At this point, it is important to note that the motives for Muslims to engage
in dialogue with non-Muslims have their roots embedded not in the recent
past, but date back to the seventh century. Dialogue is not a civilized virtue
of modern times, but rather a duty upon every Muslim, who is following the
footsteps of the Prophet of Islam. Dialogue is not a temporary activity, but a way of living that spans a lifetime. In the very first days of his mission, the
Prophet sought every possible means of communication with his fellow townsmen; despite fierce opposition and in the face of all kinds of dangers and threats, he was the one who took the first step and initiated “dialogue.” This attitude was not only limited to the Mecca period when Muslims were few in number and powerless to defend themselves. The Blessed Prophet sent aid to Mecca when his hometown was suffering a deadly famine; this happened when Muslims had won battles against Meccan pagans and the city state of Islam was laying its foundations more strongly than any other establishment in the Arabian Peninsula. It is also well known that the Prophet’s shield was in the custody of a Jew when he passed away; he never stopped making peaceful contacts with non Muslims.
Some of the articles in this issue focus on some significant concepts like
tolerance, jihad, and dialogue between Muslims and Christians. The lead article shows believers how to respond to “. . . the coarsest thoughts and the crudest ideas, without losing our temper.” “Mildness is reminded in such situations we cannot tolerate, a kind of mildness presented in the Qur’an as “gentle words” which “is the result of a tender heart, a gentle approach, and mild behavior.”
Galymzhan Kirbassov analyzes Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” theory.
Studying interstate disputes during the post-Cold War period, his analysis proposes a qualitative result that conflicts occur more because of other reasons than civilizational differences. Evan Radford’s piece explores the Islamic concept of “jihad” that is highly unpopular in the West. Radford thinks this unpopularity is a result of misinformation; Westerners and some extremists have misinterpreted jihad and use this concept as a veil and as a means to legitimatize their politically motivated violent activities.