Sheikh (Dr.) Saad Al-Shathary, A Muslim adviser of the Saudi Arabia kingdom, has said Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims must learn to co-exist harmoniously with people of other religion.
Vanguard reported that the sheikh made this call while delivering a speech during a public lecture titled ‘Islam and Peace’ at the University of Abuja, Gwagwalada.
In his welcome address, Chairman of the organising committee, Professor Effiok Uwatt thanked participants for honouring the invitation, noting that the need to sensitise the public about the true tenets of Islam informed the decision to convene the lecture.
According to him, the university is a home to people of diverse faith, stressing that knowledge of different beliefs would go a long way in deepening religious tolerance amongst students and staff of the citadel of learning.
“There is a need for us to get first-hand information of the relationship between Islam and peace and we believe our highly respected lecturer is eminently qualified to do justice to the topic.”
Dr. Al-Shathary in his opening remarks warned against listening to scholars with questionable knowledge of the Holy Quran, arguing that such are largely to blame for the fallacious beliefs non-Muslims erroneously associate with Islam.
On the place of peace in Islam, the cleric quoted copiously from the Holy Quran, Surat 21 verse 69, noting that Muslims are enjoined to live harmoniously even with those who do not share their faith.
Al-Shathary stated that:
“Do not consider yourself a Muslims if you cannot tolerate others, regardless of their beliefs.
“Until you love everyone you come across, you are not a true worshiper of Allah.”
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto has warned religious leaders to desist from preaching violence to their followers.
Sultan raised the alarm that churches and mosques are being used as a place to peddle inciting messages that could lead to serious religious war.
The Sultan said:
“We are more worried with the use of places of religious worship to preach hatred, violence and other issues that tend to divide us rather than strengthening our unity as a people created by one God.”