My thesis is based primarily on the following two subjects of study: I) The establishment of fraternity in Medina (muwakhat);
2) The Charter of Medina (mithaq) Placing these two topics within an investigative framework, I have tried to demonstrate as to how these two are pertinent today especially with reference to socio-political reform. The thesis consists of the following chapters. It is prefaced with a review of the literature on the subject and its assessment.
In the first chapter, a survey has been made of the socio-religious life of Arabs before the advent of Islam. In doing so, an assessment has been made as to how Islam dramatically ameliorated their \\retched condition and initiated a process of reformation in all walks of life.
In the second chapter, an extended discussion on the Prophet Muhammad‚€™s peace Initiatives: Life of Makkah and Madina perspective.
The third chapter deals with Prophet Muhammad's effort on building Muslim Brotherhood in Makkah and Madina.
The fourth chapter deals with the treaty of Madina A comprehensive Study. The fifth Chapter highlights the Prophet's Treatment of the Jews.
In the sixth chapter, I have brought out a unique aspect of the whole issue by stressing the Islamic responsibilities of the Muslims and the guidance available in the life (Sirah) of the Holy Prophet Prophet‚€™s continous efforts of global peace and peaceful co-existance.
The conclusion represents the sum and summary of the contents of the entire thesis. The bibliography contains the names of the books referred to in the course of writing my thesis.
The central subject of the thesis is the Constitution of Medina. After a brief description of the fraternity (mukhawat) established in Medina, I give an explanatory summary of the central topic.
The establishment of Brotherhood: Soon after Hijrah, the Holy Prophet cemented the bonds of love and assistance between the Muhajireen and the Ansars by establishing a new bond of brotherhood between the two. The Meccan Muhajireen had arrived in Medina in a condition of great penury and helplessness. They had abandoned their all in Mecca (houses, properties, and riches) for the sake of their faith and many of them were in a state of great distress and needed the assistance of the Madinaian Muslims, who, however, were in a position to help them. The Prophet, therefore, established a brotherhood between the two groups - brotherhood based not on kinship or blood but on faith, which linked them together in sorrow and in a joy. In this way, an Ansari become a brother of a Muhajir and had to share this wealth and property with his new brethren-in-faith. There were many touching scenes of this new spirit of fraternity. However, many of the Muhajireen refused to submit to their straitened circumstances. They soon took to trade and business and produced wealth in a short time thus becoming independent of their hospitable brethen-in- faith. After the Battle of Badr, when the Zakat and war-booty brought increasing riches to the Muslims, the League of Brotherhood became redundant.
Agreement with Jews: The next step was to enter into agreement with the Jews of Madina. According to the historians, the Jews of Madina were not the descendents of the original Bani Israel but in fact they were Arabs, who has subsequently accepted the Jewish faith. Their names Nadhair, Qaynuqoh, Marhab Harith etc., were all the Arabs names rather than those of Jewish origin. There were three prominent tribes of the Jews i.e. Bani Qaniqah, Bani Nazeer and Bani Qureza. They were all settled in the suburbs of Madina and had their own strong fortresses. They were adversaries of the two prominent tribes of the Ansars i.e. Aus and Khazraj. In the Battle of the Ba‚€™as the Ansars had become weak and, therefore, the Holy Prophet made a settlement with the Jews and ultimately an agreement was drawn up on the following terms:
a. Every tribe and clan would manage its affairs and settle its own disputes according to its own law.
b. No party in Madina, either Muslim or Jew, would directly negotiate any treaty of agreement at any time with any outside party residing beyond the precincts of Madina.
c. In case of war outside Madina no Madinites would be compelled to join either of the warring parties.
The chapter of Madina and its original essence: After establishing fraternal relations between the local and Qurayshite Muslims and alleviating the financial distress of the muhajireen, Muhammad next turned his attention to the problem of relations between the Jews and the Muslims, the restoration of peace and order in Madina, torn by a century of strife and bloodshed, and the Organization of the city as a community of believers. Abdullah bin Ubayy and his Munafiqeen had not yet become a problem and a danger because Islam was so strong in Madina and was spreading so fast that they dared not oppose the Prophet or the spread of his religion openly. The Prophet also adopted a conciliatory attitude toward Abduallah his Ubayy. It was only when the Qurayshite invaders and aggressors began to encircle Madina that the Munafiqeen, who become the hirelings and tools of the Quraish, became a danger to the security of the Madina republic and to Islam.
Madina was inhabited by two races, the Arabs and the Jews. When, after the hijrah, a great majority of the Arabs of Madina adopted Islam, it came to inhabited by two religious communities. Religious, social and political relations of peace was established after a century or so of bloodshed and discord, war and killing which prevailed between the clans of the two rival tribes of the Aus and the Khazraj Medina was to be organized on the basis of sound administration and government. The Chapter of Madina, which the Holy Prophet granted to the Jews and various clans of Madina, solved these problems and achieved the purpose of establishing between peaces between the two. We shall here briefly describe the main provisions of this Charter of Madina and shall then discuss its effect and importance.
The Charter of the Covent of Madina is lengthy document. For our convenience, we had divided and arranged its provisions under the three headings under the three headings, political, civic and religious:
The Charter :Its preamble: ‚€œfrom the Apostle of God, for those of the Quraish and the inhabitants of Madina who accepted Islam and adopted the Faith; and for those who are subservient to them in war and alliances.
Its political clauses: a. Republic and Nation of Madina: They (i.e. the Muslims and the Jews) constitute one political Ummah or entity. b. Peace terms: The valley of Yathrib (Madina) will be taken for a Sanctuary (i.e. a place of peace) by all its citizens Muslims or Jews. c. Sovereignty of Allah and the authority of the Prophet i. In case differences arose between the citizens, they should turn for guidance to God and His Prophet. ii. If any disputer or any fatality amongst the people of Madina and mischief is feared, then guidance will be sought from God and His Prophet, Muhammad God's will is with that person who obeys the in junctions and decisions with the best of intentions and fidelity. iii. No one in Madina, Muslim or Jew would declare war or proceed on a military campaign save with the permission of Muhammad. iv. Controversies and disputes shall be referred to the decision of God and His Prophet
Duties and obligations of war and place: 1) War and peace shall be made by common consent . He that goes forth shall be secure; and he that site at home shall be secure. 2) While fighting in the way of God, no Believer would make peace with the enemy leaving alone his fellow Muslims as long peace is not unanimously resolved upon. 3) The Believers would be one Community and act jointly while making peace. They will unanimously take vengeance on anyone who fights against them in the path of God. 4) The Jews an the Muslims will mutually help each other if a third party contemplates an invasion of Madina. 5) In case the Jews have to fight side by side with the Muslims on the battle field, they will are the costs along with the Muslims. 6) If the Muslims are invited to make peace the Jews shall also accept the same terms and observe them. And if the Jews invite the Muslims for a similar purpose, it will be incumbent on the Muslims to. 7) Behave similarly. The only exception will be in the case of a religious war.
Prohibition of civil strife: If anyone tights with people of this Covenant, the contractors jointly resist him i.e. the Muslims and the Jews. There shall be peace and concord amongst them. There shall be fidelity and not faithlessness among them.
Political duties of the non-Muslims: None of the non-Muslims may offer protection to the life and property of the Quraish of Mecca nor defy a Believer in this respect. Civic clauses
Responsibility for peace and Blood money: The Quraish emirants and the people of the Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj will be responsible for their own wards. They will pay blood money on a co-operative basis and those relations between them and the Believers of other tribes, clans or parties will be based on justice and equity.
Duties regarding debts and contracts: The Believers will to rescue of anyone who has fallen badly into debt so that relations between such a person and the Believers may be re-established on justice and equity. No Believer will enter into direct relations with any person who has already entered into contract with another Believer.
Duties regarding the breach of peace and other offences: The pious Believers will unanimously rise against anyone who rebels or who commits fornication or any offence to tyranny or who attempts to stir up mischief amongst them. They are to make common cause against such a person, even though he may be their kinsman.
Duties of Believers: Neither a Believer will kill a Believer on behalf of an infidel nor will he render help to a non-Believer against a Believer.
The punishment of murderers: Whosoever kills a Believer, intentionally and deliberately, and has his crime proven against him shall be subject to retaliation unless the gurardian of the assassinated person agrees to accept blood money. None of the Believers will offer protection to any murderer or abet him in any way whosoever does so will bring down on himself the wrath and curse of God. No penalty or indemnity would be accepted of him. The Jews who have also agreed to this Covenant are under the same obligation.
Right of retaliation or self-defence: No obstacles or impediments would be placed in the way of a person who has received a physical injury should be wish to retaliate.
Responsibility for murder: Whosoever causes bloodshed shall be held responsible and his tribe with him; otherwise it would be an act of tyranny. God's will is with those who obey is injunction scrupulously.
Its religion clauses Mutual responsibility and brotherhood of Muslims: The responsibility of a Believer of God's kingdom is such that should be even the lowest amongst the Believers offer refuge to somebody, then every Believer would be under an obligation to defend and respect him. The Believers are brothers and constitute one unit against the whole world. If a Jew becomes a Muslim, he will be treated as an equal. He would not be tyrannized and no help would be offered to anybody against him.
Political alliance with the Jews: The Jews are recognized as being in political alliance with V1uslims and are one with them.
Freedom of worship and the principle of tolerance: Both Jews and Muslims will offer reciprocal respect and tolerance for their two religions. Whosoever is responsible for any aggression or for the breach of any treaty, he will make himself and his household responsible for necessary punishment whether his is a Muslim or a Jew.
Such are, in brief the salient features of the Charter of Madina or the Covenant of Madina, which the Holy Prophet promulgated soon after his arrival in Madina.
Its effects: A perusal of the Charter would clearly indicate that it aimed at and brought about a complete transformation in the political, religious and civic life of Madina. Firstly it established political unity and transformed the city of warring tribes into a peaceful State or republic, headed by the Holy Prophet under the sovereignty of Allah. Secondly, it replaced civil strife and discord. The life and property of every person, Muslim or Jew, was protected by the Prophet and Islam. The Charter guaranteed equality of rights and duties to the citizens of Madina irrespective of their colour, creed or social status. Thus a rule of law was proclaimed where there was before a rule of tribal vengeance and inequality. Thirdly, it proclaimed the principles of religious freedom and tolerance. Its significance: The Charter of Madina has been called the first constitution of the world. It proclaimed the principles of civic equality, the rule of law, freedom of ownership and religious tolerance. But it was more than that; it was the Manifesto of the Prophet, outlining his plan or program for rebuilding the strife-torn areas of yathrib. It also outlined the blueprint of a similar plan for unifying the war-torn land of Arabia. The proposals of the Prophet: A study of the Charter clearly shows that the Prophet aimed at such a rebuilding at Madina in which the Muslims and the Jews would be equal citizens. At that time, nearly half the population of Madina was Jewish. They were landlords, merchants and shopkeepers and possessed great wealth and riches. They had also fortified houses, castles and colonies in and around Madina. Yet they could not be allowed to form a state within a state, hostile to the Muslim State, but to be incorporated as equal citizens and partners in a single State of Madina. This was the ultimate goal and ideal of this Charter, embodied in this provision: ‚€œTo form one community or Ummah as against mankind.‚€Ě It indicates the statesmanship of the Holy Prophet of the highest order and of his forseeing several races and religious as co-citizens. It was solely due to the perfidy and treachery of the Jews who joined hands with the Qurayshite aggressors against him and his Republic that they were later banished.
A new socio-political order: Another significant change which the Charter aimed at was a new social order in place of the old tribal kinship. The new community was to be organized on allegiance to the new religion and the sovereignty of God. Hitherto the greatest social unit in ancient Arabia was the clan or the tribe, with kinship or blood relationship as its social bond and political foundry, Such a tribal Organization was a source of weakness and war in the country. It was unable to preserve peace outside the boundaries of the tribe or the clans as the case may be. Even within the tribe it failed to keep peace when it increased in number or was split by some powerful motive such as economic gain etc. Hence wars and disputes between clan and clan and tribe and tribe were common in Arabia. The Charter of Madina, however, substituted a new and stronger bond of allegiance to Islam, loyalty to the Prophet and the sovereignty of God in place of the limited and weak bond of tribal membership. It unified several tribes of Madina and aimed at uniting all the tribes of Arabia, as we shall see, and this bring an Arab nation into existence. Social and political brotherhood of Islam took precedence over all other ties and relationships of blood and tribe. It bound all Muslims together for offence and defence; it guaranteed them the protection of the Community, except when a man was an obvious offender. It made God and his Prophet the final Arbitrator in all disputes. Though the tribe still remained the basis of social relationships, it was super imposed by a new bond of religious cohesion. In this Charter brought about a socio-political revolution in the history of Arabia. The basic principle of this revolution was the head-ship of the Prophet under the sovereignty of God. This agreement gave the administration of the State of Madina in the hands of the Holy Prophet.