Basic Document of Chief Muslim Cleric Mustafa Cerić on Problems in Bosnia
by Mustafa Cerić
August 11, 2006
The following is the original document on foreign interference in the Bosnian Muslim religious community, as finalized by the community's administration in August 2006. Subsequent comments on the Bosnian controversy, by our friend and colleague Prof. Rešid Hafizović of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, as well as by Prof. Esad Duraković, professor of Arabic at the Faculty of Liberal Arts of the University of Sarajevo, along with a response to Brother Hafizović by the community administration, are posted on CIP WahhabiWatch.
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R E S O L U T I O N [AND A D D E N D U M]
OF THE RIJASET [ADMINISTRATION]
OF THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY OF BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA
ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ISLAM
[Final version, August 11, 2006]
All praise belongs to Allah subhana wa'tala, who provides benefits in this world. To the One who sent us right guidance, because those whom Allah leaves astray no one can guide. Peace and blessings upon the One who was sent by God swt, as a mercy to all humanity, a proof to the people, our exemplary teacher – Muhammad, the truthful and dependable one. May peace and blessings descend upon his noble family, his Companions, and those who follow his way until the Day of Judgment.
By Allah's mercy, good Bosnians accepted Islam in the fifteenth century AD, while their posterity has steadfastly cherished and bravely carried on this tradition. The year 2013 will mark the five hundred fiftieth anniversary of good Bosnians' Shahadah: I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is a messenger of God.
As much as they were linked to Ottoman Empire, Bosnian Muslims have remained loyal to the Islamic Community, having been privileged to carry on the religion and cherish the culture which evinces a universally-recognizable principle of faith in one God and consciousness of our umma.
Consequently, Muslims represent a universal umma, since Islam is a universal faith founded on two fundamental principles:
- First, Allah swt is the Alpha and the Omega for everything in existence. There is only Allah swt, who was neither begotten nor begets, and alongside which no person is equal or worthy of devotion or worship. He is the only judge. All of us shall return to Allah swt.
- Secondly, Islam is based on a universal moral imperative: enjoin good and refrain from evil. Effectively, that means: believe sincerely, speak the truth, work honestly and act ethically. Do not believe falsely, do not speak untruthfully, do not work dishonestly and do not live unethically.
In the course of a long and turbulent history, our umma has been exposed to major turmoil due to attacks from the outside, as well as weaknesses on the inside. Without marginalizing the power of outside attacks, the most perilous force destabilizing the umma presently is from the inside. That force is dangerous because it irreversibly tears up the roots that aid the growth and development of the universal umma. There is no other way to stop this force, but for the umma to remember this wisdom of Hadrat Omar: "We were nobody, and Allah advanced us with Islam. And if we were to ask for advancement outside Islam, Allah would return us to what we were – nobody.")
Let us also add the remark by Anas ibn Malik, who said: "There shall be no betterment of the umma unless it recognizes that what used to be good in the beginning is also good in the end – the Book of Allah swt and the revelation of his Prophet aleyhisalem. That means that there is no other path, but for all of us to hold fast to the rope of Allah, without departing from each other and disuniting."
With Allah's mercy, Bosnian Muslims accepted new institutions for Islam in the nineteenth century, thereby keeping the universal faith in One God and remaining loyal to the principle of a universal umma. Therefore, the [Bosnian] Islamic Community is a gift from God which is not to be denied or defamed. Those who do not understand it can not judge Bosnian Muslims. Those who have no respect for it have no right to instruct Bosnian Muslims, either on the faith they profess, or on loyalty to the umma to which they hold fast.
Considering all the above, the Rijaset of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina reaffirms its Resolution on the Interpretation of Islam adopted at its sixteenth assembly on the 27th of Safar 1427 (March 27, 2006), which stated:
- The Rijaset has faced for an extended period of time incidents of the inadequate interpretation of Islam by certain individuals and groups, which disturb Muslims. Consequently, the present goodness which is reflected in Kelime-i tawhid and tawhid-i Kelime [monotheism] is ruptured by controversies which lead to divisions between Muslims.
- The Rijaset is determined in its intention to protect the originality of the centuries-long tradition of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which proved to be essential in all historical moments for Bosnian Muslims, through the centuries, especially in the critical moments for survival presented by the recent assault on our country and our people [in the war of 1992-95 and its aftermath – CIP]. Therefore, Rijaset is calling upon all imams, khatibs, and muallims in the mosques, mektebs, and schools and in all other public places to consistently interpret the institutional doctrine of Islam on the basis of Qur'an, the Sunnah, and our Bosnian experience.
- The Rijaset calls upon all the associations and organizations of Islamic orientation in Bosnia-Herzegovina to present to the Rijaset their programs and curricula regarding Islam and Muslims, in order to make them compatible with the generally accepted principles of work and thereby help present an adequate picture of Islam and Muslims with clearly designated responsibilities.
- The Rijaset believes there are no extremist individuals or groups in Bosnia-Hercegovina who may undermine the unity of Muslims as displayed in the spiritual framework of Islamic community in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, the Rijaset is aware that certain events occurring in the immediate vicinity of Muslims also reflect on the spiritual condition of the Bosnian Muslims.
- Rijaset condemns any attempt to slander or label anyone in the Islamic Community, especially on the basis of their adherence to a school of Islamic jurisprudence [madhdhab] or because of ideological prejudice. The Islamic community is united in its doctrinal and institutional teaching of Islam and refuses any madhdhab-based divisions. The Rijaset calls upon the Muslims of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Sandžak, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Bosniak diaspora to not be deceived by false and malicious information, but to trust the institutions of Islamic Community.
Whereas, noticing that, even after the adoption of the Resolution of the Rijaset, certain individuals and groups exhibited inappropriate attitudes in the interpretation of Islam, especially in Sandžak, where violence has broken out between Muslims;
Whereas, observing that unacceptable criticisms that have been made about the Islamic Community by people who have not properly experienced Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina;
Whereas, sensing the peril from premeditated discord between Bosnian Muslims, the Rijaset, at its twenty-seventh session, held on the 16th of Shawwal 1427 (November 7, 2006), passes the following
To the Resolution of the Rijaset of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Hercegovina
From the 27th of Safar 1427 (March 27, 2006)
- The Rijaset extends its full support to the Mešihat [Local Administration] of the Islamic Community in Sandžak, in the enforcement of the Resolution of the Rijaset on the interpretation of Islam, and calls upon all imams, khatibs, muallims, and muderrises in Sandžak to remain conscientious and responsible in preserving and cherishing the religious and cultural tradition of Muslims.
- The Rijaset expects the state of Bosnia-Hercegovina to respect human rights of all its citizens without regard for faith, ethnicity, or origin.
- It is not ethical to discriminate against people who helped us, but, by the same analogy, Shari'a does not justify our being constantly reminded of the aid provided, for God Almighty says in Qur'an al-qerim: "Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah [charity] followed by insult." (Qur'an, 2:263).
- The Rijaset condemns statements which belittle the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina and insult the Bosnian ulema. It is not only in contravention of the spirit of Islamic ethics, but also in violation of the peace and security of Bosnian Muslims. The Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzcgovina has no intention of proving its righteousness to anyone except for God swt, especially to those who do not want to hear or see the Islamic Community and its ulema as a symbol of honor and the pride of the umma.
- The Rijaset calls on all imams, khatibs, muallims, muderrises, and professors of the Islamic Community to speedily obtain information on the position of the Rijaset on important issues regarding the spiritual unity of Muslims, and to consistently enforce that position in practice. The Rijaset reiterates that those who, by any means, bring disquiet into the mosques under the pretext of enforcing the right faith are not well-intentioned. All mosques are the property of the Islamic Community and no one shall do anything in the mosque without the knowledge or the authority of the mosque's imam.
- The Rijaset has invested too much effort in preserving the honor and the reputation of Bosnian Muslims in the most difficult times to allow someone to undermine them, according to orders from those who have neither knowledge of, nor sympathy for the fate of Islam and Muslims in our country.
- The whole of Europe has been holding extensive discussions on the importance of an institutional doctrine of Islam which can be positively exemplified by Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Rijaset is prepared to offer a 100-year experience of the institutionalization of Islam, and thereby to contribute to a better understanding among religions and cultures in Europe. While respecting freedom of thought and expression, and appreciating the critique that spurs the progress of Islamic Community, the Rijaset calls on all media, intellectuals and other meritorious individuals in the society to assist the Islamic Community in that effort.
- Khatibs shall read this Resolution at jumaa prayers at all mosques, while muderrises at all medresas and universities directed by the Islamic Community shall clarify its contents to all students, and they shall strictly adhere to it in its true letter and spirit as the official position of the Islamic community in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- God Almighty, help us on the path of calling upon the people to live virtuously and to refrain from evil! Amin!
Dr. Mustafa Cerić
Translation by Faruk Bogučanin and Center for Islamic Pluralism
Related Topics: WahhabiWatch
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