Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam

Islamic Approaches to Peace and Conflict Resolution – Introduction
By Abdul Aziz Said, Nathan C. Funk, and Ayse S. Kadayifci
(summary by Nayla SAMMOUR SAWAYA)
In a world where boundaries between cultures, religions and civilizations have collapsed, there is a profound
need for cross-cultural and multi-religious studies of peace.
Non-western approaches to peace and conflict resolution are important not only for the development and
refinement of existing theories derived in the Western cultural context, but also for the promotion of crosscultural dialogue and understanding.
In the dominant western conception, peace is associated with the absence of war or organized violence and
justice with an absence of gross violations of human rights. Peace is maintained through the threat of
coercion and the institutionalization of regulations and decision-making procedures. Peace and conflict
resolution are thought about in terms of rational order or problem solving predicated upon reason.
Peace occupies a central position among Islamic precepts, where it is closely linked to justice and human
flourishing. Indeed, peace signifies an additional presence of human dignity, economic well-being and
ecological balance. Peace in Islam begins with God; God is peace, for peace (al-salam) is one of the “most
beautiful names” of God.
From western perspective, conflict is viewed as natural and potentially positive, and not merely as a source
of instability and threat; attempts to merely suppress conflict through coercive power and authoritative rules
are viewed with disfavour in contrast to attempts to broker durable, mutually beneficial resolutions to
problems, satisfying the interests of competing parties in a “win-win” solution.
Muslim approaches to conflict resolution draw on religious values, traditional rituals of reconciliation and
historical practices of communal and inter-communal coexistence.
These mechanisms aim to empower family groups and community members to participate in matters of
common concern, strong emphasis is placed on linkages between personal and group identity.
While Muslim writers assert that Islam can contribute to international peace and human dignity, Islam has
been viewed as an actual or potential problem, and research questions have been framed around threat
perceptions rather than potentially positive aspects of intercultural encounter.
Given the extent to which narratives of confrontation have defined the parameters of popular as well as
academic literature on Islam, much contemporary debate about Islam revolves around issues of
representation and misrepresentation.
Karl Marx and Max Weber both studied non-Western cultures and presumed that because of the unique
power of Western innovations in technology, social organization and production, the West was
unambiguously on the cutting edge of history and that to study Islam was to study the human past.
Thus, it is assumed from the nineteenth century that the separation of religious and political authority is good
not only for both religion and politics but also that public dialogue about matters of spiritual or religious
significance is either dangerous or simply unacceptable.
Operating within the framework of such assumptions, social science has tended to ignore the vigorous
Islamic revivalist movements, to explain them away, or to identify them as atavistic reactions to
modernization. The focus has been largely on the more militant expressions of Islamic identity, and on the
extent to which they constitute a threat to Western interests.
The dominant frame of reference is the “confrontation vs. compatibility”.
The future development of cross-cultural inquiry is of considerable importance in so far as it can help to
provide both fresh contributions to theories of conflict resolution and constructive channels for the perennial


Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam

religious impulse. Studies of Islamic approaches to peace and conflict resolution provide new angles of
insight into universal human dilemmas, as well as important supplementation to studies to recognize
contemporary Islamic activism not as backward-looking rejection of the modern world, but as deeply felt
expression of cultural identity and a critique of domestic as well as international political orders.
- Power Politics: Peace through Coercive Power
Based on pessimistic reading of human nature, Islam is used as a language for legitimation of power and
authority and for the preservation or social order; threats to a given political order are often framed as a
threat to Islam. The power-political approach views peace as an absence of war, and underscores political
necessities created by the restlessness of political subjects and the threatening posture of external enemies.
- World Order: Peace through the Power of Law
Peace is a condition of order defined by the presence of such core Islamic values as justice, human dignity,
cultural coexistence and ecological stability, and not merely by an absence of direct violence. A situation in
which these values are not present may be characterized as disorderly, unstable and un-Islamic.
- Conflict Resolution: Peace through the Power of Communication
Traditional Islamic approaches are explored: reconciliation, methods of mediation and arbitration. These
methods affirm a restorative conception of peace and justice, encompassing notions of compensations for
losses, attentiveness to issues of “face” or social esteem, renunciation for the sake of the whole and
- Non-Violence: Peace through Will Power
Adherence to Islam requires non-violent solidarity against oppression, the promotion of renewal through
broad-based social movements and training for programs of direct non-violent action. Only a linkage of just
ends with just means can secure authentic justice, peace and human dignity.
- Transformation: Peace through the Power of Love
This approach defines peace as a condition of all embracing harmony perceived through the inward renewal
and transformation of human consciousness. The cultural community is the context and the receptacle of
human realization; renewal takes place within each person through inward cleansing and loving surrender to
the divine.
The purpose of this study is to suggest new ways of organizing knowledge about Islam, within the context of
emerging global perspectives on the promotion of human solidarity and the full utilization of cultural and
spiritual resources for the advancement of peace.

Theory of the State – Chapter 1
By Majid Khadduri
(summary by Wioletta STOPA)
Muslim thinkers, inspired by Greek predecessors believe that “man is a social animal”: he can live only as a
member of society. No individual, except God - Allahu ahad - can live alone; men were created to live
together. To Muslim thinkers, from the Prophet Muhammed to Ibn Khaldum, the individual’s rights and
obligations were always defined in terms of the community interests.
In the Qur’an it is often referred to as a distinct “nation” (umma) or a “brotherhood”, bound by common
obligation to a superior, divine authority. The conception of the umma or brotherhood constituted the basis of


The greater emphasis seemed to have been attached to the group. to which the individuals belonged. Even with a distant degree of kinship. THE JURIDICAL BASIS OF THE STATE The foundation of the Islamic social polity was made on the basis of a compact of agreement. was the essential feature in the process of control under these systems. -3- . SOCIAL SOLIDARITY IS BASED ON KINSHIP Solidarity is based on blood ties or other relationship that has the same effect. endowed by a Supreme Legislator. being understood that this agreement was by no means one between two equals. Christianity. the rule of law in a community”. Was the Islamic state based on a single-contract theory or two contracts? According to al-Farabi and Hobbes. If solidarity vanishes. the change of ruler is not disturbing. THE DIVINE UNIVERSAL NOMOCRACY It is to be noted that in Judaism. can be called nomocracies.g. While Islam tolerated Christianity and Judaism as religion. The caliph declared that he was merely to administer and enforce the divine law. all men are concerned by the injury inflicted on their next of kin. Allah accordingly was the titular head of the state and its source of governing authority. the whole ruling class disappears. indeed. while its exercise was instructed to rule with justice. The true force which operates on society is solidarity and power. and Islam god never had been regarded as the immediate ruler of this subjects.: downfall of empires. the isolated individuals agreed on a universal contract of submission to a ruler who is vested at once with exclusive power. like the Republica Christiana in the West. This is regarded as absolutely necessary since society without authority was impossible. It was a compact of submission which reflects the nature of Allah’s covenant with man. According to the definition of nomocracy which is defined as “a system of government based on a legal code. Christian and Islamic states. and resent the oppression of their relative. there is a widespread knowledge of kinship. constituting its “fundamental law” or “constitution”. Only the possession of sovereignty resided with Allah. Foundations and Purposes of Political Authority — Chapter 2 by Ibn Khaldun (summary by Sotirios PETROVAS) The article is an arrangement from An Arab philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406). Only through the family. only his appointment was made by the people. could they claim the right to protection by means of custom or social mores. both persist through successive rulers. but not his prophetic function of communication and promulgating the divine law. Israelite.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam the Islamic community. The Islamic conception of umma presupposes the existence of a set of divine commands. Islamdom and Christendom. Any disturbance of either of them will cause a disturbance in the other (e. could not peacefully coexist. State and society cannot exist without one another. for each successor resembles his predecessor. but also inherent in it is the concept of authority. The universal nomocracy of Islam. assumed that mankind constituted one supra-national community. The position of Muhammad as the executive head of the governing authority was filled by a caliph. as two universal states. regarded as the source of governing authority. only his representatives on earth were the real executives. The caliph’s powers were derived from and limited by the divine law. clan or cavitas. bound by one law and governed by one ruler. which were based on divine legal orders. It is a series of political theory considerations STATE AND SOCIETY “State is to society as form is to matter”. the individual counted for little by himself. Muhammad was its head of government. Hence the divine law. Not only is Society regarded as indispensable for the survival of man.

as power is the desire of men’s souls. otherwise he will not be able to carry out his function. A leader will always to try to turn his rule into sovereignty. when religious fervour weakens and gets corrupted. Aspects that arise from the sole requirements of statecraft are blameworthy as they lack the light of God. all provinces will be wiped out. The laws laid down by God are useful for both this and for the after life. Why? Because of solidarity. Religion leads to happiness in the afterlife and divine laws seek to prescribe the conduct of men in all affairs. which exceeds the power of a simple leader followed by others whom he cannot compel. Stemming from his aims and desires. -4- . raise taxes. It is therefore imperative to impose political laws. the centre being like a heart. Solidarity is what makes men unite their efforts and defend themselves. SOLIDARITY IS THE BASIS OF SOVEREIGNTY The end of solidarity is sovereignty. the result would be chaos. TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF THE STATE Each state has appointed territories that it cannot exceed. a chief who will keep men from injuring each other — the chief must have a powerful support. from which emerges a leading family. Laws are founded on reason. But every society needs a restraint. The sovereign ruler has such power. victory goes indeed to the side with the most solidarity and whose members are most ready to die for each other. SOLIDARITY IS THE BASIS OF KINGSHIP Kingship and dynasties can only be founded upon solidarity. a truth they are prepared to die for. The state cannot establish or consolidate itself without them.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam SOLIDARITY IN TRIBES Characteristics of men: aggressiveness and lust for power. the orders of the king may soon become unbearable burdens for the subjects. awe the population. if it is defeated. This sanction is provided by a strong king. war occurs. External aggression is warded off by a defence which can succeed only when men are united by a strong solidarity arising out of kinship. And the masses are not aware of this struggle as they have forgotten the origin of their ruler. whose power is consolidated and no longer based upon social solidarity. who will feel the need to rebel themselves. without a sanction which restrains them from mutual aggression. But kingship is fought over with much competition. SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL POWERS Kingship arises out of the necessary association of human beings and is based on coercion. formed by the union of many groups. its functions thereon are to protect against enemies. etc. The state is therefore patterned on religion. Inversely. CONCENTRATION OF AUTHORITY It is in the nature of states that authority becomes concentrated in one person. This domination is called sovereignty. Man can only survive in groups. unless it be the oppression of the state itself. The state is stronger at the centre than at the periphery. RELIGION AS THE BASIS OF THE EMPIRE A dominion can only be secured by victory. and victory goes to the side with more unity of purpose and solidarity. Religious fervour can put aside the competitiveness and jealousy felt by the embers of the group by turning them towards the truth. Were there many rulers. NATURE OF KINGSHIP It is a position natural to mankind. which is an animal tendency. for men are not created for this world of vanity and evil whose end is death and annihilation. enforce orders. The state or the rulers restrain their subjects from attacking each other and preserve them from oppression. A prominent individual is at the head of this family. religion ceases to play a role and victory belongs to the more cohesive side. and if they co-operate — it is therefore impossible to survive in a state of anarchy. He will then have pride and soon think himself as a god.

the Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the central powers and to legitimate this effort enjoin Muslim support beyond the boundaries of the Empire. holy war is permissible for self defence only. Thus Kingship is founded on reason for the proportion of worldly interests. Shari’ah = the revealed Will of Allah through the Prophet regarding the conduct of all human life on earth. Usul = source and methods of Muslim jurisprudence. The Prophet is the descendant of Ishmael (son of Abraham). the Muslim world is weak. The jihad fatwa was a legal ruling declaring that the Ottoman war policy was consistent with Sharia’s rules defining the parameters of righteous military struggle and that the support for the Empire’s jihad was incumbent (obligatory) upon all Muslims whether they lived under the Ottoman rule or under the rule of the Allied powers. but merely the establishing of their faith among themselves. Islam.Chapter 3 By (summary by Senem YAZAK) In 1914. worldly interests. full of conflicts.Chapter 4 By AbdulHamid. Since then. Muslim thought has been = Taqlid. The wahy recorded in the Qu’ran constitutes the first source of the Shari’ah. Islamic Jurisprudence and Modern Needs: the Challenge of Renewal . 19th century modernists introduce the Ijtihad = use of human reason in the elaboration of Islamic Law. This illustration of the use of Islam to advance the interests of a state created fear in Europe. -5- . The Ottoman Jihad Fatwa of November 11. A. This is the King’s objective. The Prophet Muhammad recieved the wahy (the revelation) that he has been appointed Messenger of Allah. SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL POWERS IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY A chief is needed to lead men towards advantageous things and keep away from harmful ones. actions Fiqh = Muslim jurisprudence (systematic deduction of law). whereas God’s aim is the salvation of mankind. relatively backward.AbuSulayman (summary by Farida OMAR) Before. the Muslim world was the center and master of the civilized world. and controlled and abused by foreign powers. which is obligatory for infidels.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam Political law reflect apparent. By the end of the 10th century. suffering from internal tensions. These religions do not demand dominion over other peoples. calls for the Jihad. The Caliphate is the ruling of the people according to the insight of religious dictates and worldly matters derived from them. frustrated. as all-inclusive. In other religions. Today.  Muslims are often regarded as a problem in world politics. It is therefore imperative to have the people conform themselves to religious laws in matters concerning both worlds. the number of recognized schools of jurisprudence had been reduced to 4. Question: How did such a state of affairs come about? How can the Muslims alter this condition? HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND DEFINITIONS Islam appeared in the early 7th century. the official mufti pronounced a jihad fatwa. The caliphate is thus a guardian of religion and a director of worldly affairs in the light of that religion. and religious leaders do not concern themselves with worldly affairs. Sunnah (way) = reported sayings. 1914 .

technology. and cultural groups. Ulama  Muslim theologician and learned man.  7th century Europe had surpassed the Muslims. Fiqh = body of rules and injunctions deduced from the Qu’ran  total sum of legal decisions and opinions written by Muslim jurists. Western sense: body of rules and directions accepted and approved for enforcement by nations. Closer contact with Europe  Muslim authorities aware of the need to learn and adapt European technology  cooperation in the military sector/education in Europe. While using philosophical and ethical categories borrowed from the Western epistemes. the Islamic works of fiqh and siyar concerning Jihad must be analysed. Consequences of this dichotomy: isolation of the Ulama. this paper in a way reintroduces Islam as an ethical tradition. Usul al-fiqh = the science of deducting and extrapolating rules and injunctions from their sources in the data of revelation. as opposed to political and conflictual.g: treaties. relations between nations. custom. faiths. Definition of Law: Islamic sense: set of value-oriented guidelines toward the divine purposes of Allah. this paper recommends the inclusion of Islamic traditions in discourses whose concern is the proliferation of ethical consideration in international and intercultural relations. Opinions of jurists = not law but just a source of law. social system is stagnant.  problems: religious sector of the society versus secular sector  polarization of education between religious and secular areas. E. SIYAR: A SOURCE OF LAW Islamic Shari’ah = the divine will revealed to the Prophet pertaining to the conduct of human life in this world. -6- . Religious education  symbol of a rigid set of historical religious traditions Secular education  absorbed European ideas and attitudes. legislation.Chapter 5 By Mohammed Muqtedar Khan (summary by Sarra SEFRIOUI) This article explores the ethical traditions of Islam in order to examine its potential as a source that would help precipitate ethical and peaceful. separation of the bureaucracy and government from the people. the paper proceeds to elaborate foundations for an Islamic ethic of international relations.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam TRADITIONALISM AND WESTRENIZATION With Taqlid  Muslim thought. Given the significance that Islamic sentiments and Islamic symbolism have for a billion people and over fifty nation states. Europe develops new ideas and methods.: with the Dhimmis. With respect to international relations. Siyar = conduct of the Muslims in their relations with the non-believers. Islam as an Ethical Tradition of international relations . Islamic law is normative rather than prescriptive and is designed for moral education and legal enforcement. polarisation of the traditionalists and secularists. moral and religious commitment. CONCLUSION Contemporary Muslims feel the urge to reexamine the works of fiqh in the light of modern needs and challenges in conformity with with the spirit and goals of the Shari’ah. (e.g. Having said that. the nonMuslim subject of a Muslim state).

Islam plays a major role in determining the political legitimacy of leadership and policies in Muslim societies (whether they are absolute monarchies: Morocco. The largely utilitarian interpretation and application of Islamic ethical considerations can be seen in the political discourse of contemporary Islamic resurgence. There are central debates about authority and limits of human agency to exercise independent reasoning in interpreting religious authority. Saudi Arabia…). deeds and sanctions made by the prophet himself. with its global interdependence. Islamic terrorism and militancy is a response to a western hypocrisy. Egypt and Turkey. THE NATURE OF ISLAMIC ETHICAL TRADITION There are three broad categories of ethical traditions: Deontological ethics: privilege rules. Terry Nardin has elaborate a systematic study of ethical involving both the authority of traditional beliefs in the Qur’an and Sunna and allowing sufficient room for independence judgement and reasoning: ijtihad that oppose ethical arguments such as those of the Mu’tazilities and Ash’arites. ISLAMIC ETHICS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADITIONS Schaybany. -7- . as theorists of international relations exploit the opportunity to develop the ethnical dimensions of international thought. According to the author’s opinion. Islam is a value system which covers comprehensively the scared and the secular. Considering “Islam as ethical tradition” is a useful way of understanding Islam. the ash’arites contended that God was the author of all action and nothing happened without his consent. The sources of Islamic law means that law-making was not only based on interpretation of the authoritative texts.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam The contemporary resurgence of islam has focus attention on political and revolutionary dimensions of Islam in the post cold war era. Aristotelian: character and motive. of nation states. Challenging the Mu’tazilites main ethical thesis that man is the creator of this actions. the concept of “religion” requires a sophisticated treatment. or as a civilization. Religion was defined in opposition to the secular in a way that privileges the secular as forward looking and liberating and undermines the religion as backward. means duties and obligations. it would be extremely difficult unilaterally ethical in political pursuits. but had became a more complex process involving an empirical reality and necessities besides traditionalism. It is difficult to define Islam as a way of life that gives meaning and purpose to life. separation of politics and ethics. not on the basis of their political organization but on the religious beliefs on their population. traditional and incarcerating. Morocco. Their focus is to realize Islamic law and social ethics in Muslim states. but there are several differences. Utilitarian ethics: give primacy to ends and consequences. the Qur’an is the book in which muslums believe was revealed to the prophet muhammed. Islamic contributions to this project are not in the proportion to its potential as a source of ethical tradition and an influence of the behaviour of states in the international arena. it is constituted by the Shari’a (the constitution of Islam) and ethics. Islam claims to have its own framework that offers procedures and processes for developing institutions that can cater to the secular sphere. It is a debat about the role of reason in understanding Islamic obligations. is the articulator of the theory of international relations. At the time of the Arabic domination of Spain. Also. It is not a value that applies to the personal and spiritual sphere of human existence. The mediaeval Islamic conception of the international arena looks very similar to the realist. States in the international system can be construed as Islamic states. neorealist and neorealiberal visions of international relations. In modern world. and the sunna is the collection of sayings.

The author at the end expresses that it is hopefully initiate a practice which will hold Muslim states accountable to the principles of Islamic ethics to protect both Muslims and non Muslims. To describe better how ethics take place in Islam. Shaybani’s theory is the only systematic theory of international relations advanced from an Islamic perspective tempred by the political conditions and also by the needs of empire. The jurist should deduce law through analogy with cases of the Qur’an. -8- . He starts by arguing that Western and Islamic civilizations have common origins and history although their relations are dominated by confrontation. He suggests there is a need to “disentangle Islamic ethics from medieval Islamic law (shari’ah)” – this plea runs throughout his chapter. International politics focus on civilizations and Hashmi argues that international society consists of civilizations that clash rather than cooperate. Islamic Ethics in International Society . In the light of the modern development in international relations.Chapter 6 By Sohail Hashmi (summary by Senem YAZAK) Hashmi’s article observes a very important subject which is highly debated nowadays. it is in a state of flux and the current Islamic revival is a response to a world order shaped by the West.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam For the realists. Hashmi’s main concern and strategy in bridging the gap between classical Islamic legal tradition and modern international law is to take the Qur’anic message as a “moral code upon which a legal system can be constructed”. Human beings could gain true knowledge of right and wrong through strict adherence to God’s revealed will. anarchy implies complete absence of any central authority. he talks about two approaches: ethical objectivism favored by Mutazillites and ethical voluntarism as argued by Asharites. The author reminds us that the Qur’an is the source of Islamic ethics and that its ethical framework is presented as of universal applicability. He talks about the place of Islamic ethics in international society and tries to refute the western approach to Islamic law and ethics. for by the time Islam was not just an idea or a philosophy but an empire and a civilization. namely ethical objectivism. But he finds necessary to emphasize the fact that Islamic civilization is not a monolithic force. According to this approach. there is another approach where legal interpretation is based on analogy. Most scholar in the international relations treat the treaty of Westphalia as the moment that marks changes in the character of human civilization this starting point of international relations as we know it today is generally accepted. Islamic civilization is the biggest threat to international order. CONCLUSION It is in the analysis of contemporary international relations that the hiatus between the proliferation of normative discourses and the paucity of empirical analysis becomes apparent in the Islamic scholarship. right and wrong are independent of God’s will Then. we do need a modern Islamic theory of international politics. Criticism and opposition will be the first step toward the development of an Islamic ethical tradition in the contemporary international relations. revelation should be supplemented by reason. the emphasis is on the particular aspect of Qur’anic revelation rather than universalistic. In fact the current system of nation states and international relations based on the principal of the state sovereignty did not become globalize until after the process of decolonization was complete. For the Asharites. This is necessary for Westerners to understand the role of Islamic ethics in international society. These are the Asharites who defend that God’s power can’t be subject to any objective ethical values. The Mutazillites represent the earliest school of Islamic jurisprudence where legal judgment was based on reason.

He will integrate social patterns to the appropriate concept and to his experience. This study seeks to ask some basic questions regarding conflict resolution in an Islamic context. customs and a history that are the bases of conflict resolution processes. The fundamentalist approach on the other hand. and was stimulated by management techniques derived from the study of organizations. and diversity from the point of view of an Islamic political body. there exist significant differences between them. We also must acknowledge that there are some techniques of the West that cannot be applied in the Middle East. Hashmi talk about the difference between the modernist and fundamentalist approach. although the West argues that democratic institutions lack in Muslim countries. He argues that religion has been the most uniting force for human beings in moral community for motivating them towards constructive behavior. Although religion can make international order difficult. human rights. Conflict Resolution in an Islamic Context: Some Conceptual Questions . Pointing to the disillusionment of Muslim intellectuals and leaders with Western political ideals and their disturbingly poor implementation and failure in the Islamic world. just society. social and religious groups. There is one Islam and there is no other meaning of Islam Hashmi also analyzes the challenges that the modern international world system poses to contemporary Islamic thought and argues that the international norms accepted by Muslim states have not been addressed in modern Islamic political thought. He also examines such key issues as justice. -Acquiring more knowledge of the background of Islamic movements. Three objectives can be identified in the application of Western conflict resolution models: -Teaching and exporting Western perceptions of conflict resolution to Middle Eastern and Islamic groups. interest-based negotiation and mediation. democracy. Although they are both based upon claims of Qur’anic authenticity. representative. is the interpretation saying that the Qur’an ends with the confirmation of divine law. arguing that Qur’anic messages should be seen as a moral code upon which a legal system can be constructed. he poses the question: “is there a conception of human rights in Islam?” and answers that the discriminatory provisions of Sharia are based upon specific verses that were held by jurists to be legal injunctions. For example in the field of human rights. -Exploring alternatives to learn how to control radical groups within the existing conflict management frameworks of their countries. conflict resolution is grounded in a Western context. For him the full ethical context leads us to the principle of equity and reciprocity. To implement Western approaches. distributive justice. assuming that they are more developed and effective. The duty of the Muslim community is to apply this law. In the domain of democracy. it can contribute to the evolution of a universal. The modernist approach is the rationalist one to Islamic reform. Hashmi concludes by emphasizing the positive role that religion has played in building a just and moral human habitat. To study and understand the Islamic societies’ approach implies that the researcher will not ignore or impose his cultural basis. As a field of study. the idea of the author is that Muslim societies are influenced by the spread of democracy throughout the world and organizations adopting democracy spread in Muslim countries too. -9- . scholars and practitioners have applied Western conflict resolution theories and other intervention models like cultural diversity or coexistence to Middle Eastern countries.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam To enforce the analogy between the Mutazillites and the Asharites. the emergence of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and of interpersonal dispute practices. we must first remember that Islamic societies have beliefs. He adds that modern Muslims must return to the full ethical context of the Qur’an in order to derive new legal injunctions. the introduction of problem-solving workshops. utilizing it to legitimize new tools of conflict management and settling political and religious differences among political.Chapter 7 By Mohammed Abu-Nimer (summary by Louis DENISTY) Since the 1990s. the redirection of religious leaders to “peacemaking”.

It points out that practices from the West could enrich the process of professionalization and institutionalization of the conflict resolution field in Islamic societies. religious affiliation. Such an approach to conflict resolution could be rejected as have been other exported Western ideas. The distinctive features in the Middle Eastern context are the age of the intervener. especially without any adaptation. The indigenous processes could be used to bridge gaps on the local level but also between Middle Easterners and Westerners. Any conflict is managed through rational planning. leading to a relationship-oriented outcome. The Western approach is based on acknowledging the legitimacy or differences in beliefs and interests. The actual application of each of these processes is generally different: -Conflict resolution levels and processes implemented in both cultures. in a process in which social norms and hierarchical procedures prevail over legal forms. in their definition but also in the aspects of life concerned. We must also examine conflict resolution considering the religious and historical texts such as the Qur’an. This contributes to his credibility. which is very important. conformity to legal procedures and the objective of achieving a fair deal for both parties. and brings destruction. The assumption. Middle Eastern procedures are not defined as disciplinary approaches but those techniques are practiced as traditional processes. mediation. needs and rights. conflict is normal. a focus on the individuals’ interests. impartiality. wider in the West. It is important to distinguish processes at the interpersonal or community level and those involving policy making and political groups’ interactions. facilitation. based on cooperative frameworks. community and inter-religious disputes for hundreds years. in areas like labor and organizational management or environmental concerns. There are various obstacles to this implementation. Shar’ia and Hadith. Western frameworks assume a different approach to power relations. The West has a distinctive and professional approach that does not exist in Islamic societies where conflict resolution is used only where traditional norms legitimize such actions. to settle interpersonal. It is not compatible with the fundamentalist groups who see themselves as supreme in their beliefs and wishes. The mediator can have a direct or indirect interest in the dispute. Stress is placed more on common interests and implies a desire to live alongside the other party and manage interactions peacefully. We can describe three categories of conflict resolution. and can bring growth and creativity. practices and roles of the third party are totally different. There is no basis for implementing Western strategies in an Islamic context without adjusting such processes according to local experience. arbitration and problem-solving.10 - . social values and local norms of Islamic societies. characterized by emotion and spontaneity. In the Western context. Group affiliation is the most central identity. leading to a written agreement that is task-oriented. The teaching of conflict resolution in the Middle East must be performed by people who know the history. the political and military power. conflict is negative and dangerous. Negotiation is an integral part of the individual’s life (souk) but also of the social organization (the Kadi is also a mediator and arbitrator). . positive. One of the limitation of scholars is that they mainly focus on the second level. with legal formality and procedures. negotiation. -Third party roles The main features in the West of a third party are professionalism. the knowledge of the customs and norms.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam The main processes of conflict resolution are conciliation. In the Middle Eastern context. -Basic assumptions in conflict resolution Western and Middle Eastern approaches to conflict resolution illustrate the sometimes profound differences between the two cultures. Researchers should also consider Islamic society itself. Arabi also deal with power disparity between the parties involved in a conflict.

a new political institution which made Tahkim one of its characteristics. refused arbitration by demanding the pure application of the Qur’an. Muhammad’s arbitration was reinforced by what God revealed to him. After Muhammad’s death. Moussalli (summary by Federica GALLI) The practice of arbitration is still widespread in Middle Eastern and Muslim societies and indeed it is historically rooted in the pre-Islamic period. for instance. Being recognized as the political leader by the entire community. All the process was based on arbitration. many practices related to preIslamic arbitration became part of the Islamic law as customary law. a prerogative that was rooted in the need to unify the different interpretations of the Qur’an that were eventually leading to the split of the ummah. was presumed to be a wise and fair person appreciated for his or her superior moral qualities and with a wide knowledge of tribal customs. however. but its results were far from being unquestioned to the point of creating serious frictions.Chapter 8 By Ahmad S. Muhammad disposed that political judgements be subject to legal enforcement. Members of the ummah consulted first with the caliph and then decisions became binding as soon as they got the approval of the people through consensus. When Islam finally gained a central role in the framework of government. As disposed by the Constitution that both Muslims and nonMuslims signed. No one in the community claimed to be the inheritor of Muhammad’s power. the community also had religious power in the sense that it could interpret the divine text. social and religious affairs. social. Conceived as an instrument of dispute resolution in a region that continues to be one of the most troubled spots on earth. Moreover. provided that no contradiction would rise and although no executive power was recognized to arbitrators. The Khawarij. but definitely wide when considering his political role. which was to confer it to the new leader. Arbitration. when it came to arbitration on religious affairs. however. The Prophet’s authority was therefore restricted with regard to the religious dimension. Muslims were not.11 - . An Islamic model for political conflict resolution: Tahkim (Arbitration) . the Tahkim emerged as a cheap mechanism employed among tribes to put an end to their conflicts. he was designated as the chief political administrator and legal authority that had to be referred to in case of conflicts that could not be handled otherwise. . They did not accept any human interpretation. Muhammad gained legitimacy both as a political leader and a final arbitrator. religious and political affairs but it could be applied to private law as well. ummah. his arbitrations were never subject to legal enforcement. the latter being a role that he started exerting even before his prophethood. Arbitration thus continued to be exerted. Non-Muslims were allowed to choose the method of arbitration in their legal. which did not just include Muslims. whose most important qualifying merit was justice. comparable to nowadays fundamentalists. with revelation being deemed as the final and divine arbitrator. arbitration did not lose its legitimacy and it was transferred to the entire community.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam Having looked at all the obstacles to imposing a Western model of conflict resolution in the Middle East. The arbitrator. Tahkim however was not limited to economic. submission to their arbitration was considered as a moral imperative that very often led to the execution of arbitral settlements. was not a job and this made it dependent on people themselves who were free to decide whether to recur to it or not in case of dispute. the caliph. we can see the pressing need to first examine the principles and procedures that exist within the Islamic society.

Nowadays political rule does not represent the divine will because the legislative power is given to the community through arbitration. As a result theoreticians and practitioners started focusing on cultural differences. The ummah is the sovereign whose application of the divine will is not limited to an individual or a group’s interpretation. still. They are likely to be sensitive to the lack of correspondence between the principles and practices promoted by Western conflict resolution professionals and the actual conduct of Western nation states in the international system. rituals and reconciliation processes. In the Middle East.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam and their position was deeply questioned by those who. Later on. the “divine” element of the conflict must be taken into account and then deconstructed into its political components. On this basis arbitration can later work as a method to solve conflicts. government or arbitration except by way of delegation. Arbitration had therefore proven to be effective as long as no religious implications intervened. Non-Western cultures often consider Western assumptions about conflict resolution provocative and they may find them difficult to accept and apply to their own circumstances. the peace process is a superficial phenomenon and diplomatic agreements are linked to capitulation or “pacification”. issues. In particular.12 - . Arbitration rests on the contractual authority of the people with the government. arbitration became more politicized and progressively started playing a less relevant role. with the Jews being part of the community as well. on the contrary. This means that when dealing with conflict resolution involving religious groups. At the same time the US model of conflict resolution is accepted primarily for facilitation of the process of peace and situation normalisation between Israel and its Arab neighbours. mediators can integrate some principles and symbolic practices in Middle East reconciliations methodologies – such as sulh (settlement) and musalaha (reconciliation). Arab-Islamic culture is less optimistic. interests and relationships or because of unsatisfied human needs – it means that there is a positive and also a negative dimension. Irani and Nathan C. In the years that followed arbitration kept on being exerted though doubts arose on whether to consider its results as binding or not. The basic assumption made by Western conflict resolution theorists is that conflicts can and should be fully resolved.Chapter 9 By George E. Egypt etc. lay exactly in Muhammad’s capacity to act both as a national arbitrator and as a religious authority. saying that conflicts may be intractable. No individual or group can claim exclusive rights to interpretation. Rituals of Reconciliation: Arab-Islamic Perspectives . . US-based approaches espouse that conflict erupts either because of different interpretations regarding data. Jordan. This made it possible for him to solve disputes and arbitrate although his religious authority was not unanimously accepted. The legitimacy of arbitration could be restored to deal with an even wider set of issues both at the internal as well as at the international level. argued that although the Qur’an was to be considered the highest arbitrator it did not speak for itself and therefore needed a human interpreter. The arbitrators spoke for the Qur’an. Funk (summary by Diana CAKULE) Can we use Western conflict resolution techniques in the Middle East? This technique was usually greeted with distrust in Lebanon. The difference between the first Islamic state and the period that followed the Prophet’s death. values.

Sulh and musalaha One of the most important unofficial responses to conflict in Middle Eastern societies is sulh and musalaha. Also in the Western world we solve our own problems. The Western process includes very structured problem resolution (“separate the person from the problem”) which leads to a formal. dignity and prestige. people frequently interrupt each other with expressions of empathy. ceremonies. it shapes the future. The most common condition is to forget what happened and to initiate new and friendly relations. it means you are dull. leadership). Arab states don’t have individuals with rights and duties. reduce and resolve conflict. whilst the Arab-Islam approach integrates family and community in this matter. The mediators in this process are called Jaha – who gain the esteem of the community.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam In conflict resolution. In many conflicts. Also. The purpose of sulh is to end conflict and hostility. especially concerning efforts to control. Another aspect of cultural difference is the role of gender in society. experience. we have to note another difference between Western and non-Western approaches. In resolving conflicts we have to take in account the towns/villages aspect. solidarity. unaffiliated outsider. in Western life the responsibility lies with the participants. there are two types of sulh processes: public sulh (treaties between two countries – to suspend fighting and to establish peace – for a specific time period) and private sulh (when both the crime and the guilty party is known and the purpose is to make sure that revenge will not take place leading to another conflict). history and traditions. The Western third party relies on guidelines. history is the source of stability. It is a form of legal contract. In contrast. It is not a rude interruption. as well as good relations with the community (age. the art of listening is drowned out by arguments and the never-ending struggle to get one’s own point across first. they have individuals belonging to communities. the more you talk. In contrast.13 - . THE ROLE OF RITUALS Rituals. of support. in Lebanon. for most people. bankers and engineers. But still. status. trying to achieve a win-to-win scenario that will delete the past and commence a new page in history. the Arab-Islamic approach prioritizes the issues – harmony. the ritual of sulh is officially recognised. men refuse to deal with social workers. if you don’t talk. which are often simply called “sulh”. Listening is not equivalent to ignoring. In another example. But the sulh ritual is not a zero-sum game! . In general. For example. It is impossible to completely solve conflicts. In Jordan however. but in the Arab-Islamic approach the “third party” has connections to the major disputants. customs – are a part of the culture. Today it is used in some rural areas of Lebanon where state control is not very strong. Also. experience and legal texts but in Arab-Islamic situations it is based on sacred texts. religious ideals. but in Arab-Islamic world it is guaranteed by the communal leader. it simply means that people are very expressive. it is preparing to respond – it is a Western approach! But can we use it in the Middle East? In “heart-to-heart” conversations. Western techniques in Arab-Islamic societies are adopted by businessmen. The goals of the Western process are pragmatic. the existence of conflicts goes together with human existence. although not legitimated by Middle Easter states. the majority of social workers are women. written agreement. Similarly. Suhl and musalaha has its origins in tribal and village contexts. the practitioner is a neutral. There is a close connection between rituals and communicative behaviour. whilst the traditional Arab-Islamic process is communally oriented. the Arab-Islamic process is continuity-oriented. in some rural areas of Lebanon. in the case of divorce children stay with their father. In Western mediation. But in conflicts involving couples. communication skills are very important. The largest contrast between Western and non-western conflict resolution is that the Western approach underscores the primacy of individual choices in facilitation of the process. so that parties can conduct a relationship in peace and amity. Lebanese representatives think that conflict management is better than conflict resolution. for example in Lebanon. the more it is assumed you know. conflict resolution is handled by the state controlled courts.

Muslims are willing to disobey because for them there is no other authority than Allah.within its 5 pillars the fundamentals for non-violent actions. not even the state. especially in Southeast Asia. the community must explore nonviolent ways of conducting Jihad (the struggle against injustices). The inner and greater jihad guides the lesser Jihad in both its objectives and conduct. The Qur’an states that. Similarly.without which no nonviolent action can be realised. The author proposes that because Muslims cannot use violence the way it is used in contemporary society (because it invariably involves indiscriminate killing of “innocent” people). Generally translated as “holy war”. individual struggle against one’s own weaknesses and inner evil. non-aggressive action. Fight in the cause of Allah Those who fight you. . the tongue or the hand. According to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (secondary source of Islamic law after the Qur’an). The author suggests that this still means taking action (albeit non-violent) – jihad can be performed by the heart. He outlines “Five Pillars of Muslim Nonviolent Action” as the reason for their successful. Jihad is the command of Allah and the traditions of Prophet Mohammad that demand continuous personal re-examination in terms of one’s potential for achieving peace and moral responsibility. Jihad can be differentiated according to the direction (inner and outer) and method (violent and non-violent). the lives of noncombatants are sacred. terrorism fails to distinguish among its victims. The protestors possessed the will to disobey . (2:190) Fighting in the cause of God in Islam is basically synonymous with fighting for justice. Clearly. In addition. is fought against external enemies – to eliminate evil within the ummah (community). The purpose of Jihad is to put an end to structural violence. indicating that fighting has its limits. For Allah loveth not transgressors. Lesser Jihad. There is greater Jihad and lesser Jihad. it tends to conjure up images (among non-Muslims) of desperate acts by irrational and fanatical people who want to impose their world-view on others. Islam seemed to stress continuity rather than conflict with previous cultures.14 - . Jihad places war and violence in the moral realm. However. It can be argued that historically. Jihad is sometimes considered the sixth pillar of Islam. Greater Jihad is an inner. the Qur’an states “let there be no compulsion in religion”.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam Conclusions: The application of Western style conflict control. in Arab conquests. modern warfare which includes nuclear and atomic weapons violates these principles as they kill indiscriminately. 1. reduction and resolution in the Middle East can be effective but we can never forget about the importance of traditional methods and rituals! The non-violent Crescent: Eight Theses on Muslim Nonviolent Actions – Chapter 10 By Chaiwat Satha-Anand (Qader Muheideen) (summary by Charlotte BENNBORN) This chapter suggests that Islam is not the cause of violence but that it in fact contains . The author uses the example of protests staged by Muslims in response to the massacre of civilian Muslims in Southern Thailand in the mid-1970s. unnecessary destruction of an enemy’s crops or property is also strictly forbidden. But do not transgress limits.

The Arabic language does not have a specific term for the notion of “nonviolence”. These Thai Muslims were courageous despite severe repression by the state. Muslims must utilise non-violent action as a new mode of struggle 8. used by Muslims must be governed by rules prescribed in the Qur’an and Hadith 3. In the modern world. He proposes that it is through these concepts of ethics and character development that non-Muslims can gain a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslims themselves can grasp the concept of nonviolence. and the belief in the unity of the Muslim community and the oneness of mankind.15 - . Muslims are disciplined in their everyday life. For Islam. the problem of violence is an integral part of the Islamic moral sphere 2. they did not have to fear any mortal. Islam itself is fertile soil for non-violence because of its potential for disobedience. Islam repeatedly encourages action. however the author highlights that there are a number of concepts that embrace aspects of the idea of nonviolence. 3. 1. Modern technology of destruction renders discrimination virtually impossible at present 5. discipline. Muslim discipline enabled the gathering. then it is unacceptable in Islam 4. Violence. Ethics and Character Development in Islam – Chapter 11 By Karim Douglas Crow (summary by Charlotte BENNBORN) The article focuses on how there is a need for a new tactic in the way we approach the importance of religion in conflict resolution and nonviolence. Muslims cannot use violence 6. Nonviolence. perseverance and self-sacrifice. and the idea of unity – all of which a crucial for successful nonviolent action Thus. the eight theses on Muslim non-violent action are suggested as a challenge for Muslims and others who seek to reaffirm the original vision of Islam so that the true meaning of peace – the absence of both structural as well as personal violence . Islam teaches Muslims to fight for justice with the understanding that human lives. 4. If violence used cannot discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. each preceded by proper ablution (the practice of using ritual washing as one part of a ceremony to remove sin or disease) Zakah – compulsory religious tax that every Muslim has to pay Sawm – Fasting in the month of Ramadan every year by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset while purifying both the tongue and the heart in the process Hajj – Pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one can afford it A practicing Muslim should possess the potential for disobedience. Because they submitted to Allah alone. patience and willingness to suffer for a cause. The concept of ummah (community) is very strong among Muslims 5. sharing and social responsibility. strong discipline. In order to be true to Islam.can be obtained. they pray five times a day.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam 2. the protest march. if any. The author claims these pillars correspond well with the sacred Five Pillars of Islam Shahadat – a vow that proclaims there is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger Salat – Prayers at specific times five times a day from sunrise to sunset. . as parts of God’s creation – are purposive and sacred 7. social concern and action.

Aql is also opposed to jahl (“folly” or “ignorance”). and for loving-kindness and charity in the self-sacrificing service of one’s fellows. This states that within a person. The author proposes that there should be a third approach to religion – beyond apologies for or appeals to the religious past. There is no specific term for the notion of “nonviolence” in the Arabic language. Misconceptions of Islam also stem from the failure of many Muslims to actively promote an intelligent presentation of their own tradition in a language and in a manner accessible to the masses and understandable in the contemporary mentality of the world. intelligence and ignorance and in this way. There is a dichotomy between a person’s al aql (“intelligence” and “self restraint”) and al-hawa (“passion”. A popularised tradition which has a profound impact on the formation of values at all levels of society is the religious teachings which centre on the discipline of the akhlaq (virtuous character traits). whilst attempting to extract essential attitudes and practices supporting current efforts to encourage nonviolence on the ground.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam Today there are two main trends in the analysis of the relevance of religion in nonviolence and conflict resolution. In other words. One reason for the lack of the concept of nonviolence in Muslim teachings comes from unfamiliarity with the textual and conceptual bases of the term. This is rooted in the events of Medieval times as well as ignorance. al unf. The cultivation of character traits remains the basis for the individual’s personal engagement with God in service and devotion. putting the good and the beautiful into practice Ikhlas. The author suggests that the growing Muslim Diaspora in Europe and North America. It is often denoted through expressions such as. Relevant character traits in Islam include. China and South East Asia may be the place to find a fresh approach to promoting an understanding of Islam. toward deeper understanding of nonviolence in the heritage of Islam. “no force”. This may in turn allow a deeper understanding of Islam regarding notions of integrity. there are concepts that embrace aspects of nonviolence. the dialectic notion of “aqljahl” can be said to be fundamental in leading one ultimately toward a human predisposition toward “nonviolence” as a poised spiritual trait. “whim” or “desire”). “purity of sincerity” or the internalisation of works and faith . contemporary realities  Major religions selectively take on board the more favourable aspects of higher universal values. conflict and social disorder. while jahl signifies all that is perverse and discordant in the person leading to inner blindness. These originate from the Qur’an and the hadith (sometimes referred to as hadith-based ethics). alongside the longstanding Muslim minority communities in India.16 - . Aql reflects wisdom in the sense of moral self-restraint and harmonious conduct in a social communal context. Today it is exasperated by efforts to demonise Islam as the antithesis to Judaeo-Christian-Hellenistic cultural values which stems from the threat posed by Muslim “fundamentalism” and the exploitation of the term “terrorism” by certain governments.  Apologies are being made for historical events involving particular faiths which has lead to generalisation and idealisation of complex. there is an internal psychological dualism – not a body/mind dualism. Stems from the root for “patience” and “fortitude” Nonetheless. What has until now inhibited a proper grasp of Islamic teachings on peace and conflict is a blind-spot among non-Muslims concerning the real nature of Islamic thought and practice. “no violence” or “no-vehemence” sabr. Ihsan.

and the winning is not necessarily a visible satisfaction. The traditional aspects of Islam then. It includes teaching and the active pursuit of a culture of peace. despite the irascible vehemence of the fundamentalists whose angry roar fills our ears drowning out the quiet hum of the veritable practitioners of Islam” Nonviolence in Islam: The Alternative Community Tradition . The question is. and observer of the reciprocity between Islam and other world religions observes that the counter balancing core of Islamic authority and traditions stems from how it is “effectively internalised and passed onto others”. is armed resistance a reliable tool for removal of oppression? ISLAMIC JUST WAR THEORY The Prophet has clearly taught Muslims that power is not what the ego takes it to be.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam Taqwa. Al-Husayn is known in Islamic tradition as the Prince of Martyrs. There is no license in Islam for any war that falls outside the bounds of the divine commandments and prophetic practice. Muslims know that unarmed resistance to oppression draws the eternal blessing of Allah and manifests a sublime and noble soul. he died willingly in pursuit of the best work of faith. religiously delegitimized the early state’s authority. The first task of Muhammad. the outward effort of confronting social injustice. it is traditionally divided the Greater Struggle. THE PROPHET’S JIHAD Jihad means struggle or effort. The core of Islamic ethical practice consists of an amalgam of knowledge – “the moral transformation of the personality” through a “process of grooming”. the inward effort of confronting our lower nature and the Lesser Struggle. “God-mindfulness”. Without a wider understanding of power among Muslims that parallels the Prophetic . was to persist with unwavering endurance in the face of an increasingly bitter communal repression. Power and victory are with God alone. Al-Hallaj is another martyr. There is scarcely any such entity as an Islamic church.Chapter 12 By Rabia Terri Harris (summary Nayla SAMMOUR SAWAYA) Islam makes no distinction between « church » and « state ». The author writes that “the vitality of this tradition has not been exhausted. The Massacre of Kerbala horrified the Muslim world. and sowed a seed of conscientious opposition to power deep into the fertile ground of the Muslim spiritual tradition. Peter Brown. the Messenger of Allah. THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET To understand the problems of interpreting the Islamic tradition and applying this tradition to contemporary political issues. call for self-restraint and the transformation of animal impulses that will cease to be heard only when violence loses its force for “suppressing our internal stirrings to transform our self and our world”. and an Islamic state has always been a controversial institution.17 - . made irrevocable the great sectarian schism Sunni and Shi’I Islam. the life of the Prophet must be considered and the role of the “lesser struggle” against social injustice in it should be examined. and God is neither a banner nor an abstraction. Muslims proponents of non-violence are faced with a dilemma. as well as resistance to oppression. as the perfection of works and faith The above traits show that the refinement and cultivation of a person’s emotional life was conceived to be the axis balancing the realisation of human possibilities – both in a social setting and within the self.

At the heart of this message of universalism in Islam lies respect for cultural pluralism. The strength of Islam is its capacity to reconcile seeming opposites and harmonize diversity until the underlying unity is perceived and disharmony returns to peace. and to the cosmos. or is it to struggle for justice in a just fashion with the goal that our current opponents might gladly become our future allies? Peace in the Sufi Tradition: An Ecology of the Spirit – Chapter 13 By Abdul Said and Nathan C. and rejects a vision of reality rooted in exclusiveness. The assumption here is that power. TAWHID: AN AFFIRMATION OF WHOLENESS The unity of Existence The message of peace and unity expressed in the Sufi tradition applies to the inner person.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam understanding. Muslim proponents of non-violence can challenge the world peace community to reconsider its fundamental goal. Islam is the process of submission to God. Sufism emphasizes respect in inter-religious relations. Is the universal core of non-violence the quietism. which is appropriate to some spiritual traditions. . tawhid expresses the Islamic ideal of the fundamental unity of all humankind and of all life. Universalism and tolerance is the core of Islam. through which the part – the human microcosm becomes reconciled with the Whole.Unarmed struggle has been superseded by armed struggle. upon the accumulation of sufficient military power. If unity is the truth or essence of Islam. to society. . NONVIOLENCE: RETURN TO THE REPRESSED Several interpretations: . Rather. for practical reasons.Armed struggle is only a branch. Peace requires not only outward human effort. Funk (summary by Gary SETTE) The Sufi understanding of peace is rooted in tawhid. Purification of the self. unity embraces a myriad of cultural differences. and ultimately the unity of existence.18 - . Sufism recognizes that intoxication with modern technology and the nationalist imperatives of the . and condemns racial and ethnic discrimination. but must wait. the unity of humanity. The unity of humankind is not premised on uniformity. but also a spiritual attitude of receptivity and continual inward cleansing. suggesting a world view premised on universalism and pluralism. is a conception whose reality enters into human life at many levels. Islam underscores the unity of God. which is now obligatory upon then faithful until Islam is acknowledged everywhere. The Practice of Peace To experience peace. with the Universe or macrocosm. humans and other creatures approach this truth through harmony. the principle of unity that provides a fertile soil for Islamic faith and spirituality. From a Sufi perspective.The armed struggle is superior. the seeker must become passive with respect to the divine yet active with respect to the world. remembrance of the divine and proper attention to relationships creates a space for the presence of peace to manifest. oppressor will merely succeed oppressor and the secret of the Prophet’s victory will remain a secret. is non-coercive. The essential theme of the Qur’anic revelation is surrender to and integration in God. Tawhid then. which dies if torn from its root – for it is only unarmed struggle that teaches reliance on God. by essence.

Ignorance of the divine and failure to live in a way which activates the higher faculties of the human being results in an actual loss of existential freedom and stature. but human beings who fail to respond to the grace of their Creator with gratitude and service risk great loss to themselves and to others. development and enhancement. they are also endowed with special privileges and responsibilities which reflect their actual capacities. All created things are Muslim. and all other evils must be fought with this weapon. He ordained that the fifty times of prayer be made into five. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (summary by Gary SETTE) What was given to Islam? God gave formal prayer to Islam as a weapon for this world and the next. Contemporary wars and environmental crises offer a warning that modernization and the celebration of technology are no substitutes for the sustainable and balanced development of human societies and personalities. and forgiveness over retribution. The Sufi tradition links the stature and dignity of the human being to acceptance of responsibility. While human beings share with non-human creations the common condition of submission.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam nation-state system have overridden traditionalist imperatives for cultural diversity. in the contemporary world. Weapons for the Battle Within – Chapter 14 By M. . and active pursuit of knowledge. Both human beings and other creatures are part of a single harmonious order. Animals which act upon their instincts incur no blame. Pride. Remembrance of God. self-effacement. They also affirm the clear preference in Islam for non-violence over violence. IMPLICATIONS OF THE SUFI OUTLOOK Sufi teachings suggest that peace exists with harmonization of the human being. is the surest guarantee of both human well-being and harmony between humanity and non-human creations. ECOLOGICAL HARMONY: UPHOLDING THE PATTERN OF EXISTENCE The Role of the Human Being within Creation Sufi perspectives on ecology mirror their perspectives on peace. our prejudices. jealousy. there is a need to renew the Sufi understanding of tawhid (unity). in the sense that they live in submission to God. Eventually. and concomitant recognition of the presence of the divine in the ecological harmonies of nature. externally they are limited in their powers and rights in relation to God. The Earth and its resources are placed in the care of human beings as custodians for their preservation.19 - . nature is filled with the signs of God. but rather underscores the spiritual as the context of the material. A person who fails to subdue and efface his or her ego can do far more harm to creation than a predatory animal. humans are absolutely free internally. We must dispel our base desires. R. The Sacral Dimension of Nature Nature is a mirror of God. Islam does not demand the sacrifice of the material needs of humanity for transcendent aims nor does it sanctify the worship of the means of earthly subsistence. We must use these weapons of prayer to fight the inner war and eliminate the enmity and hatred within ourselves. Though human beings posses a special dignity. Eventually. Islam does not oppose the spiritual to the material. nature and fellow human. they are ultimately at one with the rest of creation through surrender to the presence of the divine. our religious and racial differences.

contentment. which the Sufis have explained. Charity. Those who do not govern peoples’ hearts. that alone would bring peace to the world. giving all praise to God. your nostril. We must realize that it is not right for us to harbour hatred.Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam In addition to the five-time prayer. contentment. and pilgrimage were three other duties made obligatory for those who had not fully comprehended the first two duties. The first obligatory duty is to surrender to Allah with absolute faith. The satanic qualities of jealousy. You may find them in your eye. Jealousy cannot be overcome by jealousy. and the attractions of earth. But over the last hundred years some people of Islam and of other religions have changed. really govern in hell. God ordained five obligatory duties to the Muslim community. without thinking for a moment that He might have any equal or partner. with prayer. . we will not even see any brother separate from ourselves. trust in god. Hatred cannot be overcome by hatred. your ear. The wars we are engaged in today are being fought for the sake of conquering nations. This is not the kind of war that true Islam wages. and patience. and killing and vanquishing others. we will not murder. your tongue. anger. and pride have come into us. threatens us. The second duty is to worship Allah alone. Faith has decreased to the point where many say God does not exist. Hostility cannot be overcome by hostility. We must strengthen our faith and using the weapons of the fivetime prayer and of patience. It is our own satanic qualities that must be overcome with inner patience. and praise of God. Once we understand what the true weapons of Islam are. Vengeance cannot be overcome by vengeance. sin. If everyone in the community of Islam understand this and tried to establish peace. trust in God. we will never take a life. fasting. Enmity cannot be overcome with enmity. but instead rule over the earth. and possessions are advertisements that lure us to the seven hells.20 - . Pride is hell. and with worship. what hostility. To overcome those hells we must begin to govern hearts with good qualities. sensual pleasures. Beyond these five outer weapons. tolerance. We who are in Islam must understand and act in accordance with both the inner and outer duties. capturing countries. gold. The weapons of peace and tranquillity will grant us victory no matter what enmity. and your heart. Allah has also given six inner weapons. vengeance.