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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

Saeed Khan

Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)

 Seventh Annual Conference

The Challenge of Democracy in the Muslim World


Saeed Khan, (A Comparison of the Constitution of Medina and the Early Development of the United States Constitution on the Issues of Citizenship, Political Representation and Enfranchisement), Political development of a society is predicated upon an organized system of rights and responsibilities of its constituent peoples.  A constitution is often expositive of the level of sophistication of that society vis-‚àö‚Ć-vis adherence to certain legal and political realities and expectations.  A central variable to the latter concern is the accommodation for political representation of that society’s inhabitants.  In order to furnish the population with its sense of identity, the constitution must address the issues of enfranchisement and citizenship.  The United States and the early Islamic community of Medina are two examples of societies that drafted and enacted constitutions to address their respective communities’ needs within the political context.  This paper shall examine the early development of the United States Constitution, assessing its initial tenets that would serve as the cornerstone for American jurisprudence and socio-political organization.  The effects of certain provisions as they pertain to the issue of enfranchisement and citizenship shall be studied, including the deficiencies in the original construction of the Constitution, as well as the measures taken by the U.S. government in modifying the document as circumstances so dictated.  This paper shall also analyze the conditions that warranted the enactment of the Constitution of Medina during the Prophetic period and its attempt to provide a political structure to a community where such constructs were essential to its viability and survival.  Finally, comparisons shall be made between the two constitutions and the effect each had to the future political conformation of each respective society.

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