Madina – The Welfare State

At the time of the ordination of the Holy Prophetﷺ, the world was ruled by kings and emperors, the southern regions of Arabia was occupied by the kingdom of Abyssinia, its eastern region was occupied by the kingdom of Persia and its northern region was in possession of the kingdom of Rome. The country of Arabia presented picture of disunity and fragmentation as it was divided into autonomous tribal units. The international system revolved around two powers and the balance of power was shared by Rome and Persia. But this system miserably failed and the world peace broke into splinters because the world order introduced by them was based on injustice and inequality as it derived from their unquenchable thirst for power. In these circumstances, the Messenger of Allahﷺ appeared on the scene. After concerted struggle of twenty three years he established a social system to last till the Day of Judgement, unaltered by human whim.The Holy Prophetﷺ established a welfare state in a settlement of Madinah and for the first time in the history of mankind he introduced a proper constitution. And in the short span of a decade, he transformed the Arabian Peninsula, Southern Palestine and Southern Iraq into one of the greatest states of the world which spanned an area of more than one million square miles. And he set the political ball rolling in a country where the establishment of a proper state or the introduction of a regular constitution was inconceivable. This welfare state, which had its origin in a small settlement, was soon able to confront the two exploitative world superpowers of the day i.e. Persia and Rome. This welfare state guaranteed fundamental human rights, mutual co-operation for human welfare, supported fair-play and liberated people from economic oppression.

Establishment of Human Equality

The Prophetﷺ smashed all bogus claims of superiority and excellence staked up by different races, tribes and communities over one another, issued his proclamation of human equality and spelled out a just and permanent criterion of mutual excellence by giving the following declaration.
“All mankind is the progeny of Adam and Adam was created out of earth. Now all (bogus) claims of superiority and excellence, all claims over life and property and all types of revenge have been trampled under my feet. O people! You all have only one Lord, and only one father (therefore, you are all equal by virtue of this racial unity) but the most superior and honoured among you is the one who is more pious (who possesses a better character). So neither an Arab is superior to a non-Arab or a non-Arab superior to an Arab, nor is any black superior to a white (person) or a white (person) superior to a black. All forms of excellence are based on character and deed.” [Musnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal 5:411]

Eradication of Economic Exploitation

The Prophetﷺ declared an end to all forms of oppression including economic oppression in the Old World Order.
“Certainly. today all kinds of usury (and all usury systems) are cancelled. Neither you can take nor give except Ras-ul-Ma’al (the genuine money). Neither you oppress others in the form of usury business nor you will be oppressed on the Day of Judgement. Allah has decided that usury (and all its kinds of economic exploitation) is forbidden.”

Protection of rights of the poor and deprived classes

The Prophetﷺ issued the following revolutionary declaration to establish a just and egalitarian social system at the international level.

“0 People! Take care of the depressed people. take care of the depressed, feed them with whatever you eat yourself and make them wear what you yourself wear.”[Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal (4:36). (ii) Maima az- Zawaid (4:236). (iii) Kunzal A’mal (9:73#25013). (iv) Al-Maujam al-Kabir (22:244 #236)].

Protection of Women Rights

The Holy Prophetﷺ announced the eradication of all kinds of previous oppression on women and fully guaranteed their rights. He said:
“O people! Indeed you have some legal rights over women and similarly women have some legal rights over you (guard them fully), always treat women fairly and fear Allah in the matter of women’s rights.’ [Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal(5:73),As-sunan Kubra(5:275)]

Religious Freedom & Historic Condemnation of Terrorism

For the first time in history a constitution declared that Muslims must coexist with Non-Muslim tribes in the spirit of conviviality and mutual respect. The constitution of Medina didn’t sanction war against the Jews, Christians or any other Non-Muslim tribes. In fact the Non-Muslim tribes were under a covenant of protection and security, such that they were allowed to retain their local customs and religious practices, without facing antagonist reactions from the Muslims. Such actions initiated the development of a united Arabia under the banner of Islam. All this was possible as a direct result of the social and political reform instigated through the constitution of Medina. Article 16 of the Charter states:“ There will be collective resistance by the believers against any individual who rises in rebellion, attempts to acquire anything by force ,violates any pledge or attempts to spread mischief amongst the believers. Such collective resistance against the perpetrator shall occur even he is son of anyone of them.”►{Abu Ubayd al-Qasim b. al-Sallam,Kitab al-Amwal,p.194 $518} 

Hence any act of terrorism or violence under the constitution would amount to a crime and was accordingly punished. The charter not only guaranteed freedom to practice religion and prohibited acts of violence, it also placed responsibility on the citizens of Medina, be they Muslims or Non-Muslims, to collectively resist such acts. Article 30 of the Charter states:

T The Qur’an also states freedom of religion in the verse : There is no compulsion in Din(Religion).►{Qur’an 2:256}

Through the constitution, Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) postulated basic human rights thereby introducing the concept of religious freedom of minorities, and the protection of their culture and religion. Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) declared the state of Medina as a sanctuary of peace and security; no act of oppression , injustice or extremism would be allowed in the state of Medina.

Reference Book – Sirat-ur-Rasoolﷺ by Shaykh ul Islam Dr Tahir ul Qadri , Vol..1