Written by Sami Zaatari Friday, 25 February 2011 14:07
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a role model for religious freedom, for instance when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) entered the city of Medina, he made a formal constitution with the large Jewish population of the city, and indeed, this was a historic moment and in this constitution it guaranteed religious freedom for those who were and weren’t Muslims.
The constitution stated the following:
(1) This is a document from Muhammad the prophet (governing the relations) between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those who followed them and joined them and labored with them.
(2) They are one community (umma) to the exclusion of all men.
(3) The Quraysh emigrants according to their present custom shall pay the bloodwit within their number and shall redeem their prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.
(4-8) The B. ‘Auf according to their present custom shall pay the bloodwit they paid in heatheism; every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers. The B. Sa ida, the B. ‘l-Harith, and the B. Jusham, and the B. al-Najjar likewise.
(9-11) The B. ‘Amr b. ‘Auf, the B. al-Nabit and the B. al-‘Aus likewise.
(12)(a) Believers shall not leave anyone destitute among them by not paying his redemption money or bloodwit in kindness.
(12)(b) A believer shall not take as an ally the freedman of another Muslim against him.
(13) The God-fearing believers shall be against the rebellious or him who seeks to spread injustice, or sin or animosity, or corruption between believers; the hand of every man shall be against him even if he be a son of one of them.
(14) A believer shall not slay a believer for the sake of an unbeliever, nor shall he aid an unbeliever against a believer.
(15) God’s protection is one, the least of them may give protection to a stranger on their behalf. Believers are friends one to the other to the exclusion of outsiders.
(16) To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided.
(25) The Jews of the B. ‘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 and sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families.
(26-35) The same applies to the Jews of the B. al-Najjar, B. al-Harith, B. Sai ida, B. Jusham, B. al-Aus, B. Tha'laba, and the Jafna, a clan of the Tha‘laba and the B. al-Shutayba. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The freedmen of Tha ‘laba are as themselves. The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.
So the constitution of Medina guaranteed religious freedom for the large Jewish community, and on top of this, the Jewish tribes were declared as being one with the Muslims!
Another example of the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) religious tolerance was when a large group of Christian learned men came to Medina, the Najran Christians, they came to Medina and they remained in the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) company for 3 days. The Christians debated and discussed many issues with the Prophet, such as the true nature of Jesus and so forth. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) even allowed the Christians to pray in the Mosque!
The fact that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) allowed the Christians to debate with him on religious matters in his own mosque showed that he had no problems in differing religious beliefs, not only did the Prophet debate them, he eventually even made a treaty with them that guaranteed their religious freedom as well. The treaty can be read on the following website:
And Allah Knows Best!