I cannot remember in recent history another well-wisher of humanity, whose friendship extended even to birds & beasts— admits Jaihoon at the Sayyid Shihab International Summit 2020
It is extremely difficult to speak about our legend without submitting to emotion. Sayyid Shihab aimed at your heart; not at your head. He colonized our hearts with love, humility, peace, advice, guidance, counselling and well wishing. I cannot remember in recent history such a sincere well-wisher of the humanity, not just the Muslims. He was God’s gift to Kerala, Kerala Muslims, to India and humanity at large. His friendship circle extended even to the birds and animals.
The biggest highlight of our event today is the Italian translation of ‘Slogans of the Sage’. Slogans of the Sage is not a shelf book. It’s a gift book— that a father can give to his children, the common man can gift to leaders and which an Indian citizen can proudly give to a man of another country: because this personality is the best of what we can call our beautiful country – India. His belief in pluralism and support for tolerance: it is unjust if we call him a politician, because usually we don’t attribute these to them. Nevertheless, he was a politician. But he was a well-wisher of humanity.
It is those universal messages of his life which I’ve humbly tried to convey to people by including just 100 quotations from his writings, speeches, statements in the press, which are divided into five topics – philosophy, philanthropy, pluralism, politics and personality. So this book which speaks about a Kerala Muslim leader in the remote village of Panakkad. These messages are right now reverberating and radiating to the city of Rome, in Italy.
Rome is not strange to us. Rome is a place where the spiritual headquarters of the Catholic Christendom lies. It is the capital from where Caesar ruled and reigned in lots of territories. Roman civilization is a hallmark of humanity’s growth.
We can all feel proud—not just me but every Indian I feel— that the words, messages and the philosophy of an Indian leader is coming out to the readership of Rome and Italy and all the Italians across the world.
This effort is put forth by Dr. Sabrina Lei, one of the most renowned philosopher, academic, writer and interfaith activist also. She is a prominent public intellectual in Italy and authored more than 45 books. We feel goosebumps that Sayyid Shihab’s words are not translated by any person on the street but a prominent voice in Italian intellectual circles. She has authored and translated multiple works including, Holy Quran and Bagavat Gita into Italian. Her approach, which is very inclusive and accommodating of the multiplicity of faiths and opinions, is very close to the life and message of Sayyid Shihab, as he also believed in accommodating different voices.
Pluralism was one of the best gifts we got from Sayyid Muhammad Ali Shihab. I feel very proud as the author of Slogans of the Sage but I share this pride with my fellow Malayali community that Dr. Sabrina Lei has raised our honor and prestige by gifting our leader’s message to the Italian speaking community in the world. I thank you all for coming here to share our love we have for Sayyid Shihab.
Every Sayyid Shihab Summit is a golden feather in our memory of Sayyid Shihab. Alhamdulillah, I also happened to be from Malappuram District in Kerala. I feel I was born to be in the right district to be on the stage today. As you all know Sayyid Shihab also belonged to Malappuram from the village of Panakkad. The titles of the book— philanthropy, pluralism, person etc— were named after the ‘P’ in the name of the Village.
Allah has given us a great leader and we ought to remember him in our prayers. We have to cherish his memories. Sayyid Muhammad Ali Shihab was not a person. Don’t call him a person: he was a movement, an institution and powerhouse of incredible philanthropy. The Malappuram Dist. KMCC is doing just that by providing drinking water, homes to the poor and helping the sick. This is Sayyid Shihab. This Summit is his message. As Anwar Naha mentioned here, we hope to to take his message further and hopefully meet the Pope of the Christian world and gift him the message of our beloved leader.