Non Muslims under Muslim rule: Questions and Answers

by Saif min Suyufillah


Frequently asked Questions:


1.Jiza in Islam,something which is always taken in Negative sense

2.Until they are subdued…?

3.Jizya tax

  • a.Why should they give Jizya..?
  • b.Does every Non Muslim has to give Jizya?
  • c.What does Jizya mean?

4.Is the life of a non Muslim really sacred in Islam?

5.Blood money is Half for Non Muslims.

6.No Muslim would be killed in Qisas

7.How were the Non Muslims living under Muslim rule?

8.The diyat in Saudia Arabia

9. Ahkam Ahl al-Dhimmah ‘Commandments of the dhimmis’, a voluminous compendium of laws pertaining  to dhimmis written by Muslim scholar Ibn al-Qayyim al Jawziyya (d.1350) (TAKEN FROM THE THIRD CHOICE WRITTEN BY MARK DURIE)

10.The quote of al-Ghazali

11.Letters of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.

12.Non Muslims and the propogation of their religion

13.Civic rights

14.Marital rights

15.The status of Zimmi in an Islamic court


17.Freedom of expression

18.Muslims can not emulate Non Muslims

19.The Non Muslims today under Muslim rule


1.Jizya in Islam:

First of all,it is not something Only in Islam,the teachings are mentioned in Holy Bible too.

This is reflected in the New Testament when Christ(PBUH) told Simon the following:“What do you think Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own sons or from others?” “From others” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt” Jesus said to him.” (Matthew 17:24-25).

When the prophets, peace be upon them, conquered certain kingdoms with the will and victory of Allah, they levied the jizya upon the conquered peoples. They had in fact also enslaved the conquered peoples as was done by Joshua on the people of Canaan when he conquered them:“They did not dislodge the Canaanites dwelling on Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to pay Jizya.” (Joshua 16:10). Thus Joshua had both enslaved and levied Jizya on the people of Canaan.

Christianity did not abrogate any of the laws of Judaism.

Christ(PBUH) did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, rather, he came to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17)

. Christ(PBUH) even commanded his followers to pay the Jizya to the Romans and he himself had expediently paid it.

He told Simon:“Go to the lake and throw your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” (Matthew 17:24-27)

When asked by Jews (as per the New Testament) about his opinion as regards the payment of the Jizya, he acknowledged Caesar’s right to take it“They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You are not swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said,”You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:16-21).

Christ(PBUH) took no offense in sitting and loving tax-collectors who collected Jizya and delivered it to the Romans (See Matthew 11/19). Christ(P) had in fact elected Matthew the tax-collector to be one of his twelve disciples (see Matthew 9:9).

The New Testament considers the payment of Jizya to the ruler as a legislative right. It is clad in holiness and is rendered as a religious matter. It says:

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.

He Is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-7).

Secondly,it is the tax taken from the minorities for their security,for the security of their lives,properties and every possession.

It is obvious from the practices of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w. that the tax is only for their protection.

2.Until they are subdued:

These are the translated words of a verse,true,but who has to be be subdued?

Who has to be submitted?

The verse was revealed many years after the persecution of Muslims,when many Muslims had been martyred.

The Muslims who were forced to leave their homeland due to persecution.

When they had migrated,even then the Non Muslims had not left them,they flagged many wars against them and the history says that every time the initiators were the Non Muslims.See the history from Encyclopedia Britannica

After all that,the verse was revealed:

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 (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.(9:29)

Before jumping into any conclusions,following points should be considered thoroughly:

  • The verse was revealed many years after the Sufferings of Muslims
  • There are many conditions mentioned against those the Muslims have to fight.
  • Until they pay jizya by their hands,or willingly means the Jizya would be paid by their full consent,not forcefully

3.Why should they give Jizya?

a.To Enjoy the guarantee of their lives,the security of their possessions and interestingly,the tax is lesser than the Zakat obliged on Muslims.

Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph, said:

“They pay capitation tax so that their properties and lives may be as ours.” (Al-Mughni, Volume 8, p. 445, Al-Bada’i’, Volume 7, p. 111 quoting from Ahkam Adh-Dhimmiyin Wa Al-Musta’minin, p. 89)

b.There are conditions which may exempt non-Muslims from paying the Jizyah tax, which could be summarized as follows:

–  Women and children are excused absolutely

–  Handicapped, blind and old men, even if they are rich

–  Needy and mad-men

–  Day laborers, servants or wage workers

–  A chronically ill-man even if he is rich

– Religious people who keep themselves free for praying and worshipping, i.e. men of churches, cloisters and oratories

– If a non-Muslim voluntarily participates in military service for protecting the country.

– If the Islamic state becomes unable to protect non-Muslims, then they are legally exonerated from paying the tax.

c.The triliteral root word of Jizya is Jeem za ya,which means REWARD.It is not punishment as mispropogated by the Non Muslims.


 4.The Life of a Non Muslim under Muslim rule:

“Someone who unjustly kills a dhimmi (person under protection) cannot get a whiff of Heaven. However, its fragrance is felt from a distance of forty years. (Sahih Bukhari, Jizya, 5)

“Whoever oppresses a dhimmi or loads a work that is over his strength or takes something away from him by force, I am his foe on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud, Kharaj, 31-33)

5.Blood money is half for Non Muslims:

Cost of transplantation of liver (PMPM) is greater than that of pancreas,but it does not mean that pancreas is less important or it is okay to hurt pancreas.

Similarly,damaging the eye would lead to costly fine than damaging the calf muscles.

It does not mean that the calf muscles are not important or they should be damaged because the fine is less.NO.

Note it too that both,who damage the eyes and the calf muscles,are criminals.Both are needed to pay the fine.

Similar is the case of blood money of Muslims and Non Muslims.The lesser blood money of Non Muslims does NOT mean that they should be killed,and lesser fine does not mean that one who has killed them is not a criminal.

He has to pay the fine too.

There are always some majors and minors.

It is the fact that the Major organs and the Majors of Everywhere are given more importance,but again,it does not mean that the minors have to be ignored or damaged.

06.No Muslim would be killed in Qisas:

Definitely,no Muslim would be killed in Qisas if he kills any Non Muslim during the battle.

See it yourself that the word here is kafir,it is not zimmi.

For zimmi and those with whom there is a treaty,there is a clear hadees:

“Someone who unjustly kills a dhimmi (person under protection) cannot get a whiff of Heaven. However, its fragrance is felt from a distance of forty years. (Sahih Bukhari, Jizya, 5)

7.How were the Non Muslims living under Muslim rule:

The historian Adam Mitz is of the view that because of Islamic tolerance toward non-Muslims and by virtue of the protection granted to them, they paid the Jizyah in accordance with their financial capacities. This Jizyah was like the present-day national defense tax. Only persons who could perform military service were obliged to pay it. So Monks and ascetics were exempted, except for those who could afford to pay. (Islamic Civilization, Volume 1, p. 96)

The noted historian Sir Thomas W. Arnold in his Call to Islam, states:

This tax was not imposed on the Christians, as some would have us think, as a penalty for their refusal to accept the Muslim faith, but was paid by them in common with the other dhimmis or non-Muslim subjects of the states whose religion precluded them from serving in the army, in return for the protection secured for them by the arms of the Musalmans. When the people of Hirah contributed the sum agreed upon, they expressly mentioned that they paid this Jizyah on condition that ‘the Muslims and their leader protect us from those who would oppress us, whether they be Muslims or others.’ (Sir Thomas Arnold, Call To Islam, pp. 79-81)

Muslims protected Christian churches in the lands they occupied from being harmed.  In a letter to Simeon, the Archbishop of Rifardashir and leader of all the bishops of Persia, the Nestorian Patriarch Geoff III wrote:

‘The Arabs, to whom God has given power over the whole world, know how wealthy you are, for they live among you.  In spite of this, they do not assail the Christian creed.  To the contrary, they have sympathy with our religion, and venerate our priests and saints of our Lord, and they graciously donate to our churches and monasteries.’ (Sir Thomas Arnold, Invitation To Islam, p. 102)

Patriarch Ghaytho wrote:

The Arabs, to whom the Lord has given control over the world, treat us as you know; they are not the enemies of Christians.  Indeed, they praise our community, and treat our priests and saints with dignity, and offer aid to churches and monasteries. (Arthur Stanley Tritton, The People Of The Covenant In Islam, p. 158)

The non Muslims and Muslims have equal rights in this connection; the Imam (ruler of the Muslims), by virtue of the executive and military power granted to him by the Islamic Sharia should provide protection for all of them. It is stated in the Hanbali book of Fiqh, Matalib Ula An-Nuha.

“The ruler of the Muslim community is bound to protect the non-Muslims and to save them from aggression. Should they fall into captivity, the Imam must martial all the resources to secure their release and punish the transgressors against their lives and properties even if they were the sole non-Muslims living in a remote village.” (Ibn Al Najaar Al Hanbali, Matalib Ula An-Nuha, Volume 2, p. 602-603)

Gustav Lebon writes:

The Arabs could have easily been blinded by their first conquests, and committed the injustices that are usually committed by conquerors.  They could have mistreated their defeated opponents or forced them to embrace their religion, which they wished to spread all over the world.  But the Arabs avoided that.  The early caliphs, who had a political genius that was rare in proponents of new religion, realized that religions and systems are not imposed by force.  So they treated the people of Syria, Egypt, Spain, and every country they took over with great kindness, as we have seen.  They left their laws, regulations, and beliefs intact and only imposed on them the jizya, which was paltry when compared to what they had been paying in taxes previously, in exchange for maintaining their security.  The truth is that nations had never known conquerors more tolerant than the Muslims, or a religion more tolerant than Islam.” (Lebon, G, The Civilization Of The Arabs, p. 605)

Even though there is no fixed rate on the Jizyah, Jasser Auda says:

Jizyah was calculated in different ways throughout different eras (a certain amount of money, certain percentage of the crops, etc), but it was consistently less than the zakah, which every Muslim had to pay anyway. (The Fair Logic of Jizyah)

In any one of the countries conquered at the time of Hazrat Omar, not even one place of worship was failed to respect. Abu Yusuf writes:

All places of worship were left as they were before. Neither were they demolished, nor the defeated people were deprived of their properties or belongings.” (Abu Yusuf, Kitabu’l-Haraj; Islam’da Devlet Nizamı, Abu’l-A’la Mawdudi, Hilal Yayınları, 1967, s. 74)

8.Diyat In Saudia Arabia:

Islam should not be traced from the followers or the rules of Islamic countries.

There are many laws in many Muslim countries which are not according to the Islamic teachings so do not trace Islam from the penal code of any country.

9.Commandments of the Dhimmis:

It is not Quran or any book of hadees.

10.The quote of Imam Ghazali:

It is not Quran or authentic Hadees, so again, Islam can not be concluded by any quote of any Muslim.

If you really want to trace Islam and its teachings go for Quran and authentic ahadees.

11.Letters of prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.:

Every letter is misunderstood.


Any teacher who mentions to her students that she is a strict teacher,or any officer who mentions this to his workers,does not mean that they have offended against them.It is not a threat even.Just a reminder.


The Warning of the punishment of hereafter should not be taken as a threat.

If I say that smoking would lead you to death,it is just the warning about the consequences of smoking.It is not a threat.


Again,If I say that if you dont quit your smoking,you would be responsible for the asthma or respiratory diseases of your baby,It does not mean that I am giving you a threat.

It is just the warning about the future consequences (not by me).

12.Non Muslims and the propogation of their religion:

There is a list of about 7 religious restrictions provided by the critics but when I went through the Quranic verses and Ahadees,I could not find any such thing at all.

Quran or Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w. did not forbid the Non Muslims to build their worship places or read their sacred books,or participate in their religious rituals or publish their religious material.

So again,it was never an Islamic restriction at all.

One companion of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w. had presented such a pact,but again this does not make it something equivalent to the Quranic verses or the Teachings of prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.His pact could be modified at any time accordingly or even challenged by other Muslims,but definitely something revealed in Quran or taught by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w could never be modified or challenged at least by any Muslim.

The Nestorian  Patriarch Geoff III,leader of all the bishops wrote to Simeon,

The  Arabs to whom God has given power over the whole world,know how wealthy you are,for they live among you.In spite of this,they do not assail the Christian creed.To the contrary,they have sympathy with our religion,and venerate our priests and saints of our Lord,and they graciously donate to our Churches and Monasteries (Sir Thomas Arnold,Invitation to Islam)

13.Civic rights:

Their matters can be treated according to their Laws.

And let the Population of the Injil (Gospel ) judge according to what Allah has sent down therein. And whoever does not judge according to what Allah has sent down, then those are they (who are) the immoral.(5:47)

14.Marital rights:

A Zimmi girl can marry a Muslim man or any other man She likes to.

I am sure,this is a great right given to a girl,a girl of another religion.

Zimmi males can not do so for many reasons,but they can marry the girls of any religion other than Islam.

15.The status of zimmi in an Islamic court:

A zimmi can even win against the Muslim Caliph in an Islamic court.

Once, during his Caliphate, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (rta) lost his armour. One day, he saw a Jew in possession of an armour he recognized as his own. Ali (rta) approached the Jew and asked him to return his armour. The Jew refused to do so and, instead, demanded that the matter be settled by the reigning Muslim Qadi (judge).

Hence, Ali (rta) and the Jew appeared before the Qadi to settle this dispute. Qadi Shurayh was a very competent judge from Yemen, who was famous for settling Fiqh related matters. He had performed the duties of a Qadi in Kufa during the caliphate of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta), and Usman Ibn Affan (rta) as well. He was well known for his integrity and insight.

When the judge saw Caliph Ali (rta) approach his court, he stood up for him out of respect. Ali (rta) requested him to stay seated. Qadi Shurayh took his seat. Ali (rta) initiated the conversation: “I have lost my armour and found the same in this man’s possession.”

Qadi Shurayh asked the Jew: “Do you have anything to say?”

The Jew replied: “This is my armour and I own it.”

Qadi Shurayh inspected the armour in dispute and addressed the Caliph: “By Allah! Your claim is correct. This, indeed, is your armour. However, the court of law demands that you produce two witnesses to substantiate your claim.”

Ali (rta) produced his slave Qanbar as his first witness, who testified in favour of Ali (rta). Then, the Caliph produced his sons Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta) as his second witnesses to testify for him.

Qadi Shurayh stated: “I accept the testimony of your slave; however, I still need another witness, as the testimony of your sons is not acceptable.”

The Caliph said: “By Allah! I heard Umar Ibn Khattab (rta) narrate the Prophet’s (sa) Hadeeth stating that Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta) are the leaders of the youth in Paradise.”

The judge replied: “By Allah! This is the truth.”

Ali (rta) demanded: “Then why are you unable to accept the testimony of the leaders of the youth in Paradise?”

Qadi Shurayh explained: “Because they are your sons, and a son cannot testify in favor of his father.”

Hence, the judge settled the dispute in favor of the Jew and handed over the Armour to him.

The Jew remarked in absolute astonishment: “The Amir-ul-Momineen of the Muslims brought me in the court of his own appointed judge, and the same judge gave a verdict against the Caliph. And the Caliph accepted the verdict gracefully without any resistance.”

Then, the Jew glanced towards Ali (rta) and continued: “Amir-ul-Momineen! Your claim is true. This Armour definitely belongs to you. You had lost it the other day and I found it. Therefore, it is your property. Please, accept it.”

The Jew then recited his Shahadah: “I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.”

Ali (rta), the wise and honorable Caliph, replied: “I give you not only my Armour but also my horse.” 

Adapted from “Sunehray Faislay”


One of the greatest characteristics of Hz. Uthman was his generosity. He did not hesitate to spend his wealth in the way of Allah. Once, the Muslims had difficulty in finding water to drink. There was no fresh water to drink except the water of Ruma Well. That well belonged to a Jew. He sold water at a very high price. This situation distressed the Prophet (pbuh). When he was together with the Companions, he said,  

“If a believer buys the Ruma Well, he will have a similar well in Paradise.“

Hz. Uthman was also there. He took action at once. He found the Jew. He told him that he wanted to buy the well. The Jew did not accept to sell the whole well. He sold half of it at a very high price. Hz. Uthman went to the presence of the Prophet joyfully. He said he had bought half of the well and that he allocated it to Muslims. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) complimented him by saying, 

“The charity of Uthman is wonderful charity.“ Hz. Uthman bought the other half of the well later and allocated it to Muslims. (Tirmizi)

17.Freedom of speech:

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)

It should not be regarding Islam or Holy Prophets or sacred Books.

18.Emulate Non Muslims:

Emulation is prohibited in entirely religious matters such as wearing Cross etc.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.  bought a pair of trousers, and what appears to be the case is that he only bought them in order to wear them. It is narrated in more than one hadith that he wore trousers and they (the Sahaabah) wore too. 

19.The Non Muslims today:

Many Non Muslims are not treated fairly and we are sorry for them,but their ill treatment should not be related to Islam,because Islam strictly mentions to be fair with them.No