Dr Zahid Parvez, Principal of Makfield Institute of Higher Education, speaking to Islamic scholars in Manchester on 28th October 2017, emphasised the importance of the positive role scholars can play in society. He stressed on the need for continuous development of knowledge and research to provide effective leadership to emerging issues. Dr Parvez said that Muslim scholars should work hard to articulate the Islamic thought and the spiritual and moral values of Islam. This effort will help to bring forward correct interpretations of the Quran and Sunnah and thereby remove misunderstandings and fears about Islam and the Muslim community. It will also help build cordial relations and social cohesion.
Intellectual efforts should be directed towards addressing economic, social and environmental problems facing our society and world. We need to find and articulate spiritual approaches to address the causes of depression, anxiety and stress that are increasing. In addition, scholarly work should be directed at analysing the causes of discrimination, racism, injustices, oppression and mass exploitation, and offer approaches to their eradication so that we move towards a world where humans live in dignity and peace with each other.
Dr Parvez encouraged scholars and research institutions to intellectually challenge all those who misuse/abuse/misquote religious texts, as this is a cause for misunderstanding and extremism. To achieve this, they must encourage people to critically research and analyse texts, and debate issues in light of contemporary society. He reminded everyone that Islam strongly opposes all forms of extremism and violence against innocent people. It is a universal message of peace, justice and human dignity. The objective of Islam is to bring peace, justice, security, balance and tranquility to all people from all backgrounds. As good citizens we must live by Islamic values which include; peace, integrity, piety, patience, forgiveness, mercy, social responsibility, stewardship of the earth, and seeking knowledge and wisdom.
Living by these values, Dr Parvez emphasized, will help spread goodness and build social cohesion and trust between the many diverse global communities. Scholars must encourage people to play a positive and constructive role in their communities so that we all benefit from a good peaceful and prosperous society.