ISLAMABAD, June 2: Imam of Kaaba Sheikh Abdul Rehman Al-Sudais has observed that mosques should not become a centre of mischief, violence and conflict, adding that the holy places should not be used for demonstrating power.

He said he was surprised and shocked to hear about the Lal Masjid episode and hoped that its effects would not spill over to other parts of the country.

Talking to newsmen at the Punjab House on Saturday, he said individuals had no right to enforce Sharia in any country, adding that an Islamic state had its own institutions and systems and nobody else had the right to do this.

Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Awadh Al-Asseri and senior diplomats from the Saudi embassy, were present on the occasion.

The Imam of Kaaba called for resolution of the issue through dialogue between ulema and political leadership without involving women and students.

He urged the Lal Masjid administration and the government to ensure peace in Pakistan, warning that only enemies of Islam and Pakistan would benefit from their confrontation.

He noted that a large number of people in Pakistan understood the true spirit of religion and the wrong attitude of some people would not make a big difference. He said all problems should be resolved in line with broad objectives and principles of Islam.

“The sublime rule of Islam teaches us that it is a religion of moderation and accommodation which is opposed to compulsion and oppression,” the Imam said.

The Saudi dignitary said that Muslims should accrue benefits of Sharia and curb all mischief. He said Sharia did not allow such steps which caused chaos and anarchy in society, adding that it opposed all divisions that led to confrontations.

In reply to a question about inter-faith dialogue, he said Islam is a comprehensive and all inclusive religion which lays emphasis on the welfare of humanity.

He said all prophets spread the message of Allah through preaching and never imposed religion by force.

“Islam never failed in winning hearts and minds of the people through dialogue,” he observed.

He underlined the need for presenting the true face of Islam to the world, saying that unfortunately it was the most misunderstood religion in the world.

He said Islam is not merely a religion of rituals, but a complete code of life providing guidelines in diverse fields, including politics and economics.

He said there were many misconceptions about jihad. He said there were various ethics and conditions essential before giving a call for jihad, adding that it was not the duty of any individual to give a call for jihad.

He said the call for jihad must be preceded by formation of decisive opinion by the people enjoying the trust of the Ummah.

He said a state of preparedness was a prerequisite for it. He pointed out that holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a different strategy in Makkah when Muslims had no capacity to go to war, but the strategy changed in Madina when Muslims had strength and capability.

“There are clear ethics for launching and continuing a war in Islam, which prohibit killing of women, children, elderly persons and those worshipping,” the Imam declared.

Responding to a question about sectarian disharmony, he said there was no room for sectarian strife and violence in Islam. He said it was the lack of knowledge about Islam which had led some people to get involved in sectarian violence.

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