Should We Address Missionaries Harshly?


Question:

Sometimes in your writings and your discussions you are very stern with missionaries. Is this an approach you advise Muslims to take when debating and discussing inter-faith topics with missionaries?

Answer:

This is not a good trait of my character. I do not advise that a Muslim should address anyone with harsh or stern speech and words. The Qur’an says:

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. – Qur’an 16:125.

Thus, Allah exhorts us to be mindful of the way in which we interact with those we disagree with. I have my shortcomings, and one of my many shortcomings is to use a harsh tone when annoyed. I invite the brothers and sisters who read this answer to make du’a that Allah cures me of this negative trait. God willing, all future articles on the website will not contain harsh tones, and I will tread very carefully with my words. I sincerely ask Allah’s forgiveness for any of the Muslims who may have imitated this behaviour of mines and I ask the forgiveness of those whom I have addressed in an unfair manner.

All visitors are welcomed to post a comment under our articles or to send us a message if you believe the tone of a post is out of bounds. As they say, be your brother’s keeper!

and Allah knows best.

4 comments

  • Actually, Ijaz, I highly enjoyed your stern, acerbic, and some-what derisive style. Often times we have Muslim apologists who indulge in a gentle, docile and cloyingly amiable flair and disposition. While such behavior is what we–as Muslims and human beings–should all aspire to, in the apologetic field, sometimes it an be misconstrued as weakness. Watch the debate between brother Shabir and Sam Shamoun, for example. While Sam did lose the debate, in my opinion, his commanding, assertive, and pugnacious attitude came across as confident and well prepared. We should not be ashamed of exhibiting argumentative and aggressive attitude in the face of mendacity, lies, misrepresentation of our faith, demagoguery, and militant ideology, whether that is Christianity, atheism or whatever else.

  • I agree with Adam Alijanni.

  • As long as you don’t insult them, there is nothing wrong with being harsh (or sarcastic) to these Trinitarians.

  • Thanks for your kind words brothers (and maybe sisters too?). My elders and mentors, as well as teachers often remind me that my tone, especially my sarcasm can come off as harsh to people who may not personally know me and that as a consequence, readers of my works or my debates would assume I’m just grumpy and rude.

    I agree that there are times when we are needed to be stern and direct. In my last stage debate with Steven, I was told I hurt his feelings due to my tone in the first debate, and so I chose to pursue a less argumentative style during the second. I try to take constructive criticism very carefully, so I try to balance my tone due to the situation, but I have to say that in some of my more recent articles I do believe I have been unnecessarily harsh on some interlocutors.

    Do keep an eye on my articles, and give your constructive criticisms when you can. I would really appreciate it.

    – Br. Ijaz.

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