Religious knowledge from the perspective of Allameh Jafari
TEHRAN (IQNA) – The way Allameh Jafari defines the formation of religious knowledge and his remarks on the seven areas of religious knowledge show his familiarity with the modern world and knowledge.
Sociology of religion scholar Seyed Javad Miri made this point in a recent forum titled “Closed Society, Open Society.” He spoke about Allameh Mohammad Taqi Jafari’s understanding of religiosity and identity in the modern world. Excerpts from his speech are as follows:
Some think that Allameh Jafari, as a traditional Shia scholar, could not have discussed closed society and open society because his view and knowledge of the world are traditions.
Allameh Jafari was born in 1923 and died in 1998. In 1923, Iran was under the influence of the events following the Constitutional Revolution. Allameh Jafari was a seminary student and spent most of his youth in Najaf. He then moved to Tehran and wrote a few books there. When we compare his works with other scholars of his time, we see that none of the other scholars systematically discussed Russian and European literary figures like Victor Hugo in their works. How could Allameh Jafari have reached such a point if he had not had such an understanding of the modern world?
He has a book called Wujdan (consciousness) in which he discussed the issue of consciousness. He tries to make a distinction between law and ethics. (Russian novelist Fyodor) Dostoyevsky tried to reflect on this Kantian dualism and to answer the question of whether law alone can lead man to salvation. Dostoevsky says that the law can order society, but it is conscience that can make human beings human. This is exactly what Allameh Jafari mentions. This shows us that his understanding of the relationship between religion and modernity is different from that of other contemporary Shia scholars. This is a point to which little attention has been paid.
I mentioned this to say what is the issue of closed religion and religion of the pen in the eyes of Allameh Jafari. When he talks about religious knowledge, he has in mind the seven realms and says that when these realms come together, the result would be religious knowledge. In his view, religious knowledge is a very complex assortment that has insights into the traditions of the world. Thus, his understanding of what is religious and what is not is different from that of others.
Religious knowledge according to Allameh Jafari gives us the power to see religion in an open atmosphere. When your vision of knowledge is formed in the seven realms, your vision of other traditions will not be closed.
Interestingly, Allameh Jafari, as a Shia scholar with a Fiqhi background, did not try to categorize religious knowledge under a Fiqhi question, but considered Fiqhi question as a small part of the religious domain.