Here is the English abstract of Ali Zangouei (Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Teachings, University of Birjand, Iran)'s presentation at the 6nd pre-con meeting of the conference “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held in University of Birjand, Iran on December 4, 2023.
Seeking "Truth", Not Owning It; The Secret of the Compatibility of Religions
What happened in the early days of Islam was that a person would simply enter the realm of Islam by reciting the two testimonies of faith. Although this level of faith was an apparent faith, and the person had to go through a winding path to reach true faith, but this level of faith was enough to consider him/her a Muslim and he/she would benefit from the social and individual aspects of this conversion. The low cost of this type of faith and its numerous effects caused the Islamic community to grow quantitatively very much. In the second stage, there was true faith, in which a person needed belief, action, and change in behavior, desires, speech, feelings, and beliefs to achieve it. This two-level faith was in accordance with the tradition (Sunnah) of the Prophet Mohammad and the Infallible Imams, and each of these two types of faith had its own function; the first type caused people to convert to Islam and the second type caused the reform of the individual and society. Unfortunately, over time, with the displacement of these two types of faith, the function of both was lost and sectarian wars emerged. If the Islamic community (Ummah) intends to free itself from the evils of such conflicts, it must again approach what happened in the early days of Islam; in this way, it does not consider itself the owner of the truth and others as lacking it; but it considers itself a seeker of it and also sits down to talk with others. A conversation that is free from dispute. In this path, the guidance of the Infallible Imams- especially Imam Reza- can be a guide for us; because they have clarified how we should deal with a person from a different religion or sect. Concealing their secrets, being tolerant of them, and having a patient demeanor are among their guidelines.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi