Here is the English abstract of Dr. Mohsen Alviri (Professor, Department of History of Islam, Baqir al-Olum University, Qom, Iran)'s presentation at the 9nd lecture of the pre-con lectures of the international conference on “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held online on January 8, 2024.
Social History and Interfaith Dialogue; A Methodological Approach
Interfaith dialogue is not a linguistic exercise or a purely scientific activity based on the curiosity and intellectual attachments of the dialogue parties. Rather, it is a strategy for creating common concept between followers of different religions in order to solve a problem and achieve peaceful coexistence in society. Social history, as a new field and approach in historiography, explores the lives of ordinary people in the past rather than the lives of rulers and governments. If we look at our past from this perspective, with special emphasis on Iran, we find that before the phenomenon of interfaith dialogue became widespread in the twentieth century, there were many excellent examples of peaceful coexistence between followers of different religions in Iranian cities and villages. It seems that by analyzing these realized and successful examples, we can step back and find a way from external behavior to a common concept between followers of different religions, and from there to the understanding of each group of followers of religions from the other ones, and then to their beliefs and mentalities. And finally, based on such an analysis, a model for how to have successful interfaith dialogue can be proposed. The following essay, after reviewing the essence, application, and expected results of interfaith dialogue, discusses how social history is beneficial for better living, and after reporting examples of coexistence between followers of different religions in the history of Iran, it presents its proposed model based on the analysis of these examples using the aforementioned method and lists its distinctive features in comparison to other models.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi