Closing Statement

Of the 17th General Conference of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, entitled:

‘Towards a Historical Timetable for the Events of the Seerah’

Amman, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
22-24 Muharram, 1438 AH / 23-25 October, 2016 CE
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

By kind invitation from the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and under the generous auspices of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the Royal Aal al-Bayt Academy held its 17th General Conference entitled ‘Towards a Historical Timetable for the Events of the Seerah’.

The scholars participating in the conference presented twenty-nine papers on the subject of the conference covering inter alia: specific events in the seerah such as the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth, the Hudaybiah diaries, and gazwat Badr al-kubra. Some of the scholars chose to focus their research on aspects of the Prophet’s character (PBUH), such as his mercifulness, his treatment of non-Muslims, and applications of shura (consultation) during his life. There were also research papers on Seerah studies in general and the methodologies of recording it, old and new.

The participants of the conference agree on the absolute necessity of according the Seerah its due importance and serving the Seerah by researching it, documenting it, and periodizing it. The participants also agree that scholars, historians, and researchers in Seerah sciences should focus on studying Seerah events according to documented facts and freeing Seerah accounts from any false interpretations (t’awilat muzayyafah), or false narratives, or weak chains of transmission that may have accrued over time. They also agree on the importance of gleaning lessons and examples from the Seerah pertaining to political, economic, and social issues that can be communicated in the language of the age.

The participating scholars discussed the main topic of the conference: distilling from the stories of the Seerah a historical daily and detailed diary of the Prophet Muhammad’s life (PBUH) and establishing a documented timeline of its events in days, months and years. The scholars also discussed the obstacles that may face this field of study and the methods that may be used to overcome them.

Further, the scholars express their appreciation of the pioneering efforts of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in using cutting-edge technology to serve the Seerah and make it more accessible. These efforts culminated in establishing a scholarly and documented timeline of Seerah events through a seminal book: What is Known About the Historical Timetable of the Messenger of God’s Daily Seerah, and also through a Seerah portal on the internet:

Considering the significance of the General Conference’s topic of the at this moment in history, and the importance of presenting the true nature of Islam through the Prophet Muhammad’s Seerah (PBUH), and in response to the criminal attempts of some groups to use the Seerah negatively by attempting to analogize events with events that occurred during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and considering also the urgent need to highlight the nature of true Islam and its upright laws, the participants concluded and agreed upon the following recommendations:

1. The necessity of studying the Seerah carefully and methodically in a manner that approaches the realities of the Ummah’s in line with the methodology of the Prophet (PBUH). Further, that the study of the Seerah should blend the methodologies of both Hadith scholars, whose work is based on authenticating narratives, and historians, whose work is based on objective study to verify news and narratives. This is so that the blessed Seerah cannot be used as a pretence by the organizations of evil to sow death, corruption, destruction, and bloodshed.
2. Approaching the Seerah holistically and academically in a manner that is not reductive—such as reducing its headings to only battles (ghazwat). Rather, the Seerah should be reintroduced to the world in all its splendour as a civilization and a way of life that emphasizes well-being, security, and morality.
3. The importance of collecting written materials on the blessed Seerah from all the varied classical and traditional sources, and finding all the material that is still in manuscript form and editing it under stringent academic guidelines. The scholars agree that the much-needed project launched by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought to establish a Historical Timetable for the Events of the Seerah is the project of an Ummah. RABIIT’s Seerah project is a foundation that can be built upon in the study and dating of every event in the blessed Seerah day by day, making it easier for both researchers and laypersons to learn about the life of the Prophet (PBUH). RABIIT’s Seerah project also clarifies for the Ummah and the world the general historical account of the event of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which will help all better understand the Seerah and the Sunnah.
4. The lessons and examples that can be gleaned from reading about the blessed Seerah correctly contribute greatly towards solving the problems that Muslims face today across all madhabs and societies. It also helps to create a generation that can be inspired by ‘a good example’ from the course and the events of the Seerah.
5. Educational and religious institutions, in addition to scholars and imams play a profound role in highlighting the true nature of the events of the blessed Seerah and presenting them to Muslims in a manner that serves their circumstances and their lives.
6. The necessity of following the example of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Seerah in his treatment of all people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, which was based on goodness, mercy, kindness, fairness, and justice.

The participants of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought’s 17th General Conference sent a telegram to His Majesty King Abdullah II expressing their sincere thanks and appreciation for His Majesty’s unstinting support for the Institute and his kind auspices of the year’s conference.

The participants also expressed their appreciation for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and the Chairman of its Board of Trustess, HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, for dedicating the conference to the service of the blessed Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and for providing every convenience to facilitate the discussion of this most important subject in an atmosphere of love and peace.

Wa-Allahu Walliyu al-tawfiq