New Article by M. Ali Lakhani: Integral Pluralism as the Basis for Harmony – The Approach of His Highness the Aga Khan

Integral Pluralism as the Basis for Harmony: The Approach of His Highness the Aga Khan

Ali Lakhani

 

mhi-official-aiglonCentral to my life has been a verse in the Holy Qur’an which addresses itself to the whole of humanity. It says: “Oh Mankind, fear your Lord, who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women…” I know of no more beautiful expression about the unity of our human race, born indeed from a single soul. — His Highness the Aga Khan

Conflict and Fragmentation: The Spirit of the Age

New Article by M. Ali Lakhani: Integral Pluralism as the Basis for Harmony - The Approach of His Highness the Aga KhanWe are living in an age characterized by conflict and fragmentation, where the spirit of the age is increasingly pitted against the Spirit itself. In W. B. Yeats’ prophetic words, things fall apart and the centre cannot hold. In the domain of religion, we have been witnessing conflicts – often of political or economic origin though purporting to be based on religious differences – that feed reactionary claims. At the same time, we have been witnessing a secularist ascendancy that questions the legitimacy of religion as such as well as of specific religions. The modern world is placing its faith increasingly in science over religion, in earth over heaven, and in man over God – reductively preferencing polarity over complementarity. Not unrelated to this, there is a deepening ‘malaise of modernity’. Despite the scientific and technological advancements of our age, and its medical and material marvels, there is a strange and discomfiting sense of dislocation, disorientation, distraction, disconnection, disenchantment, and dispiritedness in our triumphal, if not hubristic, march of ‘progress.’

It is easy in such an age to be cynical or apathetic.

Are we, in the biblical phrase, gaining the whole world but losing our own soul? Are we forgetting our very nature, and thereby our true place in the natural world? Are we losing our sense of the sacred, and thereby our integral relationship with the cosmos? In a sophisticated era where materialism seduces the soul with more immediate rewards than the promise of a deferred salvation, and where the zeal to indulge our individual freedoms and appetites is stronger than the restraint of responsibility and moderation, we are experiencing a strong centrifugal tug away from traditional notions of community and communion, and from our connection with the natural world. Uncertain of who we truly are, and lacking the awareness of our spiritual centre, it is easy for us to mistrust the ‘Other’ and to revert to tribal associations which – particularly in a globalized world of porous boundaries and therefore of increasing diversity – can lead us to paths of conflict rather than of harmony.

 

Click here to read at the source (Page 147 – 162, Issue 9: Peace) this new and exclusive article by M. Ali Lakhani – Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue

www.dicid.org/english

 

M. Ali Lakhani, is a writer, lawyer, and editor whose works focus on metaphysics and the perennial principles found in the wisdom traditions of the world. He is the founder of Sacred Web Journal.

 

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