Interfaith Dialogue is the essence of Islam
Human Being is the crown of all creations because Allah Almighty has given him the faculty of intelligence and other inborn powers to utilize for Human welfare. Dialogue is the one inherent capacity and trait to listen to, argue, agree to disagree, negotiate on almost anything without loosing self-confidence, temper, patience and dignity, as it is the only, peaceful, tolerant, civilized and humanistic and most importantly religious way and approach towards negotiation and solution of all divergent issues, conflicts and disputes confronting the world.
Dialogue is a conversation among the persons or groups to understand one another. Since Plato, a Greek Philosopher time’s dialogue has made an impact upon the later forms of dialogue, and it variedly expresses the intellectual and philosophical attitudes of the people. Dialogue among people of different faiths or religions marks the happy development in the history of human civilization. It is the characteristic feature of reverence, understanding, cooperation, social peace, and stability. Islam not only enjoins dialogue but promotes it in good deal so that a humanistic and spiritual truth of the former is understood along with the noble concerns of the other faiths. In this essay the nature and significance of the dialogue will be discussed in the light of ISLAMIC View Point.
At the outset it can be said that Islam believes in the unity of creation. All men are creation of Allah Almighty and His revelation is of universal nature. The book of Allah Almighty declares:
O human kind! We have created you male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Surely noblest among you in the sight of Allah Almighty is the most virtuous of you. Al Maida 48
So the difference in terms of nations, tribes, and cultures is recognized by Islam. But it is not to belittle or degenerate any group or tribe but to understand and acknowledge by different valued names. It seeks the goodness and right consciousness among the human beings and it sets the criterion for humanity.
Secondly Islam itself is a revealed religion and acknowledges the revelation given to other prophets of other religions. To it the source of all is the same –Allah Almighty. Islam accords to both Judaism and Christianity a special status. First each of them is the religions of Allah Almighty. What they have conveyed, in the Torah and Bible is revelations from Allah Almighty. To believe in these, prophets, in the revelations they have brought is integral to the very faith of Islam.
To disbelieve in them is apostasy, In the Quranic Verse it is stated;
Our Lord and your Lord, the one and only God Al-Ankabut 46
While describing Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and his followers it is mentioned-----
Believing all that has been revealed from Allah Almighty; as believing in Allah Almighty and His angels in His revelation and Prophets as not distinguishing between His Prophets.
Al Bakarah 285
Islam accords due respect to all religions and teaches safeguard of their concerns, followers and worshippers and their religious places not out of courtesy but acknowledgement of religious traits. It sees them in the world not as otherwise, but as truly religions from Allah Almighty. Islam identifies with them. It does not present itself, in exclusive way but as reaffirmation of the same truth presented by all the preceding Prophets.
Islam identifies categorically with the people who posses the earlier revelations and promulgates, that to each nation has been sent the Prophets. It is said that Allah Almighty has sent one lakh thirty five thousand Prophets unto earth at different periods of human history for reformation. Although the nations or people disassociated with such teachings cannot remain away from it altogether in their collective consciousness. So Islam seeks to acknowledge both the apparent good and the hidden one among people, to live in peace and harmony.
Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W) conduct at
What the Prophet did, he made a covenant with them, particularly Jews and Christians. Each of them had the religious freedom and social security and was called federation (Ummah). All together constitute one Ummah under the leadership of Prophet (P.B.U.H).
One more important thing about dialogue is that Islam makes it obligatory upon its believers that they should pursue it in godly manner. Dawah—calling towards the way of Allah Almighty’s teachings of reformation and piety—is not in vacuum but with specific traits. According to QURAN it typifies wisdom (Hikmah), goodly council, and best arguments;
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.
It clearly emphasizes upon rationality in dialogue. The other people are to be revered and talked to in a rational and reasonable way, to exchange the ideas. Irrational cannot work. Similarly the attitudes and methods must be in best way to appeal and attract the people of other faiths and cultures. It highlights the honesty and egalitarianism of Islam where humans irrespective of faith are revered on equal footing.
Islam teaches us diversity of humanity, acknowledging unity and only ultimate authority of Allah Almighty and need to harmonize our relations and adhere to the principle of peaceful co-existence of all human beings irrespective of their faiths, religions and ideologies.
Let us all resolve to do away with the politics of hate and diplomacy of revenge and commit to communal harmony and composite culture interest, which is linked to the agenda of transformation of world society to usher in an egalitarian and just society where all human beings irrespective of caste, creed, color, sex, religion, region and nationality enjoy the benefits of peace, security and socio-politico economic justice and religious freedoms.
Mohammad Yousuf Naqash
Islamic Political Party (jk)
Human Rights Cell
All Parties Hurriyat Conference
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