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Removing Doubts Concerning Verses of Jihad in Quran: Is Jizya in Islam an act of oppression? Part 2

Kamal Mustafa Azhari for New Age Islam

(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam)

20 May 2021

Jizyah collected from Non-Muslims in return for their Protection

Important Points discussed in Part 2

Islam protects the rights of the dhimmis

Jizyah was collected only from those dhimmis who could afford to pay

Women, children, old and certain dhimmis are exempted from Jizyah

Jizyah was taken in return for protection granted by Islamic state

Jizyah is not oppression over the dhimmis for not accepting Islam

Islam grants a portion of the treasury of the Muslims to the needy dhimmis

General rights of the dhimmis 

Islamic system of justice is just and impartial


In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Gracious

Doubt 2: Is Jizyah in Islam an act of oppression?

Some sceptics hold the misconception that Islam oppresses the Dhimmis (i.e. the non-Muslims who take refuge in Dar ul-Islam by paying Jizyah), deprives them of their freedom, and imposes Jizyah on them. They add that Islam commands Jihad against those non-Muslims who do not pay the Jizyah.

This misconception is dismissed for a few reasons:

There is no doubt that these sceptics are unaware of the fact that Islam plays an unparalleled role in securing the rights of the Dhimmis. We will describe all these things in the following lines so that the minds and hearts may be protected from doubts and suspicions.

First of all, we should know the meaning of Jizyah. The root verb of Jizyah is j-z-y, which means ‘to pay what is due in return for safety and security. (Mukhtar al-Sihah, vol.1, p.44)

Jizyah is a limited and fixed payment collected from certain non-Muslims who have the power to do business in Dar ul-Islam in exchange for the responsibility of protection fulfilled by Islamic state against any aggression, as well as for non-Muslims being exempt from military service and in return for the aid provided to poor dhimmis.

Old people, children, women are exempted from payment of Jizya. Similarly, Jizyah is not collected from the poor, the sick, the insane, and those who are not able to work or who could not afford to pay. But rather, most of them are the ones who get aid and pensions as much as they need from the treasury of the Muslims.

The Dhimmis living among the Muslims benefit from the services of the Judiciary, Army and Police governed by the State of Islam, as well as from the Public Facilities. This is not hidden for the people of reason and intellect that a large amount of money has to be spent to run all these affairs. These expenses are largely paid by the Muslims and the dhimmis also contribute to this expenditure.

In return for the Jizyah, the Islamic State takes responsibility for the protection and defence of the dhimmis and provides them with peace and security in the land of Islam. Thus they are not worried or obliged to defend their lives, property and honour or the Islamic State. Instead, a military contingent is assigned to protect and look after these affairs.

So this Jizyah is not a punishment or oppression over the dhimmis for not accepting Islam but it is in return for their protection and support and patronage. The reason is that only accepting Jizyah proves the infallibility of their lives and property, as the leader of the faithful (Amir ul-Muminin) Hazrat Umar Farooq Azam had said explicitly to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah (May Allah be pleased with them), “If you take Jizyah from them, there will be nothing left for you on them” (Kitab al-Kharaj: 154)

Islam has taken a unique initiative in providing the dhimmis with the guarantee of protection and peace, an example of which is not found in the history of humanity. Only the dhimmis who could afford are demanded to pay a special amount of Jizyah, and thereby they can spend their life with happiness, peace and tranquillity under the protection of the Muslims. However, in spite of having power and strength, Islam does not persecute but treats them justly in fulfilling their rights.

General rights for the dhimmis

1.       Criminal Law

This law applies equally to the Muslims and the Dhimmis, i.e. the punishment for the crime is the same for both. For example, if a Muslim steals the property of a Dhimmi or a dhimmi steals the property of a Muslim, in both cases the thief's hands will be cut off.

2.       Civil Law

This law is equally applicable for both. The wealth of a dhimmi is like the wealth of a Muslim. It is specifically permissible for a dhimmi to make, drink or sell wine, and it is also permissible for him to raise, eat or sell pork. So if a Muslim wastes a Dhimmi's wine or kills a pig, he will have to pay a fine, as it is mentioned in the jurisprudential book Durr-e-Mukhtar, “The Muslim will have to pay the fine for his (dhimmis’) wine and pork if he wastes it”

3.       Protection of Chastity and Honour

It is not permissible to torture a dhimmi with one's hand or tongue, nor is it permissible to abuse, beat or backbite him. It is mentioned in Durre Mukhtar: “It is obligatory to refrain from harassing the dhimmi. It is equally forbidden to backbite the dhimmi and the Muslim.”

4.       Religious rites

The dhimmis are allowed to practice their religion and their religious rites.

5.       Gentleness while collecting Jizyah and Khiraj 

Islam also grants a portion of the treasury of the Muslims to the needy Dhimmis, as Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) said to Adi ibn Artah al-Fazari who was appointed a governor to Basra, “Before taking care of yourself, you should care for the dhimmis, because some of them have reached old age, some are weak and their income has gone away. Grant the Dhimmis as much share as they need from the Public Treasury of the Muslims so that they may improve their state.” (Al-Amwaal: 1/170)

Under the law and order of Islam, the non-Muslims have lived with such freedom, justice and fairness, then why is there so much oppression and religious persecution against Muslims today?

Islam is a religion of mercy and safety which does not incite hatred and enmity but teaches equality between Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of justice and other matters of which there are numerous examples in history.

There is an example that shows how just and impartial the Islamic system of justice is. This took place between Caliph Ali and a Jewish man. Hazrat Ali lost a piece of his armour which he found in the possession of a Jew. Then he decided to take up the matter legally, so he brought the dispute to judge Shurayh. Hazrat Ali said, “This is my armour and I have not sold it or given it away.” The judge said to that Jew, “What do you say about what the commander of the faithful has said?” That person said, “It is my armour, but I do not consider the commander of the faithful to be a liar.” The judge turned to Ali and said, “O commander of the faithful, do you have proof?” Hazrat Ali laughed and said, “Shurayh is correct. I do not have proof.” Thus, the judge ruled in favour of that Jewish man. The Jew took the armour and began to walk away, but then he returned and said, “As for me, I testify that this is the wisdom of the prophets. The commander of the faithful himself has taken me to his judge and the judge has ruled against him! I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. By Allah, the armour is yours. I took out you’re your camel.” Hazrat Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “If you have embraced Islam, the armour is yours.” (Sunan Kubra: 20252). 

This is the example of Islamic justice that the leader of the believers himself went along with the Jew to the judge, despite the fact that he was right and full of power and as the evidence submitted by Hazrat Ali was apparently insufficient, the judge gave his verdict in favour of the Jew. Hazrat Ali knew the hadith that “Proof lies on the plaintiff and the oath is to be sworn by the defendant” (Sunan Tirmidhi: 1342). So when Hazrat Ali could not prove his claim that this piece of armour belonged to him, he agreed to the verdict and said to the judge “Shurayh is correct”. The point to be noted here is that the evidence submitted by Hazrat Ali was apparently insufficient; the judge gave his verdict in favour of the Jew. This is the matter of gentleness that no distinction was made between a leader and a Jew who was a common citizen. The Jew was so impressed by the fairness of The Islamic justice system that he immediately returned the armour to Hazrat Ali and embraced Islam.

Permissibility of Jizyah

Allah Almighty says, “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 willingly while they are humbled.” (9:29)

Commenting on this verse, Imam Qurtubi says,

“Our scholars have said, “The Qur'an implies that the Jizyah will be taken from those who fight, because this verse (9:29) requires the obligation of Jizyah on the one who fights” (Tafsir-e-Qurtubi)

So does it mean to put them in hardship and trouble, deprive them of their freedom and impose a tax upon them more than they can afford?

Or is it the vast mercy of Islam that extends to all worlds? Allah Almighty says, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (21:107)

What warnings has Islam issued for the peace and security of the Dhimmis?

There are many examples in the Holy Qur'an, Hadiths and the biography of the Companions (Sahaba) of removing oppression and suffering from the dhimmis. Some examples are as follows;

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.” (60:8)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever killed a Mu'ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of travelling)” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 3166)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said, “Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Sunan Kubra: 18511)

The wisdom behind the legality of Jizyah

Islam has treated non-Muslims well by imposing Jizyah for their protection, without forcing them to convert to Islam.

Hazrat Allama Naeem-ud-Din Muradabadi writes, "The wisdom behind the legislation of Jizyah is that the non-Muslims should be given a chance to observe the merits and proofs of Islam and analyze the attributes mentioned in the previous books so that they may embrace Islam. [Tafsir Khazain Al-Irfan, Surah At-Tawbah: 29]

If the dhimmi embraces Islam, then that Jizyah is also waived from it, as was explained by Hazrat Sufyan al-Thawri. He said: When a person embraces Islam, he is not obligated to pay the Jizyah. [Sunan Abu Dawood: 3054]

Dear readers!

From the above facts, it became clearer than the sun that the rights which Islam has given to the dhimmis were not imagined before and that there was no example for such rights before Islam.

Summary: Islam is the religion of truth, justice and mercy, whereby the whole of humanity is inundated with clouds of pleasure and grace. The Quran and Sunnah are the convincing texts of Islam to refute those persons who slander about the legality of Jizyah and other related issues of Islam and give the silencing answer to every suspicion of these liars.


Mustafa Kamal Azhari, the son of a popular Sunni debator Allama Sagheer Ahmad Jokhanpuri, is a classical Islamic scholar (Aalim and Fazil). Presently he is doing research work in the Faculty of Theology at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.


 Related Article

Removing Doubts Concerning Verses of Jihad in Quran - Does Islam force Non-Muslims to Accept Islam -Part 1

Removing Doubts Concerning Verses of Jihad in Quran - Does Islam force Non-Muslims to Accept Islam -Part 1 ردِ وسیم نام نہاد در شبہاتِ آیاتِ جہاد: مذہب اسلام غیر مسلموں پر داخل اسلام ہونے کے لئے بلا وجہ جبر و اکراہ کرتا ہے ؟

Removing Doubts Concerning Verses of Jihad in Quran: Is Jizya in Islam an act of oppression? Part 2 ازالہ شبہات در آیاتِ جہاد: کیا اسلام کا جِزیہ لینا ذمیوں پر ظلم و ستم ہے ؟


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