The Letter of His Eminence Sayed al-Sistani to Pope Francis in response to his letter

The supreme religious authority; Sayed Ali al-Sistani, sent a letter to Pope Francis in response to his letter, in which he stressed the importance of concerted efforts to renounce violence and hatred and to affirm the values of harmony between people.

The following is the text of the letter:

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
His Eminence Pope Francis, Distinguished Head of State of the Vatican

Greetings with respect and appreciation

I was pleased with the valuable letter that you sent me on the occasion of the second anniversary of your historic visit to Iraq, and our meeting together in Najaf al-Ashraf, that important meeting that became an incentive for many followers of the Islamic and Christian religions-but also others-to show greater tolerance and good coexistence with those who disagree with them in religion and belief.

In your valuable letter, you referred to some of the topics that we emphasized during that wonderful meeting, including the importance of concerted efforts to promote a culture of peaceful coexistence and the rejection of violence and hatred and to affirm the values of harmony among people, based on observing the rights and mutual respect among followers of different religions and intellectual approaches.

I agree with you on the necessity to make more efforts to defend the oppressed around the world, noting that the tragedies suffered by many peoples and ethnic and social groups in many regions in the East and west of the world - as a result of the intellectual and religious oppressions and suppression of fundamental freedoms and the absence of social justice- play a role in the emergence of some extremist movements that do not hesitate to attack others who differ with them in thought or creed.

I think it is important for everyone to pay more attention to the resolution of these grievances and to do everything possible to achieve a decent measure of justice and tranquility in various societies, which will certainly contribute to reducing manifestations of hatred and violence in general.

It is important to emphasize once again the basic role of faith in God Almighty and his messages and commitment to high moral values in overcoming the great challenges facing humanity in this era, and the urgent need to enjoy with sound spiritual and moral aspects, and to preserve the entity of the family and its values based on which God has created the human nature and observe piety with which humans attain divine dignity, as stated in the Holy Quran (Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious among you). Allah has inspired a major portion of piety to humanity’s soul: (And by the soul and ˹the One˺ Who fashioned it, then with its wickedness and its piety inspired it! He has succeeded who purifies it.)

At the end, I repeat my prayer and supplication to Almighty Allah to inspire all of us with the right words and actions, and to bestow good, righteousness and peace upon all mankind as befits His vast mercy and boundless giving.

I would also like to wish you good health, safety and recovery from your recent illness.

Najaf Ashraf

Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani
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