May 13, 2024 15:20 UTC
  • Picture of a church, a mosque and a synagogue in Tehran, capital of Iran
    Picture of a church, a mosque and a synagogue in Tehran, capital of Iran

Pars Today- The international confab, "Islam, Religion of Dialogue and Life" was held with the presence of Hojjat-ol-Islam Reza Ramezani, Secretary General of the Ahl Al-Bayt World Assembly as the special guest, this month in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo.

The representative of Brazilian ministry of justice, representative of confederation of cardinals of the country, some of the priests and Christian personalities of Sao Paolo, political officials of Sao Paolo city and state, a group of scholars, missionaries and religious figures of South America had attended the conference and speakers stressed the need for dialogue among religions and schools of thought and expressed pleasure at the presence of Mr. Ramezani in the event.

Hojjat-ol-Islam Ramezani delivered a speech on some of the Islamic views and those of the Shia school of thought. Here are excerpts of his speech.

Know yourself

 Secretary General of the Ahl Al-Bayt World Assembly, Hojjat-ol-Islam Reza Ramezani, referring to the importance of knowledge in the Shia school of thought, said, "Knowledge is the basis of every good thing and, on the opposite side, ignorance is the basis and origin of every evil. If man knows himself properly, he will know his God, too. Imam Ali (Peace upon him) says in a narration, 'If man knows himself well, he will also know other people well.' But, woe upon ignorance! The first ignorance is ignorance towards oneself. Anyone who is ignorant towards himself, will both slip and go astray. If man goes astray, he will also lead others astray, and he will be more ignorant towards others. We all have been ordered to know ourselves. 'know yourself'. Aristotle has written in his academy, 'Know yourself. Self-knowledge is the element of man's growth and causes man to feel sympathy towards other men.'"

Imam Ali, voice of justice

Mr. Ramezani added, "The Commander of the Faithful [Imam Ali] (Peace upon him) is accepted by all Muslims. Shias consider him as the first Imam and Sunni scholars have accepted him as the fourth caliph. He has outstanding characteristics one of which is justice. George Jordac, famous Lebanese Christian writer, has authored a very good book on the Commander of the Faithful titled, 'Voice of Justice'. The book is in five volumes and a summary of it has also been published in one volume. I propose this book to be translated into the Spanish and Portuguese languages. George Jordac was a lover and fond of Imam Ali. ‘

Secretary General of the Ahl Al-Bayt World Assembly, Hojjat-ol-Islam Reza Ramezani, attending the international confab, "Islam, Religion of Dialogue and Life"       

Be a man of dialogue

 Secretary General of the Ahl Al-Bayt World Assembly continued, "The Commander of the Faithful says something implying that people are two groups, either your brothers-in-faith or similar to you in creation. We have been taught to call Christians and Jews as Christian brother and Jewish brother. It means that, 'O followers of Prophet Moses or Prophet Jesus! The great Prophet [of Islam] used to speak to all of them [Christian and Jews of his time] and present his proof and logic.' Once God said to the Prophet, 'Tell them [People of the Book], "You, too, bring your logic and words." And let us talk with each other. Speak even with the one who does not accept anything. Tell them your logic! This is dialogue. If do not understand your logic and do not accept your argumentation, and do not even accept you, be patient towards what they tell you. And if you want to leave them, leave them in a good manner."

Ahl Al-Bayt of the Prophet, pioneers of dialogue

Hojjat-ol-Islam Ramezani, then called the Infallible Imams as leaders and pioneers of dialogue and made it clear, "Our Imams and religious leaders, like Imam Sadeq and Imam Reza (Peace upon them), used to talk with all, including Christians and Zoroastrians. We should talk with each other, understand each other and respect each other. Islam promotes peaceful living which is called "Al-Ta'ayosh al-Salma" in Arabic. Human beings should be beside one another. Islam defends spread of relations such as relation with oneself, relation with others, relation with God and relation with the nature. Islam stresses not to destroy the nature or pollute it. Islam speaks this way on the nature, let alone on human being, let alone on the rights of animals!"

Do not cut the trees of the enemy's territory

This seminary and university teacher went on to say, "We have documents and evidence that 1,250 years ago the Treatise of Rights was written by Imam Sajjad (Peace upon him) containing more than 50 rights. There is a very beautiful narration from the Infallible Imams on the nature. This narration implies that if some day you fight an enemy, don't cut or burn the trees in the enemy's land. They are the living environment. Do not pollute drinking water. Both in the Qur'an and the narrations, the living environment has been discussed in detail."

Source: Noorizadeh Qasri, Samaneh, 2023. Infallible Imams (peace upon them) were the pioneers of dialogue, sanctities shouldn’t be insulted, Mehr News Agency

Key phrases: What is Islam? What kind of religion is Islam? What is the Shia School of Thought? Who is a Shia? Who are the Ahl Al-Bayt?