Have you Considered Alternative Dispute Resolution?
The Qur’an exhorts us: “If two parties of the believers fight, make peace between them.” (49:9)
Mediation assists disputing parties to come to a common understanding which is highly noble in the eyes of the Almighty Allâh. The speech of a mediator is among the few the Almighty considers as meritorious. Allah Almighty says: “There is no good in much of their secret talk – except in the case of those who enjoin sadaqah (charity), or what is right, or putting things right between people. If anyone does that, seeking the pleasure of Allah, We will give him an immense reward." (4:114)
Sahl bin Sad radhiyallâhu ‘anhu reported: “Once the people of Quba fought with each other till they threw stones on each other. When Rasulullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam was informed about it he said, “Let us go to bring about reconciliation between them.” (Bukhari)
In matters where setting a precedent is not important, mediation as opposed to litigation is a commendable route for settling disputes and maintaining good relations between parties.
Other than the spiritual rewards indicated above, mediation has other advantages over litigation.
Firstly, mediation is less costly. Instead of spending considerable amounts of resources in dragging to and fighting each other in courts, parties can reach a negotiated settlement without much waste that goes with legal fees in trials, appeals and re-appeals.
Secondly, whereas it is known that in many cases litigation may last for months or even years, mediation is by far a quicker process towards reaching an agreement.
Thirdly, unlike in litigation, mediation is confidential. When a matter is brought before the courts, all proceedings are in the public eye and details that rather would have remained private play out in a manner that often compromises the dignity of parties involved.
Fourthly, mediation tends to have more success than litigation in preserving relationships that are important to maintain as Islâm has taught us. The flexibility of the process means that parties, may by themselves or assisted, move towards collaboration in order to arrive at an understanding that may bode well for their continued ties.
In the process of mediation, one does not have to compromise on the issues of principle or right. However, there is merit for those who willingly give up a right for the sake of maintaining good relations with spouse, relative or partner.
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa places value in the role of mediation as an alternative method for conflict management and dispute resolution. Due to this in partnership with the Muslim legal fraternity in Johannesburg, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa established the Muslim Mediation and Arbitration Council (MMAC) ten years ago. Muslims are encouraged to use this service to resolve their various disputes.
Contending parties can jointly approach the MMAC to resolve any dispute that has arisen between them. In the event of only one party approaching the MMAC, the MMAC would contact the other party in order to advance the process. Once the parties have agreed to use either mediation or arbitration, they would be asked to choose a mediator or arbitrator from the panel, who is mutually agreed upon by both parties. The MMAC would arrange the date, time, venue, fees, etc. with the chosen panellist and advise the parties accordingly.
Once the relevant documentation has been signed by the parties, the meeting would be confirmed with the panellist and the parties would be informed. The mediation or arbitration agreement can also be made an order of court, if necessary. The MMAC cannot and does not represent any party.