What is your view on Muslim-Christian dialogue? What are its positive and negative results? How can we create it?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
Muslims are obliged to call to Allaah The Almighty, spread Islam and convey the true religion to Christians. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered us to convey whatever was reported from him, even if it is only one verse [Al-Bukhari]. He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, once informed ‘Ali that if he was the reason for guiding one person to adhere to Islam, it would be better for him than immense wealth. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Undoubtedly, such a dialogue requires holding meetings for exchanging opinions, discussions, presenting Islam and the rebuttal of other religions and ideologies. The fruits of this dialogue could be:
1. Potential guidance of the parties involved.
2. Manifesting proofs and evidences to them, so that if they die later while remaining disbelievers, this would be after the manifestation of the truth and not in ignorance.
3. Fulfilling the command of Allaah for Muslims to practice Da‘wah (Islamic propagation) and convey the message of Islam.
4. Driving some disbelievers, in case they refuse to embrace Islam, to adopt a neutral stance towards it because of its clear evidence and great aspects which they would realize.
However, the bad results of such dialogue could be:
1. Participation of non-qualified people who cannot present Islam well, and therefore mar the beauty of Islam.
2. Participation of non-specialists in such dialogue, which may lead some of them to leave Islam or doubt the truth they believe in.
3. Presenting such discussions before common people. This is very dangerous, for sometimes the arguer appears less convincing or fails to fully present his proofs, and as a result the listeners will be in a state of doubt. Thus, such dialogue should be limited to the learned scholars and not held in public, except within a set of criteria and standards that guarantee that the truth will be perfectly manifested without raising doubts, as much as possible.
4. Participation of some misguided and ignorant people in the dialogue, such as those who believe that Muslims, Christians and Jews all follow the religion of Ibraaheem (Abraham) and that it is possible to unite all these groups to confront atheism and idolatry. The most deviant of opinions is the belief that the Jews and Christians of today are not disbelievers, but are People of the Book. We have previously stated that they are disbelievers though they are People of a Book, and judging them as disbelievers is something known by necessity to both scholars and ignorant people. You may also review Fatwa No. 2924 in this regard.
Having deviant opinions in such dialogue contributes to misguiding Christians, tempting them and alienating them from the true religion of Allaah. In other words, what would encourage a Christian to abandon his religion if there is no marked difference between Islam and Christianity? Moreover, Christian missionaries take advantage of such false and fraudulent statements made by the advocates of a closer relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims to support their missionary activities among Muslims.
These are some of the negative consequences that can result from Muslim-Christian dialogue when unqualified people undertake it.
It is preferable that Da‘wah and scientific institutions administer interfaith dialogue in order to select suitable persons, time and circumstances for the task. In addition, they should provide participants with the necessary tools, in terms of books, tapes and other methods of Da‘wah.
Nevertheless, the task is not confined to such institutions; rather every Muslim who is well-versed in his religion and knows about Christianity, with its discrepancies and deviations, should not miss the opportunity to invite and argue with the People of the Book.Allaah Knows best.
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