The Other in the Light of the One: The Universality of the Qur'an and Interfaith Dialogue
As a result of world events over the past few years, Islam has entered our consciousness in an unprecedented way. The Qur'an, guiding text for over one billion Muslims, is being looked to for answers to questions like: does the Qur'an promote peace and harmony or discord and conflict, does it contribute to pluralism or exclusivism, is its message spiritual or fanatical? In 'The Other in the Light of the One', Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi illustrates how, throughout the centuries, Sufism has traditionally been a bastion against two tendencies: worldliness and literalism. Based on a profound study of the Sufi perspectives of the like of Ibn 'Arabi, Kashani, Rumi and Ghazali, 'The Other in the Light of the One' is an attempt to answer the above questions and is an invitation to study the universality that is undoubtedly present in the Qur'an. Its aim is to relate some of the most profound interpretations of the Qur'an to philosophical and spiritual questions concerning interfaith dialogue. However, the purpose is not to just reproduce the ideas of the Sufis, but to build upon principles, to take advantage of insights, and to apply them creatively to contemporary conditions. Shah-Kazemi illustrates how a universalist perspective based on Sufi hermeneutics provides a third way between secular pluralism and religious exclusivism. 'The Other in the Light of the One' provides the faithful of all the different religious communities with the basis for dialogue and mutual enrichment within dimensions of religious life and thought that go beyond the outward forms of belief, yielding fruit not only in the practical domain of peaceful coexistence, but also and above all, in the fertile fields of metaphysical insight, immutable values, contemplative inspiration and spiritual realisation. For Muslims, 'The Other in the Light of the One' offers a pioneering view of 'da'wa', in that it proposes effective ways of putting into practice the many Qur'anic verses that commend discourse with others in a manner that is 'finest, most beautiful'('ahsan').