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Conflict Resolution the Islamic Way: Somalia and Somaliland The Lessons from the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah by Mohamed A. Suleiman Sunday, June 09, 2013 Those who are well versed in the biography (Seerah) of Prophet Muhammad, peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, would agree that the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was an important event that occurred at a pivotal time in the history of Islam. It is reported in both Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions marched from Medina towards Mecca to perform Umrah after the Prophet dreamt that he entered Mecca and did tawaf around the Ka’bah. The Prophet and his companions had left Medina in a state of ihram, a premeditated spiritual and physical state which restricted their freedom of action and prohibited fighting. The Quraish of Mecca was not happy with the Prophet’s advances and decided to prevent him and his companions from performing Umrah. The Prophet (SAW) and his companions camped outside of Mecca where he met with a Meccan emissary. He (SAW) told the emissary that “we have not come to fight anyone, but to perform the Umrah”. The Prophet (SAW) ended up negotiating with Quraish and the two parties decided to resolve the matter through deliberations rather than warfare, and a treaty was drawn up. The outline of the treaty was reported as follows: “In the name of almighty Allah. These are the conditions of Peace between Muhammad, son of Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr the envoy of Mecca. There will be no fighting for ten years. Anyone who wishes to join Muhammad and to enter into any agreement with him is free to do so. Anyone who wishes to join the Quraish and to enter into any agreement with them is free to do so. A young man, or one whose father is alive, if he goes to Muhammad without permission from his father or guardian, will be returned to his father or guardian. But if anyone goes to the Quraish, he will not be returned. This year the muslims will go back without entering Mecca. But next year Muhammed and his followers can enter Mecca, spend three days, perform the tawaaf. During these three days the Quraish will withdraw to the surrounding hills. When Muhammad and his followers enter into Mecca, they will be unarmed except for sheathed swords”. The treaty was noted as being quite controversial for several reasons. Originally, the treaty referred to Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah, but this was unacceptable to the Quraish envoy Suhayl ibn Amr. Muhammad (SAW) compromised, and told his cousin Ali to strike out the wording. Citing his firm belief that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Ali refused, after which Muhammad himself rubbed out the words. ( Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:49:62, Sahih Muslim, 19:4404). Another point of contention, was that the Muslims objected over a clause of the treaty that said that any citizen from Mecca entering Medina was eligible to be returned to Mecca (if they wanted), while the reverse was not true, and any Muslim from Medina entering Mecca was not eligible to be returned to the Muslims, even if Muhammad himself requested. ( Sahih al- Bukhari, 3:50:874) A condition was also placed that the Muslims could not enter for their pilgrimage at that time, but could return the following year. The treaty also assured a 10-year peace. After the signing of the treaty, there was still great resentment and fury among the Muslims because they did not like its stipulations. Muhammad (SAW), binding onto the Islamic ethic “fulfill every promise” ordered that Muslims do exactly as the treaty says. (source: Sahih al-Bukhari). Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an: “Verily in the Messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much. (33:21) Without delving deep into the Seerah, I would like to shed light on the lessons that could be learned from the wisdom of the Prophet (SAW) and how such lessons could be applied to the modern day conflicts. While searching the Internet for conflict resolution literature, I came across the following five basic principles put out by the Conflict Resolution Network (CRN) which are necessary for successful mediation initiatives: Be hard on the problem and soft on the person Focus on needs not positions Emphasize common ground Be inventive about options Make clear agreements If we look at how the Messenger of Allah (SAW) negotiated the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, we could easily see that our Prophet (SAW) so skillfully utilized these principles over fourteen centuries ago. And we of course know that nothing will go wrong if we follow the Sunnah (way) of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). The most striking element of the Treaty remains to be that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) compromised even when his Prophethood was challenged or denied by the emissary of the Quraish of Mecca. A cursory look at the off again on again negotiations between Somalia and Somaliland would clearly shed light on the core and contentious issues that continue to bog down the negotiations. Some of the key principles of mediation, namely compromising and finding a common ground, are either being ignored or not being followed at all. Ever since Somaliland declared its statehood in 1991 following the disintegration of what was known as Somalia, the successive attempts by the Somalis themselves and the international community failed to win the hearts of the Somaliland people. Any attempt to bring them back to the fold has proven to be futile. One wonders why this has been the case and why the people of Somaliland turned their back on their Somali brethren. Let us not forget that it was Somaliland that voluntarily entered the union with Somalia in 1960. The answers to these questions are not so farfetched if we look at the conduct of the successive so called Somali reconciliations processes that took place over the past twenty years or so. From Arta to Mbagathi to Mogadishu, the first term of reference for these initiatives remained to be that the unity of the Somali people is “ muqaddas”, in other words “sacred”. The word muqaddas or sacred has a religious connotation. We can only call something muqaddas or sacred when it has indeed been decreed so by Allah (SWT). We all know that Allah did not decree that the unity of the Somali people is sacred. I would argue therefore that the first fault, when it comes to the Somaliland/ Somalia issue, lies within the injudicious use of the term muqaddas or sacred. And I believe that this is the primary stumbling block when it comes to finding a solution for the Somali problem. To fight fire with fire, Somaliland also maintains that its sovereignty is sacred. If only we could learn a lesson from the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and how the Messenger of Allah (SAW) conducted himself, we would have been far better off than we are today. If the Messenger of Allah (ASW), in the sprit of compromising, rubbed the expression “Messenger of Allah” with his honorable hands to seal a deal with the Quraish of Mecca, why would the elimination of the word muqaddas or sacred by both parties is so difficult when it comes to the Somalia/Somaliland negotiations? One wonders. The other bone of contention is the fact that the previous successive Transitional Federal Governments (TFGs) and the current Mogadishu Administration continue to push all the wrong buttons when it comes to their understanding of the Somaliland phenomenon. They seem to be oblivious to the circumstances that precipitated the re-creation of Somaliland as a sovereign state. For some reason they do not seem to get it and here is why: they willfully underestimate or deny the gravity of the atrocities that were committed in Somaliland; they vilify the aspirations of the people of Somaliland and treat their indelible right to self-determination with cynicism or sarcasm, thus denigrating the hard thought efforts of the people of Somaliland; and they routinely bring a few self-styled opportunists from Somaliland to their fold and then claim that the people of Somaliland are represented in the Mogadishu administration. Aldous Huxley, in one of his famous essays, was quoted as saying, “ Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Unless Mogadishu wakes up and smells the coffee, the current fallacy that they are entertaining will lead to nowhere. A case in point: When President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud visited Washington, D, C., in January and the United States government formally recognized his administration, the first thing that his Prime Minister did was an act that has further enraged the people of Somaliland. An article that was published by the Associated Press had the following title: “Basking from the glory of having been newly recognized by the US, Somalia seeks immunity for former minister Samantar in civil case .” The callousness and the insensitivity that Mogadishu demonstrated by advocating for the man who is believed to have masterminded the atrocities that caused the annihilation of upwards of 50,000 people is a flagrant disregard for the genuine concerns of the people of Somaliland. It is a clear indication that the current administration is following the same path that was taken by its predecessors. As the old adage goes, “those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” The other outrageous thing that highlights the chauvinistic attitude of Mogadishu’s administration towards Somaliland is the inflammatory rhetoric that they continue to spew in the name of Somali unity. They conveniently disregard that the ideals of the so- called Greater Somalia (Soomaaliweyn) that were so prevalent in the 1960s are all but gone and forgotten. A little historic rundown of the demise of Greater Somalia or Soomaaliweyn may be warranted so we can reflect on this issue in an objective manner. Greater Somalia suffered its first blow in Berlin in 1884 when the Europeans partitioned Africa. A major setback was dealt to it when huge junks of the Somali territories were handed to Ethiopia and Kenya. A glimmer of hope was injected to it when the Somali Republic was born in 1960. A breath of air was infused into it during the 1964 war with Ethiopia. Hopes were dashed when Djibouti decided to remain a French colony in the 1967 referendum. A sense of optimism was felt during the 1977 war with Ethiopia. A vital blow was done to it when Djibouti gained independence and decided to become a sovereign state. The unspeakable horrors that followed the military coup of 1969 polarized the Somali people into tribal and regional camps. The hell that broke loose in 1991 has marked the final nail in the coffin. Clearly, Mogadishu can not single out Somaliland and use the expression “Somali unity is sacred” as a rallying cry. It is plainly hypocritical to do that. If Mogadishu is serious about negotiating with Somaliland and is not engaged in the process as a distraction from its own failures, they should put a number of initiatives in place if they want to soften the hearts of the people of Somaliland, including: 1. validate the genuine grievances of the people of Somaliland and recognize unequivocally the atrocities that were committed there in the name of the Somali government; 2. now that there is an administration that is recognized by the international community, President Hassan should unambiguously accept responsibility and offer an apology to the people of Somaliland; 3. the Mogadishu administration should refrain from the use of inflammatory rhetoric and the divisive vernacular that they continue to employ; 4. a trust fund should be established for the victims and a compensation procedure should be put in place; 5. the selfish and discriminatory 4.5 formula that was designed to marginalize certain segments of the Somali people should be abolished; and 6. an alternative to the wholesale approach that Somaliland entered into the union with Somalia in 1960 should be initiated by Mogadishu. In the absence of these basic concessions by the Mogadishu administration, the likelihood of Somaliland forsaking its sovereignty and demonstrating nostalgic tendencies towards Mogadishu is pretty remote. It will take Men of faith, wisdom, principle, conviction, and goodwill to resuscitate the ideals of Greater Somalia (Soomaaliweyn). The armchair politicians and the spin-doctors had run out of steam. Until then and only then, the universal motto of the right to self-determination should take precedent and Somaliland should not be the sacrificial lamp of a long lost Greater Somalia

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Conflict Resolution the Islamic Way: Somalia and
Somaliland
The Lessons from the Treaty of
Hudaybiyyah
by Mohamed A. Suleiman
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Those who are well versed in the biography
(Seerah) of Prophet Muhammad, peace and the
blessings of Allah be upon him, would agree
that the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was an
important event that occurred at a pivotal time
in the history of Islam.
It is reported in both Sahih Muslim and Sahih
Bukhari that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his
companions marched from Medina towards
Mecca to perform Umrah after the Prophet
dreamt that he entered Mecca and did tawaf
around the Ka’bah. The Prophet and his
companions had left Medina in a state of ihram,
a premeditated spiritual and physical state
which restricted their freedom of action and
prohibited fighting.
The Quraish of Mecca was not happy with the
Prophet’s advances and decided to prevent him
and his companions from performing Umrah. The
Prophet (SAW) and his companions camped
outside of Mecca where he met with a Meccan
emissary. He (SAW) told the emissary that “we
have not come to fight anyone, but to perform
the Umrah”. The Prophet (SAW) ended up
negotiating with Quraish and the two parties
decided to resolve the matter through
deliberations rather than warfare, and a treaty
was drawn up.
The outline of the treaty was reported as
follows:
“In the name of almighty Allah. These are the
conditions of Peace between Muhammad, son
of Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr the envoy of
Mecca. There will be no fighting for ten years.
Anyone who wishes to join Muhammad and to
enter into any agreement with him is free to do
so. Anyone who wishes to join the Quraish and
to enter into any agreement with them is free to
do so. A young man, or one whose father is
alive, if he goes to Muhammad without
permission from his father or guardian, will be
returned to his father or guardian. But if anyone
goes to the Quraish, he will not be returned.
This year the muslims will go back without
entering Mecca. But next year Muhammed and
his followers can enter Mecca, spend three
days, perform the tawaaf. During these three
days the Quraish will withdraw to the
surrounding hills. When Muhammad and his
followers enter into Mecca, they will be
unarmed except for sheathed swords”.
The treaty was noted as being quite
controversial for several reasons. Originally, the
treaty referred to Muhammad as the
Messenger of Allah, but this was
unacceptable to the Quraish envoy Suhayl ibn
Amr. Muhammad (SAW) compromised, and told
his cousin Ali to strike out the wording. Citing
his firm belief that Muhammad is the Messenger
of Allah, Ali refused, after which Muhammad
himself rubbed out the words. ( Sahih al-Bukhari,
3:49:62, Sahih Muslim, 19:4404).
Another point of contention, was that the
Muslims objected over a clause of the treaty
that said that any citizen from Mecca entering
Medina was eligible to be returned to Mecca (if
they wanted), while the reverse was not true,
and any Muslim from Medina entering Mecca
was not eligible to be returned to the Muslims,
even if Muhammad himself requested. ( Sahih al-
Bukhari, 3:50:874)
A condition was also placed that the Muslims
could not enter for their pilgrimage at that time,
but could return the following year. The treaty
also assured a 10-year peace.
After the signing of the treaty, there was still
great resentment and fury among the Muslims
because they did not like its stipulations.
Muhammad (SAW), binding onto the Islamic
ethic “fulfill every promise” ordered that
Muslims do exactly as the treaty says. (source:
Sahih al-Bukhari).
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an: “Verily in the
Messenger of Allah ye have a good example for
him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day,
and remembereth Allah much. (33:21)
Without delving deep into the Seerah, I would
like to shed light on the lessons that could be
learned from the wisdom of the Prophet (SAW)
and how such lessons could be applied to the
modern day conflicts.
While searching the Internet for conflict
resolution literature, I came across the following
five basic principles put out by the Conflict
Resolution Network (CRN) which are necessary
for successful mediation initiatives:
Be hard on the problem and soft on the
person
Focus on needs not positions
Emphasize common ground
Be inventive about options
Make clear agreements
If we look at how the Messenger of Allah
(SAW) negotiated the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah,
we could easily see that our Prophet (SAW) so
skillfully utilized these principles over fourteen
centuries ago. And we of course know that
nothing will go wrong if we follow the Sunnah
(way) of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). The
most striking element of the Treaty remains to
be that the Messenger of Allah (SAW)
compromised even when his Prophethood was
challenged or denied by the emissary of the
Quraish of Mecca.
A cursory look at the off again on again
negotiations between Somalia and Somaliland
would clearly shed light on the core and
contentious issues that continue to bog down
the negotiations. Some of the key principles of
mediation, namely compromising and finding a
common ground, are either being ignored or not
being followed at all.
Ever since Somaliland declared its statehood in
1991 following the disintegration of what was
known as Somalia, the successive attempts by
the Somalis themselves and the international
community failed to win the hearts of the
Somaliland people. Any attempt to bring them
back to the fold has proven to be futile. One
wonders why this has been the case and why
the people of Somaliland turned their back on
their Somali brethren. Let us not forget that it
was Somaliland that voluntarily entered the
union with Somalia in 1960.
The answers to these questions are not so
farfetched if we look at the conduct of the
successive so called Somali reconciliations
processes that took place over the past twenty
years or so. From Arta to Mbagathi to
Mogadishu, the first term of reference for these
initiatives remained to be that the unity of the
Somali people is “ muqaddas”, in other words
“sacred”.
The word muqaddas or sacred has a religious
connotation. We can only call something
muqaddas or sacred when it has indeed been
decreed so by Allah (SWT). We all know that
Allah did not decree that the unity of the Somali
people is sacred. I would argue therefore that
the first fault, when it comes to the Somaliland/
Somalia issue, lies within the injudicious use of
the term muqaddas or sacred. And I believe that
this is the primary stumbling block when it
comes to finding a solution for the Somali
problem. To fight fire with fire, Somaliland also
maintains that its sovereignty is sacred.
If only we could learn a lesson from the Treaty
of Hudaybiyyah and how the Messenger of
Allah (SAW) conducted himself, we would have
been far better off than we are today. If the
Messenger of Allah (ASW), in the sprit of
compromising, rubbed the expression
“Messenger of Allah” with his honorable hands
to seal a deal with the Quraish of Mecca, why
would the elimination of the word muqaddas or
sacred by both parties is so difficult when it
comes to the Somalia/Somaliland negotiations?
One wonders.
The other bone of contention is the fact that
the previous successive Transitional Federal
Governments (TFGs) and the current
Mogadishu Administration continue to push all
the wrong buttons when it comes to their
understanding of the Somaliland phenomenon.
They seem to be oblivious to the circumstances
that precipitated the re-creation of Somaliland
as a sovereign state. For some reason they do
not seem to get it and here is why:
they willfully underestimate or deny the
gravity of the atrocities that were committed
in Somaliland;
they vilify the aspirations of the people of
Somaliland and treat their indelible right to
self-determination with cynicism or sarcasm,
thus denigrating the hard thought efforts of
the people of Somaliland; and
they routinely bring a few self-styled
opportunists from Somaliland to their fold and
then claim that the people of Somaliland are
represented in the Mogadishu administration.
Aldous Huxley, in one of his famous essays, was
quoted as saying, “ Facts do not cease to
exist because they are ignored.” Unless
Mogadishu wakes up and smells the coffee, the
current fallacy that they are entertaining will
lead to nowhere.
A case in point: When President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamoud visited Washington, D, C., in
January and the United States government
formally recognized his administration, the first
thing that his Prime Minister did was an act that
has further enraged the people of Somaliland.
An article that was published by the Associated
Press had the following title: “Basking from
the glory of having been newly
recognized by the US, Somalia seeks
immunity for former minister Samantar in
civil case .” The callousness and the
insensitivity that Mogadishu demonstrated by
advocating for the man who is believed to have
masterminded the atrocities that caused the
annihilation of upwards of 50,000 people is a
flagrant disregard for the genuine concerns of
the people of Somaliland. It is a clear indication
that the current administration is following the
same path that was taken by its predecessors.
As the old adage goes, “those who do not learn
from their mistakes are doomed to repeat
them.”
The other outrageous thing that highlights the
chauvinistic attitude of Mogadishu’s
administration towards Somaliland is the
inflammatory rhetoric that they continue to
spew in the name of Somali unity. They
conveniently disregard that the ideals of the so-
called Greater Somalia (Soomaaliweyn) that
were so prevalent in the 1960s are all but gone
and forgotten. A little historic rundown of the
demise of Greater Somalia or Soomaaliweyn may
be warranted so we can reflect on this issue in
an objective manner.
Greater Somalia suffered its first blow in Berlin
in 1884 when the Europeans partitioned Africa.
A major setback was dealt to it when huge
junks of the Somali territories were handed to
Ethiopia and Kenya. A glimmer of hope was
injected to it when the Somali Republic was
born in 1960. A breath of air was infused into it
during the 1964 war with Ethiopia. Hopes were
dashed when Djibouti decided to remain a
French colony in the 1967 referendum. A sense
of optimism was felt during the 1977 war with
Ethiopia. A vital blow was done to it when
Djibouti gained independence and decided to
become a sovereign state. The unspeakable
horrors that followed the military coup of 1969
polarized the Somali people into tribal and
regional camps. The hell that broke loose in
1991 has marked the final nail in the coffin.
Clearly, Mogadishu can not single out
Somaliland and use the expression “Somali unity
is sacred” as a rallying cry. It is plainly
hypocritical to do that.
If Mogadishu is serious about negotiating with
Somaliland and is not engaged in the process as
a distraction from its own failures, they should
put a number of initiatives in place if they want
to soften the hearts of the people of Somaliland,
including:
1. validate the genuine grievances of the
people of Somaliland and recognize
unequivocally the atrocities that were
committed there in the name of the Somali
government;
2. now that there is an administration that is
recognized by the international
community, President Hassan should
unambiguously accept responsibility and
offer an apology to the people of
Somaliland;
3. the Mogadishu administration should
refrain from the use of inflammatory
rhetoric and the divisive vernacular that
they continue to employ;
4. a trust fund should be established for the
victims and a compensation procedure
should be put in place;
5. the selfish and discriminatory 4.5 formula
that was designed to marginalize certain
segments of the Somali people should be
abolished; and
6. an alternative to the wholesale approach
that Somaliland entered into the union
with Somalia in 1960 should be initiated by
Mogadishu.
In the absence of these basic concessions by
the Mogadishu administration, the likelihood of
Somaliland forsaking its sovereignty and
demonstrating nostalgic tendencies towards
Mogadishu is pretty remote. It will take Men of
faith, wisdom, principle, conviction, and goodwill
to resuscitate the ideals of Greater Somalia
(Soomaaliweyn). The armchair politicians and
the spin-doctors had run out of steam. Until
then and only then, the universal motto of the
right to self-determination should take
precedent and Somaliland should not be the
sacrificial lamp of a long lost Greater Somalia

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