Home Quranet Chapter 9 How can we arrange a sulha between families?
How can we arrange a sulha between families?
Chapter 9

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَقْتُلُواْ الصَّيْدَ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ وَمَن قَتَلَهُ مِنكُم مُّتَعَمِّداً فَجَزَاء مِّثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ هَدْياً بَالِغَ الْكَعْبَةِ أَوْ كَفَّارَةٌ طَعَامُ مَسَاكِينَ أَو عَدْلُ ذَلِكَ صِيَاماً لِّيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِ عَفَا اللّهُ عَمَّا سَلَف وَمَنْ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ اللّهُ مِنْهُ وَاللّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انْتِقَامٍ (سورۃ المائدة, آية 95)

O ye who believe! Kill not game while in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. If any of you doth so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, brought to the Ka'ba, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or by way of atonement, the feeding of the indigent; or its equivalent in fasts: that he may taste of the penalty of his deed. Allah forgives what is past: for repetition Allah will exact from him the penalty. For Allah is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution (Surah 5, Verse 95)

Said and Saher are in the same class; there is an age-old dispute between their families. Said refuses to sit beside Saher and often even beats him up. The class teacher has tried to talk to Said about his violent conduct, but Said replied that his parents refuse to allow him to be Saher's friend because he is from an "enemy" family. The hostility between these two pupils has had a bad effect on the entire class and in particular on Saher. His parents report that he is anxious, wakes at night crying, does not sleep well and recently has been referred to the school psychologist who diagnosed anxiety. The counselor decided to take action. She invited the parents of both boys, each family separately, and explained the damage the situation was causing to their children and to the entire class. She suggested that the parents meet to open a new page in relations between the families for the sake of their children and of the generations to come. "Allah forgives what is past: for repetition Allah will exact from him the penalty. For Allah is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution", she quoted to them and added: "If Allah forgives what is past, why can't you too forgive?"

Explanation: Said and Saher feel themselves to be an inseparable part of their families and hence obliged to represent family interests. This is a tragedy because they have no possibility of being friends and getting alone together. In Western society, the counselor could help the parents to distinguish between themselves and their child, and could say that families can quarrel between themselves as much as they choose, but there is no need to involve children who should be allowed to choose their own friends. In traditional societies, where separation between parents and children is not accepted, disputes can easier extend to the next generation. Granting independence to a child can help to resolve the dispute because he may get along harmoniously with the classmate from the "enemy" family. The counselor did well to advise the families to meet and conduct a sulha (peace-making ceremony). She did not suggest that they try to clarify what had happened in the past and why the dispute had begun. She simply utilized the Quran verse which exhorts us to forgives what is past for the sake of a better future.