Living The Quran
From Issue: 491 [Read full issue]
Al-Ankabut (The Spider)
Chapter 29: Verse 46 (Partial)
In this verse God indicates to the expounders of Truth how they can engage in refined religious discussion with others by offering an example. They are told not to make the erroneous position of the other party the starting point of such a discussion. Rather, the discussion should commence with identifying and highlighting the elements of truth that are common to both parties. In other words, commonalities rather than differences should be taken up first.
It is also pertinent to remember that the People of the Book, unlike the Arabian polytheists, did not deny revelation, messengership and the Hereafter. Rather, they affirmed these truths as did the Muslims. The Muslims were, therefore, directed that if they encountered the People of the Book they should expound their standpoint: that they believed in the same God in Whom they believed, and that they too were committed to obeying Him. They were also to make it clear that they were bound to follow all the directives and commands that came from God, be they those that came to the People of the Book or to the Muslims. They were also required to clarify that they were devout servants of God rather than worshippers of any particular country, nation or race.
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 8, pp. 48