We congratulate Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz for the royal trust appointing him as second deputy to the custodian of the two holy shrines. Everyone wrote on this event in accordance with his specialization and field of work. Security officials talked about Prince Naif and his remarkable record in safeguarding security in the homeland; politicians talked about him and his long career in politics; and media representatives talked about Prince Naif and his media career. In my capacity as a seeker of knowledge and a preacher, I have had a long association with Prince Naif in the fields of Al-Dawa, guidance, oratory, and good counsel.
At every gathering, Prince Naif pointed out clearly and unequivocally that the basis of the legitimacy of the Saudi state is Islam and that its message to the world is Islam. He said that Islam is faith, worship, and a way of life; it is the constitution of the state. I have attended a meeting chaired by Prince Naif with Islamic preachers in the house of Islamic Affairs Minister His Excellency Sheikh Saleh Al al-Sheikh. I have also been to other meetings with Prince Naif in his office, in the university, and in the headquarters of the Prince Naif Prize for Sunnah and Islamic Studies. He always proclaimed that the state is the protector of Islamic Shariaa and that it embraces the Islamic project in every single aspect of public life. The best evidence to this is that Prince Naif founded the biggest international prize for the prophet’s Sunnah and selected the city of the cherished messenger of God, may God’s blessings and prayers be upon him, as the headquarters of this prize. Prince Naif always attended with us lectures, panels, and media events either through encouragement or through observations. As in ijtihad [the Islamic process of making legal decisions by independent interpretation], we sometimes erred and sometimes hit the mark.
I once delivered a lecture in the King Khalid Mosque in Riyadh on the centrism and toleration of Islam and that the first duty of the state is to protect religion and the community. After the lecture, Prince Naif contacted me to congratulate me and thank me. This has happened regularly with other seekers of knowledge. At a press conference after the 11 September events and the pressures and threats to which Saudi Arabia was subjected, he said: We are afraid of no one but God; we are not afraid of anyone but God. These words are similar to the words of King Abdulaziz, his father and founder of the state, may God rest his soul in peace, when he told a governor of a Saudi region – as mentioned in the book “The Saudis and the Islamic Solution” – if God is with you, who would you be afraid of? And if God is against you, to whom can you plead? The Islamic scholars and preachers need support in their projects to promote Al-Dawa and in their reformist centrist and moderate march along the teachings of the holy book and the Sunnah. This is what we see in the land and state of Islam.
Prince Naif’s determination to protect the Shariaa and champion the prophet’s Sunnah proceeds from his understanding of the divine reformist, rejuvenating, and civilized program undertaken by the state. This program started in the agreement of the two imams Muhammad Bin-Saud and Muhammad Bin-Abdul-Wahab so that God Almighty would champion Islam, power stands alongside justice, and the authority supports Al-Shariaa. This is what is required and expected of every official in this entity. As students of knowledge and preachers, we have experienced Prince Naif’s stands in support of the religious scholars or the preachers or the men of the [Promotion of Virtue and Propagation of Vice] Commission or anyone that holds sound thinking and follows the sound path and righteousness shown to us by the prophet, may God’s blessings and prayers be upon him.
The correct and sound Dawa and useful knowledge need a just power, an existing state, and a respected authority. God Almighty called his prophets “possessors of power and vision” [part of Koranic verse; Suad,38:45]; that is, just power and useful knowledge. On behalf of every single student of knowledge, preacher, scholar, and mosque imam, we congratulate Prince Naif for the trust of the ruler. We pray to God Almighty to grant him and his brothers wisdom, success, and guidance to protect the Community of Islam, protect the country, defend Shariaa, safeguard the gains, protect the entity, and complete the plan for unity and unification that the forefathers set up 100 years ago. After being divided in the Arabian Peninsula, we became one state that raises the banner of (There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah).