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SUCCESSFUL DIALOGUE

Abraham was a prophet of God who was sent to ancient Iraq. At that time King Nimrod of Babylonia had established a kingdom in the plain of Shinar, circa 2450 B.C The Prophet Abraham brought the message of tawhid (the oneness of God) to him. But the king refused to accept his message. A part of their conversation is quoted in the chapter Al-Baqarah (The Heifer) of the Qur’an as follows: Have you not heard of him who argued with Abraham about his Lord, because God had bestowed the kingdom upon him? Abraham said, ‘My Lord is the one who gives life and brings death.’ He answered, ‘I [too] give life and bring death!’ Abraham said, ‘God brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up yourself from the west.’ Then the disbeliever was confounded. God does not guide the wrongdoers. (2:258)

This conversation between the Prophet and the king gives us a very important principle of dialogue. That is, if the response of the other party is not positive, do not follow the futile course of insistence. See the mind of the other party and adopt an alternative form of dialogue. The best arguer is one who is not obsessed with his own mind but is able to see the other party’s mind, which he tries to address.

When the prophet said that God Almighty was the Lord who gave life and brought death, the king said he could do likewise. This answer was wrong but the Prophet avoided repeating himself and, with a change of stance, he raised a different point. His second point was so compelling that the king became speechless. This instance gives us a good example of successful dialogue.

The best arguer is one who is not obsessed with his own mind but is able to see the other party’s mind, which he tries to address. He changes his argument so that the other party may be brought to understand the point he is making. It is a fact that there are different kinds of mindsets. Everyone sees things from his own angle. Everyone thinks in his own way.  Everyone is obsessed with his own ideas. So, to convince the other party, you have to understand the mindset of others. You must try to address others’ minds, even at the cost of making a change in your argument. This is the right way to have a successful dialogue. When you see that the other party is not convinced with your argument, don’t lose hope, change your argument, and very soon you will find that the other party is ready to accept your point of view.

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