Mediators Post

Sulh - A paradigm for peace

Author´s name: Mohammad Tarique Khan

Profile: Fellow, Institute of Chartered Ship brokers, Accredited Mediator

Location: Kolkata

Sulh is a process of settlement of dispute voluntarily. Although there are various schools of thoughts which determine the essence of Sulh, all of them eventually converge to a common goal and that is to cut off a dispute. Sulh is derived from the Arabic word Musalaha which means reconciliation and it fits itself perfectly within the meaning of ADR i.e., mediation, compromise, ombudsman, negotiation, conciliation and many other hybrid processes.

The word Sulh (commonly referred to as SULHA) is a very common lingo in the Arab, Persian and the Indian Sub-continent but very rarely justice is done to its meaning. Mostly it is brought in only after both the parties have suffered enough financially and mentally. Sulh is very common in the tribal and rural areas where justice system has not much effect.

The concept of Sulh has been prevalent much before the advent of the present ADR which means we are in the process of rediscovering this concept. In India during the reign of Mogul King Akbar, a concept called Sulh-e-kul (peace with all, conflict with none) became known. It was the fundamental doctrine of the Sufis and was founded by Mohiuddin ibn Arabi who used to say “My heart is a mosque, a temple, a church and a synagogue. God is love and my heart is the seat of love”. Akbar borrowed this concept and transferred it into a principle based on its literal meaning. In Sulh-e-kul all religions and schools of thought had freedom of expression but on the condition that they did not challenge the government´s authority or quarrel amongst themselves.

If we happen to discuss the doctrine of sulh in the religious perspective, we will be made to believe that all the religions will vouch for Sulh in some form or the other. Sulh should be the recommended procedure to settle disputes amongst the conflicting parties but the need for a 3rdparty (mediator) to conduct the process is most often required. Aseel al Ramahi in his paper “Sulh: A crucial part in Islamic Reconciliation”, focus on this individual duty towards reconciliation. Every human being has been bestowed upon by this duty to make peace. Mediation is evolving and new dimensions are being explored and if required mediation will need to be merged with counselling in order to have desired results. Thus a mediator will have to perform dual function of a councillor during caucus session and a mediator during other times.

We are all aware that any system devised by human being can go astray and so is our judicial system which also is a doctrine devised by humans. The effects of any judicial proceedings are looked upon by a person´s vocabulary and verbose during a trial. Moreover judicial system is based on fixed systems and practices. Mediation is flexible in its approach which allows itself to be used to utmost effectiveness and hence it is sometimes referred to as EDR i.e., Effective Dispute Resolution. Hon. Eliot Richardson states “To pursue a lawsuit is to gamble on victory. To elect conciliation is to seek fairness. Victories undermine relationship. Fairness strengthens them. Those who build for the long term would do well to choose conciliation.” Mediation in the modern sense, started off as a tool to resolve family disputes, is being used effectively to handle commercial matters and has now ventured into the territory of solving criminal cases. The general inclination towards mediation is ever growing, which makes us firmly believe that mediation will be the most preferred method of solving disputes in the not too distant future.

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Naresh Kumar

An aptly and comprehensively sketched article on Sulh. Great Job Tarique for narrating in a seamless manner.

Rishabh Saini

Very well written Tarique.


Simple, easy, & beautifully explained which can be understood by anybody.

Nirmalya Karmakar

I know Capt. Tarique as a dynamic and forthright person and have been privileged to hear of the concept and service directly from him. I am sure he will do an unbiased and diligent mediation. I wish him all the best in his endeavours.

Pankaj Kumar

You have given food for thought.

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