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STUDIES IN LATE ANTIQUITY AND EARLY ISLAM

23

THE "CONSTITUTION OF MEDINA" MUHAMMAD'S FIRST LEGAL DOCUMENT .

MICHAEL LECKER

THE DARWIN PRESS, INC. PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY 2004

[email protected] 2004 by All rights reserved.

THE DARWIN PRESS, INC.,

Princeton, NJ 08543.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews. Library of Congress Control Number: 2004112422 ISBN 0-87850-148-7

The paper in this book is acid-free neutral pH stock and meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources.

Printed in the United States of America

CONTENTS Preface ............................................................... ix Introduction ......................................................... 1 1.

Text and Translation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 lbn Isl_iaq's Version ................................................. 7 lbn Isl_iaq's Version with Variants .................................. 10 Abii 'Ubayd's Version ............................................. 19 Abii 'Ubayd's Version with Variants ............................... 21 The Versions of lbn Isl_iaq and Abii 'Ubayd ........................ 27 Text and Translation of Ibn Isl_iaq's Version ........................ 32

2.

Mu'miniin, Yahiid, Muhajiriin and Muslimiin .............. Muhajiriin ......................................................... Mu'miniin and Muslimiin .......................................... Unspecified Participants ...........................................

40 41 43 45

3.

The Jewish Participants ....................................... The First Six Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yahud Banf 'Awf, Qaynuqa' and Ghu$ayna .................... 'Abdallah b. Salam and the Zayd Allat ......................... Labfd b. al-A'$am and Yahud Banf Zurayq ..................... Yahud Banf /f aritha ........................................... Yahud Banf /f aritha and Banu Murana ........................ Yahud Banf [-Najjar and Silsila b. Barham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yahud Banf l-Aws ............................................. The Last Three Groups ........................................... Yahud Banf Tha'laba .......................................... Jafna .......................................................... Banu l-Shutayba or al-Shatba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Prophet's Territorial Basis ....................................

47 49 57

4.

63 66

68 71 72 73 75 75 79

80 80

The Treaty of the Mu'miniin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 §§1-11 ............................................................ 88 umma ......................................................... 89 min duni l-nas ................................................. 91 yata'aqaluna baynahum ........................................ 92 'ala riba' atihim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 wa-hum yafduna ... wa-kull ta'ifa minhum tafdf 'aniyaha ..... 103 v

Contents

vi

bi-l-ma'ruf wa-l-qist bayna l-mu'minina ....................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ...............................................................

105 106 110 110 113 114 117 118 120 122 123 124 125 126 129 133

The Treaty of the Jews ....................................... §27 ............................................................... §§28-33 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . §34 ............................................................... umma/ amana ................................................ wa-inna yahiid bani' awf anfusahum wa-amwiilahum... . ...... din/ dayn ..................................................... yiitighu ....................................................... ahl baytihi .................................................... §35 ............................................................... §36 ............................................................... §37 ............................................................... §38 ............................................................... §39 ............................................................... §40 ............................................................... §41 ............................................................... §42 ............................................................... §43 ............................................................... §44 ............................................................... §45 ............................................................... §46 ............................................................... §47 ............................................................... §48 ...............................................................

135 135 136 137 139 147 147 148 148 150 151 151 153 153 155 157 159 160 161 162 163 163 164

§12 §13 §14 §15 §16 §17 §18 §19 §20 §21 §22 §23 §24 §25 §26 5.

Vll

§49 §50 §51 §52 §53 §54 §55 §56 §57 §58 §59 §60 §61 §62 §63 §64

............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ...............................................................

165 169 171 172 174 174 174 175 177 178 178 179 179 180 181 181

Appendix A.

When Was the Kitab Concluded? .............. 182

Appendix B.

The Unity of the Kitab .......................... 183

Appendix C. The Recensions of the Kitab .................... Ibn Isl).aq and Abu 'Ubayd ....................................... ZuhrT ............................................................ Ibn Jurayj ........................................................

191 191 191 192

Appendix D. The Preservation of lbn Isl;iaq's Recension .... 194 'All and 'Umar ................................................... 194 'Amr b. 'Awf al-MuzanT and the Kitab ........................... 200 Appendix E.

The Term Muwada'a .............................. 204

Bibliography

207

Index ............................................................... 221

Preface The monograph presented here to students of Arabic and Islam is dedicated to the most significant document that has survived from the time of the Prophet Mu}:i.ammad, namely the so-called "Constitution of Medina". Although the original document was not preserved and is only known from literary sources, it is widely acknowledged as authentic and as dating back to the time of the Prophet. 1 Given its importance and wide acceptance it is surprising that so little scholarly effort has so far gone into the interpretation of the document, which is replete with difficult words and expressions. It was felt that any progress achieved in the study of this document would enrich the resources available for the study of early Islam. Like a first love, one always returns to one's doctoral thesis. Most of the research behind this study was carried out some two decades ago when I was writing my Ph.D. thesis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the close supervision of M.J. Kister. 2 At that time the evidence supporting the emendation umma/amana (§28) did not seem to be convincing, which is probably the reason why my findings have taken so long to appear. Meanwhile new evidence has emerged that in my opinion supports this emendation. Fortunately for me, research on my Ph.D. thesis coincided with the convening of an international workshop in Jerusalem, followed by the first in a series of colloquia entitled "From Jahiliyya to Islam". As early as in October 1979 the interpretation of the said umma/amana clause was the topic of my very first scholarly lecture. I recall G.H.A. Juynboll's warm welcome of my argument (as well as his discreet correction of a glaring error in Arabic). At 1 See, for example, Humphreys, Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry, 92, who quotes in detail Wellhausen's arguments in favour of its authenticity. This is followed (92-98) by a useful critical summary of certain aspects covered in research until 1974. 2 M. Leeker, On the Prophet Mul:,,ammad's Activity in Medina, Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, 1982. (In Hebrew.)

ix

Preface

x

a colloquium on }:iad'ith convened in Cambridge in 1985 by the late Martin Hinds and Patricia Crone I presented a paper entitled "On the Participation of the Main Jewish Clans in the Document Known as 'The Constitution of Medina'". An extended version of its first part is now published. 3 An early draft of the paper was read in 1980 by Michael Zwettler, who was among the workshop participants; I am indebted to him for his valuable comments. Excursus C ("The Recensions of the Kitab") was presented in 1988 at the J:iad'ith colloquium convened in Oxford by the late Martin Hinds, Patricia Crone and G.H.A. Juynboll. It is my pleasant duty to thank the organizers and participants for their helpful comments. Simon Hopkins and Uri Rubin read the Arabic text and its translation and kindly shared their insights with me. I am grateful to Lawrence I. Conrad for many acute remarks and comments.

3 Lecker,

"WaqidI's Account on the Status of the Jews of Medina".

Introduction The present monograph offers an edited version and interpretation of the earliest and most important document from the time of Mu]:iammad. The document is often referred to as the "Constitution of Medina". Although this is a misnomer, it appears at the title of this monograph because it is widespread. The document is referred to throughout this study by the neutral Arabic term "Kitab". Detailed attention has been dedicated to the Kitab by Mu]:iammad ~amidullah, who often employed political science terminology. In an article published in 19694 he described the Kitab as "the earliest written constitution, promulgated by a sovereign for his own statal conduct, both in internal and foreign affairs". It preceded the Magna Carta by several centuries; its second clause, according to ~amidullah, is "the declaration of independence, be that against the pagan Mecca, Byzantine empire, Iran or any other state in the world" . Ten clauses were "devoted to social insurance" (i.e. the ransoming of captives and the payment of blood-money), and it was "the first step to abolish nationalities based on the accidents of birth, such as the identity of birth-place, language, race, colour of skin etc." 5 I find

4 "The Earliest Written Constitution of a State in the World". His book The First Written Constitution in the World is not available to me. 5 The same views can be found in an article that appeared more than three decades earlier: see I:Iamidullah, "Aqdam dustur". The author gave (99) due credit to the Christian Orientalists who studied the document: wa-qad ~asaba laha 1-na§ii.ra l-ii.rubbiyyii.na mina l-~isab akthar mimma ~asaba 1-mu'arrikhii.na 1-muslimii.na wa-'allaqii. 'alayha ahammiyya kabi:ra. See also idem, Le Prophete de l'Islam, I, 124: "Si c'est la constitution du premier Etat musulman, c'est egalement la premiere constitution ecrite d'un Etat dans le monde entier". Zein al-Abdin, "The Political Significance of the Constitution of Medina", 152, says: "The set of rules stated in the Agreement were [sic] the natural beginning for the centralised administration which emerged in Arabia. That is why it may not be a wild exaggeration to call it 'The First Written Constitution in the World'".

1

2

Introduction

this terminology, above all the term "constitution", rather disorienting. The document is sometimes referred to more appropriately as 'ahd al-umma. In 1889 J. Wellhausen published a short study of the Kitab entitled Muhammads Gemeindeordnung von Medina, which was included in his monograph about Medina on the eve of Islam. 6 I. Goldziher, with reference to the preservation of written documents in the context of fabricated 'IJ,adith, was very sceptical regarding the possibility that such documents were at all authentic and assumed that written documents were produced to support certain legal practices. In his own words: In order to fix certain legal norms, recourse was had not only to the fabrication of oral traditions but also to the production of written documents which were to be taken as the expression of the wishes of the Prophet. 7 Goldziher himself acknowledged that had Wellhausen 's monograph on Medina reached him before the second volume of Muslim Studies went to press, "the results of that work would have been used for the first chapters of the study of 'IJ,adzth" .8 Indeed, Goldziher's conclusions are too sweeping. The Kitab, which goes back to the early days of Islam, was preserved more or less in its original form. In 1974 M. Gil published a study of certain aspects of the Kitab, in particular Mul).ammad's presumed plot against the Jews. 9 In two studies published in 1964 and 1978, respectively, R.B. Serjeant unconvincingly argued for the division of the Kitab into separate documents. In his interpretation he employed ethnological data relating to contemporary Yemen, in addition to comparative evidence from the primary sources. 10 In 1982 6 Wellhausen, Skizzen, IV, 65-83. An English version of this short study appeared as an excursus in Wensinck, 128-38. 7 Muslim Studies, II, 57. Concerning the authenticity of the Prophet's letters and treaties, Serjeant ( "Early Arabic Prose", 131) is of the opinion that their majority is "to be considered authentic notwithstanding inconsistencies in the reportage of some and the possibility of occasional tampering or 'improvement'". 8 Muslim Studies, II, 13. He did however manage to include passing references to Wellhausen's work (ibid.,_ 57 n. 1, 328 n. 6). That Goldziher's work would have been affected by Wellhausen's study is evident from the former's discussion of man a!J,datha fihii !J,adathan which he renders "he who introduces new things into this town"; ibid., II, 26-27. Cf. below, §25. 9 Gil, "The Constitution of Medina". 10 Serjeant, "The 'Constitution of Medina'"; idem, "The sunnah jiimi'ah". For a succinct presentation of his views see his "Early Arabic Prose", 134-39, where he refers to

Introduction

3

the English version of A. Goto's study on the Kitab appeared.11 In 1985 U. Rubin wrote a short study on the Kitab, possibly in the wake of my Ph.D. thesis (Jerusalem 1982). 12 In 1988 J.B. Simonsen included a chapter on the Kitab in his monograph on Islamic taxation. 13 Several other scholars have commented on certain aspects of the Kitab, and their views will be discussed or referred to in this monograph. The Kitab defines the relationship between the members of three groups: the Muhajiriln or the Qurashis who came to Medina in the first wave of emigration; the An!;,ar or the former idol worshippers of Medina who converted to Islam; and some of the Jews of Medina. It includes the legal framework prepared by Mu}:iammad for his activity shortly after the hijra. At that time the main Jewish clans were still the dominant political and military power in Medina. The rapid growth of Mu}:iammad's community and the progress of the cause of Islam soon rendered much of this legal framework irrelevant. Yet the document was preserved, along with many letters of Mu}:iammad, by those who realized that they were precious remnants from the time of the Arabian Prophet. This monograph aims at forming a new basis for the study of the Kitab, while adding yet another item to the growing inventory of studies about the life of Mu}:iammad. Future research will involve the utilization of more sources and the preparation of a good map of early Islamic Medina. The study of Islamic history should not be carried out in a void, and it is hoped that geographical and archaeological evidence will contribute to a better understanding of this crucial period in the history of the world. The Kitab is a unified document rather than a series of documents. It is made of two clearly defined parts, one including the treaty of the Mu'miniln, or the Muhajiriln and the An!;,ar, and another including a non-belligerency treaty with the Jews. The Arabs of Medina who were still idol worshippers were not part of it, and the same is true of the majority of the Jews of Medina, including the main Jewish tribes Na...o ~ .:.,i?\11 i .,.)IJ .JJ4 .:,-IJ ~ I •.i.A J 4 Ji.:,,,_;l. ~ ~ ...;1., . Yo

J~ ~J ..J.r" ~ ..i.,:.Y- ~J ,4.Al:,iJI i y. ~ J .JJI ~ ~ .:.,µ olJI Ji·~ ..L-.. .)!., .JJI .)! o) .r' .:.,µ •ir.:,,, ~ ~14,., ~!., . Y1 ,:.,~,uL-.1_,...b L. ~_;l.l t" . if ~ I oh j,,>1 ~ .:.,lS L. ...;1_, • o Y •)J ~ I oh.) L. ._,..;1._.Js- .J.Ji .:.,1., . or l,.~ if '.' J ~ ) .)\f '.' ...;1., . 0 f '-:' A if ._.Is-_,,...a.:)1 ~ .:.,1., . o o

0'

r.)

, ,.!.1.E J!.- .)[ l_y.) I~! ~l., , ...;.,..-:l,J...; ~~ ~~ , ...;~J...;~~

&

J! l_y.) l~l., . o 1

~'-?.ill~~ i f ~ '-"'L;i JS" ._.Is- , ..:_r-..!.ll .j '-:'.)\,.if'>'! , ~ jl.1.)s- r--.J ...;~ oh J-o,1,:r .:,---11 _r.ll (::4 , ~ I oh j,t>":J L.. J!.A ._.Is- ~1J r+.11_,... '! ,[~.u~] ifi ..l.,,j i f ) ifj (_.;>" i f ...;1., . 1 .,. ...Ui JJ-' .J ..L-..J ._,.ojlJ .r. J. .)~ .J.ll .:.,J_, . 1 '1" .:,-11 r.11 ~ ' ·~ J1 .:.,1., . , 1

r-.,

Text and Translation

10

lbn lsl_iaq's Version with Variants

1) '-:"'l.::5' ... , Wiist. IH/DK IH IT Mis. I om.; IK.:r.?-4110:! w\ri i'.)LJI ~ o..l.4&- .j J.,.j

r

r

.:r.JJI J_,+)I ..::&-JI_,..J 4-:,1&- J} J ~ .ri .,;)1 .t..:.l_;l.lJ ~ ~ "'...,..1 '-?.lll '-:"'l.::5J4 ) ..,..;\riJ ~..u.41_,;ts; ISNJ.,+)IJ .:..:-Lil 0:! ~Jl_,1.1 _.,5~; Maw. ) ..,.,;\r\J .:r.?-4110:! ",l.:S; Mis. I om.

\*-...; 6t_JIJ )L,a.;\rlJ .:r.?-411 cJ:! 54l.::5'4t1,--J ~ )J . \ t 4~ r-"'-1>-i ..LI_, .:its )J 5~ r+.~i c>)J

I) Maq. ~ ~ ; IH/Berl. adds a variant above~:~ 2) IK ~.) 3) Cf. the Persian trans. oflbn ls~iiq (I:Jamid., Mamjil'"a p. 359), I:Jamid., no. I, p. 3: l.)U _,i W).,i 4) IH/DK ~ 5) IH IH/Berl. ISN Maw. Mis.; IH/DK ~ ; IK ~

I) Wiist. IH; Maq. IH/DK Mis. Mis.2 IK ISN Maw. }ts; ISN/Berl. voe. ) t s ~ 2) ~I'-'::-° _;.I.I 0!.J ... , IT IQ Jli .:ii.)! ('""'t.;.)i ~~ , 0..1.>I_, ....UI ~~ 0!.J . \ i i.rl:.li cJJ.) ~ 2.)1_,.. ~ '-'::-" _;J.1 1.:i!J . \V

Text and Translation 1) IT IQ,:,~ 2) IT IQ

13

Jy

1) !SN 01., ; ISN2 .._;1., 2) .._;1., ... , Nuw. ~ )'1.J; Maq.; .,.):J\.J 4) IH Nuw. ..:r-r'L:.:..

;>-"

*

..r .._;\.J

3) Maw. ; _,....:\11; Wiist. voe.

1) !SN Mis. cl.J~ .:,-,; !SN/Berl. .:,-, was written and then struck out 2) Mis. Mis.2 ,y 3) ISN Mis.2 J~ .Ji

1) Wiist. IH/Berl. IH !SN/Berl. , . ;;·.~

1) Maw. ·~ 2) ~ ,y ~ , Maq. Wiist Mis. !SN; IH/DK IH Maw. Mis.2 ~ ~; IH/Berl. ~ ~ ~ a n d above~ a variant reading was added: ,y; IK ~ ~ 3) Maq. U., and on the margin: ;\.JUI l?j •lr.11.:,- ~_., 8 ...o ~.:ii ?\'I i-,:llJ 2 JJ4 .:,-olJ ~ I .J..,..j 4 Ji \:.,.-o _;].~ ~ ...;)J . "I' o

J~ ~J...; .rP -4.:... .b:-y. ~J , 4.ol:-ill ~i y. ~J 4...lJI c..J ~ .:ii,; .1JT Ji •_r,aj .:,-o l) Maq . .:,-o .:,-o _;]. 2) IH/Berl.

~

3) ISN 01.J 4) Mis.2 ad. c'.J'.>\.llJ 5) Mis.2 i y. J!

1) oJ r 01,i , IH/DK o.r4Lt 2 )IH IK ad.~J :r, 3 )Mis.2 .J.,..... J; Wiist. ad.

i'.>LJI ~; IHI

Berl. i')\...JI ~ added above the line; IH Mis. ad. r-1---J ~ JJI J-; IK(..ro) .:,-o_;.. ... , IT IQ Jli .:ii Jl

;r-1~ ~

l) Maw. .:.ip.; ISN IK Maq. 0fo.; ISN2 0#.; IQ .)_,.ii:.- 2) Maw. 0-'...JJ4---; IH/Berl. voe. c.J:!J~; IH/DK .:.iY.JL>...

l)Maw. ad. 01.J; 01.J ... , ITIQ ~_;l.l.:,-04..a->...;y~J.tt-:-10!.J2) ISN ad. J!-)-~I~ (!) 3) Wiist. IHJDK ISN ~i Ji; IH/Berl. ~i Ji is added as a variant on the margin 4) fr IQ IH/DK

c!Y..Jy._;,.J.tt-:-IL..J!-}.~·.:.ll._;,.J.tt-:-l~ L.. 2J!.- Js- ~i., Ir+-31.,... ,_,....,~\.).*-i .:,- ~ I _).IC: Jt...._., il..!..,,. If.I Ju JL.-......1 If.I Ju , ~ I ; J.'> ~ L.. ... , ~ \ •..L,..) L..

l) _r.ll .:iu . .. , Maw. om.; Mis. I voe.

~\ri .:ii:, ;ii .:i!J

. ; Mis.2 voe.~~\.:,_,.)~\ .:iu

Text and Translation

18

1) ~ 'l ... , ISN ~ 'l.J 2)Maw. om.

O..,..}l\.)-*-.:.,1., ... ,IKom.

I) Wtist. Maw. IK IH/DK Maq. ~T Ji; ISN Nuw. ~T'l.J; ISN/Berl. ~I Ji; IH/Berl. ~1 'lJ and a variant is added between the lines .Ji; Mis. ~T .Ji; Mis. I voe. ~j .Ji; Mis.2 voe. ~T .Ji

-

'

'

I) Wtist. ISN .:.,1.,; IH/Berl. .__;1., and between the lines a variant is added .:.,1., 2) Maq. (..?-" 3) Maq. om.;

cr'T ... .:.r'T, IH/Berl. Mis. I voe. ~i ~i .Ji

... ~j 4) Maq. Wtist. Maw.; IH

IK ISN Mis. Mis. I Mis.2

I) Maw. er' 2) Wtist. ad.

~

; IH ISN Maw. Mis. I Mis.2 IH/DK Maq. ad.

~

..,..J· .. ,IKom.; ~~_;11.:.,1., ... ,Qast.only~. 'l!fY-'l.,;~~i.Jr-"-.:.r'.J

19

Text and Translation

Abii 'Ubayd's Version . ~..ul '-"..lAA U>.)-*- ....:&-.)1_,...J '-:' _;.,_ jA1J ~ _;11 ~ r-LJ ~ .J..11 .)..o ...UI J_,....J '-:'l.:S' lhJ ...ul.,:.

.:r. ~ \.:.:..1.> : Jli .u.... ,:r. ~I \.:.:..1.> : ')'Li e:JL..:, ,:r. .J..11~J ~ ,:r. .J..11~ ,:r. ~ _f..1.> : '-:'L::SJI I~~

rLJ ~ .J..11 .)..o .J..11 J _,....J 01 ~ : Jli ~\ '-:'l.f..!. ,:r.1 ,y

r-f-! J->,-U ~ .rJ '-:' _;.,_ jA1J ,.;.,_} .r ~ I J ~ _;11 ~ ...UI J _,.... J
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STUDIES IN LATE ANTIQUITY AND EARLY ISLAM 23 THE "CONSTITUTION OF MEDINA" MUHAMMAD'S FIRST LEGAL DOCUMENT . MICHAEL LECKER THE DARWIN PRESS, INC. ...

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