Fifty years ago the rulers of Saudi Arabia decided to reinvigorate the message of Muslim unity and Islamic solidarity by founding Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami, which has made a considerable contribution towards consolidating the ranks of Muslim Ummah.
The three-day (July 31-August 2) golden jubilee celebrations of Rabita at Makkah witnessed a galaxy of Muslim leaders, intellectuals, scholars and heads and representatives of Muslim organisations from over 80 countries deliberating the condition of Muslims all over the world. They took stock of the Ummah, discussed problems faced by it and decided measures to be adopted for its continued moral and material progress.
Two hundred fifty Muslim representatives from all continents and all important and even small countries were there. Almost all Asian, European and African countries were represented. Delegates from small countries like Surinam, Guyana and Fiji were also there. Representatives of Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and refugees of Arakan also presented their sad plight.
Rabita has been active in various fields of vital importance for the progress of Muslim Ummah. It has worked for teaching Arabic, spreading Quran, removing misunderstandings, correcting the image of Islam, helping New Muslims and addressing the educational, social and economic problems of the Ummah throughout the world.
Just to quote one case of the valour and dedicated enthusiasm of its leaders, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Ali, former Secretary-General, reached Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, when it was under military siege, through an underground tunnel to console and reassure the Muslims of that war-torn country that they were not alone in their misery.
One significant achievement of Rabita has been its effort to remove the causes of disunity among Muslim communities. Its leaders made concerted efforts to settle the disputes wherever needed and promote reconciliation. Its associate organisation, the World Supreme Council for Mosques has built and maintained thousands of mosques around the world. Another organisation, Fiqh Council has brought different schools of thought closer to each other. The International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIROSA) under its aegis has spent not millions but billons of Riyals and done praiseworthy work of mitigating poverty and providing help during natural calamities and giving employment to poor of the world. Unesco has recognised Rabita as a very important and respected organisation. It is heartening that Rabita has its offices in over 50 countries which are working with full zeal in various fields. It is high time that the Indian Government shuns its allergy to Rabita and allows its activities to be extended to Indian Muslims also.
The last 50 years of Rabita had been full of meaningful work; we hope and pray that the coming years will see a marked enhancement in its prestige and activities. The poor and downtrodden sections of Muslims are looking with hope towards it. Besides, forces of Islamophobia are out to tarnish the image of Islam. Rabita efforts in removing misunderstandings and presenting the correct message of Islam are the most pressing need of time.