The Charter of Madinah (Mithaq al-Madinah) or the Constitution of Madinah was a charter outlined by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after Muslim Migration to Madinah in 1 AH (622 AD). It was an agreement between different communities of Madinah including Muslims (Ansar and Muhajirun), Christians, Jews and pagans. The purpose of this charter was to establish and maintain cordial relations between different communities of Madinah and save Madinah from any foreign attack.
Background & Reasons
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) start preaching of Islam in Makkah in 610 AD but most of the people of Makkah rejected his prohethood and decided to stick to their previous religion. Along with that, they also made the life difficult for Muhammad (PBUH) and few of his companions. So, when around 13 years passed and the hopes about the conversions of Makkans remained grim, Muhammad (PBUH) decided to migrate towards Madinah (then Yathrib) when he was invited by the prominent people of Madinah who had embraced Islam. Apart from that, the Muslims also remembered the successful emigration to Ethiopia by fellow Muslims.
Muhammad (PBUH) and Muslims emigrated to Madinah in 622 AD. There they saw that it is necessary to make an agreement with all the communities of Madinah in order to remain peaceful because the relations between the newly converts (tribes of Aws and Khazraj), Jews and other communities were hostile. Also, it would enable them to remain safe from any aggression by the Makkans.
· All the people of Madinah will have the same cultural and political rights and people of every religion will have freedom of religion.
· In case of a foreign attack on Madinah, Muslims and non-Muslims both will defend the city.
· Muslims and non-Muslims will not help enemies of each other.
· In case of any disagreement, the decision of Muhammad (PBUH) will be accepted.
The Charter of Madinah has great importance in the history of Islam. Through this agreement, Muslims proved that they can live peacefully with people of other religions while the place of Muhammad (PBUH) as an arbitrator was also accepted by people of every religion due to his just attitude and also due to his diplomatic skills. According to few Muslims scholar, it was the first written charter in human history.
Later, when Jews breached the charter by helping Quraysh and other mischievous, all the three Jewish tribes were expelled from Madinah by Muslims one by one.