Saturday, July 01, 2006

Letter to al-Azhar From the Baha'i International Community

The Baha'i International Community wrote a letter to Egypt's al-Azhar University in Cairo on 28 April 2006. The letter opened the door to direct cooperation with the Islamic Research Council in a study that was carried out by the Islamic Council on: "all matters that concern the Bahá’í Faith, its principles, and beliefs, so as to reach a decision over the extent of its legitimacy or otherwise."

The full text of this letter could be seen here in English, or in Arabic.

The Baha'i International Community quoted an extract from a summary statement issued by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, then Head of the Baha'i Faith, which reads:

"The Bahá’í Faith upholds the unity of God, recognizes the unity of His Prophets, and inculcates the principle of the oneness and wholeness of the entire human race. It proclaims the necessity and the inevitability of the unification of mankind, asserts that it is gradually approaching, and claims that nothing short of the transmuting spirit of God, working through His chosen Mouthpiece in this day, can ultimately succeed in bringing it about.

It, moreover, enjoins upon its followers the primary duty of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all manner of prejudice and superstition, declares the purpose of religion to be the promotion of amity and concord, proclaims its essential harmony with science, and recognizes it as the foremost agency for the pacification and the orderly progress of human society. It unequivocally maintains the principle of equal rights, opportunities and privileges for men and women, insists on compulsory education, eliminates extremes of poverty and wealth, abolishes the institution of priesthood, prohibits slavery, asceticism, mendicancy and monasticism, prescribes monogamy, discourages divorce, emphasizes the necessity of strict obedience to one’s government, exalts any work performed in the spirit of service to the level of worship, urges either the creation or the selection of an auxiliary international language, and delineates the outlines of those institutions that must establish and perpetuate the general peace of mankind."

The letter concludes with the following statement: "It is our hope that our offer to cooperate with your Council and to participate in this study will be received in the spirit of reciprocal respect and cordiality in which it has been extended and which is to characterize the relationship between religious organizations around the world."

Copies of the letter were sent to President of Egypt Mr. Hosni Mubarak, and Prime Minister of Egypt Mr. Ahmed Nazif.

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