Dialogue in Islam

This book gives a concise, readable introduction to the relationship between Islam and dialogue. Drawing on the Qur’an, the Sunna and Islamic history it demonstrates that dialogue is an integral part of the very fabric of Islam, dispelling popular misconceptions.


Contemporary realities make intercultural dialogue a pressing human concern. Globalisation is swiftly turning the world into a global village, with groups of different cultures increasingly living in close proximity. Personal experience and the media make us aware both of the potential richness of such situations and of the scope for discrimination, enclavisation, mutual resentment and extremism. Dialogue is frequently cited as a means through which diverse societies can address intergroup tension and draw effectively on the great resource of diverse perspectives in addressing shared problems such as economic disaster and environmental crisis.

In considering personal engagement with dialogue a committed Muslim will inevitably ask, “What does Islam have to say about dialogue?” In this book, accessible to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Ahmet Kurucan and Mustafa K. Erol provide a concise introduction to the question, exploring relevant material in the Qur’an and the Sunna and examples of the application of these sources in Islamic history. In a helpful question and answer format and a readable style, they demonstrate that dialogue is a part of the fabric of Islam, required by the God-given innate disposition of human beings, and by fundamental Islamic principles of conduct derived from mainstream, long-established understanding of the commands of the Qur’an and Sunna. The authors also address elements of Islamic sources and traditional interpretation sometimes taken as contradicting the case for dialogue in Islam, such as verses of the Qur’an warning against friendships with ‘Jews and Christians’, or speaking of killing unbelievers, the traditional view that apostasy merits the death penalty, and certain interpretations of the concept of jihad. They thereby dispel popular misconceptions of Islam’s teachings, revealing the religion’s essential commitment to good neighbourliness, peace and fairness. By examining the meaning of dialogue they also reveal that it in no way requires participants to compromise their own beliefs and values.