During recent years, some efforts
have been made in Iran's society to pay more attention to the issue of "dialogue".
According to the writers of educational books, training "critical thinking
and the culture of dialogue" has been placed in the syllabus, which is a
pleasure. But it should be also noted that the culture of dialogue should find
its place among the public in the best way, since small changes in one part of
culture can bring about great changes across society and remove or effectively
prevent social disorders.
"Razavi culture" which is
placed at the heart of Iran's Islamic culture is actually defined as a dialogue
which is intertwined with what has been occurred by Imam Reza and what is known
about him. In the special relation among these dialogues, different ways of "living"
In such a lifestyle, dialogue has a
special place to the extent that Imam Reza (A.S.) is known as the Imam of dialogue.
Over the communicative style of Imam Reza who is the master of ethics in debates
and dialogue, what principles are governing? In the following, some points are
briefly discussed in this regard:
Kind of Speech and Literature that
would Attract the Audience
Imam Reza would always softly, gently
and elegantly present his speech and refuse annoying expressions in dialogues.
The way Imam would talk made the audience more willing to listen to him.
Inviting Others to Start the Dialogue
Imam Reza (A.S) let the other side to
start the dialogue, i.e. he invited others to start it. The dialogue often
would start by this sentence, "Be comfortable to ask your questions".
The sentence would ease the fear of audience in asking questions.
Observing Fairness and Justice in Dialogue
Imam Reza (A.S) would ask the
discussers, at first place, to refuse topic shift and injustice, and fairly
criticize and probe issues.
Recognizing the Audience and Speaking
as They Understand
Imam Reza (A.S.) would pay attention
to how much the audience can understand and the difference between human
talents. He refused to talk about complicated and vague issues and to answer
questions with deep responses. Rather he would talk to each discusser according
to their own language and power of understanding.
Using Accurate and Cohesive Words and
Coming to a Careful Conclusion
Imam Reza (A.S) believed that in a
successful dialogue, useful and directive words with determined categories and
exact conclusion exist, so that it can attract the audience and inspire the
desire for dialogue in them.
Creating a Free Space for
"Criticism" within Dialogue
Imam Reza (A.S.) regarded criticism
as a requirement for dialogues. Accordingly, creating a free space for criticisms
was pivotal in his dialogues. Of course, he did not expect that all discussers
agree on one issue, but he invited everyone to be open-minded and be ready for
rethinking their views.
Using Short but Meaningful Sentences
Using long and cliché sentences make
the space for the dialogue mentally disturbed, and it may decrease the power of
articulation in the discusser. Imam Reza answered the question of discussers in
a brief but comprehensive way. He explained the answers in detail only if
someone would ask different questions or ask for more elaboration.
Using Authentic Sources and
Using false and delusive conceptions
that are far from logic is ethically unpleasant and decrease the value of the
content and the dignity of the speaker. Imam Reza paid special attention to
this issue, and he would ask the religious leaders to use strong documented
reasons based on recorded historical events in their speech. He himself made
references to the sources agreed among religious leaders.