Jizya

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A jizya document from 17th century Ottoman Empire.

Jizya is a per capita yearly tax historically levied by Islamic states on certain non-Muslim subjects.

Quran and Hadith[edit]

  • O you who believe, the idolaters are surely unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year of theirs. And if you fear poverty, then Allah will enrich you out of His grace, if He please. Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. Fight those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the Religion of Truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
    • The Quran, 9:28-29, Maulana Muhammad Ali translation
  • If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated When you besiege a fort and the besieged want you to let them out in accordance with Allah's Command, do not let them come out in accordance with His Command, but do so at your (own) command, for you do not know whether or not you will be able to carry out Allah's behest with regard to them.
    • Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4294

Quotes[edit]

  • On offering up the Jizyah, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits (the dhimmi) on the protruberant bone beneath his ear.
    • Al-Ghazali (11th century) Kitabal-Wagiz fi Fiqh Madhab al-Imam al-safii (Quoted from [1])
  • ... the jizyah was levied on the able-bodied males, in lieu of the military service they would have been called upon to perform had they been Musalmans; and it is very noticeable that when any Christian people served in the Muslim army, they were exempted from the payment of this tax. Such was the case with the tribe of al-Jurājima, a Christian tribe in the neighborhood of Antioch who made peace with the Muslims, promising to be their allies and fight on their side in battle, on condition that they should not be called upon to pay jizyah and should receive their proper share of the booty.
  • This tax fell only upon non-Moslems capable of military service; it was not levied upon monks, women, adolescents, slaves, the old, crippled, blind or very poor. In return the dhimmis were excused (or excluded) from military service, were exempted from the two and a half per cent tax for community charity, and received the protection of the government.
    • Will Durant. The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith. p. 218. 
  • In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy....
    • John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988 (1st edition)
  • Submit to Islam and be safe. Or agree to the payment of the Jizya (tax), and you and your people will be under our protection, else you will have only yourself to blame for the consequences, for I bring the men who desire death as ardently as you desire life.
    • Khalid ibn al-Walid , This letter was written by Khalid, from his head-quarters in Babylonia, to the Persian monarch Emperor Yazdegerd III before invading it. (History of the World, Volume IV [Book XII. The Mohammedan Ascendency], page 463, by John Clark Ridpath, LL.D. 1910.)
  • The tax that is taken from the free non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim government whereby they ratify the compact that assures them protection, as though it were compensation for not being slain.
    • E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon (London, 1865), Book I Part II, Jizya, p. 422.
  • The Sultan then asked, "How are Hindus designated in the law, as payers of tributes or givers of tribute? The Kazi replied, "They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths to receive it. By doing so they show their respect for the officer. The due subordination of the zimmi is exhibited in this humble payment and by this throwing of dirt in their mouths. The glorification of Islam is a duty, and contempt of the Religion is vain. God holds them in contempt, for he says, "keep them under in subjection". To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive, saying, 'Convert them to Islam or kill them, enslave them and spoil their wealth and property.'No doctor but the great doctor (Hanifa), to whose school we belong, has assented to the imposition of the jizya (poll tax) on Hindus. Doctors of other schools allow no other alternative but 'Death or Islam.'"
    • Qazi Mughisuddin's reply to Sultan Alauddin Khalji. Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, of Ziauddin Barani in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 184, chapter 15 [2]. Quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946).
  • Aurangzeb did this for two reasons: first, because by this time his treasures had begun to shrink owing to expenditure on his campaigns ; secondly, to force the Hindus to become Mahomedans. Many who were unable to pay turned Mahomedans, to obtain relief from the insults of the collectors. ... [Aurangzeb] was of the opinion that he had found in this tax an excellent means of succeeding in converting them, besides thereby replenishing his treasuries greatly...
    • About the Jizya during Aurangzeb's reign. Niccolao Manucci: Storia do Mogor. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • The Hindu was taxed to the extent of half the produce of his land, and had to pay duties on all his buffaloes, goats, and other milk-cattle. The taxes were to be levied equally on rich and poor, at so much per acre, so much per animal. Any collectors or officers taking bribes were summarily dismissed and heavily punished with sticks, pincers, the rack, imprisonment and chains. The new rules were strictly carried out, so that one revenue officer would string together 20 Hindu notables and enforce payment by blows. No gold or silver, not even the betelnut, so cheering and stimulative to pleasure, was to be seen in a Hindu house, and the wives of the impoverished native officials were reduced to taking service in Muslim families. Revenue officers came to be regarded as more deadly than the plague; and to be a government clerk was disgrace worse than death, in so much that no Hindu would marry his daughter to such a man. ... [These edicts] were so strictly carried out that the chaukidars and khuts and muqad-dims were not able to ride on horseback, to find weapon, to wear fine clothes, or to indulge in betel. . .... No Hindu could hold up his head. ..... Blows, confinement in the stocks, imprisonment and chains were all employed to enforce payment. "
    • Stanley Lane-Poole : Medieval India, quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • If Your Majesty places any faith in those books by distinction called divine, you will there be instructed that God is the God of all mankind, not the God of Muhammadans alone. The Pagan and the Musalman are equally in His presence.... It is He who gives existence. In your temples, to His name the voice is raised in prayer; in a house of images, when the bell is shaken, still He is the object of adoration. To vilify the religion or customs of other men is to set at naught the pleasure of the Almighty. When we deface a picture we naturally incur the resentment of the painter; and justly has the poet said, “Presume not to arraign or scrutinize the various works of power divine.” In fine, the tribute you demand from the Hindus is repugnant to justice; it is equally foreign from good policy, as it must impoverish the country; moreover, it is an innovation and an infringement of the laws of Hindostan.
    • Appeal to Aurangzeb by a delegation of Hindus [variously ascribed either to Shivaji or to Rana Raj Singh ] in protest against the imposition of the Jizya. In Smith, The Oxford History of India, 438–39. Quoted from Spencer, Robert (2018). The history of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.
  • The Hidayah brings out the true character of jizyah with transcendent clarity. “The capitation tax, is a species of punishment, inflicted upon infidels on account of their infidelity, whence it is termed Jizyat, which is derived from Jizya, meaning retribution.” ... “Capitation tax is a sort of punishment inflicted upon infidels for their obstinacy in infidelity.” ... “Whence it is that it cannot be accepted of the infidel if he send it by the hands of a messenger, but must be exacted in a mortifying and humiliating manner, by the collector sitting and receiving it from him in a standing posture; (according to one tradition), the collector is to seize him by the throat, and shake him saying ‘Pay your tax, Zimmee’.” ... “If a person becomes a Musulman, who is indebted for any arrear of capitation tax, such arrear is remitted. The Prophet has declared that ‘capitation tax’ is not incumbent upon Musulman. (Hence this) temporal punishment for infidelity is remitted in consequence of the faith.” Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali has explained the real intention of jizyah with luminous perspicuity... this “aid to the troops” of Islam as a lawful use of jizyah, and rationalises the division of the kharãjguzãrs (=payers of jizyah) into the three classes mentioned above by arguing that “capitation tax is due in lieu of assistance (in jihãd) with person and property; but as property is different with respect to being more or less, so in the same manner is its substitute (i.e. jizya) different.”
    • The Hedaya, or Guide : a Commentary on the Mussulman Laws. Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali. Quoted from Suhas Majumdar, Jihad, the islamic doctrine of permanent war
  • …The abolition of jizyah in Hindustan is a result of friendship which (Hindus) have acquired with the rulers of this land… What right have the rulers to stop exacting jizyah? Allah himself has commanded imposition of jizyah for their (infidels’) humiliation and degradation. What is required is their disgrace, and the prestige and power of Muslims. The slaughter of non-Muslims means gain for Islam…
    • Ahmad Sirhindi , Maktubat-i-Imam Rabbani translated into Urdu by Maulana Muhammad Sa’id Ahmad Naqshbandi, Deoband, 1988, Volume I, p.388 ff.This letter was written to Shaikh Farid alias Nawab Murtaza Khan who was opposed to Akbar’s religious policy, and who supported Jahangir’s accession after taking from the latter a promise that Islam will be upheld in the new reign.
  • The honour of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects the kafirs dishonours the Muslims… The real purpose of levying jiziya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honour and might of Islam.
    • Ahmad Sirhindi in S.A.A. Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Agra, 1965, pp. 248-249. Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (1995). Muslim separatism: Causes and consequences. ISBN 9788185990262
  • According to Mulla Ahmad, "the main object of levying of Jiziyah on them... is their humiliation... God established (the custom of realising) Jiziyah for their dishonour. The object is their humiliation and the (establishment of) prestige and dignity of the Muslims." Sri Ram Sharma reproduces Aurangzeb's order about the imposition and collection of Jiziyah dated 26th July, 1696. It says that "Jiziyah lapses on death and on acceptance of Islam".
    • Sri Ram Sharma, Aurangzeb's order, Mulla Ahmad, quoted in K.S. Lal. Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India (1999)

External links[edit]

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