The First Written Laws In The World
Constitution is a manifestation of the nation. Its contents are the results of negotiations and agreement of all parties prior to the inceptions. The Constitution is also a form of political agreement (there is some similarities to social contract) of all parties forming the nation; the people, the leaders, whether they are elected through democratic process, or hereditary or the combination of both.
Being a manifestation of the nation, the Constitution is not only the supreme law, it is the most important document determining the identity of a nation. Thus, in order to know about a country, one must read and understand the Constitution. Thus, in order to determine the identity of a nation, one must look into its Constitution.
In the world history (not only the history of Islamic World), the Medina Constitution is uphold as the first written Constitution in the world (see book by Muhammad Hamidullah, for instance The First Written Constitution and The Prophet’s Establishing A State and His Succession). The document that addresses itself as sahifah or kitab (means book) was a document written during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Before its promulgation, the Constitution of Medina, went through a process of discussion and later on approved by the general population of Medina.
According to Muhammad Hamidullah, Medina Constitution was also been preceded by a social contract theory as it was preceded by Aqabah allegiance (covenant; contract of pact of Aqabah). It was approved by all the people of the country, the Constitution of Medina also originally so, under the allegianceAqabah. It is also the will of all the people of Medina and those who migrated.
The Medina Constitution provides for certain attributes that can be described as the identity of Medina community. The Medina Constitution is symbol of national sovereignty, or independence of the country – to be governed independently.
The Constitution of Medina emphasizes on delegation of powers, rather than the theory of separation of powers as understood the modern constitutionalism. The Medina Constitution palce the sovereignty of God as the source of power and authority; and the Prophet as the leader who brought the teachings and principles of Islam, while leadership is responsible to implement the Constitution.
Regarding citizenship, Medina Constitution is built on the concept of citizenship that is limited to religious belief. Those who are not professing the religion of Islam are also accepted as citizens, with conditions, to be loyal to the Constitution and accept the supremacy of Islam and some peculiar positions of Muslims. In other words, the Constitution of Medina recognizes the nationality or citizenship to all (regardless of religion or race).
The Medina Constitution emphasizes on the concept of obedience to God, obedience to the Prophet and the supremacy of the Constitution. If there is a dispute between the people, it shall be referred to Allah and to Muhammad, the Messenger, the final and ultimate decision-making. Allah is the guarantee for the faithful compliance of the content of this constitution (which will be enforced by the government).
Medina Constitution also preserves the social practices and cultural groups that blend seamlessly with their identity. Retention of customary practices regarding compensation or “blood money” by the practice or custom groups or tribes is obvious in most provisions of the Constitution . This shows that the Constitution of Medina maintains the identity of all communities of the Medina people.
The concept of loyalty to the nation and solidarity with the implementation of the responsibility to the country and the head of state. The Medina Constitution provides that all people should be united and be loyal to the country.
The Constitution of Medina adopted the concept of human rights to ensure human life. Everyone is guaranteed on the security status of God regardless of their position (Article 18). Meanwhile, non-Muslim minorities (Jews) have the same rights protection life, which, being a Jew, when he is in obedient to the government, he shall enjoy the same rights of protection for his life as guaranteed to those who believe, as long as they do not murder the believers and do not help other people tp persecute Islam. When someone kills a believer intentionally, with clear evidence he should be killed response, unless the heirs of the victim is satisfied with the compensation. All believers must stand firm against killer. Meanwhile, no one can kill. Should anyone commit murder, he and his family should, collectively, bear the implications of the judgment, to pay the compensation.
Meanwhile, the Constitution also guarantees that all persons shall receive the Medina Constitution guaranteed freedom and their right to life, unless he is breaking the law by being disloyal to the state. To ensure fairness, the Medina Constitution guarantees assistance to the oppressed.
The Medina Constitution accepts the concept of the rule of law, justice and non-discrimination. Medina Constitution also practices justice by ensuring the implementation of the principle of non-discrimination and the rule of law.
Preserving and maintaining national security is another important aspect of Medina Constitution, whereby no one is allowed to cause bloodshed in the state.