Dialogue gives us the opportunity to listen to, to argue, agree to disagree, negotiate, and explore almost anything without losing self- confidence, temper, patience, and dignity. It is the only peaceful, civilized and humanistic approach towards negotiation and allows us to find the solutions for all divergent issues, conflicts, and disputes, and confrontation within various religious groups.
India – Inter-faith dialogue addresses all these issues and tries to find amicable solutions to them. Interfaith dialogue is a creative encounter. It is an attempt to understand the people of other faiths.
Interfaith dialogue tries to harmonize the religious groups in such a way that their common features such as brotherhood, love, compassion, tolerance, and mutual respect can be shared. Interfaith dialogue promotes intercultural values and peace-building initiatives to lay the foundation for peaceful coexistence, harmony, and brotherhood.
The objective of inter-faith dialogue is to create mutual understanding, respect, and tolerance to work in unity for the peace and prosperity of humanity without harming the identity of any culture or religion. It is believed that every religion has some universalized values as a common ground. The profound study of the Holy Quran shows dialogue as the sole legitimate path to peaceful coexistence and to finding solutions to social and political problems.
Islam is synonymous with peace. It encourages its followers to explore every possible avenue for peaceful negotiation to resolve conflicts among people so that they can put their efforts into establishing peace in the society.
The Holy Quran asks Muslims to engage in constructive dialogue with people of other faiths on the basis of what they have common; doing righteous deeds.
Peace and harmony constitute the soul of Islam. The Qura’nic vision of peace is not limited to the borders of the particular country or the confines of its own followers or community; rather it addresses all of humanity. Islam calls on people of different faiths to have mutual respect for each other on the basis of their common humanity while following their own religions.
Peace and progress are the aim of the Holy Quran. The Quran is the dialogue between the Divine and Human. The Quran addresses all men of every age, in accordance with the degree of their understanding and development. It is a book that teaches human beings the eternal principles of mutual respect, honesty, justice and equality, which are the required foundation for peace and tranquility in the world.
The Holy Quran laid down the foundation of interfaith dialogue. There are verses in the Quran advocating to the believers the call for religious dialogue.
The models of dialogue in the Quran are stated clearly. The Holy Quran says: “Say, O, Mohammad! O, people, Come to a word that is common between us and you”. (The Quran 2:256).
This verse shows that Islam has a keen interest in solving the problems of people living in multi-religious communities, as was the case in Medina, by spreading the message of peace, justice, and safety to all. This message is to be conveyed to the people through an invitation to dialogue as clearly indicated by the Arabic word “ta álu” come together.
Fourteen centuries ago, the Quran made the greatest ecumenical call the world has ever seen. It represented the widest statement on which members of all religions could agree. In case this call was rejected, Muslims were to adopt the attitude expressed in another verse. “Your religion is for you: my religion is for me”. (The Quran: 109:6)
The Quran wants dialogue to be an opportunity for truth to emerge rather than the opening of a door to offend those who hold different beliefs. The Quran and prophetic tradition enjoined Muslims and as well as the followers of other faiths to engage in meaningful dialogue, cooperation, and the agreement of basic principles.
The Peace Treaty of Hudaibiyah in the History of Islam was the result of successful interfaith dialogue. The treaty was signed despite divergent views. Interestingly, the Holy Quran called this peace process as the greatest victory. The Prophet of Islam at Hudaibiyah agreed to enter a ten years Peace Treaty with the people of other faiths. It is important to keep in mind that he was far more powerful than the combined strength of all of the non-believers at that time but he preferred a peace treaty and agreed to their all conditions unconditionally for the sake of peace.
The world is in dire need to heed these noble Islamic concepts, at a time when civilization is fragile. Violence and extremism have become a cross-border global crisis. What the world needs today is a formula for the attainment of religious harmony.
Making peace among people is one of the basic aims of Islam. Islam implores its followers to explore every possible avenue for peaceful negotiation, to resolve the conflicts among people, to and put their all efforts into establishing peace in the society. The Holy Quran appeals to Muslims to engage in constructive dialogue with people of other faiths.
Understanding the Qu’ranic teachings of inter-faith dialogue, we need to follow these principles to strengthen inter-faith cooperation in order to overcome the inter-religious conflicts in various parts of the world so that creative peace can be established on the earth.