The book, “Islam the religion of dialogue”, is the English version of “Al-Hiwar fil Quran” (Dialogue in the Quran), written by His Eminence, Sayyed Muhmmad Hussein Fadlullah (ra). The book has been published by Dar Al-Malak in 2003.
The translator, Najim Al-Khafaji, descirbes in the introduction mentions that the singing style of the author has been maintained, and yet the meaning has been conveyed to the English reader.
The book includes also translations of the introductions of all of the five Arabic editions of the book. The introduction of the first Arabic version mentions the significance of dialogue: “after God had willed to create man… and made His plan public to the angels. The dialogue started by posing the question about the nature of man, his roles, and his negative and positive aspects.”
It is a summary of Islamic characteristics and basis of dialogue in Islam. The word itself is derived from the Greek word “dia” which means seeing things from the other’s lens. The book also explains how dialogue and dispute come about; clarifying that argument is an intrinsic quality of human nature, and that our life is a constant search for the ultimate truth. However, some types of arguments are rejected. After all, the main objective of dialogue in Islam is to show man the ultimate truth. In addition, at one point, man must practice the art of debate so as to defend the idea he is preaching.
What is rather peculiar is that His Eminence discusses the issue of man’s destitution before our Creator. Man is also entitled to the right of defense before Allah since Islam wants man to be absolutely satisfied with the strong evident presented to him.
Fluctuating between the past and the present, the book narrates stories about dialogue with atheists, polytheists, and people of the Book. For instance, the Prophet (p) was faced by a great challenge: polytheism, which constituted a sacred tradition and a deeply rooted social system in the pre-Islamic culture. The Prophet (p) had to reason with his people, resorting to peaceful means during the first stage.
After the ideological fight with polytheism, Islam has to struggle with atheism. The book describes the connection between atheism and monotheism.
The book also narrates the stories of the Prophets (a.s) Noah, Hood, Saleh and Ibrahim (a.s.), and the dialogue they were engaged in when delivering their prophetic messages to their people.