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The Amman Message (2004)

Document type:
Legal Document

    The Amman Message (2004)


    On the eve of the 27th of Ramadan (9 November) 2004, King Abdullah II of Jordan issued a formal statement on “the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam.” Known as the Amman Message, this statement attempts to unify schools of Islamic thought and to clarify who is a Muslim and who has the authority to issue official teachings. Though largely symbolic, the Message nevertheless emphasized the “core [Islamic] values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion”. The Message also recognized the validity of all eight legal schools, and discouraged the use of takfir (declarations of apostasy against ideological opponents). Reproduced below are the main text of the message and the “Three Points” that were drafted later by a council of scholars and adopted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

    The Amman Message

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    Peace and blessings upon His chosen Prophet, and upon his household, his noble blessed companions, and upon all the messengers and prophets.

    God Almighty has said:

    O humankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes that you may know each other. Truly the most honored of you before God is the most pious of you. (49:13)

    This is a declaration to our brethren in the lands of Islam and throughout the world that Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is proud to issue during the blessed month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an descended as guidance to humankind and as clarifications for guidance and discernment. (2:185)

    In this declaration we speak frankly to the [Islamic] nation, at this difficult juncture in its history, regarding the perils that beset it. We are aware of the challenges confronting the nation, threatening its identity, assailing its tenets (kalima), and working to distort its religion and harm what is sacred to it. Today the magnanimous message of Islam faces a vicious attack from those who through distortion and fabrication try to portray Islam as an enemy to them. It is also under attack from some who claim affiliation with Islam and commit irresponsible acts in its name.

    This magnanimous message that the Originator—great is His power—revealed to the unlettered Prophet Muhammad—God’s blessings and peace upon him, and that was carried by his successors and the members of his household after him, is an address of brotherhood, humanity and a religion that encompasses all human activity. It states the truth directly, commands what is right, forbids what is wrong, honors the human being, and accepts others.

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has embraced the path of promoting the true luminous image of Islam, halting the accusations against it and repelling the attacks upon it. This is in accordance with the inherited spiritual and historical responsibility carried by the Hashemite monarchy, honored as direct descendants of the Prophet, the Messenger of God—peace and blessings upon him—who carried the message. For five decades, his late Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal—God rest his soul—demonstrated this way with the vigorous effort that he exerted. Since the day he took the flag, His Majesty King Abdullah II has continued this effort, with resolution and determination, as a service to Islam, fortifying the solidarity of 1.2 billion Muslims who comprise one fifth of humanity, preventing their marginalization or extrication from the movement of human society, and affirming their role in building human civilization and participating in its progress during our present age.

    Islam is founded upon basic principles, the fundamentals are attesting to the unity of God (tawhid Allah); belief in the message of His Prophet; continuous connection with the Creator through ritual prayer (salat); training and rectifying the soul through the fast of Ramadan; safeguarding one another by paying the alms tax (zakat); the unity of the people through the annual pilgrimage (hajj) to God’s Sanctified House, [performed] by those who are able; and [observing] His rulings that regulate human behavior in all its dimensions. Over history these [basic principles] have formed a strong and cohesive nation and a great civilization. They bear witness to noble principles and values that verify the good of humanity, whose foundation is the oneness of the human species, and that people are equal in rights and obligations, peace and justice, realizing comprehensive security, mutual social responsibility, being good to one’s neighbor, protecting belongings and property, honoring pledges, and more.

    Together, these are principles that provide common ground for the followers of religions and [different] groups of people. That is because the origin of divine religions is one, and Muslims believe in all Messengers of God and do not differentiate between any of them. Denying the message of any one of them is a deviation from Islam. This establishes a wide platform for the believers of [different] religions to meet the other upon common ground, for the service of human society, without encroaching upon creedal distinctions or upon intellectual freedom. For all of this we base ourselves upon His saying:

    The messenger believes in what has been revealed unto him from his Lord as do the believers. Each one believes in God and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers—and they say: ‘We hear, and we obey. [Grant us] Your forgiveness, our Lord. Unto You is the journeying,’ (2:285)

    Islam honors every human being, regardless of his color, race or religion: We have honored the sons of Adam, provided them transport on land and sea, sustained them with good things, and conferred on them special favors above a great part of our creation. (17:70)

    Islam also affirms that the way of calling [others] to God is founded upon kindness and gentleness: Call to the path of your Lord with wisdom and a beautiful exhortation, and debate with them in that which is most beautiful (ahsan). (16:125) Furthermore, it shuns cruelty and violence in how one faces and addresses [others]:

    It is by some Mercy of God that you were gentle to them. Were you severe—cruel-hearted—they would have broken away from you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them in the conduct of affairs. And when you are resolved, put your trust in God; truly God loves those who trust [in Him]. (3:i59)

    Islam has made clear that the goal of its message is realizing mercy and good for all people. The Transcendent has said, We did not send you [Muhammad] but out of mercy for all creatures. (21:107) And the Prophet Muhammad—blessings and peace upon Him—said, ‘The Merciful has mercy upon those who are merciful, be merciful to those on earth, He who is in heaven will be merciful unto you.’

    Islam calls for treating others as one desires to be treated. It urges the tolerance and forgiveness that express the nobility of the human being: The recompense for an evil is an evil equal thereto, but who forgives and reconciles, his recompense is from God. (42:40) Good and evil are not equal. Repel with what is most virtuous. Then he between whom and you there is enmity will be as if he were an intimate friend. (41:34)

    Islam confirms the principle of justice in interacting with others, safeguarding their rights, and confirms that one must not deny people their possessions: And let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is closer to piety; (5:8) God commands you to return trusts to their owners, and if you judge between people, you shall judge with justice; (4:58) So give [full] measure and [full] weight and do not deny the people their goods, and work no corruption in the land, after it has been set right. (7:85)

    Islam requires respect for pledges and covenants, and adhering to what has been specified; and it forbids treachery and treason: Fulfill the covenant of God when you have entered into it, and break not oaths after they have been confirmed and you have made God your surety; truly God knows what you do. (16:91)

    Islam recognizes the noble station of [human] life, so there is to be no fighting against non-combatants, and no assault upon civilians and their properties, children at their mothers’ bosom, students in their schools, nor upon elderly men and women. Assault upon the life of a human being, be it murder, injury or threat, is an assault upon the right to life among all human beings. It is among the gravest of sins; for human life is the basis for the prosperity of humanity: Whoever kills a soul for other than slaying a soul or corruption upon the earth it is as if he has killed the whole of humanity, and whoever saves a life, it is as if has revived the whole of humanity. (5:32)

    The primordial religion of Islam is founded upon equanimity, balance, moderation, and facilitation: Thus have we made of you a middle nation that you might be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves. (2:143) The Prophet Muhammad—peace and blessings upon him—said: ‘Facilitate and do not make difficult, bear good tidings and do not deter.’ Islam has provided the foundation for the knowledge, reflection and contemplation that has enabled the creation of this deep-rooted civilization that was a crucial link by which the West arrived at the gates of modern knowledge, and in whose accomplishments non-Muslims participated, as a consequence of its being a comprehensive human civilization.

    No day has passed but that this religion has been at war against extremism, radicalism and fanaticism, for they veil the intellect from foreseeing negative consequences [of one’s actions]. Such blind impetuousness falls outside the human regulations pertaining to religion, reason and character. They are not from the true character of the tolerant, accepting Muslim.

    Islam rejects extremism, radicalism and fanaticism—just as all noble, heavenly religions reject them—considering them as recalcitrant ways and forms of injustice. Furthermore, it is not a trait that characterizes a particular nation; it is an aberration that has been experienced by all nations, races, and religions. They are not particular to one people; truly they are a phenomenon that every people, every race and every religion has known.

    We denounce and condemn extremism, radicalism and fanaticism today, just as our forefathers tirelessly denounced and opposed them throughout Islamic history. They are the ones who affirmed, as do we, the firm and unshakeable understanding that Islam is a religion of [noble] character traits in both its ends and means; a religion that strives for the good of the people, their happiness in this life and the next; and a religion that can only be defended in ways that are ethical; and the ends do not justify the means in this religion.

    The source of relations between Muslims and others is peace; for there is no fighting [permitted] when there is no aggression. Even then, [it must be done with] benevolence, justice and virtue: God does not prevent you, as regards those who do not fight you in religion’s [cause], nor drive you from your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: truly God loves the just; (60:8) Then if they cease, let there be no aggression, save against the oppressors. (2:193)

    On religious and moral grounds, we denounce the contemporary concept of terrorism that is associated with wrongful practices, whatever their source and form may be. Such acts are represented by aggression against human life in an oppressive form that transgresses the rulings of God, frightening those who are secure, violating peaceful civilians, finishing off the wounded, and killing prisoners; and they employ unethical means, such as destroying buildings and ransacking cities: Do not kill the soul that God has made sacrosanct, save for justice. (6:151)

    We condemn these practices and believe that resisting oppression and confirming justice should be a legitimate undertaking through legitimate means. We call on the people to take the necessary steps to achieve the strength and steadfastness for building identity and preserving rights.

    We realize that over history extremism has been instrumental in destroying noble achievements in great civilizations, and that the tree of civilization withers when malice takes hold and breasts are shut. In all its shapes, extremism is a stranger to Islam, which is founded upon equanimity and tolerance. No human whose heart has been illumined by God could be a radical extremist.

    At the same time, we decry the campaign of brazen distortion that portrays Islam as a religion that encourages violence and institutionalizes terrorism. We call upon the international community to work earnestly to implement international laws and honor the international mandates and resolutions issued by the United Nations, ensuring that all parties accept them and that they be enacted without double standards, to guarantee the return of rights to their [rightful] holders and the end of oppression. Achieving this will be a significant contribution to uprooting the causes of violence, fanaticism and extremism.

    The way of this great religion that we are honored to belong to calls us to affiliate with and participate in modern society, and to contribute to its elevation and progress, helping one another with every faculty [to achieve] good and to comprehend, desiring justice for all peoples, while faithfully proclaiming the truth [of our religion], and sincerely expressing the soundness of our faith and beliefs—all of which are founded upon God’s call for coexistence and piety. [We are called] to work toward renewing our civilization, based upon the guidance of religion, and following upon established practical intellectual policies.

    The primary components of these policies comprise developing methods for preparing preachers, with the goal of ensuring that they realize the spirit of Islam and its methodology for structuring human life, as well as providing them with knowledge of contemporary culture, so that they are able to interact with their communities on the basis of awareness and insight: Say, ‘This is my way. I, and those who follow me, call for God with insight.’ (12:108); taking advantage of the communication revolution to refute the doubts that the enemies of Islam are arousing, in a sound, intellectual manner, without weakness or agitation, and with a style that attracts the reader, the listener and the viewer; consolidating the educational structure for individual Muslims, who are confident in their knowledge and abilities, working to form the integral identity that protects against corrupting forces; interest in scientific research and working with the modern sciences upon the basis of the Islamic perspective that distinguishes between creation, life and the human being; benefiting from modern achievements in the fields of science and technology; adopting an Islamic approach for realizing the comprehensive development that is founded upon [maintaining] the delicate balance between the spiritual, economic and social dimensions [of life]; providing for human rights and basic liberties, ensuring life, dignity and security, and guaranteeing basic needs; administering the affairs of society in accordance with the principles of justice and consultation; and benefiting from the goods and mechanisms for adopting democracy that human society has presented.

    Hope lies in the scholars of our Nation, that through the reality of Islam and its values they will enlighten the intellects of our youth—the ornament of our present age and the promise of our future. The scholars shield our youth from the danger of sliding down the paths of ignorance, corruption, close-mindedness and subordination. It is our scholars who illuminate for them the paths of tolerance, moderation, and goodness, and prevent them from [falling] into the abysses of extremism and fanaticism that destroy the spirit and body.

    We look to our scholars to lead us in partaking of our role and verifying our priorities, that they maybe exemplars in religion, character, conduct, and discerning enlightened speech, presenting to the nation their noble religion that brings ease [in all matters] and its practical laws in which lie the awakening and joy of the nation. Among the individuals of the nation and throughout the regions of the world, they disseminate good, peace and benevolence, through subtle knowledge, insightful wisdom and political guidance in all matters, uniting and not dividing, appeasing hearts and not deterring them, looking to the horizons of fulfillment to meet the requirements and challenges of the 21st century.

    We ask God to prepare for our Islamic Nation the paths of renaissance, prosperity and advancement; to shield it from the evils of extremism and close-mindedness; to preserve its rights, sustain its glory, and uphold its dignity. What an excellent Lord is he, and what an excellent Supporter.

    God Almighty says: This is My straight path, so follow it. And follow not the [other] ways, lest you be parted from His way. This has He ordained for you, that you may he God-fearing. (6:152–153)

    And the last of our supplications is that praise he to God, Lord of the worlds. (10:10)

    AmmanRamadan 1425 HijriThe Hashemite Kingdom of JordanNovember 2004 A.D.

    The Three Points of the Amman Message

    In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

    May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad and his pure and noble family

    (1) Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali), the two Shi’i schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Ja`fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Shaykh Al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash`ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.

    Equally, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and acknowledges the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.

    (2) There exists more in common between the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence than there is difference between them. The adherents to the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam. All believe in Allah (God), Glorified and Exalted be He, the One and the Unique; that the Noble Qur’an is the Revealed Word of God; and that our master Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, is a Prophet and Messenger unto all mankind. All are in agreement about the five pillars of Islam: the two testaments of faith (shahadatayn); the ritual prayer (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (sawm), and the Hajj to the sacred house of God (in Mecca). All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief: belief in Allah (God), His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, in Divine Providence, in good and in evil. Disagreements between the ‘ulama (scholars) of the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu`) and not as regards the principles and fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu`) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the ‘ulama (scholars) “is a good affair.”

    (3) Acknowledgement of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Mathahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: no one may issue a fatwa without the requisite personal qualifications which each school of Islamic jurisprudence determines [for its own adherents]. No one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. No one may claim to do unlimited Ijtihad and create a new school of Islamic jurisprudence or to issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of the Shari`ah and what has been established in respect of its schools of jurisprudence.

    Source: The Official Website of the Amman Message, http://ammanmessage.com/.

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