorities in Islam has expressed hope that the world’s races, religions and leaders will unite in solidarity and fraternity to help create a better world, overcoming the crises created by the ongoing pandemic and by human selfishness.
Egypt’s Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar made the remark in a video message on the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Human Fraternity on Friday.
The International Day of Human Fraternity is observed on 4 February in commemoration of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam on that day in 2019, in Abu Dhabi.
Quest for a better world
Describing the international day as “a commemoration of the humaneness of divine religion”, the Grand Imam says, it calls for acquaintance, understanding and reverence ‘among the followers of various religions and beliefs.
“This celebration,” he says, “means a quest for a better world where the spirit of tolerance, fraternity, solidarity, and collaboration prevails.”
The Grand Imam laments that “such vulnerable people have fallen victims to modern materialism in all its concomitant excessive selfishness, cherishing of lusts and desires, and idolization of humans and their individualist inclinations”.
Mutual understanding among religions
In his message, the Grand Imam greets Pope Francis as a “dear brother” and “the incessantly courageous companion on the path of fraternity and peace”.
He also acknowledges the effort of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, who sponsored the Document on Human Fraternity and supports initiatives to sustain, consolidate and disseminate it throughout the world.
He points out that the Document on Human Fraternity was drafted by Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif and the Vatican out of their common belief in mutual understanding among the followers of religions, including non-believers, in order to get rid of misjudgments and conflicts that often lead to bloodshed and warfare among people, notably among followers of the same religion and believers in a single faith.
Challenges to fraternity
He says the Document was born out of very tough crises and was beset with challenges that put at stake its chance to be a reality.
The 2nd International Day of Human Fraternity is taking place as the world continues to struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic and its variants.
The Grand Imam hopes that the fear and panic will awaken numbed consciences, arrogant souls and people with private agendas from their slumber to stand in solidarity with the sincere leaders and sages to deliver humanity from these successive crises all over the world.
He believes “that the world, in all races and denominations, especially international decision-makers, religious figures, and leading intellectuals, will be able - God willing - to overcome these difficult crises and relieve their woes, only if they live up to their responsibilities.”
He encourages the efforts of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity in helping implement the objectives of that Document through numerous initiatives, transcending differences, boundaries, and particularities.
Document on Fraternity – a path to hope
Through the Document on Human Fraternity and its initiatives they have embarked on the path of human fraternity in the hope for a new world that is free of wars and conflicts, where the fearful are reassured, the poor sustained, the vulnerable protected and justice administered.
Despite the serious challenges and obstacles, the road of peace is predestined for all believers in God.
Support for peace efforts
The Grand Imam pledges his support for peace efforts underway together “with fellow religious leaders and lovers of goodness around the world, towards achieving peace and world fraternity and fellow feeling, and removing all the stimuli of hate, conflicts, and wars”.
“We are really in bad need of amity, cooperation, and solidarity to encounter the genuine challenges threatening humanity and compromising its stability,” the Imam says.