In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
Dear brothers and sisters! The Islamic way of life always emphasised a strong sense of brotherhood in such a way that a community should be maintained to ensure that mutual understanding pave way for the peace and harmony, As long as individual or group of individuals failed to recognise and identify their variations, colours, nations and tribes, peaceful co-existence will no longer exist among them, and this will lead to series of violence and conflicts. In this regards Islam is a religion which adores peace rather than violence; and love, compromise, dialogue rather than confrontation. In line with this, the principle of reconciliation should be given attention to address the gabs caused by lack of mutual understanding. Consequent upon this, this sermon reveals that reconciliation, patience (Sabr) and forgiveness will serve as tools for negotiation to reach an equitable settlement and to restore peace and security for the wellbeing of our country.
Dear brothers and sisters! In a bid to tackle the armed Banditry and kidnappings in his State Zamfara, His Excellency Governor Muhammad Bello Matawalle has decided to use the Carrot and Stick approach, in order to deal with the problems of armed banditry and kidnappings, which we all supported, and praying tirelessly for him to succeed in his mission by the Grace of Almighty Allah!
The Zamfara State government has described its peace and reconciliation initiative as the best way to address the armed banditry, and which is true according to what we are witnessing now and before their coming.
Muhammad Bello Matawalle’s Government has also said that it has no regrets negotiating with bandits, a move that every right thinking person must support!
Respected brothers and sisters! Also A renowned and respectful Kaduna cleric, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi came up with an effective initiative towards reconciliation with the several groups of the dreaded armed bandits, daredevil kidnappers and armed robbers in some parts of Kaduna State, Zamfara State, and In Shaa Allah Nigeria generally. The Sheikh organised discussion sessions with the leaders of these miscreants with a view to cajoling them to lay down their arms and ammunition so as to give peace a chance. Education, enlightenment and appeals are used to entice these daredevil individuals to see reasons to abandon their nefarious acts and embrace peace. No ransom, gifts or any enticement or inducement is involved thus far! Yet, he has so far been able to receive thousands of repentant bandits who have voluntarily surrendered along with their commanders. As at today, more cells of kidnappers and bandits have sent their emissaries with white flags indicating their readiness to abandon jungle life and reintegrate with people in the cities. Alhamdulillah.
Fellow brothers and sisters! Reconciliation is a process in which two people or two groups of people become friendly again after they have quarreled or have not been in contact with each other. According to this definition reconciliation is a reuniting and harmonising of two hostile people or groups by calling them to come together within the context of understanding and respect in order to foster mutual understanding, stimulate communication, correct stereotypes, work on specific problems of mutual concern, explore similarities and differences, and facilitate means of witness and cooperation between them.
On the other hand, the reconciliatory methods are available at individual, family, group, community, national and international level. This unit intends to introduce these methods. The peaceful methods exist in two broad categories. The first is the proactive category, which entails methods that aim to prevent the occurrence of conflict in the first instance. Example include undocumented community-based trust and confidence building measure, communication, good governance, inter party collaboration, etc. the second category is reactive, dealing with responses to situations that have already turned conflictive, or conflictive, or are potentially so these include third party interventions like mediation, conciliation, arbitration and litigation.
Resolution is a community priority that involves elders, local leaders and family members who put pressure on the parties and guarantee the implementation of the agreement; the process is guided by established norms that include honour restoration, face saving, avoiding shame, saving dignity; relationships are key and their restoration is paramount; the third party keeps litigants separate while being their only channel of communication and reconciles them only when an agreement has been successfully negotiated.
Some sees resolution as a variety of approaches aimed at terminating conflicts through the constructive solving of problems. As such any of the approaches to be apply should be acceptable by the parties involved and it should be best and relevant to parties involved. Some said that conflict resolution as a sense of finality, where the parties to a conflict are mutually satisfied with the outcome of a settlement and the conflict is resolved in a true sense.
Respected servants of Allah! Wallahi no doubt, one of the most honourable morals is reconciling people. It is highly recommended and it has been stated on more than one occasion, as Allah Almighty says:
“So fear Allah and amend that which is between you.” [Qur’an, 8: 1]
Reconciling people or group is one of the acts that yields great reward because it allows grudges to be removed and hearts cleaned. Allah Almighty says:
“No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.” [Qur’an, 4: 114]
Reconciling people or group is so important that a Muslim should regard it as an important aim in his worldly life. It is through reconciliation that hearts become one and unity and peace is encouraged. Neglecting this may lead to a disintegration of the society. This is why Islam put reconciling people above many acts of worship. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Should I not tell you what is better in degree than prayer, fasting and charity?” They (the companions) said: “Yes.” He said: “Reconciling people, for grudges and disputes are the razor (that shaves faith/iman).” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmizi]
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Sadaqah (i.e. charity) is due on every joint of a person every day the sun rises. Administering of justice between two men is also a sadaqah. Assisting a man to ride upon his riding animal, or helping him load his luggage upon it is a sadaqah; a good word is a sadaqah; every step that you take towards prayer or reconciling people is a sadaqah, and removing harmful objects from the pathway is a sadaqah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Due to the importance of this virtue (reconciliation/sulhu), Islam assigned one of the disbursement channels of Zakah for those who seek to reconcile people. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The best charity is to reconcile between people.” [At-Tabarani in Al-Mu‘jamul-Kabir]
Reconciliation can be said to be bridging the gaps or filling spaces that occurred because of disputes and conflicts over worldly affairs and by removing their bad effects. Allah Almighty informed us that settlement of disagreements is best. Allah Almighty says:
“…there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best.” [Qur’an, 4: 128]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“It is unlawful for a Muslim to forsake his fellow Muslim for more than three consecutive days. When they meet, each of them turns his face away from the other. The better one is the one who starts the greeting.” [Ahmad]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The one who reconciles people is not considered a liar if he exaggerates what is good or says what is good.” [Ahmad]
A great Islamic scholar said:
“Allah Almighty likes lying for the sake of reconciliation and dislikes truthfulness for the sake of corruption.”
Here is a great Hadith that we should ponder upon. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The gates of Paradise are opened on two days: Monday and Thursday. Every servant who does not associate anything with Allah Almighty is granted pardon, except the person in whose (heart) there is rancour against his brother. It would be said: delay both of them until they reconcile; delay both of them until they reconcile; delay both of them until they reconcile.” [Muslim]
Imam Al-Awza‘i may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“There is no step that is dearer to Allah Almighty than a step towards reconciling people. Whoever reconciles two people, Allah Almighty will grant him safety from Hellfire.”
Dear brothers and sisters! Reconciling people or group is among the great noble morals. The Shari’ah urged it in more than one occasion. Even the Poets did not forget the virtue of reconciling people, so they immortalised it in their poems. One Arab poem said a line of verse that means:
“All merits are referred to two matters; glorifying the Orders of Allah Almighty and seeking to reconcile people.”
Reconciling people is a branch of faith and an Islamic moral code through which grudges are eliminated, hearts are purified, and flames of fitnah and blood shed are extinguished.
Islam urges the true believer to regard ‘reconciling people’ as one of his most important aims in his life, as it is through reconciliation that the nation becomes a coherent unit where one part thereof seeks to amend the other part. Thus, it becomes like a single body; if one organ of it complains, the rest of the body suffers sleeplessness and fever. Neglecting this matter (Sulhu/reconciliation) leads to the disintegration of the nation and the severance of its ties. That is why Islam considered reconciling people or group better than many acts of worship.
Imam Al-Qari may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“Bringing reconciliation to conflicts and disputes that might lead to shedding blood, plundering money, and violating sanctities is better than fulfilling obligatory acts of worship whose benefits do not extend to others, taking the possibility of making up for them, in case they are missed, into consideration. This is so because such acts of worship are among the Rights of Allah Almighty that are less significant in His sight than the rights of the servants.”
Imam At-Tibi may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“Reconciling people and avoiding corrupting relations between them, because reconciliation is a reason for holding firm to the rope of Allah Almighty and avoiding disunity and division between the people, whereas disputes are a crack in the religion. Whoever seeks to amend the relations between the people and removes the corruption thereof will attain a degree that is greater than that of the fasting person who observes night prayers and is preoccupied with his own benefit only.”
From the sum of these explanations, we reach an important result, which is that our great religion, Islam, aspires for reconciliation and seeks for it. Allah Almighty informed us that settlement of disagreements is best (Was-Sulhu Khair).
Reconciling people or group is a great act of worship that Allah Almighty loves. The one who seeks to reconcile people is the one who offers his time, energy, knowledge, effort, money, authority, and power to reconcile the disputing parties. He is a person whose soul loves goodness and yearns for it. He does not care about the people’s opinions or criticism as long as he seeks the pleasure of Allah Almighty. He exposes himself to dangers and embarrassing situations and shares the concerns of his brothers and sisters in order to reconcile two persons or two groups.
Many are those homes which were about to collapse because of a simple dispute between the spouses. Then, when a person interfered seeking reconciliation between them by means of a good word, a sincere advice, or sometimes a sum of money, he restored peacefulness between them and saved the family from loss and destitution?
How many ruptures of relations were about to occur between two brothers, friends or relatives because of a mistake or a minor error, but then a person succeeded in reconciling them.
How many lives and properties were saved and satanic temptations were suppressed after they were about to start, thanks to the favour of Allah Almighty and then to those good people who reconcile others, people like Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi and His Excellency Governor Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara State and all those who are assisting them in this great mission!
Congratulations to those who were guided by Allah Almighty to reconcile two warring parties, two opponents, spouses, neighbours, friends, partners, or groups.
What further indicates the great virtue of reconciling people is that Islam allows lying to reconcile quarreling people. The intended meaning of lying here is to exaggerate in describing and confirming the good aspects of the other party so as to reconcile hearts and to assert that such a dispute was not intentional. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The one who reconciles people is not considered a liar if he exaggerates what is good or says what is good.” [Ahmad]
We have to realise that we are human beings and that disputes and misunderstandings breaking up among us is something normal. Rare are those people who are safe from disagreement. It might occur between you and your fellow citizen, your brother, relative, spouse, or friend… This happens often. So, we have to rid ourselves of this by reconciliation, shaking hands, forgiveness, condescendence, love, and brotherhood so that everything becomes alright again.
Respected servants of Allah! Someone may say: ‘I want to go to so-and-so to reconcile, but I fear that he rejects me, refuses to receive me, or depreciates my visit!’
I tell you: remember that your beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is telling you: ‘Go to him even if he dismisses you or talks badly about you. Go to him once, twice, and thrice and hasten to give him a present, smile at him, and treat him nicely.’
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Allah Almighty augments the honour of he who forgives.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
If you pardon, Allah Almighty will increase your honour; if you reconcile people, Allah Almighty will increase your honour. If you were expelled or the door was not opened for you and you returned, then know that this is one of the wishes of the pious predecessors of the Ummah because it is proof of the purity of the heart since Allah, the Almighty, says:
“And if it is said to you, “Go back,” then go back; it is purer for you.” [Qur’an, 24: 28]
So, take care of this, O believer, and do not leave for Satan (Shaitan) a way to yourself.
Try reconciliation today. Call the one who is disputing with you and treat him nicely. Perhaps this call might be a reason, after the mercy of Allah Almighty, for forgiving your sins. Allah Almighty says:
“Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an, 24: 22]
Go to him. There are people who went to sit with their opponents for only fifteen or thirty minutes, but they ended up sitting for long hours because of the great happiness, comfort, familiarity, and love they felt.
Try to be the one who takes the initiative of reconciliation and do not let Satan’s whisper overcome you. The one who seeks reconciliation should keep the etiquettes of settlement in mind so that Allah Almighty supports him and so that he receives the fruits of his endeavour. The greatest of these etiquettes include:
1. He should make his intention sincere for the sake of Allah Almighty. He should not intend money, prestige, ostentation, or fame with the reconciliation, but he should seek the countenance of Allah Almighty.
2. He should adhere to justice and completely avoid injustice.
3. Let your conciliation be based upon Shari’ah knowledge and the laws of the land. It is preferable that you consult Islamic scholars and experts in this regard, study the issue from all its sides, and listen to each of the parties.
4. Do not be rash in your judgment and take your time because hastiness may lead to corrupting more than what has been amended.
5. You should choose the appropriate time for reconciling between the conflicting parties. That is to say that you only start the reconciliation when the issue becomes cool, the severity of the dispute is alleviated, and the fire of anger is extinguished; then you start to reconcile them.
6. What is more important also is using nice words. You should mention his merits and good deeds and you may exaggerate even to the point of lying; then warn him against grudges and disputes.
Respected servants of Allah! Wallahi from these reconciliation moves initiated by Governor Muhammad Matawalle and Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi, the glimmers of hope have begun to emerge for the restoration of security and peace in the terror-troubled Nigerian Northwest region and generally Nigeria, as they promised to comb the herder communities on a ‘reorientation mission’ against the armed banditry and kidnapping.
This development comes on the heel of the current forays by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, into the Zaria-Giwa-Birnin Gwari axis and sections of Southern Kaduna, and now Zamfara State on pacification and peace-making mission to Fulani herdsmen communities allegedly producing the main population of armed bandits and kidnappers.
Over the last fortnight, Sheikh Gumi, accompanied by a group of other Muslim clerics, security agents, reportedly on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, and other relevant persons had forayed into the bushes of the axis, meeting hundreds of Fulani herders there, pacifying them against crimes and interfacing with them on their grievances.
Therefore I called on Christian and Muslim clerics to join in the campaign for the restoration of peace and security in the region and in Nigeria generally.
I also called on government, civil society organisations and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) across Nigeria to support Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi and Governor Muhammad Bello Matawalle on the venture.
Lastly, Dear brothers and sisters! Know that, wallahi there is clearly a nefarious plan by the enemies of this potentially great country, Nigeria to initiate a violent crisis that may lead to its destruction. Our enemies from within and outside, are more determined than ever to set us against each other, so that we may get to a point of no return when the conflagration began. Foreign terrorist, are also busy, fully armed, to cause whatever damage they can inflict on our dear country. Their desire is to destroy Nigeria. Please we must not allow them. Let’s reconcile ourselves!
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
I ask Allah for peace and good health, and to protect us and all the brothers and sisters, ameen.
May Allah send His Salah and Salam upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadah Thani 22, 1442 AH (February 05, 2021).