Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.
The current Pope of the Vatican made some remarks on Islam in his lecture “Religion and Reason” at the University of Regensburg on 12/09/2006. This lecture has provoked a furious anger among Muslims because it contains errors and aberrations whose purpose is to attack Islam and provoke Muslims. His lecture contained two essential theses:
The Pope claims that the Christian creed is based on reason, while the Islamic creed is based on the assumption that the divine will is not compatible with reason or logic. These claims can be refuted by the fact that Muslims have shown rationalism in dealing with their affairs, a truth that a stubborn person can only deny. Allah the Almighty encouraged the use of reason when He said:
« Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. » Aal-i-Imran – 190
« So fear Allah, O you of understanding, that you may be successful. » Al-Ma’ida -100
« Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding. » Az-Zumar -18
The religious vision and the Islamic treatment are based on the Revelation, which is an accepted truth; reason is a light that Allah enlightens in man to be a support for the understanding of truths and for a serene conduct. Allah obliges us to implement both aspects. Nevertheless, reason has its limits; it can explain some things, and it cannot triumph in others.
The scientific conception in religion is indeed the reason undoubtfully lead to attesting the truth of the pure words and revelations that are summarized in the Qur’an, Sunnah, and the consensus of the scholars, hence, revelation is infallible. When there is an adjustment of the two ways, religious and rational, they are combined together, while giving priority to the religious attested over the rational contingent.
It is not unknown to the discerning and intelligent that authoritative reason is that which is free from the foolishness that implies its fallibility, its limitations, and its instability. Such a theme is fundamentally inscribed in the disciplinary field of comparative religion, and this hardly constitutes our theme though.
- The pope reported some words from the book of Immanuel 2, the Byzantine king, in which he states that Prophet Muhammad – PBUH – only brought back inhuman and evil things, such as spreading Islam with the force of the sword. This long-standing thesis contains falsehoods and illusions that reveal the evidence of resentment and rancor.
Prophet Muhammad – PBUH – is the last of the prophets who completed the messages and the divine religions; Allah The Almighty said: « This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. » Al-Ma’ida -3
« Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. » Al-A’raf -157
Muslims have complied with his call by showing their faith in him « So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful. » Al-A’raf -157. Allah has ordered them to show patience and endurance and called them to unity, He has authorized them to fight under ethical and moral conditions, known and established in the Islamic Shariah and that is to defend the preaching, preserve the Ummah and fight for the recovery of the usurped rights, such as the liberation of the [Muslim] nations, not as their enemies conceive, in an unjust and iniquitous manner. In the Qur’an, which is a source of spiritual truths and moral conduct, there is a definition of what Allah has enjoined to this. Allah The Almighty said: « Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. » Al-Baqara -190
« But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. » Al-Baqara 191
« Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (*) Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. » Al-Mumtahina 8-9
Allowing a war depends on the recovery of freedom of speech and deeds, it is also related to justice and piety, to the preservation of religion and the community without transgression or injustice. These are principles and foundations unanimously recognized by all religions, recommended by all politicians, men of the wisdom of this era.
This statement calls for wisdom in vision and sincerity in behavior, it also calls for mutual aid and compassion to build a dialogue between civilizations and societies, thus moving away from all manifestations of fanaticism, arrogance and corruption.
We request the Pope of the Vatican to correct his judgments on Islam, its Prophet and its followers; he must not submit to the passions and aberrations of fanatics, enemies of both Islam and humanity. Any speech that is not free causes discord, wrath and spreads hatred, enmity that incites confrontation and hostilities.
To appease the anger and discontent of Muslims, caused by the Pope’s statements, , the Academy calls the Pope, on behalf of the Muslim scholars and all Muslims, to apologize for what he said.
Indeed, Allah is the Giver of success.
Dr. Mohamed Habibi Belkhoja
SG of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy.