By Mohammad Abu Dalhoum – November 26, 2018

It was not surprising that His Majesty King Abdullah was the first head of state to be awarded the Templeton Prize, the prestigious award granted on the basis of exceptional efforts to facilitating life’s spiritual dimension and religious harmony. His Majesty has worked tirelessly to not only set an example to the world in what it means to be a true Muslim, but also to deter Islam from the khawarij and radical liars. Such efforts are by no means new. In fact, for almost two decades, His Majesty has taken it upon himself to be a custodian of moderate true Islam, religious harmony and peace. 

The Amman Message was a baseline for further exceptional initiatives seeking to shed a light on a faith being hijacked by extremist radicals with devious political agenda. This milestone Message was immediately followed by an initiative known as “A Common Word between Us and You”, amongst others. With such initiatives, His Majesty revitalised the rhetoric, narrative and discourse in which interfaith harmony and moderate Islam should be manifested, with an emphasis on the core importance of respect, openness and critical thinking. In fact, King’s Academy, founded by His Majesty, celebrates respect and global citizenship as two of its five main guiding principles, and requires of its students to take a world religions course; a class in which students are taught the true values of five of the main religions in the world. 

Such efforts, coupled with the numerous pieces, speeches and interviews, are not only a testament to His Majesty’s role as a custodian of interfaith harmony, but they are also a true testament to His Majesty’s scholarship. In essence, if one were to take a deeper analysis of the narrative, one finds tremendous scholarly values, perhaps the most prominent of its kind in this field nowadays. 

In the midst of politically motivated extremist and radical hijack of Islam, King Abdullah utilises a rich scholarly approach into deterring such deceitful efforts. The language speaks to all, it comes from a position of strength and it stems from deep, scholarly and analytical research supported by various types of evidence. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that he is motivated by respect of all faiths, responsibility of facilitating religious harmony and a noble obligation of cleaning Islam’s image and protecting its 1.8 billion moderate believers around the world from a life of discrimination and harassment. Let alone doing such through analytical scholarship, an approach powered by critical thinking. 

The Templeton Prize celebrates and acknowledges King Abdullah’s constant pioneering efforts. But where to go from here? It is safe to argue that His Majesty’s scholarly mechanisms devised throughout his efforts and teachings cannot be forgotten, thanks to the tremendous milestones he sets time and time again. Thus, it is rather imperative that more light is shed on the scholarly and analytical approach he uses throughout his moderate narrative. Ultimately, it is important that more research is conducted in the field, analysing and exploring King Abdullah’s contribution to the field, involving His Majesty himself, to cement his legacy as not only a custodian of moderate Islam and religious harmony, but also as a prominent scholar in these two interrelated fields.

Mohammed Abu Dalhoum is Deputy CEO and Senior Research Analyst at NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions.

This article was originally published in Jordan Times on November 26, 2018. For the original article source, click here

Picture from King Abdullah || Official Website.

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