Here is the English abstract of Mohammad Hossein Fahimnia (Ph. D.; Muslim Clergy; Faculty Member, Department of Islamic Teachings, Yazd University, Iran) presentation at the 5nd pre-con meeting of the conference “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held in Yazd University, Iran on November 8, 2023.
Civilizational Functions of Imam Reza’s Debates with Scholars from Different Religions
The life and the words of the infallible Imams have always been full of epistemic and scientific insights. Given that Imam Reza spent a period of his life in Khorasan and, during this period, he was engaged in scientific debates with scholars of different religions and sects, and also appointed as heir apparent, it is appropriate to study this period of time specifically. This paper seeks to first extract the functions of Imam Reza's debates with scholars of different religions and sects. Shedding light on dimensions of the issue of monotheism for atheists, proving the prophethood of the Prophet Mohammad for Jews, guiding Christians about the distortion of the Gospel, affirming the Shiite belief in Badāʾ (alteration in the divine will), refuting the eisegeses of the Quran, and proving that the divine is originated, are some of the titles resulting from this examination. In the second part of this paper, by referring to the words of Imam Reza, the elements of an ideal civilization from his perspective are extracted; in the view of Imam Reza, being knowledge and intellect-oriented, paying attention to religious humanism, material progress of man, and emphasis on beauty and the flourishing of art are the components that an ideal civilization must possess.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi