Saturday, December 12, 2009

'Terrorism and Suicide Attacks' the Video Press Conference of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri












Islam does not permit, under any circumstances, the massacre of innocent citizens, terroristic explosions and suicide bombings. The continuous carnage and slaughtering of people, suicide bombings against innocent and peaceful communities, explosions at mosques, shrines, educational institutions and businesses; the destruction of government institutions, buildings, trade centers; attacks on defense training centers, embassies, transports systems and other institutions of civil society; all these acts are grave violations of human rights and constitute kufr, disbelief, under Islamic law. The founder and patron in chief of Minhaj-ul-Quran International, and Chairman of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Shaykh-ul-Islam, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri issued his detailed edict (fatwa) today, consisting of 200 pages, while addressing a press video conference from Canada.
Describing the background of his edict he said a terrible wave of terrorism has been maligning Pakistan in particular, and Muslim and non-Muslim nations in general, for the last many years. There is no doubt that, while Muslims as a collective entity condemn, resist and fight terrorism, and do not accept even its remotest possible link with Islam, unfortunately there are some people who remain quiet on the issue, silence taken as a tacit approval of such atrocities. Indeed there are others, who, instead of opposing and condemning terrorism openly, confuse the issue, merely concentrating upon the politics that cause these atrocities. Dr. Qadri appealed to all Muslim scholars, intellectuals, and opinion-makers not to concentrate on who these people are, who is behind them and why they are committing these acts. Whatever justifications they may give for their actions, they act against the teachings of Islam. They are in clear contravention of what Islam stands for. Their each action is premised on bringing harm to Islam and to the whole of humankind. Their existence is an open danger against the integrity of Pakistan and world peace. The entire nation should dissociate itself from these elements, and condemn them in the strongest possible terms, unequivocally and with one voice. The Pakistani nation is in a state of war. It is the need of the time for Pakistan to form unity among its ranks at every level. The entire nation should stand behind their armed forces busy fighting a war for the protection of the lives of the innocent citizens, and securing national defense by eradicating terrorism.
Those who commit these atrocities claim they are doing so for the preservation of Islam and Muslims. They claim their heinous acts constitute ‘jihad’, and thus, those who join in their misguided cause will enter paradise. They justify the killing of innocent civilians by misinterpreting Islam and brainwashing susceptible and often vulnerable individuals. Dr. Qadri argued it is thus imperative to make Islam's stance on terrorism precisely evident in the light of the Quran and Sunnah so that the Muslims as well as non-Muslims of the world do not suffer from any misunderstanding and ambiguity.
He explained at length, in the light of the Quranic verses, Prophetic traditions, and expositions by eminent Islamic authorities of faith and jurisprudence that perpetrating terrorism against innocent citizens, massacres of humankind, suicide bombings, the destruction of national assets and property is absolutely against Islam; it amounts to an ‘act of kufr’. Islam does not permit such acts under any excuse, reason or pretext. Moreover, Islamic teachings do not allow any group of people to take up arms, and wage war against the state and challenge its written authority. This is sheer mischief-mongering and civil war. Islamic law regards it rebellion and insurgency. He clarified that even if Muslims, living within a state, are being persecuted at the hands of foreign non-Muslim powers, and the Muslim government remains silent over such persecution, even then no individual or group of individuals is allowed to take the law into their own hands. Instead, one should use democratic means of protest and peaceful ways of resolution should be adopted.

Citing various Quranic verses, Prophetic traditions, sayings of the Companions, and renowned jurists and scholars of Hadith, Dr. Qadri made it clear that even in a state of war, and during warfare, Islam strictly prohibits the killing of peaceful citizens, women, children, the sick and the old. Moreover, during a battle, it is unlawful in Islam to destroy trees, crops, buildings and places of worship of any faith.

Dr. Qadri said the first ever ‘war against terror’ in Islamic history occurred during the Caliphate of Sayyidina Ali (r.a). The Khawarij and Harooria were a rebellious group of people and the first militant terrorists. They rejected Sayyidina Ali’s (r.a) policy of dialogue, arbitration and peaceful means of dispute resolution. They were in favor of resolution through armed conflict. They used Islamic slogans of Jihad and rebelled against the state, and justified human killings according to their extremist theology. The Khawarij committed acts of terrorism whilst citing Divine law in their defense, arguing they were acting for the dominance of Islam. However, the Holy Prophet (saw) had already identified the Khawarij in more than fifty Prophetic traditions. He (saw) stated they were outside the ambit of Islam, had no legitimate authority to declare jihad, and instead, were the worst of humankind. Sayyidina Ali (r.a), with his army, himself fought against them in order to stop their atrocities, and eradicated the Kharijite terrorism.

Dr Qadri’s detailed religious edict consists of 200 pages, and clarifies his point of view in the light of dozens of verses from the Holy Quran, Prophetic traditions, countless commentaries of Muslim jurists, etc. This religious edict is in the process of publication, and will be available in the form of a book in Arabic, Urdu and English, later this week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rights of minorities in Islam



Dated: 26 August 2009




by Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri






Following a flurry of unfortunate incidents that involved mass scale persecution of the Christian community in Gojra and the misrepresentation of the religious teachings, it is high time we initiated intellectual discourse aimed at identifying the factors, which led to this tragedy. The principal purpose behind this exercise should be to fashion a cohesive and comprehensive strategy to educate masses about the real teachings of Islam and preempt any similar untoward incident in future. It is also of equal importance to seek input of the representatives of all schools of thought and other sections of society like journalists, intellectuals, civil society activists, lawyers and professors etc. Ideally, the Islamic Ideology Council is well suited to spearhead this initiative and give it institutionalised base for the production of effective results. The second phase of such an arrangement may be geared to engage the minorities living within Pakistan in a constructive dialogue aimed at allaying their apprehensions and fears.
I am of the considered opinion that the long-term solution to such problems lies in changing the mindset through sustained engagement and projection of real teachings of Islam so that no bigoted mullah, having a limited understanding of Islam, could exploit the religious feelings of people for ulterior motives.
Islam seeks to establish such a society where all citizens of the state enjoy equal rights and religion does not become the basis for any discrimination. Islamic law holds both Muslims and non-Muslims equal and no superiority or privilege is given to the Muslims on any ground. The history of Islam is replete with such examples. Once, a Muslim, who was accused of killing a non-Muslim, was presented in the court of Hazrat Ali (ra). The evidence supported the accusation. When Hazrat Ali ordered the Muslim to be killed by way of qisas, the relatives of the murderer made the brother of the killed forgive by paying him the compensation money. When the Caliph came to know of it, he asked, "Perhaps these people may have coerced you into saying so." To this, he replied in the negative, saying that the killing would not bring his brother back. Since they were paying him blood money, it would help the family financially to some extent. The Caliph agreed to the deal but added that the principle underlying the functioning of his government was "the blood of those of our non-Muslim subjects is equal to our blood and his blood money is like our blood money." (Abu Yusuf, Kitab-ul-Khiraj, p. 187)
Secondly, every member of an Islamic society is entitled to privacy and personal life. No one can be allowed to enter his house or interfere in his matters without his consent. The minorities enjoy similar rights in an Islamic state as the Muslims do. It is the fundamental principle of Islamic law that it enjoins the similar rights and duties on both Muslim and non-Muslim citizens without any discrimination.
Thirdly, Islam ordains people to worship Allah Almighty but it does not coerce followers of other religions to accept Islam and change their creed. Invitation to truth and use of coercion are mutually exclusive realities. The Holy Quran has communicated the Islamic message of truth in these words: "(O Glorious Messenger!) Invite towards the path of your Lord with strategic wisdom and refined exhortation and (also) argue with them in a most decent manner. Surely your Lord knows him well who strayed away from His path and He also knows well the rightly guided." (16:125)
Islam has strictly disallowed the adoption of such method of invitation, which affects the religious independence of the other party. Allah Almighty says at another place: "There is no coercion in religion. Verily, guidance has manifestly been distinguished from error." (2:256)
Fourthly, the non-Muslim minorities are free to undertake any business enterprise or profession in an Islamic state like their Muslim counterparts and no restriction can be imposed upon them in this regard. However, those businesses, which are collectively injurious for the society, would be completely prohibited both for the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims. The minorities are also free to adopt any profession they like. They would also be subject to same trade-related taxation as the Muslims.
Fifthly, as it is the responsibility of the Islamic state to provide for the disabled or the poor or the destitute or the old, in the same way, it is also under obligation to pay for the maintenance of a member of the minority community in case of his disability, old age or poverty. Minorities enjoy equal rights in terms of collective maintenance in an Islamic state. According to a tradition reported by Abu 'Ubaid in Kitab-ul-Amwal, "The Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave a donation to a Jewish family and it continued to be delivered even after (the Holy Prophet's departure from this world)."
Sixthly, Islamic state is responsible for the protection and security of minorities. If it has entered into an agreement with another nation, the protection and security of the latter also falls under its domain of responsibility.
One of the conditions that defined the agreements between Muslims and the conquered non-Muslim minorities was that the Islamic government would be responsible for provision of basic necessities and security of lives of the minorities. The Peace Agreement, which was struck with the residents of the Heera had the following written in it: "A non-Muslim who grows old and cannot work or becomes disabled due to a natural calamity or he was previously rich but has become poor due to some untoward happening, the government would not charge any tax from such calamity-stricken people. Rather these people and their families would be provided with the maintenance allowance out of official treasury." (Ibn Rushd, Badiyat-ul-Mujtahid, vol. 2, p. 310)
The minorities cannot be compelled to render defence services. Rather, it is the responsibility of the Islamic state to defend them. Since the Islamic state is responsible for the protection of lives, honour and property of the minorities and they do not have any other obligation with regard to defence, they are liable to contribute financially to the Islamic state in the form of a tax called Jizya. Even then, Islam has taught about justice and good manners when it comes to the imposition of Jizya on the minorities.
Due to space constraint, I cannot delve deeper into the Islamic history to prove empirically how minorities were treated in an Islamic state. The reprehensible Gojra-style incidents happen because of our society's lack of knowledge of actual teachings of Islam. The vacuum of knowledge so created is bridged by the semi-literate clergy with no exposure to the Islamic historical tradition, demands of contemporary age and challenges of future.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We want a secure future for everybody, I speak of the human race. said tahir ul qadri

Ideas are the best' weapons: Islamic scholar
Dated: 12 August 2009
This article is taken from http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/679769

Mohammed Tahir ul-Qadri launches 'intellectual war' on terrorism with sermons on peace and tolerance
Mohammed Tahir ul-Qadri is on the phone, talking about war, but he is not referring to guns.

"I don't know how to use a pistol," admits the Pakistani-born Islamic scholar, who is in Birmingham, England, at the moment, though he spends roughly 10 months a year in Canada, his adopted home for the past several years. "If you put a pistol in my hand, I wouldn't know how to use it."

The 58-year-old spiritual leader does know how to use words and ideas, however, and he is recruiting them both in the cause of peace.

"I have, you can say, announced an intellectual and spiritual war against extremism and terrorism. I believe this is the time to stand up for moderate Islamic scholars who believe in peace."

Forget for now the lurid images of hatred and bloodshed that have dominated Western perceptions of Islam in recent years, and lend an ear to this voluble, bespectacled Canadian grandfather, who is at the forefront of what some might call a renaissance of moderate Islam, preaching a doctrine of inclusion and tolerance.

"He is definitely a scholar who should be highlighted," says Asad Dean, a Muslim community organizer in Toronto. "He has a fantastic relationship with all the communities."

In their struggle for the hearts and minds of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims, Qadri and other like-minded clerics are squaring off against ruthless organizations, such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which present a very different facet of Islam, one that celebrates violence while rejecting any prospect of accommodation with the West.

The welfare, livelihood and dreams of tens of millions of people around the globe depend on which side triumphs in this battle of words and ideas, a battle that is also a contest of military might – in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Qadri is far from alone in this fight.

Partly in response to U.S. President Barack Obama's recent opening to the Muslim world, moderate Islamic clerics in many lands have been emboldened to speak out against those who traffic in the weapons of hate.

"Ideas are the best arms," Qadri says. "Societies should be armed with better ideas.

"To me, the ideal society in the world is Canadian society," he says. "We believe in the letter and spirit of multiculturalism."

Qadri has no patience with violent extremists who claim to represent his faith.

Lately, it is Osama bin Laden and his ilk who have transfixed the attention of the West, but Qadri regards them as exceptions – traitors to Islam – who have achieved an influence out of proportion to their numbers.

In large measure, he holds the news media responsible for presenting a distorted picture of Islam, one that depicts its adherents as fist-waving advocates of hate.

"Millions and millions of Muslim people – more than a billion – are living a peaceful life," he says, "but their life does not create news."

Violence, of course, does create news, as do tyranny and intolerance.

"They make women stay in their homes," he says of Muslim extremists. "They destroy girls' schools. This is against Islam, totally wrong. This has created a very bad image."

Qadri, who has served for a time as a member of Pakistan's National Assembly, has spent years promoting interfaith dialogue, largely through Minhaj-ul-Quran International, a non-governmental organization he founded in 1980 and still heads.

Qadri, who will return to Canada early next month, lives near Hamilton, where he devotes himself to writing about Islam. He says he is determined to change the negative images now associated with his faith, while also stopping radical Islam in its tracks.

It's a tall order but an urgent one.

"We want a secure future for everybody," he says. "I speak of the human race."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Muslim Camp' draws teens to combat extremism

Dated: 10 August 2009
This article is taken from http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE5792AL20090810?sp=true


COVENTRY, England (Reuters) - Like any rousing Islamic preacher, Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri's voice rises to a shout and his index finger jabs as he hammers home a point.



But rather than angry calls for jihad (holy war) or a vitriolic denunciation of the West and its aggressions against Islam, Qadri's message, equally forcefully delivered, is about moderation, peace, inclusion and understanding.

Addressing a packed auditorium from a raised platform, his words beamed on to large screen behind him, more than 1,000 young followers hang on his every word, even as his lecture moves into its fourth uninterrupted hour.

"Islam is not a religion of seclusion, it is not a religion of detachment," he thunders from the dais, occasionally pausing to wipe the sweat from his brow or adjust his spectacles.

"Any killer of a non-Muslim citizen, he will go to hell. Those who are committing terroristic acts from Pakistan and Afghanistan and claiming it is jihad -- they do not know what jihad is. It is forbidden. There will not be janna (paradise) for them," he hollers, to shouts of approval from his listeners.

Qadri, 58, who was born in Pakistan but now lives in Canada, is a renowned scholar of Sufism, a long tradition within Islam that focuses on spirituality, emphasizing peace and moderation.

The author of more than 400 books on Islamic scholarship and law, Qadri travels the world delivering sermons to Sufis, while his organization, called Minhaj ul-Quran, has spread to 80 countries, from Greece to Fiji, since its founding in 1981.

In Britain, he is the main draw at a three-day retreat for young Muslims called "Al Hidayah" (Guidance), which over the past five years has grown into the biggest spiritual camp of its kind, with more than 1,200 attendees from a dozen countries.

Qadri believes camps like his, which attract teenagers -- girls and boys wearing traditional dress who sit separately in the auditorium -- as well as their parents and children as young as six, can play a part in combating extremism within Islam.

For Britain, that has been particularly important since 2003, when the country joined the invasion of Iraq, and 2005, when four young British Muslims carried out suicide bombings on the London transport network, killing 52 people.

"I feel it is my duty to save the younger generation from radicalization," Qadri said quietly over lunch on Sunday, shortly after finishing the second of several lectures and question-and-answer sessions, which concluded on Monday.

"We need to prepare them mentally and academically, intellectually and spiritually, against extremist tendencies and radical and terrorist attitudes. We need to provide them with an awakening of the true picture of Islam," he said.

TACKLING EXTREMISM

Around the world, and particularly in the United States, there has been a steady increase in adherence to Sufism in the past decade. Governments keen to tackle the spread of more radical branches of Islam in their countries have worked with Sufi scholars and tried to emphasize their teachings.



In Britain, home to around 1.7 million Muslims, the bulk from Pakistan, the government at first worked to promote Sufism, supporting the creation in 2006 of the Sufi Muslim Council, a group that took a strong stand against Islamist extremism.

But since then, it has moved away from explicit support, saying that working via the Sufi community -- whose exact number in Britain is not known -- is just one element of a wider approach to countering Islamic radicalism.

"It's part of a broader engagement. We don't want to isolate any one group over another," a government spokeswoman said.

Supporters of Qadri, though, are adamant about the benefits of his teachings, with students coming from as far as Denmark and Canada to hear him speak during the three-day retreat. Women in particular like his emphasis on female equality within Islam, an element not always touched on by other Islamic scholars.

"What he says is mind-opening, it makes you feel good as a woman," said Sofia Saeed, 27, a legal assistant who traveled from Manchester to attend the retreat with a friend.



"There's no discrimination here. It makes you feel like a stronger believer, a stronger person," she said, comfortably mixing designer sunglasses with her full hijab head covering.

Qadri, a former minister in Pakistan and close associate of Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated former prime minister, does not believe his teachings can change radical minds overnight, but he is a believer that intellect can ultimately defeat extremism.

"If the terrorists are 10 people and the peaceful are 1,000, then they are more powerful than us with their arms, even if we are 5,000," he said. "But the point is that we have to make the 5,000 more powerful not with arms, but by the communication of the right message of Islam."

(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Islam and Minorities


Dated: 09 August 2009
By Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Words fail to express the feelings of horror and grief one experienced while watching the scenes of mayhem, destruction of homes and the burning of seven people alive on TV channels in the Gojra city of Punjab. What made it all the more poignant was the fact that people, inspired by religious fervour and egged on by the so-called religious clerics having half-baked understanding of Islam, were doing everything our great religion condemned and ordained its followers against. Thus through their actions, these people brought a bad name not only to Pakistan but also Islam. Displaying sheer ignorance of Islamic teachings, they handed down a justification to those elements who are, otherwise, bent on demonizing Islam by invoking such incidents as the representation of what Islam stands for. It is high time we introspected ourselves and went back to the teachings of Islam vis-à-vis minorities.

Islam espouses values of universal brotherhood, tolerance and mutually peaceful coexistence ordaining its followers to be the source of peace for people around them. It aims at the establishment of such an ideal state and society where all citizens, irrespective of their association, religious identity, race, colour and creed, enjoy the similar rights and equality in the eyes of law.
The Qur’anic injunction “There is no compulsion in Din (Religion)” (2:256) negates the element of coercion and oppression in religious matters and forms the basis for protection of rights of minorities. At another place, Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: “(So) you have your Din (Religion) and I have my Din (Religion)” (109:6).

The importance and sanctity of rights Islam gives to minorities can be further gauged by the saying of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him): “Beware! If anyone dared oppress a member of minority community or usurped his right or tortured him more than his endurance or took something away forcibly without his consent, I would fight (against such Muslim) on his behalf on the Day of Judgment.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

This is not merely a warning but has the sanctity of a law, which was promulgated in the Islamic state during the blessed period of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) but which also continued to be implemented in the later period and is still a part of constitution of Islamic state. The Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) would always forewarn Muslims about the rights of the minorities. While talking of minorities one day, he said: “Whosoever killed a member of a minority community, he would not smell the fragrance of paradise though fragrance of paradise would cover the distance of forty years.” (Bidiyat-ul-Mujtahid)

Whenever the non-Muslim delegations would come to the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), he would extend them hospitality himself. Once a Christian delegation from Abyssinia came over to meet the Prophet of Islam (blessings and peace be upon him) in the blessed city of Madina, he took it upon himself to play host to the guests and made them stay in the Prophet’s Mosque. He said: “These people occupy distinguished and privileged status for our companions, therefore, I chose to extend them respect and hospitality myself.” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa an-Nihaya)

Likewise, another 14-member Christian delegation from Nijran came to the holy city of Madina. The Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) made the delegation stay in the Prophet’s Mosque and allowed the Christians of the delegation to worship according to their religion in the Prophet’s Mosque. (Ibn Sad, at-Tabqat al-Kubra)

Such was the deep and penetrating impact of the Holy Prophet’s good treatment of the minorities that their interaction with him was also based on respect and reverence. When an ally Jew was about to die during a battle, people asked him about the possible heir to his huge property, he said that the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) would be guardian of his property. This speaks volumes of the reverence the Prophet of Islam (blessings and peace be upon him) had in the eyes of the non-Muslims.

Imam Abu Yusuf writes in his magnum opus Kitab al-Khiraj that both Muslims and non-Muslim minorities were treated equally in respect of civil law and law of punishments during the Prophetic period and that of the rightly guided caliphs. Once a Muslim killed a non-Muslim during the period of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). He ordered the killing of that Muslim by way of qisas and said: “The protection of rights of non-Muslims is my most important duty.” (Musnad ash-Shafi‘i)

In the like manner, the status of a Muslim and a non-Muslim is equal in civil law in an Islamic state. The non-Muslim would also deserve the same punishment which would be meted out to a Muslim in case of committal of crimes. Whether a non-Muslim steals things of a Muslim or otherwise, both would deserve the equal amount of punishment. No discrimination can be allowed in their treatment in the eyes of law.

Contrary to the teachings of Islam and the sayings of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), our actual conduct is shameful to put it mildly, which is responsible for bringing Islam into disrepute. No sane Muslim can approve and condone such reprehensible acts as witnessed in Gojra. It is a matter of immense concern as to how a small minority of bigoted and radical Mullahs can hold sway over ignorant people and make them dance to their tune without any fear of reprisal from state and its law enforcement agencies.

While the administrative failure to nip evil in the bud may be blamed for the outbreak of riots in the short-run, colossal havoc these happenings caused is a reflection of how extremism has penetrated our attitudes and social behaviours. The state cannot allow this situation to worsen by adopting passive and reactive response. It needs to initiate action to undo the damage it did when it promoted and co-opted a particular religious mindset at the cost of social equilibrium, religious tolerance and sectarian harmony. At a time when we need to reach out to other faiths in a bid to engage them in constructive dialogue aimed at finding solutions to the contemporary problems, such acts prove only counterproductive. In the next article, I would discuss the peculiar nature of rights minorities enjoy in an Islamic state.

This article was published in Daily The Nation, 09 Aug, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ISSUE OF FORCED MARRIAGES


Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri speaks on issue of forced marriages

The important and central program of Sahibzada Hussan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri’s visit to Norway took place in Red Cross Hall on December 2, 2008. Since the topic was of immense interest to people and it was the first ever program of its kind in Norway, the zeal and zest of audience was quite noticeable. The team of the Minhaj Reconciliation Council, which had been busy for the successful conduct of the programme, was rolling out red carpet welcome for the incoming guests. The majority of audience composed of young men and women for the topic was such as concerned the youth. The chief guests of the programme included Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, Norwegian Education Minister Bard Vegard Solhjell, Fabian Stang, the Mayor of Oslo, Monica Berge of Red Cross, and Gerd Fleischer, president of Organization for Help of the Expat Community in addition to a large number of representatives of various local organizations.

The proceedings of the program got under way with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Hafiz Imran Ali followed by Naat which was recited by a team of Minhaj Sisters that included Iqra Mushtaq, Amina Zafar, Zunaira Mushtaq, Fatima Zafar, and Ayesha Noor. Mr. Atif Rauf read out the translation of recitation. Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang, felicitated the Minhaj Reconciliation Council on the successful arrangement of the program and appreciated its overall efforts. He said Minhaj Reconciliation Council has won Oslo Award due to its efforts and hoped that the organization would continue working much more vigorously and will be recipients of all awards.

Representative of Oslo Red Cross, Monica Berge, presented facts and figures of forced marriages and mentioned the services the Red Cross was making in the field. She appreciated the efforts of Minhaj Reconciliation Council. Gerd Fleischer made a detailed speech on the topic of forced marriages. He said no religion recommended forced marriage. It is a social issue, which is present everywhere in the world. He expressed the need for making joint efforts in this regard.

Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, who is has completed his education at Minhaj University, the University of Punjab, London University and Arab University in addition to benefiting from great scholars of the Arab world, has become a man of scholarly stature in his own right. He started off his speech with verses from the Sura Bakara of the Holy Quran. Quoting the Quranic verses and Hadiths, he said no religion of the world, leave alone Islam, approved of the idea of forced marriages. The presence of this phenomenon in the society today was because of ignorance of Islamic teachings. He said Islam gave right to adult man and woman to enter into marital relationship out of their free will. He said it was also rationally justifiable to allow people to choose with whom they would like to spend their life.

Citing a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari, Nisai, Ibne Majja, whereby a woman came to the Holy Prophet (saw) with a request for him that her parents had married her off with a person with whom she was not agreed. He (saw) asked her to marry out of her own volition where she was happy. Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri established by quoting various Books on Hadith that even a divorced woman should also be consulted before being married off by the parents and her opinion should also be sought if she was a virgin.

He asked how our religion, which does not recommend any forced conversion, could permit forced marriage. People gave a standing ovation to Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din for clarity of content, lucidity of style and vigour of presentation. Norwegian participants compromising professors and doctors expressed their extreme happiness over the speech of Sahibzada sahib. They said they were amazed to see this face of Islam, which is very rare to find in today’s world.

In the end, Education Minister, Bard Vegard Solhjell, was invited to speak. Appreciating the speech of Sahibzada Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri and the work of Minhaj Reconciliation Council, he said there was need of working on similar pattern as MRC was doing. He said we had appointed our representatives in the colleges for help of the people. He said we would have to fight jointly against this evil custom. “We would continue to extend our cooperation with organizations like Minhaj Reconciliation Council to get rid of these problems,” he concluded.

President Minhaj Reconciliation Council, Ijaz Ahmad Warriach, thanked the guests and participants for their support and keen interest. The guests were entertained with food. This was, no doubt, the successful program which would be remembered for times to come.