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 The Jijyah: A Form of Humiliation to Force Thimmis Revert?

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Obedient Angel

Join date : 2011-04-30
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The Jijyah: A Form of Humiliation to Force Thimmis Revert? Empty
PostSubject: The Jijyah: A Form of Humiliation to Force Thimmis Revert?   The Jijyah: A Form of Humiliation to Force Thimmis Revert? Icon_minitimeFri Jun 17, 2011 11:37 am


Assalamu Alaikum

Kindly clarify to me are Muslims ordered to humilate non-Muslims under their rule according to ayah 9:29 while taking jizyah from them to put them under pressure to revert to Islam?

Ayah 9: 29

"Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, nor do they practise the religion of truth, from among of those who have been given the Scripture, until they pay the jizya tribute, readily being subdued." [9:29]

A Catholic friend asked me this question while referring me to the following qoute in one of the Islamic sources.

"Molla Khosrew mentions in Kitab Al-Gihad (p.177 ff): Jizyah is "the payment in exchange for the right to life of the individual dhimmi, and it must be renewed annually. It is also punitive, and justified by the evil of the dhimmis ... The payer is also insulted and humiliated when he pays. The tax is thus a means of pressing dhimmi to convert, a humiliation, an expression of his conquered subject status, and an assertion of Muslim superiority." Besides, "The jizya should not be accepted when payment is made through an intermediary. Payer should come in person & remain standing: he who is collecting should be sitting ... The tax collector should shake the clothing of the payer, saying "Pay the jizya, oh dhimmi" The tax collector can also say, 'Oh Jew, enemy of God, pay!'


Dar Al Iftaa Al Misreyya

Fatwa no. 664342


The information in this source is a false claim. The accomplished scholars rejected it because it has no foundation in the noble Sunnah nor was it practiced by any of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them all). This is a kind of harm deemed unlawful by the Shari'ah [Islamic law].

Definition of Jizyah in Islam

The luminary and Hanifi scholar, ibn 'Abdeen, stated in his metacommentary (4/202) that the Jiziyah is imposed in return for safeguarding the lives, families and property of Dhimmis [non-Muslims living under Muslim rule].

In juristic parlance, the jizyah is: a permanent covenant with non-Muslims that entails acknowledging Dhimmi rights to practice their faith and enjoy Muslim protection and the same security afforded to the Muslims. In return, non-Muslims must pay a certain amount of money and accept the rulings imposed by the Muslim rule concerning matters other than their religion.

'Aqd al-Dhimma [Covenant with non-Muslims] 'Aqd al-Dhimma is not an Islamic invention. Rather, it was a pre-Islamic practice that Islam sanctioned and fortified by redefining the concept to entail a pact between the Dhimmi, on the one hand and Allah, the Prophet, and believers on the other i.e. the Islamic state itself. Islam also made it a lifelong non-revocable covenant guaranteeing the protection of non-Muslims against any injustices or oppression of Muslim rulers.

Sometimes there were special cases when the provisions of jizyah were not always followed:

1. The companions and their successors exempted non-Muslims who elected to defend the country and fight alongside the Muslims from paying the jizyah. This was stated by imam ibn Hajar in his Fath al-Bari volume 6, page 38 and he attributed this opinion to the majority of scholars.

(A clarification on this point: Since wars in the past were mainly religious wars, Islam, out of consideration to non-Muslims, did not oblige non-Muslims living under their rule to engage in Islamic wars against the enemies. However, they had to contribute something to the state where they lived and were guaranteed security and freedom of religious practice, so they had to pay this tribute.)

2. Under Suraqa ibn 'Amr, the jizyah was not levied on the Armenians in the year 22

3. Habib ibn Maslamah al-Fihri waived the jizyah for the people of Antioch.

4. With his acknowledgement and that of the companions who were with him, the companions of Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah exempted the people of a city situated on the Syrian-Turkish border known as al-Jarajima from paying the jizyah.

5. During the rule of Abd Allah ibn Abu al-Sarh, Muslims made peace with the Nubians and agreed to exchange gifts every year.

6. During the rule of Mu'awiya, Muslims made a covenant with the Byzantine rulers of Cyprus. They agreed on maintaining neutrality between the two states; anyone who passed through the land of the other was to pay a tax.

7. At present and since more than a century ago, Non-Muslim citizens in Muslim countries have continued to be conscripted into compulsory military service and offer their lives to protect their countries. According to the valid juristic opinion, jizya is not obligatory in their regard and by this reasoning they are considered citizens and not Dhimmis.

Jiziyah Was not a Punishment

The jizyah was imposed by Muslims upon non-Muslims for sparing their lives not as a punishment for not embracing Islam. The British Orientalist, Sir Thomas W. Arnold, wrote in his book The Call to Islam:

"This tax was not imposed on the Christians, as some would have us think, as a penalty for their refusal to accept the Muslim faith. Rather, it was paid by them in common with the other Dhimmis or non-Muslim subjects of the state whose religion precluded them from serving in the army, in return for the protection secured for them by the arms of the Muslims.

"When the people of Hirah offered the sum agreed upon as jizyah, they expressly mentioned that they paid it on condition that 'the Muslims and their leader protect us from those who would oppress us, whether they are Muslims or others.'

In his covenant with the people of certain cities near Al-Haira, Khalid ibn Al-Walid recorded,

"If we are able to protect you, we deserve the collection of jiziyah; otherwise we shall not offer you protection."

During the rule of the second caliph, `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), the Roman emperor Heraclius raised a huge army to repel the Muslim forces. It was thus incumbent upon the Muslims to concentrate their efforts on the battle.
When the commander of Muslims, Abu `Ubaydah, heard this, he wrote to his officials in all conquered cities in Syria and ordered them to return the jizyah which had been levied in those cities. He addressed the public saying,

"We are returning your money because we know that the enemy has gathered troops. By the terms stipulated in the covenant, you have obliged us to protect you. However, since we are now unable to fulfill these conditions, we have returned to you what you paid to us. We shall abide by the terms agreed upon in the covenant, if Allah helps us to rout the enemy."

Thus, a huge amount was taken from the state treasury and returned to the Christians, making them very happy. They prayed for and blessed the Muslim commanders, saying,

"May Allah help you to overcome your enemies and return you to us safely. If the enemy were in your place, they would never have returned anything to us, but rather they would have taken all our remaining property."

The Qur'an and Sunnah exhort Muslims to treat non-Muslims well and show them kindness.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said:

"He who hurts a dhimmi hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah." (Reported by al-Tabarani in Al-awsat on good authority)

The harm implicated in this hadith is more general than having a psychological or physical impact.

More Hadiths

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “He who harms a person under covenant, or charged him more than he can, I will argue against him on the Day of Judgement.” (Narrated by Yahya b. Adam in the book of Al-Kharaaj)

The Messenger of Allah (saw) wrote to the people of Yemen: ‘Whoever is adamant upon Judaism or Christianity will not be tormented for it, and he is obliged to pay the jizya." (Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Sallam, ‘The Book of Revenue,’ Translation of Kitab al-Amwal, Garnet Publishing Ltd, p. 42)]

The Shari'ah [Islamic law] exhorts Muslims to treat the People of the Book well as long as they do not betray their covenant with Muslims nor oppress them.

Allah Almighty says:

"Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers." [Al-Mumtahina, 8-9].

"And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them." [Al-Ankaboot, 46].

Allah Almighty commanded us to forgive those from among non-Muslims who try to make Muslims apostatize. Allah says:

"Many of the People of the Scripture wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from themselves [even] after the truth has become clear to them. So pardon and overlook until Allah delivers His command. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent." [Al-Baqarah,109]

There are many verses and hadiths on exhorting Muslims to show good manners and kindness to non-Muslims.

Occasion of Revelation of Verse 9: 29

As for the verse mentioned in the question (9: 29):

"Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, nor do they practise the religion of truth, from among of those who have been given the Scripture, until they pay the jizya tribute, readily being subdued. "

it was revealed after the battle of Mu`tah when the Romans gathered their forces to destroy the Muslim State after the disbelievers failed to do so and after Islam has spread to the entire Arabian Peninsula. Thus, this verse was revealed in regards to those who were disloyal and did not abide by their covenants.

The accomplished scholars maintain that the word "subdued" in the verse (translated by some translators as 'humbled') refers to the act of paying jizyah by non-Muslims after they submit to the Muslim State and its laws in return for protection, security and peace. It does not mean taking money from them in a humiliating manner, as this contradicts what has been mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah on the fair treatment of Dhimmis and the people of the Book.


The Jizyah – A Tax on Non-Muslims?

Prepared by the research committee of

Allah says: “They pay the jizyah by hand in a condition of submission.” [from Sûrah al-Tawbah: 29]

This is the verse that establishes the jizyah – a tax that is paid by non-Muslims who live as citizens in the Muslim state.

There is considerable confusion among people as to what the jizyah is all about and why only non-Muslims have to pay it. This article seeks to address the nature of the jizyah, the reasons for it, and the rationale behind it.

Looking at the Phrase:

Some people feel that the words “in a condition of submission” mean that the jizyah is some sort of punishment or humiliation for the non-Muslim citizens. This is a misreading of the verse and a common misunderstanding held by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The words in Arabic are: “yu`tû al-jizyata `an yadin wa hum sâghirûn”.

“yu`tû al-jizyata” = they pay the jizyah

“`an yadin” = roughly translated: from hand to hand. The word “yad” in Arabic is often used to mean power or ability. Essentially, it means here that what they have to pay is something that is within their capacity to pay.

“wa hum sâghirûn” = “in a condition of submission”

The phrase “wa hum sâghirûn” is an adverbial clause. It is specifically a “hâl” – a part of speech that refers to the circumstances of the subject or object of the verb while the action of the verb is taking place.

The particle “wa” here is called “wâw al-hâl”. In Arabic grammar, this is a particle that turns the full sentence that comes after it into an adverbial clause depicting the circumstance of the action.

The word sâghir means “meek” or “subdued”. What this means is that the non-Muslim citizens of the state are subordinate to the state and not in an act of opposition or rebellion against it.

This means that these non-Muslims are paying the tax that is due upon them in a framework of obedience to, and recognition of, the state wherein they are full citizens.

The Nature of Jizyah

Non-Muslims live in the Muslim state as citizens under a contractual agreement of mutual social responsibility (aqd al-dhimmah) whereby they pay the jizyah, a fixed annual levy, in lieu of two things:

1. Jizyah is paid in lieu of exemption from military service. Non-Muslim citizens receive the protection of the state, whereby they are allowed to live in peace and security, without being obliged to engage in any military service. The Muslims, by contrast, are required to engage in military service when they are called upon to do so.

Historically, at times when the Muslim government could not afford protection from enemies to the non-Muslims living in the outlying regions of the Muslim state, this levy was returned to them.

2. Jizyah is paid in lieu of exmption from paying zakâh. In spite of the fact that, as citizens, they have full rights to receive assistance from the public treasury and to benefit from public services and public works, non-Muslims are exempt from paying zakâh. By contrast, Muslims in the Muslim state must pay zakâh to the public treasury.

Each of these two forms of taxation has economic advantages and disadvantages for those who have to pay it, which we can ascertain by making a comparison between them.

First, we must understand that neither jizyah nor zakâh is a tax on income. Jizyah is a head tax levied as a fixed sum upon each taxable individual. Zakâh is a tax on savings, levied upon the money that is kept in savings by a Muslim.

The jizyah is paid annually as a fixed sum of money levied upon each free, adult male citizen. No jizyah is paid by or on behalf of a child, a woman, or a slave. A poor man who cannot afford to pay the jizyah is also exempt. It can be a graduated tax, whereby the very poor pay nothing, the lower class pays little, the middle-class pays more, and the wealthy pay the most. However, each grade is still a fixed limit.

We can contrast this with zakâh. The zakâh on monetary wealth is 2.5% of all savings retained for a year. A Muslim who has little or no savings will pay little or no Zakâh, regardless of how well-off he or she might otherwise be. (No Muslim who possesses savings is exempt, not even a child.) However, a Muslim who possesses considerable savings has a very heavy annual tax burden, many times in excess of the jizyah that any non-Muslim citizen would have to pay, and regardless of the Muslim’s annual income.

Moreover, the zakâh tax is levied on the savings year after year, meaning that over time, the savings will become greatly diminished. This makes it extremely difficult for a thrifty Muslim of modest income to amass large amounts of savings over time.

From a purely economic perspective, the zakâh tax is economically favorable to someone who possesses little or no savings. Such a person will either pay nothing or very little, even if that person is affluent in his or her daily means. By contrast – and from the same purely economic perspective – zakâh is disadvantageous to a person who possesses a considerable amount of monetary wealth or is trying to amass investment capital over the course of years (like someone saving to buy a house).

From the same perspective, the jizyah is disadvantageous to people of low income, since they have to pay the flat tax regardless of whether or not they enjoy a surplus. It is economically advantageous to those who have large capital savings or who are seeking to amass investment capital.

This has, throughout history, provided non-Muslim citizens in the Muslim state with an economic advantage in business. They could amass huge amounts of investment capital as individuals or through corporations, all of which was tax-exempt. This is one reason why throughout Muslim history – and without exception – every Muslim country that had a Christian or Jewish community also had a very robust Christian or Jewish business sector. They were always the leaders in business and trade.

We must keep in mind that it is Allah’s wisdom that He conferred this system of taxation upon the people. One possible aspect of the wisdom in this system is that, in this way, non-Muslims could always find prosperity in the Muslim state, even when they were in the minority, and therfore would be content and feel loyalty to their country.

Also, in reality, there is no disadvantage to the Muslims for having to pay zakâh on their savings, since zakâh is an act of worship whereby the Muslim purifies his or her wealth – which is a gift and a trust from Allah. In doing so, the Muslim attains Allah’s pleasure and receives increase in both this world and the Hereafter from whence he or she cannot fathom. There is also the inestimable satisfaction of doing a good deed that is absent from the payment of other forms of taxation.

The Rights of non-Muslim Citizens

The non-Muslims who pay the jizyah – as well as those non-Muslim citizens who are exempt from paying it for whatever reason – are all full citizens of the Muslim country. Their rights, their lives, their property, and their honor are inviolable. They have the right to employment, education, and to freely engage in commerce. They can, and historically often did, hold high-level government posts. They cannot, however, hold a government post that would put them in charge of the religious affairs of the Muslims. For instance, a non-Muslim cannot be Minister of Islamic Endowments in charge of the mosques.

Non-Muslim citizens have the right to practice their religion among themselves as they like without molestation, provided they do not call Muslims to it. They have the right to have civil courts under their own religious jurisdiction to handle affairs such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and disputes among themselves.

However, they must abide by the criminal code of the Muslims, except in a few matters. They are allowed to engage in those matters deemed lawful in their religion that are unlawful in Islam, like the consumption of pork and alcohol, provided they keep this among themselves and do not make it accessible to the Muslim population.

The jizyah goes into the same public treasury that zakâh funds, import taxes, and land levies go into. Very poor non-Muslims are exempted from paying this tax. Instead, as citizens they are just as eligible as Muslim citizens to receive welfare payments from the public treasury. Also, the salaries of non-Muslim government officials and employees – as well as the maintenance of public services like the non-Muslim religious courts that are exclusively for the benefit of the non-Muslims – are paid out of the same treasury.


The jizyah and zakâh are two taxation schemes for citizens in the Muslim state. It is only fair that both groups of citizens pay into the state treasury, since both have equal access to state welfare, government services, and public works. The Muslims pay zakâh upon their savings as an act of worship, to purify their wealth. Likewise, military service in the Muslim state is seen as a religious duty when the state summons the person to serve. Non-Muslims are therefore exempt from military service for this reason. Likewise, instead of having to pay the religious tax of zakâh, they have to pay a fixed tax that is purely a civil duty and not tied in with any religious conviction.

And Allah knows best.

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