Jizyah (Tax)

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Jizyah or jizya (جزْي) is the extra tax imposed on non-Muslims (Dhimmis) who live under Muslim rule according to the Qur'an and hadith:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden that which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
"I call you to God and to Islam. If you respond to the call, then you are Muslims: You obtain the benefits they enjoy and take up the responsibilities they bear. If you refuse, then you must pay the jizyah. If you refuse the jizyah, I will bring against you tribes of people who are more eager for death than you are for life. We will then fight you until God decides between us and you." (Al Tabari, Volume XI)
Khalid bin Al-Waheed (Muslim General, 632AD)
Summon the people to God; those who respond to your call, accept it from them, but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Fear God with regard to what you have been entrusted. (Al Tabari, Volume XII)
Umar ibn al-Khattab during the conquest of al-Basrah (636 CE)

Additional quotes can be found at Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Jizyah.

Once a land is conquered by Islamic armies the ruler can impose a taxation on those non-Muslims who will not convert to Islam.

Jizyah is paid as a sign of submission and gives Dhimmis some legal protection in return. Under dhimmitude (the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims) Dhimmis usually are not allowed to carry arms to protect themselves, serve in the army or government, display symbols of their faith, build or repair places of worship etc. If the conquered do not wish to pay or convert, their fate may very well be slavery (under which, rape is permitted) or (as evidenced in the quotes above) death.

The amount of the Jizyah tax and the way it was collected varied from time to time and from place to place, but when imposed, the forced payment of Jizyah greatly stimulated the conversion of non-Muslims into Islam.[1] In some cases the taxation of the non-Muslims was so profitable that the Islamic rulers prohibited their subjects from converting to Islam, lest they should lose their income.


To be fair to history; Jizyah was not entirely an Islamic initiative or the innovation of its prophet Muhammad, (Emphasis on the word “entirely”). A certain form of Jizyah had existed among the tribes of Northern Arabia in pre-Islamic times. This fact is attested by the famous historian Philip. K. Hitti in his History of Arabs. Ghazw (غزو) or raiding others for feeding mouths was an accepted norm among the Bedouin tribes of that time. As Hitti noted, "Ghazw was a manly occupation of Bedouins where fighting mood was a chronic mental condition". For people among the tribes, everything that belonged to the other tribes guaranteeing material gain made a legitimate target. The context made it necessary for a weaker tribe or a sedentary settlement on the borderland to buy protection from the stronger tribe by paying what it then called Khuwwah which later became Jizyah in Muhammad’s Islam. Along with the booty acquired through raids and wars, Jizyah turned out to be a good source of income for believers when they were constantly occupied in spreading the newly founded religion by means of violence. To sum up, by imposing Jizyah on subjugated unbelievers Muhammad was reinstating an undivine tribal norm into his religion, thus broadening an abject backward practice.

A Sign of Kufr and Disgrace

Allah said, (until they pay the Jizyah), if they do not choose to embrace Islam, (with willing submission), in defeat and subservience, (and feel themselves subdued.), disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated. Muslim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said, "Do not initiate the Salam to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, force them to its narrowest alley." This is why the Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, these conditions that ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace.

Approval from Islamic Scholars

The Muslims do not fight anyone until they have told them about the religion of Allaah and given them the choice between two things, either accepting Islam or, if they refuse Islam and keep their own religions, paying the Jizyah (tax) to the Muslims in return for protection. If they refuse both of these choices, then they are to be fought.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
If some people persist in rejecting the religion of Allaah and stand in the way of ruling by that which Allaah has revealed on earth, or they fight against the call to Allaah, then we give them the choice of three things: Either they become Muslim; or if they refuse they pay the jizyah (whereby they pay a specified amount to the Muslims in return for being allowed to remain their land, and the Muslims undertake to protect them); or, if they refuse that, there is nothing left but the way which they themselves have chosen, which is fighting and dealing violently with those who have persecuted the Muslims and put obstacles in the path of the Islamic da’wah. In this way the Muslims will gain the upper hand and the enemies will be humiliated; then when we have killed and wounded many of them and gained the upper hand over them, we may take prisoners and bind a bond firmly on them.
Ahkaam al-Sijn wa’l-Sujana’ wa Mu’aamalat al-Sujana’ fi’l-Islam by Hasan Abi’l-Ghuddah, 256

Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-'Arifi, Imam of the mosque of King Fahd Defense Academy, discussed the coming Muslim conquest of the Vatican. Citing a Hadith in an article posted on the Kalemat website in 2002, he stated:

"… We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians, who carve crosses on the breasts of the Muslims … will yet pay us the Jiziya [poll tax paid by non-Muslims under Muslim rule], in humiliation, or they will convert to Islam…"[2]
Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-'Arifi
"It may happen that the enemies of Islam may consider it expedient not to take action against Islam, if Islam leaves them alone in their geographical boundaries to continue the lordship of some men over others and does not extend its message and its declaration of universal freedom within their domain. But Islam cannot agree to this unless they submit to its authority by Jizyah..."
This is the aim of Jihad with the Jews and the Christians and it is not to force them to become Muslims and adopt the `Islamic Way of Life.' They should be forced to pay Jizyah in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true Faith, who should assume the sovereignty and lead others towards the Right Way, while they should become their subjects and pay jizyah...

[The Islamic State] cannot allow that they should remain supreme rulers in any place and establish wrong ways and impose them on others. As this state of things inevitably produces chaos and disorder, it is the duty of the true Muslims to exert their utmost to bring to an end their wicked rule and bring them under a righteous order.

As regards the question, "What do the non-Muslims get in return for Jizyah?" it may suffice to say that it is the price of the freedom which the Islamic State allows them in following their erroneous ways, while living in the jurisdiction of Islam and enjoying its protection. The money thus collected is spent in maintaining the righteous administration that gives them the freedom and protects their rights. This also serves as a yearly reminder to them that they have been deprived of the honor of paying Zakat in the Way of Allah, and forced to pay jizyah instead as a price of following the ways of error.
Commentary on Qur'an Chapter 9:29
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Tafhim al-Qur'an

Jizyah in History

Not only Alamgir compiled Fatawa-u-Alamgiri, he re-imposed jizya (a tax on non-Muslims for protection under Muslim rule) that had been suspended by Akbar, destroyed some unauthorized temples and checked proselytizing activities of the Hindus.
The Historical Roots of Islamic Militancy in Pakistan and current scenario: Amicus
Mohammed Yousuf, Journal of Turkish Weekly, May 19, 2005
Once Muhammad Bin Qasim had established himself in Sindh he sent a letter to the Muslim Caliph in Damascus, seeking instruction as to how he should deal with the Hindus and Buddhists of the conquered area. The reply came that they be treated in accordance with the Quranic commandments relating to the People of the Book (Ahl-i-Kitab), the Jews and the Christians. Accordingly, the Buddhists and the Hindus of Sindh were to be given full freedom to practise their faiths, and their lives and property, including temples, were to be protected. In return, they were to pay a tax, the jizya. The old, the sick, children and priests were to be exempted from the tax. The non-Muslims were not obliged to perform military service, unlike the Muslims. Following these dictates, Muhammad Bin Qasim thus set a precedent which several other Muslim rulers after him followed.

Jizyah in the Modern World

The general plan of Hamas also includes the imposition of a special tax, called al-jeziya, upon all of the non-Muslim residents in the Palestinian territories. This tax revives the one applied through all of Islamic history to the dhimmi, the second-class Jewish and Christian citizens.
In the recent violence, residents of the Baghdad neighborhood of Dora said gunmen knocked on the doors of Christian families, demanding they either pay jizya — a special tax traditionally levied on non-Muslims — or leave. The jizya has not been imposed in Muslim nations in about 100 years.
Christians Fleeing Violence in Iraq
The Associated Press, Fox News, May 07, 2007
The Taliban in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have issued an ultimatum against local Hindus and Sikhs: either you pay “jizya”, an Islamic poll tax for religious minorities that is akin to protection money, or you leave. Many (more than 400)Hindu and Sikh families have already left for Peshawar and neighbouring provinces.

Threats against Sikhs and Hindus are but the latest in a series of warnings against religious minorities in the NWFP, including Christians who have had to pay jizya and submit to Sharia.

“We were living under fear: fear of the Taliban, fear of Lashkar-e-Islam and fear of other armed groups,” a Sikh man told the Daily Times
Hindus and Sikhs threatened by the Taliban and Sharia
Fareed Khan, Asia News, July 28, 2009
Eight members of the minority Christian community have been kidnapped in Pakistan's troubled Waziristan tribal region, reports said today. Militants and criminals in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt have targeted minorities like Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. There have been several instances of members of minority communities being abducted for ransom or forced to pay 'jiziya', a tax levied on non-Muslims.
A human rights organization has learned that a Christian businessman was shot eight times in the legs while driving through Lahore, Pakistan after refusing to pay protection money to a Muslim.

Mobeena, [the Christians sister], told ICC, “Suqlain is still free and hanging around. The government has done nothing to help us, even though my brother is a prominent businessman. We feel insecure, our children are too scared to go out anymore - please help us, we need justice.”
Christian Shot Eight Times for Refusing to Pay Protection Money
Jeremy Reynalds, ASSIST News Service, July 22, 2009
According to the [Chaldean Cultural Association for Peace in Iraq] association’s survey, property of at least 500,000 Christians were taken away and 200,000 Christians were forced to pay extortion money, while dozens others were kidnapped then released for ransom.

“Before 2003, there were around 2.1 million Christians in Iraq, but now there are not more than 500,000 of them,” Masho said.

He criticized the Iraqi government for being unable to protect Christians, and said that it did not even fulfill its promises to compensate them.
This past year there have been several disturbing incidents in the neighborhood of outer Nørrebro. In October, a refugee from Africa had his door kicked in several times and was threatened by a group of youths who accused him of being both black and Christian.

He was given a deadline of less than a week to pay them 10,000 kroner (1,800 USD) if he wanted to live in the area. Police told him that they could no longer guarantee his safety in Mjølnerparken [Muslim ghetto in Copenhagen, Denmark]. When Lejerbo (the company renting out apartments in the area) found him, he was crying and had slept on the street.
On the other side of the fence
Nicolai Sennels (Translator), Weekendavisen (Danish daily, not online), March 1, 2012
Refugees who have fled to Jordan from Syria are telling mission leaders supported by Christian Aid Mission about deliberate, new persecution from the "Arab Spring" insurgents who are seeking to overthrow the brutal Assad regime in Damascus.
. . .

"It is over; we can't get back what we lost," said one discouraged Christian refugee here in Jordan. "It will never be the same anymore for me or my family. We've lost hope." He said he had to flee with his family at night, because anti-Christian persecution in Syria is becoming a steadily growing reality.

"I had my own business. I ran a supermarket, and we were financially stable. Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore. Our dreams vanished when a group of terrorists threatened to kill my family, burn our house, and set fire to the supermarket if I didn't pay them $7,000.

"I paid the amount, hoping that they would leave us alone, but they did not. Instead, they kidnapped me for a whole week. They only let me go on one condition: that each month I would pay them the same amount.

"What do you think I could do? I fled. I packed our stuff, taking only the basics. I took my family and came to Jordan. My son, Omar, has one year left to finish his bachelor's degree, but now his dreams have vanished as well. I used to be a business owner...but now I am a laborer who can hardly provide the day-to-day basics for my family."
In Essa Nagri Christians are harassed by criminal gangs and Islamic terrorist groups of ethnic Pashtuns: armed to the teeth, the militants enter the area to collect the "Jizya" (the tax imposed, according to the sharia, on the non-Muslim minorities), and extort money from the Christian merchants. MASS activists have been denouncing for a long time continuous robberies, violence and abuses committed under the cover of some Police officials. Militants raid houses, steal and abuse women and children for fun.
Around 69 families, approximately 500 Sikhs, were residing in Feroz Khail area of the agency. Most of them earned their living from cultivating crops and a few others from small makeshifts at a market, which were barely sufficient to make both ends meet.

Kalyan himself was picked up by militants and offered three options: To embrace Islam, to become part of their jihad or to pay a sum of Rs500 million.

“I could not even consider the first two options. I was released when residents intervened and the Sikh community paid Rs6.5 million as Jizya (protection money for non-Muslims),” Kalyan said.

Residents left the area within half an hour of the warning, leaving most of their valuables behind.
Militancy: When hundreds of Sikhs lost their homes in Orakzai
Umer Farooq, The Express Tribune, October 5, 2012

Disguised Jizyah

In Denmark, Muslims make up 5% of the population but receive 40% of social-welfare outlays. Their preachers have told them, Mr. Bawer reports, that only a fool would not take maximum advantage of the bounty that Western Europe offers and that it is perfectly legitimate to cheat and lie. The benefits they receive are a kind of jizya, the tribute that infidels in Muslim-occupied countries have to pay to preserve their lives. (The subsidized-radical situation in Britain and Germany is not much different: The four suicide bombers in London last year had raked in close to a million dollars in social benefits before going on their murderous mission.)
A Dire Continental Drift: While Europe Slept by Bruce Bave
Walter Laqueur, Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2006
Mojahed Bosify: Sixty percent of the Muslims in the Netherlands live off social security.

Interviewer: They are unemployed...

Mojahed Bosify: Many of them consider this to be the jizya poll tax, on the basis of official fatwas.

Interviewer: They consider social security to be the jizya?

Mojahed Bosify: When they go to the ATM or the bank teller, and say: "Convert to Islam or pay the jizya."
. . .

Interviewer: And the teller has no idea...

Mojahed Bosify: No, he just says: "Here is your money," and that's the end of it. Today, fewer people behave this way, but some still do.
The Jizyah has "not been imposed" since European pressure and power has been brought to bear. But non-Muslims have been subject to a disguised Jizyah. Despite the supposed reforms that were to bring complete legal equality to non-Muslims in Turkey, in World War II the Varlik Vergesi was a large tax imposed by the government on non-Muslim citizens, who despite Kemalism, or perhaps because of it, have never been considered "Turks" equal to Muslim "Turks."

In Malaysia the non-Muslims have been subject to the disguised Jizyah of the Bumiputra system, which favors economically the Muslims, and essentially involves a transfer of wealth from the more industrious and entrepreneurial non-Muslims (Chinese and Hindus) to Muslims (Malays, but not the members of the indigenous tribes, which were christianized, or remained pagan -- and only now are being islamized through intense pressure and Da'wa campaigns).

Elsewhere, as in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Hindus and Christians live in a state of permanet physical danger, and that danger also is one of losing their property to Muslim looters and marauders who cannot be sued or brought to justice on the say-so of a non-Muslim. The Jews of the Arab world fled -- nearly one million of them -- leaving their property, which was the last transfer of wealth. In Egypt, under Nasser, the property of most Jews and the Levantine Christains -- Greeks, Italians, and others -- were "nationalized" as Nasser put it. But this was nothing more than the seizure of Infidel property by Muslim governments. Copts in Egypt do not pay a direct Jizyah. But there are other ways to force local Christians, constantly fearful for their own well-being, to have them pay off, or take as local partners, Muslims who may protect them. There is no security for the property of non-Muslims in Muslim lands, and there are various ways in which the "protection money" that is the Jizyah is paid, often in indirect, informal, and disguised ways, when the more direct imposition would attract too much unwanted Western attention and, presumably, outrage.

Other Islamic Taxes


Some will say that Muslims also had to pay a tax equivalent to the jizjah paid by Dhimmis'. It is true that Muslims, under the empire, paid a tax called zakat. However, this zakat is a 2.5% tax, while the jizyah (which can vary) is about a 10% income tax (although it has been known to be as high as 50%). Muslims are obligated to pay this so-called "charity tax" even today, as its one of the five pillars of Islam. But, instead of paying it to the state, they now pay zakat to charities of their choice. It must however be noted that the majority of Islamic scholars are of the view that non-Muslims should not benefit from this alms giving,[3] which is why we find mainstream Islamic charities, like Islamic Relief, almost exclusively[4] focusing their humanitarian work in Muslim majority nations or areas in non-Muslim countries which are heavily populated by Muslim minorities. In the aftermath of the 2010 Pakistan floods, many Christian survivors were denied aid supplied by Muslim charities for this very reason.[5]


Devshirme (derived from , "collection, gathering"; called "collection of boys" or "blood tax" in Balkan countries in their native languages) was the systematic abduction of young boys from conquered Christian lands by the Ottoman sultans as a form of regular taxation in order to build a loyal slave army (formerly largely composed of war captives) and the class of (military) administrators called the "Janissaries", or other servants such as tellak in hamams. . Boys delivered to the Ottomans in this way were called ghilmán or acemi oglanlar ("novice boys").


Tax imposed on recent Islamic converts in the 7th–8th century. In Islamic territories, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians who did not convert to Islam were required to pay a tax called the jizya. Many people converted to Islam to avoid this tax or to escape the ban on non-Muslims owning land. As financial problems mounted for the Umayyad rulers, authorities imposed the kharaj as a property tax for recent converts. Popular opposition to the tax led to a revolt in 747 and precipitated the downfall of the Umayyad dynasty.
The Encyclopædia Britannica
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See Also

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