In 1980, between the 1st and 7th of December, a dialogue was held in Khartoum, Sudan, between Muslim scholars and Christian priests. Over several sessions, this distinguished group of theologians discussed topics that go to the heart of the Islamic and Christian faiths, including Monotheism, Trinity, the Qur'an, and the Bible. At the climax of this dialogue, Pastor James Bakheet Sulayman, President of the Christian Mission and head of the Christian delegation, declares that he, along with the rest of the Christian priests, have decided to embrace Islam.
The Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America strives to initiate dialogues between Muslims, People of the Book, and those of other faiths. It is also a valuable source of scholarly materials needed by serious researchers. In its efforts to reach this goal, the Institute has responded to a noble request to translate and publish the valuable book, "Dialogue Between Islam and Christianity" into English. The book is based on a dialogue that was held between Muslim scholars and several priests in the city of Khartoum in the year 1401 A.H./1980 C.E. The book was published in Arabic by the Presidency of Islamic Research, Ifta, Call, and Guidance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is worth noting that those priests converted to Islam at the end of this dialogue.
It is because Islam is a faith based on science, reason, knowledge, and undisputed truths that it invited the People of the Book to the equitable pursuit of the truth without coercing them into the adoption of Islam. Islam delineated the proper manner of dealing with the People of the Book and how to engage in discussions with them. Allah has said, "Do not argue with the People of the Book except in an equitable manner." Consequently, the minds of the Muslims were enlightened and their scholars thoroughly studied the beliefs of the People of the Book, pointed out the misrepresentations that occurred, and uncovered the whimsical pursuits that these people infused into the truths these faiths came with. Muslim scholars debated the scholars and clerics of the
People of the Book, and wrote valuable books on the beliefs of Muslims and those of the People of the Book, and as such they became uninhibited seekers of the truth. Their pursuit was prompted by the words of Allah: "That is because Allah is the Truth, those they worship are not. For Allah is the sole Almighty." Dialogue between Muslims and the People of the Book has never stopped throughout the centuries; in fact the dialogue has intensified in recent times because of the technical revolution in communications. Another reason is the emergence of the spirit of forgiveness and tolerance between people of different faiths, the pursuit of dialogue by different religious organizations, and interrelated economic interests.
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