King receives 2018 Templeton Prize | Jordan News | Ammon News


King receives 2018 Templeton Prize


[11/14/2018 5:24:18 AM]

AMMONNEWS - King: The greater jihad has nothing to do with the hate-filled fiction promoted by the Khawarej

King: The Islam I learnt in Jordan, is the Islam of kindness and mercy, not of madness and cruelty

King: A portion of the Templeton Prize will help renovate and restore religious sites in Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The entire remaining sum is also being donated to humanitarian, interfaith, and intra-faith initiatives, in Jordan and around the world.

His Majesty asks for a moment of silence in mourning for the victims and their families, in Jordan and in California

His Majesty King Abdullah II, Tuesday, was awarded the 2018 Templeton Prize in recognition of his efforts to achieve interfaith harmony, safeguard Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and protect religious freedoms.

During the ceremony held at Washington National Cathedral, the King, who is considered as one of the most important political leaders in the world at the moment, in seeking religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions, received the 2018 Templeton Prize from Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, and granddaughter of Sir John Templeton.

His Majesty also received "A Tree of Life Medallion", from Heather Templeton Dill, who briefed the King and the audience about symbols of the prize, which reflect achievements in spreading science and knowledge, as well as his initiatives to achieve interfaith harmony, safeguard Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and protect religious freedoms.

His Majesty initiated his speech delivered at the ceremony by asking the audience to join in a moment of silence in mourning for the victims and their families, in Jordan and in California.

Following is the full text of His Majesty's speech:

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,

Thank you, all.

But I must begin today with a word about those who are highest in my mind today, the Jordanian families who are suffering and grieving in the aftermath of horrific flash flooding in my country.

There are no words strong enough to express my sorrow, the sorrow of all Jordanians, for the human loss caused by the double natural disasters, just weeks apart. And I want to commend to the world the Jordanians who raced to respond, the neighbours and medical teams and rescue units.

Truly, in facing tragedy whether the deadly floods that struck Jordan or the deadly wildfires that struck California we are, all of us, bound together in brotherhood. For the victims and their families, in Jordan and in California, I ask you to join me in a moment of silence.

Dean Hollerith, thank you for your warm welcome to the Washington National Cathedral.

Shaykh Hamza, and Professor Volf, and, my dear friend, Secretary General, thank you for your very, very generous words.

And a heartfelt thanks to Heather Templeton Dill, and the entire Templeton family and Foundation. May God reward the late Sir John for his tremendous legacy in affirming life’s spiritual dimension and upholding positive values worldwide. I truly wish I had met Sir John in person, but meeting his family, who are carrying on his work, is meeting the best of what he stood for.

Today, I am truly humbled to be recognised by all of you. But let me say, everything you honour me for simply carries onward what Jordanians have always done, and how Jordanians have always lived in mutual kindness, harmony, and brotherhood. And so, I accept this extraordinary prize, not on my own behalf, but on behalf of all Jordanians.

My friends,

Our country has long upheld religious mutual respect. The five prophets of "great resolve" as they are called in the Quran prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, peace be upon them all, have blessed our land with their presence. Noah has a tomb in Karak. Abraham came through from the land of what is now Iraq, on his way to Hebron. Moses died in Jordan on Mount Nebo. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was baptised in Jordan, on the East Bank of the River Jordan, by John the Baptist. My country preserves this special site and others with great care, welcoming Christian pilgrims and other visitors from around the world.

The Prophet Mohammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, came to Jordan twice once with his uncle as a boy, when he was witnessed by a Byzantine priest as a future prophet, and then later as a young merchant. It was that first encounter under a tree which is still present in the Jordanian desert that set the tone for Muslim-Christian coexistence and harmony in Jordan.

My friends,

These prophets of great resolve were on a journey, an internal journey of the self, to fulfil God’s commands. And the first step of any such journey begins with the struggle, the jihad, within each of us, to be the best person we can be.

The greater jihad of the great prophets brought illumination to all of us. So here, at this Cathedral, as a Muslim, I’d like to say a word about jihad.

And I'm sure that's not something you hear too often within these walls. But nothing, nothing is more important to understand.

The greater jihad has nothing to do with the hate-filled fiction promoted by the khawarej the outlaws of Islam, such as Daesh and the like or the Islamophobes who also distort our religion.

It is, instead, the personal, internal struggle to defeat the ego, and the struggle we all share for a world of peace, harmony, and love.

As it has been said, in Islam, to love God and love one’s neighbour are core commandments. As Shaykh Hamza noted, the Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself."

This is the Islam I learnt in Jordan.

The Islam of kindness and mercy, not of madness and cruelty.

Traditional orthodox Islam, not modern fundamentalist Islam.

The Islam of "forgive and let live", not of "attack and nit-pick".

The Islam of fundamental principles usul in Arabic not of fundamentalist details.

The Islam of the holistic vision of the Quran and the Sunnah, not the cherry-picking of verses to suit a political agenda.

This is the traditional, orthodox Islam that is the faith of the vast, vast majority of Muslims around the world 1.8 billion good neighbours and good citizens who are helping build the future, in Jordan and the Middle East; in the US and Asia and Europe; and beyond. And we are working, on every continent, to defend Islam against the malignant sub-minority who abuse our religion. And we do this not to please our friends, not to please the world, but to please God. And as long as there is life in our bodies, and faith in our hearts, we will continue to do so, God willing, In sha Allah.

And we are not alone. The great commandments to love God and love one’s neighbour, as has been said this evening, are found again, and again, in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other faiths around the world. It is a profound message, calling every one of us to struggle to look beyond ourselves. And this outward insight is the source and hope of all coexistence.

And when we talk about hope and coexistence, no issue is more important than Jerusalem. More than half of the world’s people belong to religions that hold Jerusalem as a holy city Islam, Christianity and Judaism. For Muslims, Jerusalem stands along with Mecca and Medina as one of Islam’s three holiest places. And a special duty binds me and all Jordanians as Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites.

With its long, multi-faith heritage, Jerusalem must be protected as a unifying city of peace. And I am tremendously grateful to the Templeton Prize for making it possible to further this work. A portion of the Templeton Prize will help renovate and restore religious sites in Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The entire remaining sum is also being donated to humanitarian, interfaith, and intra-faith initiatives, in Jordan and around the world.

My friends,

God says in the Quran: "For those who say, ‘our Lord is God’ and then follow the straight path, there is no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Al Ahqaf, 46:13)

And the Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him behave with excellence and virtue (ihsan) towards his neighbour’ (Sahih Muslim).

It is time to do all we can to maximise the good in our world, and bring people together in understanding. But it begins with the struggle, the jihad, within ourselves to be the best we can be.

And it’s been said that all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. But together, God willing, we can achieve something important; we can create the future of coexistence that humanity so desperately needs. Let us keep up the struggle.

Thank you.

In her remarks at the ceremony, President of the John Templeton Foundation, Heather Templeton Dill, praised efforts of His Majesty in promoting peace and harmony among Muslims and between Muslims and Christians based on the twin commandments shared by both faiths, "love of God," and "love of the neighbor ".

Dill highlighted that "The Amman Message, the Common Word and the United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week" stress the moral imperative of understanding the values of peace inherent in all religions.

"We at the John Templeton Foundation cannot think of a more important message of peace and reconciliation for the world to hear and embrace in the 21st century", she said.

Following is the full text of Heather Templeton Dill remarks:

Your Majesty,
Your Excellency,
Distinguished Excellencies and guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening. I am Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation. On behalf of the Trustees of the John Templeton Foundation, I welcome all of you to the Templeton Prize Ceremony honoring the 2018 Laureate, His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein.

Dean Hollerith, thank you for your beautiful introduction. And thank you for allowing the John Templeton Foundation the opportunity to present this Ceremony here in the majestic Washington National Cathedral, a house of prayer for all people.

It is also with great joy that we welcome to our stage, His Excellency Ant?nio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations. Your Excellency, thank you very much for being here with us this evening.

I would like to say a few words about the man whose vision has brought us here tonight – our founder, Sir John Templeton. Sir John established the Templeton Prize in 1972. It is a prize that is given annually to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to recognizing and affirming life’s spiritual dimension. Sir John created this prize because he believed that religion is important and under-appreciated in the affairs of humankind and he wanted to honor those who were making significant contributions to human flourishing that spring from deeply held religious convictions.

Sir John Templeton was a financier who pioneered global investing and created some of the world’s most successful mutual funds because he looked outside of the United States for investment opportunities. He was tenacious, bold and open to new ideas.

Yet he also embodied a spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness that extended far beyond the realm of business. "Is it possible," he wondered, "that there are some spiritual principles on which all major religions already agree? Can love and the vastness of divinity reduce our differences?" In asking these questions, however, he did not shy away from drawing conclusions: "The real wealth of a nation," he wrote, "does not come from mineral resources but from the way it develops and harnesses love in the minds and hearts of its people." We might easily dismiss this idea. Does love really make a difference in human affairs? Can love really be the bridge between religious traditions?

But tonight we recognize His Majesty’s efforts to promote peace and harmony among Muslims and between Muslims and Christians based on the twin commandments shared by both faiths, "love of God," and "love of the neighbor". The Amman Message, the Common Word and the United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week stress the moral imperative of understanding the values of peace inherent in all religions. We at the John Templeton Foundation cannot think of a more important message of peace and reconciliation for the world to hear and embrace in the 21st century.

And that is why the Templeton Prize exists to celebrate the deep and enduring significance of religion and the values that it promotes.

His Majesty King Abdullah the Second is a person shaped by temporal and political responsibilities, yet one who holds the conviction that religious belief and the free exercise of religion are among humankind’s most important callings.

In his letter endorsing King Abdullah II’s nomination for the Prize, the very Reverend Professor Iain R. Torrance said, "The immensely important work of King Abdullah II lies in his decisive leadership and convening authority in world-wide Islam to call a halt to sectarianism and to mutual denunciation. Through scholarship, example, encouragement and publication, King Abdullah has offered the inherently flexible structures of Islam space to re-set and look again at matters of justice, inter-faith relations and neighbourliness."

In this way, His Majesty embodies the values that inspired my grandfather to establish the Templeton Prize and the John Templeton Foundation and it is a great joy to celebrate His Majesty’s contributions in this ceremony.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, I congratulate the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate, His Majesty King Abdullah II.

This evening I am pleased to introduce two scholars who will offer their views on the importance and influence of the work of King Abdullah the Second. We will hear from each of them in the course of the program, and in lieu of introductions when they come forward to speak, I would like to introduce them now.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, America’s first accredited Muslim liberal arts college. A philosopher, theologian, public intellectual, and widely sought after speaker, he is, according to The New Yorker, "perhaps the most influential Islamic scholar in the Western world." A convert to Islam at 17, Dr. Yusuf is on the list of the 500 Most Influential Muslims; he advises Islamic study centers, leaders and heads of states across the globe, and his influence on a generation of Islamic scholars has been transformative.

Professor Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale University and the Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. In October 2007, he was the lead author of the Christian response to "A Common Word Between Us and You," the historic open letter signed by 138 Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals, which identified some core common ground at the heart of the Christian and Muslim faiths. His most recent book is Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World.

We will also be treated this evening to performances from some of Jordan’s most popular and esteemed musical artists: vocalists Zain Awad and Emanne Beasha, the Dozan wa Awtar choir, and Jordan’s National Music Conservatory Orchestra, all under the direction of producer and pianist Talal Abu Al Ragheb.

And finally, we welcome again His Excellency Antonio Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, who took office on January 1st, 2017. Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen, again, thank you all for joining us this evening to celebrate and honor His Majesty King Abdullah the Second.

Also speaking at Templeton, held in Washington DC, was the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who lauded his Majesty's efforts saying that "No one better than King Abdullah deserves to receive this very renowned award".

In his remarks, Guterres said that the King’s family, The Hashemites, who directly descended from the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, have a long history of respect for other faiths.

This outstanding family in recent times has been the custodians of both Muslim and Christian religious sites in Jerusalem, he added.

"The Amman Message was a remarkable initiative that King Abdullah initiated, which reflects an expression of unity, mutual respect and brotherhood between all Muslims, as well as a message of good news, friendship and hope to the world."

King Abdullah’s support for scholarly initiatives, including the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, has also fostered mutual understanding and cooperation among Muslims, the UN Chief said.

The Common Word initiative, launched by His Majesty in 2007 aimed to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians, based on the values common to both religions, values that were also reminded several times tonight: love of God, and love of neighbor, Guterres added .
Following is the full text of the UN Secretary General remarks:

Your Majesty,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

There are many things a secretary general does because he is forced to do so; they come with the job, but, fortunately, there are some that I can do with real joy and enthusiasm. And one of them is to be here, this evening, in this wonderful cathedral, and to pay tribute to King Abdullah the outstanding statesman, the messenger for peace, and, if Your Majesty allows me to say so, a very dear friend.

And in this world where we see, unfortunately, proliferating both hatred and chaos, there are a few pillars of wisdom and compassion, and one of the most solid of these pillars is the awardee of this year’s Templeton Prize.

And so, it is a great honor for me to be here this evening to pay tribute to His Majesty King Abdullah. Because for those like me that know him, this honor comes as no surprise. No one better than King Abdullah deserves to receive this very renowned award.

Many previous Templeton Prize-winners have been honored for their work to reconcile belief in God with scientific and mathematical inquiry. As an engineer by training and a man of faith, I have never seen any contradiction between these two essential elements of the human experience.

But His Majesty brings his faith to bear in a completely different arena: political leadership and global diplomacy. The successful conduct of international affairs depends on seeking common ground and unifying principles.

And as King Abdullah well understands, these are to be found principally in the values that bind us as members of one human family, which means in our spirituality, and in all the great world religions.

Faith is too often used to divide us. But it should provide pathways for people to come together in their diversity. By seeking religious harmony and understanding within Islam, and between Islam and other religions, His Majesty has courageously demonstrated that belief in a power greater than ourselves can bridge differences, create unity, and contribute to peace, stability and security.

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

King Abdullah’s promotion of peace within Islam, and between Muslims and people of other beliefs, has contributed to global peace and progress in many ways in our worlds. We had very important references tonight to the Amman Message of 2004 It was a remarkable initiative that King Abdullah initiated, in an expression of unity, mutual respect and brotherhood between all Muslims, and a message of good news, friendship and hope to the world.

It sets out the values of compassion, mercy, respect for others, and freedom of belief as principles that define Muslims and their communities. And its affirmation that terrorism and violence have no place in Islam was a timely and welcome effort to prevent the escalation of sectarian tensions, as it was already referred tonight.

And King Abdullah’s support for scholarly initiatives, including the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, has also fostered mutual understanding and cooperation among Muslims. The Common Word initiative, also referred to several times this evening, launched by His Majesty in 2007 aimed to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians, based on the values common to both religions, values that were also reminded several times tonight: love of God, and love of neighbour.

And King Abdullah’s proposal for World Interfaith Harmony Week was unanimously adopted and is now observed every year around the world. The King’s family, the Hashemites, are directly descended from the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, and have a long history of respect for other faiths.

This outstanding family in recent times has been the Custodians of both Muslim and Christian religious sites in Jerusalem. And the King has continued this tradition in many ways, from funding the construction of Christian churches on the East Bank of the River Jordan, to supporting Christians threatened by Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Not to mention the millions of Palestine refugees, Jordan has received about 1 million Syrian refugees and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees with a generosity that should be referred to today in a world where unfortunately refugees are, so many times, forgotten or even ostracized.

And I have to confess to all of you one thing; I was High Commissioner for Refugees, and many times I went to Jordan.

Jordan was paying an enormous price because of the Syrian conflict. The price because of the direct impact of the war on the security of the country, but also because of the overwhelming presence of a number of refugees that represented an enormous portion of the population in the country. But as High Commissioner for Refugees, I had the obligation to go and to ask the government of Jordan to do the impossible even more. And sometimes, the government would tell me, look, I mean, it’s not possible, really. We cannot do more. And then, I would visit Your Majesty, and the impossible would become reality.

You have been an extraordinary symbol of generosity and solidarity in today’s world, and this is something I would never forget, because I lived in some of the most difficult and emotional moments in my life. And I know that your generosity was inspired both by your Muslim faith and by your solidarity with all fellow women and men.

King Abdullah’s investment in humanism and solidarity has always been apparent in his championing of young people, in Jordan, at the United Nations and around the world. He has taken the lead in showing young people that they are valued, they are important, and they are respected.

This is part of His Majesty’s broader efforts to foster freedom of belief and social cohesion, mutual respect, inclusion and hope.

King Abdullah has acted upon his responsibility to address the root causes that can undermine social cohesion and create conditions in which extremism can flourish. He has demonstrated what true leadership looks like, in our times and for our world.

Dear friends,

We face deep insecurity and instability in many parts of the world. Societies are divided. Racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise. The three great monotheistic religions have contributed so much to enrich our world and global civilisation. And each puts great value on solidarity and humanity.

We cannot stand by as they are pitted against each other to further political agendas of dominance and intimidation.

King Abdullah’s leadership, based on love of God and love of one’s neighbor, is an important antidote that resonates everywhere: from communities to societies to the international arena.

And let me be clear his message is not about tolerance, because tolerance is not enough. King Abdullah calls on us to do far more than tolerate each other. His message is one of respect, solidarity and love.

And I hope this celebrated award will help to spread that message of respect, solidarity, and love even more widely.

Your Majesty, I congratulate you on this prize and wish you all success in all your future endeavors.

Thank you very much.

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