In the Name of the Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful
All praise to Allah alone, and His peace and blessings be upon His messenger our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.
By God’s will, we inaugurate the new website of the World Association for al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG) and al-Azhar scholars across the world, from South Africa to Europe, and Russia in the north, and from the USA in the west to to China and Japan in the east.
In the name of thousands of al-Azhar scholars, who have been registered and counted to add up to approximately four thousand scholars, I welcome the website’s visitors who are searching for the truth of Islam and who are keen to gain knowledge of the Islamic sciences, culture, morals and values through the leading scholars of al-Azhar. Al-Azhar, established a thousand and five hundred years ago, has since then, carried the responsibility of protecting Islam and clarifying its message, as Islam has concluded all heavenly message. In fact, Islam is the last of a series of the heavenly monotheist religions, which was first conveyed through Adam, and then passed down by Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, peace be upon them, and finally by our dear prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
This website aims to make people acquainted with Islam, as conveyed by the holy Qur’an and by our prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The website also aims to make readers familiar with Islam as a culture that addressed people’s reality all over the world. Indeed, the Islamic culture has contributed to building the human civilization, and has interacted with it over the centuries. In addition to that, Islamic culture’s attributes include science, art, literature, philosophy, legislation, ethics, sports, medicine, astrology, music, and other treasures of the ancient and modern legacy of Islamic thinkers and scholars.
Moreover, this website does not aim towards any objective other than rightly defining Islam. Again, this website has no political or missionary agenda; our supreme objective is to present Islam as a religion and culture in a pure and honest manner, and away from scientific and historical misinterpretations that have distorted the true image and essence of Islam in the eyes of seekers.
Al-Azhar has always carried and continues to carry the burden and the responsibility of protecting and preserving the purity, moderation, and modesty of Islam over the centuries. Meanwhile, al-Azhar is powerfully dedicated to continue its mission in clarifying Islam, and the firm steps and innovative achievements it has done in all fields of knowledge and in developing the moral welfare of humanity.
While we inaugurate this website, we put in front of our eyes the renewed tensions of late 20th century and early 21st century, that have negatively affected the relations between Islam and the West. These tensions created “a gap” between the East and the West, or a thick wall of mutual suspicion between the Westerns and Muslims. We were about to regenerate the medieval conflicts and the crises of the Imperial age, which both the East and the West had have forgotten about long ago.
Being the greatest reference for Muslims in the past and in the present, al-Azhar is the only qualified institution to carry on the mission of bringing civilizations together, and to bridge this gap between Islam and the West. It is the only institution capable of building mutual respectable human relations, across the world, among different faiths, doctrines, ethnicities, and languages. As a matter of fact, our dear Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Messenger of Islam, declared that “people are equal like the teeth comb”, all humans are of the same origin, sons and daughters of the same father and mother. Therefore, all humans are equals created form the same soul, despite their different colors and races.
In the light of this vision, concerning human equality in Islam, the website is inspired by the Qura’nic notion stating that Islam does not believe, claim, or practice any sort of discrimination, racism, or distinction, based on race or color. The only thing that distinguishes people in Islam is disciplined good work, as God says:
“ O people, fear your Lord, Who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered many men and women; and fear God by whom you claim [your rights] from one another and kinship ties. Surely God has been watchful over you.” (Q:4:1)
“O mankind! We have indeed created you from a male and a female, and made you nations and tribes that you may come to know one another. Truly the noblest of you in the sight of God is the most God-fearing among you. Truly God is Knower, Aware.” (Q:49:13)
Our prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Messenger of Islam spent twenty-three years instilling in the Muslim conscience the idea of equality between people. He tried to deepen and enhance this meaning in their hearts and in the way they treat others. In his farewell sermon, which was delivered during his final pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stressed the concept of equality among people, as he said:
"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.”
Dear visitor, we would like to welcome you once more on this website, which sets off from al-Azhar, and radiates from its minarets and domes that are rooted in the depth of all times and ages. We welcome you dear visitor as a brother in humanity, a colleague in the thirst for science and knowledge, a friend in mutual dialogue and a partner in achieving communication between the East and West.
May God bless us all.
Peace Be Upon You.
Prof. Dr. Ahmad at-Tayyeb
The Grand Imam of al-Azhar
President of the World Association for al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG)