By Magdy Abdalshafy
God says in the Holy Quran what means:
And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have made a covenant, and do not break the oaths after making them fast, and you have indeed made Allah a surety for you; surely Allah knows what you do. And be not like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces after she has spun it strongly. You make your oaths to be means of deceit between you because (one) nation is more numerous than (another) nation. Allah only tries you by this; and He will most certainly make clear to you on the resurrection day that about which you differed.
According to the above-mentioned verse, Muslims are required to abide by whatever agreement they held with non-Muslims including enemies. In Islam, violating or breaching any agreement or promise is considered a sign of hypocrisy which is very abhorrent in Islam.
Guided by the guidelines of the Holy Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and his companions held peaceful agreements with non-Muslim nations and there is no one single report that they violated these agreements.
The first written constitution of a State ever promulgated by a sovereign in human history emanated from the Prophet of Islam. It was enacted from the first year of Hijrah (622 CE). The treaty stipulated a city state in Medina, allowing wide autonomy to communities. Private Justice was to be banished. The head of the State had the prerogative to decide who should participate in an expedition, the war and peace being indivisible. Social insurance was to be instituted.
The following treaty shows to what extent Prophet Muhammad was keen on holding peaceful treaties with the others and even he never violates any treaty.
In the name of Allah (The One True God) the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is a document from Muhammad, the Prophet, governing the relation between the Believers from among the Qurayshites (i.e., Emigrants from Mecca) and Yathribites (i.e., the residents of Medina) and those who followed them and joined them and strived with them. They form one and the same community as against the rest of men.
“No Believer shall oppose the client of another Believer. Whosoever is rebellious, or seeks to spread injustice, enmity or sedition among the Believers, the hand of every man shall be against him, even if he be a son of one of them. A Believer shall not kill a Believer in retaliation of an unbeliever, nor shall he help an unbeliever against a Believer.
“Whosoever among the Jews follows us shall have help and equality; they shall not be injured nor shall any enemy be aided against them.... No separate peace will be made when the Believers are fighting in the way of Allah.... The Believers shall avenge the blood of one another shed in the way of Allah ....Whosoever kills a Believer wrongfully shall be liable to retaliation; all the Believers shall be against him as one man and they are bound to take action against him.
“The Jews shall contribute (to the cost of war) with the Believers so long as they are at war with a common enemy. The Jews of Banu Najjar, Banu al-Harith, Banu Sa'idah, Banu Jusham, Banu al-Aws, Banu Tha'labah, Jafnah, and Banu al-Shutaybah enjoy the same rights and priviledges as the Jews of Banu Aws.
“The Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The close friends of Jews are as themselves. None of them shall go out on a military expedition except with the permission of Muhammad, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound.
“The Jews shall be responsible for their expenses and the Believers for theirs. Each, if attacked, shall come to the assistance of the other.
“The valley of Yathrib (Medina) shall be sacred and inviolable for all that join this Treaty. Strangers, under protection, shall be treated on the same ground as their protectors; but no stranger shall be taken under protection except with consent of his tribe....No woman shall be taken under protection without the consent of her family.
Whatever difference or dispute between the parties to this covenant remains unsolved shall be referred to Allah and to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. Allah is the Guarantor of the piety and goodness that is embodied in this covenant. Neither the Quraysh nor their allies shall be given any protection.
“The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib. If they are called to cease hostilities and to enter into peace, they shall be bound to do so in the interest of peace; and if they make a similar demand on Muslims it must be carried out except when the war is agianst their religion.
“Allah approves the truth and goodwill of this covenant. This treaty shall not protect the unjust or the criminal. Whoever goes out to fight as well as whoever stays at home shall be safe and secure in this city unless he has perpetrated an injustice or commited a crime.... Allah is the protector of the good and God-fearing people.”