Here is the English abstract of Dr. Reza Berenjkar (Professor, Department of Philosophy and Kalam, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran)'s presentation at the 10nd lecture of the pre-con lectures of the international conference on “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held online on January 8, 2024.
Foundations of Interreligious Dialogue in Quran and Hadith
"Dialogue" is a general concept and can be defined from various aspects; such as objectives, where at least six goals can be envisaged in a dialogue: understanding the perspective of the other party, clarifying our viewpoint to others and sometimes resolving misunderstandings, finding common and differing points, discovering the truth, proving our viewpoint to others, and criticizing the viewpoint of the opposite side. Some of these goals are compatible with each other. In religious sources, the dialogue that pursues the last two objectives is termed "argumentation (ʾIḥtijāj)” and “debate (Jidāl)". Of course, some other goals, especially clarification, might also exist in a debate. Debate is divided into two types: the best (ʾAḥsan) and not the best. "Foundations" here refer to the principles that, when followed, make the dialogue and debate the best. These principles are: 1. A Muslim engaged in the best form of debate with followers of other religions must be knowledgeable and proficient in Islamic teachings from their reliable sources. 2. The main aim of the best debate should be to clarify the true and certain knowledge of one's religion, to prove it, and to refute the incorrect beliefs of other religions. 3. The method employed to prove the true and certain Islamic knowledge should be correct and just, and not to prove correct facts based on incorrect ones. 4. The debater should possess the skill of debating, clarifying, and proving. Other principles include considering the condition and understanding level of the audience, taking into account the temporal and spatial circumstances, and respecting the conditions of the discussion topic.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi