Translated by Shaimaa Behery
Dialogue among civilizations seems indispensable in terms ofmutual understanding of civilizational concepts and achievements among ancient peoples and even modern ones. Actually, it is an old tradition during wars and so that dialogue among civilizationsas a term refers to a super degree of positive interaction and acculturation among civilizations concerned. In fact, it is a high cultural act that believes in the right to difference, consecrates pluralism and supports equality.
Accordingly, dialogue never refuses the one who is different and never pushesanyone to leave his cultural or political beliefs, rather, it uncovers and crystalizes the common space on which passages of connection shall be constructed and from which communication can be on the move again.
However, some researchers link dialogue to civilizations and sometimes to cultures,following the classical categorization.On this basis, civilization is considered an embodiment and a crystallization of culture that is formed according to specific customs, traditions and beliefs of group of people characterized by stable features. In other words, culture is the sum of responses and attitudes of group of people that deemed necessary for their survival. These responses and attitudes include some special habits and beliefs and some cultural, social and political mores.
Civilization is often defined as the practical embodiment of these responsesattitudes, thus, it tends to generalization unlike culture that tends to peculiarity. The term ofcivilization points to the highest level at the stairway of the human evolution and to set of concepts adopted by group of people that resulted in some morals, thoughts and customs in addition to some provisions and establishments deal with their problems and organize their common interests. To conclude, it is all kinds of manifestation of human activity that came out of intellectual management.
However, the most comprehensive definition of civilization is that one states civilization as the inclusive outcome of civility and culture. It is the sum of life in its physical and moral forms andpatterns and that definition refers to the two wings of civilization, namely “matter and spirit” which are compatible with man’s instinct and respond to his feelings, emotions and needs. This description may also refer to elements lie in the perception of life and its purpose and in the basic foundations wherelife isbased on as well as the approach that suits the life and its relevant social system.
It is also noted that the “dialogue among civilizations” may mean all kinds of cross-fertilization of human cultures within the framework of those synchronous civilizations.It may also expressesabout the manifestations of the mutual political interaction or clash between those civilizations or the manifestations of disciplined social mixture or sharp social clash.Meanwhile, it can be the points of technical ,technological and utilitarian exchange or the strict technical clash amongthese civilizations.
As for the concept of civilizations between dialogue methodology and conflict sectarianism, human history is full of many evidences indicating that conflict is one of the features of human communication. It isa factor that really affectsthe formation and transmission of civilizations. Consequently, wars which were deemed a cause of destruction, they also noticed to be away ofknowledge transference and its relevant civilizational fundamentals. At the meantime, dialogue played a vital role in achieving civilized communication and building cultures while taking into account the peculiarity of each civilization and respecting the principles and values of other civilizations.
The dialogue of civilizations is also reflected in the process of consultation and cultural interaction between peoples, and the ability to adapt to opposing ideas and to deal with all cultural, religious and political opinions. Indeed, the goals of civilized dialogue are numerous including acquaintance, communication, interaction and civilized friction. Civilized dialogue is a basic meanthat enable people to avoid conflicts and to reach understanding for the sake ofrefuting the clash of civilizations. The most important areas of civilizational dialogue prevailin the religious, ideological, political and economic fields. For example, dialogue between the monotheistic religions and the rest of the man-made religions, dialogue between various political currents and dialogue inaspects of economic cooperation among countries.
Numerous conferences have been held and associations and institutions have been founded calling for embracing the policy of dialogue, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence instead of clash. In this regard, those concerned have adopted the dialogue theory and addresseddecision makers in the eastern and western worlds so that each party can understand and coexist with the other.
In this regard, the United Nations (UN) allocated the year of 2001 to the dialogue of civilizationsand appointed a delegate specialized in this sphere.
Nevertheless, we have to go back to the origin, definitely the monotheistic religions whereacquaintance and dialogue are mentioned to be basic principle in relations among peoples and nations. In this respect, the Almighty Creator says in the holy Qur’an:O, people! We created you from a male and a female, and We made you races and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. The best among you before Allah is the most righteous. Allah is Knowing and Aware.It concludes the invalidity of the claim of Samuel Huntington – the author of the book “The Clash of Civilizations “ as he believes that the interaction between the countries of the Islamic East and the countries of the West was kind of clash of civilizations, and this claim appears to be unfounded. The interaction between the countries of the East and any other civilization – especially the West – was based on the concepts of human brotherhood and knowledge and cultural partnership.
The leadership of the world was, at some point, purely eastern, then after the emergence of the Greeks and Romans it became western. After that, prophecies moved leadership to the East again and when East got in its deep slumber, the West kicked off its modern revival and renaissance toreceive keys ofglobal leadership.
The ancient civilizational legacies with implications of literature and language attracted the attention of many Arab and foreign thinkers and researchers. It was argued thatlinguistics is the general sphere and the overarching framework in which language was taken, which justifies relationship between words, meanings and cultural and civilizational legacies exactly like the inevitable connection between fire and smoke. Therefore, civilization is considered an embodiment and a crystallization of culture, which is the source of human customs, traditions and beliefs.