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The Other in the Light of the One
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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').
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter I: The Hermeneutics of Suspicion or of Sufism?; Sufism in Context; Traditional Exegesis versus Postmodern Hermeneutics; Ibn 'Arabi: From Ontology to Hermeneutics; Chapter II: The Reality of the One and Dialogue with the Other; The One in the Many, the Many in the One Self-Disclosure and Human Diversity; Self-Effacement and the Face of God; Chapter III: Islam: Quintessential and Universal Submission; The Vanity of Chauvinism Particularism within Universalism; Chapter IV: Dialogue, Diatribe, or 'Da'wa'?; From Theological Exclusivism to Metaphysical Inclusivism; Universalism: A Form of 'Da'wa'?; Nasr's Universalism vs Hick's Pluralism; Beautiful Discourse; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index to Qur'anic Quotations; General Index.

About the Author

Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, United Kingdom. His areas of research are Comparative Religion, Islamic Studies and Sufism.

Reviews

"Dr. Shah-Kazemi's approach and insights are extremely valuable." --James S. Cutsinger, professor, University of South Carolina "A very honest and profound Sufi approach to the Qur'an and the problem of unity and variety in particular . . . the result of a very careful consideration of major issues, including important political issues of our time." --Hermann Landolt, professor, Institute of Islamic Studies-London "A very honest and profound Sufi approach to the Qur'an and the problem of unity and variety in particular . . . the result of a very careful consideration of major issues, including important political issues of our time." --Hermann Landolt, professor, Institute of Islamic Studies-London ""A very honest and profound Sufi approach to the Qur'an and the problem of unity and variety in particular . . . the result of a very careful consideration of major issues, including important political issues of our time."" "Hermann Landolt, professor, Institute of Islamic Studies London""

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