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The Law of Debate in Islam – Is It Allowed?

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A debate or so-called sawala is an argumentation between two or more parties, either individually or in groups in discussing and deciding on the problems and differences that arise. In opposition countries the debate is common.


In Islam the debate is called jadal or jidal. Debate in Islam is allowed when it is necessary. Debate can be one method of da’wah in Islam, but a believer must understand if the debate is the last path that can be taken in preaching, the debate is not done to initiate da’wah. Inside Al-Qur’an, Allah 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, He is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is (rightly) guided.” (QS. An-Nahl : 125)

But, in allowing the debate and discussion, Allah and His Apostles already set rules to restrain it. See also: sunnah after nadhr in Islam

The Law of Debate in Islam

As a good believer, we should maintain morals in all actions, including while debating. Below are some rules of debates in Islam that are intended to keep our morals in kept in a good way, as follows:

1. Pay attention on the topic debated

In debating or discussing there are things that should not be discussed. We can only discuss the things that are allowed by Allah to be debated and discussed, and stay away from issues that are forbidden to be debated, such as arguing the case of Allah and verses, as contained in (surah Ar-Ra’d: 13)

“And they dispute about Allah, and He is severe in assault.” (QS. Ar-Ra’d: 13)

To deny munkar (the denied) and convey the truth is indeed a Muslim’s duty. In the case of religion, if the explanation of the truth is accepted, then desire to continue it. But if rejected, then let’s just leave the debate. And for the world’s affair there is no reason to argue since it was wrathful by Allah SWT, like the words of Rasulullah SAW:

“Surely, the most wrathful of Allah is the one who always argues (debates).” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

Debating mention in the above hadith is that not allowed to debat with vanity and not knowledgeable. See also: importance of good character in Islam

2. Debating with a good way (ahsan)

The point is that a debate should be done in a good way and referring to Al-Qur’an and Hadith, as the function of Al-Qur’an for mankind is as a guidance. When arguing it is not only focuses on the “core” of the problem, but also must use rational reason, not just prejudice. As contained in the following hadith:

“Indeeed the true word is the Kitabullah (the Book of Allah), and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad SAW.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

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3. Debate is done on the outcome of the debated idea

The debate is done to overthrow the vanity arguments, then give the correct argumentation and accurate rebuttal and must be based on the study to come into a truth. Among the ways of debating taught in Al-Qur’an is the example of Prophet Ibrahim:

“Have you not considered the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord (merely) because Allah had given him kingship?When Ibrahim said, ‘My Lord is the one who gives life and cause death.’ he said, ‘I give life and cause death.’


Ibrahim said, ‘Indeed Allah brings up the sun from the east so bring it up from the west.’ So the disbeliever was overwhelmed (by astonishment), and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” (QS. Al-Baqarah: 258)

From the above quote verse we know that debate done with the good way and based on the result of idea from the thing being debated. See also: how to cure panic in Islam

4. Not doing debate only for pleasure

Debate is one of the ways used to convey the truth in Islam as it is written in (Surah An-Nahl: 125). Then it does not mean we are able to argue others at any time for no reason.

The person who likes to throw himself into a debate with the sole purpose of finding himself victorious, then loses his blessing of knowledge. For example, we can see in the heretics (bid’ah), he did not seek the truth but only wanted to seek justification to support his opinion, not to seek the true truth.

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And in another hadith, Rasulullah once ever said that if the heretics (bid’ah) whose deeds are not based on the religious affairs of Islam and the sunna of the Apostle, then his deeds will be rejected. And bid’ah in Islam is of course not allowed or forbidden. See also: law of damages environment in Islam

5. Prohibited from using bad and vile words

When debating, keep in mind that we are only arguing for the idea conveyed, not the person who delivered it. So, we should not use harsh or bad words that do not reflect good morality in Islam. We are forbidden to denounce, here is the argument:

“It is not a believer who likes to criticize, cursed and speak vile words”. (Narrated by Tirmidhi)

Debate is permissible if necessary, but it would be nice if a believer avoids it even if he is on the right side. Since debate only provokes anger, causes malice which is one of the heart’s diseases according to Islam, as well as causing reproaches against others. Prophet Muhammad SAW said:

“I assure the house at the bottom of heaven for the one who leaves the debate even though he is on the right side. And I pledge a house amid heaven for people who leave a lie despite being joking.

And I will guarantee a house at the top of heaven for the person who embodies the morals. “(Narrated by Abu Daud)

And do not debate if it only aim to show off the knowledge possessed or called ujub. because the ujub in Islam includes disgraceful behavior and traits, and show-off in Islam is forbidden. See also: importance of learning in Islam

So, hopefully this article will be useful.

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Kategori : Islamic Rules