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Ph.D in Christian Doctrines and Scriptures, Faculty of Usul al-Din, Umm al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia. Translated by Hayam Elisawy. Edited by Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi.
The Qur’anic commandment of collecting the Jizya1 from the People of the Book is equivocal and confusing for some. The commandment is clearly stated in the following verse: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”2
Some have thus erroneously viewed this Qur’anic commandment as a form of injustice, oppression and humiliation of nations and peoples who came under Islamic rule. Undoubtedly those to hold to this view have neglected the great privileges attributed to the rights of those who are imposed the jizya upon in Islam. Rather, these persons believe that Islam is similar to other ruling regimes that preceded and succeeded it. Islam is a unique regime as regards the matter at hand or any other issues. Islam is totally detached from the injustice and oppression as was the norm of how the People of Jizya used to be commonly treated, as it will become obvious in the following impartial and objective scientific research.
Jizya from the Linguistic Perspective
“Jizya” is derived from the root “Jaza” or “compensate”. Arabs usually say the phrase “Jaza, yajzi” which means “compensate” or ‘reward” if a person rewards another for the service rendered by the latter. “Jizya” is a derived term in the form of “fi’la” from “mujaza’” which is the noun “compensation”, meaning “a sum of money given in return for protection”. Ibn Al-Mutaraz said: “It is derived from “idjza’” or “substitute” or “sufficiency” because it suffices as a substitute for the “dhimmi’s3 embracement of Islam”4
Jizya in Pre-Islamic Times
Islam was not the first religion to pre-ordain the Jizya and Muslims were not the first nation to levy the Jizya unto the peoples subdued by them. Victorious nations throughout history have persisted in levying the Jizya on their conquered subjects. Examples of such an action are abundant in human history.
This is reflected in the New Testament when the Christ(P) told Simon the following:
“What do you think Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes — from their own sons or from others?” “From others” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt”, Jesus said to him.” (Matthew 17:24-25).
When the prophets, peace be upon them, conquered certain kingdoms with the will and victory of Allah, they levied the jizya upon the conquered peoples. They had in fact also enslaved the conquered peoples as was done by Joshua on the people of Canaan when he conquered them:
“They did not dislodge the Canaanites dwelling on Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to pay Jizya.” (Joshua 16:10).
Thus Joshua had both enslaved and levied Jizya on the people of Canaan.
Christianity did not abrogate any of the laws of Judaism. Christ(P) did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, rather, he came to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17). Christ(P) even commanded his followers to pay the Jizya to the Romans and he himself had expediently paid it. He told Simon:
“Go to the lake and throw your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” (Matthew 17:24-27)
When asked by Jews (as per the New Testament) about his opinion as regards the payment of the Jizya, he acknowledged Caesar’s right to take it
“They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You are not swayed by men because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said,”You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:16-21).
Christ(P) took no offence in sitting and loving tax-collectors who collected Jizya and delivered it to the Romans (See Matthew 11/19). Christ(P) had in fact elected Matthew the tax-collector to be one of his twelve disciples (see Matthew 9:9).
The New Testament considers the payment of Jizya to the ruler as a legislative right. It is clad in holiness and is rendered as a religious matter. It says:
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God?s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He Is God?s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God?s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-7).
Jizya in Islam
Islam did not halt the societal norms and human practices which precedes its advent. Rather, Islam sets a higher standard above the misgivings of others. Islam lends its own civilized features to the nations that come under its rule.by elevating the Jizya to become not merely a poll-tax paid by the conquered to the victorious but as a binding covenant made between the Muslim nation and the peoples who eventually came under Islamic rule. The jizya became a contract or an agreement between two parties, duly guarded and blessed by Allah’s Commandments and ordinances represented in pledges and the respect and abidance by covenants. The contract is sealed and authenticated by the Prophet’s wrath, peace and blessings upon him, to those who violate such an agreement. This is manifested in the expression “the People of the Dhimma” (or Covenant), this dhimma which may never be violated and which must be duly fulfilled and guarded by virtue of the commandment given by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
Allah(T) preordained that Jizya be taken from fighters exclusively as the verse obviously states:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”5
“Our scholars said: The Qur’an proves that Jezya is taken from fighters…This is ijma’6 (consensus) by scholars that jizya is levied only on adult, free men who are qualified to go to war not on women or children or slaves or mad people or defeated people or senile or the elderly.”7
‘Umar(R) wrote to his army generals: “Never levy the tax (Jizya) on women or little children and never levy the tax except on men who shave their beards”, which means adults who started to have beards and shave them.8
The sum of jizya was never large to the extent that the men were unable to pay. Rather, it was always available and reasonable. During the reign of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, jizya never exceeded one dinar annually and it never exceeded four dinars under the Umayyad rule.
When the Prophet(P) sent Mu’az to Yemen, he took one dinar as jizya from every adult man. Mu’az says:
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, sent me to Yemen, he commanded me to take a male or female calf for every thirty cows and a cow for every forty cows (this is the Zakat levied on Muslims) and one dinar from every adult man or the equivalent thereof in the form of clothes (jizya)”9
In the reign of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab — may Allah be pleased with him — he levied jizya on gold-sellers in the amount of four dinars and on paper-sellers in the amount of forty dirhams in addition to the wealth of Muslims and a three-day hospitability10.
1) Warning against injustice toward the People of Dhimma
Allah(T) in His Book and the Prophet(P) in his hadith preordain benevolence and good deeds to the People of Jizya. Shari`a staunchly prohibits injustice and oppression toward them. The Holy Qur’an urges Muslims to be good and just with peaceful People of the Book who do not aggress Muslims:
“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just.”11
Benevolence and kindness are the most sublime types of dealing. Thus Allah preordains this degree of good treatment with the parents. This is clearly and patently clarified and expressed by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him in another hadith: “Kindness is good morals and ethics.”12
The Prophet(P) also says warning against being unjust to the People of Dhimma or impairing their rights: “The one who wrongs a covenanter or impairs his right or overworks him or forcibly takes something from him, I will be his prosecutor on the Day of Judgment”13. He also says: “The one who kills a covenanter will never smell the scent of heaven and its scent is found at the distance of forty years.”14
When some Muslims mistreated the People of Jizya, the stance of knowing scholars was strict. Hesham ibn Hakim ibn Hizam once passed by a group of Nabateans in the Levant who were made to be staying in the sun. He said: What?s wrong with these people? They said: They are imprisoned because they did not pay the jizya. Hesham said: “I witness that I have heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him saying: “Allah tortures those who torture people in this lifetime.” He said: “And their ruler at the time was ‘Umair Ibn Sa’ad on Palestine, so he went to him and passed his orders so they were discharged.”15
As for the commandment of subdue set out in the Qur’anic verse “and feel themselves subdued”, it is a meaning that could never contradict the sayings of the Prophet(P) which preordain kindness, justice, prohibition of injustice and oppression. [That] is how the scholars of Islam understood it. Al-Shafi’i interpreted this phrase as preordaining that the rules and regulations of Islam apply to them or to their public. Jizya is a sign of a nation subdued and conquered due to the general properties of the conquering nation.
The successor, ‘Ikrima the servant of Ibn ‘Abbas interpreted this as the image of payment of Jizya to Muslims. He said: “They should be standing up while giving it while the takers should be sitting down”. As the giving hand has always been the upper hand, so it should be the upper, they were required to make the jizya payer feel their superiority over him and not his superiority over them. Al-Qurtubi says in his interpretation:
“So the hand of an almsgiver is made the upper hand while the hand of the jizya giver is the lower hand while the hand of the jizya taker is the upper.”16
2) Certain forms of Dhimma Treaties and Covenants in the Islamic State
Islam gave unique guarantees to the People of Dhimma that were and will never be encountered by humanity. In return for very few dirhams to be paid by men who are able to go to war and fight, they enjoy living in security and absolute protection by Muslims in addition to the security of their churches and faith.
This was manifest in the councils given by Caliphs to their army leaders as asserted by the forms and wording of agreements duly signed by Muslims with jizya payers. We would like to draw the reader’s attention to contemplate the guarantees given by Muslims and the sum of money paid by the People of Jizya in return.
We will start by the historians’ accounts on the covenants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, with the People of Jizya. In the onset we will set forth the account of Ibn Sa’ad in his Tabaqaat from the covenant of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to Rabica Al-Hadrami, where he says:
“The Messenger of Allah wrote to Rabica Ibn Zi Marhab Al-Hadrami, his brothers and uncles that they are entitled to their property, palm trees, slaves, wells, trees, water, waterwheels and plants in Hadhramaut, and that the fruit and nabq of each mortgaged land shall be included in the sum of mortgage due to him. All good that is in their fruit they will never be questioned for and Allah and His Messenger are free from it. The jama’a of Muslims must defend the people of zi Murhab and their land must never be violated together with their property, lives and zafer the orchard of the king, which used to flow to the people of Qays and Allah is the Protector. Executed by Mu’awiya.”17
The phrase “The jama’a of Muslims must defend the people of zi Murhab” comprises a significant implication viz Muslims would sacrifice their lives for those who come under their protection and covenant. This is the dhimma of Allah Almighty and the dhimma of His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, Al-Qarafi says:
“An agreement which is duly maintained by lives and property is verily a magnificent one.”18
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, wrote a letter of dhimma and covenant to the Christian people of Najraan which is conveyed to us by Ibn Sa’ad in his Tabaqaat:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, wrote to the bishop of the sons of Al-Harith Ibn Ka’ab and the bishops, clergymen, adherents and priests of Najraan, telling them that they are entitled to whatever property in their possession notwithstanding its being large or small including their synagogues, prayers, priests as well as the protection of Allah and His Messenger, no bishop may be removed from his bishopric, no priest will be denied his priesthood and no clergyman will be denied his ministry. Nothing of their rights may be breached or abolished and neither their authority nor any of their status-quo will be violated so long as they give sincere advice and put their conditions to order without being unjust or being wronged. This was executed by Al-Mughira.”19
The companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, applied what they learnt from their magnificent Messenger and they abided by the principles and civilized features of Islam vis-a-vis the people of jizya. Historians gave accounts of a number of covenants granted by Muslims to the people of dhimma. For example, the ‘Omarian covenant given by ‘Omar to the people of Aelia. It reads as follows:
“In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and Most Gracious. This is the covenant of security granted by the servant of Allah, ‘Omar the Commander of the Faithful, to the people of Aelia. He, hereby, guarantees the security of their persons and property, their churches and crosses, the little and the great and all adherents of the Christian religion. It is prohibited that their churches be inhibited or demolished or diminished as regards the church itself or its domain. Neither may their cross be impaired or any of their property in any manner.
They should not be coerced to abandon their faith and no one of them may be harmed. No Jews are permitted to live with them in Aelia. Upon the people of Aelia falls the obligation to pay the jizya, as is the case with the people of Mada’in, as well as evict from their midst the Byzantine. Whoever of these who leaves Aelia will be granted security of person and property until he reaches his destination. Whoever decides to stay in Aelia will also be granted same, and share with the people of Aelia in their rights and the jizya. The same applies to the people of Aelia as well as to any other person. Those who would like to march with the Byzantines may go and those who would like to return to their people will not be bound to pay anything until they reap their harvest.
Allah attests to the content of this treaty, and so do His Prophet, his successors and the believers.
This is witnessed by Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas, Abdul-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf and Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan. Executed in the year 15 Hijri.”20
‘Umar wrote a similar treaty to the people of Al-Lid.21
When Khalid Ibn Al-Walid conquered Damascus, he wrote a similar treaty to its people.
“In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and Most Gracious. This is the covenant granted by Khalid Ibn Al-Walid to the people of Damascus if he enters it. They will be secure regarding their lives, property and churches. The fence of the city may not be demolished and no house owned by them may be dispossessed or inhibited. This is the covenant of Allah and the dhimma of His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, the Caliphs and the believers. They are to be well-treated conditional upon their payment of jizya.”22
‘Abada Ibn Al-Samit records these civilized features of jizya in Islam when depicting the Islamic stance vis-a-vis Al-Muqawqas, the king of the Copts:
“Either to embrace Islam…if you and your companions accept this, you’ll have attained the happiness of both this life and the after-life and we will not fight you and will never injure you or aggress you. However if you refuse, you have to pay jizya. Pay us the jizya and we will agree on a sum satisfactory to both of us to be collected every year so long as we and you remain. Thus we will defend you and fight your enemies or those who violate your lands, lives and property and we will undertake this duty so long as you are in our dhimma and so long as a covenant is binding on us towards you…”23
Again it is noticeable that the Muslim sacrifices his life to protect the people of jizya and their property “We will defend you?”
3) Muslims’ Keenness on Honoring the Dhimma Agreement
The Caliphs were afraid lest the Muslims impair the rights of the People of Dhimma. Therefore they used to regularly inspect how the jizya was obtained. Al-Tabari gives an account of this in his history in the context of ‘Umar’s speech with a delegation from a country of dhimma, ” ‘Umar said to the delegation: Do Muslims mistreat you or impair your rights? They said: We never knew but honor and good treatment.”24
When he received the collected taxes he asked about the source lest it be oppression and coercion. It was said that he, may Allah be pleased with him, “received a large amount of money, I reckon he said it is of the jizya and said: “I am afraid you might have forced people into paying?” They said: “No, by Allah, we only took it satisfactorily and with no grudge.” He said: “With neither whip nor lash?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “Praise be to Allah who prevented such acts from taking place at my hand and during my rule.”25
When he was about to pass away he never missed advising Muslims to protect and care for the people of dhimma. He said: “I hereby advise the Caliph to succeed me to be good to the people of dhimma and to honor their covenant and to fight for them and not to overwork them.”26
Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, wrote to his tax officials saying,”If you reached them never sell them a garment either in winter time or in summertime nor sell them food to eat or an animal to work on and never lash any of them even once for a dirham and never make any of them get to his feet to ask for a dirham. Never sell any of them anything of the taxes. Allah commanded us to take from them jizya with kindness. If you disobey me, the punishment of Allah will befall you and not me and if otherwise is reported to me, you will be dismissed from office.”27
Al-Walid Ibn Yazid evicted the Christians of Cyprus out of his fear that they might help the Romans. But Yazid Ibn Al-Walid brought them back. Isma’il Ibn ‘Ayash says regarding the deed of Al-Walid: “Muslims found this action horrible and Jurisprudents found it terrible. When Yazid Ibn Al-Walid succeeded his father, he reinstated them. Muslims approved of such an act and they found it just.28
When Al-Walid Ibn Abdel-Malek forcibly took over the Church of John from the Christians and annexed it to the masjid, Muslims viewed this as usurpation. When Omar Ibn Abdul-?Aziz succeeded him the Christians filed a complaint to him. So he wrote to his tax-collector ordering him to return the additional parts annexed to the masjid to them.29
4) Muslim Jurisprudents on the Security and Acknowledgment of the Rights of the People of Dhimma
The Islamic rule was a pioneer in protecting the rights of the people of dhimma. This is reflected in the maintenance of their rituals and churches. The shari’a law provides for the following: “The second issue: The rights due to them by us, namely to maintain their residence in our countries except the Arab Peninsula namely Hijaz and Yemen; to secure their lives and property and not to impair their churches, wine and pigs so long as they do not display the same.”30
Al-Tahawi accounts for Muslims’ consensus on the freedom of the people of dhimma to eat pork and drink wine or the like which is permitted by their religion. He says:
“They unanimously agreed that the Imam, ruler, may not prevent the people of dhimma from drinking wine, eating pork or residing in the houses which they took by consent where such people are in a non-Islamic country (in countries where they form a majority)”31
The Shari’a maintains the life and property of the dhimmi. It even stipulates the life penalty for the murderer of a dhimmi. A Muslim was sentenced to death during the rule of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, for killing a dhimmi, but the dhimmi’s brother appeared and chose ransom instead so Ali told him: “Have they threatened you?” He said: “No but I chose ransom and I don’t think my brother will come back by the killing of another man” so Ali released the murderer and said: “You know better that the one in our dhimma is treated as one of us as regards to blood [life] and ransom.”32
In maintenance and protection of a dhimmi’s property, Shari’a does not differentiate between a dhimmi’s property and a Muslim’s property. So stealing a dhimmi’s property is punished for by amputation even if it were a Muslim’s hand. Al-Qurtubi says:
“A dhimmis’ life is perpetually inviolable and so is a Muslim’s life and both have become people of the House of Islam. The evidence of this is that a Muslim’s hand is amputated if he steals a dhimmi’s property. Therefore, a dhimmi’s life would by analogy be as inviolable as a Muslim’s life as property derives its inviolability from the inviolability of its owner.”
“And he — an Imam — is bound to ensure two rights for them; first, to save and spare their lives and second, to protect them so that they would be secure by being spared and guarded by being protected.”
Sultan Rules (143).
“We must spare their lives and indemnify them against any damage caused by us to their lives and property. We are also committed to defending them against the people of war.”34
Muslim jurisprudents reiterated this concept. Ibn Al-Najar Al-Hanbali says:
“An Imam must protect the people of dhimma, deter those who injure them and defend them against those who seek to harm them.”35
When the Mongolian general Qatloushah invaded Damascus in the early eighth century Hijri and imprisoned Muslims as well as Christian and Jewish dhimmis, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah went to him with an august of scholars claiming the release of the prisoners. The general agreed on releasing the Muslims exclusively. Sheikh-ul-Islam then replied:
“All prisoners including Jews and Christians who are in our dhimma must be released and we will never let any prisoner with you including Muslims and dhimmis. Dhimmis are equal to Muslims as regards rights and duties.”
So the Mongolian general released them all.36
Al-Qarafi quotes Imam Ibn Hazm who in turn accounts for Muslims’ unprecedented consensus on the following:
“We are obliged to fight people of war who seek a dhimmi with weapons and we must sacrifice our lives to this end in order to protect people in the dhimma of Allah Almighty and the dhimma of His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, as handing a dhimmi over without such struggle and sacrifice is an omission of the dhimma covenant.”37
5) Examples of the Treatment of Dhimmis by Muslims
When Muslims became incapable of honoring the condition of protection of dhimmis, they refunded to them the jizya for non-satisfaction of its pre-condition namely protection.
Judge, Abu Youssef, quotes in his book, Taxes, as well as other books, Makhoul who reports that a sequence of news was reported to Abu ‘Ubaida declaring the invasion by the Roman troops. Abu ‘Ubaida and the Muslims found this unmanageable, so Abu ‘Ubaida wrote to every visor of the cities whose people agreed with Muslims on Jizya ordering them to refund the Jizya and taxes. He ordered them to inform the dhimmis of the following:
“We hereby reimburse your money as we have been informed of the troops that are about to invade us and the condition between us was to protect you and we cannot do this now, so we will reimburse the money we took from you. We do abide by our agreement and we will honor our condition if Allah rendered us victorious over them.”38
When the people of dhimma participated in defending their countries, they were exempted from the jizya. This was done by Mu’awaiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, with the Armenians. The French historian Lauren says in his book Armenia between Byzantine and Islam:
“Armenians welcomed Muslims to free them from the oppressive Byzantine rule. They even allied with Muslims to fight the Khazr. Arabs maintained for Armenians their accustomed conditions and the covenant was given by Mu’awaya in 653 AD to Commander Theodor Rakhtoni and to all his co-nationals so long as such is their wish. The covenant, in brief, is as follows: “They will be exempted from jizya for three years. Then they are free to pay the amount they view appropriate. They also covenanted and assured him that they will cater for fifteen thousand knights instead of jizya and that the Caliph would send to the forts and strongholds of Armenia any Emirs or commanders or horses or judges and that if they were invaded by the Romans he is to provide them with all the help they might need. Mu’awaya hereby takes this covenant before Allah Almighty.”39
The right of the people of dhimma does not stop short at defending them against their enemy, but it also includes defending them against any injury that might disturb them or cause them unrest even if by speech. Al-Qaraafi says: “The dhimmi agreement stipulates rights for the people of dhimma that we should honor because they are in our protection and neighbourhood. They are also in our dhimma, the dhimma of Allah Almighty and the dhimma of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and Islam. So if any person attacks them even by ill speech or backbiting he has violated the dhimma of Allah and the dhimma of His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, and the dhimma of Islam.”40
Muslims, guided by their religion, continued their civilized giving when they were transformed from Jizya takers to almsgivers to protect and sustain poor dhimmis. Ibn Zangawaih narrated that ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab(R) saw a senile dhimmi man begging, so he said: “We are unfair to you if after this old age we ask you to pay jizya.” Then he wrote to his workers prohibiting them from taking jizya from old people.41 He also commanded: “Reduce the sum of jizya for people who cannot afford for it and give alms to those who are incapable of paying at all.”42
Caliph ‘Umar ibn Abd ‘Aziz also wrote to his worker in Basra ‘Udai Ibn Arta’a saying: “If you find that a dhimmi becomes old, weak and poor, give him [some alms] from the Muslims’ Treasury House.”43
Nevertheless, if a dhimmi who can afford to pay jizya refrains from payment, he will be punished without violating his covenant. Al-Qurtubi says:
“It is permissible to punish them if they refrain from payment while such being affordable. However, the one proving to be incapable of payment may not be punished because the one who is incapable to pay is exempted and the rich are not bound to pay the jizya for the poor.”44
Muslim jurisprudents realized the significance of the dhimma covenant and the seriousness of breaching it; and that it is never terminated by mere abstention from payment. Al-Kasaru Al-Hanafi says:
“As for the agreement (the dhimma covenant) it is binding on us so that Muslims may not terminate it in any way whatsoever. As for dhimmis, it is unbinding.”45
Testimony of Western Historians
A person might ask: Have Muslims realized these magnificent ideal principles? Have they really honored the dhimma of their Prophet throughout their lengthy history? We will hereby state three testimonies by Westerners who repeated the truth duly established in our great history.
“The people of dhimma: Christians, Zaradishts, Jews and Sabi’a; enjoyed a degree of tolerance during the Umayyad rule which can never be assimilated to Christian countries nowadays. They were free to practice their rituals. They maintained their churches and synagogues and the only obligation was that they should wear a special color and pay tax for every person pro rata his income. This sum ranged between two and four dinars. This tax was exclusively levied on non-Muslims who can go to war. However priests, women, children, slaves, elderly men, the disabled, the blind and the destitute were exempted from the tax. Dhimmis were exempted from military service in return. They were also exempted from zakat which is 2.5% of the annual income and the government was bound to protect them.”46
Adam Mitz in his book The Islamic Civilization says:
“Dhimmis used to pay jizya each pro rata his income. Jizya was similar to national defence tax as it was only paid by men who can go to war while the disabled, priests, clergy were exempted unless they have wealth.”47
Thomas Arnold in his The Preaching of Islam says:
“The purpose of levying this tax on Christians — as reiterated by some researchers — was not a form of punishment for not accepting Islam. They rather used to pay it with the remaining dhimmis namely non-Muslims subjects of the Islamic state whose beliefs prevent them from joining the military service in return for the protection secured to them by Muslims’ swords.”48
Islam thus is patently cleared by the historical testimony of objective non-Muslims from the allegation attributed to it by the unjust and non-objective.
Finally I ask Allah(T) to relieve us and bestow on us the ability to understand one another as regards controversial issues as Allah Almighty is the Omnipotent and may Allah(T) bless our Prophet Muhammad(P) and all his Companions(R).
- Head tax on free non-Muslims under Muslim rule. [⤺]
- Surat Al-Tawba: 29 [⤺]
- A person from the People of the Book who did not convert to Islam but accepts to live under the Islamic rule. [⤺]
- Al-Jami’ Le’ Ahkaam el Quraan (114/8), Al-Mugharab Fi Tarteeb Al-Mu’rab (143/1), see Mukhtarel-Sahaah (44/1) [⤺]
- Surat Al-Tawba: 29 [⤺]
- Consensus of the authorities in a legal question; one of the four principles of Islamic Law. [⤺]
- Al-Jami’ Le’ Ahkaam el Quraan (72/8) [⤺]
- See ‘Irwa’ Al-Ghaleel (1255) [⤺]
- Narrated by Attermizi in his Sunan (623), Abu Dawood in his Sunan (1576), and An-Nasa’i in his Sunan (2450). The hadith was verified by Al-Albani in several places including Sahih At-Tarmizi (509) [⤺]
- Mishkat Al-Masabeeh (3970), verified by Al-Albani [⤺]
- Surat Al-Mumtahana (8) [⤺]
- Narrated by Muslim under number (2553) [⤺]
- Narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan (3052) in (170/3), verified by Al-Albani (2626). The same is mentioned in Sunan an-Nasa’i (2749) in (25/8) [⤺]
- Narrated by Bukhari (2295) [⤺]
- Narrated by Muslim (2613) [⤺]
- Al-Jami’ Le’ Ahkaam el Quraan (115/8), and the interpretation of Al-Mawardi (352-351/2) [⤺]
- Tabaqaat Ibn Sa’ad (266/1). [⤺]
- Al-Forouq (15-14/3). [⤺]
- Al-Tabaqaat Al-Kubra by Ibn Sa’ad (266/1). [⤺]
- Al-Tabari’s History (4/449). [⤺]
- See: Al-Tabari’s History (449/4). [⤺]
- Fotouhel-Bildaan by Al-Belathri (128). [⤺]
- Fotouh Misr wa Akhbaraha by Ibn Abdel-Hakam (68) [⤺]
- Al-Tabari’s History (503/2) [⤺]
- Al-Mughni (290/9), Ahkaam Ahlel-Dhimma (139/1) [⤺]
- Narrated by Bukhari (1392) in (1356/3) [⤺]
- Taxes (9) [⤺]
- Fotouh Al-Bildaan (156). [⤺]
- Fotouh Al-Bildaan (132) [⤺]
- Canonical Laws (176) [⤺]
- Difference of Jurisprudents (233). [⤺]
- Al-Shafi’i’s Musnad (344/1). [⤺]
- Al-Jami’ Le’ Ahkaam al Quraan (246/2). [⤺]
- See Mughniel-Muhtaag (253/4) [⤺]
- Matalib ‘Ouliel Noha (602/2) [⤺]
- Majmou’ el-Fatawa (618-617/28) [⤺]
- Al-Forouq (15-14/3) [⤺]
- Taxes (135), also see Fotouhel Beldaan by Al-Belathri, and Fotouhel-Shaam by Alathri. [⤺]
- See Fotouhel Beldaan (211-210) [⤺]
- Al-Forouq (14/3) [⤺]
- Property (163/1) [⤺]
- The History of the City of Damascus (178/1) [⤺]
- Property (170/1) [⤺]
- Al-Jami’ Le’ Ahkaam el Quraan 74-73/8 [⤺]
- Bada’iel-Sana’i (112/7) [⤺]
- The History of Civilization (131/12) [⤺]
- The Islamic Civilization (96/1) [⤺]
- The Preaching of Islam [⤺]