Kazakhstan's Grand Mufti Charms Washington Audiences
By C. Naseer Ahmad

The Grand Mufti of Kazakhstan, Sheikh Abdsattar Haji Derbisali, charmed audiences at the Rumi Forum and the Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington. Speaking in a soft voice - without any finger waving or angry rhetoric - he appeared to embody the faith he presented through his recent book. With simple words and a smiling face, the Grand Mufti blended the rich cultural history of Kazakhstan - about 70% of population being Muslim - with Islam.

The Grand Mufti spoke at the Rumi Forum and at the Kazakhstan Embassy on November 19, 2012. Rep Dan Burton (R-Indiana) and Public Television talk show "This is America" host Denis Wholey were among the audience.

The book "Islam - Religion of Peace and Creation", published by Stacey International, is an interesting read organized in three parts: Islamic Civilization and Kazakhstan, the Humanitarian Potential of Islam, and the Peace Support Mission of Islam. Each part contains valuable information for any reader interested in learning about both Islam as well as Kazakhstan.

There is a natural flow in the material presented. The reader will learn about the "Uniqueness of the Holy Qur’an" and the "Themes in the Holy Qur’an" and the "Encouragement of Natural Sciences". Then the book introduces the reader to iconic thinkers like Imam Abu Hanifa and al-Farabi. The reader will also learn about the undiscovered work of Mirza Muhammad Haider Dulati (1499-1551). For the reader it will be hard to miss the poem quoted from "Ta'rikh-i Rashidi"


Agreement on loyalty, love and mercy -

All this you have surprisingly destroyed.

In you faith cruelty is grace,

Allah bless you, what graces you did.


Thanks to the passages of this wonderful book by the gentle Grand Mufti the reader is led on a cerebral journey through centuries and beautiful places in the world. For example, the reader will find, "Oh, Unforgettable Kashmir" on Page 138, "Mirza Haider first arrived in this country in late December 1532 and stayed until May 1533". What an interesting time it must have been!

This is a book that might appeal to many hearts and persuasions. There are pictures of the many places the Grand Mufti has visited. The Grand Mufti's photographs with many world leaders communicate the story of his role as a scholar with a distinguished record of achievements at many levels.

The book also conveys a progressive image of Kazakhstan as a progressive and stabilizing force in a turbulent region. It is no wonder that a recent US-Kazakh Business Council meeting in a downtown Washington hotel was attended by the movers and shakers in energy and commerce.

Mention the name of Pakistan to the Grand Mufti and his eyes sparkle with excitement as he rattles off the names of historical figures he reveres most. And, "Pakistan Zindabad" is on the lips of every diplomat who encounters anyone of Pakistani origin.


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