“Harmony and cohesion in a society are directly proportional to its adherence to shared moral values”- By Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah
The Forum is committed to alleviating hostilities between different religions through the promotion of social engagement, education and dialogue. Interfaith initiatives account for a major aspect of the Forum’s work, ranging from conferences with senior religious leaders to community-focused charitable enterprises.
One objective of these initiatives is to restore the virtue of difference. Not only does traditional Islamic teaching promote benevolence toward those with differing views, including non-Muslims, but it also encourages active engagement with a plurality of opinion as a source of both spiritual and intellectual nourishment. As Al-Maqqari advised:
“Learn about differences in order to open your mind, for he who learns about the differences between scholars and of knowledge and of opinions will surely have an open mind”- By Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah
One of the Forum’s means for encouraging engagement with difference is through actively bringing a range voices together to seek unity among multiplicity. While many of the current discourses focus on the irreconcilability of differences, Islam represents unity (tawhid) and universal truth. In this sense, it stands in contrast to worldviews which claim that ‘otherness’ is immutable.
“We [Muslims] do not subscribe to Hegel’s belief that conflict is the driving force in society, that a constant struggle for control is inevitable, and that destruction is prerequisite for construction…Islamic values and the fiqh of peace are based on reconciliation and forgiveness, not antagonism’
‘In Islam, the ‘other’ does not mean ‘the opposite’ that in Hegel’s view, ‘must be dominated to achieve self-consciousness as part of a self’s life-or-death struggle for recognition.’ The ‘other’ in the Islamic perspective can be summarised in the words of Imam Ali (may God be pleased with him), ‘There are two types of people: those who are your brothers in religion and those with who you have been created in a like form to you’. So, the ‘other’ is either one with whom you share a common faith or one with whom you share a common humanity. – By Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah