A Foundation for Establishing Dialogue with the People of the Book

Posted by: ibnabeeomar on 29th Jan, 2008

Source: http://muslimmatters.org

Manners of Invitation to the People of the Book

Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala commands the believers to have good manners with them and to call them with the best of argument and dialogue.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.[18]

One important principle of dialogue is to not give into falsehood. A severe warning is given for those who compromise the truth,

O you who believe! If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture, they would (indeed) render you disbelievers after you have believed![19]

The believers are now ready to follow the command to establish direct dialogue with the People of the Book.

To Speak a Just Word

Dialogue starts by asking them to come to a statement that should be an issue of commonality between both parties, worshipping Allah alone without any partner. This is also a commandment given in the Bible. Allah says,

Say: “O people of the Scripture: Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.” Then, if they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims.”[20]

The invitation must always begin with the call to Tawheed, the message which was the basis upon which all Messengers were sent.

Say: “O people of the Scripture! Exceed not the limits in your religion (by believing in something) other than the truth, and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray in times gone by, and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the Right Path.”[21]

This excerpt has been taken from a complete study, which can be read here.

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