Prophetic Diplomatic Principles in Foreign Relations

Prophetic Diplomatic Principles in Foreign Relations Dr. Mohammad Mohiuddin[1] Abstract The political interest could be understood wisely from…

Prophetic Diplomatic Principles in Foreign Relations

Dr. Mohammad Mohiuddin[1]


The political interest could be understood wisely from the primary Islamic state of Madinah formed by the Prophet Muhammad PBHU. The Islamic view on international relations, political affairs and diplomacy could be well introduced from the diplomatic practices of Prophet, how he planned to build a peaceful and harmonious state, how he did overcome the conflicts, how he preserved the rights of all citizens and how he ensured the peace within the society. This study highlighted on the diplomatic principles of Prophet Muhammad PBHU, which are undoubtedly universal to be followed by the leaders of the contemporary world.

Keywords: Prophet, Muhammad, International, Relation, diplomatic, Principle.


The practices of the prophet PBHU were completely from the directions of the Holy Quran. Islamic ideology is that any kind of affairs should be against deception, injustice, trickery and dishonesty in international relations in Machiavellianisme.[2] The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) constituted the diplomacy, the international Islamic relations with other communities on theoretical grounds, which will be dealt with in the following pages in order to actualize the fundamental ideologies into reality. The effective strategies were applied to bring success to international Islamic relations and diplomacy with other communities.

Diplomatic Principles in Foreign Relation from Prophetic Practices

Based on the Quranic perspective and the practices of prophet Muhamamd (PBUH), the main principles must be as follows:

1. Believe in Allah SWT and trust in Him

2. Obeying Allah SWT, His messenger, and the responsible leaders. Any disagreement must be referred to the Holy Quran and to the prophetic practices for the solution

﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا﴾

“O, you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.”[3]

3. Democratic consultation

An important meeting or consultation, which follows the teachings of Islam following the guidelines of the Quran and prophetic practices based on mushawarah and mudhakarah. All executive members should be given fair opportunity to voice out their opinions. And the maslahahammah or public interest to be prioritized in taking decision.

﴿فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ﴾

“So, by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So, pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely (upon Him)”[4]

4. Ensuring non-Muslims have their own rights

Islam assures the peace, harmony and coexistence in the societies and nations by ensuring equal practices of the own practices of all groups and religious followers. First of all: to have the security of God is equal for all groups, non-Muslim members will have the same religious, economic, political and cultural rights as Muslims.

We knew that when a delegation from Najran came to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), He did not forbid them from worshiping and allowed them to practice their own religion.

قال ابن إسحاق: وفد على رسول الله وفد نصارى نجران بالمدينة، فحدثني محمد بن جعفر بن الزبير، قال: (لما قدم وفد نجران على رسول الله دخلوا عليه مسجده بعد صلاة العصر، فحانت صلاتهم، فقاموا يصلون في مسجده، فأراد الناس منعهم، فقال رسول الله : “دعوهم” فاستقبلوا المشرق، فصلوا صلاتهم).[5]

5. Equal safety and security for all citizens regardless of their races, religions, groups, and ethnics

The Prophet Muhamamd (PBUH) proved that only Islam assures the safety and security for all people and groups within the state. Even when the delegations from other side of the world used to come to prophet (PBUH), they were safe and given the high level of security assurance.

Ibn al-Qayyim al-jaoziyah’s remark: “The envoys /messengers of his enemies used to come to him (SAW). Despite that they still remain hostility to him he will not attack them or kill them. Thus, it is his (SAW) tradition that envoys/emissaries/ messenger should not be killed.”[6]

6. Al-Ijma’ ‘Consensus’

Al-Ijma’ ‘consensus,’ is an agreement of the authoritative Islamic legal scholars or jurists on an interpretation or nation in an era and on a sharia’h ruling or judgment. Some scholars added that such agreement must be after the demise of the holy Prophet (SAW).[7] There are some complicated and new issues of political, social and cultural fields, to be solved and taken decision to overcome the challenges and conflicts, which need an agreement of the authoritative Islamic legal scholars.

Thus, it will be increasingly clear now that the granting of safety and immunity is actually from a legitimate and authentic source of shariah law. The diplomatic law is confine within this limit. This is because there are numerous matters that are exclusive to the activities of the envoys and messengers of heads of states in which Muslim jurists unanimously agreed on the sacredness and the immunity of a diplomatic Envoy.[8]

7. Al-‘Urf ‘Custom’

Every nation and society are full of huge number of customs and different traditions. Some of them are totally contradict with the Islamic principles and Law and some of them are not. The Muslim scholars argued that the al- ‘Urf ‘custom’ is an acceptable source of law if it’s not contradicted with the fundamental principles of Islam. One of the customary and tradition principles that is accepted by Islam and makes it binding is the traditional or customary principle of the sacredness of ambassadors, emissaries/messengers and diplomatic envoys.

The holy Prophet (SAW) says and replied to a delegation; if it is not for the fact that messengers/ emissaries should not be killed, I would have killed the both of you. This is a proof that the rule is of general application amongst various laws and countries. Thus, when Islamic came it accepted it.

The almighty Allah said:

﴿يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ﴾

“Allah wants to make clear to you [the lawful from the unlawful] and guide you to the [good] practices of those before you and to accept your repentance. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”[9]

﴿كَذَلِكَ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ مَا قَدْ سَبَقَ وَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ مِنْ لَدُنَّا ذِكْرًا﴾

“Thus, [O Muhammad], We relate to you from the news of what has preceded. And We have certainly given you from Us the Qur’an.”[10]

These Quranic verses imply that Islamic law permits whatever customs is good without any rejection if it does not contradict with the fundamental rules of Islamic law. It considered as Allah’s blessing upon us.


In conclusion we can say that the diplomacy in the era of the Prophet (SAW) represents ideal level generally in the diplomatic history of the human folk and particularly the history of Islam and Muslims. Yes, there is no doubt that the greatest period in the history of foreign relations and of human diplomacy is the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

However, the practices of foreign affairs and the diplomacy in the Muslim world went beyond such boundaries of the pre-Islamic era and flied to all directions in order to guard the religion, peace and international politics of the world. And for the ultimate success in the fields of foreign relations and diplomacy the Muslim world must realize that “That is why the Muhammadih diplomatic immunities is a realistic diplomacy that laid down a set of rules, principles and values that was derived from the sublime Shariah and the guidance of Prophet Mohammad (SAW). It is above all inadequacy and defect, and its effect is clear and crystal from the record of Islamic diplomacy of later ages.”[11]



Abu al-Wafa, Ahmad Muhammad (2007). Al-I’ilam bi-qawaid al-qanun al-daoli wa al-‘Alaqat al-daoliyah fi al-shariah al-islamiyah, (Dar al-nahadah, 2007), vol. 4. P 41.

Ba Umar, Ahmad SalÊm (2001). Al-DiblomÉsiyah Bayna al-fiqh al-IslÉmiy wa al-Qanun al-Daoli, (DÉr al-NafÉis, 2001). P 70-73.

Choudhury, Golam Wahed (1994). The Prophet Muhammad: His life and eternal message, WHS Publications.

Ibn Qaiyyim al-jawziyya (1994). Zad al-ma’ad, (Bairut: Muassasaat al-Risala, 27th edition, 1994), vol 3. P. 550.

Iyad al-Sami (2005). Usul al-Fiqh. (Dar al-Tadmariyah, ed 1, 2005). P. 124.

  1. Coordinator (English Programs), Islamic Economics Association, University of Kuwait. mahiiiumissc@gmail.com
  2. Choudhury, Golam Wahed, The Prophet Muhammad: His life and eternal message, WHS Publications, 1994.
  3. Quran, Nisa’, [4: 59]
  4. Quran, ‘Imran, [3: 159].
  5. Ibn Qaiyyim al-jawziyya, Zad al-ma’ad, (Bairut: Muassasaat al-Risala, 27th edition, 1994), vol 3, p 550.
  6. Ibn al-Qayyim al-jaoziyah, ibid, vol. 3, p 125.
  7. Iyad al-Sami, Usul al-Fiqh. (Dar al-Tadmariyah, ed 1, 2005). p 124.
  8. Abu al-Wafa, Ahmad Muhammad, al-I’ilam bi-qawaid al-qanun al-daoli wa al-‘Alaqat al-daoliyah fi al-shariah al-islamiyah, (Dar al-nahadah, 2007), vol. 4, p 41.
  9. Quran. Nisa’, [4:26].
  10. Quran, Taha, [20:99].
  11. Ba Umar, Ahmad SalÊm, al-DiblomÉsiyah Bayna al-fiqh al-IslÉmiy wa al-Qanun al-Daoli, (DÉr al-NafÉis, 2001), p 70-73

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