Love and “Suffering for”: A Shia Perspective on Rene Girard’s Theory on Violence and the Sacred

Document Type : Research Paper


Academy for Islamic science and Culture, Iran


When we know and recognize one another, our souls join with those of others. This is called ta’aruf in the parlance of the Qur’an. Ta’aruf increases love and unity, as it decreases violence and enmity. Knowing one another occurs in several ways. One way to know others is to love the same thing that they do. This means that several people will love a similar spiritual being. From the Shia perspective, this is a very important way in which people can understand and sympathize with one another. Sharing a common beloved also creates a loving relationship between oneself and others. Many people come to love one another since they share love for the same being and because their love is directed to the reality of the Truth, which is an all-inclusive reality. To create a love such as this requires a strong remembrance which comes about through the remembrance of the beloved, one’s “sufferings for.” Communication based on such love differs widely from the peace that is based on using a scapegoat, as described in Rene Girard’s Violence and the Sacred.


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