The Kazakh nation, with a thousand years of history, has never stayed apart from the world’s global events. Many years ago, caravans traveled through our steppes along Zhibek Zholy, the ancient Silk Road.
The Silk Road contributed to dynamic economic growth, constant cross-cultural dialogue and inter-religious cooperation, providing development of the peculiar and in some sense unique features of the cultural and spiritual heritage of our nation. In cities located along the Silk Road, mosques, churches and fire temples were built. It should be noticed that our nation made its deliberate choice in a spiritual search by converting to Islam, which has been continuing to be our ideological, spiritual and cultural foundation.
Today as we have entered into a new millennium, mankind continues to face some of the most difficult social challenges, problems and contradictions. The Middle East is on fire; Afghanistan, Myanmar and Yemen remain an unhealed wound in the body of Ummah.
In some Middle Eastern countries particular forces and belligerent parties use religion as a tool to reach their mercenary goals that worry us. We must remember that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with any religion or ethnic groups. Nevertheless, extremists depict Islam as a source of a global threat to the whole world by hiding behind religious precepts and committing bloody crimes.
Islam has nothing to do with the radicals who deliberately distort the text of ayats and hadiths and shed the blood of innocent people.
Religion implies peace, health and harmony. The purpose of the last Prophet’s message is described in Surah Al-Anbiya 107 in the Holy Quran: “We have sent you not but as a mercy to mankind.”
If man’s life will not be based on humanity, good behaviour and good manners, then only sorrow and sadness prevail in society. Cruelty and vindictiveness have never led to any good things. Hence, we should cherish and appreciate an infinite gift of the Most High which is peace, since it makes our well-being and invaluable wealth.
In this framework the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, promotes responsibility among representatives of all religions and the global community.
I am confident that at the congresses, Muslim scholars speaking about Islam promote mutual understanding and greater harmony among people, communities and states.
Popular wisdom says that “unity is a key to prosperity.” Therefore, I urge all to do only good deeds and behave in a responsible manner. May the Almighty Creator accept our righteous deeds from us and grant us all His blessings in both worlds! Amen!
The author is Chairman of the Kazakh Spiritual Administration of Muslims and Supreme Mufti.