Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah (Arabic: جزيةǧizyah IPA: [dʒizja]; Ottoman Turkish: cizye;) is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria. The tax is and was to be levied on able-bodied adult males of military age and affording power[1] (but with specific exemptions).[2][3] From the point of view of the Muslim rulers, jizya was a material proof of the non-Muslims' acceptance of subjection to the state and its laws, "just as for the inhabitants it was a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes."[4] In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to the Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, and to be exempted from military service and the zakat taxes obligatory upon Muslim citizens.[5][6]

Etymology and meaning

In Arabic it means:"What is taken from the Dhimmis, which is the amount of money agreed upon in the contract that gives the non-Muslim the Dhimmai status; and it's derived from the act of the verb "reward"; as if it (jizya) is a requital for not being killed.".[7]

The Arabic term jizya appears in verse ]

Commentators disagree on the definition and derivation of the word jizya:

  • Shakir and Khalifa's English translations of the Qur'an render jizya as "tax", while Pickthal translates it as "tribute". Yusuf Ali prefers to transliterate the term as jizyah.
  • Yusuf Ali states "The derived meaning, which became the technical meaning, was a poll tax levied from those who did not accept Islam, but were willing to live under the protection of Islam, and were thus tacitly willing to submit to the laws enforced by the Muslim State."[9]
  • Edward William Lane, citing Ibn Athir in An Arabic-English Lexicon defines jizya as "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 a protection for their not being slain.[10]
  • Ibn Rushd explains that jizya is in fact a broader concept than just a head-tax. It also includes monies exacted in times of war – what is normally understood in English by the word ‘tribute’ – as well as levies (‘ushr) on non-muslim merchants who are trading in the Dar al-Harb.[11]

In practice, the word is applied to a special type of tax, levied upon the non-Muslim adult males living under an Islamic state.

After the Norman conquest of Sicily, taxes imposed on the Muslim minority were also called the "jizya".[4][full citation needed]


There were two main legal rationales for jizya: the Communalist and Universalist. The former believed that jizya was a fee in exchange for the dhimma (permission to practice one's faith, enjoy communal autonomy, and to be entitled to Muslim protection from outside aggression[5]). The latter, however, assumed that such rights were every person's birthright (Muslim or non-Muslim), and the imposition of jizya on non-Muslims similar to the imposition of Zakat on Muslims.[12] For a comparison between them; refer to this section.

And al-Razi says in his interpretation of the quranic verse(9:29) in which the jizya was enacted:

The intention of taking the jizya is not to approve the disbelief of non-Muslims in Islam, but rather to spare their lives and to give them some time; in hope that during it; they might stop to reflect on the virtues of Islam and its compelling arguments, and consequently converting from disbelief to belief. That's why it's important to pay the jizya with humiliation and servility, because naturally, any sensible person can not stand humiliation and servility. So if the disbeliever is given some time watching the pride of Islam and hearing evidences of its authenticity, then apparently this might carry him to convert to Islam, and that's the main rationale behind the enactment of the jizya.[13]

Many Muslim rulers saw jizya as a material proof of the non-Muslims' acceptance of the authority of the Islamic state.[4]

Islamic Law

jizya was sanctioned by the Qur'an, the primary source of Islamic law.

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden 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 jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Hadith sources

jizya is mentioned a number of times in the hadith. Common themes across multiple hadith (and often multiple collections of hadith) include Muhammad ordering his military commanders to fight non-Muslims who aggressed against the Muslims, until they accepted Islam or paid the jizya, Muhammad and a number of caliphs imposing jizya on non-Muslim residents of Islamic lands, and the eventual abolition of jizya by Jesus' Second Coming.[14]

Sahih Bukhari

  • Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 475 states 'Umar's concern for the well-being of dhimmis on his deathbed (after he was stabbed by a dhimmi). 'Umar commanded his would-be successor to "abide by the rules and regulations concerning the Dhimmis (protectees) of Allah and His Apostle, to fulfill their contracts completely and fight for them and not to tax (overburden) them beyond their capabilities".[15][16]
  • Volume 2, Book 24, Number 559 states that the King of Aila wrote to Muhammad that his people agreed to pay the jizya tax in return for being allowed to stay in their place.[17]
  • Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425 states that Jesus will abolish the jizya, as does Volume 4, Book 55, Number 657.[18][19]
  • Volume 4, Book 53, Number 384 states that Umar did not take the jizya from the "Magian infidels" (Zoroastrians) until he heard testimony that Muhammad had taken the jizya from the Magians of Hajar.[20]
  • Volume 4, Book 53, Number 385 states that Muhammad collected jizya from the people of Bahrain, as do Volume 5, Book 59, Number 351 and Volume 8, Book 76, Number 433.[21][22][23]
  • Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386 states that Muhammad commanded Al-Mughira and his army to fight non-Muslims until they worshiped Allah alone or gave jizya.[24]
  • Volume 4, Book 53, Number 404 has Muhammad stating that one day Allah will make the dhimmis "so daring that they will refuse to pay the jizya they will be supposed to pay".[25]
  • Volume 9, Book 83, Number 49 reports that Muhammad 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 traveling)",[26]

Sahih Muslim

  • Sahih Muslim Book 1, Numbers 287 and 289 state that the "son of Mary" will "descend as a just judge" and, among other things, abolish the jizya.[27][28]
  • Book 19, Number 4294 states that Muhammad commanded his military leaders to demand jizya from non-Muslims if they refused to accept Islam, and to fight them if they refused to pay.[29]
  • Book 32, Number 6328 states that Hisham b. Hakim b. Hizam passed by Syrian farmers who had been detained for jizya and made to stand in the sun, and Number 6330 states that he came by some Nabateans who had been detained "in connection with the dues of jizya". In both cases his response was to quote Muhammad as saying "Allah would torment those persons who torment people in the world." [30][31]
  • Book 42, Number 7065 states that that Muhammad collected jizya from the people of Bahrain.[32]

Sunan Abu-Dawud

  • Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 19, Number 2955 has Umar ibn al-Khattab stating that he provided protection for non-Muslims by levying jizya on them, and neither took one-fifth from it, nor took it as booty.[33]
  • Book 19, Number 3031 states that Muhammad captured Ukaydir, the Christian prince of Dumah, and spared his life and made peace with him on the condition that he paid jizya.[34]
  • Book 37, Number 4310 states that Jesus will come again, and at that time will (among other things) abolish jizya, as Allah will "perish all religions except Islam".[35]


  • Al-Muwatta of Malik Book 17, Number 17.24.42 states that Muhammad collected jizya from the "Magians" (Zoroastrians) of Bahrain, Umar ibn al-Khattab from Magians of Persia, and Uthman ibn Affan from the Berbers.[36]
  • Book 17, Number 17.24.44 states that Umar ibn al-Khattab imposed a jizya tax of four dinars on those living where gold was the currency, and forty dirhams on those living where silver was the currency. As well, they had to "provide for the Muslims and receive them as guests for three days".[37]
  • Book 17, Number 17.24.45 states that Umar ibn al-Khattab took a camel branded as jizya (not zakat) and ordered for it to be slaughtered, the meat placed on platters with fruits and delicacies, and distributed to the wives of Muhammad. He then had the remainder prepared and invited the Muhajirun and the Ansar to eat it. Malik stated regarding this "I do not think that livestock should be taken from people who pay the jizya except as jizya." [38]
  • Book 17, Number 17.24.46 states that Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz relieved those who converted to Islam from paying jizya. It also gives the sunnah on those who must pay jizya, principally non-Muslim males who have reached puberty, rather than zakat, as zakat is for the purpose of purifying Muslims, whereas jizya is for the purpose of humbling non-Muslims. It also outlines the additional tithe or 'ushr travelling traders must pay, and the rationale for that.[39]

Islamic legal commentary

  • Malik, in Al-Muwatta (Book 17, Number 17.24.45), protests the practice of summarily appropriating livestock from dhimmis; he states that livestock should only be taken as jizya. In Book 17, Number 17.24.46, he states that the sunnah is that jizya is only taken from male dhimmis and Zoroastrians who have reached puberty. jizya is imposed on non-Muslim "People of the Book" to humble them; also, they do not have to pay zakat, which is paid by Muslims as mandatory charity. If the non-believers remain in one country, they pay no other property taxes; however, if they do business in multiple Muslim countries, then they have to pay ten percent of the value of the traded goods each time they move to another country. The reason given is that jizya is imposed on the condition (which they have agreed to) that they will stay in one country and avail of the security thus availed them by their submission; if they do business in multiple countries, then this is outside the stipulated agreements and conditions for jizya, and therefore they must pay ten percent each time. Malik also states that this was the practice in his city. Finally, in Book 21, Number 21.19.49a Malik states that when one collects jizya from a people who surrendered peacefully, then they are allowed to keep their land and property. However, if they are overcome in battle and forced to give jizya, then their land and property become booty for Muslims.
  • Abu Yusuf, an eighth century Hanafi jurist states in his Kitab al-Kharaj that "The wali [governor of a province] is not allowed to exempt any Christian, Jew, Magian, Sabian, or Samaritan from paying the tax, and no one can obtain a partial reduction. It is illegal for one to be exempted and another not, because their lives and possessions are spared only on account of the payment of the jizya.[40] He also cautions that "[n]o one of the ahl al-dhimma should be beaten in order to exact payment of the jizya, nor made to stand in the hot sun, nor should hateful things be inflicted upon their bodies, or anything of that sort. Rather, they should be treated with leniency. [...] It is proper, O Commander of the Faithful—may Allah be your support—that you treat leniently those people who have a contract of protection from your Prophet and cousin, Muhammad—may Allah bless him and grant him peace. You should look after them, so that they are not oppressed, mistreated, or taxed beyond their means."[41]
  • Javed Ahmed Ghamidi writes in Mizan that certain directives of the Qur’an were specific only to Muhammad against peoples of his times, besides other directives, the campaign involved asking the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for exoneration and the others for jizya and submission to the political authority of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection as the dhimmis of the Muslims.[42][43]
  • The Islamic historian Al-Tabari wrote that some members of the Christian community asked the companion “Umar bin al-Khatab if they could refer to the jizya as sadaqah which literally means "charity", which he approved of.[44] Al-Tabari extensively recorded the universal application of jizya and its justification. He noted the following precept of Umar: 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.[45]


As Muslim army commanders expanded their empire and attacked countries in Asia, Africa and southern Europe, they would offer three conditions to their enemies: convert to Islam, or pay jizyah (tax) every year, or face war to death. Those who refused war and refused to convert were deemed to have agreed to pay jizya.[46][47]

Source of jizya tax

In early periods of Islam, jizya was applied to every free adult male non-Muslim. Slaves, women, children, the old, the sick,[2] monks, hermits and the poor,[3] were all exempt from the tax, unless any of them was independent and wealthy. However, these exemptions were no longer observed during later periods in Muslim history, and discarded entirely by the Shāfi‘ī School of Law, which prevailed in Egypt, also in theory.[48]

Though jizya was mandated initially for People of the Book, that is other monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Sabians), under the Maliki school of Fiqh jizya was extended to all non-Muslims.[49] Thus some Muslim rulers collected jizya from Hindus and Sikhs under their rule.[50]

jizya tax had to be paid by each non-Muslim male in person, by presenting himself, arriving on foot not horseback, by hand, in order to confirm that he lowers himself to being a subjected one, accepts humiliation of having been conquered, willingly pays in gratitude for his life being spared in lieu of the taxes.[51][52]

Rate of jizya tax

Yusuf claims there was no amount permanently fixed for the tax, though the payment usually depended on wealth: the Kitab al-Kharaj of Abu Yusuf sets the amounts at 48 dirhams for the richest (e.g. moneychangers), 24 for those of moderate wealth, and 12 for craftsmen and manual laborers.[12][53]

Other scholars[54][55][56] claim the tax rates and amounts were fixed and strictly implemented. The rate of jizya and Kharaj tax, head tax and land tax respectively, exceeded 20% for all non-Muslims, and payable by new moon. In the western Islamic states, for dhimmis who were Christians and Jews of Egypt and Morocco, these taxes were often graded into three levels with minimum rate being 20% of all estimated assets and any sales.[57] The highest rates ranged from 33% to 80% of all annual farm produce on land inside the Islamic empire.[58] In the eastern Islamic states, for dhimmis who were Hindus and Jains, the tax structure were similar, with non-Muslims paying jizya and Kharaj tax rate at least twice the zakat tax rate paid by Muslims. The discriminatory and high tax rates led to mass civil protests of 1679 in India, these protests were crushed by Aurangzeb.[50][59]

In return for the tax, those who paid the jizya were permitted to keep their religion, practice it in private without offending Muslims, but were not allowed to build new Churches, Synagogues or Temples.[60][61] They were considered to be under the protection of the Muslim state, subject to their meeting certain conditions.[57][62]

Associated taxes with jizya

Along with jizya as head tax (sometimes called neck tax), non-Muslims were also required to pay Kharaj as land tax. This was levied on anyone who worked on land or owned property on land. Both jizya and kharaj were not payable by Muslims or if the non-Muslim converted to Islam.[57][63][64]

Other taxes payable, by or from the property of non-Muslim subjects, along with jizya were fai, ghanima and ushur. Fai (sometimes spelled fay) was non-Muslim property seized by a Muslim official; the non-Muslim was sometimes allowed to reclaim the seized property by paying 100% of assessed value of the seized property.[65][66] Ghanima was the 20% tax paid by the Muslim army commander on the booty and plunder collected from non-Muslims by force (anwatan) after a war or after the commander launched a raid against non-Muslim trade posts, temples, or caravans. The commander and his Muslim soldiers were entitled to keep 80% of the booty.[67][68] Ushur (sometimes spelled ushr) was customs tax payable when people entered or exited the borders of an Islamic state. Non-Muslims paid twice the rate than Muslims on assessed value of property in possession of the transiting person. This was in addition to the jizya.[69][70]

jizya and other associated taxes were payable by sedentary non-Muslim populations. Sadaqa was a tax levied on nomadic people, instead of jizya.[71][72] There is some controversy is sadaqa was mandatory or voluntary.[73]

Punishment for failure to pay taxes

According to Abu Yusuf, jurist of Harun al-Rashid, those who didn't pay jizya should be imprisoned not to be let out of custody until payment.[74] Though it was an annual tax, non-Muslims were allowed to pay it in monthly installments.[12] If someone had agreed to pay jizya, leaving Muslim territory for non-Muslim land was, in theory, punishable by enslavement if they were ever captured. This punishment did not apply if the person had suffered injustices from Muslims.[75]

In practice, non-payment of jizya tax, or the associated Kharaj tax, by any non-Muslim subject in a Muslim state was punished by his family's arrest and enslavement.[76][77][78] The women and girls of an enslaved family would become property of a Muslim master and serve as houseworkers and female sex slaves (raqiq or baghiya).[79][80] A non-Muslim could avoid arrest or stop paying the jizya tax any time by converting to Islam as it was a punishment for not accepting Islam, and he was constantly reminded of this.[81] In some regions of Islamic rule, the Sultans faced rebellion and the non-Muslim masses refused to convert to Islam or pay jizya.[82] Militant opposition erupted to Islamic punishment for refusal to pay discriminatory jizya taxes, such as in India, Spain and Morocco.[58][83][84] In some cases, this led to its periodic abolishment such as the 1704 AD suspension of jizya in Deccan region of India by Aurangzeb.[85]

Use of jizya tax

jizya was used to build mosques, buy freedom for Muslim prisoners of war in non-Muslim states, fund Islamic charities meant to help Muslims, fund enlargement of armies, and pay for the wars of expansion.[86][87][88] Non-Muslims and slaves owned by Muslims had no right to expenditures or grants from any collected jizya and other taxes.[89] jizya and associated taxes also ended up in "private" treasuries.[4]


Taxation from the perspective of people who came under the Muslim rule, was a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes,[4] but now lower under the Muslim rule[5][90] and from the point of view of the Muslim conqueror was a material proof of the payer's subjection to the state and its laws.[4] In Ottoman Hungary the tax was known as jizzye (Hungarian: harács).According to Bat Ye'or, this fiscal policy in the forms of jizya, kharaj was a primary cause for the disappearance of dhimmi populations through conversion to Islam or flight.[91]

During Muhammad's Era

jizya was levied in the time of Muhammad on vassal tribes under Muslim control and protection, including Jews in Khaybar, Christians in Najran, and Zoroastrians in Bahrain. William Montgomery Watt traces its origin to a pre-Islamic practice among the Arabian nomads wherein a powerful tribe would agree to protect its weaker neighbors in exchange for a tribute, which would be refunded if the protection proved ineffectual.[92]

Three military campaigns during Muhammad's era culminated with the agreement requiring the new non-Muslim subjects to pay jizya, in return for Muslim protection:

Early Islam and the Rashidun Caliphate

The history of the origins of the jizya is considered to be extremely complex, according to the Encyclopaedia of Islam. This is attributed to three reasons:[98]

  • in historical texts, the term "jizya" is used with different meanings, and thus medieval historians (who collected the text) tended to interpret them according to the meaning which was best defined in their own time;
  • the system established by the Arab conquest was not uniform, rather resulted from a series of nonidentical, agreements or decisions;
  • finally, the system that followed after the earlier systems are imperfectly understood and a subject of controversy.[92]

Historical development

Template:Taxation in the Ottoman Empire sidebar

Following his migration to Medina, Muhammad drafted a document, known as the Constitution of Medina, which codified the rights and duties among Medina's communities, including the Jews and Muslims.[99][100] According to F. E. Peters, the Jewish tribes of Medina rejected Muhammad's claim to be a prophet, and secretly liaised with Muhammad's enemies in Mecca to overthrow him.[101]

Prompted by what he saw as their treasonous behavior, Muhammads ensuing reaction—in contrast to his treatment of Jews outside of Medina—was determined and progressively more violent.[101] After each major battle against Mecca, the Jewish tribes of Medina were accused of treachery. Having broken the terms of their compliance to Muslim rule, the Jewish tribes of Medina were first banished, then enslaved and finally part of the community was executed en masse.[101][102]

Moshe Gil writes that during the Tabuk campaign however, Muhammad altered his policies towards Jewish and Christian communities by offering them protection in exchange for certain promises as evidenced from the Qur'an.[103] In this new policy, Gil sees a "paradigm" shift occurring in the treaties and letters of security that future Muslim leaders issued to conquered peoples. These letters of protection were sent to several of these towns, asking them to pay taxes (jizya) and to agree not to maintain military forces in return for protection by Muslim forces (dhimma).[104]

Under Caliph Umar the Zoroastrian Persians were given People of the Book status, and jizya was levied on them. Christian Arab tribes in the north of the Arabian Peninsula refused to pay jizya, but agreed to pay double the amount, and calling it sadaqa, a word meaning "alms" or "charity". According to Yusuf al-Qaradawi the name change was done for the benefit of the Christian tribesmen, "out of consideration for their feelings".[105]

Fred Donner, however, in The Early Islamic Conquests, states that the difference between sadaqa and jizya is that the former was levied on nomads, whereas the latter was levied on settled non-Muslims. Donner sees sadaqa as being indicative of the lower status of nomadic tribes, so much so that that Christian tribesmen preferred to pay the jizya. Jabala b. al-Ayham of the B. Ghassan is reported asked Umar "Will you levy sadaqa from me as you would from the [ordinary] bedouin (al-'arab)?" Umar acceded to collecting jizya from him instead, as he did from other Christians.[106]

Sir Thomas Arnold, an early 20th-century orientalist, gives an example of a Christian Arab tribe which avoided paying the jizya altogether by fighting alongside Muslim armies "such was the case with the tribe of al-Jurajimah, a Christian tribe in the neighbourhood 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 jizya and should receive their proper share of the booty".[105]

In his message to the people of Al-Hirah, Khalid bin Walid is recorded as saying (in reference to the jizya), "When a person is too old to work or suffers a handicap, or when he falls into poverty, he is free from the dues of the poll tax; his sustenance is provided by the Muslim Exchequer." A letter attributed to Khalid bin Walid said that "This is a letter of Khalid ibn al-Waleed to Saluba ibn Nastuna and his people; I agreed with you on al-jezyah and protection. As long as we protect you we have the right in al-jezyah, otherwise we have none.”[107]

According to Muslim accounts of Umar, in his time some payers of the jizya were compensated if they had not been cared for properly. The accounts vary, but describe his meeting an old Jew begging, and assisting him; according to one version:

Umar said to him, "Old man! We have not done justice to you. In your youth we realized jizyah from you and have left you to fend for yourself in your old age". Holding him by the hand, he led him to his own house, and preparing food with his own hands fed him and issued orders to the treasurer of the Bait-al-mal that that old man and all others like him, should be regularly doled out a daily allowance which should suffice for them and their dependents.[108]

In Khurasan, the native aristocracy reduced jizya, while increased taxes on the Muslim inhabitants, in order to prevent the non-Muslim conversion to Islam that jizya encouraged.[4]

Mughal Empire

In India, Islamic rulers imposed jizya starting in the 11th century. It was abolished by Akbar. However, Aurangzeb, the sixth prominent Mughal Emperor, levied jizya on his mostly Hindu subjects in 1679.[109] Reasons for this are cited to be financial stringency and personal inclination on the part of the emperor, and a petition by the ulema. His subjects were taxed in accordance with the property they owned. Government servants were exempt, as were the blind, the paralysed, and the indigent. Its introduction encountered much opposition, which was, however, overborne.[98] Certain historians are of the view that the tax was aimed at forcibly converting Hindus to Islam.[110]

Nineteenth century

In Persia, jizya was paid by Zoroastrian minority until 1884, when it was removed by pressure on the Qajar government from the Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund.[111]

In 1894 jizya was still being collected in Morocco; an Italian Jew described his experience there:

The kadi Uwida and the kadi Mawlay Mustafa had mounted their tent today near the Mellah [Jewish ghetto] gate and had summoned the Jews in order to collect from them the poll tax [jizya] which they are obliged to pay the sultan. They had me summoned also. I first inquired whether those who were European-protected subjects had to pay this tax. Having learned that a great many of them had already paid it, I wished to do likewise. After having remitted the amount of the tax to the two officials, I received from the kadi’s guard two blows in the back of the neck. Addressing the kadi and the kaid, I said” ‘Know that I am an Italian protected subject.’ Whereupon the kadi said to his guard: ‘Remove the kerchief covering his head and strike him strongly; he can then go and complain wherever he wants.’ The guards hastily obeyed and struck me once again more violently. This public mistreatment of a European-protected subject demonstrates to all the Arabs that they can, with impunity, mistreat the Jews.[112]

The jizya was eliminated in Algeria and Tunisia in the 19th century, but continued to be collected in Morocco until the first decade of the 20th century (these three dates coincide with the French colonization of these countries).[113]

It is important to note that in the Ottoman Empire the "jizya" was abolished in 1856. It was replaced with a new tax, which non-Muslims paid in lieu of military service. It was called "baddal-askari" (Arab. Military substitution), a tax exempting Jews and Christians from military service. The Jews of Kurdistan, according to the scholar Mordechai Zaken, preferred to pay the "baddal" tax in order to redeem themselves from military service. Only those incapable of paying the tax were drafted into the army. Interestingly, Zaken shows, that paying the tax was possible to an extent also during the war. Zaken shows that some Jewish individuals paid 50 gold liras every year during World War I. Apparently-according to Dr. Zaken- "in spite of the forceful conscription campaigns, some of the Jews were able to buy their exemption from conscription duty." Based on the testimonies of several Kurdish Jews, Zaken came to the conclusion that the payment of the "baddal askari" during the war was a form of bribe that bought them only a brief relief from military service. "It may have been a deferment of the military service for a one year period or shorter."[114]

In the 20th century, Hindus in British India who were forcibly converted to Islam were forced to pay jizya to the Muslim League, particularly during the Noakhali genocide.[115] More recently, it has been claimed that a group of militants that referred to themselves as the Taliban imposed the jizya on Pakistan's minority Sikh community after occupying some of their homes and kidnapping a Sikh leader.[116]

Comparison between Zakat and jizya

Further information: Zakat
Zakat jizya
obligatory upon Muslims obligatory upon Dhimmis
Muslim's net worth of assets must exceed the Nisab (excess money for personal need) to be obliged to give Zakat not required for the Dhimmi's wealth or property to reach Nisab in order to pay jizya
only payable on assets continuously owned over one lunar year that are in excess of the Nisab paid according to a contract, but usually paid yearly regardless to Nisab
the amount of Zakat paid is fixed and already specified by Sharee'ah the amount paid is not fixed; at least one gold Dinar; with no maximum amount; and it's not been explicitly specified by Sharee'ah [12][53]
paid only by the owner of the assets himself/herself paid by all able-bodied adult males of military age and affording power [1]
refusal to pay Zakat is under capital punishment in Sharee'ah law in life as done by abu baker the first calihf of Islam and punishment after death refusal to pay jizya is considered a breach of The Dhimma contract; as a consequence the Dhimmi's blood(life) and assets would become permissible[117]
should be paid seeking God's pleasure [Qur'an 30:39] paid with humiliation, servility and belittlement[118]


Critics often cite jizya as a form of oppression in Islamic law.

Others argue that it is fair, since all Muslims are obliged to pay Zakat[119] (charitable donations) and the Shiite Muslims must pay the Khums Tax (1/5 of one's earnings).[120] Additionally, Islamic law requires Muslims to do military duties when required but exempts the non-Muslims.[121]

In practice, however, Timothy H. Parsons states that during the early caliphate, non-Muslims had to pay the kharaj. The sum of the jizya and kharaj taxes levied on non-Muslims were considerably larger than the zakat tax on Muslims and conversion generally brought tax relief.[122] Some evidence suggests that the jizya was sometimes double the Zakat; for example, the Hedaya,[123] an Islamic legal text, declared it lawful to require twice as much of a Zimmee [dhimmi] as of a Mussulman [Muslim]."[124]

There is no equivalent to jizya in either Judaism or Christianity, which do not extract taxes on non-adherents.

See also



  • Abou Al-Fadl, Khaled. The Place of Tolerance in Islam, Beacon Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8070-0229-1
  • Bat Ye'or. The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude. Seventh-Twentieth Century (Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses, 1996)
  • Bat Yeor. Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8386-3943-7
  • Cahen, Cl.; İnalcık, Halil; Hardy, P. "Ḏj̲izzya." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2008. Brill Online. 10 April 2008
  • Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East, Westview Press, Nov 1, 1999. ISBN 0-8133-3489-6
  • Choudhury, Masudul Alam; Abdul Malik, Uzir (1992). The Foundations of Islamic Political Economy. Hampshire: The Macmillan Press.
  • The Early Islamic Conquests, Princeton University Press, 1981.
  • Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 29 May 2007.
  • Hunter, Shireen; Malik, Huma; Senturk, Recep (2005). Islam and Human Rights: Advancing a U.S.-Muslim Dialogue. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2005.
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External links

  • Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records
  • jizya – Encyclopædia Britannica
  • The Fair Logic of jizyah – Jasser Auda
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