The Awqaf organised a workshop under the title “Interaction” to explore the community’s needs in terms of promoting religious and social awareness. Participants in the workshop called for coordination, cooperation and bringing into action their goals in order to prepare a community that is aware of its religious, social and cultural tenets, and thus be able to deal with the developments of life in a civilised manner.
Held on Monday, 29 October, the workshop was attended by HE Mohammed Saeed al Neyadi, Director General of Awqaf, Awqaf’s department heads and preachers, in addition to around 30 representatives from ministries and local public entities and departments.
HE al Neyadi delivered a speech in which he greeted the attendees, extending his appreciation of their valuable efforts in raising awareness of the members of the community and addressing their daily life matters. He further pointed out that the religious and social content needs enriching; something that can be achieved through constructive cooperation amongst all the relevant entities sharing such common goals.
Al Neyadi then explained that by organising such workshop, the Awqaf aims to bolster the bonds of cooperation that associate it with all other institutions in the UAE. The ultimate goal is to explore the community’s needs related to religious and cultural awareness, as well as put into effect their mutual initiatives and develop effective solutions to address all the social threats that may affect both individuals and the society in general.
He called upon the representatives of the entities to cooperate with the Awqaf and support it with the outcomes of their researches related to social matters, the aim being to translate such studies into preaching pamphlets, books and Friday sermons. Such conclusions can also be incorporated in the Awqaf’s social awareness strategic plans executed through its various awareness channels that tackle the social issues and how to mitigate their risks, al Neyadi added.
“Committed to its responsibilities, Awqaf strives to interact with and address the challenges and dangerous risks that come in the way of the society. This is being achieved through the Friday speeches, conducting preaching lectures and seminars, the official Fatwa centre, lessons at mosques and religious programmes on the various media outlets,” explained al Neyadi, underlining Awqaf’s preparedness to work via all the channels that may support its mission in the society and contribute to realising its vision. He also called upon all the participating entities to accelerate their action so as to keep abreast of developments and proactively circumvent challenges. This can be possible by laying out plans that should be executed within a clear timeframe and providing Awqaf with their observations and suggestions to enable it to translate such data on ground in accordance with its approach related to promoting social awareness.
On another level, al Neyadi affirmed that the Awqaf is reaching out to the members of the community from all walks of life through its Official Fatwa Centre that answers the public’s religious queries in multiple languages, and the Friday Khutba that is being delivered in several languages too.
Concluding his speech, al Neyadi affirmed that the Awqaf possesses many elements that help in conveying its awareness messages to the society in several ways and exploring the needs of the community as well as the challenges it faces.
For his part, Abdul Rahman al Shamsi, Director of the Preaching Department at Awqaf, threw light on the stages of preparing the unified Friday sermon at Awqaf, highlighting specific points of focus in the process. Those include promoting the public’s religious awareness, reinforcing the values of belonging and loyalty to the nation and its leadership, strengthening family and social consolidation, addressing the most pressing intellectual, social and moral issues in the Emirati society. They also involve positive interaction with the initiatives launched by strategic partners that are consistent with the vision and mission of Awqaf, highlighting the UAE’s efforts in the various fields, aligning the plan with the lectures delivered to the public and private institutions and reviving religious and national occasions.
The event also brought to stage Prof. Shamma al Dhaheri, member of the Emirates Fatwa Council and Director of Fatwa Department at Awqaf. Al Dhaheri introduced the Official Fatwa Centre, overseen by the Awqaf, and the role it plays in unifying and regulating the Fatwa practice in the UAE, protecting the public from improvised or false Fatwas and encountering the Fatwas of extremist and terrorist groups. She underlined that the centre answers the public’s queries via the various modern communication channels, serving Fatwa seekers inside and outside the UAE for free.
Meanwhile, the participants in the meeting brought into focus the efforts exerted by the entities that they represented to raise the awareness in the society, as well as their approach in interacting with the challenges that the members of the community come through. They further valued the great cooperation by Awqaf with their entities and its engagement in their events, exhibiting their full keenness to cooperate and coordinate with the Awqaf in the way of bringing into action their mutual goals, the aim being to achieve the set objectives that are conducive to attaining the stability and development of the community.
Speakers in the workshop also included Brig. Gen Ahmed Naseeb al Nuaimi, Advisor to the Chairman of National and Reserve Service Authority. He underlined the key role that the national service plays in protecting the society from many potential threats that are not only limited to security matters. The national service, he explained, is a comprehensive improvement programme for the youths in all the various aspects of their life. Ultimately, the good benefits of such a programme will reflect on them, their homeland and community. This can be achieved through the variety of activities available at the camps, including lectures, seminars, and cultural and awareness workshops, he clarified.
On another note, Dr Faisal al Bakiri, Advisor at the Ministry of Education, hailed the cooperation between the ministry and Awqaf in various fields, stressing that human enhancement is the number one goal of the UAE. He urged all the competent bodies to concert efforts in order to cement such a goal in the community.
“Cultural challenges exist, and these need spiritual support,” al Bakiri said, pointing out that the ministry of education has created a data centre for monitoring and analysing students’ behaviour at schools. In return, the Awqaf may benefit from such analysis in learning about the issues and resolving them within the framework of religious awareness, translating them into awareness programmes. “Ethics are the cornerstone in nations’ advancement. Thus, all parties should take this aspect into account and strive to further enhance it in our society,” he emphasised.
For his part, the representative of Community Police at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters lauded the interaction by Awqaf with the awareness campaigns that the Abu Dhabi Police launches, in addition to dedicating Friday sermons to such campaigns. This, he said, reflects the integrated efforts by the various institutions in serving the community, reiterating the need to join efforts to achieve wellbeing of all the members of the community.
In the meantime, in his speech, Dr Saeed al Darmaki, representative of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, extended thanks to Awqaf for the active role it plays in the society. He talked about the role of family guidance in promoting awareness in the society, pointing out the most noticeable challenges they face in achieving it. He, then, shared several suggestions in this regard, including conducting joint workshops for members from both Awqaf and the Judicial Department, documenting the Fatwa related to divorce and coordinating with the department in selecting topics for the Friday Khutba that address the social and family threats, in addition to producing TV and radio programmes that may contribute to mending the social fabric and protecting the family life.
Furthermore, Dr Ali al Elwi from the Zayed House for Islamic Culture talked about the efforts by the house in educating the non-Arabic speaking Muslim community in the UAE. Such efforts include publishing several books, publications and booklets that highlights the tolerant principles of Islam, he added, underscoring the cooperation and coordination between the Zayed House and the Awqaf in all fields.