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Address of Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

CEREMONY FOR THE SIGNING OF THE JOINT DECLARATION OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS AGAINST SLAVERY

Casina Pio IV, Tuesday, 2 December 2014

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

All praise is due to God Who created the people, males and females, made them into nations and tribes and set the balance to judge who is most righteous by virtue of piety regardless of color, ethnicity, or social status. God the Almighty says: “Oman kind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted [with all things].” Surat Al-Hujurat (Verse 13)

I send peace and blessings upon the best of God’s creation (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: “An Arab has no superiority over except by piety. Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous.” Our Trustworthy Prophet was saying about Salman Al Farsi, who lived the darkness of slavery: “Salman is one of the People of the House”, and introduced him many times before Notables of Quraish. The Prophet’s Companions and those who came after them (may God be pleased with all of them) followed the teachings contained in God’s Book and the Sunnah of His noble Prophet. The words of our master Umar Ibn Al-Khattab to Amr Ibn Al Aas (God Bless Them), dissatisfied with the son of Al Aas who had beaten a man from the Copts, allowing the Copt man to punish the son: “Since when have you enslaved the people when their mothers have borne them free” ring a familiar bell with all people.

Slavery was one of the major problems that plagued pre-Islamic Arabia. It was so pervasive...

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