Dr. S. Adnan Eshkewari: Mechanisms of Dialogue between Religions and Civilizations
11 March 2024
Dr. S. Adnan Eshkewari: Mechanisms of  Dialogue between Religions and Civilizations

 The Islamic Studies and Philosophical Studies departments of Bayt al-Hikma Scientific Institution in Iraq held the second (in-person) international post-con meeting of the International Conference on Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue on February 26, 2024. At this session, Dr. Adnan Eshkewari (Associate Professor, Kharazmi University, Iran) delivered his speech under the title “Mechanisms of  Dialogue between Religions and Civilizations"


Presentation Video


This article delves into the life (al-Sīrah) of Imam Reza, considering him as a pioneer of dialogue among denominations and religions. It focuses on the rational aspect of dialogue as an essential starting point for meaningful and constructive engagement. Imam Reza points to ten fundamental tenets and characteristics that must be present in the participants in a dialogue so that the dialogue yields a positive outcome. The article then explores the extent to which reason is considered in the dialogue among different denominations and religions. There are three attitudes toward rational dialogue among the divine schools of thought. The first attitude adheres to a kind of maximum rationality in assessing doctrinal tenets. Based on this stance, adopted by many Western philosophers towards religious phenomena, many beliefs are dismissed due to their basis in faith in the unseen and acceptance of what prophets have brought. The second stance is critical and does not radically evaluate religious phenomena but deals with them with a degree of objectivity, rejecting superstitions and issues not aligned with human nature. The third stance does not allow reason to take any position towards religious beliefs and sees no role for reason in the dialogue among denominations and religions. Naturally, the first and third stances cannot form a common foundation for dialogue participants from different schools of thought, as their dialogue would be sterile and disconnected from truths. However, the second stance, according to the research and studies conducted by the author on many of the dialogues currently occurring in media and religious circles, despite its effectiveness, does not lead to satisfactory and constructive results. This is because the participants often pretend to adopt rational stances but, due to the biases and pressures exerted on them by their societies and the institutions they belong to, do not submit to what their rational convictions would require. This is especially true in societies that claim openness and want to rationalize studies. The dual positions taken by academic forums and research institutions regarding the guarantee of human rights and the preservation of the rights of peoples subjected to genocide and ethnic cleansing are prime examples that the dialogues taking place among thinkers of different schools of thought and civilizations, if viewed positively, ultimately amount to nothing more than slight attempts to understand the other, nothing more.