Omar Abdul Kafi, a well-known Islamic preacher, was born in al-Saeed, Egypt in 1951. While he was ten years old, he memorized the Holy Quran. As a young man, Abdul Kafi studied Islamic law under scholars' supervision. Furthermore, he memorized both Al-Bukhari and Muslim, two of the most authentic collections of the Prophet's Hadith, by heart.
In 1972, he graduated from Agricultural College in Egypt and took a teaching position in the same college. During this time, he acquainted himself with Islamic and Arabic studies and received a Masters degree in Comparative Fiqh.
Additionally, he became a cleric and began preaching about Allah in mosques. Now he is a member in the Institution of Wise Men for the International Union of the Muslim Scholars.
Abdul Kafi studied under scholars such as ash-Sha'arawi and al-Qaradhawi. Among his students are Khalid al-Jundi and Amr Khalid.
Q: What is your massage to the Muslims living in the West?
A: You are our Muslim ambassadors in these countries, so be a good ambassador of your religion. A Muslim should be aware that others are looking at him cautiously. Muslims, whether here in Yemen or in any other country, must know that they are under the microscope, therefore their actions must carry out their words, not the opposite.
Q: Is there a war against Islam?
A: There is "no doubt" a war and conspiracy against Islam, but the biggest one is made by Muslims themselves. Muslims became lazy and slothful to raise the flag of Islam.
They are neither undertaking Islam's duties, nor uplifted by them. Muslims left the religion of civilization and development.
Q: Do you think the Muslim reaction after showing the Prophet Muhammad cartoons was reasonable?
A: I think such emotions and feelings are but flightiness. Ignoring such behavior will make it disappear. However, when we give the issue more attention than it deserves, then what is the outcome? What Denmark has done after this reaction? They haven't apologized or even valued the reaction of Muslims worldwide. They only know that Muslims' emotions reach sky-high and then plummet again in minutes. Reactions that are not directed in the right way are worthless.
Q: What about the role of young people in society and religion?
A: The problem is that youth don't determine their aims. They should know what they want to be in the future, and how he or she can serve his or her nation and community. Youth who neither have an identity nor thoughts are going to be lost in this world. We want a youth who have an identity, goals and who know the ways to achieve their aims.
Q: Some Muslim intellectuals say that nowadays, Arab youths are going through a deadly crisis, which is looking for fun at any price.
A: Actually all nations are going through this crisis nowadays. But the nations that are looking for fun life are the advanced ones. The backward nations are neither aware of the chemical compounds of petrol under their feet, nor how to use it. They study Surat Al-Hadid (iron) in the Holy Quran repeatedly. However, there is not even one Muslim inventing a machine made of iron in the Arab countries, as if this sura is directed to others, but not to Muslims. At this point, I demand the awakening generation to take heed.
Q: What do you mean by awakening generation and how can people indulging in pleasure be awoken?
A: The awakening generation is different from their mothers and fathers. They are the youths who are between 20 to 30 years old. I found such impressive Muslim youths around the world, but they are mostly in Europe. They are also here in Yemen. They are more liberated from the wrong kind of cultural beliefs, which people begin to believe in strongly as if they are a part of Islam. But they are only traditions.
Q: How can we have a religious dialogue with non-Muslims?
A: The religion actually is one, and each Prophet came with a particular part. If we go deep down to the foundation of all the parts, we will find it one: Islam, submission to God.
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. Whoever disbelieves in that Ayat (proof) of Allah, then surely Allah is swift in calling to account.(Al-Imran, 19)
Q: What is the message you want to convey to non-Muslims?
A: If a Jewish man says, I will be in Paradise and dwell in Heaven, I will tell him that I will be with him because I believe in Moses and the books sent to Him, the Torah. Moreover, my faith doesn't get completed unless I believe in them. If a Christian says, I will dwell in Paradise because I believe in Jesus, I will tell him that I will be with him there because my faith doesn't get complete unless I believe in Jesus and his Gospel.
The fact is that Christians take a part of the religion, Jews take another part and we take the last. The problem is that each group believes in its part and denies the other part. However, for me as a Muslim, if I deny these religions (Christianity and Judaism) then I will be a disbeliever.
I will say to them, "The problem is with you. Why don't you believe in the Quran and the prophet Mohammad?" My calling to my religion doesn't mean at all to abandon your religion, but to believe in mine.
Q: What about the different beliefs they have, particularly the concept of Jesus' divinity?
A: Will someone discuss principles with me in order to find the truth? Will he first discuss the point that the book they believe in today is a book written by monks and saints with me? Say (O Muhammad) : O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah (alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims." (Al-Imran: 64.)
Q: What is your opinion of Yemen ?
A: I am an avid reader. I read about the history of Yemen's civilization Arabia Felix such as Bilqis and the Ma'arib Dam. In fact, I have said during my lecture in Yemen that any country can be located in a point of history, but history itself is located in Yemen. In addition, I have said that if we compare a big country like America to the history of other nations, we will find that America is a tiny dwarf. Whereas when we put Yemen's history next to the history of other nations, theirs will decrease. Yet new generations fail to carry the massage of their ancestors.
Q: Any final words you want to say?
A: A newspaper is a dangerous platform. We should call people to Islam, its principles and moralities. I hope to spread what is good, so that we either neutralize the other or integrate them with us.
by theblue, liveleak.com
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