Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought
Serve Islam and humanity at large; promote awareness of Islam and Islamic thought; rectify unsound ideas and misconceptions about Islam; highlight the Islamic intellectual contribution and its impact on human civilisation; deepen the dialogue and foster cooperation between the schools of Islamic jurisprudence; highlight the achievements of Aal al-Bayt and their calling for middle ground, moderation and tolerance; foster the encounter of Muslim scholars, the strengthening of their intellectual links and exchange of opinions; cooperate with research centres, institutes, academic entities and universities in accordance with the objectives of the Institute.
The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought was established in 1980 under the name of “The Royal Academy for Islamic Civilization Research (Aal al-Bayt Institute) by His Majesty the late King Hussein Bin Talal - may God rest his soul - and commenced its activities in 1981.
- Muslim Dialogue
The Institute undertook in its basic law (article 4F) to “deepen the dialogue and reinforce cooperation between the seven Islamic schools of jurisprudence: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali, Ja'fari, Zaydi and the Ibadi with the aim of unifying them to achieve the maximum degree of affinity among them”. The Institute's view is that many of the ideas of the followers of a particular Islamic school of jurisprudence are lacking in clarity owing to many reasons, among which are: ignorance of the texts of those schools of jurisprudence and the orientations and opinions of their scholars and jurists, as well as fanaticism regarding outdated issues. Moreover, the Institute has noted that the distance between the schools of jurisprudence intensifies the gap between Muslims, while the only means for removing this gap is to convene successive meetings through which each side is exposed to the opinions of the other, which matter will engender mutual understanding which will by necessity lead to the conclusion that Islam is one, and that all Muslims, irrespective of differences in the interpretation of Islamic law (in terms of secondary issues) resulting from different eras and locations or events, are in agreement regarding the fundamentals. A series of academic symposia was held with the participation of scholars from all the Islamic schools of jurisprudence mentioned above. In each symposium, studies and papers on a specific topic dealing with the opinions of scholars representing each school of jurisprudence (regarding such topic) are to be presented, as well as indicating the sources and references of the scholars of the school. Then, a dialogue about the papers presented takes place between the scholars participating in the symposium. The outcome will be a book containing the preceding
- Muslim-Christian Dialogue
The idea of Muslim-Christian Dialogue is exemplified in the importance of exchanging ideas and conceptions on the Arab, local and global levels, in its strong impact in building bridges of confidence among the people of the dialogue, and in strengthening understanding, particularly in this age where no society or country can afford to live isolated from the regional and international currents by virtue of the new technologies of mass communication. Thus, the dialogue is one of these tools which is used to communicate with these cultural and intellectual currents and to keep abreast of them. The aim of this consultation was to present a modern, integrated Islamic conception of the values and systems in Islam, in order to clarify through this conception the Islamic cultural project, and to enable it to interact with the global discourse and have influence thereon, by virtue of its originality and ability to development and offering. Thus, this dialogue contributes to presenting the true image of Islam. The Aal al-Bayt Institute began this dialogue in 1984 with the Independent Commission on Christian-Muslim Relations (Windsor, UK). Then it gradually expanded to dialogues in cooperation with the Orthodox Church, represented by the Orthodox Centre in Chambesy, Switzerland, with the Catholic Church represented by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and with the German Evangelical Church represented by the Evangelical Church in Hannover. Each consultation had a theme and sub-themes. On each sub-theme two research papers were presented by a Muslim writer from an Islamic point of view. Each paper had a written commentary by a participant from a faith other than that of the paper writer, followed by a plenary discussion. Before the concluding session, small workshops convened to draft recommendations or general ideas to be included in a final report on the consultation. Two Arabic and English versions were published on each consultation comprising the research papers, commentaries and debates of each consultation. Around 40 Muslim and Christian scholars and youths participated in each consultation.
Main Focus Countries of Activities
Amman, Jordan - London, UK - Rabat, Morocco - Muscat, Oman - Windsor, UK - Chambesy, Switzerland - Rome, Italy - Hannover, Germany