Interfaith dialogues and Opportunities for Muslims
After 11 Sept, Islam has become a global brand name. All of a sudden the world is focused on Islam and Muslims. Many Muslims are very skeptic about this attention, some are even uncomfortable when fired by questions at work place and at airports etc. but for a Muslim who is passionate about Da’wah, for them this is an opportunity to promote Islamic value and show the world the peace vision of Islam.

In simple terms, interfaith dialogue means inviting people to Islam. Da’wah. It is for the first time in the history of Muslims that the non Muslims worldwide are urging us to speak up in interfaith dialogues. Wallahi it is an amazing thing that has happened to us. In other words the Non Muslims are urging us to invite them to Islam. Their politicians, their Popes, their bishops their rabbis all of them want Muslims to engage in interfaith dialogue. I say Da’wah was never so warmly welcomed before this.

How many career opportunities are there in the field of Da’wah?
1) Public speaker 2) TV anchor 3) News editor 4) Writer 5) Journalist
6) Administrator of a Da’wah Center 7) Producer and director of Islamic programs 8) Updating Da’wah websites 9) Trainer in Da’wah
And if you observe carefully, all of these careers require passion besides a professional approach. I tell you all of us, almost all can fit into any of these careers if we dedicate a couple of hours every day in the field we love to expertise. In this way we can build a parallel career in interfaith dialogue

Why the West is ahead of us in Propaganda?

There are hundreds of debate websites where western students learn debating skills and gather important information of debating. There are also debate tournaments in their campus, inter school debates, interuniversity debates etc. Where will our mubbaligs learn from? You have to admit that debating in TV and media is the buzz word today .It is turning professional. And these students will be debating with us tomorrow when they grow up. Many of them growing up with false information against Islam but through debating skills they may prove themselves to be true at least for time being.

A thinking mind, of course! But how do we mould our minds  to proper thinking process
Thinking properly also requires exercise
The more I read about “critical thinking” the more I realize that it is quickly becoming a buzzword in education. It is what our schools are failing to teach.
It is due to lack of effective skills in conducting dialogues that some of our youths get frustrated and become disputers. Instead of arguing in a gentle manner they get into disputes. In some cases it also happens that some of us mock at the deities of others.

The Qur’an also puts forward some rules about dialogues.  Note them down

And argue with them in ways that are most gracious (Surah Nahl ch 16: 125)

And argue not with the people of the book unless in a gracious manner
(Surah Ankabut, verse;46)

And lower your voice, indeed the harshest sound in the sight of Allah is the braying of a donkey           (Surah Lukman, verse :19)

And tell my worshipers that they should only speak that which is best, Satan wants to put dissension among you.   (Surah Isra , ch 17 verse 53)

What is the importance of communication skills in building good will of Islam?

Effective presentation is very important in interfaith dialogue, because at times there are issues which are sensitive, and it may not go beyond many people’s throats. Hence artful and civilized way of speaking is highely recommended. How right is the Qur’an when it says “and tell my worshipers that they should speak only those things that are best”

Thus instead of shying away from interfaith dialogues Muslims  should go ahead and get involve. Let the Arab Universities have courses in panel discussions, debates and public speaking to make interfaith diaolgues more lively and academics oriented

About the Author: Nisar Yusuf is a speaker on Islam and interfaith dialgoues and has an experience of ten years of public speaking on various topics related to interfaith dialogs.

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