Methods of Dialogue With the People of the Book

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The phrase “People of the Book” is a technical term in Islam that refers to the followers of Divine religions which preceded Islam. It solely refers to the Jews, Christians, the Sabeans and the Magians (Zoroastrians). The Jews and the Magians make up a religious minority when we consider the overall world population. Religious ideological tussels critically are focosed on Christian-Muslim conflicts despite the hostile and destructive roles played by both the Jews and Zionism, disguised as atheist and secularist organizations to Islam.

The Holy Qur’an had no doubt entered into ideological, analytical dialogue with the People of the Book, revealed the distortion and forgery inflicted on the Torah and the Bible and exposed places where the messages of Moses and Jesus (a.s.) are manipulated.

From the Qur’anic dialogue with the People of the Book several principles and approaches in discussing with all sects of the people are highlighted. The foundations of this method are:

1- To egin from acknowledging the principle of the existence of a God, revelation, prophethood, the last day, reckoning and reward, as being the principle accepted by all the People of the Book.

2- Adopting the intellectual principles that disapprove of polytheism by taking recourse to the researches conducted by Islamic theologians, disputants and philosophers in which they refuted all forms of fusion, incarnation and plurality with respect to the Divine Being.

3- Adopting the scientific facts which establishe the unity observed in the cosmic order thereby confirming the unity of its Creator; by explaining to the audience, from the People of the Book, the concept of divinity about which the Holy Qur’an discusses and confirms by rational investigations, and differentiating between the nature of a `mumkin al-wujud’ (possible being) and wajib al-wujud (necessary being) which leads to the fact that it is impossible to ascribe a son to Allah.

4- To explain and illustrate the instances of forgery in the Bible, which is in circulation today. The fact that there are numerous and contradicting versions of the Bible is enough proof of the existence of forgery, while the Bible, which Jesus (a.s.) received, is a single uncontradictory one. It is necessary to reveal this fact and serve it as a proof.

The phenomenon of forgery and contradiction is further confirmed when we put into view the fact that the earliest version of the Bible was written two hundred years after Jesus (a.s.), therefore, the Injeel of Jesus is not the present Bible used by Christians.

5- To reveal the places where pagan beliefs occur and the roles played by the Popes, especially John, in distorting the Christianity.

6- To reveal the great descrepancies existing in the distorted Christianity as a result of adopting their Popes, monks and rabbis as legislators who manipulate the rules and values of Judaism and Christianity that were brought by Moses and Jesus (a.s.), respectively. Secondly, to point out the lack of any scientific and rational yardstick which organises the legislation of rules in measures of Christianity and Judaism. Then examples should be cited to that effect and served as proofs.

7- To stablish the prophethood of Muham-mad (s.a.w.) from the good news of his advent which Torah and the Gospels themselves carry.

8- To compare the religion of Islam, Christianity and Judaism on ideological, belief and legislative platforms and bringing, out the values of the Islamic Message which confirms its originality and divine nature and its great superiority over Christianity, as well as, Judaism.

9- A good look at the methods of dialogue will lead one to come across principles, opinions, theories and thoughts that are used in dialogue and the tendering of proofs.

Adapted from: “The Methods Of Propagation and Missionary Work” by: “Sayyid Bahashti”

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