News

Tabah Offcially Launches: Beyond Flak Attack

Tabah Foundation officially launched it’s latest publication, “Beyond Flak Attack: A New Engagement with the Newsroom”, in Abu Dhabi on May 3rd 2011. The author, Nazim Baksh, and Hassan Fattah, Editor-in-Chief of The National, were in attendance and presented their ideas on the dynamics of Muslim-media engagement. They both called for an appreciation of the role of media and how Muslims can change the story if the story is not reflective of Islam’s nature. They explored how this change can take place and offered some insightful suggestions on ways in which we can move beyond simple flak.

Also in attendance were Khairi Ramadan, a broadcast journalist and prominent news affairs commentator from Egypt, and Sohail Nakhooda of Kalam Research, Dubai. Both offered their remarks and reflections on the proceedings of the event.

Full proceedings of the event will be available on our website soon, please check back for updates.

Related Links: Flak Attack [Full Article]

Visit by Mawlana Sibghatullah Mojaddedi to Tabah Foundation

The first president of Afghanistan after Soviet occupation and premier Islamic scholar, Mawlana Sibghatullah Mojaddedi visited the offices of Tabah Foundation on Thursday, April 28th, and was received by Habib Ali al-Jifri, the General Director, Wassim Khashoggi, CER Director, Walead Mosaad, Education and Culture Manager, and Abaas Chaudhry, Associate Project Manager. Accompanying Mawlana Mojaddadi was his son and ambassador of Afghanistan to the UAE, HE Dr. Najibullah Mojaddadi.

Mawlana Mojaddadi served the jihad against Soviet troops in the 1980’s and was selected as the first President of Afghanistan after the exodus of Soviet troops from the country. He served for a previously agreed upon term of two months, at which point he voluntarily relinquished power in order to avoid the infighting that arose between the various Afghani factions after the Soviet occupation.

During the visit to Tabah, the situation of Muslims in Afghanistan was discussed, as well as the efforts undertaken for reconciliation and to bring stability and prosperity to the country. Mawlan Mojaddedi was also introduced to Tabah Foundation activities and areas of interest.

Abaas Yunas at NYU Abu Dhabi

Tabah Foundation staff member Abaas Yunas and the Imam of NYU’s Islamic Center, Khalid Latif, took part in a discussion at New York University Abu Dhabi on Sunday 27th February on the commonalities and differences between Islam in the UAE and the US. The discussion centred around issues of identity, culture, religious understanding and the need to create open mediums of communication in order to quell the so-called “fear of the other.” The event was organised by NYUAD’s student affairs body and had students, staff and chaplains from the New York campus in attendance.

Michael J. Murray from the John Templeton Foundation visits Tabah Foundation

Dr. Michael J. Murray from the John Templeton Foundation paid a visit to Tabah Foundation in Abu Dhabi, where he was received by Tabah’s General Director Al Habib Ali Aljifri and met with Tabah’s senior managers. Dr. Murray has been given an overview of the Foundation, its vision and key goals and the ongoing projects especially at the Research Department, in which he expressed his interest in finding ways of collaboration between the two foundations.

Dr. Michael J. Murray is vice president, philosophy and theology at the John Templeton Foundation, responsible for creating research initiatives that engage big questions in these fields and their intersection with the sciences.

Established in 1987 in Philadelphia, USA, The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. It supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

15 Centuries of Love & Affection

At Zayed University auditorium on Wednesday 19 January in Abu Dhabi, H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al-Nahyan initiated a symposium on Muslim and Coptic Christian Relations in Egypt, co-organized by Zayed University, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments and Tabah Foundation. The symposium included Pastor Ishaq El Anba Bishoy, Pastor of the Saint Anthony Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abu Dhabi, and Al Habib Ali al-Jifri, General Director of Tabah Foundation. Among the attendees was Dr. Suleiman Al Jassim, Chairman of Zayed University, in addition to diplomats, parliamentarians, university teachers and the general public.

Proceedings began with an introduction by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan who emphasized the importance of the event in the aftermath of the tragic incident in Alexandria on Christmas eve. He said the event was to honor and recall the long history of love and affection which governed Muslim-Coptic Christian relations in Egypt, and that Arab Christians are brothers for Muslims and that all should stand together in forging a common future as one people without discrimination. He also stated that while religion is for God, the land is for all, and that such principles were expressed through more than 14 centuries of respect and appreciation for the people of the Book.

He stated that the event is a sincere expression of commitment to work together for a brighter future within the same country that is rooted in the Abrahamic heritage, regardless of differing beliefs, and that diversity should be seen as an enrichment to people’s lives. He ended by talking about the principles of co-existence and toleration that were embodied by the late Sheikh Zayed (may God have mercy on his soul) and the United Arab Emirates under H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Pastor Ishaq began his word by saying that the Holy Books were not sent for the misfortune of people, but to enlighten humanity and help them attain felicity in this life and the hereafter. He added that there were many things in common between Muslims and Coptic-Christians, and that both lived together through 15 centuries of love and affection, standing as an example of toleration in the Middle East. Pastor Ishaq followed with an insight into the history of the Muslim-Coptic Christian relationship in Egypt; how both communities stood together against foreign invasions and how Coptic Christians refused to migrate after being given the offer from abroad. He gave examples of the loyalty displayed by Coptic Christians from the time the Muslims first arrived in Egypt up until the present age, and how that set up the foundations of brotherhood between the two communities.

Pastor Ishaq emphasised that bonds of brotherhood, cooperation and mutual respect must be strengthened more today than any other time before, and concluded by expressing his best wishes of stability and prosperity for the government and people of the UAE.

The final word of the evening was delivered by Al Habib Ali al-Jifri. He praised Pastor Ishaq’s sincerity in participating in the symposium and selecting the title “15 Centuries of Love and Affection,” and called for a more balanced understanding of how religion is applied to society despite there being theological differences between religions, and that these differences are not meant to be points of divergence and conflict, but rather a proof in and of themselves that religion can foster ties of mutual respect and love despite their presence.

Through the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, Al Habib Ali explained the strong link between Muslims and Christians, emphatically stating that this link prohibits the causing of any harm to them, and whoever kills one of them, shall never smell the fragrance of Paradise. He mentioned the counsel of the Prophet, upon him be peace, to his followers to protect the people of Egypt against any harm and to treat them well. He further illustrated through narrating historical events, evidence of the strong link between the two communities, adding that it was demonstrated in our time when both communities stood together as one after the tragic events at the Alexandria Church.

He continued with a story of how Sheikh Ibrahim al-Bajuri, an erudite scholar and head of the Al-Azhar University in his time, refused to issue a fatwa for the ruler, Abbas Hilmi, to expel Coptic Christians from Egypt to the Sudan, saying to him that they are rightful citizens of the land, and causing them the slightest harm is categorically forbidden for God has placed them under the protection of the sharia until the end of time. He used this to mention how institutions like Al-Azhar need to reclaim their historical role as the conscience of religion in Egypt, and that history testifies to the balance which permeated society when they were so, as exemplified in Sheikh Ibrahim al-Bajuri. Al Habib Ali also praised the efforts of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad Tayyab, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr Ali Gomaa and the Minister of Religious Affairs & Endowments for their strong condemnation of the Alexandria incident.

He concluded by stating that both Christians and Muslims should assume responsibility in unequivocally standing against extremism that arises from both sides. Finally, he expressed the need to implement the “A Common Word” interfaith initiative, which was a success in the West, to the service of interfaith dialogue in the Middle East.

A discussion and question and answer session followed, with participants including Dr. Zainab Ridwan, parliament speaker for the Assembly of Egypt, who passed on a message from the President of the Assembly, Dr. Fathi Surour, with a report on the Alexandria incident and Dr. Nour Hayati al-Saqqaf, vice-president of the Indonesian Parliament who expressed her happiness attending such an event.

Al Habib Ali Trip to Canada, 2010

Accompanied by a delegation from Tabah Foundation ,Al Habib Ali Al Jifri, General Director of Tabah,  arrived in Canada where he delivered the penultimate lecture of the 9th annual ‘Reviving the Islamic Spirit’ convention in Toronto, Canada. He focused on the concept of the Ten Commandments from an Islamic scholarly perspective, and offered practical ways and solution in which the Commandments play a role in our lives today. He joined the rest of the speakers for the final closing session, after which he participated in a private gathering addressing the volunteers of the convention. Al Habib Ali, along with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah and Imam Zaid Shakir expressed their appreciation and hope for hundreds of young people from around Toronto who offered their time and efforts for the success of the convention.

 

At The Knowledge Retreat Program of the convention, Al Habib Ali offered his first lesson on “A Portrait of the Prophet, Upon him be peace” (al-Sham’ail), from the book “al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiya” by Imam al-Tirmidhi. The first lesson focused on why we are in need of studying such a science and the history behind it. The remaining five lessons were about explaining selected traditions from various chapters of the book. In the closing session of The Knowledge Retreat Program, Al Habib Ali orated his chain of transmission back to Imam al-Tirmidhi in narrating the text and offered a license (ijaza) to the participants to teach and convey the particular traditions and chapters they had studied with him.

 

On the sidelines of the program, Al Habib Ali met with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah and Dr Amr Khaled, and discussed together a number of other pertinent issues. He also met Chris Hedges, author of “Empires of Illusion,” who gave him a brief on his background and some of the traumas he witnessed as a war reporter, and how this has led him towards his current work. Al Habib Ali explained that war is devastation and coupled with politics and political gains, as it is so often conducted now, it only serves to wreck lives.

On Thursday night Al Habib Ali was invited to Shaykh Talal al-Ahdab’s house for dinner and proceeded to the Zawiya of Shaykh Ramzy Ajem for his weekly gathering, which was also attended by Dr Umar Faruq, Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Al Habib Ali departed from Canada on Saturday 1st January for Abu Dhabi.