The Charter of Madinah|Mithaq -e-Madinah |Social contract

Throughout the history of the world,all countries and nations operated under certain laws promulgated by their founders or rulers.From the codes of Hammurabi to the onstitution of today, treaties have evolved significantly over centuries.Many historian consider the English "Manga Carta"to be the first written constitution; however according to the research of Dr Hamidullah .on of the most eminent Muslim researchers and scholar of the 20th century,the Charter of Madinah (Mithaq -e- Madinah)was the first constitution written by mankind."Charter of Madinah"precedes the American constitution of 1787 and the English Magna Carta of 1215


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1.Backdrop:

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) delivered the message of ALLAH in Makkah for about 13 years in the face of ruthless and obstinate opposition.In 622A.D.,He (SAW)finally moved to Yathrib (Madinah) together with His followers after receiving an invitation from the Arab tribes of the Yathrib.

Mithaq -e-Madinah

At that time, Yathrib was a pluralistic society composed people of different religions with a large population of Jews.These tribes were engaged in bitter quarrels and often went to war over disputes that had been going on for generations..There were twelve tribes of Arabs divided between Aus and Khazraj and then Jewish tribes including Banu Nuzair ,Banu Quraiza and Bani Qainqua. The continuous state of anarchy in Madinah eventually forced the residents to seek options for peace.They agreed to make a prominent tribal chief , Abdullah Ibn Ubay bin Salool their king so that peace and harmony could be achieved. Around this time, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) arrived in Madinah and the tide turned against Abdullah bin Ubay.Simce The Prophet Muhammad(SAW)was viewed as a respectable,Honest and trustworthy Person ,He(SAW)was requested to head the soon-to be city -state of Madinah. 

2. Working on charter:

After assuming a central role in Madina,The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) recognized a few pressing needs,which included:
Islamic institution

  • Determining the rights and responsibilities of the local populace as well as the immigrants from Makkah.
  • Making agreements with the non-Muslims of Madinah, especially the Jews,to ensure peace and harmony.
  • Creating a strategy and plan to defend the city against foreign invasions.
  • Making resources available for the immigrants to earn a living.

The Charter

It's preamble

It is from the Apostle of ALLAH,for those of the Quraish and inhabitants of Madinah who accepted the Islam and adopted the faith; and for those who are subservient to them in war and alliances .

Political clauses:

  1. Republic and nation of Madinah: They (i-e the Muslims and the Jews) constitute one political Ummah or entity.
  2. Peace terms:The valley of Yathrib (Madinah)will be taken as sanctuary (i-e a place of peace)by all it's citizens weather Muslims or Jews.
  3. Sovereignty of ALLAH and the authority of the Prophet (SAW)
  • In case differences arose between the citizens,they should turn for guidance to God and His Prophet Muhammad (SAW) .
  • If any disputer or any fatality amongst the people of Madinah and mischief is feared,then guidance will be sought from ALLAH and His Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
  • No one in Madinah, Muslim or Jew would declare war or proceed on a military campaign save with the permission of Muhammad (SAW).
  • Controversies and disputes shall be referred to the decision of ALLAH and His Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Duties and Obligation of War and peace:

  1. War and peace shall be made by common consent.He that goes forth shall be secure;and he that stays at home shall be secure.
  2. While fighting in the way of ALLAH,no believer would make peace with the enemy leaving alone his fellow Muslims as long as 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 ALLAH.
  4. The Jews and the Muslims will mutually help each other if third party contemplates an invasion of Madinah.
  5. In case the Jews have to fight side by side with the Muslims on the battlefield,they will be 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 too.

Prohibition of Civil Strife:

If anyone fights with the people of this covenant,the contractors will jointly resist him,i.e.the Muslims and the Jews.There shall be peace and concord 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 Makkah nor defy a believer in this respect.

Responsibility for peace and blood money:

The Quraish Emirates and the people of the Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj will be responsible for their own wars .They will pay blood money on a cooperative basis and those relations between them and the believers of other tribes ,clan or parties will be based on justice and equity.

Duties regarding the breach of peace and 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

Duties of believers:

Neither a believer will kill a believer in 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 his crime proven against him,shall be subject to retaliation unless the guardian 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 ALLAH ALMIGHTY.No penalty or indemnity would be accepted of him.The Jews who have also agreed to this covenant are under the same obligation.

Responsibility for murder:

Whosoever causes  bloodshed shall be held responsible and his tribe with him;otherwise it would be an act of tyranny. ALLAH 's will is with those who obey HIS injunction.

Mutual responsibility and brotherhood of Muslims:

The believers are brothers and constitute one unit.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 the Muslims and are one with them.

Freedom of worship and the principal of tolerance:

Both Jews and Muslims will offer reciprocal respect and tolerance for their religions.Whosoever is responsible for any regression or for the breach of any treaty,he will make himself and his household responsible for necessary punishment whether he is a Muslim or Jew .
Such are,in  brief ,the salient features of charter of Madinah or the covenant of Madinah,which the HOLY Prophet Muhammad (SAW) promulgated.

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