A paper delivered at a conference organised by Astan Razavi in conjunction with the University of Tehran and Sharif University of Technology entitled, “Civilisational Thoughts of Imam Raza (peace be upon him_: Justice for all and injustice for no one.” (download a copy here)
In this short presentation I will be reflecting on the life and teaching of Imam Ali al-Raza as summarised in the Razavi Codes of Ethics, comparing and contrasting them with ethical instructions taught by Jesus Christ found in the four Gospels of the New Testament. Given that those participating will likely already be familiar with the example and teaching of Imam Raza, I will elaborate more on the teaching of Jesus to illustrate similarities and differences, recognising that Imam Raza, living many centuries after the New Testament was written, may well have been influenced by it, consciously or otherwise.
This will not however, be an exhaustive or comprehensive analysis of Islamic and Christian ethical codes, but rather a comparison of some of the 13 examples contained in the Razavi Codes of Ethics with similar statements found in the teaching of Jesus.
“Clearly the status of Christians living under Muslim rule is a controversial subject. Some might even call it a ‘minefield’. It has evoked strong opinions on both sides. There are some within the Islamic community who seem to be in denial as to the contemporary difficulties faced by Christian minorities. And there are some within the Christian (and Jewish) community who exaggerate and exacerbate these tensions for their own purposes.
I will begin with a brief history of the development of dhimmi status for Christian minorities; I will present two contrasting interpretations, give an assessment of the status of Christian minorities today, and then offer a (middle) way forward that neither ignores the anxieties of Christian minorities nor demonises Muslim majorities for the tensions that still exist between our two faith communities.”
You can read the full paper here or download a pdf here.