The Jakarta Post
Prominent Indonesian cleric Quraish Shihab has been awarded a prestigious medal by the Egyptian government for his significant role in reforming Islamic thought.
The “medal of sciences and arts of the first class” was presented by Egyptian Prime Minister Musthafa Madbouli at the opening of a two-day international conference on the renewal of Islamic thought held by Al-Azhar in Cairo on Monday.
As the founder of the Center for Al-Qur'an Study (PSQ) in Indonesia, Quraish is known for his moderate and tolerant Islamic views in the country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world.
Having studied at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Quraish is one of the few experts on Quranic exegesis in Indonesia. He has provided comprehensive Islamic understanding amid growing religious intolerance and extremism in the country, urging that no one should claim a monopoly on religious truth.
PSQ director Muchlis M. Hanafi said the award was a recognition of Islamic thinking and attitudes in Indonesia, not only from the Egyptian government but also from Al-Azhar University, Islam’s most prestigious university which has consistently developed moderate religious views for over a millennium.
“May the award motivate us to lead a moderate and tolerant Islam by innovating in Islamic thought based on the Quran and the sunnah [teachings of the Prophet Mohammad],” he said.
The award is bestowed by the Egyptian government to Muslim scholars, from both inside and outside of Egypt, who are considered instrumental in reforming Islamic thought and spreading a moderate and tolerant Islam. Award recipients include Muhammad Mustafa al-Maraghi, who was a reformer and the 8th rector, or grand sheikh, of Al-Azhar in the early 20th century. (dis)