Dhimmitude and the jizya

I had a conversation today morning with my friends and the topic of abuse and misunderstanding of rules and religion came up. I gave the example of dhimmitude and the jizya. The concept of the jizya and dhimmitude, despite existing since the time of Prophet Muhammad, are misunderstood by Muslims more than non-Muslims.

To give an example, my sister who studies at the Islamic International University of Malaysia always posed the question of the jizya to some of her lecturers. All she ever got in return were rude stares and answers like “because they’re non-Muslims”, implying that non-Muslims are inferior beings hence are subject to a fee.

How can Muslims complain about Islamophobia when it is Muslim “leaders” themselves who abuse their position to mislead people and to convey a position of higher righteousness over non-Muslims?

In an Islamic state, a dhimmi is a non-Muslim and a jizya is the fee he has to pay. This sounds like a badge or fee one has to pay for merely being of a certain race, but before you jump to conclusions, read on.

What are dhimmi and jizya?

The word dhimmi actually means covenant, trustee and protected one. The jizya is a fee paid by non-Muslims, dhimmis, to the Islamic state to protect dhimmis and to guarantee their welfare, safety and health while they remain in an Islamic nation. Muslims and non-Muslims must get the same treatment and must be treated the same way. Also, people who attack the the concept of dhimmitude and the jizya fail to understand that dhimmis are forbidden from paying taxes in an Islamic state.

Note that dhimmis are forbidden from paying taxes and not unobliged. This is because in an Islamic state, the only form of taxes is the zakat (purification), a core Islamic duty. To force a non-Muslim to pay the zakat is to force him to believe in Islam which goes against Islamic rules of non-compulsion.

In the book Spread of Islam in the World: A History of Peaceful Preaching by Thomas Arnold, it is mentioned that the jizya during Prophet Muhammad’s life and decades after that was so small an amount that non-Muslims were relieved to pay it to Islamic states compared to paying high taxes to the non-Islamic Roman and Persian governments which did not guarantee their welfare.

Dhimmitude and the jizya can be summarised as follows:

  • The jizya is the cost of protecting and sheltering a dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen, dhimmi meaning “ally”)
  • The zakat is the only form of taxation, and is only for Muslims with income above a specific limit
  • All Muslims must pay their share of the zakat
  • All dhimmis must pay their share of the jizya
  • Dhimmis are not allowed to pay the zakat and Muslims are not allowed to pay the jizya
  • The zakat is about 2.5% of a Muslim’s income and the jizya is the estimated cost of welfare and protection for a non-Muslim
  • It is necessary to differentiate jizya from zakat because of the spiritual meanings of the terms. Jizya means “in return” and zakat means “purification”. To make a non-Muslim pay the zakat would be to force him to believe in Islam.
  • Women, children and the poor are exempted from paying the jizya but the Islamic state is still obliged to protect them and to guarantee their welfare and health

Conclusion

Every set of laws and religion have always been abused by preachers. Do websites like Dhimmi Watch exist because of the dhimmitude and jizya or because they are merely attacking the popular misinterpretation of jizya and dhimmi amongst Muslims?

When Muslim leaders fail to understand the Islamic obligation of guaranteeing the safety, welfare and health of non-Muslims in an Islamic state, are the Islamic state they have in mind really Islamic states?

Further reading

Dhimmitude and the jizya

I had a conversation today morning with my friends and the topic of abuse and misunderstanding of rules and religion came up. I gave the example of dhimmitude and the jizya. The concept of the jizya and dhimmitude, despite existing since the time of Prophet Muhammad, are misunderstood by Muslims more than non-Muslims.

To give an example, my sister who studies at the Islamic International University of Malaysia always posed the question of the jizya to some of her lecturers. All she ever got in return were rude stares and answers like “because they’re non-Muslims”, implying that non-Muslims are inferior beings hence are subject to a fee.

How can Muslims complain about Islamophobia when it is Muslim “leaders” themselves who abuse their position to mislead people and to convey a position of higher righteousness over non-Muslims?

In an Islamic state, a dhimmi is a non-Muslim and a jizya is the fee he has to pay. This sounds like a badge or fee one has to pay for merely being of a certain race, but before you jump to conclusions, read on.

What are dhimmi and jizya?

The word dhimmi actually means covenant, trustee and protected one. The jizya is a fee paid by non-Muslims, dhimmis, to the Islamic state to protect dhimmis and to guarantee their welfare, safety and health while they remain in an Islamic nation. Muslims and non-Muslims must get the same treatment and must be treated the same way. Also, people who attack the the concept of dhimmitude and the jizya fail to understand that dhimmis are forbidden from paying taxes in an Islamic state.

Note that dhimmis are forbidden from paying taxes and not unobliged. This is because in an Islamic state, the only form of taxes is the zakat (purification), a core Islamic duty. To force a non-Muslim to pay the zakat is to force him to believe in Islam which goes against Islamic rules of non-compulsion.

In the book Spread of Islam in the World: A History of Peaceful Preaching by Thomas Arnold, it is mentioned that the jizya during Prophet Muhammad’s life and decades after that was so small an amount that non-Muslims were relieved to pay it to Islamic states compared to paying high taxes to the non-Islamic Roman and Persian governments which did not guarantee their welfare.

Dhimmitude and the jizya can be summarised as follows:

  • The jizya is the cost of protecting and sheltering a dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen, dhimmi meaning “ally”)
  • The zakat is the only form of taxation, and is only for Muslims with income above a specific limit
  • All Muslims must pay their share of the zakat
  • All dhimmis must pay their share of the jizya
  • Dhimmis are not allowed to pay the zakat and Muslims are not allowed to pay the jizya
  • The zakat is about 2.5% of a Muslim’s income and the jizya is the estimated cost of welfare and protection for a non-Muslim
  • It is necessary to differentiate jizya from zakat because of the spiritual meanings of the terms. Jizya means “in return” and zakat means “purification”. To make a non-Muslim pay the zakat would be to force him to believe in Islam.
  • Women, children and the poor are exempted from paying the jizya but the Islamic state is still obliged to protect them and to guarantee their welfare and health

Conclusion

Every set of laws and religion have always been abused by preachers. Do websites like Dhimmi Watch exist because of the dhimmitude and jizya or because they are merely attacking the popular misinterpretation of jizya and dhimmi amongst Muslims?

When Muslim leaders fail to understand the Islamic obligation of guaranteeing the safety, welfare and health of non-Muslims in an Islamic state, are the Islamic state they have in mind really Islamic states?

Further reading