King Abdullah of Jordan
01 March 2018
Full Text of the speech delivered by King Abdullah of Jordan at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on 01 March 2018
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,
My dear brother, Prime Minister, Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, My dear friends, Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity to be able to exchange with you today, and I am truly, truly honoured to be among you to talk about something that is so important to me, the role of faith in the future of our world.
Too much of what’s heard in the news or seen online about religion today is all about what separates people. Around the world, suspicions are inflamed by what different groups don’t know about others. And such ideologies of hate distort the word of God to stir up conflict and justify crimes and terror.
And we need to take these dangers seriously. But they should never be allowed to distract us from the truth that faith should draw humanity together.
It is faith that brings us the Golden Commandments, commandments held in common by multiple world religions, to love God and the good, and love our neighbor.
It is faith that inspires the everyday experiences of people in countries like India and Jordan, where different religious and ethnic groups have lived and worked together in amity throughout history.
It is faith that allows us to prosper and thrive, bringing together different civilizations and cultures around the common principles of humanity.
So, my friends, where did human diversity begin? God Almighty says in the Holy Quran: Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim “People! We created you from a single pair of male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. The most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you.’ [49:13] Saddaka Allahu Al Atheem; to understand each other, to recognize our shared humanity, to act righteously in the sight of God—This is my faith, the faith I teach my children; the faith shared by 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, a quarter of humanity. This is traditional, tolerant, plural, and Madhahib-based Islam dedicated to the love of God; following the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and seeking to live in virtue and treat others with justice and kindness.
Every day when I was growing up, I heard among the names of God: ‘the Compassionate, the All-Merciful’. Every day I heard the greeting, Assalam u Alaikum the blessing of peace. Every day, I learned that it was a Muslim’s duty to defend the defenceless and help those in need. Every day, I was taught my family’s Muslim heritage, the heritage that strengthens me in fulfilling my sacred duty today, towards my people, my country, and as Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites.
A hundred years ago, my great-great-grandfather, Sharif Hussein bin Ali, who had launched the Great Arab Revolt, was asked to help Christian refugees fleeing into the Arab world families with their meagre belongings, escaping persecution in their old homeland. And the Sharif instructed his sons, Emirs of Arab countries, and other local leaders, to protect these strangers, "in the same way you would protect yourselves, your properties, your children." The teaching behind the Sharif’s letter compassion, mercy, respect for others was passed on to me by my father, His late Majesty King Hussein. And my father passionately believed that leadership at any level, in any place; in school and community; in the army or the public service or in any other role all leadership, means serving for the hopes and the good of others.
This is my duty, rooted in our religion, Islam. It is why my highest priority is serving Jordan’s people encouraging their talents, struggling against their hardships, and securing a better future for all. And I am not alone. My fellow Jordanians, Muslim and Christian alike, have worked together to build the future, not only for our country, but for neighbours near and far, including hosting millions of refugees from regional turmoil.
Indeed, Jordanians are working globally for dialogue and peace. Among many things, my country was honoured to initiate World Interfaith Harmony Week an annual UN observance promoting mutual understanding. And the text of our resolution specifically included language to be inclusive of all people of good will, including both Muslims and Hindus.
My friends, It was wisely said, the world is one family. However different our countries and our peoples are, we have a shared responsibility to each other, as well as to the future.
The Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself.’ Compassion, mercy, tolerance these are values that are shared by billions of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world. And these values require us, together, to act for our common future.
And the truth is that today’s global war against terror is not a fight between different religions or peoples. It is between moderates, of all faiths and communities, against extremists whose faith is hate and violence.
We need to recognize and reject the misinformation such groups promote about Islam, or indeed, any other faith.
We need to take back the airwaves and the Internet from the voices of hatred those who have victimised our world, not only with bombs and terror, but with ignorance and lies.
We need to make sure young people learn the true values of our religions. And let us teach them to honour our shared civilisation of global learning. Much ancient thought and science was preserved through the efforts of Islamic scholars working in the Arab House of Wisdom and elsewhere. And here in India, hundreds of years ago, Muslim scholars translated Sanskrit writings, and Hindu librarians collected texts of many traditions. And today, academics and scientists across the world share ideas that can take us all into an exciting future of prosperity and peace.
So my friends, Above all else, our peoples need to ensure that no one, no one is excluded from the promise of that future. We cannot afford to allow young people to be left without hope, trapped in isolation, and vulnerable to the false promises of outlaw groups.
So inclusion is the path to the coexistence we need to build strong successful countries. It is our strongest defence against turmoil and our greatest promise of a future of prosperity, security, and peace.
This is not just the responsibility of institutions and public bodies, global and national as important as they are. It is at heart a matter for every person, in how we live our daily lives, in how we treat others, and in our strong hand of friendship.
Today, let all people, Muslim and non-Muslim, reach out to each other. In the hands of friendship, we have the power to grasp a better future for our entire world.