THE CONCEPT OF SULH IN ISLAMIC LAW: A CASE STUDY OF THE PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE OF THE KATSINA STATE SHARIA COURTS
This study entitled “The Concept of Sulh in Islamic Law: A Case Study of the Practice and Procedure of the Katsina State Sharia Courts” has examined the concept of Sulh as a type of dispute resolution in which a third party intervenes to help disputing parties reach a mutually satisfactory agreement and the practice thereby in Katsina State Sharia Courts (KSSC). The research work is predicated upon the problem of the volume of cases coming before the KSSC and the latent absence of formal adoption of the rules and principles of Islamic law relating to amicable settlement of disputes within the judicial setting in Katsina State. The main objective of this work therefore, is to offer a highlight on the concept of Sulh as the Islamic perspective of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). To achieve this, doctrinal and empirical methods of legal research was adopted. It is argued that Islamic law contemplate amicable resolution of disputes some 1400 years ago right from the 7th Century A.D. in advance of any Western move on the subject and in view of this, it was observed that, in its Islamic law conception, Sulh is one of the characteristic features of administration of justice in Islamic law. The findings of the study was that some of the rules of practice and procedure related to the concept of Sulh in KSSC are to a large extent, reminiscent of English style of mediation rules than that of Islamic law per se. Additionally, it was found that much of the current challenges and legal problems associated with the practice of Sulh before the KSSC due to the neglect by the government over the years of affording to Muslims a religiously based amicable dispute resolution as per the provisions of Islamic law. The study concludes with recommendations that Sulhu should be formally recognized as an amicable dispute resolution mechanism alongside adjudication in the KSSC it being more advantageous to Muslims than the Western conception of ADR. It is further recommended that it is expedient that the practice of Sulh shall be extended to the sphere of Islamic criminal justice and in line with this, the Sharia Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code of Katsina State shall be amended urgently to reflect the teachings of Islamic law on the practice of Sulhu in criminal cases. It was also recommended that there shall be accessibility by all persons to the Sulhu-Door facility of the KTMDCH instead of being centralized in Katsina metropolis alone.It is also recommended that theSharia Court Rules and the Sulhu-Door Rules of Katsina State should be amended to additionally reflect the rules and principles of the Shariaor where possible, their replacement with a purely Sharia-based rules of procedure for the Sharia Court and the Sulhu Door respectively.