Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
Seeking Advancement of Knowledge through Spiritual and Intellectual Growth

International ConferenceAbout IRFIIRFI CommitteesRamadan CalendarQur'anic InspirationsWith Your Help

Articles 1 - 1000 | Articles 1001-2000 | Articles 2001 - 3000 | Articles 3001 - 4000 | Articles 4001 - 5000 | Articles 5001 - 6000 |  All Articles

Family and Children | Hadith | Health | Hijab | Islam and Christianity | Islam and Medicine | Islamic Personalities | Other | Personal Growth | Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) | Qur'an | Ramadan | Science | Social Issues | Women in Islam |

Islamic Articles
Islamic Links
Islamic Cemetery
Islamic Books
Women in Islam
Aalim Newsletter
Date Conversion
Prayer Schedule
Q & A
Contact Info



By Samuel Owusu-Yeboah


Conflict is defined as an open clash between two opposing groups. It could also mean opposition between two simultaneous but incompatible feelings and opinions.

Conflict is catalysed by aggression, which means standing up for your right even if it is to the detriment of other people’s rights. Historically, conflict has been aired as wars between groups. In our present world, there have been great wars which have destroyed a lot of lives and properties.


In the Bible, the earliest account of war was in Genesis 14 where the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were attacked by five other kings and Lot was abducted. Abraham was drawn into the war from thence, with 318 men of his household (Genesis 14), he waged war against the five kings and freed his nephew, Lot.

When Israel moved out of Egypt towards the Promised Land, God gave them directions for controlling the nation’s military. They used these directions diligently for many years. In Numbers 1:1-3, God told the Israelites that all men above 20 years old should be enlisted in the Army and also, Moses and Aaron should number the soldiers.

Also, in Deuteronomy 20:1-20 God said;

1. The people should not to be afraid of whoever they go into battle with, no matter how sophisticated their ammunitions were.
2. Before wars, the Priests should encourage the soldiers.
3. The officers were also to tell the soldiers gripped with fear and other pleasures to withdraw from the army and go back home.
4. Whenever the Israeli Army came to a city, they were to proclaim peace onto it. If the people answered in peace, the Israelites should make them their servants. However if they opt for war, Israel should fight with them and destroy them.

This was the direction from God. As long as Israel followed these decrees of God faithfully, they won their wars decisively with casualty figures at the barest minimum. Over the years, after they settled in the Promised Land, the Israelites disobeyed God. God tried to re-mobilise them by sending his prophets but they did not take heed to his words.

Centuries on, the Roman Empire took centre-stage. They were simply invincible and they conquered all through Europe into the Middle East. Israel fell to Roman rule and Christianity was spread through the Roman Empire after their hostility towards the religion died out. Christianity became a state religion in the Roman Empire and many wars were fought to expand Christianity to nations outside the Roman Empire. Finally, in the 2nd Century AD, the Romans conquered Israel once more and took many Jews into Europe. From that time, the Jews were scattered all over the world and the Romans believed that they were now the chosen ones of God.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Islam rose under the leadership of Prophet Mohammed. Mohammed was a good army general. He mobilized the tall, strong and powerful Arab Bedouin desert dwellers into his army and waged a full scale offensive into nearby territories in his jihads. After his death, some of his followers formed different caliphates which sought to succeed Mohammed. Though there were varying successes from the various groups, Islam spread from the east of India, through to North Africa and into Europe in Spain and Portugal.

The entry of Islam into Europe was seen by the European Christians as a threat. Thus there were many religious-inspired wars fought by European kings and leaders against the Muslims of the Middle East and North Africa. They were successful in eradicating Islam from Europe but they could not do much about Islam in Asia and Africa.

Through the Medieval Ages to the Renaissance in Europe, many wars (Crusades and Jihads) were fought. In the early years of the 20th Century, globalisation became apparent and this led to struggles between nations. Between, 1914 and 1918, the 1st World War was fought between the Allies (mainly Russia, France, Britain, Italy, USA, Japan) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria, Hungary and other nations). This war came about because of the need to control the industrial markets in Europe and around the world. Also, the war erupted because many nations including Jewish communities around the globe questioned the harsh methods used by the Germans in pursing her foreign policy. In the 1st World War, 65,000,000 soldiers were presented in battles. Out of this 8,000,000 died or were reported missing whilst 37,000,000 sustained various degrees of injuries; amongst them was a junior ranked German soldier called Adolf Hitler, who suffered temporal blindness and was hospitalized. He blamed the Jews for the German loss in the World War because he believed they sabotaged the Central Powers. Adolf Hitler was born in Braunauam Inn, Austria-Hungary, in 1889, which was then part of Germany.

By 1937, most of the peace treaties signed in the 1st World War had failed. Adolf Hitler had risen to the highest position of the German government. In most of his speeches, Hitler made it known to the Germans that they were the most superior race on earth and with a German support, he could build a German empire that could last 1000 years. In Italy also, a dictator was rising called Benito Mussolini. Germany and Italy began to work together in many aspects. Suddenly, German manufacturing industries experienced a boom and there was the need for them to establish links in the international community to sell off their products. The international market was already controlled by Britain and the tussle for control became stronger. War at that time became inevitable.

Hitler began the war when he signed a treaty with The USSR and took advantage of the peace to invade many nations east of Germany. He nicknamed these nations Lebensraum (Living Space) which he considered were necessary for the German people to expand their production mechanisms. He therefore advocated for the expelling and killing of the local populations. Also, he ordered for the weeding out of the minorities in Germany like his long time enemies, the Jews as well as Gypsies and homosexuals who he ordered to be placed in concentration camps.

Hitler then began to wage war against foreign nations all around Europe and in other territories far and near. Gradually, Britain, France, USSR were drawn to the war as their territories were attacked by Germany and Italy. Japan was also at that time at war with China and they found their policies consistent with Germany so they joined to support Germany and Italy. USA was totally impaired to enter the war because she passed a neutrality law that prevented her from supporting either sides of the war which was mainly in Europe. On December 7 1941 a Japanese aircraft initiated a surprise attack on the US base in Pearl Harbour. In a matter of hours, Japanese aircrafts had bombed the whole harbour, killing 3000 US military personnel. The next morning, USA joined the war on the side of Britain, France, USSR and China. However, people believed after the war that this attack was initiated by Britain because they wanted their colleagues in the America to join in the war!

After a series of treaties and war strategy meetings, the most powerful Allied nations: USA, Britain and USSR then led by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin( The Big Three) decided to invade Germany from Normandy on the Coast of France. This operation was dubbed the D-Day and it was to be undertaken by a combined US and British military personnel. USSR was to attack Germany from the east through the Lebensraum. With some months of fighting, the Capitalist Anglo-Americans got a breakthrough in the west whilst the Communist USSR army also won victories from the east. At that moment, the two forces became sceptical of how each of them would share and rule the conquered nations. The British and American troops moved swiftly into German and so did the Soviets. They finally met in Berlin where the city was divided into two and ruled in halves by Capitalists and Communist ideologies.

Although this was a strong turn around, Japan was still aggressive in the Asian Pacific region. They were brutal in battle because their soldiers fought to death. Wherever they invaded, they were very tyrannical because historically, Japan had only one punishment for offenders and that was death. So when the Allies noted that an invasion of Japan would be costly on their armies, they thought of using the atomic bomb. Finally, on August 6th 1945, the Americans dropped a bomb on Hiroshima and on August 9th, they dropped another on Nagasaki causing a total of 240,000 deaths in Japan. America demanded an unconditional surrender of Japan but the Japanese military refused. The emperor of Japan however stepped in with his veto powers and agreed to an unconditional Japanese surrender. At the end of the war, a total of about 113,260,000 men were presented in the battle. There were causalities on 80,769,000 of them whilst 19,993,000 died. Soldiers from Ghana and Nigeria mainly of Hausa descent who were trusted for their military prowess entered the British West African Regiment and they fought in the Indian sub-continent in places like Burma.

After the war, there was scepticism between the Western Europeans and Americans on one side and the USSR and other Communist nations. This was because each one of them feared encroachment into her territory so trillions of US dollars were spent in military ammunitions to guard frontiers. In other nations like Korea and Vietnam, the Communists and Capitalists fought wars and the result was that these nations were carved into two; North and South. In Africa, the East-West conflict led to wars in nations like Angola and Mozambique. In all these wars, Soviet-backed Communist troops always recorded better results than the American led Capitalists.

In the late 1970s, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Knowing the degree of loss they could incur, the Capitalists led by USA mobilised troops from all over the Arab world in the name of protecting Islam against the ‘atheist communists’ and this led to the recruitment of Islamists who flooded Afghanistan through Pakistan. America provided these troops with a massive stock of ammunitions including many rocket propellers which the local Islamists or Mujahedin used to shoot down Soviet aircrafts.

In 1988, the USSR had spent too much on the war in Afghanistan so they withdrew. A few years afterwards, the Soviet Union collapsed. All the Islamists who entered Afghanistan from other Arab nations were rejected by their nations because they feared that they would begin uprisings against their national governments. These Mujahedin felt betrayed. Afghanistan then plunged into a civil war and many of these Islamists from nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia got set to punish America and Britain for making them stranded. Their creeds and beliefs spread into the Arab world like wild fire from nations Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their hatred was fuelled by what they believed was betrayal by America and the influx of Western culture which they believed was destroying Islamic values. This has led to terrorism all over the world and it appears that many conflicts would emanate from this conflict until the Islamic and all other civilisations settle down to live in peace.

Mary Parker Follet described two extreme types of conflict in the work environment; destructive conflict and constructive conflict. Constructive conflict was described as challenging accepted old ideas to stimulate the development of a character change and motives. Constructive conflicts defined responsibility boundaries and provided opportunities for anxiety or personality challenges to be brought to the open. Destructive conflict on the other hand was personality based. It was meant to damage whatever came from one particular person and was malicious.

The main causes identified in conflict initiation were misunderstanding, mistrust, non supportive relationships, failure to communicate openly and unreasonable pressures. These causes manifested in regular arguments, ostracism, strikes, absenteeism, sabotage and low productivity.

When a manager identifies that there is conflict in his organisation, there were three options opened to him. The first was to confront the situation with the view of solving it once and for all. Secondly, if the conflict is identified to be a constructive one, the manager could sit back and do nothing. Finally, if the conflict was destructive but had the potential of being a constructive one, the manager could translate it into constructive competition by putting in place mechanisms that would stimulate positive contest in the conflict.


Jesus came to promote constructive conflict. He said in Matthew 10:34-35 that;

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

This indicates that His teachings were meant to be revolutionary and to bring changes that may not go down well with many people. This was repeated in Luke 12:51.

With this mindset, Jesus Christ questioned the simplistic nature of the Pharisees in many parts of the New Testament. Most of His criticism of these Pharisees was directed at their religious practises, which they thought was the ultimate way of getting to God. The most remarkable issues can be found in Matthew 23:1-39 where Jesus Christ questioned the activities of the Scribes and Pharisees extensively.

In the conflict Jesus Christ proposed in Matthew 10:34-35 however, there are limits that He observed. The main limitation is the law of God and the Word of God. This is outlined in Luke 16:17 where Jesus said “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” This means that all things could be challenged but not the law of God.

Jesus went further to say in Mark 13:31 that “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” This shows that all things could be challenged in conflict but not the word of God or Jesus Christ.

Peter in his epistles said in I Peter 5:5 that “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” That could be construed to mean that humility is a requirement of God. Therefore in challenging authority, one must do so without pride.

Dr. D. K. Olukoya on a segment of his preaching on the ministry of conflict in his message titled ‘The Blood on your Doorpost’ juxtaposed war in history with the ministry of deliverance saying that “…If you are a history student you might have come across an interesting story about the Roman Army which went to war with England. The soldiers went to England by sea and as soon as they arrived, they set their ships ablaze to the amazement of the British soldiers. That means forward ever and backward to their ship never. Immediately they did that, the British army knew that they were already defeated. That is what violence is all about and that is why the Bible describes us as soldiers. We are regarded as solders because we are supposed to engage in war in the ministry of conflict: And as soldiers, we are under a Captain or a Commander who is our Lord Jesus Christ….”


Without conflict there cannot be changes. The absence of conflict means stagnancy because where there is no war, there can be no peace.
Conflict can however bring progress or retrogression. Conflict could bring good or evil
Conflict can never be wrong for everybody in the universe. It would be favourable to some people and unfavourable to others
Discrimination, pride and unwarranted aggression are the catalysts to defeat in conflict.
For the best results in conflict, there should be control and supervision to ensure that things are done within the appropriate framework.
Jesus Christ’s ministry was a ministry of conflict.


Microsoft Encarta 2004


Sermoncentral, Dr. D. K. Olukoya’s page‘The Giving of Orders’ by Mary Parker Follet


The Taliban: War and Religion in Afghanistan, by Peter Marsden


Please report any broken links to Webmaster
Copyright © 1988-2012 All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer

free web tracker