Having decided to draw an end to the aggravating woes Muslims have been facing in Mecca, and having taken Medina as the new homeland for Muslims and a milestone of the first Muslim state since the advent of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set it upon himself to establish the new community on the strong foundation of brotherhood, respect, and justice. Since his anticipated arrival along with his companions in Medina, the Prophet was faced with a set of challenges and intriguing issues he had to efficiently address before laying the foundation of the new state. From economic hurdles arousing from the needs of the arriving immigrants, social and cultural gap between the Muhajirin and Anssar (Muslims from Quraysh and Yathrib), to the persisting threat of the Polytheists in Mecca, there was a heavy responsibility awaiting the noble Prophet in Medina. Prior setting a new socio-political and economic system for the new state, the Prophet (pbuh) planted the seed for the new community, that is the mosque. He built the Medina Mosque to be the milestone of the first Muslim Community in history, installing brotherhood among Muslims and taking it as the start point for what he envisioned as a prosperous and stable state for Muslims. Nevertheless, non-Muslims’ rights had to be observed. The new system ensured co-existence and respect for the Jews who were part of the community, fulfilling by that one big principle of social harmony; social justice and equality, that was the cornerstone of the Covenant of Media. According to Ibn Hisham, credited for the most popular account of the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it was after a relatively short period of time following the arrival of the Prophet and his followers in Medina, that the majority of the city’s Arab inhabitants converted to the religion of Islam, and this tells a lot about the efficiency of the law established in the new state, that helped people further believe in the message brought at the hands of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). – The Covenant Pillars stipulated the following:
  1. The notion of Unity and the meaning of Ummah:
– This is a document from Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), governing relations between the Believers i.e. Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They are members of one nation, one Ummah.
  1. All Muslims, regardless of their origin, are to retain their rights and commitments, with regards to payment- exaction of blood money, as they used to prior the immigration to Medina. Similarly they shall ransom their prisoners of war in a manner that ensures and strengthens the principles of justice and equality among the believers.
  2. All believers are to provide support to anyone among them who is burdened with debts and who has many dependants with the ransom or blood money, which he is unable to pay.
  3. Believers (Muslims), who fear Allah and hold fast to his commands, shall defy any attempt at breaking the principles of justice among the community, and are committed to stop anyone from committing an outrage of any sort, inflicting injustice in any way, or trying to advantage for himself/herself through wrongdoing, iniquity, aggression or any kind of corruption, even if he/she is one of their children.
  4. No believer is to kill a fellow believer on behalf of an unbeliever, nor shall he/she support an unbeliever against a believer. Similarly, no Believer is to help an un-Believer against a Believer.
  5. The peace of the Believers in Medina cannot be divided, this charter applies to all members of the community. Thus, if fighting takes place, fighting for the cause of Allah and His religion, no believer is allowed to conclude peace with the enemy without all other fellow believers being included on an equal, fair basis. In other words, no separate peace will be made by anyone in Medina, when Believers are fighting in the Path of Allah.
  6. This charter or agreement grants justice and protection to all believers, from the least to the greatest. And likewise, believers are protectors of one another. Believers are all friends to one other.
  7. It shall be unlawful for any believer who has accepted and acknowledged this pact and who believes in God and the Day of Judgment to support or protect to a criminal.
Anyone who does so will be cursed by God and shall receive his wrath on the Day of Resurrection, with nothing to alleviate his/her  guilt.
  1. If Jews ever decided to go to war (on their own), they are to bear responsibility for that and thus be responsible for their own expenses.
  2. Jews of Bani Awf will be treated as separate community along that of the Believers. The Jews have their religion, and the Muslims have theirs. On the other hand, those who act unjustly and involve in any criminal act or wrongdoing, only that implicated and his/her family are to be punished.
  3. Jews are responsible for their own upkeep, and the Muslims for theirs. However, they are to support one another, as members of one nation and adherents to the same pact should any outsiders wage war against the state of Medina. Thus, all parties of this covenant are bound to help each other in the event of a foreign attack. If anyone attacks any member who is an adherent to this charter the other must aid him/her against the aggressor.
  4. If adherents of this pact ever faced disagreement among themselves, the consequence of which they fear would jeopardize their unity, such conflict or disagreement will be brought before Allah Almighty and His Messenger (Prophet Muhammad: peace be upon him).
  5. Those who chose to live in Medina and those who chose to leave will be safe, as long as they did not commit any crime or injustice.
  6. Allah is the Protector of the righteous people and those who fear Allah. And He Almighty is the source of all truth and righteousness of this pact.
If fully grasped and comprehended, the moral wisdom gained from this charter indeed can befit any age or place. The matchless justice and insightful intelligence of the Prophet (peace be upon), inspired by Allah (SWT), manifest themselves clearly at each and every article of the pact, underlying the fairness and universality of Islam. Myriads of lessons can be learned from this agreement, ranging from gender equality in Islam, itself a preserver and protector of social order and justice. It also lays clear emphasis on how Islam holds fast to granting followers of other faiths the right to practice their religion and that conversion to Islam was never through compulsion as claimed by some. Similarly, the pact drafted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) some 1500 years back, stresses the universality of Islam. A deep look into the articles of the Medina charter would render great insights into how to set a constitution that preserves equal rights to all individuals, which ensures social equality, economic prosperity, as well as political stability. Furhter stressed is the fairness of Islam, the principles of which are the cornerstone of the pact of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as inspired by Almighty Allah, the All Wise, All Knowing. Wassalaam, Maha Youssuf Posted on: 16- May- 2011