It (Surah of Light from the Quran) tells us that the oil of the blessed olive tree lights the lamp of understanding, a light that belongs neither to the East nor West. We are to give this light to all. In that spirit, all that we learn will belong to the world and that too is part of the vision I share with you.
Both the development of the economy and the success of social institutions depend on the creation of the right environment for progress, an environment which enables both businesses and people to realize their full potential.
One of the first and greatest research centres, the Bayt al-Hikmah established in Baghdad in 830, led Islam in translating philosophical and scientific works from Greek, Roman, Persian and Indian classics. By the art of translation, learning was assimilated from other civilizations.
The West has won the freedom to enjoy, and at times often slips into the licence of abusing, the pursuits of leisure and culture. They have won this freedom, not for a privileged few, but for the great mass of their people.
I have observed in the Western world a deeply changing pattern of human relations. The anchors of moral behaviour appear to have dragged to such depths that they no longer hold firm the ship of life. What was once wrong is now simply unconventional, and for the sake of individual freedom must be tolerated. What is tolerated soon becomes accepted. Contrarily, what was once right is now viewed as outdated, old-fashioned and is often the target of ridicule.
Speak the truth, even if it were against yourselves (Quran, 4:134)
I referred at the beginning of this speech to the dangers of polarisation in the world today, between rich and poor nations, between political philosophies and within faiths. These dangers are acerbated by recession. I hope it is only a passing phase.
Above all, following the guidance of the Holy Quran, there was freedom of enquiry and research. The result was a magnificent flowering of artistic and intellectual activity throughout the ummah
It must never be said generations hence that in our greed for the material goods of the rich West we have forsaken our responsibilities to the poor, to the orphans, to the traveller, to the single woman.
It has always been my firm belief that the efficient management of a hospital, a school or a housing estate is as important as it is to a business enterprise. The objective of efficient management in this casse, however, is not to make money but to spend what is available in the most effective manner.
More than ever before, world agencies for development are reaching consensus that it is investment in men and women, the ability to make every individual in society productive, which enables a country most rapidly to make economic progress.
a relatively small community, acting in accordance with the social conscience of Islam, can exercise an influence for the benefit of mankind out of proportion to its numbers for the reason that its members are able to pool their knowledge and to collaborate.
I believe the Ismaili community and its Imamat's commitment to the brotherhood of man and the quality of his life can contribute to countering the dangerous polarisation of our world and of our times.
It is no exaggeration to say that the original Christian universities of Latin West, at Paris, Bologna and Oxford, indeed the whole European renaissance, received a vital influx of new knowledge from Islam -- an influx from which the later western colleges and universities, including those of North Africa, were to benefit in turn.
The day we no longer know how, nor have the time nor the faith, to bow in prayer to Allah because the human soul that He has told us is eternal, is no longer of sufficient importance to us to be worthy of an hour of our daily working, profit seeking time, will be a sunless day of despair.
our ability to communicate in several tongues sometimes impedes our expressing ourselves clearly in any one of them. If our command over several languages can erode our precision of expression, I wonder how much more quickly our eyes lose their ability to discern the integrity of a visual language.
The old adage that prevention is better than cure was never more true than today, with the cost of curing people who are already sick rising at a frightening pace all over the world.
Our purpose is to learn, to understand and to explain, to find the new paths that would also be the age-old ways; to identify, in everything surrounding us and in everything being created around us, the forms, the mental attitudes, the exact techniques and the hopes that, on one hand, enable us to define ourselves and, on the other hand, offer us models to be adopted elsewhere.
Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation.
If our historic buildings used red stone, tile and marble, must we really now only use concrete and glass? Must we abandon the remarkable wooden and stone carved trellis work that is so typical of our artistic heritage? And what of the fountains that have been so intimately connected with Muslim architecture at all times and in all parts of the world? Are we powerless to build a fountain as a decoration to our most imposing buildings. Is it really beyond our powers to revive traditional concepts of landscaping?