Reinterpreting Mi̇̄thāq al-Madi̇̄nah: A Study of Some Contemporary Scholars

  • Jriss Admin
Keywords: Prophet Muḥammad, Mi̇̄thāq al-Madi̇̄nah, Hijrah, Ummah, plurality, social contract, Muslims, Jews, pagans, democracy


Mohammad Dawood Sofi[1] and Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray[2]


Mi̇̄thāq al-Madi̇̄nah (The Constitution/Covenant of Madi̇̄nah) – the principles of which were based on the Qur’ān and Sunnah – constitutes the cardinal foundation on which the state and society of Madi̇̄nah was founded. In the modern times, various scholars see it as a source of constitutionalism, democratizing reform, and pluralism in Islam. It is regarded not only as the “first written constitution” but also the “first Constitution of democracy in the history of constitutional rule” as well. The signatories of this document were various communities; principally Muslims, Jews, and pagans who (collectively) constituted a unified citizenry – the Ummah al-Wāhidah. This Constitution has been described differently by various scholars. For Muhammad Hamidullah, the Mi̇̄thāq is an “epoch-making innovation” that brought “revolutionary change”; for Ali Bülac, it represents the plurality of legal systems; and for Muqtedar Khan, it is an excellent manifestation of the Prophet’s affinity to “democracy and governance by consent.”

This articles revolves round these three modern scholars by analy­zing and evaluating their view and vision on the Mi̇̄thāq al-Madi̇̄nah. While making use of primary and secondary material, the authors attempt to present its significance and necessity for peaceful coexistence between various parties in the contemporary globalized world.

[1]    Mohammad Dawood Sofi is a PhD Research Scholar in the Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, India. Author of “History of Islamic Civilization” (2013), he has published his research work in various journals. Email:

[2]    Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray completed his PhD from the Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, India and has served as ‘Iqbal Fellow’ (Mar-Aug 2014) at Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue (IRD), International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI), Pakistan. His works have been published in numerous reputable academic journals around the world. E-mail: