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Sulh (Arabic: صلح‎, translit. ṣulḥ) is an Arabic word meaning "resolution" or "fixing" generally, in problem solving. It is frequently used in the context of social problems.


In Quranic Arabic, ṣulḥ is used as a term signifying an agreement or settlement over a property dispute and retains this sense in later Islamic legal usage. In Bedouin customary law, it can signify a settlement of a tribal feud and in modern Arabic usage, it is applied to treaties, such as ṣulḥ Versailles (the Treaty of Versailles).[1] In general, it reflects a sense of resolution of conflict through negotiation. The two parties select respected individuals to mediate the conflict, a truce (hudna) is declared, a settlement is reached that maintains the honor and status of both parties, and a public ritual takes place. Particularly important is the fact that the practice affirms bonds between groups and not just individuals.[2] It averts a cycle of revenge.[3]

Ṣulḥ, in its sense of conflict mediation, is still common in rural areas where governmental systems of justice have little force.[3]

In Muslim political thought[edit]

In the early days of the Islamic Empire, ṣulḥ, in the sense of "treaty" or "armistice," typically meant that a region had "surrendered on terms" or similarly during the Ottoman retreat it preceded a region's independence. Typically, it signified an area that was ruled and administered by its local political structure but acknowledged itself as a subject through the payment of tribute.[1]

In the Muslim world view on divisions of the world the region called the Dār al-‘Ahd (دار العهد, "house of truce") or Dār aṣ-Ṣulḥ (دار الصلح, "house of treaty") or Dār al-Hudna (دار الهدنة, "house of calm") was seen as an intermediate to Dār al-Islām (دار الإسلام, "house/abode of Islam"), or Dār as-Salām (دار السلام, "house/abode of Peace"), and Dār al-Ḥarb (دار الحرب, "house of war").

Dār aṣ-Ṣulḥ, was then seen as non-Muslim territory that had concluded an armistice with Muslims, and had agreed to protect Muslims and their clients and interests within its borders. Often this implied a tributary situation, however modern writings also include friendly countries in Dār aṣ-Ṣulḥ. By no means was this particular division, however, recognized by all Muslim jurists, and due to historical changes these concepts have little significance today.[4]


  1. ^ a b Lewis, (1991), pg 78-80
  2. ^ Irani, George Emile (2006). "Apologies and Reconciliation: Middle Eastern Rituals". Taking wrongs seriously: apologies and reconciliation. Stanford University Press.
  3. ^ a b Gopin, Marc (2002). Holy war, holy peace: how religion can bring peace to the Middle East. Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-512559-2, pg 62-62 [1]


  • Lewis, Bernard, The Political Language of Islam, University of Chicago Press, 1991, ISBN 0-226-47693-6 [2]