Islam is based on a relationship with Allah (swt), with its creations, and with the world we live in. As soon as we come together, a potential conflict exists. But conflict is not unnatural. Of course, with Allah (swt) there is no conflict, as He is Al-Aziz (The Mighty One) and Al-Jabbar (the Omnipotent One). Whatever He decides will be. However, between humans there exist differences. Allah (swt) wants us to take the best out of these differences. It is Allah (swt) Who has planted the seed of difference in our existence with regard to other human beings, be it our colour of skin, our nations or our tribes.
We live in a community and were not sent to live in a monastery or on top of a mountain. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (rtam) said: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The believer who mixes with people and bears their annoyance with patience will have a greater reward than the one who does not mix with people and does not put up with their annoyance.” (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) Hence, the preferable way for the believer is to deal with conflicts positively, as it contains good. But as soon as we utter the word ‘conflict’, we think negative. We are trained to think that ‘we should avoid it and block it, as it is bad’. Circumstances without it are better.
The issue is: are we able to identify the good in the conflict? The following might just alter your perspective. When we go through conflict, it:
- Facilitates change. Conflicts provide just that. When we change from what we were doing to something different, it highlights that our previous way of handling something was wrong. It shows a conflict between what we were doing versus the best way to do something. This spells the need for us to change, which is beneficial for all.
- Motivates us. Conflicts motivate us to do better. Otherwise, we are complacent and lazy about the way things are. Things either improve or degrade. The idea of going at one pace with no ups and downs is impossible. That is not life. That is the life of a stone. Living creatures experience change, whether it is a caterpillar changing into a butterfly or a child growing up to be an adult. Allah (swt) states: “Verily, We have created man in toil.” (Al-Balad 90:4) Struggle is a result of conflict. Gravity tells us to lie down but struggle tells us to roll over. Gravity tells us to stay where we are. Struggle tells us to move, and eventually we start walking. Struggle and conflict are part of our own development.
- Increases awareness of issues. Pain in life is important for us to know that things are not going in the right direction in life. Those patients, who due to a damaged nervous system are unable to feel pain, self-destruct themselves. Pain lets us know, where our problem exists; otherwise, we would bleed and bruise to death. Similarly, conflicts identify where issues need to be corrected, so we can repair and improve.
- Improves decision-making. Conflicts also cause decisions to be sought out more carefully. Through conflicts some careful decision-making is reached, more precautions are taken and secure analysis is done.
To read the rest of this article, and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine