Read all of this. It is enormously informative, and extremely necessary to pierce through the fog of lies that are spread everywhere by people like Qasim Rashid.
“Huffington Post, Ahmadi Muslim leader Qasim Rashid whitewash Qur’an’s teaching about subjugating Infidels,” by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, July 25, 2014:
Why take issue with Qasim Rashid? He says all the right things, doesn’t he? He condemns the Islamic State and other Islamic jihadists. He explains how what they do has nothing to do with Islam. He carries around naive non-Muslims who are avid to find Muslim “moderates,” like the UK Harry’s Place editor Sarah Brown, in his pocket like so many nickels and dimes. So why can’t I join in the applause and congratulations for Rashid, for being just the kind of Muslim that the Sarah Browns of the world want to see in the West? Because there is a difference between reform and deception. There is a difference between challenging an Islamic doctrine and calling for it to be reconsidered, and claiming that there is no such Islamic doctrine in the first place, despite the evidence of Muslims worldwide acting upon that doctrine. Qasim Rashid is not a reformer. He is a deceiver. And in his latest piece, he shows that yet again.
“A Muslim’s Ramadan Message to ISIS: You Don’t Speak for Islam,” by Qasim Rashid, Huffington Post, July 23, 2014:
I wrote EXTREMIST specifically to respond to anti-Islam extremists and extremists claiming to act in Islam’s name. ISIS falls into the latter category. Below is a summarized version of EXTREMIST’s refutation of ISIS’s inhumane platform.
The terrorist organization ISIS has set a new low standard of barbarity and inhumanity. Their most recent act of terrorism is a demand that Christians either convert, pay the jizya, leave their homes, or be killed. Their destruction of an 1800-year-old church in Mosul is painful, condemnable without exception, and wholly in violation of every Qur’anic principle. In fact, the Qur’an 22:41 specifically commands Muslims to protect Churches from destruction.
Note that while Rashid refers to this Qur’anic command to protect churches, he neither quotes or even refers to the Qur’anic command upon which the ultimatum of convert, pay the jizya or be killed is based: “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” (Qur’an 9:29).
Nor does Rashid either quote or mention this hadith, in which Muhammad is depicted as making the convert, pay the jizya or be killed ultimatum absolutely clear. Muhammad is reported as having said: “Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them…. If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them. (Sahih Muslim 4294)
Nothing in Islam or Prophet Muhammad’s example supports ISIS’s barbarity. The below modified excerpt from my book EXTREMIST…
That’s the third mention of his book in as many paragraphs, and the second notice that this article is adapted from the book. Next we may see Rashid stalking through Times Square, wearing sandwich boards bearing the image of his book cover, hawking the book to any passerby who will stop to listen.
…addresses the issue of jizya and dhimmis directly — and shows without question that ISIS’s acts have nothing to do with Islam, and Islam has nothing to do with ISIS. Indeed, it is an insult to 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide to call IS as “Islamic State.” The more accurate term is Ignorant Savages.
When Pamela Geller and I ran ads calling Palestinian jihadis savages, we were roundly denounced as racist, bigoted, hateful Islamophobes, and fascist “journalist” Mona Eltahawy spray-painted our ad (and a woman standing in front of it). Will Mona spray-paint Qasim Rashid’s column and denounce him as a bigot?
Let’s start with dhimmi. Dhimmi is a historical term referring to non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim state. The word literally means “one whose responsibility is taken” or “people with whom a covenant or compact has been made.”
In reality, the Arabic word dhimmi is derived from dhimma, “protection, custody,” and also from dhamma, which means “to blame.” Thus the dhimmis are not just the “protected” ones, but also the “blamed,” or “guilty” ones. The semantic connotations of the word dhimma pertain to “indebtedness” and “liability.” That’s according to the Sakhr Arabic dictionary. The Arabic root-word “Z-M-M” (from which “dhimmi” issues) means “the opposite of praise,” that is, to “censure,” “dispraise too much,” “blame,” “criticize,” “find fault with,” “accuse,” “obligate,” “hold liable,” “hold in bad conscience,” “accuse,” and “hold guilty,” etc. And that’s not a semantic connotation, that is the meaning, according to the Elias Modern Arabic Dictionary.
Dhimmi describes citizens of a Muslim state afforded security over their persons, property, and religious practice in return for a tax (the jizya). Historically, when empires won battles and wars, common people were subjugated, looted, and forced to work as laborers and serve in the military. Islam did away with such practices by affording all non-Muslim subjects the special dhimmi status.
If “Islam did away” with the subjugation of common people, how does Rashid explain Islamic authorities such as As-Sawi, who specifies that the payment of the jizya signifies that the non-Muslims are “humble and obedient to the judgements of Islam”? Or the Bedouin commander al-Mughira bin Sa’d, who when he met his Persian counterpart Rustam, said: “I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement….You pay it while you are standing and I am sitting and the whip hanging is over your head.” Similarly, the revered Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir says that the dhimmis must be “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.” The seventh-century jurist Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab stated: “I prefer that the people of the dhimma become tired by paying the jizya since He says, “‘until they pay the jizya with their own hands in a state of complete abasement.’”
How does Rashid explain all this? He doesn’t. He just postulates the opposite, and ignores the contrary evidence, knowing that most of his readers will not have the slightest knowledge of any of the wealth of information that refutes his claims.
Regarding dhimmis Prophet Muhammad said, “If anyone wrongs a man with whom a covenant has been made [i.e., a dhimmi], or curtails any right of his, or imposes on him more than he can bear, or takes anything from him without his ready agreement, I shall be his adversary on the Day of Resurrection.”
Sure. But what rights did the dhimmi have? Nothing in Muhammad’s quote here refutes the idea that the dhimmis lived in a state of subjugation to the Muslims. And since the dhimmis paid the jizya, the poll tax, to the Muslim state, the Muslims had a vested interest in keeping them alive.
Prophet Muhammad also made it clear that protecting the lives and honor of dhimmis was the responsibility of the Muslims, and failing in this regard would incur God’s wrath: “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims, i.e. a dhimmi) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling).” At the conquest of Mecca, Prophet Muhammad had the upper hand against those who had persecuted him for more than two decades. He could have silenced his enemies forever. Instead, he turned to the Meccans and declared, “I say to you what the Prophet Joseph said to his brothers: ‘No blame against you! You are free.’”
Umar, the second caliph, is said to have declared: “I advise you to fulfill Allah’s Convention (made with the Dhimmis) as it is the convention of your Prophet and the source of the livelihood of your dependents (i.e. the taxes from the Dhimmis.)” (Bukhari 4.53.388) That is, subjugating the dhimmis and bleeding them dry is to be the source of the Muslims’ livelihood. So of course Muslims should not kill them.
Even before the conquest of Mecca, the Charter of Medina set the precedent for the treatment of mua’ahids (dhimmis are those non-Muslim subjects who become subjects after a war. If there is no war and there is a negotiated settlement, then they are called mua’ahids). When Prophet Muhammad was popularly appointed Medina’s ruler, he entered into a pact with the Jewish communities of Medina. Through this pact, he granted equal political rights to non-Muslims. They were ensured complete freedom of religion and practice.
In reality, the Charter of Medina is of doubtful authenticity: it is first mentioned in Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, which was written over 125 years after the accepted date for Muhammad’s death. In any case, even if it did exist, it never had enough influence to allow for the granting of “equal political rights to non-Muslims” under Islamic law. Under Sharia, non-Muslims have never had equal political rights with Muslims, and even today, there is not a single majority Muslim community that grants to non-Muslims all the rights that it grants to Muslims.
After the Prophet Muhammad’s demise, non-Muslim inhabitants of the fast-expanding Islamic empire enjoyed the same dignified treatment. When Hadhrat Umar, second khalifa of Prophet Muhammad, conquered Jerusalem, he entered into a pact with all inhabitants of the city, declaring:
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, most Beneficent. This is a covenant of peace granted by the slave of Allah, the commander of the faithful ‘Umar to the people of Jerusalem. They are granted protection for their lives, their property, their churches, and their Crosses, in whatever condition they are. All of them are granted the same protection. No one will dwell in their churches, nor will they be destroyed and nothing will be reduced of their belongings. Nothing shall be taken from their Crosses or their property. There will be no compulsion on them regarding their religion, nor will any one of them be troubled.
A dhimmi assassinated Hadhrat Umar in 644 CE. Rather than lashing out against dhimmis, at his deathbed, Hadhrat Umar specifically ordered:
I urge him (i.e. the new Caliph) to take care of those non-Muslims who are under the protection of Allah and His Messenger in that he should observe the convention agreed upon with them, and fight on their behalf (to secure their safety) and he should not over-tax them beyond their capability.
This is particularly cynical and dishonest. Regarding Umar, Rashid does not mention these provisions of the notorious Pact of Umar, which enforce the subjugation of the Christians:
We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims. We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days. We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims. We shall not teach the Qur’an to our children. We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it. We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit. We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas. We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons. We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals. We shall not sell fermented drinks. We shall clip the fronts of our heads. We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists. We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims. We shall not take slaves who have been allotted to Muslims. We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.
Rashid them compounds his dishonesty by referring to another spurious document:
Indeed, Hadhrat Umar merely followed Prophet Muhammad’s noble teaching regarding Christians who live under Muslim rule. In a famous letter that Prophet Muhammadsa wrote to the Christians of Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai:
This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity near and far — we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant until the Last Day (end of the world).
Contrary to ISIS’s barbarity, Prophet Muhammad’s example shows that Islam demands equality for all citizens.
The document to which Rashid is referring, the Achtiname, is of even more doubtful authenticity than everything else about Muhammad’s life. Muhammad is supposed to have died in 632; the Muslims conquered Egypt between 639 and 641. The document says of the Christians, “No one shall bear arms against them.” So were the conquerors of Egypt transgressing against Muhammad’s command? Did Muhammad draw up this document because he foresaw the Muslim invasion of Egypt? There is no mention of this document in any remotely contemporary Islamic sources; among other anomalies, it bears a drawing of a mosque with a minaret, although minarets weren’t put on mosques until long after the time Muhammad is supposed to have lived, which is why Muslim hardliners consider them unacceptable innovation (bid’a). The document also exempts the monks of St. Catherine’s monastery from paying the jizya. While it is conceivable that Muhammad, believing he bore the authority of Allah, would exempt them from an obligation specified by Allah himself in the Qur’an (9:29), the Achtiname specifies that Christians of Egypt are to pay a jizya only of twelve drachmas. Yet according to the seventh-century Coptic bishop John of Nikiou, Christians in Egypt “came to the point of offering their children in exchange for the enormous sums that they had to pay each month.”
The Achtiname, in short, bears all the earmarks of being an early medieval Christian forgery, perhaps developed by the monks themselves in order to protect the monastery and Egyptian Christians from the depredations of zealous Muslims.
And Rashid isn’t finished piling on the warm, steaming piles of nonsense:
Next, I transition to ISIS’s demands regarding jizya. The jizya tax was the only tax imposed on non-Muslims; it was typically lower than taxes on the Muslims of that state and was paid by fewer people.
The claim that the jizya, the special tax required of dhimmis under Islamic law, was actually less than zakat, the Muslim obligation of charitable giving, is patently absurd for several reasons. First, many historians (including A.S. Tritton, Maxime Rodinson, and Bat Ye’or) have noted that it was money from the dhimmis, not from Muslims, that financed the early Islamic empires; indeed, Muslims paid nothing at all into the state treasury in the days when there were large populations (i.e., in Egypt and Syria) of conquered dhimmi Christians. Rodinson even points out in his biography of Muhammad that at certain times conversions to Islam were forbidden, as they were destroying the tax base! If the jizya had really been less than zakat, human nature being what it is, we would have seen large-scale conversions of Muslims to Christianity in the great Islamic empires — but of course we don’t, because who would want to exchange the position of the master for that of the subjugated? Second, for non-Muslims in Muslim societies, there was not just jizya, but kharaj, the land tax. Tritton in The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects equates the two: “Hafs, another governor of Egypt, announced that all dhimmis who abandoned their religion would be free from kharaj, which is jizya” (pp. 35-6). It is important to remember the two names because while the jizya was generally set at a fixed amount by the jurists (although this was highly adjustable), the kharaj was another matter. In the Hedaya, an Islamic legal manual, in a discussion about the purchase of land by a dhimmi, it declares: “it is lawful to require twice as much of a Zimmee [dhimmi] as of a Mussulman [Muslim], whence it is that, if such an one were to come before the collector with merchandise, twice as much would be exacted of him as of a Mussulman” (Hedaya I.vi).
Also, A. Ben Shemesh notes in Taxation in Islam Volume II, Qudama b. Ja’far’s Kitab Al-Kharaj (Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1965, p. 14): “The voluntary character of the zakat contribution as a religious duty is emphasized by Qudama in the beginning of Chapter Thirteen, where he states that Muslims are trusted with the declaration of what is due from them, in contradistinction to other taxes which are compulsory and pursuable. The Saudi law by charging Muslims with this religious tax is following the old precepts who lay down that the rate of the tax is fixed in accordance with the persons from whom it is collected, i.e., from a Merchant of a foreign country 10 per cent, from a merchant of an allied country 5 per cent, and from a Muslim 2.5 per cent.” And K.S. Lal states this in Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India (Delhi, 1999, pp. 139-140): “There is a desire to equate Zakat with Jiziyah to emphasize the fairness of the Islamic fiscal system. The Muslims pay Zakat and the non-Muslims Jiziyah. But the analogy is fallacious. The rate of Zakat tax is as low as 2.5 per cent and that on the apparent property only. All kinds of concessions are given in Zakat with regard to nisah or taxable minimum. In its collection no force is applied because force vitiates its character. On the other hand, the rate of Jiziyah is very high for the non-Muslims- 48, 24, and 12 silver tankahs for the rich, the middling and the poor, whatever the currency and whichever the country. Besides, what is central to Jiziyah is the humiliation of infidel always, particularly at the time of collection. What is central in Zakat is that it is voluntary; at least it cannot be collected by force. In India Zakat ceased to be a religious tax imposed only on the Muslims. Here Zakat was levied in the shape of customs duties on merchandise and grazing fee on all milk-producing animals or those which went to pasture, and was realized both from Muslims and non-Muslims. According to the Islamic law, ‘import duties for Muslims were 5 per cent and for non-Muslims 10 per cent of the commodity’. For, Abu Hanifa, whose Sunni school of law prevailed in India, would tax the merchandise of the Zimmis as imposts at double the Zakat fixed for Muslims.”
Note that both of these historians say that jizya is double the rate of zakat, as per The Hedaya.
The term jizya comes from same Arabic root as jaza’, which means “reward” and “compensation.” So, according to Sharia or Islamic law, this money was returned to the minorities.
No, it wasn’t, and there is no Islamic authority that Rashid does adduce or can adduce to support this fantastic claim.
The jizya tax, like other taxes, creates accountability on the part of the government to do right by its citizens. In Christian-ruled Sicily, for example, the Christian officials had such a tax for minorities — and they too called it “jizya.”
Christian-ruled Sicily was ruled by Muslims for hundreds of years, and the Muslims left behind considerable influence — notably in the mafia, with its strong internal loyalty system, protection racket, etc. But in any case this is a tu quoque argument which does nothing to mitigate the institutionalized oppression of dhimmitude.
Thus, non-Muslims paid jizya as free citizens of the Muslim state in return for the protection of their civil and political liberties. Aside from this, Muslims were also taxed, and often at a rate heavier than the jizya. Additionally, Muslims were obligated to perform military service, from which all non-Muslims were exempt.
The non-Muslims were not “exempt.” They were forbidden to fight for the Islamic state, because they were not considered citizens.
Jizya served as the sole citizen tax to assure protection from all foreign attacks. Thus, if protection could not be promised, then jizya was impermissible. In The Preaching of Islam, Thomas Arnold records a statement of the Muslim general Khalid bin Waleed: “In a treaty made by Khalid with some town in the neighborhood of Hirah, he writes; ‘If we protect you, then Jizya is due to us; but if we do not, then it is not.’”
Of course. Here again, to destroy the dhimmis would have been to destroy the tax base.
Abu Ubaida was a famous Muslim commander of Syria. When he entered the city of Hims, he made a pact with its non-Muslim inhabitants and collected the jizya as agreed. When the Muslims learned of a massive advance toward the city by the Roman emperor Heraclius, they felt they would not be able to protect its citizens. Consequently, Abu Ubaida ordered all the dues taken as jizya to be returned to the people of the city. He said to them, “We are not able to defend you anymore and now you have complete authority over your matters.” Al-Azdi records Abu Ubaida’s statement as follows:
We have returned your wealth back to you because we detest taking your wealth and then failing to protect your land. We are moving to another area and have called upon our brethren, and then we will fight our enemy. If Allah helps us defeat them we shall fulfill our covenant with you except that you yourselves do not like it then.
The response that the people of Hims gave to the Muslims further substantiates that as dhimmis they were not in any way oppressed but instead lovingly embraced:
Verily your rule and justice is dearer to us than the tyranny and oppression in which we used to live. May God again make you ruler over us and may God’s curse be upon the Byzantines who used to rule over us. By the Lord, had it been they, they would have never returned us anything; instead they would have seized all they could from our possessions.
Blinded by their own egos, the leaders of ISIS ignore this beautiful history. Professor Bernard Lewis observes that dhimmis welcomed the change from Byzantine to Arab rule. They “found the new yoke far lighter than the old, both in taxation and in other matters, and that some even among the Christians of Syria and Egypt preferred the rule of Islam to that of Byzantines.”
This is one of the gravest flaws in the work of Bernard Lewis: his consistent distortion of and downplaying of the grim reality of dhimmitude. He is largely responsible for the common myth that Byzantine rule was so oppressive on the Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, and Egyptians in particular, that they couldn’t wait to open their arms to the Muslims who liberated them from this oppression. But in fact the Muslims conquered and held Egypt only in the face of great resistance. In December 639 the general ‘Amr began the invasion of Egypt; in November 642, Alexandria fell and virtually all of Egypt was in Muslim hands. But this swift conquest was not uncontested, and the Muslims met resistance with brutality. In one Egyptian town they set a pattern of behavior that they followed all over the country. According to a contemporary observer:
Then the Muslims arrived in Nikiou. There was not one single soldier to resist them. They seized the town and slaughtered everyone they met in the street and in the churches — men, women and children, sparing nobody. Then they went to other places, pillaged and killed all the inhabitants they found. . . . But let us now say no more, for it is impossible to describe the horrors the Muslims committed when they occupied the island of Nikiou….
Not only were many native Christians killed – others were enslaved:
Amr oppressed Egypt. . . . He took considerable booty from this country and a large number of prisoners….The Muslims returned to their country with booty and captives. The patriarch Cyrus felt deep grief at the calamities in Egypt, because Amr, who was of barbarian origin, showed no mercy in his treatment of the Egyptians and did not fulfill the covenants which had been agreed with him.
Christian Armenia also fell to the Muslims amid similar butcheries: “The enemy’s army rushed in and butchered the inhabitants of the town by the sword. . . . After a few days’ rest, the Ismaelites [Arabs] went back whence they had come, dragging after them a host of captives, numbering thirty-five thousand.”
The same pattern prevailed when the Muslims reached Cilicia and Caesarea of Cappadocia in 650. According to a Medieval account:
They [the Taiyaye, or Arabs] moved into Cilicia and took prisoners . . . and when Mu’awiya arrived he ordered all the inhabitants to be put to the sword; he placed guards so that no one escaped. After gathering up all the wealth of the town, they set to torturing the leaders to make them show them things [treasures] that had been hidden. The Taiyaye led everyone into slavery — men and women, boys and girls — and they committed much debauchery in that unfortunate town; they wickedly committed immoralities inside churches.
The Caliph Umar made a telling admission in a message to an underling: “Do you think,” he asked, “that these vast countries, Syria, Mesopotamia, Kufa, Basra, Misr [Egypt] do not have to be covered with troops who must be well paid?” Why did these areas have to be “covered with” troops, if the inhabitants welcomed the invaders and lived with them in friendship?
Rashid plows on nonetheless:
Moreover, the jizya was not forcefully collected. It was a tax paid willingly as a favor for the protection of the state. Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, second khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, notes:
The expression “with their own hand” is used here in a figurative sense, signifying (1) that Jizya should not be forcibly taken from the People of the Book but that they should pay it with their own hand i.e. they should agree to pay it willingly…; or (2) that they should pay it out of hand i.e. in ready money and not in the form of deferred payment; or (3) that they should pay it considering it as a favor from Muslims, the word, yad (hand) also meaning a favor.
The Ahmadis are, of course, a persecuted minority among Muslims, whose mainstream authorities have viewed the collection of the jizya quite differently. As-Suyuti elaborates that Qur’an 9:29 “is used as a proof by those who say that it [that is, the jizya] is taken in a humiliating way, and so the taker sits and the dhimmi stands with his head bowed and his back bent. The jizya is placed in the balance and the taker seizes his beard and hits his chin.” Another Islamic scholar, Zamakhshari, agreed that the jizya should be collected “with belittlement and humiliation.” Likewise the twentieth-century Qur’an commentator Syed Abul Ala Maududi said: “Jizyah symbolizes the submission of the unbelievers to the suzerainty of Islam.”
Moreover, the Muslim state exempted from jizya those dhimmis who chose to serve in the military. Sir Thomas Arnold elaborates:
When any Christian people served in the Muslim army, they were exempted from the payment of this tax. Such was the case with the tribe of al-Jurajima, a Christian tribe in the neighborhood 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. When the Arab conquests were pushed to the north of Persia in A.H. 22, a similar agreement was made with a frontier tribe, which was exempted from the payment of jizya in consideration of military service. We find similar instances of remission of jizya in the case of Christians who served in the army or navy under the Turkish rule.
Furthermore, only employed men paid this tax while women, the elderly, the ill, and the unemployed were exempt. But while non-Muslim women were exempt from the jizya, Muslim women were required to pay the zakaat regardless of whether or not they worked.
While Islamic law does indeed stipulate that the jizya is not to be collected from women and children, reality in many cases has been different. According to the pioneering historian of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or: “The poll tax was extorted by torture. The tax inspectors demanded gifts for themselves; widows and orphans were pillaged and despoiled. In theory, women, paupers, the sick, and the infirm were exempt from the poll tax; nevertheless, Armenian, Syriac, and Jewish sources provide abundant proof that the jizya was exacted from children, widows, orphans, and even the dead. A considerable number of extant documents, preserved over the centuries, testify to the persistence and endurance of these measures. In Aleppo in 1683, French Consul Chevalier Laurent d’Arvieux noted that ten-year-old Christian children paid the jizya. Here again, one finds the disparity and contradiction between the ideal in the theory and the reality of the facts.” (The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, pp. 78-9).
In reality, the jizya tax was an agreement between those non-Muslims who chose to live in Muslim lands and under the Muslim government. The Spanish Almorvids, for example, are a living testimony to the integrity and compassion with which Muslims treated Jews and Christians. Historian Gwendolyn Hall cites Francisco Codera, who wrote in 1899 while citing ancient Spanish historians:
The Almoravids were a country people, religious and honest…Their reign was tranquil, and was untroubled by any revolt, either in the cities, or in the countryside… There was no tribute, no tax, or contribution for the government except the charity tax and the tithe. Prosperity constantly grew; the population rose, and everyone could freely attend to their own affairs. Their reign was free of deceit, fraud, and revolt, and they were loved by everyone.
…learning was cherished, literacy was wide-spread, scholars were subsidized, capital punishment was abolished… Christians and Jews were tolerated within their realms. When the Christians rose up in revolt, they were not executed but were exiled to Morocco instead. The Almoravids were criticized, however, for being excessively influenced by their women.
In reality, Muslim Spain was very different from this. Even the foremost hagiographer of Muslim Spain, Maria Rosa Menocal, acknowledges in her book The Ornament of the World that the laws of dhimmitude were very much in force in this Islamic paradise of tolerance: “The dhimmi, as these covenanted peoples were called, were granted religious freedom, not forced to convert to Islam. They could continue to be Jews and Christians, and, as it turned out, they could share in much of Muslim social and economic life. In return for this freedom of religious conscience the Peoples of the Book (pagans had no such privilege) were required to pay a special tax — no Muslims paid taxes — and to observe a number of restrictive regulations: Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals.”
So much for a paradise of tolerance and multiculturalism. Historian Kenneth Baxter Wolf observes that “much of this new legislation aimed at limiting those aspects of the Christian cult which seemed to compromise the dominant position of Islam.” After enumerating a list of laws much like Menocal’s, he adds: “Aside from such cultic restrictions most of the laws were simply designed to underscore the position of the dhimmis as second-class citizens.” These laws were not uniformly or strictly enforced; Christians were forbidden public funeral processions, but one contemporary account tells of priests merely “pelted with rocks and dung” rather than being arrested while on the way to a cemetery.
At a time when the West drowns in misogyny, perhaps the West could learn a thing or two from the Almoravid Muslims and ensure that women become “excessively” influential.
A spokesman for a culture that sanctions honor killing, female genital mutilation, polygamy, and more has a great deal of gall to say that another culture “drowns in misogyny.”
In sum, as Muslims we hold fast to the word of our beloved Master Prophet Muhammad regarding dhimmis; i.e., the protected: “By God, Christians are my citizens and I hold fast against all that displeases them.”
ISIS must be brought to justice for their crimes against Christians and all humanity. Whatever religion they claim — it is not Islam.
And whatever Qasim Rashid is claiming here, it is not Islam, either. It is a pleasing whitewash designed to foster complacency among his non-Muslim marks. Sarah Brown will love it. No informed person with any sense should.
If Qasim Rashid takes any notice of what I have written here, which he probably won’t since he doesn’t want to call attention to his being eviscerated, he will sneer that he need not reply because I am not a scholar who writes peer-reviewed pieces. This is, of course, rather transparently an excuse to cover his abject inability to respond to the points I have made.
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