The article demonstrates how the Constitution of Medina (622 ce) is a multidimensional rhetoric of justice that countered rampant violence in the nascent city-state known as Medina. To make this argument, the article first introduces this legal-political text and explicates the rhetorical exigence that mandated Medina's inhabitants to articulate a framework for rights and obligations. Second, the article demonstrates how the constitution unified this citizenry by (1) recognizing everyone's equal standing, equality, and rights—especially to religious freedom and justice—across their religious and tribal affiliations; and (2) establishing institutional measures that realize these rights. As rhetoric of possibility, the Constitution of Medina constituted a community and modeled rights discourse.
Legal-Political Rhetoric, Human Rights, and the Constitution of Medina*
I thank Beth Godbee and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful feedback. Earlier drafts of this study were presented at the Rhetoric Society of America's (RSA) Biennial Institute and Conference. An earlier version constitutes part of chapter three of Shades of Ṣulḥḥ: The Rhetorics of Arab-Islamic Reconciliation.
Rasha Diab; Legal-Political Rhetoric, Human Rights, and the Constitution of Medina. Rhetorica 1 August 2018; 36 (3): 219–243. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rh.2018.36.3.219
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