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CONSTITUTION. Governance in the Islamic Middle East may best be understood as a development from the classical theory of the caliphate (khildfah) and the concept of rule by the "pious sultan," more or less integrated with modern constitutional government. The ideal model for the Islamic state was the Charter of Medina, a contract between Muhammad, the prophet and statesman, and his Muslim/Jewish community (ummah). It permitted the coexistence of Muslims and "peoples of the book," (ahl al-kitd ...more

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