Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in collaboration with Iran Cultural House, organised an International Seminar on Reason and Religion


The Department of Shia Theology, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in collaboration with Iran Cultural House, New Delhi today organised an International Seminar on ‘Reason and Religion: Way to Defeat Extremism, Contribution of India and Iran in Development of Kalam-e-Jadid (with special reference to role of Sir Syed as the founder of Kalam-e-Jadid)’ at the University Polytechnic Auditorium. The seminar was conducted as a part of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Bicentenary celebrations.

Presiding over the inaugural function, AMU Vice Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor said extremism can be defeated with Sir Syed’s vision of tolerance and large heartedness. “People need to be tolerant towards history and culture of all communities in the world and a special stress should be paid on education of masses,” said the Vice Chancellor.

Talking about women education, Professor Mansoor said that no community in the world can progress without educating their women. “Women make 50 percent of humanity and nations cannot progress if their women are not educated,” said Prof Mansoor.

The Vice Chancellor further said that AMU has started a Centre for Interfaith Understanding with Prof Syed Ali Mohammad Naqvi as the Director to foster a culture of liberal views and tolerance. He pointed out that the Centre will be a platform for scholars of various religious faiths to come together for useful dialogues and interactions.

Delivering the keynote address, Prof Majid Maarif (Dean, Faculty of Theology, Tehran University, Iran) said that Islam regards reason as one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on human beings. He added that it is by means of reason that we understand ourselves and the world around us.

Talking on the importance of knowledge in Islam, Prof Maarif said that a believer in his life must work in harmony with the knowledge he has, otherwise there would be no benefit in that knowledge.

He further said that wisdom, intellect and authority occupy a special place in Islam. “The issue of the authority of wisdom in Islam is certain and since the earliest times until the present, the Islamic civilization has never negated the authority of wisdom; Muslims have always been used wisdom as a source to take discussions,” said Prof Maarif.

Dr Ali Dehgahi (Cultural Counsellor of Iran), who attended the function as the chief guest said that to defeat extremism, we need to redouble efforts. He added that Islam aims to build a society in peace, serenity, friendship, collaboration, altruism, justice and virtue. “We need to send across the right message of Islam to the world,” he pointed out.

Prof Tauqeer Alam Falahi said that the Holy Quran mentions that all believers are brothers and sisters and if a disagreement appears among them they make peace and correct it. He added that a religious person will avoid what God forbids and will do good deeds at every stage in life.

Earlier during the welcome address, Prof Ali Mohammad Naqvi said that Sir Syed was the founder of ‘Kalam-e-Jadid’ (New Islamic Theology) and other scholars have followed him. He added that the deliberations in today’s seminar will focus on stopping bloodshed and working for world peace with the true spirit of Islam.

Prof Saud Alam Qasmi said that it is imperative to follow Sir Syed’s teachings for the betterment of society in general and marginalised sections in particular.

Prof Maulana Kalbe Jawad Sahab deliberated that people, who read Quran can never follow a violent path. He added that this seminar condemns terrorism with the Sir Syed’s Kalam-e-Jadid.

Maulana Kalbe Sadiq Sahab said that it is necessary to revisit Sir Syed’s teachings and follow his reformist fervour and missionary zeal.

Prof Akhtarul Wasey (Vice Chancellor, Jodhpur University) emphasised that on a closer look at the facts, one can easily make out the importance of the lasting legacy of Sir Syed’s message, which has become even more crucial in today’s world.

Prof A R Kidwai, Dr Shahid Mehdi (former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Milia Islamia) and Dr Zafar Mahmood were also present on the occasion.

At least two books, ‘Sir Syed: Founder of Ilm-e-Kalam-e-Jadid’ by Prof Ali Mohammad Naqvi and ‘Islami Tehreeqon ke Gusishta Sau Saal’ by Ustaad Murtaza Mutahri were also released at the function.

Mr Raza Abbas conducted the inaugural session of the seminar. Maulana Tayyab Raza proposed the vote of thanks.