Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
one of the pillars of Islam, imposed by God Almighty upon every Muslim, male or
female, under special conditions of Islamic Sharia; namely freedom, full
possession of such estate or effect as are termed in the jurisprudential
terminology a Nisab, and possession of the same Nisab for the space of one
complete Hijri year. Zakat is a right of the poor and needy; which is imposed
on all the Muslims who meet the afore-mentioned conditions. God Almighty says,
“And from their properties is [given] the right [share] of the beggar and the
Sharia Ahkam (Sharia rules) there are some which are not related to interests
of God’s slaves and are between the servant and his God, such as fasting,
prayer etc. There are others which are related to human interests such as
importance of Zakat lies in the economic aspect of Muslim community because it
helps the poor, sick people, orphans and so forth. So if people stop from
paying Zakat and the Muslim government commits negligence in its collection, it
will lead to disruption of an Islamic law and also to a great economic
corruption in the community. The reason for this is that if these needy people
do not find those helping them, they will either die of hunger or go astray.
And this is a corruption that Islam forbids us from indulging in. Therefore the
law maker of Sharia made it compulsory upon the Muslim government to collect
Zakat so that this corruption does not occur. First the Muslim government is
bound to ask the rejecters of Zakat to seek repentance; so if they repent and
pay Zakat, then there is no issue for them, but if they insist on rejecting
Zakat, the government has right to take necessary legal steps against them.
divine punishment in the Hereafter for those who do not pay Zakat, Allah
Almighty has mentioned it in the Quran, “O you who have believed, indeed many
of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert
[them] from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it
not in the way of Allah - give them tidings of a painful punishment.” (9:34)
“The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will
be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said],
"This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to
that what Hazrat Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) did in fighting
against the rejecters of Zakat is not unusual because most governments fight or
take their legal steps against those who violate or disrupt their laws related
to their lives and those who try to sabotage them. That is why Hazrat Abu Bakr
fought against the apostates who not only refused to pay Zakat but also
rebelled against and intended to sabotage the Muslim State.
well-known classical scholar, Allama Badr al-Din al-Aini (1360-1453) writes in
his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari, “Hazrat Abu Bakr al-Siddiq fought those who
refused to pay Zakat because they had taken up the sword and started a war
against the Muslim community…Hazrat Abu Hanifa took the ground that he who
refuses to pay Zakat must neither be killed nor even fought. However, he must
be forced to pay it without the use of the sword, and must only be killed if he
rose up to attack. This is exactly what Hazrat Abu Bakr did with those who
refused to pay Zakat during his caliphate. He did not fight them until they
rose up to attack him” (Badr al-Din al-Aini, Umdatul Qari Sharh al-Bukhari,
vol.11, 12, page 236 (The Development of Apostasy And Punishment Law in Islam-
A research thesis submitted to the faculty of Divinity of Glasgow University in
Complete Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy,
2002, by Samuel Hosain, Lamarti page 131-132)
if someone fails to pay taxes to his government across the world, he is
sentenced to prison. In America Patrick J. Belzner was sentenced to 15
years-imprisonment for tax evasion. China killed tax evaders in 2001, as
reported by A New York Times articles 11 Mar. 2001. (See details here:
To sum up,
Hazrat Abu Bakr and his army fought against the rejecters of Zakat who were
also known as apostates, not because they simply refused to pay Zakat but also
that they denied the rights of the poor and needy by their refusal, actively
rebelled and took up arms against the Muslim State. Hence it can’t be justified
merely on some reports that Hazrat Abu Bakr fought against apostates merely on
the basis of their apostasy. The main reason for his waging fight against these
apostates was to protect the rights of the poor and needy in society and lives
of other civilians living under his State.
regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim
and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and
English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in
Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic
Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism
Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women
in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magainism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?" Then Abu Huraira recited the holy verses: "The pure Allah's Islamic nature (true faith of Islam) (i.e. worshipping none but Allah) with which He has created human beings. No change let there be in the religion of Allah (i.e. joining none in worship with Allah). That is the straight religion (Islam) but most of men know, not." (30.30)
Using Quran 9:29 to support Jizyah is compulsory, it
seems to be inappropriate and irrelevant.
Let's mediate Quran 9:29 as below:
Quran 9:29 in Mohsin Khan translation:
Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2)
nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and
His Messenger Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e.
Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay
the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
The phrase, Fight against those who believe not in Allah,
as mentioned above refers to the battle against those who do no believe in
Allah. The subsequent phrase, the people
of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is mentioned implies the so-called Jews
and Christians might forsake their faith in Allah.
Why does Quran 9:29 call Muslims to fight against them?
The reason for Quran 9:29 for Muslims to fight against
them is spelt out in the same chapter of Quran 9:13 as follows:
Will you not fight a people who have violated their
oaths (pagans of Makkah), and intended to expel the Messenger while they did
attack you first? Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear
Him if you are believers.
The phrase, Will you not fight a people..to expel the
Messenger did attack you first, in Quran 9:13 implies non-Muslims were the
first to battle against Muslims and that causes Quran 9:26 to impose jiyaz to
Quran 9:11 mentions they have to give zakat if they
repent. As the word, repent, in Quran
9:11 is linked to the word, zakat, it implies zakat is meant to pay for some
sin that someone has committed. If the
word, repent, in Quran 9:11 has to be read with Quran 9:13, it is obviously
that they intend to expel the Messenger and to attack Muslims to first. As they attacked the Messenger, Quran 9:11
demands them to repent from attacking them and give zakat.
Now the problem is non-Muslims in contemporary world do
not attack Muslims. As they do not
attack Muslims, why should there be any repentance for their fight with
them. As there is no need for their repentance
for their battle with Muslims since they do not fight with Muslim, why should
zakat be paid by them since Quran 9:11 mentions zakat has to be dealt with
There is also no reason to use Quran 9:29 supports Quran
promotes battle between non-Muslims and Muslims since Quran 9:6, "(in the
same chapter mentions)..if any one of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters,
pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection, then grant
him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Quran), and then
escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know
not." Yet Quran 9:6 does not
mention Muslims must impose zakat in order to grant non-Muslims protection.
Hence, it is irrational to use Quran 9:29 to comment
zakat is a must to be imposed since Quran 9:11 links repent to zakat.
Do you have any other verse that is more suitable to
support zakat is compulsion.
is important that we understand the nature of the Ridda wars correctly. The
main issue was rebellion against the political authority of Abu Bakr (RA) and
refusal to pay zakat. The secondary issue was that these rebellious tribes
were choosing their own leaders as successor to Muhammad (pbuh) and also
calling them their prophet and not Caliph (out of their ignorance). There was
no apostasy in the sense of denying either Allah or the prophethood of
wars were mainly to establish the political authority of the Caliph without
which there was danger that Arabia which had become a nation state from a
tribal society would again disintegrate and slide back into a tribal society
with independent tribal leaders.
support for the nation state with powers to collect taxes in the form of
zakat or jiziya comes from the Quran itself where the Prophet is
commanded to collect Zakat from the Muslims and Jiziya from others and all
are required to submit to this requirement in submission to the political
authority or face war.
Ridda wars would have been against apostasy if the rebellious tribes had gone
back to worship their previous gods and if they had been forced to re-accept
Islam. This was not the case. If they had done that, then the Quranic
requirement would have been to fight against them until they accepted the
political authority of the Caliph and agreed to pay jiziya.
were no forced conversions and Abu Bakr (RA) is not guilty of any wrong
wars were not for or against the freedom of conscience. The rebellion was
against pledging their allegiance to the political successor Abu Bakr. It was
a political rebellion by refusing to recognize the political authority of the
successor and refusing to pay zakat. If it was a matter of freedom of
conscience and not a political rebellion, they would have offered to pay
jiziya in place of zakat.
means rejection and in this case, it was rejection of the political authority
of the successor. No account of these wars speak of "apostasy" by
the rebels in the sense of going back on the kalimah or turning their back on
was a tribal society before Muhammad (pbuh) who in the course of the last 10
years of his life turned it into a nation and an ummah. If the political
rebellion was not contained, the society would have gone back to the old days
Read any version of the history from any source.
These wars were anything but wars for or against the freedom of conscience.
It wasn't freedom of conscience that the rebels wanted but freedom from the
authority of the Caliph and freedom from paying zakat.
Even a modern day ruler of any country will
act exactly as Abu Bakr (RA) did in identical circumstances. The rebellion
were acts of sedition in the political sense rather than in the religious
Abu Bakr Siddiqui (RA) was among the very
first to accept Islam. He was well to do but donated everything he had to the
cause of Islam. He was the lone companion of the Prophet when he migrated to
Medina. He is among the Muslims about whom the Quran says are the best of
creatures (khair-ul-bariyati) in verse 98:7.
He is also among the Muslims referred to in
the Quran in the following verse:
The vanguard (of Islam)- the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of
those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good
deeds,- well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath
He prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: that
is the supreme felicity.
sacrifices that Abu Bakr (RA) made are beyond compare. He is above even a
shadow of suspicion as far as motives are concerned and as far as his
knowledge of the Quran is concerned, he was given the title of Siddiq by the
Prophet himself for his depth of understanding which comes from true
knowledge. Very clearly, the Quran grants freedom of conscience and very
clearly the Quran also commanded in verse 9:29 to bring all people of the
Hejaz under the political authority of the Prophet and fight against those
who rebel or fail to submit to the political authority.
literally means “rejection” or “to go back on” and in this case, it was
rejection of the political authority of the Caliph or “to go back on” the
pledge of political support or fealty. In another context, it could be
rejection of faith or belief after having believed.
who believe apostasy to be punishable by death will describe these wars as
wars to put down apostasy as justification for their beliefs since they do
not find anything else to support such beliefs. To endorse the view that the
wars were wars on account of rejection (ridda) of faith rather than rejection
(ridda) of political authority of the Caliph is to support the
punishment of killing for apostasy because there is no way you can make out
Abu Bakr (RA) to have been in error when the Quran itself speaks highly of
the vanguard Muslims and he was certainly the foremost among them having been
given the title of Siddiq by the Prophet himself. While certainly no one is
infallible, but these vanguard Muslims were above any serious errors of
judgment in the matter of religion. What is therefore important is to
correctly portray these wars as not wars to put down apostasy but wars
against political sedition.
far as Quranic scholarship is concerned, the scholars treat Mushrik, Kafir
and idolator as synonyms almost without exception which includes those from
Al-Azhar also so it does not surprise me when they fail to look at these wars
as not wars to put down political sedition but as wars of apostasy since many
of the same scholars also subscribe to the punishment of killing for