The Prophet's Biography - nabi muhammad 25

The Prophet's Biography - nabi muhammad

25

The Treaties

 

The Prophet Muhammed (r) made many treaties with the local tribes and the chiefs of states the surrounding the Arabian Peninsula and very strictly adhered to the terms of his treaties. When once he entered into any treaty with anyone, he was never first to break the treaty. This was one of the cardinal principles of his policy. He always honored his promises and pacts with other people and advised his followers to do the same. He always enjoined upon his commanders not to break their trust. The Qur'an commands:

"O you who believe! Fulfil all your obligations (and trusts)." [Qur'an 5:1]

 

The obligations of treaties and pacts are of far more significance than promises made to individuals. The Qur'an therefore lays great emphasis on the believers to honor them:

"You should not take friends from among them (the hypocrites) unless they migrate in the Way of Allah; and if they do not migrate, then seize them wherever you find them and slay them and do not take any of them as friends and helpers. However, those hypocrites are excepted who join a people who are allied to you by treaty.” [Qur'an 4:89-90]

 

 

COVENANT BETWEEN THE MUSLIMS AND THE JEWS

When Muhammed (r) came to Medinah, he found himself confronted with many problems, internal as well as external. He was faced with aggression from the Quraysh and subversion and revolt from the hypocrites and the Jews of Medinah. Shortly thereafter, the Prophet (r) got a written document, which bound the Muhaajirun and the Ansaars to a friendly agreement. The covenant made the Jews a party to the treaty that guaranteed them the freedom of their rights and obligations. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. p. 501).

He made pacts and treaties of diverse natures with the Jews, but the most significant agreement which the Prophet (r) signed was with the Jews of Medinah.

It was not only an agreement with them but a proclamation on the part of the Prophet (r). It permanently established the central authority of the Islamic State of Medinah as well as that of Muhammed (r) as the chief administrator and ruler. It also established the rule of law in the country with one legal authority and one law for all people. The main provisions of this agreement are as follows. (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammed, pp231-235).

 

I begin with the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Gracious

1. This is a document from Muhammed the Prophet (r) governing the relations between the believers and Muslims of the Quraysh and Yathrib and those who followed them and joined them and labored (fought) with them.

2. They are one community (Ummah) to the exclusion of all other people.

3. The muhajjirun of the Quraysh, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood-money within their own number and shall redeem their prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers (ma'ruf).

4. The Banu Auf, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid in times of ignorance; every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

5-8. The Banu Sa’idah, the Banu Harithah, the Banu Jusham and the Banu Najjar likewise.

9-11.The Banu Amr bin Auf, the Banu al-Nabit and the Banu al-Aus likewise.

12. Believers shall not leave anyone destitute among them by not paying his redemption money or blood money in kindness.

13. A believer shall not take away the freedom of another Muslim against his will.

14. The God-fearing believers shall be against the rebellious or him who seeks to spread injustice, or sin or enmity, or corruption between believers; the hand of every man shall be against him even if he be a son of one of them.

15. A believer shall not slay a believer for the sake of an unbeliever nor shall he aid an unbeliever against a believer.

16. Allah's protection (dhimmah) is one; the least (adna) of them may give protection to a stranger on their behalf. The believers are friends (mawali) one to the other to the exclusion of other people.

17. To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided.

18. The peace of the believers is indivisible. No separate peace shall be made when believers are fighting in the Way of Allah.

19. Conditions must be fair and equitable to all (in all peace treaties).

20. In every party, a rider must take another behind him (while doing military duties).

21. The believers must avenge the blood of one another shed in the Way of Allah. The God-fearing believers enjoy the best and most upright guidance.

22. No polytheist shall take the property or person of a Quraysh under his protection nor shall he intervene against a believer.

23. Whoever is convicted of killing a believer without just cause shall be subject to retaliation, unless the next of kin is satisfied (with blood-money), and the believers shall be against him as one man, and they are bound to take action against him.

24. It shall not be lawful for a believer who has agreed to what is in this document and believes in Allah and the Last Day to help an evil-doer or to shelter him. The curse of Allah and His Anger on the Day of Resurrection will be upon him if he does, and neither repentance nor ransom will be accepted from him.

25. Whenever there is a difference of opinion about anything, it must be referred to Allah and Muhammed for a final decision.

26. The Jews shall contribute to the cost of war as long as they are fighting alongside the believers.

27. The Jews of the Banu Auf are one community with the believers (the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs'), their freedmen and their persons except those who behave unjustly or sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families.

28-35. The same applies to the Jews of the Banu al-Najjar, Banu al-Harith, Banu Sa'idah, Banu Jusham, Banu al-Aus, Banu Thalabah and the Jafnah, a clan of the Thalabah and the Banu al-Shutaibah.

36. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The freedmen of Thalabah are as themselves. The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.

37. None of (the believers)? shall go to war, except with the permission of Muhammed, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound.

38. He who slays a man without warning slays himself and his household, unless it be one who has wronged him, for Allah will accept that.

39. The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses.

40. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document.

41. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery.

42. A man is not liable for his ally's misdeeds.

43. The wronged must be helped.

44. The Jews must bear expenses along with the believers so long as war lasts.

45. The valley of Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document.

46. A stranger under protection (jar) shall be as his host so long as he does no harm and commits no crime. A woman shall only be given protection with the consent of her family.

47. If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammed, the Messenger of Allah (r). Allah accepts what is nearest to piety and goodness in this document.

48. Quraysh and their helpers shall not be given protection,

49. The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib.

50. If they are called to make peace and maintain it, they must do so; and if they make a similar demand on the Muslims, it must be carried out, except in the case of the Jihad.

51. Everyone shall have his portion from the side to which he belongs; the Jews of al Aus, their freedmen and themselves have the same standing with the people of this document in pure loyalty from the people of this document. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. He who acquires anything acquires it for himself.

52. Allah approves of this document. This deed will not protect the unjust and the sinner. The man who goes forth to fight or the man who stays at home in the city is safe unless he has been unjust and a sinner. Allah is the Protector of the good and the Cod-man and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah (r).

 


This was a historic document, which brought revolutionary changes in the body politic of the City of Medinah and gave it a new status. The main achievements of the document are summarized below.

1. It gave definite rights and duties to the participants in the document. The Muslims (the Ansaar and the Muhaajirun) and the Jews and their allies and helpers were all given these rights equally. Thus it was truly a Charter of Rights and Duties of the people of Medinah and the surrounding areas.

2. It established the authority of the central government of Medinah over Medinah and the surrounding areas.

3. Muhammed was now recognised as the undisputed ruler and leader of the people, including the Jews. He was established as the head of the legislative, executive and judicial powers and the final authority in all matters.

4. The Jews not only accepted Muhammed (r) as sovereign but also recognised Medinah as a sanctuary (a sacred city) like Makkah. They also accepted him as the final authority in all judicial matters and his decisions were to be accepted by all.

5. This document introduced a novel idea into politics. It brought morality into politics against all material and secular attitudes. Allah was recognized as the source of all Authority and Law and Muhammed was recognised as the Messenger of Allah (r) and as His agent.

6. It established the rule of law in the country. One law was applied to all, irrespective of caste, creed, color or race, and even Muhammed himself was not excluded. And interference with law in any form was strictly forbidden. Muslims and Jews and others were treated in the same manner before the law and no distinction was made in such matters.

7. Another revolutionary step was the establishment of one community (Ummah) out of the heterogeneous nature and structure of the multiracial society. The Muslims, the Jews and their allies were knit together into one community with one authority and one law for all as against the rest of the world. Thus the idea of oneness infused a spirit of unity and solidarity among the peoples of Medinah and made them one solid cemented structure against their enemies.

8. It also established Muhammed as commander of the allied forces in case of war.

9. It gave everybody equality and freedom of action and joined them together in the ties of human brotherhood. Thus it brought them all onto an equal level: the Ansaar and the Muhaajirun, the Jews and their allies and helpers were now politically and culturally equal.

10. It also made the matter of war and peace the exclusive concern of the central authority of Medinah. In other words, Muhammed was given the absolute right and power to declare war against, or make peace with, any tribe or power. The Jews and others had no right or power to independently declare war against, or make peace with, any outside power.

11. Military service was made compulsory and every citizen was required to take part in it.

12. It also made it obligatory for all Muslims and Jews to help one another in war and peace as well as in adversity and plenty.

13. In all judicial matters, the decision of the Prophet (r) was final.

14. The right of seeking revenge was transferred from individuals to the central authority. The individual could no longer take the law into his own hands, and had to go to the central authority.

15. It clearly forbade all participants in this document to give any kind of help or protection to the Quraysh of Makkah. The Jews did not honor this clause of the document.

 

 

TREATY WITH QURAISH

(Truce of Hudaibiyah)

 

Then, in the sixth year of the Hijrah, the peace of Hudaibiyah was signed between the Prophet (r) and the Quraysh on the following terms.

1. They agreed to suspend war for ten years during which time people will keep the peace and will not obstruct others. The Quraysh will not wage war against the Muslims nor help others against them, but will remain neutral in case of Muslims fighting a third party.

2. There will be no secret stealing and misappropriation.

3. Whoever wants to enter into a pact with Muhammed (r) and conclude a treaty with him can do so. And whoever wants to enter into a pact with the Quraysh and conclude a treaty with them can do so.

4. Whoever comes to Muhammed (r) without permission of his guardian will be returned and whoever comes to the Quraysh from the companions of the Prophet (r) will not be returned.

5. Muhammed (r) will go back this year with his companions and will enter the Ka'bah next year with his companions. He will stay there for three days and he will not enter with arms except the arms carried by travelers—swords in sheaths.

 

There is not a single example where Muhammed (r) made a treaty and then broke it. He made treaties to establish peace in the country, for his main aim was peace. It was Quraysh who first forced him to leave his hometown and then began war preparations against him.

Likewise, he was the one who took the initiative in forming a confederation between the Jews and the Ansar against foreign invaders in order to insure peaceful existence between all the people in the city. The Jews were the first to break the terms of the agreement. And then, when Muhammed (r) reminded them of their mutual obligations they insulted him and behaved insolently.

Another thing to remember in such agreements is that when the other party proves treacherous (8:58) or violates the terms of the agreement (9:7-8), then it must be openly thrown back to them and made clear to them that there is no longer a state of peace. According to the verse, if you want to break a treaty for the reasons mentioned above, then you must "throw their treaty openly before them." It is thus "unlawful to make a unilateral decision to terminate an agreement, even if the Muslims feel that the other party is not observing the terms strictly and properly, or if they are afraid that the other party will turn treacherous at the first opportunity." Therefore it forbids them to treat the other party in a way that implies that there has been no treaty with them at all. On the other hand, this verse binds the Muslims to inform the other party in clear words, before taking any steps against it, that the treaty with it has been terminated. This is essential, so that the other party should have no misunderstanding whatsoever that the treaty is still in force.

The Prophet (r) based the international policy of Islam on this verse. He decreed, He who has made a treaty with another party is bound by it until the expiry of its term. Or, if obliged to because of a breach by the other party, he should throw it before the other party, so that both may be set on an equal footing. Then he extended the same principle to all other matters, saying, "Behave not treacherously, even towards those who are treacherous to you." And he impressed this principle so deeply on their minds that it was observed most strictly, both in spirit and in letter."

There is, however, an exception to the above principle. When the enemy has actually violated the treaty openly in such a flagrant manner that the treaty is understood to have been abrogated and cancelled, in such circumstances, there is no need to throw their treaty openly before them, because the other party, by violating its terms, has clearly shown that the treaty is no longer binding unless it is re-negotiated. It may, however, be pointed out that the violation of the treaty on the part of the enemy must be open and glaring, about which there should be no doubt in the minds of the other party.

Muhammed (r) observed this principle very strictly in all his agreements. In the case of the Jews of Medinah, he went himself or sent someone to remind them of their mutual obligations and to confirm their position regarding the agreement. He did this every time they violated the terms of their agreement.

When the other party showed openly by their action that they did not care for him or for his agreements, only then was action taken against them.

There is only one case where the exception to this was employed. It was in the case of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah with the Quraysh. They had openly broken the terms of it by attacking and killing mercilessly men of the Banu Khuza'ah, who were allies of the Muslims, in the Ka'bah. Muhammed (r), therefore, felt no need to give them any notice of abrogation before attacking them. The following circumstances regarding the Quraysh action in violating the pact justified Muhammed's retaliatory action against them.

First, the violation of the treaty by Quraysh was so glaring that there was absolutely no doubt that there had been a breach and they themselves confessed that the treaty had come to an end. That is why they sent Abu Sufyan to al-Medinah to renew it. Though that was a proof that they knew the treaty had come to an end, it does not imply that an exception to the principle is justifiable only if those who violate the treaty know it and confess it. The exception is justifiable if the violation is quite clear to everybody and beyond doubt.

Second, after the violation of the treaty, the Noble Prophet (r) did not indicate in any way whatever by word or by deed or by implication that in spite of the violation of the treaty by them he regarded the treaty to be still in force; nor did he continue such relations with them as might indicate the same. All the traditions show that he rejected the offer of renewal of the treaty made by Abu Sufyan.

Third, he openly took military action against the Quraysh and did nothing at all to show an outward display of peace, while harboring secret intentions of war."

Thus the Prophet set an example by his own action that all treaties are to be observed and respected until violated by the enemy. In that case, it is for the Muslim State to negotiate a new treaty, or take other necessary steps according to the nature of the situation. Thus this verse also outlines the general principles which govern foreign policy in the Islamic state.



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Section : The Biography of the Prophet muhammad
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Date : 4/5/2010
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