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Interfaith Dialogue in Islam

What does the Qur'an say about dialogue with people of other faiths?

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Many people are under the impression that Muslims are close-minded and unwilling to engage in discussion with people of other faiths. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Qur'an offers very clear guidelines and encouragement for Muslims to engage in interfaith dialogue.

1. Speak Gently

At all times, Muslims must show the best of manners and wisdom when speaking of faith to others. One must listen carefully, and share opinions with careful thought and patience.

"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." (Qur'an 16:125)

"And do not argue with the followers of the Book except by what is best, save with those of them who act unjustly, 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 to Him do we submit." (Qur'an 29:46)

"...Whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfil the covenant of God. Thus does He command you, that you may remember." (Qur'an 6:152)

2. Recognize that God is the One to Guide

Do not feel discouraged if people seem unconvinced by your beliefs, and are unwilling to share your faith. The Qur'an describes that God Alone is the One to guide people's hearts.

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things." (Qur'an 2:256)

"If your Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute." (Qur'an 11:118)

"And do thou be patient, for thy patience is but from Allah; nor grieve over them: and distress not thyself because of their plots. For Allah is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good." (Qur'an 16:127-128)

3. Part Kindly From Those Who Ridicule Faith

If you face someone who persistently ridicules or mocks your faith, and is obviously unwilling to listen to your point of view, quietly withdraw from the situation. Do not become angry or engage in arguments.

"He has already revealed to you in the Scripture, that when you hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, you are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme. If you did, you would be like them..." (Qur'an 4:140)

"Tell those who believe, to forgive those who do not look forward to the Days of Allah: It is for Him to recompense (for good or ill) each people according to what they have earned." (Qur'an 45:14)

"Therefore be patient with what they say, and celebrate (constantly) the praises of thy Lord, before the rising of the sun, and before its setting; yea, celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at the sides of the day: that thou mayest have (spiritual) joy." (Qur'an 20:130)

"Bear, then, with patience, all that they say, and celebrate the praises of thy Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting." (Qur'an 50:39)

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