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Danishgah Blvd. , Pardisan , Qom , Iran

Webinar of students of Baqir al-Olum University and Greek universities


The online student meeting on “The role of spirituality in individual and social crises” was held.
 According to the public relations of Baqir al-Olum University, in this webinar which was held in cooperation with the Cultural Counselor of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Greece, the Culture and Communication Organization, as well as the International Affairs and Non-Iranian Students office of Baqir al-Olum University, the PHD candidates of both sides gave lectures with regard to “The Role of Spirituality in Individual and Social Crises” in English.

At the beginning of this meeting, Dr. Mahdi Nikkhah Qomi; The cultural advisor of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Greece said: Iran and Greece are two bases of civilization in the East and the West and have had many interactions with each other throughout history. Many of these interactions are in the field of science and academia, and throughout history many scientists from Iran and Greece have been in contact with each other, and many scientific and academic relations have been formed between the two countries. Iranian thinkers played a significant role in translating and presenting the views of Greek thinkers to other nations, especially the countries of the region and the Arab countries. Unfortunately, in the present era, the academic relations between Iran and Greece, despite this historical background, are not as they should be and we should try to develop these academic relations. 
He expressed the hope that by using the capacity of technology in this era, specialized meetings could be established between young Iranian and Greek thinkers. He added: “The subject of this conference is an important issue in the present era that all human societies are facing new challenges. Spirituality has an effective role in facing these challenges.” 

A comparison of Islam and secularism to legitimatize the Covid-19 pandemic / Maryam Ghazi Esfahani (PHD Candidate- Iran)
Philosophers such as Aristotle consider the world to be an inseparable unit. The connection of the parts of the world is not such that one part can be removed and the other part can be kept. Whether it is an evil phenomenon or not, it is a part of this collection that God has created. The Corona epidemic is also part of this global complex. In the set of creation, pleasure and pain are together and inseparable. From the Islamic perspective, evil is necessary for this set of creations because they bring them with benefits. The evils of this world, although few in number, cause the beauties of the world to appear. In addition, evil has an educational role and cause human awakening. Furthermore, God tests and judges His servants by evil. Evil therefore facilitates the path to human perfection.  
In the individual dimension, it can be pointed out that during the Corona epidemic, man was able to think more about himself and his God and pay more attention to self-improvement and refinement. In addition, the empathy and interaction of family members was strengthened and a better emotional relationship emerged than in the past. Human beings also realized the importance of health. In the social dimension, charity, empathy and cooperation of individuals increased and human beings improved socially. 

The role of spirituality in international relations/ Alexis Lekakis (PHD Candidate- Greece)
“Ideas matter.” said Judith Goldstein and Robert Cohen, two leading theorists of traditional liberal international relations. These two ideas mean spirituality, religion, culture, and everything that encompasses the idea. Propositions, political parties, and institutions can be influenced by spiritual ideas because many of these institutions reflect those ideas. So the question is, how can spiritual beliefs impact foreign policy? For example, when a proposition is faced with multiple choices, how to decide which policy to pursue. So the main approach is that ideas matter. 
Constructivism is one of the approaches in international relations that was introduced in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Constructivism has a major criticism for both realism; liberalism and new realism, according to which the identity of each country, including spirituality, religion, culture, morality, has a great impact on international politics and relations between states. In other words, decision-makers in the field of politics, politicians, political parties, political regimes are not separate from the culture in which they live and can not be outside this identity.

Three Islamic approaches to spirituality for building a society/ Mohammad Reza Hashemi (PHD Candidate- Iran)
The first role that spirituality can play in building society and mankind is “spirituality as combat with the self”. Self-building is an inner war; a war with the enemy we have inside us. This enemy is our lusts and worldly desires. Once upon a time, some of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who were returning from a war in which they won, when they reached the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Prophet first told them: Congratulations to those who won the minor struggle but they have yet to engage themselves with the greater struggle; a battle with themselves.
Another role that spirituality can play in our lives is like “medicine”. As our bodies get sick, so does our soul. And the interesting thing is that the diseases we have in our hearts and souls are more dangerous than the physical diseases. In 12 verses of the Holy Quran, God describes people who have disease in their hearts. In contrast, there is another group of people who have a pure and healthy heart. In the verses of God he says: في قُلوبِهِم مَرَضٌ There is a sickness in their hearts. God says about Ibrahim (as), the father of monotheistic religions: وَإِنَّ مِنْ شِيعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِيمَ إِذْ جَاءَ رَبَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ Indeed Abraham was among his followers, when he came to his Lord with a sound heart [untainted by sin]. A pure heart is the only thing that will be useful on the Day of Judgment. . Imam Ali (as) says: Be aware that destitution is a calamity, but worse than destitution is ailment of the body, while worse than bodily ailment is the disease of the heart.
The third approach is “spirituality as a journey”. This is the third role that spirituality can play in our lives. According to the Islamic literature, we are all on the same path and we either get close to God or get away from God in this path. God says: إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him do we indeed return.’ Therefore, from the perspective of Islam, the spiritual journey is an attempt to approach God. 

The role of spirituality in peace and solidarity between peoples in times of crisis/ Georgios Fragkos (PHD Candidate, Greece)
Although the Corona epidemic is a catastrophe and has caused many problems, this crisis can also be considered as an opportunity. An opportunity to connect people with each other, and in this way spirituality can assist people. During the Covid-19 crisis, some countries made their equipment available to others. 
Since the beginning of the Corona epidemic, mankind has tried on an individual level to fight many of its material and semi-dark needs and to be a better human being. At the social level, there must be unity and solidarity in cities and villages, which is rooted in the knowledge, cognition, and respect of the people around us. The next level that arises is the international level. With the help of spirituality, we can increase peace, integrity, understanding and mutual respect in the world and find a better understanding of each other. In addition, access to science and knowledge must be provided for all. Science, knowledge and experiences must be shared with others. Another case is art and culture. Iran and Greece have a rich and ancient culture. In this situation, culture and art can be used to introduce and get to know each other better. Films, documentaries, paintings, and literature can be used for cultural exchange that builds better understanding of each other and mutual trust. The fourth is charity. If a catastrophe occurs in another country, we must help and stand by the people of that region and provide them with our knowledge, resources and facilities. Through spirituality in your relationships with others, one can have peace, unity, and better deal with crises. 

The role of spirituality in resolving  social problems by foucsing on  the family problems/ Azam Vafaei (PHD Candidate- Iran)
In Islamic culture, the family is one of the main values and the basic element and foundation. Marriage is mentioned in the Qur’an as a covenant; a strong covenant or agreement between husband and wife. God says in the Holy Quran: و اخذن منکم میثاقا غلیظا and they have taken from you a solemn covenant? 
Love and mercy are the part of marriage that is described in the Qur’an. According to Islamic teachings, a man should treat his family in the best way. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: خیرکم خیرکم لاهله The best of you is the one who is best for your family members. Man should try to keep his family away from evil. Therefore, according to the Qur’anic teachings, one of the most important duties is to keep the family away from evil. The Qur’an addresses the believers and says: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ   O you who have faith! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel will be people and stones. 
There are many Islamic practices and rituals that help us save ourselves and our families from evil and one of them is fasting. Fasting establishes a continuity of practice with religion such as Judaism and Christianity, in which fasting is recognized as an important element of devotion to God.

Spirituality: A brief review of the history of the term/ Ioannis Mylonelis (PHD Candidate- Greece) 
Religion often represents the highest human beliefs. Man attempts to understand the absolute reality that has motivated him to achieve the greatest achievements in the history of human civilization. Religions, beliefs, religious customs often determine other elements and aspects of society. Religion as a phenomenon has formed social structures. 
The word spirit, as it first appeared in ancient Greek literature, was originally synonymous with air, sometimes meaning explosion of air, sometimes air itself, and finally breath. Both air and breath are the most essential elements of light. The terms air and soul were specifically developed by both philosophical thought and the medical sciences of antiquity. The element of air has been a symbolic concept of philosophical thought. This concept was first explored by Aristotle and then by Stoic philosophers, whose contribution to strengthening this key concept was crucial.