ISTANBUL - A galaxy of renowned Muslim scholars and intellectuals from around the world came together Saturday, April 27, in a two-day symposium to discuss ways of reviving Ijma (scholarly consensus) and unity among Muslims.
"Ijma protects the Muslim nation against superstitions and deviation from the straight path of Islam," Professor Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey's Religious Affairs, told attendees.
"Muslims should present Islam as the Prophet (peace and blessing be on him) himself presented it.
"Ijmacalls for the renewal of ijtihad (personal juristic reasoning). . . . It also calls for the unity of vision and methodological approach of the Muslim community."
Themed "Ijma as a Common Road and Collective Awareness", the symposium brings together scholars and intellectuals from more than 80 countries.
Prominent among attendees are leader of Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party Rachid Ghannouchi, Mufti of Oman Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalili and Egypt's former Mufti Dr. Ali Gomaa.
Dozens of papers and studies will be presented and discussed during the two-day meeting.
Dr. Essam Al-Bashir, Head of the Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Academy of Sudan, called on Muslims to unite over the basics and principal foundations of Islam.
"We have to accept and respect justifiable differences over secondary issues of religion as it is Allah's will to create people with different colors, reasons, and understanding skills."
This year's symposium is co-organized by the Yeni Ãmit and Hira magazines.
"This year's symposium is the sixth such event we have organized, Dr. Ergun Ãapan, the editor-in-chief of Yeni Umit magazine, told OnIslam.net.
"Previous symposiums studied significant topics such the Qur'an, the Prophet's biography and Sunnah (the Prophet's actions, deeds, approvals, and descriptions), and solving social problems through the Prophet's path."
The Yeni Ãmit magazine is a monthly magazine on Islamic knowledge and literature. It reaches out to around 100,000 people every month.
Renowned Islamic scholars Professor Hayrettin Karaman and Suat YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m are among the members of the magazine's advisory board.
Hira, the other organizer, is a magazine published in Arabic by Kaynak Publishing. It reaches out to people in many Islamic countries.
Among the contributors to the magazine are many writers, thinkers and intellectuals from the Arab world. It is published as a quarterly.
Organizers hope that the meeting would help revive the spirit and culture of Ijma among Muslims.
|"We aim at reviving the spirit, culture, and values of Ijma," Nevzat SavaÅ, the editor-in-chief of Hira magazine, told OnIslam.net|
"We aim at reviving the spirit, culture, and values of Ijma," Nevzat SavaÅ, the editor-in-chief of Hira magazine, told OnIslam.net.
He lamented that Muslims at present are divided.
"We try to do something to bring Muslims' together through studying the values of Ijma."
He said that this year's event would not study Ijma from a Shari`ah perspective only.
"Other significant dimensionssuch as social, educational, and political implications of Ijmawill be discussed too," he added.
Attendees will discuss topics as authority of Ijma in legislation, Ijma in the time of the Prophet and his Companions and Ijma in the Qur'anic context.
Topics will also focus on the educational and social dimensions of Ijma and the applicability of Ijma in modern context.
The theme of this year's event has been proposed by prominent Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen.
A charismatic Muslim scholar, author, poet and educational activist, Gulen is a champion of interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology.
Gulen, who is living in Pennsylvania, has authored over 60 books and many articles.
He has been the subject of several academic studies.
A recent conference was held at the House of Lords, under the sponsorship of the London School of Economics and the University of London, to study him and his movement.
In 2008, American Foreign Policy magazine placed him at the top of its list of the world's Top 20 Public Intellectuals