The six principles of healthy discussion

blog Apr 05, 2024

Today, let us review and remind ourselves of the principles of healthy discussion and debate from the Quran which we have been exploring over the last few days.

1) Use wisdom and good admonition and dispute with them in a manner that is best [Holy Quran 16:125]

The first principle we discussed was an overarching injunction to use “hikmah” [wisdom] and “ehsan” [beauty, goodness, virtue, excellence] when giving advice or debating with others.

2) Establish common ground [Holy Quran 29:46]

The second principle we explored was to find areas of agreement and establish common ground. We discussed how this serves as a strong foundation to build trust and relationship amongst people and lays the groundwork to work towards common causes and mutual benefit.

3) Use logic and appeal to reason [Holy Quran 36:77-79]

Using the verses of Sura Yaseen as an example, we discovered how the Quran uses logic and reasoning and rhetorical questions to help readers reflect and come to a place of certainty and belief for themselves.

4) Do not offend [Holy Quran 6:109]

Next we looked at the strong recommendation in the Quran not to revile others objects of worship, thereby offending them. We understood how by doing so, the conversation can only lead to increased anger and bitterness and the one offended will most likely respond by attacking what is sacred to us.

5) Present a balanced perspective [Holy Quran 2:219]

In these verses from Sura Baqara, we saw how Allah [swt] reaches the audience by validating that what attract them has some attraction and merit, even while pointing out that the sin or loss is greater than the benefit. From this verse we learnt how we can use a balanced perspective when advocating for our beliefs and actions and how doing do will increase the likelihood that our arguments are attended to.

6) Respond with goodness rather than react to evil [Holy Quran 41:34]

In the last verse we looked at, we saw how by giving ourselves the grace of time and pausing, responding rather than reacting we can engage our human brain and use the faculties of imagination, conscience, freewill and self-control that we have been gifted with in order to repel poor behaviour with Ehsan and virtue, in pursuit of the greater good.


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