Present a balanced perspective [2:219]

blog Apr 05, 2024

When we are in the midst of a conflict or a dispute, we tend to focus only on our side of the argument, ignoring or rejecting what merit or truth may be found on the other side.

And when we do this, the other side gets more focused on proving us wrong and highlighting their arguments.

Discussions and arguments like these seldom if ever, result in a deeper understanding. And they almost never result in any one side giving in to the other.

The Quran teaches us another way:

they ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “There is a great sin in both of them, and some benefits for the people, but their sinfulness outweighs their benefit” [Quran 2:219].

This is such an interesting verse and one from which we can learn a lot.

Although the Quran is unequivocal in its discouragement of using intoxicants and gambling, it acknowledges that there is some merit and attraction in them.

To someone who is inclined towards intoxicants and/or gambling, they are engaging in these because they find some attraction or benefit in them. If we are too focused on telling them all the reasons why these are evil and not allowed, their experience is that we do not understand them and why they are so inclined. Once we accept that their inclinations make sense given the attraction, they feel validated and are much more likely to hear opposing arguments out.

This is such a beautiful example of how we can acknowledge and validate another point of view while we present our arguments and reasoning. When we are able to acknowledge and validate another’s point of view, we do these four things:

     1) Convey that we are balanced and open minded
     2) Convey empathy and understanding for their point of view
     3) Convey that we are brave and fair enough to look at all sides of an issue, even those that go against our point of view
     4) Look for common ground
Such a posture when we are in conflict does a lot to dissolve resistance and greatly enhances the other’s ability to listen to our point of view and to consider it.

This verse is particularly useful for parents who are attempting to discourage their children from using substances or engaging in risky behaviour. If we acknowledge the positive aspects of substances and convey that we understand the attraction, they are so much more likely to pay attention to what we have to say.


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