Russia TLIG Magazine

T R U E L I F E I N G O D 72 Sheikh Mohammed Ali El-Hajj Ali Al-Amili Director of the Seminary of Imam As-Sajjad, Beirut Towards a Spring of Faith Introduction With all of today’s world achievements, and after the religions have gone through various steps, up and down, it has become mandatory for us to answer a number of questions that have imposed themselves on our actuality: - What role must religion assume in the era of global- ization and with the domi- nation and leadership of politics due to the economic and military systems? - What is the way to spread advanced and enlightened concepts in the religions that go with the times, so that the journey of the reli- gions does not stay behind the current culture!? -What relationship must prevail between the religions of planet Earth now that all peoples are connected to each other by the advanced means of communica- tions!? -Does the need for religion still exist in our era, par- ticularly in the huge progress in materialism? Likewise, the questions and doubts about the reli- gions’ role and their future multiply. However, first we need to admit that existential dan- gers - so to speak - threaten the religions, due to many factors, as if the religions - with all their experience - have not reconciled with the societies of our age! Their ways and literature are still behind our modern age! And religion has not stayed in its own domain, without injustice and violation, injustice against reli- gion, or violation in areas that are not related to re- ligion. In other words, the work of religion has not been arranged in its own specified space in a spon- taneous and a smooth way; that’s what explains the huge gap between the era and the religions. The prospects for Religion in the 21 st century After the religions have accumulated rich experiences that they have learned during a long period of time, mainly those religions that came before Islam, and after spread of the bloody conflicts based on abhor- rent denominational backgrounds between Muslims, and in the Arab societies, after what has been termed “The Arab Spring,” and with the increase of the po- litical Islam; it is time to speak objectively and frankly about the issues and concerns of religion, and about its required role in our mod- ern world. Therefore, reference should be made to a number of quick points: - First: between “Faith” and “Religion”: In general, people focus on religious manifestations, in- cluding the rites that could be transformed into mere empty customs, without penetrating into the depth of the sincere faith that is required to take root in our souls. There is a huge difference between “faith” in the Al- mighty God, who is the main foundation, the essence, and between “religions,” their manifestations, their rites, that differ from one people to another, from one religion to another, they even vary due to time fac- tors. Therefore, the human influence is clear in all re- ligious systems, if not to say that all the literature and thought of the religions are man made. Faith is then a common space between all believers in the Almighty God, contrary to the religious frames that differ, in form, between one religion and another, even between one denomination and another also. Today, we have become obliged to increase our respect for believers, all believers, even when they don’t agree on the ritual forms, the ritual ways, and other things that only represent the outer layers of religion. If we manage to move our focus from the manifes- tations of the religion to the essence of faith, then the space of what is in common between the follow- ers of the religions will be widened to its maximum. - Secondly: Diversity, and its importance: “Diversity” is God’s norm in His creation, it is the source of the true value of humans, for repeated and How to bridge our divisions and bring peace to the world

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