La Constitution de la Médina est la première Constitution de la démocratie dans l’histoire de l’ordre constitutionnel. Ses principes ont également été basée sur le Coran et la sunna. Munis de ces principes, le prophète a réussi à établir le premier état islamique, qui comprenaient des personnes de multi-religieuse et plusieurs arrière-plans culturels dans un wahidah oumma (One Nation) fondées sur des principes universels qui constituent la Charte ou, comme on appelle communément la Constitution »de la Médina ».

In the preamble the initiator of the Constitution was the Prophet himself and he established every community in its religion, property, and determined their rights as well as their duties and their position in the society, as one ummah. This Constitution begins as follows:

“In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is a covenant from Muhammad the Prophet [governing the relations] between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib [Medina], and those who follow them and joined them and laboured with them. They constitute one ummah.”

The Constitution expressed that freedom; justice and equality were based on humanity itself (i.e. article 15 and 17). It makes it clear, Montgomery Watt asserts, that the Jews and Christians are with Muslims in ‘constituting a political unit of a new type, an ummah or “community” ’. The Jews were also not mentioned as various tribes but simply as Jews, indeed very respectfully, as with Christians, who are ‘People of the Book’, an ethnic minority here being made equal to a majority in a brotherhood, forming one community ummah wahidah (one nation). Thus, the Constitution laid down the foundation of the first Islamic state of multi-tribal and multi-religious society. The objective of the various rules enunciated in the Constitution was to maintain peace and cooperation, to protect the life and property of all citizens, to eliminate aggression and injustice regardless of tribal or religious affiliations, and to ensure freedom of religion and movement. Indeed, the Constitution of Medina placed the rules of justice over and above religious solidarity, and affirmed the right of the victims of aggression and injustice to restitution regardless of their tribal and religious affiliations. It formed the foundation of the first model Islamic state, defined the political right and duties of all citizens (Muslims and non-Muslims alike), and drew up the political structure of the nascent society.

The Constitution stipulated that the social and political activities in the new system must be subjected to a set of universal values, collective intelligence and standards that treat all people equally. It repeatedly emphasised the fundamental nature of justice and righteousness, and frequently condemned in different expressions injustice and despotism: ‘God grants His protection to whosoever acts in piety, charity and goodness. He shall be against the rebellious, and against those who seek to spread injustice, sin, enmity, or corruption among the believers.’

The Constitution introduced a number of political rights and facilities to be provided by the state to all its members, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, in return for the duties. For example, the Constitution promulgated: (i) standing laws defining the rights and duties of all members, (ii) arrangements for impartial decisions on matters of right and (iii) unfailing protection of the members of the community in the enjoyment of their rights. These are the very characteristics of the political society defined by John Locke: ‘a society which fails to provide these facilities is not really a political society at all, but a continuation of the state of nature’. Indeed, the forty-eight articles [sixty-three articles based on latest research of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri] of the Constitution of Medina provided these and other facilities and political rights, including (i) the freedom of belief, that is, every community has the right to live according to its belief; (ii) the freedom of movement from and to Medina: ‘whoever will go out is safe and whoever will stay in Medina is safe’; (iii) the assurance that if there is an external threat to non-Muslims, the Muslims would help them and vice versa; (iv) the assurance that both Muslims and non-Muslims are believers and would stand together to defend Medina against any attack; (v) the agreement that no one should go to war before consulting with the Prophet (article 36); (vi) the assurance that when consultation occurs the representatives of all parties should be present; (vii) the assurance that in cases of negotiation with foreign states, representatives of all parties should be present, and that negotiations should not be concluded unilaterally; (viii) the understanding that when a person acquires guilt they acquire it only against themselves; (ix) that a person is not liable for their ally’s misdeeds; (x) that charity and goodness are clearly distinguishable from crime and injury; and (xi) that God is the guarantor of the truth and goodwill of this covenant.

The openness of Islam to other religions in the conduct of international relations can be clearly seen in the excellent relationship that was developed between the emerging Muslim community and the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia. Abyssinia maintained its Christian identity long after Islam was established in the Middle East region. A few Muslim families could be found in eleventh-century Abyssinia.  From the beginning, the Abyssinians showed their goodwill to the early Muslims who, escaping persecution in Arabia, had sought refuge in Abyssinia, where Christianity was well established. It is possible, therefore, that Muhammad wisely advised them to go to the Christian Abyssinia; as reported by Ibn Hisham (d.180/833), Muhammad said to them that ‘if you go to Abyssinia you will find a King with whom no one is oppressed; it is the land of honesty and sincerity’. The Muslim emigrants were welcomed by the Abyssinians and were further protected from the persecutors who sent delegates to extradite the Muslims back home. These brief examples represent the pulses of the common ground between religions and stand witness to the reality of the good relations between them as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims in both Islamic and Christian states.

Thus, in this early model of an Islamic state Muhammad brought about a social transformation based upon the cultural foundation of the message of the Qur’an.  The immediate purposes were to condition the pattern of thinking and actions of the citizens in order to fashion them into a new social and political unity, to maintain peace and cooperation, to protect the life and property of all citizens, to eliminate aggression and injustice regardless of tribal or religious affiliations, and to ensure freedom of religion and movement. All citizens of this state were to follow, as one ummah, the charismatic personality of Muhammad. He was the Prophet and the Ruler but not the Sovereign. Sovereignty would not rest with Muhammad or any particular group, but with the Law founded on the basis of justice and goodness, maintaining the dignity of all groups in the community.

 

Source: Taken from an article Democracy in Islam,  http://www.bandung2.co.uk/books/Files/Politics/Democracy%20In%20Islam.pdf

 

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