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Removing this “lens of war” means focusing on the political nature of many so called “religious conflicts” and attempting to solve them politically.
It calls for non-Muslims to communicate to both Shia and Sunni communities and for both Muslims and non-Muslims to recognize more fully the Qur’anic basis for dialogue as a way to deal with differences.
It goes hand in hand with a focus on the idea of a oneness of humanity that persists despite individual differences.
For the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, this is perhaps best summed up in the following words of the Aga Khan:“It is because we see humankind, despite our differences, as children of God and born from one soul, that we insist on reaching beyond traditional boundaries as we deliberate, communicate, and educate internationally.” The prevalence of this concept – that focuses on global commonalities rather than differences – is why dialogue is seen as the primary path to resolve disputes.
Mohammed Keshavjee notes the origins of the and describes how the concept of dialogue was favoured by the Holy Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali, the first Shia Imam.
This is also evidenced by the importance in the Ismaili faith of the , or internal understanding of the Qur’an – a place where differences between faiths do not exist.
Professor Ali Ansani explains that “central to the Ismaili traditions of esotericism has been the notion that a singular spiritual reality underlies what may appear externally to be starkly different and disparate doctrines and creeds.” This underlying foundation allows the Ismaili community to interact, engage in dialogue and seek unity across boundaries – be they religious, political, institutional or cultural.
“We must not kill to resolve our differences, whatever they may be.
They must be resolved, as I have said, within the ethic of our faith through dialogue, through compassion, through tolerance, through generosity and forgiveness.