Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation in Islam


Islam encourages peaceful dispute and conflict resolution. In addition to Qur’anic and Prophetic guidance, Muslim jurists and administrators have consistently supported peaceful conflict settlement, within the Muslim community, between Muslim and non Muslim communities and between non Muslim communities.


In Islamic law, peaceful conflict settlement is to be achieved either by means of conciliation

(Sulh) or arbitration (Tahkim) or mediation (Wasaata).


Allah says in the Quran:


وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا [٤:٣٥]


"If you fear a breach between a man and his wife, appoint an arbiter from his people and

another from hers. If they wish to be reconciled God will bring them together again. God

is all-knowing and wise." (An-Nisaa 4:35)


Allah also says in the Quran:


وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِنْ بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَاضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَنْ يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا ۚ وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ ۗ وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنْفُسُ الشُّحَّ ۚ وَإِنْ تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا [٤:١٢٨]

If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they

arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even

though human inner-selves are swayed by greed. But if you do good and practise self-restraint, Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do” (An-Nisaa 4:128)


Allah also says in the Quran:


وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا 


And if two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make you peace between them:

(Al-Hujurat 49: 9/10).


The Prophet says:

الصلح جائز بين المسلمين إلا صلحا حرم حلالا أو أحلا حراما

"Conciliation between Muslims is permissible, except for a conciliation that makes lawful

unlawful and unlawful lawful".


The second Caliph Umar Inb Al- Khattaab says:

ردوا الخصوم حتي يصطلحوا فإن فصل القضاء سورث بينهم الضغائن

Return the disputants till the conciliation is achieved. Verily, litigation causes rancour

between disputants”.


Sincerity and fairness are the core conditions of a mediator. Allah says in

the Quran:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ [٥:٨]

O you who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the

hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is

next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do” (Al-

Maidah 5: 9).


Allah also says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا ۚ وَإِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا [٤:١٣٥]

O you who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against

yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for

Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you

distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you

do” (An-Nisaa 4: 135).


The prophet (SAAS) says:

القضاة ثلاثة: واحد في الجنة, واثنان في النار. رجل عرف الحق فقضي به فهو في الجنة, ورجل قضي بين الناس بالجهل فهو في النار, ورجل عرف الحق فجار فهو في النار


There are three kinds of judges: two are in the Fire and one in Paradise; the one in Paradise is the one who knew the truth and judged by it. The one who judged amongst people in his ignorance is in the Fire, and the one who knew the truth, but he deviated from it in his judgment, then he is in the Fire”. (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)


Islam welcomes all types of mediation and all procedures applied by the mediators to end a dispute and reach a fair settlement of conflicts as long as they do not contravene Islamic

principles and fundamentals, therefore, foundations of Islamic mediation mentioned above are maintained as they are basics for conflicts settlement and still valid for contemporary peaceful conflict settlement. In addition to these fundamental customs and tradition of Islamic and non-Islamic countries are of crucial importance and sensitivity and even supported by Islamic legal maxim that says: "A matter recognized by custom is regarded as if stipulated by agreement".