Muslims should promote preventive conflict resolution through fasting

“PREVENTION is better than cure,” is a common saying used in advising people on the best way to guard especially against disease. in its broader perspective, the

same may also apply in cautioning individuals and communities against conflicts. In Islam, this has been over-emphasized during the month of Ramadhan more than any other time. The Messenger of allah, Mohammed (saW) said: “ if one of you is fasting, he should avoid… arguments. if somebody should fight or argue with him, he should say, ‘i am fasting.” as we strive to promote peace and coexistence especially in a multi-religious society, it is worthwhile to reflect on Ramadhan and the peacemaking capacities  that Muslims develop in this month. it is time for Muslims to think of coming up with a universally applicable method of conflict resolution that is largely preventive in its approach than interventionist. in conventional conflict resolution, emphasis is heavily tilted towards the role of a third party intervener or mediator who can facilitate a new pattern of positive behavior between people. This model does not guarantee lasting peace as it relies on the availability and capacity of a third party to broker peace, in the absence of which, conflicts may occur.

In sharp contrast to this, the envisaged preventive method of conflict resolution does not require a third party to facilitate change of behaviour to the desired peaceful nature. Each and every individual is a peacemaker by choice and responds to provocations with warmth and love instead of anger. This attitude has the potential to disarm would-be combatants both emotionally and physically and creates room for peaceful solutions to issues. This proactive means of preempting disputes and conflicts derives from the height of spiritual consciousness that Muslims attain while fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan. Fasting empowers Muslims to acquire discipline and etiquettes that can be a source that eliminates the negative interactions between people and emphasizes the positive ways they engage people.

Besides being an obligatory act of worship in islam, fasting is essentially a spiritual and physical act of discipline. it is a means of controlling the self that is found in the bodies that connects man to a higher form of awareness and capacity to control and self-regulate. Just note how a fasting person is able to respond to argument by simply answering- “i am fasting,” he/she is equipped with a physical shield against arguments which are a verbal interaction. Certainly, by relating the physical, emotional and spiritual states, and even more importantly coordinating a directed set of behaviors, there is a true lesson to learn in Ramadan and fasting that consists of changing the whole human being into a peacemaker.

Ramadhan, which is a special month as enjoined by Qur’an and Hadith, emphasizes practice in the teachings of islam that includes peace with oneself and with all human beings and creation. One unique aspect of Ramadhan is that allah multiplies the goodness in human lives and facilitates a chance to practice. The triggers that push people to conflict can easily neutralized in this month. The normal human responses to anger and indulgence of one’s self both physically and emotionally are held in check. This effectively interrupts negative patterns of physical and emotional consumption that breed conflicts.

Just imagine! What kind of society or world can be built if Muslims begin to emphasize the daily form of relations maintained during the holy month of Ramadhan between people in such a way that the kind of relations were cultivated and encouraged throughout the course of the year? How can this wonderful heart acquired in the month of Ramadhan be retained to open the rooms for peace within and without throughout the year? How can the spirit of Ramadhan change the people Muslims are for one month, and for a lifetime? What specifically can be done after this month to increase capacity for peace production throughout the year?

The gist of the matter is that in Ramadhan fasting there is a great lesson in conflict resolution. That is, if fasting has the capacity to empower Muslims to exercise self-control and prevent arguments and fighting; then it can be a source of preventive approach to conflict resolution. This is a spiritual resource that needs to be exploited individually and institutionally to promote peace and coexistence particularly among multi-religious and multi-cultural societies.

 

 

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2 comments

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  • Comment Link Mauricio Ganer Sunday, 04 December 2016 12:18 posted by Mauricio Ganer

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