An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Arbitration in Other Disputes as well

[In the light of Surah an-Nisa Ayah 35]

Muslim jurists say that the appointment of two arbitrators to make peace between two parties in dispute is not limited to the disputes between a husband and a wife. It can profitably used in other areas of discord. In fact, it should be so used, especially when the parties involved are related to each other, because a court decision is a short-term solution of the basic problem. What happens after is that such decisions leave the germs of hatred and hostility in the hearts of those affected and which reappear after a passage of time in forms that are much too unpleasant. Umar rahiAllahu anhu had promulgated an order for his judges which said:

“Send disputes between relatives back to them so that they make peace with the help of each other, as a court decision breeds heart burnings and hostility.”

Although this Faruqi directive concerns disputes rising in between relatives, yet, the reason given in this directive (that is, court decisions tend to create hatred and hostility in hearts) is a reason which covers not only the relatives but non-relatives as well. Wisdom lies in saving all Muslims from mutual hatred and hostility. Therefore, the Muslim jurists are of the view that it is appropriate for official and judges that they, before hearing the cases formally, should make an effort to find a way out whereby the disputing parties get together and agree on mutual conciliation. ]See, al-Tarablusi, Mu’in al-hukkam p.214 and also Ibn al-Shahnah: Lisan al-hukkam].

Though brief, yet these two ayaat present a comprehensive system of family life which, if put into practice, could help eliminate a lot of disputes, hatred and hostilities from the world. Men and women would live in peace among their families, secure against all those local dissensions which turn into all sorts of tribal, racial, national, even international feuds.

In the end, let us recapitulate the great Qur’anic mechanism of how to quash family feuds – a virtual gift to the whole world:

1. Resolve family disputes within the house using one method after the other.

2. When this is not possible, government official or the kinsfolk make peace between the disputing parties through two arbitrators, so that, the dispute does not go out of the larger family circle, even if it goes out of the house itself.

3. When this too is not possible and the matter goes to the court finally, it is the duty of the judicial authority to investigate into the case background of both parties and come up with a decision which is just.

It may be noted that by saying

 إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيماً خَبِيراً

“Surely, Allah is All-Knowing.”

warning has been given to the two arbitrators as well to the effect that they should keep in mind that no injustice or crookedness from them will go unnoticed for they shall be appearing before the Being who knows all and is aware of everything.

[Taken from Maaruf-ul-Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani]

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