BS Sharafuddin is a guest faculty for management studies in Kuwait,self-employed and a motivational speaker.
The migration of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is one of the most significant events in Islamic History. This event is also considered the basis for the Hijri Islamic Calendar. As soon as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reached Madinah, he prioritized the establishment of a new society and carried out certain important tasks to accomplish it. He performed nine important tasks while establishing the first Islamic society in Madinah. These tasks are relevant at all times as a model of a welfare state because it focuses on the religious, cultural, educational, economic, and social development of the community. He always advised the masses to be concerned about the overall development of society.
The nine tasks he performed after migration to Madinah were as follows:
Task Number 1: Construction of a Masjid
Prophet Muhammad established the first Masjid of Madinah – ‘Masjid Quba’ as an Islamic centre. It was a place of worship for the entire family including women and children. People used to go to Masjid to get guidance related to community issues, gain knowledge, solve their disputes, and discuss relevant issues. Even these days in several Muslim countries, we find that the Masjids play similar diverse roles. Many multidimensional activities are going on in these places of worship under one roof. Non-Muslims visit the masjid for cultural understanding and this has paved the way for a greater understanding of Islam among non-Muslims. In a pluralistic society like India, it is necessary to develop the masjids as Islamic Centers and to utilize the infrastructure and venue of the Masjids for the betterment of the community and interfaith understanding.
Task Number 2. Setting up a Learning Center
The Prophet (PBUH) established a learning centre called ‘Ashab al-Suffa’ and facilitated boarding and lodging for the students who showed a quest of acquiring knowledge. Schools and learning centres are pivotal for the development of any community. Schools that impart religious teachings, and moral code of conduct coupled with modern quality education is a need of the hour. This is necessary to bring up responsible citizens and efficient future leaders in society.
Task Number 3: Unity Among Communities
In order to bring unity among different communities in Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) established a treaty of brotherhood among Muslims who migrated from Makkah (Muhajirs) and resident Muslims of Madinah (Ansars). Unity among various communities is an important requisite for the overall well-being of society. Various organizations and activists should ensure that in the process of reformation and enlightenment of the community, they are not dividing the community. Division of the community is disastrous while it is already facing so many social, economic, and political challenges. Unity and tolerance for varied viewpoints are the basic requisites of a healthy community. Religious scholars and community leaders need to play a vital role in this regard.
Task Number 4: Interfaith Relations
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) established this by leading by example, contributing positively to society, addressing common social issues, spreading harmony and achieving interfaith understanding in society.Prophet Muhammad initiated a peace treaty between people of various faiths living in Madinah, which is another relevant initiative for the modern world to emulate. Particularly for Muslims who live in a multicultural and multi-religious society because a small number of communal elements put in all efforts to spread hatred and polarize the society based on religious grounds. Developing constructive and peaceful relationships and mutual appreciation between people of various faiths is very important for peaceful coexistence and development. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) established this by leading by example, contributing positively to society, addressing common social issues, spreading harmony and achieving interfaith understanding in society.
Task Number 5: Cleanliness Drive
Cleanliness is among the primary teachings of Islam and it admonishes that cleanliness is half of faith. The Prophet (PBUH) as soon as he was settled in Madinah, ordered a mega-cleanliness drive in the city. The city of Madinah was unclean when he reached there after migration. His followers initiated a vigorous cleanliness project, converted the city of Yathrib (the old name of Madinah) into a clean, green, and progressive city and renamed it ‘Madinat Al Nabi’ (the City of the Prophet). This accomplishment brought the original inhabitants of Madinah closer to the migrant community.
Tasks Number 6 and 7: Developing Water Resources and Promoting Vegetation
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reached Madinah, there was a severe scarcity of water in the city. The Prophet addressed this problem by requesting people to dig as many water wells as possible. When a person asked Prophet Muhammad what good could be done for his deceased parents, the Prophet advised him to dig a water well on their behalf to get them a recurrent reward due to it. Motivated by this Prophetic injunction, even to this day, we can see his followers paying large sums of money as charity to dig wells all around the world. As per the advice of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) his companion Uthman ibn Affan (R), purchased a famous water well of Madinah known even today as ‘Bi’ar Uthman’ (Water Well of Uthman) and donated it for charitable purposes. It is considered the first ‘wakf’ (endowment) from where the concept of endowment originated. Today there are ministries of Awkaf in almost every country where Muslims live that originated from this endowment.
Likewise, the Prophet introduced a new law stipulating that the ownership of the land will be given to the one who cultivates a bare land. This was an important step to boost the agrarian economy. Thus the severe scarcity of water and food grains in Madinah was addressed. Taking care of basic humanitarian issues is a trait of great community leaders.
Task Number 8: Poverty Eradication
Poverty eradication was another important task performed by the Prophet (PBUH) in Madinah. The system of Zakat was introduced and established systematically. It is obligatory for affluent Muslims to pay 2.5% of their wealth as poor due (zakat) for poverty eradication. The Zakat money can be spent only on eight predefined categories and this careful categorization is mainly for the purpose of poverty eradication. There are instances in Islamic history that when the well-organized system of collection and distribution of zakat was implemented poverty was completely eradicated from the Muslim societies. Even today, if an organized system of zakat is implemented following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the issue of poverty could be addressed comprehensively.
Task Number 9: Safety, Security and Law & Order
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ensured the safety and security of Madinah by establishing the first written constitution of the world. This written constitution called the Charter of Madinah contains several laws to end inter-tribal conflicts, maintain peace and cooperation among the people and ensure the rights of non-Muslim citizens of the land. The constitution guaranteed peace and pluralism through mutual respect and tolerance thereby drawing principles for a peaceful functioning of a pluralistic society. It also ensured the religious freedom of the minorities and the protection of their faith and culture.