Irfan Omar

Hermeneutics of Inter-religious Engagement: Dara Shikuh’s “Islamic” View of the Other

This presentation deals with the idea that journey into one’s own faith and its realization – which for some is the culmination of that process – is often facilitated by encounters with a religious other. Omar utilizes the thesis of Frederiks et al who have argued that interreligious hermeneutics stimulate a richer experience of the self because it is more complex and it allows for a comparative view of the self. Omar will discuss how the Mughal prince Dara Shikuh applied this type of interreligious hermeneutics as a way to achieve greater self-understanding as well as to strengthen his belief in the universality of faith.

Irfan A. Omar (Ph.D., Temple University, 2001), specializes in Islamic thought with a special focus on inter-religious connections between Islam and other religions. His secondary areas of interest are Islamic mysticism and South Asian Studies. He has edited/co-edited several volumes including Islam and Other Religions: Pathways to Dialogue (Routledge, 2006) and A Christian View of Islam: Essays on Dialogue by Thomas F. Michel, SJ (Orbis, 2010). In 2006, he received the US Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for lecturing at the Muhammadiyah University Malang in Indonesia. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion (online). He is also member of the Ethics Section’s steering committee of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).