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The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 8

By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam

(Translated from Urdu by

Explaining verse 9:29 out of 26 Verses Presented by Wasim Rizvi in Supreme Court

Main points discussed in part 8

1.    Five types of revenues or taxation in the Prophet’s era

2.    A brief Introduction to Ghanimah, Fai’, Zakat, Jizyah and Kharaj

3.    Jizyah was collected from Dhimmis only to be spent on their protection

4.    Jizyah was collected only from the wealthy dhimmis

5.    Hazrat Umar Prevented Muslims from harming the dhimmis with reference to Sunnah-proof

6.    The purpose of fighting against Jews and Christians as mentioned in verse 9:29 was to end mischief and corruption

 (12)  “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah (tax) willingly while they are humbled.” (9:29)

This verse of Surah Tawbah commands the believers to fight the People of the Book, the Jews and the Christians until they are willingly ready to pay Jizyah for the protection of their rights. Since this verse denotes the obligation of Jizyah and its permissibility, we will briefly highlight the concept of Jizyah and its similar revenues here so that It becomes clear that not only the People of Book or non-Muslim minority but also the Muslims had to pay such revenues but in the form of Zakat.

There were five types of revenues or taxation in the era of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him):

(1) ghanimah (spoils of war) (2) fai’ (booty / treasure obtained without a fight) (3) Zakat (obligatory charity) (4) Jizyah (poll tax) (5) Kharaj (land tax)

(1) ghanimah or spoils of war:  This is the wealth gained from the conquered nation at the time of victory. One-fifth of this wealth was allocated, in the name of Allah and His Messenger, for the public treasury governed by Islamic law to meet the social needs and achieve other purposes. The rest of the wealth was equally distributed among the soldiers under one regulation.

(2) Fai or booty: It is the wealth that the Muslims used to acquire without fighting the infidels, for example, under the terms of peace and reconciliation. This had to be under the control of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He used to spend it on the needs of relatives, orphans, the needy, the poor travellers and ordinary Muslims.

 (3) Zakat or obligatory charity: This was obligatory only on Muslims and was collected through four ways; 1) cash, 2) fruits and products, 3) livestock and 4) merchandise.

This was the spirit and light of faith that encouraged Muslims to pay zakat (obligatory charity) and sadaqat (voluntary charity) by themselves. However, a regular system for collecting the revenues was needed in a big kingdom for collection of revenues. Therefore the Holy Prophet appointed collectors for collecting Zakat. This service was usually given to the chief of each tribe. In the books of history and biographies, the names of Zakat-collectors are mentioned in detail.

 (4) Jizyah or poll tax: This was obtained from non-Muslim minority or citizens in exchange for protection of their rights, life, property, family and children. In the Prophet’s time, one dinar was annually collected from every mature man who had the capability to pay. We will explain it after a short while.

 (5) Kharaj or land tax: This tax was received from non-Muslim farmers in return for land ownership. They had to pay the amount fixed only after mutual agreement as per the land production. Kharaj was collected from Khyber, Fadak, Wadi al-Qura etc. There was a strict rule that no amount of Kharaj should be collected by way of oppression.   

The revenues through jizyah (poll tax) and Kharaj (land tax) were utilized only for the salaries of soldiers and war expenses. Two shares were given to the married soldiers and one share to the unmarried soldiers.

The jizyah was a kind of security tax collected from the dhimmis (non-Muslim minority), but this tax was spent only for the protection of their own lives and property. The dhimmis were exempt from military service but if military service was taken under certain unavoidable circumstances, then they were not asked to pay Jizyah tax. Similarly, the dhimmis who were poor, destitute or disabled were also exempted from paying Jizyah. But rather the revenues were spent on themselves by the Islamic treasury which was established in every province to meet all their needs. It is recorded in many treaties of the Rightly Guided Caliphate, especially Hazrat ‘Umar Farooq’s caliphate era, that there was only Jizyah or security-tax collected for the protection of the dhimmis’ lives and property. The words of the treaty mutually agreed between the people of Gorgan and the Farooqi Caliphate read:

“We take the responsibility of your protection on the condition that you will have to pay the annual jizyah as per your capability, and if we seek your help, the jizyah will be forgiven in return."

In the victory-treaty of Azerbaijan, this was written that “Those who serve as the army-soldiers in any year will not be asked to pay the jizya for that year”

You can see many such examples in the books of history and biographies. In fact, if some Muslims were not able to protect the dhimmis for any reason, the collected amount of Jizya was also returned to them, as it took place in the battle of Yarmuk when the Muslim military became incapable of protecting the dhimmis, the commander of the army, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah b. Jarrah issued a decree to the authorities of Syria and the conquered territories that all the collected Jizyah should be returned.

Furthermore, no strict action was taken for the collection of Jizyah. During a journey to Syria, Hazrat Umar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him) saw at one place that the Dhimmis were being severely punished. When he asked the reason, it was found that these people are reluctant to pay the Jizyah because of their poverty. After knowing about their situation, he said, “Leave them” because I have heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, “Do not harm people. Allah will punish on the Day of Judgment those who harm and persecute the people in this world”.

During the collection of jizyah discounts and concessions were given to such an extent that if an old dhimmi became disabled from doing work or fell victim to a calamity or became poor after richness and his religious people started giving charity to him, then his jizyah too would be forgiven. And not only was he forgiven, but he and his descendants were also paid from the Muslim treasury.

In short, the jizyah was a purely protective tax that was spent only on their protection and the Muslims were not exempt from such payments but in the form of Zakat. However, the amount of zakat binding on the Muslims was much higher than that of Jizya. Therefore, it should be known to everyone that such taxes were levied not only on the Muslim minorities but also on the Muslims. From this, the brothers of the homeland and the followers of Islam can get a good idea of how just and equitable the practice of Islam is with other communities and nations. They can also know that the degree of Islamic tolerance has reached such a higher culmination that if a Muslim killed a dhimmi, Hazrat Umar Farooq (may Allah be pleased with him) did not hesitate to give punishment of retribution (qisas) to him.

Once a Christian from the city of Heera was killed by a Muslim from the tribe of Bakr b. Wa'il, Hazrat Umar handed over the Muslim killer to the heirs of the slain Christian and they killed him in retribution. Similarly, if the dhimmis’ property was damaged by any means, they were compensated for that. The dhimmis had all kinds of freedom under the Islamic kingdom. An excerpt from the treaty that Hazrat Umar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him) wrote to the Christians after the conquest of Jerusalem reads;

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has given to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city and for all the rituals which belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their cross, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted” (summarised from Taareekh-e-Islam, vol.1, p.191-193)

For more details, please see the relevant subjects in the books such as Kitab al-Kharaj, Tarikh-e-Tabari vol.5, and Futuh al-Buldan.

From this quote, the brothers of the homeland can understand well that Islam is a champion of national unity, tolerance, justice, equality, brotherhood and protection of one another’s rights. Islam never allows oppression, aggression, unjust killing, bloodshed and mischief.

After this explanation, let us now ponder over verse 29 of Surah Tawbah. This verse of Surah Tawbah commands the believers to fight the People of the Book, the Jews and the Christians until they are willingly ready to pay Jizyah for the protection of their rights, as it is clear from the last part of the verse, “[fight] until they give the jizyah (tax) willingly” (9:29) 

This verse mentions four reasons for fighting Jews and Christians:

     (1) They do not believe in Allah.

     (2) They do not believe in the Hereafter.

    (3) They don’t believe in the impermissibility of what Allah and His Messenger have declared Haram (forbidden).

    (4) These people do not follow the religion of truth.

Believing in Allah means to believe in His oneness, His essence (Zaat) and all His positive and negative attributes (Sifat-e-Thubuti and Sifate-Salabi). According to some commentators (mufassirin), the belief in Allah also includes the belief in His Messengers. Though the Jews and Christians claimed that they believed in God Almighty, their claim was simply wrong because the Jews attributed physical shape to God and the Christians believed in the incarnation (hulool), as the verse 9:30 reads:

“The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah"; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?” (9:30)

The Jews consider Hazrat Ezra (peace be upon him) to be the son of God, and the Muslim commentators (mufassirin) have stated the reason that the Jews killed many prophets after Moses (peace be upon him), because of which God Almighty took the Torah (Old Testament) from them (i.e. erased it from their hearts). Thereafter Allah reminded Ezra (peace be upon him) of the Torah word by word through the angel Jibreel (peace be upon him) whereby the Jews started saying that God Almighty can inculcate the Torah only in the heart of His son, as the same is mentioned in the commentary of Abi Saud vol.4, p.59.

As for the Christians’ believing Hazrat Jesus (peace be upon him) to be the son of God, the reason for that is he was born without a father and also that he used to resurrect the dead by the command of Allah and heal the people affected with diseases such as leprosy, due to which the Christians believed that it was impossible for other than the son of God to do so as it is mentioned in the commentary of Abi Saud: “They (the Christians) said, “It is impossible for a child to come into existence without a father. It is also impossible for other than God to treat the leper and the blind and revive the dead”

Similarly, they neither believed in the Hereafter nor in the impermissibility of things forbidden in the light of revelations. They went so far as to distort the Torah and the Gospel and did not follow the religion of truth which is Islam that has abrogated all the previous Shariats. Also, they did not keep their peace covenant and were always ready for attacking the Muslims, causing evil, mischief and corruption in the land. For all these reasons, the Muslims were commanded to fight against them. However at the same time, an exception was made that if they believed, or agreed to pay Jizyah in case of disbelief, they will not be harassed in any way, and in return for the payment of Jizyah, their rights, lives and property will be protected.



Maulana Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, Principal of Madrasa Arabia Ashrafia Zia-ul-Uloom Khairabad, District Mau, UP (India) is a Sufi-minded, well-mannered, classical Islamic scholar, an expert teacher, an excellent writer, a good poet and orator. He has authored numerous books, some of which are as follows: 1) Fazilat-e-Ramazan, 2) Zad-ul-Haramain, 3) Mukhzin-e-Tib, 4) Tauzeehat-e-Ahsan, the commentary on  the well-known logical book “Mulla Hasan” 5) Muhazarat fi Halle Qutbi Tasawwurat, 6) Tahzib al-Faraid commentary on “Sharh al-Aqaid”, 7) Atayib al-Tahani fi Halle Mukhtasar al-Ma’ani, 8) Commentary on Sahih Muslim


Other Parts of the Articles:   

The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 1

The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 2

The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 3

The Verses of Jihad- Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 4

The Verses of Jihad in The Quran - Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background - Part 5

The Verses of Jihad in The Quran - Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background - Part 6

The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 7


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