Muslim Brotherhood Endorses Al-Azhar Document on the Future of Egypt
In a press conference at Al-Azhar Wednesday, a number of key Egyptian political figures and party representatives from across the political spectrum endorsed the document proposed by Al-Azhar last June as a guiding framework for the constituent assembly that will be in charge of drafting the new constitution. All the parties, Islamist and Secular, emphasized their commitment to the principles outlined in the document, while agreeing they are not supra-constitutional articles that will be imposed on the parliament. The parties included the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, Al-Wafd, Al-Karama, The Democratic Front , Al-Ghad and others. Presidential hopefuls Mohamed ElBaradei, Mohamed Selim El Awa, Amr Mousa, and Ayman Nour also supported the initiative.
Below is the text of Al-Azhar Document on The Future of Egypt,
Through an initiative proposed by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb, a diverse group of Egyptian intellectuals met with a number of leading scientists, scholars and intellectuals from Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, where they examined the requirements needed for Egypt during the historic moment that Egypt is passing through after the January 25 Revolution and its importance in guiding the future of Egypt towards the noble goals and the due rights of its people to freedom, dignity, equality and social justice.
In recognition of all the leading roles of Al-Azhar as a leader in the development of Islamic thought, the conferees emphasized the importance of Al-Azhar in determining the relationship between the State and religion, and in stating the foundations of legitimate Sharia-based politics that should be pursued.
Based on the accumulated experience of Al-Azhar and the history of its scientific and cultural heritage, from here, we – the conferees – announce that we have agreed on the following principles to determine the nature of Islamic authority, which is mainly represented in a number of issues drawn from the religious texts, as the main features of the correct understanding of religion, and these principles are summarized in the following points:
First: Supporting the establishment of the national constitutional modern democratic State, based on a constitution accepted by the nation, separating between the authorities of the State and setting its legal institutions and setting out the framework of governance, and the guarantees for the rights and duties of each of its members on an equal footing, so that the power of legislation is to be held by the people’s representatives in accordance with the correct and sound Islamic concept.
Second: The adoption of the democratic system, based on direct free elections, which would be the modern formula applied to achieve the principles of Islamic Shura, as this form guarantees pluralism and peaceful rotation of power, and determining the terms of reference and monitoring of performance of the government and ensuring the accountability of State officials by the representatives of the people.
Third: The commitment to a system of fundamental freedoms in thought and opinion, with full respect for human rights, women’s and children’s rights, with an emphasis on the principle of pluralism and respect for religions, and considering citizenship as the focus of responsibility in the community.
Fourth: Full respect for the ethics of difference and the ethics of dialogue, and emphasizing the need to avoid accusations of treason and blasphemy, as well as avoiding the exploitation of religion and using it to ignite rivalry and hostility between the citizens, together with regarding the induction of sectarian strife and the calls of racism as a crime against the nation.
Fifth: Reaffirming the commitment to international covenants and resolutions, and the adherence to the accomplishments of civilization in human relations, which are compatible with the traditions of the tolerant Arab and Islamic culture, and are consistent with the experience of the long lived civilization of the Egyptian people, through the various models and forms of peaceful co-existence and the pursuit of the good of all humanity.
Sixth: Striving to maintain the dignity of the Egyptian nation and its national pride, and stating a full confirmation for full protection and full respect for the worship houses for the followers of the three divine religions, and ensuring the free exercise of all religious rites without any obstacles, and respecting all aspects of worshiping in its various forms.
Seventh: Considering education, scientific research and using technology to enter the era of knowledge as the engine for the civilizational progress in Egypt, and devoting all efforts to remedy what we missed in these areas, and mobilizing the whole society to eliminate illiteracy, and investing in the human capital and working for the achievement of the major future projects.
Eighth: The realization of a Fiqh (jurisprudence) that is related to the priorities needed for achieving development and social justice, and confronting and facing tyranny as well as fighting against corruption and the elimination of unemployment, including triggering and mobilizing the society’s energies and its creativity in the economic, social and cultural and media programs.
Ninth: Construction of Egypt’s stronger relations with its fellow Arab brothers and the Muslim domain, as well as the African and global levels, advocating the Palestinian rights, maintaining the independence of the Egyptian will, retrieving the historical Egyptian leadership role on the basis of cooperation on the common interests and bringing the benefits to the people in a framework of equality and full independence, continuing to participate in the noble humanitarian effort for the progress of all humans, the preservation of the environment and achieving a just peace between nations.
Tenth: Supporting the independence of the institution of Al-Azhar, and supporting the return of “the Senior Scholars Entity” and granting it the competence for the nomination and the selection of the Grand Imam (the Sheikh of Al-Azhar), and working for renewing the Azhari schooling curricula; so as to recover the original intellectual role of Al-Azhar and its impact on different parts of the world.
Eleventh: Considering Al-Azhar as the competent authority which is due to be in charge of the affairs of Islam, its sciences, its heritage and theological and intellectual modern ijtihaad, with no confiscation at all for the right of everyone to express an opinion once it has met the necessary scientific and scholarly conditions, and provided that the ethics of dialogue are respected as well as respecting the notions approved by the scientists and scholars (Ulama) of the nation.
Al-Azhar scholars and the intellectuals participating in the preparation of this document call on all parties and political trends in Egypt to be committed to working to advance Egypt politically, economically and socially in the framework of the basic parameters set forth in this document.