Commanderie des Croyants

Discours Royal à l'occasion du 67-ème anniversaire de la Révolution du Roi et du Peuple

Speech of Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, on the Occasion of the Establishment of the Higher Council of the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Oulema

Speech of Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, on the Occasion of the Establishment of the Higher Council of the Mohammed VI Foundation of African OulemaPraise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds. Peace and blessings be on the Noblest of Messengers and on his Immaculate Family and Honored Companions

Mawlāy Ameer Al-Mūmineen (Sire, Commander of the Faithful)

On the occasion of the installation of the Higher Council of the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Oulema, your servant is honored to present to your august Majesty a number of points which are relevant to this religious and scholarly event, in their historical context, pointing to some recent antecedents, current warranting factors, and future prospects.

Mawlāy Ameer Al-Mūmineen (Sire, Commander of the Faithful)

The African orientation of the policy designed by your Sherifyan Majesty is not dictated by some transient and ordinary cooperation policy –which is limited to the exchange of goods and interests. It is rather an orientation which is multidimensional, deriving its distinction from geographical ties, historical links, (foundational) scholarly textual affinities, and affiliation to spiritual (Sufi) orders. Morocco indeed shares several religious, dogma-related, and denominational constants with a number of African countries.

The multiple economic partnerships that your Majesty has recently launched with a number of Sub-Saharan countries are actually associated in the minds of the populations of these countries with the common religious, scholarly, and spiritual heritage they share with Morocco. Many fair-minded analysts admit that what has been built over centuries in the area of immaterial capital is both invaluable and immeasurable. Besides, it stands the tests of time and its vicissitudes. One of the fruits of this shared heritage on the relations between Morocco and West Africa, in particular, is that these relations are popular and lasting, never affected by transient circumstances or incidents.

Built on solid ground, the heritage is seen in the following:

  • Shared belief in the As-Sh`arite Creed which entails rejection of the idea of Takfeer (or, the charge of unbelief). The claims of terror which some seek to link with religion are likewise vehemently repelled;
  • Shared adoption of the Mālikite School in matters of worship and interpersonal dealings. Mālikism has several advantages which are well-suited to our African environment;
  • Commonalties in the building of the spiritual personality as seen in the corpuses of the Shādiliah, Al-Qādiriah, and Tijāniah Orders;
  • Shared corpuses and licensing traditions which connect Moroccan Oulemas with some African countries.

Among the manifestations of these well-cared for ties, mention could be made of the continued interactions between the Shiekhs of Zawāyas (the schooling and praying quarters of Sufi religious Orders)and the Kings of Morocco, the presence of African Oulemas in the Hassanian Lectures, and the establishment of the League of the Scholars of Morocco and Senegal in the eighties.

This shared heritage, however, has come under threat of late. As a result, religious traditions in Africa, along with the serenity that they confer on populations, have been menaced, too. Denominational confusion has thus come to threaten unity within mosques –even though, from a legal point of view, Fitna (or, discord) may on no account be justified.

On the basis of the above, the sincere ones who are engaged in Da`wa (the Call to the Way of Allah), in full observance of their national constants, are bound to be delighted with the establishment of this Foundation. This is because the latter will strive to foster tight links between oulemas on the African Continent. The common goal resides in preserving the faith in these countries and the peace-loving mentality of their people, while striving to guard and shore up the distinctive African culture which has never before undermined the Unicity of Allah and action on the noblest virtues, as evinced and expounded by the Sunnah (Tradition) of the Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him).   

Mawlāy Ameer Al-Mūmineen (Sire, Commander of the Faithful)

The prospects of the Foundation, as you have set them and as they are summed up in the goals which are outlined in the Sherifyan Dahir (or, Royal Decree), are crystallized in an expertise based partnership between the religious oulemas of Morocco and those of African who seeks it seek it. Use of that expertise based partnership will be within the limits of the permissible, both contextually and legally, and on the basis of a holistic approach to religion in a bid to protect the faith and develop its various religious services. You have evolved this mechanism, O Majesty, first and foremost, in order to earn the good-pleasure of Almighty Allah for the trust you have shouldered, as the Defender of Religion and the Faith, as the Custodian of the shared spiritual history between Morocco and Africa, and as a person eager to bolster security and stability in the region, as a whole.

The partnership which will be put at the disposal of African oulemas, through the Foundation, covers many areas. But we should like to mention just eight of them here:

First, scholarly supervision/coaching: oulemas contribute to the transmission of their message which is based on Wassatiah (intermediacy and moderation). They also coordinate their efforts to disseminate the primacy of repelling religious discord and to foster security and stability, as prior legal exigencies;

Second, organization of religious learning: this can be done by making it the bearer of the values of peace and by making it uplift man and spur him to serve himself and his nation, and beyond that, to work deeds of goodness and charity for the benefit of everyone. By the same token, every attempt will be made to avoid the use of religion to spread hatred and promote mischief;

Third, enhanced cooperation between Sufi Orders and scholarly bodies: present-day constraints require `Ulemas (scholars) to organize entities, within which they assume and discharge their responsibilities, as scholars and serve as referential authorities in that capacity. But they should also direct and inspire people to adopt the ethics of Purification Schools and to heighten their consciences thanks to the values of modesty and self-discipline which Sūfi sheikhs instill in the minds of people;

Fourth, the management of religious services, especially in mosques, which should be supervised in ways which shelter them from adverse denominational or political influences;

Fifth, help provided in setting up income-generating waqfs (pious endowments), in order to guarantee self-supporting, local funding designed to meet various religious requirements which are also social in nature;

Sixth, consolidation of religious media in this age of information and communication technology: needless to say, this is essential to the wide transmission of gracious words and sound legal ordinances;

Seventh, cooperation in the training of religious caretakers, after the fashion of what is being done at the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams and Murshidāt (or, Lady Religious Counselors);

Eight, cooperation in the training of new generations of oulemas: this vision is attuned to the important reformations which your Majesty has ordered at the level of Al-Qarawiyin University.

Mawlāy Ameer Al-Mūmineen (Sire, Commander of the Faithful)

The establishment of the Foundation has been hailed and warmly praised by learned Africa. One such sincere expression of welcome has been made by the Mufti of Nigeria, Sheikh Al-Husseini, thus: “We consider that the call for this Foundation could not be more timely and opportune. Today, by the Grace of Allah (Exalted in Might be He) this cherished hope has been realized, where in the past we had been unable to achieve it, in spite of our dire need for it. Allah (Gloried and Exalted be He) has intended Ameer Al-Mūmineen, His Majesty Mohammed VI (May Allah lend him help and support) to accomplish this mighty feat.”

Ever since it was officially announced, the Foundation has gone through various stages in the process of its establishment, as seen particularly, in the appointment of a chairman, of a secretary general, of a financial manager, and a five-member committee tasked with the initial establishment of the Council of the Foundation. It should be noted that the said-committee has in fact set up the Council, in its first version, whose members are here with us today. The Council members add up to 103 and they come from 30 African countries, to these Council-members 20 oulemas from your Sherifyan Kingdom have been added. Within the upcoming months, the following expected actions will be taken:

First, the completion of the central entities, through the formation of four permanent committees and the constitution of the executive bureau and the start of its activities;

Second, the effective legal operation of the branches at the level of partner countries;

Third, the start of planning for local action

Mawlāy Ameer Al-Mūmineen (Sire, Commander of the Faithful)

In closing, allow me, August Majesty, to mention some of the conceptions which should never be associated with the Foundation. This is because, by virtue of the Sherifyan Dahir, which establishes the Foundation:

  1. The Foundation is not and will never be an alternative to any public council, authority, or institution in any of the countries;
  2. The Foundation is not and will never be a foreign body that is grafted onto a country with its own local traditions. The Foundation has been established on the basis of shared constants;
  3. The establishment of branches in partner countries shall be tributary on full compliance with local laws;
  4. The premises and goals of the Foundation place it high above interests and competitions;
  5. Under no circumstances may the Foundation or its means be utilized as expedients to engage into any given political affairs or pursuits.

Mawlāy Ameer Al-Mūmineen (Sire, Commander of the Faithful)

The Council, which is being set up today, under the effective presence of your Sherifyan Majesty, shall assume essential duties upon which the effective and smooth operation of the Foundation hinges. Pursuant to your high directives, the present Council will strive, with due diligence and rigor, to develop the Foundation in order to serve Islam in Africa and make it shore up peace and rally people in the interests on good values and lofty ethics.

May Allah approve of all your endeavors and accept them. May He be well-pleased with you! Peace, mercy, and blessings be upon your God-granted high standing.




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