20 February 2016
THE Medina Charter (Sahifah Medina or Dustur Medina in Arabic) is arguably known as the first constitution to incorporate religion and politics. Drawn up by Prophet Muhammad, the charter was intended to end inter-tribal conflicts, and maintain peace and cooperation among the people of Medina, which, after Mecca, is Islam’s second holiest place, where the first Muslim community was established. It constituted a formal agreement between Prophet Muhammad, and the tribes and families of Yathrib (the old name for Medina), including Muslims, Jews, Christians and pagans.
The charter serves as an example for resolving disputes where peace and pluralism are achieved not through violence, but respect, tolerance and peaceful means. Many lessons can be drawn from it to enhance religious pluralism in the contemporary world. In current times, many people are grappling with finding solutions to inter-religious conflicts and tensions. The Medina Charter is seen as a useful guide to mediate conflicts in the world today that are driven by politics, economics and religious ideologies.
… The writer is assistant professor with the Studies in Inter–Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He is also a counsellor with the Religious Rehabilitation Group.
GPO / SRP / Print
Last updated on 22/02/2016