Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Syedna to the World Islamic Festival
English rendering of the address delivered by Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin at the Islamic World Festival held in London marking the beginning of the 15th century Hijri.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Muslim Brethren and Friends
We give praise to Allah who has perfected our religion for us and completed His favour for us and Who chose Islam as a religion for us.
We also give praise to Him for that grace which enables us to render thanks for His bounties, thanks for
Firstly, our coming together in this grand Islamic festival away from our own religious and social centres;
Secondly, by proving to all those and ourselves who pay heed through discussion, deliberation and research the great qualities and virtues of Islam, and;
Thirdly, by delineating guided steps to make available the benefits of the principles of Islam for Gods creation in all His lands, regardless of varying faiths and religions and manifold cults and persuasions.
At this great Islamic gathering have come together eminent scholars from far off countries in the fields of theology, philosophy and science in an endeavour to present what is inherent in Islamic civilization; its treasures of learning, literature and the arts. Nothing is more apt on such a unique and auspicious occasion than a discussion on Al-Quran, which is the foundation of the life of a Muslim, and the starting point of his activities in every field. Likewise, it is the resource towards which Muslim seekers converge and the fount from which their efforts emanate. If ever there was a book which inspired a community, drew it from the wilderness and emancipated it to a life of high values, idealism and honour and forged the political social and intellectual history of mankind — that book, without contradiction and with all certainty, is al-Quran al-Majid. Its impact on the progress of Muslims is palpable and absolute both in material and spiritual life.
When we discuss al-Quran and its effects on the life of Muslims in the past and its impact on the present times, we are obliged to take recourse to the Quran itself to know its eternal factuality and to unravel its perpetual meaning; for light can be perceived only through light and realitycomprehended only through reality.
Al-Quran itself gives reference to its definition and its primary characteristic namely that it is the revelation from Allah; because of which the Prophet could caution the world, making a common universal call and proclaiming an all-inclusive message of guidance without distinction between the inhabitants of the East or the West, the North or the South; for the call of al-Quran goes forth to the entirety of mankind and mankind is the recipient of that message.
Blessed is He who hath revealed unto His Slave the Criterion (of right and wrong), that he may be a warner to the peoples. He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and earth. He hath chosen no Sun nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. (al-Furqan... 1 & 2).
Whilst the Quran is an embracing call to all the fellowships of mankind in varying surroundings at different times, it is open to us to search for:
The dialectical methods of the Quran,
The absolute guarantees promised by it,
The resources and implements made available by it,
and, lastly, the religious principles it provides so that they may be a sure foundation for continued progress towards perpetual perfection and absolute goodness.
When we search for the peculiarities of the Quran as Allah explains them in His precious Book, we find a satisfying answer to our search. The Quran is Light from Allah. It is mercy vouchsafed to us. It is guidance in the wilderness of life. It is a cure for doubting hearts and the illusions of the soul. It is the criterion between verity and error. It contains manifest signs, which will never lead its follower to perdition. It is an insight, which reveals the mysteries of creation. It is good tidings for the world. It is the spirit emanating from Allahs command. These explicit attributes of the Quran as Allah has described them in His book are the identifying characteristics for Qurans lofty eternal reality.
Let us listen to the Quran with open hearths. let us give ear to it with an awakened and attentive conscience in order that we may perceive the manner in which Allah presents unto us the peculiarities of His revelations in the pages of His Book.
Alif. Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture which we have revealed unto thee (Mohammed) that thereby thou mayst bring forth mankind from darkenss unto light by the permission of their Lord unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise. XIV : 1
He it is Who sendeth down clear revelations unto His slave, that He may bring you forth from darkness unto light; and lo for you, Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful. LVII : 9
Allah has emphasized al-Qurans special characteristics of Proof, Light, Guidance and Mercy several times. For those who follow the Quranic guidance with sincerity and faith, these characteristics promise good effects and blessed fruits.
O mankind ! Now hath a proof from your Lord come unto you, and We have sent down unto you a clear light IX : 174
Again, We gave the Scripture unto Moses complete for him who would do good an explanation of all things, a guidance and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord VI : 154
It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explanation of everything and guidance and a mercy for folk who believe. XII : 3
Two features found in the Quran merit special mention because of their far-reaching importance in the spiritual life of the individual and the social life of the community. Allah says
And hold fast all of you together to the cable of Allah and do not separate.III : 103
The beauty of this ayaat is its description of the Quran as the rope of Allah. He who holds fast to it is assured of safety and emancipation. This is a most novel connotation and of far reaching effect on the life of a Muslim. The second feature is that the Book of Allah is signified as the spirit emanating from Allahs command:
And thus have We inspired in thee (Muhammed) a spirit of our command. Thou knowest not what the Scripture was, nor what the faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of our bondmen. And lo: thou verily dost guide unto a right path. The path of Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Do not all things reach Allah atlast? XLII : 52-53
The phrase Allahs command is of delicate meaning. It is a special Quranic expression and bears testimony to the fact that al-Quran guides and leads towards all that is lofty and sublime.
The spirit from the command of Allah, namely al-Quran, uplifts the believer to the heights of nobility and leadership and elevates him to the world of purity and perpetuality. The Rope of Allah is a Light born of Light and leading to Light. In this way we could go on enumerating the virtues and excellences of al-Quran. Time itself may end but the task will yet remain unfinished. The life of the Messenger of Allah is like a mirror reflecting the light of the Quran and its noble principles and lofty values. Allahs Prophet is a co-sharer of the virtues and attributes of al-Quran. As the Quran is
a guidance for mankind,
so is the Messenger a guide to the right path;
the Light which dispels darkness,
so is the Messenger of Allah a summoning unto Allah by His permission;
and a lamp that giveth light a mercy,
the gift of Allah, so is the Messenger of Allah a mercy to the whole world.
Muslims, whilst they strive to regain their position in the march of human civilization must also guide the caravan of civilization to its correct destiny. They stand in greater need to receive guidance from the noble Prophet in order that their lives may reflect a true interpretation of the exalted principles and noble junctions, which the Quran brought. Thus, will be enhanced the fiber of Islam and its benefits will permeate to mankind across the length and breadth of the world. Muslimeen stand in greater need to listen to what Amir-ul-Mumineen, the gateway to the city of knowledge had to say in respect of the Book of Allah
Then Allah revealed to him (the Prophet) the Book
a light whose lamp cannot be extinguished
a lamp whose glow will never dim,
an ocean whose depth cannot be fathomed
a path which never leads astray
a beam whose light never fades, a criterion whose validity is irrefutable
an illustration whose arguments cannot be challenged
a cure after which fear of illness does not lie,
an honour whose defenders cannot be vanquished,
a truth whose upholders can never be forsaken,
It is the source of Eman and its home,
the spring of knowledge and also its ocean,
the meadow of justice and its pond,
the trivet of Islam and its foundation
the valley of truth and its fertile plain.
Al-Quran quenches the thirst of the scholar.
is the season of spring for the delight of learned men,
a clear path for the virtuous
In conclusion I thank the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs and the organizers of the World of Islam Festival for their concern for Islam and its civilization and their endeavour in the service of Muslims. I cannot refrain from praying in the manner of Imam Zainul Abedin
O Allah, make Al-Qur'an a means to attain the choicest position in the abode of magnanimity, a ladder to reach the place of security, a means to calm the rewards of salvation on the Day of Judgement it and a path to travel to the city of eternal abode. O Allah, make Qur'an our companion in the darkness of night and a protector from the temptations of Satan, and a restraint on our feet from walking to the places of sin, and a restraint on our limbs from committing sins. O Allah, ensure through the Qur'an the cleanliness of our exteriors and wash away the impurities of our hearts and clothe us in the apparel of immunity from the awful terrors of the Day of Resurrection