Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh, head of the Council of Senior Ulema and the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatwas responded to the scathing attack made on Monday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki concerning Saudi Arabia’s religious establishments. The Grand Mufti accused al-Maliki of being mistaken in this regard.
Al-Maliki attacked the official religious institutes in Saudi Arabia [for criticizing Shiite clerics] against the backdrop of a Saudi religious clerics attack on [Shiite] Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The Saudi Grand Mufti refuted the comments made by the Iraqi Prime Minister, who during the previous period repeatedly attacked the Saudi position towards his country, and this comes just a few months before the Iraqi elections.
Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh said that “Saudi scholars are reasonable with regards to what they say, and they are not the people of takfir or heresy, but they are followers of the Quran and Sunnah. They deal with everything according to what is indicated in the Quran and Sunnah.”
He refuted the attack made by Nuri al-Maliki against official religious institutes and their scholars. Sheikh Aal al-Sheikh said that “the claim that they have a takfirist ideology is a mistaken claim.” He also stressed that Saudi scholars “do not wish to unduly takfir anybody.”
He added “Anybody that contemplates the approach of this countries scholars with regards to their correspondence, writings, and actions, will find that they are far away from takfir, and adhere to the Quran and Sunnah an do not wish to unduly kfir anybody. They are followers of the Quran and Sunnah and do not have a takfirist approach, but possess a sound awareness and a sincere call [to God], and advice to every Muslim, and guidance towards goodness.”
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia stressed that “such mistakes should not be made against a Muslim country that is well known for its goodness and moderation on all things.”
Regarding the importance of abstaining from attacking religious symbols, Sheikh Aal al-Sheikh said “Some people accused Saudi scholars and institutions of being takfirist, this is a mistaken claim, these are the finest scholarly institutes and they follow the Quran and Sunnah.”
The Saudi Grand Mufti also confirmed the necessity of “seeking what unites us…and we should not judge the mistakes of others without proof.”
The Grand Mufti also stressed the importance that those delivering Friday sermons take into account the intellectual level of worshippers, and ensure that the issues discussed in the sermon do not exceed the capacity of the worshippers being addressed, as this will not achieve the desired effect [in them].
He said “It is up to the preacher delivering the Friday sermon to address social problems…whether this is connected to theology, or worship, or daily life, or personal issues. He [the preacher] must look at this with regards to every sermon he delivers, or every literature that he writes, or the good deeds that he urges towards and the bad deeds that he warns against. In his [Friday] sermon, the preacher deals with the problems of society, because he is part of society.”
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh also stressed that “it is the role of Friday sermon preachers to focus on resolving problems and correcting the situation, and addressing the worshippers in a way that they understand. The educated and the ignorant come together in the mosque…and they have different capabilities with regards to comprehending [complex issues]. Everybody should leave the mosque with a [positive] result.”