The Dhimmi, Dhimmitude & the Jiziyah


Al-Zamakhshari, a Mu’tazili author of one of the standard commentaries on the Qur’an,[34] said that “the Jizyah shall be taken from them with belittlement and humiliation. The dhimmi shall come in person, walking not riding. When he pays, he shall stand, while the tax collector sits. The collector shall seize him by the scruff of the neck, shake him, and say “Pay the Jizyah!” and when he pays it he shall be slapped on the nape of the neck.”[34]

Islamintern”—brings to mind a remarkably candid assessment by the 18th century Moroccan Sufi “master” Ibn Ajibah (d. 1809) from his Koranic commentary, whose work I was made aware of by my colleague, Dr. Mark Durie.

Describing unabashedly the purpose of the Koranic poll tax (as per Koran 9:29) of submission for non-Muslims brought under Islamic hegemony by jihad, Ibn Ajibah makes clear the ultimate goal of its imposition was to achieve what he called the death of the “soul”, through the dhimmi’s execution of their own humanity:

[The dhimmi] is commanded to put his soul, good fortune and desires to death. Above all he should kill the love of life, leadership and honor. [The dhimmi] is to invert the longings of his soul, he is to load it down more heavily than it can bear until it is completely submissive. Thereafter nothing will be unbearable for him. He will be indifferent to subjugation or might. Poverty and wealth will be the same to him; praise and insult will be the same; preventing and yielding will be the same; lost and found will be the same. Then, when all things are the same, it [the soul] will be submissive and yield willingly what it should give. [Tafsir ibn ‘Ajibah. Commentary on Q9:29. Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn `Ajibah]

* The honour of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects the kafirs dishonours the Muslims… The real purpose of levying jiziya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honour and might of Islam.–

Sufi saint Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624), letter #163

Islam Online: jizya is “fair”

The imposition of jizya upon non-Muslims is mandated by the Qur’an 9:29:
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.[16]

Wiki has some useful entries too

Spencer on Hot Air:

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.’” As-Suyuti elaborates that this verse “is used as a proof by those who say that it 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.” He adds, however, that “this is rejected according to an-Nawawi who said, ‘This manner is invalid.’” Zamakhshari, however, agreed that the jizya should be collected “with belittlement and humiliation.”


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.
From K.S. Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, Delhi, 1999, pp. 139-140.

Note that both have jizya as double the rate of zakat, as per The Hedaya.

And of course the bottom line is that radical Muslims who are working to impose Sharia on Muslim and non-Muslim states, will endeavor also to reimpose the jizya. In the name of the equality of rights of all people, this must be resisted.”

* Here’s how the jiziyah really works:

In 1942 the “Varlik Vergisi” law imposed a wealth tax on property. The provisions of the law were enforced with exceptional zeal only against the non-Moslem minorities at confiscatory rates. Eg Greeks were taxed at 156 percent of annual income and Moslem Turks at 4.96 percent. The Varlik effectively deprived the community of its wealth with massive numbers of property and businesses being transferred to Moslem hands.

Another example:

On the twentieth of Maskaram Theodore and all his troops and officers [the Byzantines] set out and proceeded to the island of Cyprus, and abandoned the city of Alexandria. And thereupon ‘Amr the chief of the Moslem made his entry without effort into the city of Alexandria. And the inhabitants received him with respect; for they were in great tribulation and affliction… And ‘Amr became stronger every day in every field of his activity. And he exacted the taxes which had been determined upon, but he took none of the property of the churches, and he committed no act of spoliation or plunder, and he preserved them throughout all his days. … And he increased the taxes to the extent of twenty-two batr of gold till all the people hid themselves owing to the greatness of the tribulation, and could not find the wherewithal to pay…. And none could recount the mourning and lamentation which took place in that city: they even gave their children in exchange for the great sums which they had to pay monthly. And they had none to help them, and God destroyed their hopes, and delivered the Christians into the hands of their enemies. The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu Chapters CXX-CXXI


The position of Jews and Christian dhimmis in Al Andaluz, the Moorish paradise according to Ahmed ibn Said ibn Hazm (father of the ibn Hazm):
Non-payment of the Jiziya by a dhimmi made him liable to all the Islamic penalties for debtors who did not repay their creditors; the offender could be sold to slavery or even put to death. In addition, non-payment of the jiziya by one or several dhimmis – especially if it was fraudulent – allowed Muslim authority to put an end to the autonomy of the entire community to which the guilty party belonged.



* John Quincy Adams on Islam:

“In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, […..] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST.- TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE…. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant … While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.”

(Capitals are in the original — the boldfacing has been added for this blog post.)

The behavior of radical Islamist terrorists has nothing to do with Iraq or Israel. It’s been going on since the seventh century.


“I studied the Koran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.”

(c. 1790) By Alexis de Tocqueville.


Jihad, Jiziyah & Dhimmitude in India

India was dominated by the Hanafi and Shafi’ite schools through the 1000-year period of the brutal jihad conquests, colonization, and imposition of the Sharia on the Indian subcontinent. No Muslim school of jurisprudence ever fostered an “easy, open acceptance of non-Muslims.” All sanctioned jihad and jihad-imposed dhimmitude, with the greatest degradation to be imposed upon the idolatrous Hindus, Animists etc.
Indeed, it was by dint of their vast numbers alone that the Hindus were even granted dhimmi status, as they should have according to Islamic law simply been given the option of conversion or death, but this proved impractical (although their dhimmi status remained a point of contention amongst Muslim jurists for centuries as prominent Shafi’ites, including Sufis favored conversion or death). Sir Jadunath Sarkar, for example, a pre-eminent historian of Mughal India, wrote the following in 1920 regarding the particularly debasing imposition of the Koranic poll-tax (cf. Koran 9:29) upon the indigenous Hindus of the Indian subcontinent.

As the learned Qazi Mughis-ud-din declared, in accordance with the teachings of the books on Canon Law: ‘The Hindus are designated in the Law as ‘payers of tribute’ (kharaj-guzar); and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should, without question and with all humility and respect, tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths wide to receive it. By these acts of degradation are shown the extreme obedience of the zimmi [dhimmi], the glorification of the true faith of Islam, and the abasement of false faiths. God himself orders them to be humiliated , (as He says, ‘till they pay jaziya) with the hand and are humbled…The Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive…No other religious authority except the great Imam (Hanifa) whose faith we follow, has sanctioned the imposition of jaziya on Hindus. According to all other theologians, the rule for Hindus is ‘Either death or Islam’.
The late (d. 2002) scholar K.S. Lal records this translation, ‘…and should the collector choose to spit into his mouth, opens the same without hesitation, so that the official may spit into it..’ Lal notes, further that , “Actual spitting in the mouth of the non-Muslims was not uncommon”. Lal cites a poem by Vijaya Gupta (1493-1519 C.E.), which includes the line, ‘The peons employed by the qazis tore away the sacred threads of the Brahmans and spat saliva in their mouths’.

*  Andrew Bostom comments on Tony Blankley’s “Journey Into Islam,”


Wolfgang Bruno: Islamic Dictionary for Infidels

Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Hassam El-Masalmeh from Palestinian Jihadist organization Hamas confirmed the organization’s plan to re-institute the humiliating jizya, a blood ransom poll-tax (based on Qur’an sura 9, verse 29), levied traditionally on non-Muslims vanquished by Jihad. Arabic lexicographer E.W. Lane, based on a careful analysis of the term, states that: “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 compensation for not being slain.”

This subjugation of non-Muslims to religious apartheid and second class citizenship in their own country is part and parcel of sharia, Islamic law. And this option is only available to Christians and Jews, not Hindus, Buddhists or others, who have only the choice between embracing Islam or death. Muslims feel ”oppressed” when they can’t fully practice their religious laws in the West. But since these laws ultimately require the subjugation of non-Muslims, “freedom of religion” for Muslims essentially means the freedom to make others unfree.

According to Tibi, “world peace, the final stage of the da’wa (call to embrace Islam), is reached only with the conversion or submission of all mankind to Islam…Muslims believe that expansion through war is not aggression but a fulfillment of the Qur’anic command to spread Islam as a way to peace. The resort to force to disseminate Islam is not war (harb), a word that is used only to describe the use of force by non-Muslims. Islamic wars are not hurub (the plural of harb) but rather futuhat, acts of “opening” the world to Islam and expressing Islamic jihad. Relations between dar al-Islam, the home of peace, and dar al-harb, the world of unbelievers, nevertheless take place in a state of war, according to the Qur’an and to the authoritative commentaries of Islamic jurists. Unbelievers who stand in the way, creating obstacles for the da’wa, are blamed for this state of war, for the da’wa can be pursued peacefully if others submit to it. In other words, those who resist Islam cause wars and are responsible for them. Only when Muslim power is weak is “temporary truce” (hudna) allowed (Islamic jurists differ on the definition of “temporary”).”

These words are mirrored in the ideas of many Islamic groups today. “[President] Bush says that we want to enslave people and oppress their freedom of speech,” says Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Party of Liberation. “But we want to free all people from being slaves of men and make them slaves of Allah.” “Islam obliges Muslims to possess power so that they can intimidate – I would not say terrorize – the enemies of Islam,” says Abu Mohammed, a Hizb ut-Tahrir activist. “And if after all discussions and negotiations they still refuse, then the last resort will be a jihad to spread the spirit of Islam and the rule of Islam,” he says, smiling. “This is done in the interests of all people to get them out of darkness and into light.”



A previous article (by Robert Spencer) on Jizyah and Zakat:

“I have often encountered, in person and on radio shows, Muslims who claim that the jizya, the special tax required of non-Muslim dhimmis under Islamic law, was actually less than zakat, the Muslim obligation of charitable giving. This is patently absurd on the face of it, of course, since innumerable respected 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 dominator for that of the dominated?

Nevertheless, today people read propaganda like Edward Said instead of history like Bat Ye’or, Tritton, and Rodinson, so they may be misled by this that recently appeared at IslamOnline (thanks to Ali Dashti for the link):

Non-Muslims are called dhimmis and were required to pay a levy or jizya. The jizya was not paid as a bribe for practicing their faith, but rather as compensation for not serving in the army, protection for Crusading armies and tribal warfare. While most so-called journalists scream that the jizya is a tool of inequality, they fail to see that there is a tax levied on Muslims as well, the zakat, which non-Muslims are not required to pay.

This assumes that jizya and zakat are equivalent, and other Muslims assert, as I have said, that the jizya is actually less than zakat. So let’s look at the record:

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

Also Andrew Bostom has sent me these illuminating extracts:

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.
That’s from A. Ben Shemesh, Taxation in Islam Volume II, Qudama b. Ja’far’s Kitab Al-Kharaj. Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1965, p. 14.

And this:

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.
From K.S. Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, Delhi, 1999, pp. 139-140.

Note that both have jizya as double the rate of zakat, as per The Hedaya.

And of course the bottom line is that radical Muslims who are working to impose Sharia on Muslim and non-Muslim states, will endeavor also to reimpose the jizya. In the name of the equality of rights of all people, this must be resisted.”

[Posted by Robert at September 20, 2004]

Posted by: Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2008 11:49 AM

Two additional remarks. The payment of the jizyah was not only to collect revenue on which the Islamic state depended, but had to be made in conditions, as Lal says but that are not detailed in the quotation above, would demonstrate to one and all, Muslim and dhimmi alike, the inferior status of the dhimmi. The dhimmi was supposed to appear with the payment, and in many places he would be struck on the side of jaw, or otherwise. Not, that is, merely symbolically. In India where Hindus had to pay both zakat and jizya, one practice deserves mentioning (this may be in Lal, or on Sarkar, or elsewhere): the Hindu, treated as a kind of dhimmi even though, as a polytheist, he did not actually count as a member of the ahl al-Kitab or “people of the Book” (who, therefore, could be allowed to survive, and not convert, as long as they fully complied with their dhimmi status), would find that a Muslim would spit into his open mouth — quite a sign of his status.

There is something else. The payment either of jizyah, or the land-tax, kharaj, is only the best-known of the many disabilities, economic, political, and social, which dhimmis had to endure. Examples include the requirement that clothing of Christians and Jews, and their dwelling-places, bear marks indicating that they were either Christians or Jews. The zunnar, or belt, often blue, of the Christians, or the yellow star of the Jews (Hitler borrowed his idea from the “tolerant” court of Abbasid Baghdad), helped to identify people. And why would not need to identify them? Well, suppose one of them did not obey the rules pertaining to dhimmis. For example, dhimmis could not ride on horses, but only on donkeys, and only side-saddle, and they had to dismount whenever they came upon a Muslim. Dhimmis could not repair or build new houses of worship. Dhimmis could not testify against Muslims in court, so if there were any quarrel, the Muslim would always win. And there were of course always the threat that if even a single dhimmi did not fulfill an obligation, or violated some prohibition, not only he, but his entire community could suffer.

Of course, even with this the massacre of whole communities — such as that of all the Jews in Grenada in 1066 — still went on, despite the payment of the “protection money” (Islamic defenders phrase it, rather cunningly, as “money spent for protection” — as if the Christians and Jews were merely paying for the local police, or fire department, rather than paying Muslims off for “protection” against Muslims themselves, who otherwise would be even harsher, and possibly kill those not conforming to the requirements of dhimmitude.

Among the Christians in the Balkans, and Bulgaria, the Ottoman Turks practiced the devshirme, the forced levy (kidnapping, really, by the Ottoman state) of Christian males to be trained up for service to the Ottomans. Although some (e.g. Bernard Lewis) present this as a rather innocuous fate, and Lewis goes so far as to suggest that Muslim parents were envious of the Christian children who were “recruited” (Lewis’ preposterous word) by the Ottomans (sounds more like agents from Istanbul fanned out, offering fat contracts in the manner of a Yankees agent in Santo Domingo than it what it really, and heart-rendingly, was — but then Lewis has never fully confronted the Ottoman treatment of non-Muslims, instead offering couleur locale, and some nunc pro tunc backdating of Kemalism). While everyone finds reason to admire Kemal Pasha (and his friendshp with his dentist, Dr. Grunberg), and everyone is grateful that the Jews booted out of Spain so cruelly sought, and found refuge in, among other places (remember a little place called Amsterdam, and some of those portraits of rabbis by Rembrandt?), and of course in Salonika (where these Sephardic Jews replaced a previous group of Jews who had much earlier been forced to leave by the Ottomans) and elsewhere, gratitude has its limits, or should, in the historian who prides himself on his icy objectivity.

The most comprehensive statement of dhimmitude can be found in the works of Bat Ye’or, especially “Islam and Dhimmitude,” and above all, for its calm sobriety about the legal regime,, Antoine Fattal’s “Le statut legal des non-musulmanes en pays d’Islam.” Unfortunately, the latter remains to be translated into English from the French — apparently, those students of Islam in this country who know of the book either are hiding its existence, or are of the old school, and assuming that their graduate students can easily read French. But Fattal’s work is useful, if intelligently englished, everyone — not least for those people presuming, in American law schools, to teach something they call “Islamic Law” but which is really theology. They at least ought to give a full accounting of how, under the Shari’a, non-Muslims are to be treated — it is of increasing relevance today. It may be Europe’s future. Why not find out now what that future holds in store?

Posted by: Hugh at September 20, 2004 1:17 PM

Posted by: Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2008 11:53 AM

Dhimmitude Law and You: Social and Religious Aspects

Dhimmitude, the Islamic institution of the treatment of Jews and Christians in Islamic state (Q 9:29), was abolished upon European intervetions—colonial as well as diplomatic. As Muslims turn toward orthodoxy and are poised to dominate the world, including the West, in the not-too-distant future, it is an opportune time to have a look at what it means to be a dhimmi under Islam…

Remember, Dhimmitude is the position (allowed culture) of the non-Muslim under a comprehensive Islamic legal system that regulates every aspect of the non-Muslims’ lives and fixes their theological, legal, social, economic and political role—with no possibility of change as allah’s laws remain forever. Dhimmis are utterly subjugated and degraded. Despised dhimmis are war booty (fay) and ‘possessions’ of the Muslim community as distinct from slaves owned by an individual. (see Dhimmitude: What is it? and Dhimmitude laws and you:  economic and political aspects.)

A notable aspect of dhimmitude is the unending humiliation and degradation of dhimmis which involves their differentiation and segregation from Muslims. The humiliation is justified by koranic verses and hadiths and perpetuated through laws and practices enforced by rulers and ordinary Muslims who abuse Dhimmis.   Bat Ye’or notes that the degradation is a religious duty maintained by a “series of ordinances meticulously governing, down to the smallest detail, the organization of degradation that is sacralised into an ethical code” (p. 81) and applied to dhimmis at all times over the whole dar al-Islam according to numerous sources (Muslim and dhimmi). Periods of relief were exceptional and temporary. (p. 90). The entire array of abuses has been noted for Hindus  (eg Bostom p. 32-35), Africans, Europeans including eastern Europeans , those in the middle–east and Asia. The Islamic loathing for others is openly expressed today even in the west in both physical (violence, rape, stealing, terrorism) and verbal abuse (sluts, offspring of criminals., filthy kufar…) (see articles on this site).

Listen to undercover mosque to hear Muslims living freely in the west speak of non-Muslims with the utmost loathing.

Dhimmitude is in certain aspects worse than slavery (Ye’or p. 89, Bostom quote p. 34). Islam takes religious rivalry to a new level of loathing and violence (the difference between Islam and others will be discussed in dhimmitude:myths and dhimmitude today). These aren’t isolated incidents but practices that extended over the Islamic world over centuries into today and are soundly based on Islam’s text.

Social aspects

1)  Humiliation:

paying Jizyaa) Humiliating the Dhimmi is a practice regarded as a good deed or religious duty.  Degradation of Dhimmis is written into many laws (Ye’or , lecture 2002)

b) Shi’ite populations regarded dhimmis as so impure they were forbidden to go out in the rain or handle foodstuffs or indeed contact them in any way even indirectly for fear of transmitting their impurity (Ye’Or p 103).

Servility and humiliation are displayed even by religious leaders, even in 19th century Turkey (Ye’or p 107). Travellers from Europe noted the humility, terror, distress and panic of dhimmis under Islam  into the 20th century including for the Serbs for some time after they were freed (Ye’or p 107, 108)  AND it continues today.

c) Dhimmis must have a humble appearance  (Ye’or p 94), lowered eyes, hurried pace, silent.  They had to give way to Muslims and stand in their presence (p100, 103)

d) If a dhimmi raised his hand to a Muslim he faced death or amputation (Ye’or p. 103)

e) Cursing a Muslim is punished by death

Ye’or (p. 97) notes an 18th-century fatwa forbidding even a raised voice in the presence of a Muslim plus demands that  dhimmis be punished and rendered to a state of degradation and abasement.

A progressive young Turk, writing in a Parisian Muslim review 1912 stated:

The Musulman religion is in open hostility to all your world of progress’…… A Christian …as a blind man….. to speak to him would be a humiliation for our intelligence……. contact with them is a defilement of our bodies, any relation with them a torture to our souls, though detesting you…

The piece continues stating that they are happy to take our knowledge, weapons etc! (Bostom, p. 74).   (Oh, they’re just too shy to say they really like us!)

2)  Abuse in greeting

a)  They are not greeted with “as-salamu ‘alaykum” (Reliance, 11.5 (3), p. 608). Ibn Kathir (d. 1373) notes Mohammad’s command to force Jews and Christians into the narrowest ally on the road and not initiate the ‘Salam.’  (Bostom, p. 129)

3)  Muslims Take Dhimmi children:

44Sex slaves for the Mussulman: captured women are “booty”…

(Infidel women and children were taken freely as booty - Reliance: Shafii law dealing with Jihad, O9.13, p. 604. “when a child or woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled“, i.e. the Muslim male can have sex with her.)

a) A Yemini law decreed that all Jewish orphans or fatherless children (taken from mothers!) ‘revert’ to Islam based on Islamic dogma claiming all children are born Muslim!  Any parents or children who attempted to evade this horror of forced removal of children faced violence, torture or ransom. It continued into 1950 when Jews left Yemen for Israel (Bat Ye’or, p. 65, 88)

Remember Mohammad had the Jewish poetess Marwan killed and her children taken and brought up Muslim! (Sirat Rasul’allah p. 675-76)

b) Ottoman Devshirme institution where at least 1 in 5 Christian children were taken from the conquered eastern and central European countries  to use as Janissaries (fighters) and forced into Islam (From the 13 hundreds until theoretically abolished in 1658). This sick practice aimed to destroy the Christian populations, force conversions of children and parents attempting to avoid this horror and to use Christian children as fighting fodder. Certain despicable writers have attempted to claim this provided a social advantage to such ‘lucky’children when any advantage in being Muslim could readily be obtained by VOLUNTARY conversion to Islam—these people did NOT want to convert!

Severe punishment ensued if Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, and Armenian fathers (often aristocrats) and orthodox priests did not bring their sons.

c) Ottoman ichoghlani system where younger children aged 6-10 were taken to the sultans’ residences and subjected to exacting discipline and forced to perform arduous tasks for 14 years. This continued into the 18th century. (Bat Ye’or  p 60). A similar process occurred in Persia with Christian ‘slaves’.

d) children were also taken for harems and slavery.  Children were taken in lieu of jizya.

Such workforces, constantly fed by further raids, (including from Africa and piracy), maintained Islamic domination and enhanced Islamization.  Children didn’t know who they were or where they came from and had no ties or power and hence were incapable of any rebellion.

4)  Restricted clothing, signs on homes

They (non-Muslim subjects) must wear clothes that distinguish them from Muslims, wearing a wide cloth belt.  (Reliance, o11.5 (2), p. 608)

Reliance t3.7 (p. 804) states ‘Be honest in your clothes and dress.  It is an outrage to allah to appear to his servants in the guise of the righteous while secretly contradicting it with the works of the wicked.’

The Qadi, Ahmad b. Talib (9th century) compelled the dhimmis to wear upon their shoulder a patch of white cloth that bore the image of an ape (for Jews) and a pig (for Christians) and to nail onto their doors a board bearing the sign of a monkey (Al-Maliki 11th C. Tunisian historian)

Many dhimmis had to hang  a lead seal,  (Bat Ye’or, p. 68, Bostom  p. 30 ) or other identifying object around their neck.

Many laws/ordinances detailing the types of clothing are given in Ye’or pp91-96 with severe penalties for anyone who didn’t comply eg beating, beheading. Clothing regulations listed the colour, style and type of cloth (coarse), the colour and type of hat and the type of footwear ( none, rough sandals…) and a 16th century dictate demanded hanging for any who made hats like the Jews.  (Ye’or,  p. 94). There were few places in space and time where such regulations didn’t exist.  Such regulations existed into the 19-20th century in many areas. (eg Bat Ye’or, p. 96). European travellers were frequently shocked by the discriminatory clothing and the associated abuse of the wearer plus other forms of abuse of dhimmis.  Hindus were also forced into discriminatory clothing. (Bostom, p. 34)

In Yemen Jews were forced to wear distinctive clothing until 1950 when they emigrated to Israel.

Others, including non-Muslims, have followed this practise, eg Hitler and some medieval Christian groups.   The Taliban attempted to make Hindus wear ‘marked’ clothing.

Conversely of course Muslims couldn’t wear the clothes of non-Muslims  eg Hadiths: Muslim 24:5173-74  and Abu Dawud 32:4067;  Shahid & Spencer, p. 70.

5)  Harassment

Bat Ye’or, Bostom, Spencer, Sookdheo, Karsh (p. 26) and others have detailed the endless, pervasive verbal and physical  and legal abuse of dhimmis of all religions eg Zoroastrians (Bostom, p. 36-37).

6)  Ideas of equality viciously put down

Within the Balkans and later  Anatolia itself, attempted emancipation of the dhimmi peoples provoked violent, bloody responses against those ‘infidels’ daring to claim equality with local Muslims.. The massacres of the Bulgarians (1876)… Armenians (1894-96)…. frank jihad genocide against Armenians  during world War 1 (Bostom, p. 75).

In 1840-1860, Christians in Lebanon/Syria who ‘rose above their station’ and Christian peasants who were sick of servitude felt the combined wrath of Druze, Muslim Turks (Ottomans) and Sunni and Shiite groups resulting in the massacre of 7000-11000, some say over 20,000 with the destruction of over 300 villages, hundreds of churches and monasteries with rape, pillage, enslavement and ‘refugee’ status for over 100,000. Witnesses write of the “systematic cruelty, ‘unparalleled barbarity’, and blood rose to the ankles… and  gurgled through streets” (read the detailed story at THIS SITE).

The list of massacres is endless and added to daily as others continue to be obliterated from areas under Islamic control.

7)  Only inferior means of travel allowed

a) They (dhimmis) must keep to the side of the street (Reliance law 11.5 (4), p. 608).  “they (Jews) had to draw aside to the left, their bodies humbly bent over, on pain of being harshly beaten”  (quoted in Bat Ye’or, p. 96). Dhimmis must pass Muslims on the left or impure side! Abuse, stone throwing, hitting, and hindering the dhimmis path are all allowed.

b) Dhimmis cannot ride horses as this would elevate them above Muslims – in some cases camels and even donkeys were forbidden (Ye’or, p. 96; Karsh, p. 26). Only pack saddles with wood stirrups could be used and dhimmis had to sit with both legs on one side only and dismount when a Muslim approached and often could not ride in the town.

An 18th-century British consul travelling through Cyprus wrote of his experiences as he was forced to ride in substantial discomfort on a donkey and forced to dismount before entering the town. A Danish scientific expedition wrote that even Europeans feared walking in Cairo as they witnessed even Muslim servants beating Christians and Jews who failed to alight fast enough as the slave’s Muslim owner approached and that non-Muslims were forbidden from walking in certain areas as they profaned  Muslim sites. (Ye’or, p. 97-98)

Bat Ye’or reports an 18th century decree that forbids travelling by horse or a boat with 3 oars –and also demands special dress as a religious and political necessity  to enforce an attitude of  humility and abjection in dhimmis (p. 95). The same conditions reappear in ALL legal texts concerning the dhimmis (Ye’or, p. 97)

The prohibition on dhimmis riding horses remained in force for Jews into the 20th century in Morocco, Libya, Iraq, Persia, Yemen. (Ye’or, p. 98).

c) Dhimmis must vacate their seat for a  Muslim. (Karsh, p. 26)

8)  Limitations on building

They must not build higher or as high as the Muslims buildings, though if they acquire a tall house is not razed (Reliance, 11.5 (5), p. 608). Dhimmi houses must be smaller and lower than Muslim homes.  Bat Ye’or also notes that dhimmi homes were often restricted to certain areas, humble in appearance, dark coloured, (Ye’or, p. 101)

Limitations on religious freedom

9)  Dhimmis must hide any evidence of their religion

a) They are forbidden to openly display wine or pork (A: to ring church bells or display crosses) recite the torah or evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays; (Reliance 11.5 (6), p. 608)

Hagia Sophia
The primary church in Constantinople, Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), was inaugurated after being rebuilt by Emperor Justinian I (527-65). After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 Hagia Sophia became a mosque (see added Muslim minarets)  and is now a museum. The church of Hagia Sophia was once the most important church of the Christian East.

Even at home dhimmis cannot pray or read their sacred books aloud in case a Muslim hears them.   All visible or audible displays of their religion are banned. The prohibition against any display is applied today to all media –radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, books nor can their religious information be sold in public places or markets. (Shahid, in Spencer p. 63, 69;  Bat Ye’or p86, 87)

b) They are forbidden to build new churches (Reliance, 11.5 (7), p. 608) and often to repair old ones. (likewise in the Hedaya, Vol. 11 (Hanafi law), see Short, notes section)

Generally only churches built before Islam’s takeover can be repaired (though not extended) if the people surrender and keeping their churches is included in the peace agreement, but not if taken by force when all non-Muslim religious buildings can be destroyed.

Muslims at any time, can and do demolish all non-Muslim houses of worship in any land they conquer (Shahid in Spencer, p. 63, destruction began with the Arab conquests –Ye’or, p. 82,83). Dhimmis pay large amounts of money in an incessant struggle to build or protect religious sites eg ‘ruinous extortion’ in Palestine (Ye’or, p 85). Fees were charged for access to holy sites throughout the Holy Land into the 19th century plus road taxes for travellers (Ye’or, p. 82-86).

Bat Ye’or notes the massive destruction of magnificent basilicas and innumerable monasteries from Andulasia to Iraq in the 8-10th century alone p. 82-83 long before the crusades and at a time we are told is Islam’s ‘golden age’ of tolerance and development! In some areas Jews were completely wiped out and in a few areas flourished around their constantly threatened synagogues. The few areas of ‘tolerance’ are the ones we hear about while the huge areas of complete destruction are ignored.  Ye’or p 83 writes:

“It would be impossible to list all the places of Jewish and particularly Christian worship which were Islamized and banned to their former owners”

The destruction, confiscation and Islamization of synagogues, and more often churches, were common and are often mentioned in legal treatises and dhimmi chronicles. (Ye’or, lecture 2002).

In Palestine today, Christian churches are defiled, graves violated (including exhumations and mutilations) and followers attacked (Ye’or, p. 236-37).

Churches, temples, indeed the religious sites of others have been destroyed by Islam across the Islamic world and in every place where Muslim numbers allow such destruction, right up to the present, including some of the holiest sites eg the tomb of the Hebrew patriarch Joseph by Palestinians 2000 AD; Ancient churches in Cyprus 20th century;  churches burnt to the ground across Africa and the destruction of Buddhist and Hindu temples and sculptures even in the 21st century. Note the recent attacks (26/11/08) by 20,00 Muslims on Copts in Cairo who, after 5 years, were able to use a factory as a church. (LINK)

c) Crosses etc cannot be displayed on churches or homes (Shahid P63) *It is forbidden from hindering a fellow dhimmi from converting to Islam (OK to become Muslim but deadly the other way!) (Shahis p 64)

d) On pain of death, dhimmis cannot proselytise to Muslims.  No dignity even in death:

e) Dhimmis are forbidden from loud or obvious displays when burying dead.  Cemeteries can be plundered even today. Only Muslim souls should be granted peace and even condolences differ for Dhimmis compared to Muslims (Bat Ye’or  p87)

10)  Limitations on residence and entry

a)  Infidels cannot reside in the area or towns around Mecca, Medina and Yamama for more than 3 days (when the caliph allows them to enter there for something they need). (Reliance of the Traveller; 11.6, p. 608). Supposedly under Umar in 640, all Jews and Christians were expelled from the Arabian Peninsular to make it entirely Islamic.

b)  A non-Muslim may not enter the Meccan sacred precinct under any circumstances, or enter a mosque without permission. (Reliance of the Traveller; 11.7, p. 608-9). A non-Muslim may not enter the Meccan sacred precinct under any circumstances Dhimmis were often restricted to certain areas:  In Yemen into the 20th century Jews were restricted to limited areas and forbidden from leaving the country. (Ye’or, p. 101)

Often entry to towns was prohibited. People who ignored restrictions risked loss of property and death (Ye’or, p. 101). Even within towns certain areas were often off limits to dhimmis. Dhimmi enclaves could lack lighting and rubbish collection (Yemen Ye’or, p. 103).

11)  Limitation on marriage; Child custody

a) Muslim men can marry Jewish or Christian women but their children are Muslim. A Muslim woman is forbidden from marrying a non-Muslim (Reliance, m6.7 (5) p529; Shahid in Spencer p65 ).

b) If a husband is a dhimmi and the wife converts to Islam, she must get a divorce and she gets custody of the children (see law above and Reliance, m13.3 (c) p. 552, custody to a Muslim; Shahid ibid.)

c) A Muslim husband has the right to restrict his wife to the home –this can be used to stop dhimmi wives from attending their religious sites (Reliance; m10.4 p. 538; Shahid ibid)

12)  Rape of dhimmi women by Muslims

7520 AL-RISALA (Maliki Manual) 37.27 A CHRISTIAN RAPIST

If a Christian rapes a Muslim woman he is to be killed immediately by any Muslim.But a Muslim cannot be executed on account of a non-believer (see notes in Walter Short, The Jizyah Tax: Equality And Dignity Under Islamic Law?, notes, repeated in Spencer, p. 82)

13)  Forbidden from joining the army

a) Dhimmis cannot join the army unless there is an indispensible need for them  – they cannot assume leadership roles but are considered mercaneries  (Shahid in Spencer, p. 63)

I wish Muslims were forbidden from joining our military, police etc as both our soldiers and non-Muslim citizens would be much safer!

Yes, obviously ‘converting’ to Islam would save you from this inhumane treatment but Islam itself is a totalitarian system that controls all aspects of an individual’s life.

Violation of the dhimma ‘pact’ and consequences:

If the dhimmis break any of the rules of Islam or fail to pay the poll tax then their ‘agreement with the state’ has been violated (Reliance of the traveller; Shafii law 11.9 p609).  Many things may be regarded as ‘violating the agreement, e.g.

* Committing adultery or simply marrying a Muslim woman (Reliance, 11.10 (1), p. 609)

* Concealing spies of hostile forces (Reliance, 11.10 (2), p. 609). In fact Dhimmis had to be hostile to European Christians etc as any apparent association could result in bloody reprisals (Ye’or p. 58)

* Leading a Muslim away from Islam. (Reliance of the Traveller, 11.10 (3) p 609).  As we know, an apostate from Islam also looses their life– “The punishment by death in the case of apostasy has been unanimously agreed upon by all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence” (AbdurRahman I Doi, ‘Sharia: the Islamic Law’, London, 1984, cited in Spencer p. 64)

* Killing a Muslim (Reliance of the Traveller, 11.10 (4), p. 609)

* Mentions something impermissible about allah, the prophet or Islam. (Reliance, 11.10 (5), p. 609)  Blasphemy laws are used to great effect in the Islamic world eg Pakistan to destroy others and are also in use in Australia where the Victorian ReligiousVilification laws TODAY are used to gag any criticism of Islam—pure sharia, pure dhimmitude!

* even Christening your children was considered a violation of the covenant resulting in a loss of ‘protection’ from jihad ( Sookhdeo, Global jihad, Muslim quote, p. 242)

The pact of Umar where the Jews supposedly signed a pact despite being unable to read or write Arabic, states:

…these are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion in return from safety and protection.  If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.

Ibn quadama (12th century Muslim jurist): A protected person who violates his protection agreement, whether by refusing to pay the tribute (jizya) or to submit to the laws of the community …makes his person and his goods ‘licit’ ie halal or fair game to be killed, captured or stolen by Muslims.

And when your agreement has been violated, the caliph (or ruler) may decide between death, slavery, release or ransom –death is avoided by conversion! (Reliance, 11.11. p. 609; o9.14, p. 604)

Shiite text:  Al-Muhaqiq al-Hilli (1206-1277), well known ‘twelver’ shia scholar in his authoritative work on Imami law (The laws of Islam in matters of the Permitted and forbidden) defines the enemies against whom it is obligatory to fight as

1) Rebels who fight against the imam,

2. Dhimma (Jews, Christians, other people of the book  who breach the provisions of their pact with the Muslims),

3.  All other kinds of infidels and non-believers (Sookhdeo, Global Jihad, p. 79).

Violate your pact and expect death, a massacre of your tribe, enslavement and rape, looting, destruction, and expulsion from your land. Bat Ye’or notes the revolts and the consequences including the almost constant, endless rebellions and slaughters in Spain (Gee, wasn’t it all huggy, kissy and lovely?); the destruction of Christianity in Africa, the Maghreb, and Yemen; the destruction of Palestinian villages, crops, and plantations and the massacres, enslavement and  torture of people (indigenous Jews/Christians)  according to Arabic, Jewish, Coptic, Syriac and Latin sources, first by Arabs, then by Turks (Ye’or, p 62-64).

The ‘scorched earth’ policies, slaughter and slavery are used today in Africa against non-Muslims (and against black Muslims by Arab ones). Churches burn in Iraq and Christians are killed. Hindus are attacked in Bangladesh, Kashmir and India, Buddhists in Thailand….. westerners anywhere possible…

Yes, there’s more but if you have read the great books by Bostom, Ye’or and others or just viewed the summary in the articles on dhimmitude so far, then you know the horror coming if we allow Islam/Muslims to gain control.

Look at the Maldives where all are forced to be Muslim and any who deviate are punished by the state and lose everything including citizenship. Look at Malaysia where all Malays are forced to be Muslim, conversion out of Islam is forbidden and others viciously discriminated against yet both these countries are called ‘modern democracies’ by dhimmi imbeciles in the west!

The vile attitudes, practices and laws of Islam towards others is reflected everywhere Muslims go. As their numbers rise, Muslims increasingly demand that their supremacist, religious apartheid system be put into operation. The devastating effect of Islam begins with the first Muslim/dhimmi collusion –and there’s plenty of that everywhere!

Have a peep at the dhimmi victims gallery to see what dhimmitude looks like TODAY.Dhimmi Victims Gallery

This article first appeared at Australian Islamist Monitor.


1)  Al-Misri, Ahmad ibn Naqib,  Reliance of the Traveler:  A classic manual of Islamic sacred law. (In Arabic with facing English Text, commentary and appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller), Aamana Publications, Maryland, 1994

2)  Bostom, Andrew (edit), The legacy of Jihad.  Islamic holy war and the fate of the Non-Muslims, Prometheus Books, New York, 2005

3)  Karsh, Efraim, Islamic Imperialism: A history, Yale University Press, 2006.

4)  Shahid, Samuel, Rights of non-Muslims in an Islamic State, in Spencer, Robert (edit).  The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, Prometheus Books, New York, 2005

5)  Short, Walter, The Jizyah Tax: Equality And Dignity Under Islamic Law? notes (This article is repeated in Spencer, Robert (edit) The Myth of Islamic Tolerance

6)  Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rusulallah, Translated by A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 2001.

7)  Sookdheo,  Patrick.  Global jihad:  The future in the face of militant Islam, Isaac Publishing, USA, 2007

8)  Spencer, Robert (ed.) The Myth of  Islamic Tolerance:  How Islamic Law treats non-Muslims, Prometheus Books, New York, 2005

9)  Ye’or, Bat. Islam and dhimmitude:  Where civilisations collide, Madison, Teaneck Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005.

10)  Ye’or, Bat.  Lecture 10 October 2002 Brown University. Dhimmitude Past and Present: An Invented or Real History?

The Koran – internet version of three English translations and hadith can be read HERE& HERE

2 thoughts on “The Dhimmi, Dhimmitude & the Jiziyah”

  1. Dhimmitude Past and Present : An Invented or Real History?


    Brown University C.V. Starr Foundation Lectureship
    Salomon Hall Room 001

    I call dhimmitude the comprehensive legal system established by the Muslim conquerors to rule the native non-Muslim populations subdued by jihad wars. It is my opinion that this system has not been fully investigated. However, one can rightly ask:

    1) Did such a system in fact exist?

    2) If so, what are its characteristics?

    3) Was this system merely theoretical or actually implemented?

    4) If implemented, is there a debate today on the interpretation of jihad and dhimmitude, and if there is no debate, why?

    The dhimmi condition can only be understood in the context of jihad because it originates from this ideology. Muslim, as well as non-Muslim scholars, from the 7th century through the present, have aknowledged that all the lands from Portugal to Central Asia that constituted the Muslim Empires were conquered by Muslim armies. These vast territories were neither populated by Arabs – except in specific regions bordering the deserts – nor by Muslims. Around the Mediterranean, the population was Christian and Jewish. Along with other religious groups, Jews and Christians also lived in Iraq, Persia, and Arabia.

    Beginning in the eighth and ninth centuries, Muslim theologians and jurists endeavored to give to the jihad – a war of conquest – a religious and legal structure. Living during and after the great wave of Arab-Muslim expansion on mainly Christian lands, they built their theory of jihad on their interpretations of the Koran and the hadiths (the sayings and acts attributed to the prophet Muhammad). Thus they elaborated the concept and doctrine of jihad that established the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of belligerency, temporary armistices, or submission. The aims, tactics and strategies of jihad were defined, as well as the specific rules concerning the troops, the compulsory conditions for treaties, the treatment of prisoners, and the division of the booty. This conceptualization of war led to a considerable literature that constituted the classical doctrine of jihad, which was fixed, from the mid-eighth century onward, in comprehensive theological and legal treatises.


    The ideology, strategy and tactics of jihad constitute a most important part of Islamic jurisprudence and literature. Muslim theologians expounded that jihad is a collective, religious obligation (fard ‘ala al‑kifaya) binding the community and each individual (fard ‘ala al‑ayn) in different ways according to situations and circumstances.
    Here are two definitions of jihad by recognized authorities: Abu Muham mad Abdallah Ibn Abi Zayd al‑Qayrawani in the 10thc. (d. 966); and Ibn Khaldun in the 14th c.(d. 1406).

    Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani wrote:

    “Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis [one of the four schools of Muslim jurisprudence] maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax ( jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.1

    And Ibn Khaldun:

    “In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” 2

    One may ask: Who are the enemies? Here is a definition from al-Mawardi, the great jurist in Baghdad in the 11thc.(d. 1058).

    “The mushrikun (infidels) of Dar al-Harb (region of war) are of two types:
    First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them in one of two ways that is in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun: the first, to harry them from their houses and to inflict damage on them day and night, by fighting and burning, or else to declare war and combat them in ranks;
    “Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays (…..)if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached.”3

    Jihad may be exercised by pen, speech or money. The ‘enemies’ are those who oppose the establishment of Islamic law and its sovereignty over their lands. The world of infidels is considered as one entity. It is called the dar al‑harb (region of war) until, through jihad, it will come under Islamic rule. The war between the region of Islam (dar al‑Islam) and the region of war is supposed to last so long as unbelief exists. According to Mawardi, the Muslim “should give battle with the intention of supporting the deen [religion] of Allah … and of destroying any other deen which is in opposition to it: “so as to render it victorious over all [other] deen even if the mushrikun detest it.” (Koran 9:33)4

    Islamic law forbids the killing of women, children, the elderly, the sick and the priests, unless they have helped the enemies. It also forbids the mutilation of corpses.

    In this same chapter al-Mawardi examines the opinion of different jurists on the booty and on prisoners of war taken by the jihad. “Prisoners of war refers to the fighting men from the unbelievers taken alive by the Muslims.” 5

    He distinguish three cases:

    1) The inhabitants who convert to Islam after their defeat – in this case they and their lands become part of the dar al-Islam.

    2) “The second thing that might occur is that Allah gives victory over them but they remain mushrikun, in which case their women and children are taken prisoner, and their wealth is taken as booty, and those who are not made captive are put to death. As for the captives, the amir has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favour to them and pardon them.”

    3) “The third possibility is that the enemy make a payment in return for peace and reconciliation.”

    The payment is of two sorts:

    1. It is treated as a booty and paid once, but this does not prevent a jihad being carried out against them in the future when they stop paying.

    2. “They make a payment every year in which case it constitutes an ongoing tribute by which their security is established …. It is not permitted to resume the jihad against them as long as they make the payments, because the peace is being maintained by the regularity of these payments. If one of them enters Dar al-Islam, this contract of reconciliation guarantees safety for himself and his wealth. If they refuse to make payment, however, the reconciliation ceases, their security is not longer guaranteed and war must be waged on them – like any other persons from the enemy camp.” 6

    According to Abu Yusuf, an important jurist of the 8th c., peace treaties can be signed for four months, and they can be renewed but should not extend for more than ten years.
    In another chapter, devoted to the division of the booty, Mawardi states:

    “As for land seized by the Muslims, it is of three types:
    First, that seized by force and violence, when its inhabitants abandon it by their own deaths, or they are taken captive, or they emigrate.”

    “Second, land which is acquired from the inhabitants without violence because they have abandoned it out of fear.”

    “Third, land which is taken through treaty.”
    – the people convert to Islam or pay the jizya and become dhimmis.7

    Among the infidel peoples there are differences. Those who do not possess Revealed Scriptures – and all Arabs – have, in theory, the choice between Islam or death. The others ‑ principally the Jews and Christians ‑ are granted protection status, according to the modalities of the conquest. They become dhimmis ‑ people protected by the law of Islam, by a dhimma.

    From Islam’s beginning the universality of jihad was proclaimed. Jihad has not been ordered only against specific groups or for specific times, but – like Muhammad’s mission – it is a universal injunction till the only remaining religion is that of Allah (Koran 2:189). Today many Muslims reject such theories, but there are others who reaffirm the same standardized interpretation and conceptualization of international relations.

    For example the late Prof. Ismail al-Faruqi, a Palestinian, who was Professor of Islamic Studies and the History of Religion at Temple University (1968-86), and who also taught at the University of Chicago and Syracuse University. In a forward to Islam and Other Faiths (1998 – a collection of Faruqi’s articles), his former student John Esposito referred to him as “a Muslim trailblazer of the twentieth century” Here is Prof. Faruqi’s position:

    “The Islamic state is hoped by all Muslims some day to include the whole world. The Pax Islamica which the Islamic state offers is more viable than the United Nations… Per contra, the Pax Islamica is dominated by law, born out of nature and necessity, has law courts open to all plaintiffs, and is backed by the power of a standing, universal army.
    The doctrine of Jihad or Holy War is valid in Islam. A Holy War could be entered into only for two reasons. The first reason is defence …. The second is the undoing of injustice wherever it takes place. Like the Muslim individual within Dar al-Islam, the Islamic state regards itself, and does so rightly, as vicegerent of God in space and time, a vocation which lays a great responsibility upon the Islamic state…to redress injustice wherever men have caused it – even if that has been the other side of the moon. The Muslim regards it as his religious duty to rise up and put an end to injustice. 8
    Today many Muslims reject such theories. As for states, only Turkey has officially rejected them. We can therefore affirm that the universality of jihad had implied also the universality of the rules pertaining in the past to the whole territory conquered by jihad.


    Like the rules of jihad, the rules of dhimmitude were elaborated from the Koran, the hadiths and the biographies on the Prophet. Those laws and their religious justification were taught throughout the Islamic Empires. Despite some differences in the four schools of Islamic Sunni jurisprudence, there is a quasi unanimity in matters concerning the dhimmis. The fundamental rulings relevant to them were established quite early. We read of them extensively in Abu Yusuf (731-98), a follower of Abu Hanifa (d. 767) the founder of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. He expounded them in a treatise written for the caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809). Their implementation over the dhimmi populations is mentioned by numerous Muslim jurists throughout the centuries.

    Now we must remember also that for centuries the vanquished populations, mainly the Christians, formed the majorities in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Muslim Empires. Being the targets, along with the Jews, of dhimmitude regulations, Christian chroniclers have left many testimonies of their implementation from the earliest time and in different regions. Hence, the enunciation of the rules that one reads in abstract legal treaties are confirmed by Christian sources which depict their lethal consequences. They reveal their human concretization, adding a perceptive insight that complements the dry legal texts.

    The sources on dhimmitude

    The literature on jihad by Muslim historians is quite extensive. It describes the conquest and the process of Islamization of Christian lands which integrate the rules of dhimmitude. Hence, the many sources on dhimmitude over the centuries comprise the Muslim legal and historic texts. Jurists from the later Middle Ages and after, usually list the successive ordinances of caliphs, which are usually referred to by Muslim historians and dhimmi sources.

    Then there are the dhimmi sources, as I have mentioned, which are not uniform. Some are very meagre because of the disappearance of whole communities in some regions or at some periods, while some are more abundant.

    And then there are the numerous testimonies, including diplomatic records, left by Europeans Christian and Jewish pilgrims, as well as travellers, merchants, consuls and other diplomats. These foreigners observed and described the discriminatory rules imposed on the dhimmis, and in general against infidels because they themselves had to conform to these rules. Not being aware of Islamic legislation, their testimonies are thus a valuable confirmation that the rules were enforced.

    The characteristics of dhimmitude are manifold. They embrace the whole expression of life and rather than analyse each of them, which is impossible to do in a lecture, I shall instead examine if they belong to a permanent and homogeneous pattern in the dar al-Islam.

    Characteristics of dhimmitude

    The basic element of dhimmitude is a land expropriation through a pact: ‘land for peace’. The vanquished populations of territories taken during a millennium of jihad were ‘protected’, providing they recognized the Islamic ownership of their lands, which had now become dar al-Islam, and that they submitted to Islamic authority.

    The vanquished peoples are granted security for their life and possessions by the Muslim authority, as well as a relative self‑autonomous administration under their religious leaders, and permission to worship according to the modalities of the treaties. This concept of ‘toleration’ is linked to a number of discriminatory obligations in the economic, religious and social fields. There are different opinions among the jurists concerning which transgres sion of these obligations can be considered as breaking the protection pact (dhimma), and what sanctions should be applied.

    The first ‘right’ is the right to life, which was conceded on payment of the jizya (Koran 9:29), a poll-tax paid with humiliation by the dhimmi.. The refusal to pay the jizya is considered by all jurists as a rupture of the dhimma, which automatically restores to the umma its initial rights of war ‑ to kill and to dispossess the dhimmi, or to expel him, because he has therefore returned to his former status of being an unsubjected infidel.

    Hence Abu Yusuf wrote in his book on the kharaj (land tax) that it was not allowed for the governor to exempt any Jew, Christian, or other dhimmis from the jizya: “and no one can obtain a partial reduction. It is illegal for one to be exempted and another not, for their lives and belongings are spared only because of payment of the poll tax.” 9

    Protection is abolished if the dhimmis rebel against Islamic law, give allegiance to a non‑Muslim power, refuse to pay the jizya, entice a Muslim from his faith, harm a Muslim or his property, or commit blasphemy. The moment the pact of protection is abolished the jihad resumes, which means that the lives of the dhimmis and their property are forfeited. Today, one finds Islamists in Upper Egypt who kill and pillage Copts, because they argue that these dhimmis have forfeited their ‘protection’ as they no longer pay the jizya.

    The Baha’i religion is not protected even today in Iran. In 1994 two Muslims kidnapped and killed a Baha’i. The Islamic court held that as the Baha’is were “unprotected infidels… the issue of retribution is null and void”. 10 This means that an infidel has no human rights, unless he is protected by Islamic law.

    In the context of its time, the protection system presented both positive and negative aspects. It provided security and a measure of religious autonomy, but in a legal context of discrimination. These rules, mostly estab lished from the eighth to ninth centuries by the founders of the four schools of Islamic law, set the pattern of the Muslim community’s social behavior toward dhimmis.

    Political aspects

    Because protection was set in a context of war, some rules pertaining to the dhimmis have a military character. Among the military elements of the dhimmi condition is the prohibition for dhimmis to carry or possess weapons. It is mentioned in the earliest legal texts, from the beginning of the Islamic conquest and is attributed to the second caliph Umar b. al-Khattab (634-44). It was confirmed throughout the centuries and in different regions by many witnesses until the 19thc. and, in regions applying the shari’a until the 20thc. Many sources mention the prohibition on carrying arms for Jews and Christians in Palestine 11, Syria, Egypt, Armenia, the Maghreb, and Persia. Its debilitating and tragic consequences were analysed by foreign consuls. Dhimmis became prey to marauding, pillage, and massacre especially during periods of insecurity, such as rebellions and invasions. With the spread of the Islamic conquest, this prohibition was applied also in Anatolia and in the European Islamized provinces. British Consul Blunt noticed in his report to the Foreign Office in 1860 that Christians in the Ottoman province of Macedonia were not allowed to carry arms. British Consul in Jerusalem, James Finn, attributed to this interdiction, the cowardice of dhimmis. William Shaler, the American consul in Algiers (1816-26) mentions the prohibition for Jews and Christians to bear arms. In Yemen, Jews were forbidden to carry arms until their departure to Israel in 1949-50 12.

    The deportations of dhimmi populations for slavery or for strategic reasons are mentioned in time of war, and in time of peace. During the Arab conquests many populations were deported as booty, from Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Armenia and other regions. Muslim as well as Armenian and Coptic sources mention deportations in the 8 and 9th c. during rebellions. Muslim chronicles refer to the deportation of dhimmi population from towns and villages during warfare. Seljuk Turk rulers imposed deportations during the 11th c. from Armenia and Anatolia. Prof. Speros Vryonis 13 has extensively documented this phenomenon for Anatolia, using contemporary Greek and Muslim sources, as did Greek, Serb and Bulgarian historians for the Ottoman period. Deportations from the Holy Land were carried out by Arab tribes in middle of the 10th c., and in Anatolia under the Ottomans during the 15th – 17th centuries 14.

    Population transfers motivated by economic causes affected dhimmi populations and were not restricted to newly subjugated or enslaved populations. Some chronicles provide information on these transfers. Departure had to take place on the same day or at very short notice – two or three days – making it impossible for the deportees to sell their possessions. In order to discourage flight, they were counted, closely supervised, and forbidden to move from their new place of residence, generally very far from their places of origin. After all had been deported, their houses were burnt down and the entire village destroyed.

    Arakel of Tabriz has recorded the deportation of Armenians by Shah Abbas in 1604 from Julfa, with its terrible hardships, and the killing and abductions of girls and boys. He also describes the expulsion of the Armenians from Isfahan by Shah Abbas II, and the expulsion and forced conversions of the Jews in several cities of Persia at the same time (1657-61). Abraham of Crete, and Armenian priest, witnessed the deportation of Armenians by Nadir Shah in 1735 from the Ararat region. The deportation of Jews from Mashad (1839) and from Herat (1857-59) were described by Mattatya Gargi, the head of the Jewish community of Mashad 15.

    Billeting and provisioning soldiers and horses were imposed by laws on dhimmis – another obligation which is stressed in every legal treatise on dhimmis. Abu Yusuf attributed it to the second caliph, Umar b. al-Khattab. Soldiers and beasts had to be lodged in the best houses, or in churches or synagogues, which were then abandoned because they became refuse dumps or stables. In the 19th c. British and French consuls and travelers mentioned this obligation in Bulgaria, Bosnia, Greece, Armenia, Syria and the Holy Land.16

    In the Maghreb during periods of instability and a change in monarch, Jewish quarters were plundered, men slaughtered or ransomed, and women and children abducted by tribes massed around the towns. This was witnessed by among others, the American consul Shaler in Algiers in the 1820s, and is described in local Jewish and diplomatic reports in the early 20thc. in Morocco. 17

    Abduction of women and children for slavery or ransom in times of war and rebellion, or during peace time raids (i.e., razzias), was recurrent. Documentation is provided in Jewish dhimmi sources, but mainly in Christian chronicles: Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Greek, Bulgarian, and Muslim. Coptic chronicles of the Middle Ages mention the abduction of Christian children as slaves or as a deduction of unpaid taxes. In Yemen, Jewish children under the age of 12, upon the death of their father, were removed from their families and converted to Islam. The law was retroactive, and was applied until the departure of the Jews to Israel in 1950. However, such practices are theoretically forbidden by Muslim law. According to al-Mawardi: “ One may buy children of people residing in enemy territory, just as one may make them captive, but one may not buy children of dhimmi peoples or take them captive.”18

    The revolt of dhimmis restored the rule of jihad, resulting in slaughter of the rebels, and slavery for their women and children. After the Greek and Serb revolts in the 19th c., thousands of women and children were enslaved. At the fall of Missolonghi (22 Apr. 1825) 3.000 to 4.000 Greek women were sold in slavery. Countless Armenians were enslaved during the massacres at the end of the 19th c. and during the genocide of 1915-17.

    Religious slavery was widespread throughout the Islamic lands. Christian Nubia was obliged to deliver contingents of slaves from the beginning of the Arab conquest. The Mamluks who ruled Egypt and Syria for centuries, were all non-Muslim slaves, bought or captured. In the Ottoman Empire, for over 300 years under the devshirme system, Christian children were requisitioned annually for slavery in Albania, Greece, the Aegean Islands, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Hungary. In Persia, the koulars or militia slaves represented a similar institution. This system of enslaved Christian militias also existed in Andalusia (Spain), where military slaves were particularly numerous.

    Concerning the dhimmi peasantry 19, we see that chronicles from Egypt, Armenia, and Palestine in the 8th and 9th centuries onward describe a similar pattern concerning the taxes and the ransoms levied on the dhimmis, the general insecurity, the usurpation of lands by Arab immigrant tribes, the continuous extortion of the population, and its flight. A similar pattern developed centuries later with the penetration in Anatolia of Turkish tribes from the 11thc. During the early Middle Ages, strict control of the whole village dhimmi population, reinforced by severe penalties for those who fled, was needed to keep the peasants on their lands. Extortion under torture is mentioned in Palestine, Egypt, Armenia, and Mesopotamia. Abu Yusuf alludes to tortures inflicted on the tributaries to extract money by stating that this is forbidden. Coptic and Armenian dhimmis sources describe the same type of tortures.

    The same fiscal oppression and the ransoming for security, was observed in the 19th c. for Christians and Jews in Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon 20, as well as Mesopotamia, Armenia and Kurdistan, and some European provinces of the Ottoman Empire. It was reported by Edouard Engelhardt 21, the French plenipotentiary minister in Turkey in the middle of the 19th c. The same situation relating to Armenians some decade later is reported by an Anglo-French, and Russian Commission of Enquiry in the Sassun region after the massacres of 1894-95.

    The general pattern for the dhimmi peasantry, most frequently discussed in texts related to the beginning of the conquest, concern the conditions of the conquest, the character of the Islamized lands, the fiscal regime, the sporadic deportations, the overall insecurity, and the destruction of churches and synagogues. Even if all those evils were neither continuous nor generalized, and sometimes resisted by the Islamic central power, especially the Ottomans, they were recurrent enough to have destroyed, in some regions, the indigenous non-Muslim peasantry.

    Since dhimmitude is the result of a war of conquest, it comprises the study of the jihad rules and of the modalities of the battles and the treatises with conquered peoples. For traditional Muslim jurists the modalities of conquest of each land or city was to determine for all time the jurisdiction to be applied there. Those points are constantly stressed by jurists. Here are some examples:

    In the early fourteenth century, churches and synagogues were closed in Cairo and a legal opinion on this matter was requested from Ibn Taymiya, a renowned Hanbali jurist. He confirmed the legality of the closure by referring to the conditions of Egypt’s conquest in the seventh century by the Muslims, that is, eight centuries earlier.

    In the treatise (1739) of Shaykh al-Damanhuri, an Egyptian scholar from al-Azhar, we read an interesting examination of the opinions of the most prominent Islamic scholars on the building and restoration of churches and synagogues in Islamic lands. All opinions are based on the conditions of the conquest: if the land was taken by violence, by treaty or was occupied by Muslim colonists.

    Another example comes from Morocco a century later. From 1836 to 1837 the Jews of Fez had asked the Sultan Abd ar‑Rahman for permission to build a hammam (public bath) in their quarter. The most learned qadis (judges) were consulted; they produced twelve fatwas on the subject, going back to ancient chronicles that described the conditions of the Islamic conquest of the Maghreb more than a thousand years earlier. All of them ‑ with one exception ‑ ruled that Jews could not be granted the right to build a hammam because of the manner in which the conquest of the Maghreb had taken place in the 7thc. As late as 1898, the same request was again refused to the Jews.

    Socio-religious aspects

    The economic and social domain projects a much wider and deeper pattern of dhimmitude, because one can say that the Muslim peasantry was also – though in a much less severe way – victim of the period’s vicissitudes. In wars, invasions and rebellions, there is a degree of uncertainty. This is not the case with the legal regulations determining the economic and social status of the dhimmis. As there is no time to develop this aspect, I will briefly enumerate them. Many are stated in Abu Yusuf, the rather open-minded 8th century jurist from the Hanafi school.

    As we have seen, the jizya was mandatory under threat of jail, conversion, slav ery, the abduction of dhimmi children, or death. Dhimmis paid double the taxes of the Muslims and were subjected to the most degrading corvées. In North Africa and Yemen, repugnant obligations, such as executioner, grave digger, cleaner of public latrines and the like, were forced on Jews, even on Saturdays and holy days. Religious restrictions were numerous, ranging from prohibitions in building, repair and enlargement of synagogues and churches to regulations imposing humility, silence and secrecy in prayer and during burial. The destruction, confiscation and Islamization of synagogues, and more often churches, were common and are often mentioned in legal treatises and dhimmi chronicles.

    In the legal domain, specific laws ordained permanent inferiority and humilia tion for the dhimmis. Their lives were valued at considerably less than that of a Muslim. The penalty for murder was much lighter if the dhimmi was the victim. Likewise, penalities for offenses were unequal between Muslims and non-Muslims. A dhimmi had no right to defend himself if he was physically assaulted by a Muslim; he could only beg for mercy. He was deprived of two fundamental rights: the right of self‑defense against physical aggression, and the right to defend himself in an Islamic law court as his testimony was refused. Dhimmis could be judged under the provisions of their own legislation. However dhimmi legislation was not recognized in Muslim courts, whose judgements superseded dhimmi legal decisions.

    Dhimmis were forbidden to have authority over Muslims, to possess or buy land, to marry Muslim women, to have Muslim slaves or servants, or to use the Arabic alphabet (confirmed by Colonel Charles Churchill in Syria and Lebanon during 1840-60).

    In the social domain dhimmis had to be recognized by their discriminatory clothes whose shape, color and texture were prescribed from head to foot, likewise, their houses (color and size) and their separate living quarters. Dhimmis were forbidden to ride a horse or a camel, since these animals were considered too noble. A donkey could be ridden in towns but only on a pack‑saddle, the dhimmi sitting with both legs on one side and dismounting on sight of a Muslim. A dhimmi had to hurry through the streets, always passing to the left (impure) side of a Muslim, who was expected to force him to the narrow side or into the gutter. He had to walk humbly with lowered eyes, to accept insults without replying, to remain standing in a meek and respectful attitude in the presence of a Muslim and to leave him the best place. If he was admitted to a public bath, he had to wear bells to signal his presence. Stoning Jews and Christians ‑ especially in Arab‑populated regions ‑ was not unusual‑ likewise disdain, insults and disrespectful attitudes toward them were customary. Some regional rules represent an aggravation of this pattern. In Morocco and Yemen, Jews were forbidden any footwear outside their segregated quarter.

    These laws are the basic regulations set down in the classical texts on dhimmis and they had to be enforced throughout the lands of dhimmitude. Muslim jurists strongly condemned the alleviation of these measures when it tempo rarily occurred. Dhimmitude covers more than a millennium of Christian and Jewish history and is a comprehensive civilization encompassing customs, legislation and social behaviour. Its various con stituents were constantly imposed with lesser or greater severity depending on circumstances ‑ they may be found whether in the Balkans, in Anatolia, in the Levant, Persia, Yemen and the Maghreb.

    Thus we can answer the questions posed at the beginning of this lecture as follows: yes, indeed, dhimmitude represents a comprehensive legal system; it was introduced throughout the lands conquered and Islamized by jihad; and it was implemented as recorded in numerous texts, and viewed or experienced by countless witnesses for thirteen centuries.

    This comprehensive system has permeated Islamic civilization and culture from its inception, and is being revived today through the Islamist resurgence and the return of the shari’a in some countries. Hence this pattern is not transient but permanent.

    Jihad-dhimmitude: a stable and enduring pattern

    The considerable number of chronicles written by Muslims and non-Muslims provide copious information on the methods and implementation of jihad over the centuries. These texts make it possible to establish the close correspondence between actual Islamic military practices and the legal and theological prescriptions of jihad. The wars currently waged by Muslim states or through their proxies, in Israel, the Sudan, Nigeria, Kashmir, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of the world, reproduce the classic strategy of jihad. For instance Abu Yusuf mentions the military conscription of pubescent and pre-pubescent children in jihad campaigns. Contemporary examples include: the Iraq-Iran war, the jihad against Israel (intifada), and the Islamist militias in the Sudan. The refusal to return enemy corpses (for example by the Lebanese Hizbollah) conforms to another opinion of Abu Yusuf. Raids on villages, killing of adult males, and the abduction and enslavement of women and children (Sudan, Indonesia), as well as terrorist campaigns against civilians infidels and apostates (Algeria), conform with the opinions of al-Mawardi, mentioned earlier. The victims of such actions are deprived of all rights.

    Today, many aspects of dhimmitude remain active or potential political forces. Hence we see a return to the same situation in modern states where the shari’a is applied or constitutes the source of the laws, as in Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and until recently in Afghanistan.

    The condition of Christians in some modern Muslim states is inspired by the traditional rules of dhimmitude relating to the laws of blasphemy, mixed marriage and apostasy, or those concerning the building and repairing of churches, and of religious processions. Discrimination in employment and in education occurs, as well in equality between Muslims and non-Muslims in penal law.

    A recently published book by Canon Patrick Sookhdeo22 examined the condition known in Pakistan as “bonded labour”. This is of particular interest to the historian of dhimmitude because it was the condition of the Jewish and Christian peasantries, so often referred to in their chronicles from the eighth to the nineteenth centuries. It illustrates the subservience maintained by fiscal exploitation and indebtedness which led to expropriation and a system of slavery. Likewise, Sookhdeo demonstrates how the inferior status of the non-Muslim can validate an abuse, in theory forbidden by law, and make it irreversible, as for example the accusation of blasphemy or the abduction of Christian women. This crime, also perpetrated in Egypt today, has been a permanent feature of dhimmitude.

    As a brief conclusion, I would say that there is no public debate yet on the ideology of jihad against the infidels, nor about dhimmitude, because these subjects are simply obfuscated or denied outright. Thus, Dr. Abdel-Mo’ti Bayoumi, the Secretary of the Islamic Center of the prestigious al-Azhar university in Cairo, recently wrote (Al-Musawwar – a mainstream Egyptian weekly, in Arabic – Aug. 23, 2002) in a rejoinder to an article of mine on Jihad (National Review Online, July 1, 2002), that the dar al-harb never existed, which implies then that neither jihad, nor slavery ever existed in Islam. Thus in one stroke of the pen, a reputable Islamic scholar summarily dismissed thirteen centuries of Islamic writings and laws on this subject.

    Since the end of the 1960s some professors in Europe and North America teach that jihad wars produced no civilian victims, and that the Muslim armies of conquest were welcomed by their future dhimmis with open arms. This, of course, is the Muslim version of history and it is interesting to see that it is being adopted in Europe. This interpretation is in conformity with the shari’a which forbids any criticism of Islamic law or government, and attributes all evils to the mushrikun (the infidels), hence the necessity of the jihad, whose aim is to impose the Islamic law of justice over the land of Evil – the dar al-harb, the region of war.
    1. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, La Risala (Epitre sur les elements du dogme et de la loi de l’Islam selon le rite malikite.) Translated from Arabic by Leon Bercher. 5th ed. Algiers, 1960, p. 165.
    2. Ibn Khaldun, The Muqudimmah. An introduction to History. Translated by Franz Rosenthal. (New York, 1958), vol. 1, p. 473.
    3. Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah. The Laws of Islamic Governance, trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 60.
    4. Ib., 70
    5. Ib., 192
    6. Ib., 76-77
    7. Ib., 200-202
    8. Ismail Raji al-Faruqi, Islam and Other Faiths, ed. by Ataullah Siddiqui, (Herndon, VA), 1998, p. 100
    9. Abu Yusuf, Ya’koub, Le Livrre de l’Impot Foncier. (Kitab el-Kharadj). Translated from Arabic by E. Fagnan. (Paris, 1921), p. 189.
    10. Pedro Moreno ed. Handbook on Religious Liberty around the World, Rutherford Institute, 1996, p.277.
    11. Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634 – 1099, Translated from Hebrew by Ethel Broido. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
    12. For consular sources on dhimmitude, see Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi. Jews and Christians Under Islam Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985., The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996., Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002.
    13. Speros Vryonis,Jr. The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1971.
    14. Gil, A History of Palestine, and Joseph Hacker: “The Surgun System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire during the 15th – 17th centuries”, Zion 55/1 (1990), 27-82..
    15. For references on deportations, see the documents section in Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude.
    16. Albert Hyamson, ed. The British Consulate in Jerusalem in Relation to the Jews of Palestine (1838-1914). Vol. 1, p. 211.
    17. David Littman, “Jews under Muslim Rule, II: Morocco 1903-1912”, Wiener Library Bulletin 29, n.s. 37/38 (1976): 3-19; and WLB 28 n.s. 35/36 (1975): 65-67.
    18. al-Mawardi, op. cit., 200.
    19. For the evidence provided by Sawirus b. al-Muqaffa, Denys of Tell-Mahre and Pseudo-Denys, Michel the Syrien, Bar Hebraeus, Thomas Ardzruni, Ghevond, Sepeos, see Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude
    20. Col. Charles Churchill, The Druzes and the Maronites under Turkish Rule from 1840 to 1860 (1862).
    21. In Bat Ye’or Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide, pp.341-42.
    22. Canon Patrick Sookhdeo A People Betrayed. The Impact of Islamization on the Christian Community in Pakistan, Scotland. 2002

    Transcript of Bat Yeor’s Speech from Thursday October 10, 2002
    7:30 PM
    Brown University C.V. Starr Foundation Lectureship
    Salomon Hall Room 001

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