You are reading a tafsir for the group of verses 34:24 to 34:27

Consideration of the psychology of the addressee in debates and avoidance of any approach that may provoke violent attitude

In verse 24: وَإِنَّا أَوْ إِيَّاكُمْ لَعَلَىٰ هُدًى أَوْ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ (And We or you are either on the right path or in open error - 34:24), this address is beamed at polytheists and disbelievers. In their case, what was needed was already done. That Allah Ta’ ala was the creator, the master, and all-powerful in the absolute sense was proved decisively and explicitly. That idols and everything else other than Allah was weak and helpless was demonstrated clearly. After having done all this, the occasion demanded that Mushriks are told in clear terms that they were ignorant and astray in bypassing Allah and electing to worship idols and shaitans. But, the noble Qur'an has opted for a wonderfully wise form of address, something that should serve as guidance for all those who are engaged in the mission of da'wah and tabligh or in debates against opponents of Islam and votaries of the false. It will be noticed that the disbelieving adversaries addressed in this verse were not called kafirs, infidels, disbelievers or the ones gone astray. Rather, a change was introduced in the mode and content of the address. The arguments and proofs were already clear. In their presence, no sensible person could say that tauhid (Oneness of Allah or pure monotheism) and shirk (the attribution of partners in the pristine divinity of Allah) are equally true and that the adherents of both are following the truth. Instead of that, it is certain that one of these two is following the path of truth while the other is in error. Now, it is up to you. You think and you decide as to who is on the side of truth. Is it we or is it you? Had the addressee been called a disbeliever or someone who had gone off the track of truth, it could have made him angry. This approach was avoided. In its place, the approach was kept so affectionate and disarming that it would make even the most diehard adversary left with no choice but to consider what was being proposed (from Qurtubi and Bayan-ul-Qur an)

This method of prophetic call, good counsel and good-mannered debate - in line with the command of the Qur'an: وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ (wa jadilhum bil-lati hiya ahsan: (and argue with them in the best manners - 16:125) - is something ` Ulama' should keep in sight all the time. Once this stands ignored, everything done in the fair name of da'wah, tabligh and debate becomes ineffective, rather harmful. As a result, adversaries turn adamant and cling to their error far more firmly.

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