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Conflict Resolution Starts This Ramadan – Navigating Difficult Conversations With Ihsaan



Conflict, or a serious disagreement or argument, is a natural and normal part of any relationship. It is a sign of a need for change and an opportunity for growth, new understanding, and improved communication. Even in Ramadan, conflict is an unavoidable reality, and instead of suppressing our feelings, or avoiding people, we must learn to deal with difficult conversations with ihsaan.

“We have surely set forth in this Quran every ˹kind of˺ lesson for people, but humankind is the most argumentative of all beings.” [Surah Al-Kahf 18:54]

Conflict triggers strong emotions and can lead to hurt feelings, disappointment, discomfort, and even violence. When handled in an unhealthy manner, it can cause irreparable rifts, resentments, and break­ ups. But when conflict is resolved in a healthy way, it increases our understanding of one another, builds trust, and strengthens our relationship bonds.

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By learning the skills for successful conflict resolution, we can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing insha’Allah.

A Few Points About Conflict-Resolution:

  • It is not haram to be angry or sad

“They are˺ those who donate in prosperity and adversity, control their [excessive] anger, and pardon others. And Allah loves the good-doers.” [Surah ‘Ali ‘Imran 3:134]

We are taught culturally to avoid anger, especially during Ramadan. However, the Qur’anic verse teaches us to refrain from acting upon excessive anger or rage. Anger is a normal feeling that signals the need for safety, protection, or trust. It is neither positive nor negative, it is neutral. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does not judge our feelings, but our actions as a response to these feelings. For example, we can negatively express anger by yelling insults, becoming violent, or invading others’ space. Or, we can channel our anger positively by speaking our truth calmly and respectfully, communicating our limits clearly and firmly, and protecting ourselves and our loved ones from harm. (Eg. “I feel belittled when you speak to me like that. Please stop and speak to me respectfully, or I will walk away.”)

  • Avoiding conflict can provoke others 

Conflict is an unavoidable reality in relationships and necessary to maintain balance. When we deliberately avoid or withdraw from necessary difficult conversations, we risk triggering the other person. While it is important to avoid speaking until both parties can be calm and respectful, purposely giving one another the silent treatment only creates more feelings of rejection and isolation. Let the other person know you are only temporarily seeking space to calm down and agree to speak at a later time. (Eg. “I need some time to calm down, or else I might say something I will regret. Could we please reconvene in an hour?”)

  • Underneath every feeling is a need

We often hear that Ramadan is all about fasting and sacrifice. While it is a good spiritual exercise to detach from our usual physical human needs, it is important to not avoid nurturing one another emotionally. Instead of acting out our feelings, we can identify them, and communicate the underlying need (Eg. “I feel worried when I don’t hear from you, and I just want to know that you’re ok and safe”, or “I feel lonely when you’re not around. Would you be willing to spend some time together?). Couples often present with conflicting needs in intimate relationships. When each partner can recognize the legitimacy of the other’s needs and become willing to examine them in an environment of compassionate understanding, it opens pathways to creative problem-solving, and improved relationships (Eg. “I understand you need some space, but I need reassurance to know that we will be able to discuss the problem.”)

  • Stand up against oppression

“Believers fight for the cause of Allah, whereas disbelievers fight for the cause of the Devil. So fight against Satan’s ˹evil˺ forces. Indeed, Satan’s schemes are ever weak.” [Surah an-Nisa 4:26]

When a person is being arrogant, unjust, or oppressive, it becomes imperative to stand for the truth. Anger in this situation is a normal emotion that gives us the energy to confront/or escape from oppression. Relationships work best when they mutually meet each other’s needs, but when the scales are tipped in one person’s favor, conflict becomes necessary to restore a healthy balance of power.

  • Have taqwa and compassion

“The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers. And be mindful of Allah so you may be shown mercy.” [Surah Al-Hujurat 49:10]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“A believer is to another believer like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) illustrated this by clasping his hands with his fingers interlaced. When Muslims are kind and compassionate to one another they function like a healthy body, such that when an organ falls ill, the rest of the body responds with fever and sleeplessness. When we are mindful of this interdependence, especially during times of conflict, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) promises to grant us mercy.

Tips for Managing and Resolving Conflict

conflictManaging and resolving conflict requires emotional maturity, self-control, empathy, and good communication. Below I have listed some conflict-resolution strategies to ensure the process is as productive as possible and leads to mutually satisfying outcomes.

  1. Create a post-iftar delay

Try to avoid difficult discussions in the last few hours before breaking your fast. When we are hungry we can become anxious, short-tempered, or lose focus; and that will negatively affect the conversation. 

  1. Make the relationship your priority

Make your goal to maintain and strengthen the relationship rather than “winning” the argument. Understand that both sides have a valid perspective, and be willing to listen to understand their viewpoint deeply.

  1. Gauge the conversation

Know when the conversation requires a deeper analysis such as when discussing old hurts and resentments. Be practical in your ability to resolve the current situation. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem. If the relationship becomes stagnant and conversations come to a standstill, work towards deeper relationship repair by attending couples counseling or relationship-building workshops. 

Here are some common reasons for conflict that require deeper repair:

  • You harbor resentment or anger, and instead of expressing what you really feel, you pick at the little things.
  • You’re dealing with stresses unrelated to the relationship, so you unload that stress where you easily can: on the people closest to you.
  • You have an idealized vision of what love looks like, so you fight whenever something happens that doesn’t fit within that vision.
  • All of your relationships involve finding problems because this is the kind of relationship you’re used to, so you may look for problems when there’s nothing to argue about.
  1. Pick your battles 

Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is worth your time and energy. Total avoidance gets us nowhere, but choosing to let go in certain areas can keep things moving for the time being.

  1. Learn how to manage stress

The capacity to remain calm and focused in tense situations is a vital aspect of conflict resolution. When we don’t know how to stay centered and in control, we may become emotionally overwhelmed and unload onto others, escape, or shut down. The best way to reliably relieve stress is by taking steady deep breaths and engaging with the senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you.

  1. Recognize and manage your emotions

Emotional awareness is key to understanding yourself and others. If you don’t know how you feel or why you feel that way, you won’t be able to communicate effectively. Many people ignore or try to sedate strong emotions like anger, sadness, or fear. But your ability to handle conflict depends on being connected to these feelings. If you’re afraid of strong emotions or if you insist on finding purely rational solutions, your ability to face and resolve differences will be impaired. 

  1. Learn how to listen

When people are upset, the words they use rarely convey the issues and needs at the heart of the problem. When we listen for what is felt as well as said, we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening in this way also strengthens us, informs us, and makes it easier for others to hear us.

  • Listen to the reasons the other person gives for being upset.
  • Make sure you understand what the other person is telling you—from his or her point of view.
  • Repeat the other person’s words, and ask if you have understood correctly.
  • Ask if anything remains unspoken, giving the person time to think before answering.
  • Resist the temptation to interject your point of view until the other person has said everything he or she wants to say and feels that you have listened to and understood his or her message.
  1. Be willing to forgive

Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives. Forgiveness doesn’t mean pretending that the conflict never occurred, it means internalizing a new perspective and moving forward with the willingness to do things differently. 

  1. Know when to let go

If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on. Maybe the conversation can be delayed to after Ramadan when schedules are back to normal and each person has time to think things through.

  1. Make dua’

Never underestimate the power of dua’, especially during the blessed month of Ramadan. Remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the turner of hearts and the One who has power over all of our affairs. Seek Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) help in reconciliation, in softening our hearts towards one another, in protecting us from shaytan, and in forgiveness. 

Recite this dua’:

“O Allah, bring our hearts together, reconcile between us, guide us to ways of peace, and deliver us from darkness into light. Keep us away from immorality, outwardly and inwardly, and bless us in our hearing, our seeing, our hearts, our spouses, and our children. Accept our repentance, for you alone are the Relenting, the Merciful. Make us grateful for your blessings, praising and accepting them, and give them to us in full.” [Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 968, Sahih]

And remember, each one of us goes through difficulties in life. The best of us know how to navigate such situations with emotional maturity, good communication, God-consciousness, and wisdom. Rather than avoiding conflict, we can learn to master the art of disputation for a more active presence in our relationships insha’Allah.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) help us navigate conflicts effectively, and ultimately align our hearts and minds toward the truth. 



Marital Harmony And Conflict Resolution: The Quranic Paradigm –

A Story of Masjid Conflict Resolution –

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Anika Munshi is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is passionate about working with Muslims and the various challenges they face living in the West all within a traditional Islamic paradigm. Anika believes that God is at the center of our existence, and healing requires aligning our heart and mind towards God. Anika also works as a graphic designer serving Muslim businesses and organizations and incorporates traditional Islamic aesthetics to create modern forms of visual dawah.

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