IIFA Secretary General participates in the MoFA and OIC Conference on Mediation: Experiences and Prospects
His Excellency Prof. Koutoub Moustapha Sano, Secretary General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), participated in the fourth conference on mediation “Experiences and Prospects” hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in association with the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah on 6-7 Dhu Al-Qa’dah 1443H corresponding to 5-6 June 2022G. His Excellency spoke at the third session of the conference, which was chaired by Ambassador Tariq Bakhit, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organization’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan.
At the beginning of his speech during the third dialogue session held on the second day of the conference under the title “Mediation from a Humanitarian Perspective in the Light of Crises”, His Excellency thanked the Headquarters country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for hosting this important momentous conference at this difficult stage that humanity is going through. He expressed his hope that the conference will be able to reach practical results and realistic recommendations capable of preventing from seeing more thousands or even millions of people displaced and resort to living in camps that lack the minimum necessities of human life. Rather, working with those results and recommendations would enable thousands, or even millions, of displaced people and refugees to return to their homes after the hard times they have been through, and living in camps and shelters for a while.”
His Excellency also clarified that choosing the topic of mediation from a humanitarian perspective in light of crises as a title for this session is “a confirmation and a statement on the importance entrusted to the humanitarian aspect, which mediation seeks to employ in order to put an end to the tragic conditions in which the victims of conflicts and fights live in such as children, women and the elderly. Hence, the importance of intellectual and scientific attention to highlighting that human dimension that is hoped to be achieved from the successful mediation that our contemporary world yearns for, and for which human conscience yearn. It is the mediation that restores joy to the lips of the deprived, relieves anxiety from the frightened, and restores security and safety to the bereaved.”
Then His Excellency spoke about the Shariah origins of the term mediation and its foundations, explaining that “the term mediation means, in its simplest sense, the task of reconciliation and settlement between the conflicting parties by a neutral party in order to end the state of conflict and fight between them, and that our Shariah considered it one of the greatest sacraments, best deeds and most beloved to God Almighty. There have been many noble verses of the Quran that relate to this great sacrament, including: ((They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ regarding the spoils of war. Say, “Their distribution is decided by Allah and His Messenger. So be mindful of Allah, settle your affairs, and obey Allah and His Messenger if you are ˹true˺ believers)); ((The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers. And be mindful of Allah so you may be shown mercy)); ((And if two groups of believers fight each other, then make peace between them. But if one of them transgresses against the other, then fight against the transgressing group until they ˹are willing to˺ submit to the rule of Allah. If they do so, then make peace between both ˹groups˺ in all fairness and act justly. Surely Allah loves those who uphold justice)); ((There is no good in most of their secret talks—except those encouraging charity, kindness, or reconciliation between people. And whoever does this seeking Allah’s pleasure, we will grant them a great reward)); ((If you anticipate a split between them, appoint a mediator from his family and another from hers. If they desire reconciliation, Allah will restore harmony between them. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware)); ((If a woman fears indifference or neglect from her husband, there is no blame on either of them if they seek ˹fair˺ settlement, which is best. Humans are ever inclined to selfishness. But if you are gracious and mindful ˹of Allah˺, surely Allah is All-Aware of what you do)).
In addition to these noble Qur’anic texts are the honorable prophetic hadiths that explain, establish and confirm the importance of this sacrament and its status with God Almighty. Among the most important of these comprehensive hadiths is that narrated by Abu al-Darda’, may God be pleased with him, who said: The Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, said: “Shall I tell you something better than fasting, prayer, and almsgiving? They said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of God. He said: Reconciling between people, for the feuds between people are disastrous” or as he said.
Then His Excellency made it clear that the Shariah rooting for mediation was not a theoretical one, but rather history tells us about living examples of mediation that led to peace by which God protected the loss of souls, the desecration of honor, and the extermination of wealth. The Treaty of Hudaybiyah is the greatest example and the peace agreement that Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, concluded with the people of Jerusalem, and accordingly he handed over to them the keys to Jerusalem. This is an example of successful mediation by which God protected lives, honor and money. In his speech, His Excellency called for mediation to become an independent art and a scientific specialization in universities, institutes and colleges, and said in this regard: “The Muslim Ummah is called today more than ever to prepare a generation of qualified young people who are fully and comprehensively qualified in the art of mediation, or the mediation industry emerging from invoking the human dimension, so that this generation becomes in control of its tools, familiar with its mechanisms, and supervising its morals and its requirements for the matter is serious, the tragedy continues, the suffering is escalating, and the conflicts are burning.”
His Excellency concluded his speech by emphasizing that the Academy is aware of its intellectual responsibility to organize seminars, conferences, workshops and forums aimed at enhancing awareness of the importance of mediation by highlighting the human dimension that is integral to it, highlighting its status and necessity, and formulating resolutions and recommendations that call upon Muslim peoples to revere common values, and to rally around the rulers, and renounce violence, extremism, fanaticism and terrorism; And sensing its scientific responsibility in correcting misconceptions about the values, principles and teachings of Islam, spreading a culture of moderation, tolerance and coexistence, and constructive dialogue with followers of religions in the world with the aim of cooperating to achieve the good of human society based on the principle of mediation leading to achieving peace and reform and ending crises and disturbances from which millions of people suffer.