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The Document of Medina and its Role in Founding the State

Author : An Article by the Secretary General Dr. Ahmad Al-Hassanat

Date Added : 01-08-2022


The Document of Medina and its Role in Founding the State

 

The Prophet (PBUH) didn`t migrate to Medina out of fear for his life or that of his family. If this was the case, he would have migrated to Abyssinia and stayed there under the protection of its king Najashi who gave protection to the Muslims in their first migration. We can add that if this was the case he would have been the first to migrate to Medina. However, the truth of the matter is that he (PBUH) was the last to migrate after making sure that most of his companions have safely left Makkah.

This migration (Hijrah) has changed the course of the Islamic Da`wah moving from calling to Allah to establishing an Islamic state. It was no ordinary event or just a trip, as it was preceded by the Covenant of Aqaba, in which the notables of Medina have pledged to receive and protect the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions. Mos`ab Bin Omayer was also sent to teach Islam to the people of Medina and paved the way for this migration. 

This destination was no coincidence or an impulsive decision. Rather, it was well arranged and carefully planned because the aim was to build a nation and a state, which needed careful planning and design mechanism viable for application. Had Makkah been suitable, it would have been more entitled to be this destination and the same goes for Abyssinia. Actually, the environment of Medina differs from that of Abyssinia in the sense that the latter already has a king and a regulatory system.

Therefore, any attempt to propagate the message of Islam in Abyssinia will be governed by the laws of that state and any deviation from its system of governance will be considered a coup, which will definitely hinder the progress of the Islamic Da`wah. Moreover, submission to the system of that state means hindering its expansion.

Since the objective behind migrating to Medina was building a state that includes everyone and establishing a system of civilization that considers the human aspects of society as a whole, Medina, back then, was a fertile environment to be the center of such state. This is taking into consideration the fact that Medina wasn`t under one rule. Rather, there were scattered leaderships and different nationalities where the Aws had their leader and the same goes for the Khazraj and the Jews. This is in addition to other factors of disunity, which the Jews have worked to spread over the years.

At that time, Medina didn`t enjoy a religious status, as did Makkah and BailtulMaqdis, had no commercial importance, and had no assembly as did Makkah where people assembled to confer and decide about various issues and decisions were hung on the wall of Kabbah.

From earlier scriptures, the people of medina knew that the last Prophet will be sent and were expecting him. This is to the extent that the Jews threatened them that if he came they will be victorious over them. Therefore, Allah willed that Medina be the starting place for the young Muslim state that was based on solid foundations since the day it was born. Since day one, the Prophet (PBUH) laid its foundations and built a mosque for people to assemble in and hence differences were eliminated. This mosque embodied a Mini Society as Muslims gathered there to obey Allah and pray behind one Imam, and this prepared them to obey and follow their ruler later on.

In parallel with building this mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) established a brotherhood between the Muhajireen and the Ansar to pave the way for establishing a united society, one supporting the other. This human entity has to be a single-hearted unity as one man, as willed by Allah the Almighty.

This human entity needs a system to organize it and outline the rights and obligations, so once he arrived in Medina the Prophet (PBUH) established a document governing relations in Medina. In modern terms, this document represented the constitution of the Muslim state and this is why the state of Mohammad is the first constitutional state-contrary to past states-established on a constitution from the first moment of its birth. Earlier, states were established in the sense that martial laws were subject to the discretionary power of the ruler without laws or regulations. Afterwards, rulers started organizing provisions gradually. By contrast, the Muslim state, with all its components, was built from the preliminary structure. This could have implied that it will be a theocratic state that doesn`t accept the other because its head was a Prophet sent by Allah. On the contrary, this document represented the civilian state ruling by law and respecting the rule of the law. It also considers all aspects of civilization and humanity and all components across the spectrum of society. It was the first constitution for a civilian state worldwide. It is a state founded on corporate citizenship, diversity and plurality regardless of color, race, and gender. It ensured the rights of all, achieved justice and equality, and guaranteed freedom of religion from the very moment of its establishment. It encompassed Muslims from different backgrounds and preserved the religious and civil rights of the Jews living within its borders.

What sets this document apart is that it contains no hypotheses or theories as it was established for practical application. It has also outlined the features and components of the Muslim state where Medina emerged as a sovereign political state under the leadership of Mohammad (PBUH). It became a state with territory, people, leadership and ruling system. It even matched the super-power states and was distinct from states of that time.

Forty-seven articles of this constitution came to organize the political, social, and economic aspects of life amongst Muslims themselves and non-Muslims. It organized the relations between the people of Medina and those who fought or supported them enhancing the concept of the rule of law, citizenship rights, collective responsibility and social solidarity. The first twenty articles organize the relations amongst Muslims themselves and the other articles organize the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The first article outlines the source of powers, the borders of the state, and the people living on its territory.

The head of the state and source of legislation is Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in his capacity as messenger, commander, and ruler.

Since this document came to establish a civilian state, it was necessary to eliminate clan and tribal political trends and centers of power in that society. It also eliminated the multiple leaderships in Medina and banned them from interfering in the essential powers of the state and interrupting the law. It banned all that disagreed with the rule of the law and made the state the sole body of all powers. Thus, loyalty was transferred from the tribe or the clan to the state. However, it made the tribes and centers of powers a means of construction, not destruction. Therefore, it strengthened social solidarity amongst the members of the same clan, which helps keep society united, so the tribe became socially responsible but subjected to the general political system. Thus, leadership was that of the state and the rule was that of the law. This way, the document preserved the social and ethical role of the tribe provided that it is governed by the rule of the state and the law. It also made the affiliation for the state and the country precede the affiliation for the tribe and the clan.

Since the Muslim state came to achieve peace and justice in all aspects of society, it regulated laws governing the internal community of the Medina and preserved the unity of its members. Therefore, it mentioned foreign enemies, not domestic ones from amongst the hypocrites and the opposition to eliminate all forms of dispute and prevent internal unrest that used to prevail in past times. Although it didn`t mention domestic enemies, it drew up law that deter anyone who has seditious intentions or attempt to disturb internal peace. 

The document also highlighted the concept of citizenship and allowing every member to participate in building the country and protecting it against foreign enemies, so national affiliation superseded tribal affiliation. In addition, this document preserved the blood, honor, and wealth of the people of Medina by making these inviolable, regardless of religion or orientations. Therefore, every member, regardless of his religion or race, felt obligated to defend country against all enemies.

The document didn`t exclude anyone based on religious or ethnic background so the difference was that of diversity and enrichment. Moreover, consultation between the state and the people was a key pillar in building a strong state and an important means of administering a civilian state. It also defined the criminal liability in case an individual transgressed against another, so punishment is for the transgressor only, not his family or clan. In other words, the individual, not the clan, is liable for his actions. This means no civil wars between clans, no displacement of families, no going back to times of ignorance and tribal antagonism that incite enmity and undermine security and stability.

According to this document, the state is in charge of applying laws and this stabilizes the state and prevents injustice and transgression. This also eliminates martial laws, vengeance, and destruction of property. Thus, when there is conflict, it is resorted to the public order of the state to preserve security, and consequently render people`s blood, wealth, and honor inviolable.

In conclusion, this document established by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is one of the greatest pieces that history has ever witnessed for founding and building states. If Muslims reapply this document, they will have a stronger state deriving its strength from the strength of the one who had placed its cornerstone and that is Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of The Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

 

 

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