Constitution of Medina Essay

Constitution of Medina Essay

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This paper contends the view that the so-called ‘Constitution of Medina’ has purported significance insofar as providing political prescription or provision for the creation of a Muslim state or government. This approach posits that a contextual understanding of the conditions underpinning the document’s creation, support the argument that the Qur’an omits overt provisions for any such form of government or state. This paper will first examine the context of the debate, whilst alluding to the nature of Mohammad’s prophetic mission in order to principally establish the inherent lack of overt political ambition and position of Mohammad, thus dismissing claims of overt political prescription being present in the earliest formation of Islam. This approach will then examine the contextual significance of the ‘Constitution of Medina’, in order to discharge the notion that the community established in Medina reflects an Islamic ideal of which Muslims can, or should, aspire towards. This paper will then finally examine the nature of the Quran as it relates to issues of governance and political concerns, in order to fully illuminate the inherent lack of political ethos within, and the lack of overt provisions for the creation of a Muslim state or government.

This paper contends the view that Mohammad sought to inspire a political movement that would exist consciously and diametrically to ‘non-Islamic’ forms of social arrangements, instead understanding Mohammad’s mission and the Qur’anic revelation as an attempt to reaffirm monotheistic beliefs and inward focused spirituality. It has become somewhat axiomatic to suggest that Mohammad embodies the positions of both ‘Prophet and a Statesman’, as reflected in the title of Watt’s (1961) inf...

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...uny Press: New York)

Rahman, S (1984) Islamic State in Theory and Practice, Islamic Studies, Vol. 23, pp. 389-417

Romanides, J (1968) Islamic Universalism and the Constitution of Medina. Accessed online at:, Last accessed: 10th March 2014

Rubin, U (1985) The ‘Constitution of Medina’ Some Notes, Studia Islamica, Vol. 62, pp. 5-23

Serjeant, R (1978) The Sunnah Jami’ah Pacts with the Yathrib Jews and the Tahrim of Yathrib: Analysis and Translation of the Documents comprised in the so-called ‘Constitution of Medina’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 41, pp. 1-42.

Watt, W (1961). Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman. (Oxford University Press: London and New York)

Wellhausen, J (1889) Muhammad's Constitution of Medina, (Skizzen and Vorarbeiten: Berlin)

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