Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:29 PM
Our spiritual understandings, like those of your Academy, are rooted, of course, in ancient teachings. In the case of Islam, there are two touchstones which I have long treasured and sought to apply. The first affirms the unity of the human race, as expressed in the Holy Qu'ran where God, as revealed through the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, says the following:
“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from the twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” (4:1)
This remarkable verse speaks both of the inherent diversity of mankind -- the “multitude” -- and of the unity of mankind -- the “single soul created by a single Creator” -- a spiritual legacy which distinguishes the human race from all other forms of life.
The second passage I would cite today is from the first hereditary Imam of the Shi'a community Hazrat Ali. As you know, the Shi'a divided from the Sunni after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Hazrat Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, was, in Shi'a belief, named by the Prophet to be the Legitimate Authority for the interpretation of the faith. For the Shi'a today, all over the world, he is regarded as the first Imam.
- His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims(Address by His Highness the Aga Khan to the Tutzing Evangelical Academy Upon Receiving the "Tolerance" Award, 20 May 2006, Tutzing, Germany)