The Constitution of Medina which guaranteed Equality, Justice & Freedom of Religion is proof that Prophet Muhammad is a revolutionary lawmaker. In this article, we will look at the Constitution of Medina which shows how Prophet Muhammad successfully established peace and harmony among members of a pluralistic society.
India is a land of people belonging to different religions, caste, cultures and languages. We all understand the need for peace, tolerance and harmony among us. Achieving unity in diversity can be a challenge in a pluralistic society. We will look at a spectacular incident from the life of Prophet Muhammad, which is so relevant to the current Indian context.
No wonder, the US Supreme Court recognized Prophet Muhammad as one of the greatest lawmaker in the history of mankind.
Prophet Muhammad was born in Makkah. He was a well respected man and people called him with the title “Al-Ameen” meaning “The Trustworthy” because of his honesty and good character. At age 40, Prophet Muhammad starts to preach that all humans are created by one God, whom we are accountable to for what we do in this world and everyone irrespective of their race and skin color are equal. The chieftains of Makkah who were oppressing people based on their claim of superiority by birth and lineage, felt threatened by the message of equality preached by Prophet Muhammad. They started persecuting Prophet Muhammad and his followers. Because of this extreme persecution, Prophet Muhammad migrated to a city called Medina.
Medina was a pluralistic society. It had people belonging to several different tribes who practised different pagan religions and Judaism. Some of the Jewish tribes allied with tribes who followed pagan religion while the other Jewish tribes allied with the rest of the pagan tribes. These tribes were fighting and oppressing each other for several centuries.
Constitution of Medina
After the Prophet’s arrival in Medina, he was accepted as the leader. As soon as he became the leader, the Prophet made an agreement with the different tribes of Medina. This agreement is famously referred to as the “Constitution of Medina.” Through this agreement, the Prophet was able to successfully put an end to the endless fighting and oppression that was going on for centuries.
The clauses in the Constitution of Medina were built on Equality, Justice and Freedom of Religion. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant clauses in the agreement.
Clauses on Freedom of Religion & Goodwill
Clauses on Equality
It must be noted that before this agreement, the practice of inequality was rampant even among the Jewish tribes. Let’s take the case of two Jewish tribes named Banu Nadhir and Banu Qurayzah. For example: If a person from Banu Nadhir kills a person from Banu Qurayẓah, they would give only money as compensation. But, if a member of their tribe is killed by someone from Banu Qurayẓah, they will kill the murderer.
Through the Constitution of Medina, the Prophet put an end to such unjust practices and granted equality even between the Jewish tribes.
Clauses on Justice
For example: If a Muslim cheats a non-Muslim, all the other Muslims will only stand for justice and support the non-Muslim who was cheated.
Constitution of Medina and its relevance today
Prophet Muhammad successfully put an end to the endless fighting and oppression among the different tribes of Medina through an agreement that guaranteed practical implementation of freedom of religion, equality and justice.
As one can see, even after 1400 plus years, the principles from the “Constitution of Medina” are extremely relevant to us in India to achieve equality, peace and harmony among the people of different religions, castes, cultures and languages.
Practically implementing the noble principles of freedom of religion, equality and justice, without a doubt will help us achieve peace, harmony and understanding that we all desire.
United we stand! Divided we fall! Jai Hind!