17 February 2016
The Medina Charter constituted by Prophet Muhammad in 622 in Arabia was intended to end inter-tribal conflicts and maintain peace and cooperation among the Medinan people 1,400 years ago. Many lessons can be drawn from the Charter to enhance peaceful inter-religious relations today amid current moves to revive this historic document.
The Medina Charter (Arabic: Sahifah Medina or Dustur Medina) is arguably known to be the first constitution ever written incorporating 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 all 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 were achieved not through violence but rather respect, tolerance, and peaceful means. Many lessons could be drawn from the Charter to enhance religious pluralism in the contemporary world. In the 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 help mediate conflicts in the world today that are driven by politics, economics and religious ideologies.
… Mohamed Bin Ali is Assistant Professor with the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is also a counsellor with the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG).
GPO / SRP / Online
Last updated on 18/02/2016