Dialogue is a basic human necessity and it is from the loftiest channels of interaction and speech. It is from the greatest achievements of humankind, and the best method of education and instruction. It is like engraving, it inscribes on the heart and leaves long-lasting impressions on behavior. The Quran and dialogue From the most striking character in the Quran, the most oft-repeated and the most widespread in this miraculous book is the Character of Dialogue. The entire Quran from its beginning to its end is dialogue.

Definition of Hiwaar (Dialogue)

Hiwaar (dialogue) in Arabic means, to exchange speech, and to discuss, involving address and response. A more comprehensive definition is: A talk between two parties wherein idea is exchanged in a balanced manner such that no one seeks to control the other, and is dominated by calmness and free from hostility and intolerance. (Fee Usool al-Hiwaar)

The Quran and dialogue From the most striking character in the Quran, the most oft-repeated and the most widespread in this miraculous book is the Character of Dialogue. The entire Quran from its beginning to its end is dialogue. According to the Quran, dialogue and reasoning in the best possible way are important methods of communicating, upholding the truth and resisting falsehood.

The ultimate aim of doing this is to arrive at the truth. Within the framework of Islamic Dawah, dialogue is a tool of correction, construction and self-evaluation. Allaah instructed Muusa (alayhi salaam) on etiquette he requires in his dialogue with Firaun: "And speak to him mildly ,perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah." (Q20[TaHa]:44) Dialogue is a shared tool of awareness due to which opinions are formed, questions are examined and agreements based on evidences are concluded. It is a tool of consultation, mutual advice and cooperation in righteousness and piety, which is the road to maturity and paves the way for perfection.

This is contained in Allaah's command to His Messenger concerning . His Companions: "and consult them in the affairs."(Q3[Aal-Imraan]: 159) Errors can be Corrected, deficiencies taken care of, and thecourse of religion and advocacy straightened out only when we welcome a dialogue and train ourselves to accept criticism and revision. When this happens, our dialogues will be educational and systematic and enriching the Islamic nation with religious studies.

Indispensable principles

Over time, scholars have developed certain Shareeah based principles that may be seen as a basic methodology for conducting an Islamically correct and fruitful dialogue. Here are some of these principles: Knowledge It is necessary for whoever engages in dialogue on behalf of the religion to be knowledgeable about the subject that he intends to debate over. At the same time, he should be able to examine, weigh and give preference to various types of evidence, deduce result sand collect every piece of evidence.

Nobody should venture into dialogue without sound intellectual and scholarly tools. Allaah has rebuked those who argue without knowledge, and Says: "Here you are-those who have argued about that of which you have (some) knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allaah knows, while you know not." (Q3[Aal 'Imraan]:66)

Good understanding

For dialogue to proceed in the right direction, it is necessary to possess a good understanding of the opponents arguments, his evidence and the background influencing his actions. Often, a dialogue lingers on with differences persisting on both sides and the subjects being discussed becoming increasingly arcane without reaching any conclusion. The reason for this is that each side was unable to understand the basis of the others evidence as well as their entire aim. 

Understanding is the cornerstone of dialogue by contrast, misunderstanding may compel the participant in a dialogue to accept what is wrong, reject what is right or misinterpret things.

Dialogue: The methodology of the Prophets call Dialogue was a well-established signpost. Clearly seen also at every stage of the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)and at the different points of the call. From the astonishing things about him is the strength of his understanding and the degree of his tolerance - despite the fact that he was speaking from revelation and saying the truth. In the subsequent pages, we present examples of the incisive dialogues from the Quran as well as from the Messenger of Allaah.


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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