Which concepts, methods and theories about conflict resolution and reconciliation are there in Islamic sources and Islamic tradition?
The last few decades much attention has been given to the violent potential of religion in general, and Islam specifically. Religious terrorism has become the topic of many books, studies and research programs, and the conflictual aspects of the relationship between the Islamic world and the West has been much portrayed.While the peaceful potential of Islam has been a neglected field of study, I believe that it is important. Peace is an important value in all religions. My argument is that we should utilize religion in conflict resolution and reconciliation. Religion is such a powerful aspect of many people s lives that it seems unwise to ignore it.
The thesis has 3 parts. The first part examines the role of reconciliation in conflict resolution, and the role faith-based diplomacy can play in conflict resolution and reconciliation. This forms the theoretical background for my thesis. Part 2, Islam and peace , is the empirical part of the thesis.I have chosen to focus on two Islamic approaches to conflict resolution and reconciliation; the ideas of the Muslim scholar Mohammed Abu-Nimer and the process and ritual of sulh.Mohammed Abu-Nimer is a Palestinian Muslim based in the U.S. who has developed a modern Islamic approach to conflict resolution. He works as a mediator in conflicts all over the world, and arranges conflict resolution training workshops. He accounts for the ideological background for conflict resolution and reconciliation in Islamic sources, and discusses traditional, professional and political approaches to conflict resolution in Islam today.In the Islamic tradition of sulh the principles from the Islamic sources are translated into a method for conflict resolution and reconciliation. The sulh process is a traditional method of conflict resolution which has been used since pre-Islamic times, and which is still practiced in Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt. Sulh is a process in which a delegation, jaha, is called upon to investigate and mediate in a conflict situation, and sulha is the ritual in which the conflict is publicly solved and the relationships are mended.
I conclude that there may be much to gain by applying Islamic principles in conflict resolution and reconciliation involving Muslims. There are several important Islamic values that may be important in conflict resolution.