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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Islamic State 11: Rights of Ahl al-‘Anwah

What rights ahl al-‘anwah dhimmīs enjoy? According to the sharī‘ah, the Islamic State is bound to provide such people with certain legal and constitutional rights. However, in order to fully comprehend their rights and the true spirit of the law in this regard we need to appreciate four important facts.
1. The rights discussed below only pertain to the specific kind of dhimmīs which is termed ahl al-‘anwah by our jurists. These are the people who wage war with the Almighty Allah and his Messenger and meet defeat in the battlefield. Thus they come under Islamic rule through defeat in the battle they themselves launch against the Islamic State.[1]
2. The rights of the ahl al-‘anwah dhimmīs, discussed below do not match the rights granted to the minorities in the present day democracies because such constitutional provisions do not carry weight. These are mere embellishment of the books. The weight they carry, if at all, is confined within the interests of the state and the government. In Islam, on the contrary, these rights are granted by the sharī‘ah and form part of the divine law. They are to be fulfilled in the same spirit as any other religious obligation. Therefore, if the authorities fail to fulfil any of the below mentioned rights of the non-Muslims without reasonable excuse they are held accountable in this world and will be recompensed on the Last Day. A prophetic ḥadīthwarns the Muslim rulers of grave consequences on that Day if they disregard the divine laws in this regard. The Prophet is reported to have said that the dhimmīs who are wronged by the Muslim rulers will be defended by the Messenger of God himself.
3. These rights are awarded by the Almighty Allah and his Messenger to the dhimmīsnot by the Islamic State or the government. God and Messenger guarantee the protection of these rights of the dhimmīs. Knowingly or inadvertently denying these rights to the dhimmīs incurs the sin of betraying the Almighty and his Messenger. Such an act is considered treason.
4. These rights are minimal. Granted to the dhimmīs by the Almighty himself, these rights cannot be curtailed. The Islamic State may incur political loss on fulfilling these rights. It can no doubt grant them more rights but it can no way rightfully curtail these further.
Those unable to understand the distinct legal status of common form of dhimmīs and the ahl al-ṣulḥ subjects in the Islamic State cannot appreciate the difference in the rights of the both kinds. They fail to appreciate the true spirit and importance of the facts we have mentioned above. They feel ashamed before the non-Muslims having misinterpreted certain Qur’ānic verses, which impose jizyah on the dhimmīs, (Q 9:29) and the prophetic aḥadīth,which apparently give the impression that Islam stresses subjugation of the conquered people. These people take up these issues filled with this sense of pity. Consequently they either ignore important aspects of the problem or try to explain them incorrectly. As a result, instead of explaining away the doubts of the non-Muslims they intensify them. They may even put similar doubts and questions in the minds of the believers. Therefore, if a believer acquaints himself with the difference between these two groups of the non-Muslims, the legal status of each of them, and the above mentioned special aspect of the general dhimmīs, there remains no reason for him to shy away from discussing these issues with the non-Muslims. The rights Islam awards the conquered people, the protection it guarantees them, and the way the followers of Islam are obliged to fulfil these rights with care and trustworthiness does not find a parallel in the political history of the world. These facts do not leave one to raise objections against Islam. Islam does not merely talk of the rights of the non-Muslims. It does not merely introduce them as the embellishers of the constitutional documents. Words are not deeds. Here the real issue is the practical provision of these rights to the conquered people. They have not been confined to legal bills. The world has observed the Muslims applying these golden rules practically in their dealing with the non-Muslims.
After this preliminary discussion, we turn to the explanation of the rights of this kind of the dhimmīs and their duties determined by the Islamic sharī‘ahin an appropriate order.


Dhimmīs will no longer legally own their lands but they will continue managing them. Their right to using their lands and cultivating it is considered hereditary. Their right over these lands will continue from generation to generation.[2] They will be lawfully transferring, selling, buying and giving away their lands among themselves. Islamic government will receive a reasonable amount of kharāj from the dhimmīs by virtue of its legal ownership of the lands. It was decided during the reign of ‘Umar that the lands of the conquered people would not be distributed among the conquerors and that the dhimmīs will continue managing their estates. After the fall of Iraq, some people demanded that the conquered lands should be distributed among the armies. The historical narratives tell us that the Caliph said that land is the real property. It will not be distributed among the soldiers. Only the personal possessions of the conquered people will be distributed among the soldiers as booty. This issue has been discussed in detail elsewhere in this book.
The amount of kharāj will be determined considering whether the lands of the dhimmīs give enough produce for the basic needs of the keepers and the payment of the kharāj. “innamā ’umirnā an na’khudha al-‘afw (We have been commanded to take only what is over and above the basic needs [of the dhimmīs])” is the rule. ‘Umar appointed some people to assess the lands of the dhimmīs and determine the kharāj. When they returned after completing their work, the Caliph tried his best to make sure that they had not burdened the dhimmīs with unjust amount of kharāj which the land subjected to this tax could not produce. ‘Umar attested the kharāj only after making sure that the administrators had not committed injustice and that the kharājimposed was less than the actual produce leaving enough for the cultivators’ basic needs.[3]
Kharāj is applied to only such arable lands as produce income. The houses of the dhimmīs and the lands used in settlements etc are not subject to the payment of kharāj.[4] While receiving kharāj,the government cannot extract clothes, utensils, grain separated for personal use, bulls and the tools nor can these things be confiscated.[5]
‘Alī once appointed someone as tax collector in ‘Ukbarā. While in the presence of the dhimmīs, the Caliph directed him not to allow them concession with regards to kharāj. However, in personal meeting with him, the Caliph explained that whatever he had said in the presence of the dhimmīs was one thing. “What I am going to tell you now you need to keep in mind all the time or I will remove you from the post. Never take in kharāj and sell someone’s donkey nor his bull nor his clothes. Treat them kindly again and again”, the Caliph commanded his tax collector. [6]
Nobody will be flogged in order to make him pay the kharāj. None will be made to stand in queue waiting for the purpose. Things of basic needs cannot be confiscated.[7] The dhimmīs will be allowed maximum allowance in this connection. Sa‘īd b. ‘Āmir was an administrator on parts of Syria. Once he approached the Caliph ‘Umar who had expressed his concerns over late submission of kharāj from his administrative unit. The administrator explained that the Caliph himself had directed them not to impose more than four dinārs as kharāj. He further said that besides carrying out these orders they even waited till harvest time. ‘Umar was greatly pleased at this response and declared that he would not remove Sa‘īd from his post as long as lived.[8] Whenever kharāj from Iraq reached the capital, ‘Umar would call the governors of Kūfah and Baṣrah in his presence. He would make them swear that they had not wrongfully received the kharāj from the people by force. This he did in order to guard the subject against any kind of wrong from the administrators.[9]
Tax collectors were appointed through a careful investigation. We learn that when ‘Umar needed to appoint tax collectors, he wrote to the governors of Kūfah and Baṣrah. He asked them to recommend to him the best people from the respective cities for the responsibility. It was only after recommendations from the governors that the Caliph appointed the tax collectors.[10]
According to Qāḍī Abū Yūsuf a tax collectors must possess the following qualities.[11]
First, he must be a man of knowledge with special insight and profound understanding of the legal matters.
Second, he must be accustomed to consult with the people of understanding all important affairs. He must not be disposed to impose his will upon others.
Third, he should be honest in his conduct and dealings. An individual known to have been involved in dishonesty cannot be appointed as a tax collector.
Fourth, he must guard the rights of the subject and should pay back anything entrusted to him fearing none other than God.
The state will manage the affairs concerning the receipt of kharāj through its administrators. It will not employ middle men. This ensures that subjects are not wronged by any and the state is held responsible for any mistreatment by the administrators. When the dhimmīs desire to appoint middle men, they can. The middle men, however, will not be given full liberty. The state will keep them under continual supervision and check so that none is able to take unjust advantage of his position and wrong the dhimmīs.[12]


This type of dhimmīs is subjected to the payment of a certain kind of tax called jizyah, corresponding to the guarantee given to them regarding their life and property. This tax is only applicable to the men who can render military service, since this tax is paid against exemption from the service. Women and children are of course natural exceptions. They do not need to pay the jizyah. Similarly, the old, the needy and the poor, the handicapped and the blind; all are exempted from this tax. Financially unstable clerics too are exempted from this duty.[13] This tax is determined keeping in consideration the financial status of the individuals. It is principle of the Sharī‘ah that no dhimmī is subjected to pay except what is over and above his needs.[14] This is applicable in all kind of dealings with the dhimmīs including this type of the non-Muslim citizens. That is why this tax has always been very minimal. In the early days of Islam, the amount imposed on the wealthy was one dirham, on the mediocre ½ dirham, and on the poor ¼ dirham monthly.[15] What is more if it was noticed that a dhimmī was unable to pay the amount easily, he was granted more rebate.[16]
Nobody will be ill-treated or wronged to extract the jizyah from him. The dhimmīs will not be made to queue in the sun. No corporal punishment or torture is condoned. All will be shown leniency.[17] Once, during the rule of ‘Umar, more than usual amount of jizyah reached the capital. He addressed the tax collectors saying: “I believe you have brought havoc on the subjects.” All of the tax collectors swore that they had not committed injustice and that they had shown all possible mercy and leniency. The Caliph was not satisfied. “Without beating them up?” he asked. The tax collectors responded that they had. Once the Caliph was satisfied, he thanked God in the following words: “Thanks God! Neither I nor someone else commits injustice in my empire.”[18]
There were dhimmīs engaged in kind of industrial production. The rightly guided caliphs always required them to pay what was convenient for them. Thus they could pay in jizyah things they produced. ‘Alī, for example, made the manufacturers of needles to pay the needles in jizyah, the producers of combs to pay the combs only, and the makers of ropes to pay the ropes only so that they are not put in inconvenience.[19]
‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, during his rule, issued a directive governing the issue of jizyahimposed on a deceased or a run away man. He decided that their liabilities in jizyahwill not be received from the heirs.[20]
We know that jizyah is a tax imposed on the minorities against their right of protection of life and property. It is not applicable once the Muslims rulers are no longer able to protect the life and property of the minorities. This is evidenced by many precedents in the Islamic history. During the time ‘Abū ‘Ubaydah was the governor of Syria, the Roman attacked parts of the province and pushed the Muslim armies back in many parts of conquered areas. The governor returned the jizyah received from the dhimmīs living in those areas before retreating. Happy at this kind treatment, the dhimmīs prayed for the success of the Muslims against the Romans. They wished the Muslims returned and took over the control of the region again. They said that the Romans, in such circumstances, instead of returning the taxes to the occupied nation, would have looted their remaining assets.[21]
The dhimmīs are exempted from rendering military services. They are exempted from jizyah,if they render military services voluntarily. If the circumstances force the Muslim government to seek military help from them this too will remove the obligation to pay the jizyah from those of the dhimmīs helping the Muslims. Moreover, if a dhimmī rendered any intellectual service he was customarily exempted from the payment of jizyah permanently. During the rule of ‘Umar, a canal was dug between Cairo and the Red Sea. A dhimmīhelped in preparing the layout of the proposed canal. In recognition of his service, he was granted permanent exemption from jizyah.[22]


The Islamic State is obliged to provide for the dhimmīs who are no more able to earn their living. A grant in proportion to their basic needs will be allowed them from the Bayt al-māl (treasury). ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz wrote his governor ‘Adī b. Arṭāt ordering him to collect information about the financial and social circumstances of the dhimmīs living in his province. He asked the commander to allow grant to the old dhimmīs who were unable to earn their living. He wrote that once ‘Umar (the second caliph) had come across an old dhimmī who was begging from door to door. The Caliph consoled him and confessed that he was not justly treated by the rulers who extracted jizyah from him in his youth and neglected him when old. The Caliph then allotted him sufficient grant from the Bayt al-māl.[23]
Khālid b. Walīd assured the citizens of Ḥīrah that if any among them grew old, faced disaster or became poor after having enjoyed opulence, he would be provided the basic needs for his person and family from the bayt al-māl. He would enjoy this right as long as he lived under the Islamic rule.[24]
If a dhimmīis taken as prisoner by the enemy, the state will arrange for his release. If necessary, ransom will be paid from the national treasury.[25]


Since the Islamic State imposes jizyah on the dhimmīs and pledges protection of their life and property it is obliged to protect the life and property of the dhimmīs just as it protects the life and property of the Muslims. The Islamic sharī‘ah does not differentiate between life of a dhimmīand life of a Muslim citizen. Imām Sha‘bī, Nakha‘ī, Abū Ḥanīfah and their followers hold that if a Muslim citizen murders a dhimmī he shall be killed in retaliation.[26] Ṭabarānī has narrated that once a Muslim citizen who had murdered a dhimmī was brought before ‘Alī. After due investigation, he was proved guilty and was convicted. The Caliph ordered his execution. Later on, one of the brothers of the victim approached the Caliph and told him that he had forgiven the murderer. ‘Alī asked the dhimmī if he had been threatened by the Muslims. The dhimmītold the Caliph that it was not the case. He explained that he had forgiven the murderer only because he believed that killing the murderer in retaliation could not bring his brother back to life. He further stated that those people offered him diyah which he accepted. At this the Caliph told him that he had all the right to forgive the murderer. He further said that the government is obliged to protect the lives of the dhimmīs. Therefore, their blood is no less important than that of the Muslims. The amount of diyah of the blood of a dhimmī is equal to that of a Muslim.
Many prophetic traditions condemn the killing of dhimmīs and warn the offender of great retribution.

‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Umar narrates that the Prophet said: “Whoever kills a dhimmī will not smell the fragrance of Jannah (paradise) which can be sensed from a distance of forty years. (Bukhārī, No: 6516)

Abū Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet said: “The one who kills a dhimmī whose life has been granted protection in the name of God and his Messenger, breaks the pledge of God. Such a person will not be able to smell the fragrance of Jannah (Paradise), the sweet smell of which can be felt from a distance of forty years. (Tirmidhī, No: 1403)

It has been claimed that Imām Thawrī, Zuhrī, Zayd b. ‘Alī and Imām Abū Ḥanīfah held that in case of intentional murder there is no difference between the amount of diyah of the blood of dhimmīs and Muslims.
‘Amr b. Umayyah Dhamrī inadvertently killed two persons belonging to the tribe Banī ‘Āmir. The Prophet had enacted a treaty with the tribe. The Prophet made sure that the heirs of those killed were given the amount of diyah prescribed for killing a Muslim.
Bayhaqī has recorded a tradition which says that during the time of the Prophet, the diyahfor the life a Jew or a Christian was equal to that of a Muslim. This legal practice was observed by Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and Uthmān.
Ibn ‘Umar reports that the Prophet once paid diyah for the life of a dhimmī. The amount was equal to that of the diyah for a Muslim.[27]
Besides protection of the life of the individual dhimmīs, the Islamic government is obliged to provide them with shelter and protect them against foreign aggression. One of the Islamic legal principles in this regard says that the Muslims will fight for their protection.[28]


Not only is the life of the dhimmīs but their asset too is inviolable. Ṣa‘ṣah narrates:

I informed Ibn ‘Abbās that we take belongings of the dhimmīs while passing through their lands. Ibn ‘Abbās asked me: “Without paying for it?” I responded: “Yes.” At this Ibn ‘Abbās said: “What is your view in this regard?” I explained that there is nothing wrong in doing so. Ibn ‘Abbās said: “What you say is exactly which that the People of the Book would hold. Then he referred to a verse of the Qur’ān which reads:
[They say] there is no blame on us in usurping the belongings of the unlearned people. They knowingly forge a lie against Allah. (3:75)[29]

Abū ‘Abd Allāh ‘Abd Allāh or Abū ‘Abd al-Raḥmān narrates:

Once I was travelling with Sa‘d. We had to stay for a night in our way. There was a house nearby belonging to a dhimmī. We enquired about its owner but he was not at home. Sa‘d said to us: “If you want to meet your Lord tomorrow as believers then hold off your hands from his belongings.” Thus we starved through the night under the walls of his house.[30]

Whenever Abū Dardā’ passed settlements of the dhimmīs the best benefit he would take was to drink water from their wells or to take rest in a shadow or to allow his horses graze in their meadows. He would even pay them for these services either in cash or in kind.[31]
Once ‘Ubādah b. Ṣāmit sent his slave into a settlement of the dhimmīs to bring him miswāk (a stick used as tooth cleaner). Then he asked him to come back. He said: “Leave it. Though worthless today, it will become precious after drying up.”[32]
‘Umar was in Jābiyah. A dhimmī approached him and said that a few individuals had ruined his grape orchard. ‘Umar went ahead and investigated the issue. To his surprise, one of his companions was taking a basketful of grapes. He exclaimed, “Oh, you too!” The man replied: “Yes, the chief of the believers. Hunger overtook us and we committed this act.” ‘Umar commanded that the owner of the orchard be paid for what had been taken. According to another version of the narrative, the Caliph declared that he was quit of the transgressions committed by his men.[33]
The Muslim rulers and the dhimmīs had agreed on that the dhimmīs would host the Muslims coming to their settlements for one day only. They were to provide the visitors with basic needs. The Muslim visitors were only entitled to demand food to eat and fodder for their horses. If, compelled by rain or illness, a Muslim needed to stay more than the stipulated duration, he would pay for the services rendered to him. This was because the settlements of the dhimmīs were mostly situated away from the Muslim cities. There was usually no Muslim population living among them. At that time there were no separate rest houses for the government officials, administrators or tax collectors.

We have decided that (the people of Iraq) will entertain the Muslim visitors for one day. If one is compelled by rain or illness to stay more than one day he will stay on his own expense.[34]

Though these things cannot be termed injustice to the dhimmīs yet some authorities have held a more lenient viewpoint. Imām Mālik holds that the state cannot even seek this help from the dhimmīs and take these items from them without their consent. When he was asked about the nature of the compulsory treatment sought from the dhimmīs he said that they were compensated by lessening the amount of jizyah imposed on them. He is reported to have said:

Nothing can be taken from them except with their consent. “What about the compulsory entertainment?” it was asked. “They were compensated (in jizyah),” he responded.[35]


The dhimmīs are free to practice their religion. They can expressly perform their religious rites and rituals. The sharī‘ah dictates that if dhimmīs are allowed to settle in a conquered land they will be granted religious freedom. Following a long list of the conquered cities ‘Abū ‘Ubayd writes:

These are the cities of ahl al-‘anwah. The people living there are granted full freedom to live according to their religion and to follow their religious law.[36]

Any restriction, if at all, is applied to only those cities which have been built and populated exclusively by the Muslims or those which have been separated exclusively for national purposes after the fall.


The personal law for the dhimmīs will not be interfered with. Once ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz asked Ḥasan what was the reason the early caliphs did not interfere with the Zoroastrians’ law which permits them to take in marriage their daughter and step mothers. Ḥasan told the caliph that he had to follow the example of the earlier caliphs and was not authorized to implement his personal opinion.[37]
This fact alone sufficiently depicts the freedom granted to the dhimmīs in their personal law.


Let us now try to explain away some misconceptions that have found way into the minds of people concerning the attitude of the Islamic States towards the dhimmīs.
The most prominent misconception is the commonly held view that the Islamic state does not grant the dhimmīs freedom to form a view and to propagate their religion. This is a baseless assumption. The right to criticize the authorities, administrative setup, national policies and conduct of the officials is granted to the dhimmīs. The right to preach and propagate the religion too is acknowledged. The only restriction imposed by Islam, applied both to Muslims and non-Muslims, is that such preaching must be conducted positively. The preachers and propagators should not aim at or end up in causing nuisance in the society. They should not, while preaching their religion, injure the feelings of the adherents of other religious denominations. Neither Muslims nor non-Muslims are allowed to show disrespect to the Prophets and Messenger of God. ‘Umar once issued the following golden principle in this regard:

Execute the one who abuses God, his Messenger or any of the Prophets.[38]

Just as the Messengers and Prophets have to be respected, the famous reformers who served the humanity and propagated truth will also not be disrespected. This applies to all religions. This is based on the Islamic stance that God has sent guides and teachers, Prophets and Messengers, to all the nations. The teachings of the divine Messengers were later on distorted by their followers.
Besides this, there is no restriction on propagating one’s religion. Followers of all the religions and creeds can invite others to their faith. Islam, however, does not permit the non-Muslims to oppose the foundational principles of the Islamic State for the sake of opposition or mock them. This prohibition is not peculiar to the Islamic teachings. No state under the skies tolerates such an action. The British democracy is considered to be a model political setup for its religious freedom. It does not allow any person the right to challenge the authority of the British Crown or to oppose and poke fun at it for it is the foundation of the state. Whoever commits such an offence is subjected to the punishment of high treason. In states like Russia and United States of America such an offence may incur a more exemplary punishment. On the basis of this right of maintaining the sovereignty of the state, the Islamic State too does not allow any citizen, Muslim or non-Muslim, to raise voice against the sovereignty of God or to negate it or to make fun of it. This would be an act injuring the very foundation of the state. In the Islamic State, such an act is tantamount to what the Indian Penal Code terms waging war against the king and depredation against the state. In this matter, we believe, even the most enlightened political setup which boasts of maximum civil liberty in the modern world cannot be compared to the Islamic State. There has never been a single state on the face of the earth (except for the true Islamic State) which ever tolerated people living in it who do not believe in its foundational principles. Nor does any such state exist now. Those who oppose and do not believe in the foundational principles of a state are not granted the right to live in the state not to say of providing them with an opportunity to flourish. In India, for example, those who believe that Muslims and Hindus are two different nations with different ideologies and pattern of life are not tolerated. In Russia, too, those who do not believe in communism are not welcome. The Islamic State not only provides the non-Muslims, who do not believe in the foundational principles of the Islamic State and are openly against it, with protection and vast rights discussed above but also allows them to follow their religion and creeds, transmit them to their offspring and to do peaceful and positive struggle for its propagation and flowering. The Islamic State, however, does not allow them to struggle for the implementation of their religion and creed as a way of life and to work for the replacement of the foundational principles of the Islamic state with them. A close study of the Islamic teachings in this regard shows that in the Islamic State, non-Muslims enjoy more freedom than the Muslim citizens. They are allowed to practice, follow and preach any religion or creed whereas Muslims are not permitted to adhere to or proclaim any ideology counter to the fundamental teachings of Islam.
Some people believe that politically the non-Muslims are not more than mere subjugated subjects. They do not deserve respect nor are their views given any weight. They are deprived a share in the political setup of the country and employment in civil service etc. This too is a baseless assumption which is no less misguided than the first one. Various examples from the history of Islam negate this view and affirm otherwise. Early history of Islam is filled with examples which show that the Islamic governments benefited from the services of the non-Muslims and have provided them with an opportunity to exhibit and improve their talent.
We have already mentioned that during the rule of the Caliph ‘Umar a non Muslim engineer was employed to prepare the plan of a proposed canal. Not only did the non-Muslim serve in ordinary departments of the administration they have at times served along with the Muslim soldiers in wars. Such non-Muslim soldiers were given their share in the booty.
During the war with the Persians, the commander of the Muslim army Mathnā b. Ḥāritha called two leaders of the Taghlab tribe, ‘Anas b. Halāl Namrī and Ibn Madā al-Fahrī al-Taghlabī, both Christians, and said to them: “though you do not follow our religion yet you are Arabs. Therefore, I expect you to help me. Help me in our attack on the Persian commander Mahrān.” Later on, the Persian commander was killed by a Christian soldier belonging to the tribe of Taghlab. In this battle Mathnā’s brother Mas‘ūd was martyred. ‘Anas b. Halāl Namrī too was killed in the same battle. After the battle was over Mathnā embraced the dead body of ‘Anas b. Halāl Namrī just as he did embrace the dead body of his brother and mourned them both.[39]
Binyāmīn was a prominent leader of the Copts in Egypt. When ‘Umar came to know that he enjoyed great confidence of the Copts he wrote to ‘Amr b. al-‘Āṣ, the governor of the province, to seek the opinion of this leader in administrative affairs. Consequently, ‘Amr b. al-‘Āṣ put him in charge of the implementation of the personal law of the Copts.[40]
The above examples, among many others, show that the rulers in the Islamic State consider two things in this connection. First, the non-Muslims should win the confidence and trust of the rulers by adopting appropriate behaviour. Their loyalty with the state authorities should be plain and clear. history shows that those of the dhimmīs who have proven themselves reliable citizens were never rejected by the Prophet or, after him, the pious caliphs merely on the basis of their religion. The tribe of Banū Khuzā‘ah were the trusted fellows of the Prophet, both Muslims and the polytheists among them.
We find numerous examples in the books of history and sīrah proving that the Prophet sometimes entrusted very crucial and delicate political and military affairs to the non-Muslims. All the people of the tribe of Banū Khuzā‘ah, Muslims and non-Muslims, sided with the Prophet in the Conquest of Makkah. It would not be out of place to mention that it was this tribe which was wronged by the Quraysh and the Prophet marched on Makkah to avenge the wrong done his allies.
Second important thing is that the Islamic State cannot appoint non-Muslims in the key posts which involve formation of policies. This is because the Islamic State is an ideological state. Such responsibilities can only be entrusted to those who believe in the ideology of the state. Just as it is impossible for the Russian Federation to appoint someone opposed to communism as their foreign minister, the Islamic State too cannot appoint on its key posts, which involve policy making, someone who does not believe in Islam, the foundational principle of the Islamic State. In fact no ideological state can afford such a practice and it cannot be termed fair to demand that it should. Outside this sphere, no difference is observed between a Muslim and a non-Muslim; all of them may be selected for any post considering their ability, professional acumen and reliability.
Now we turn to the second misconception in this regard. It is commonly held that the Islamic government has to adopt, as a national policy and a permanent program, ways and manners in all business and social conduct which humiliate and chagrin the non-Muslims living in the state. This is obviously a lie designed against Islam and spread by the enemies. Muslims too have been led to hold this view of the Islamic State. There is no denying the fact that Islam distinguishes between the conqueror nation and the conquered one. This bifurcation, however, is not based on the Islamic ideal to humiliate the non-Muslims. Nor does it reflect such a disparagement of the non-Muslims. The nature of this differentiation can be compared with the one observed by all ideological parties with regards to their dealing of the members and the non-members. A society founded on any concrete belief and distinct principles is ever compelled to make its members avoid mixing with the followers of all opposing ideologies. It seeks to keep its distinct status clearly discernable.
The genesis of these misconceptions can be found in some historical incidents. These historical facts have not been properly analyzed. Those seeking to analyze them often ignore some of the important aspects which can be helpful in coming to the right conclusion. Any unpleasant aspects of these issues have, on the contrary, been highlighted. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some of these issues and will try to reveal the true picture concerning them.
The first misconception is that the dhimmīs are burdened with the responsibility to host the Muslims whenever the latter visit their settlements. The reason of this duty, as explained above, was that there was no other way possible in that period of history. Guest houses, a common feature of present day, were not current then. Many other means of accommodation for the state authorities visiting the parts of the country are available now. There remains no reason to burden the dhimmīs with this responsibility.
The second misconception in this regard is that the dhimmīs are thought to be forbidden to dress themselves like Muslims. The basic reason of this directive seems to be that the dhimmīs started to dress like the Muslim soldiers. This caused a lot of confusions which could grow severer with the passage of time. Therefore, this prohibition was felt necessary. It was an administrative measure taken by the then rulers. It is not an expression of discrimination. We find that Khālid b. Walīd put the following condition in the terms of the treaty with the people of Ḥīrah:

They can dress in any kind of attire save for the military dress.[41]

This is quite understandable. No state allows the citizens to use the military uniform. Thus by issuing this order the authorities in the Islamic State actually used their established administrative right endorsed by general practice. Does not this administrative measure, later developed into a form of discrimination between a Muslim and non-Muslim, mean clear discrimination? Though this is a valid question but it can be explained by referring to the fact that almost the entire Muslim population of that time was engaged in wars. The Muslim army, during that period, comprised the entire body of the believers. There was no standing army and the ordinary Muslim dress came to be the military uniform. In this state of affairs, forbidding the non-Muslims the Muslim dress meant nothing more than disallowing them using national military uniform. This in my view is the truth of the matter. It is only because of the misunderstanding on the part of the reporters that the reality was lost. People started to think that the Islamic governments forced the non-Muslims not to dress like the Muslims.
The third misconception is that the Islamic law imposes discriminatory taxes (maḥsūl) on the non-Muslim citizens. There is no doubt that, according to some narratives, dhimmīs in certain centres were made to pay more than the usual tithe (‘ushūr) imposed on the Muslim citizens. It is, however, not a universal Islamic teaching. There are scholars who even contest legal importance of the tithe (‘ushūr). In other words they believe it to be an administrative decision rather than a religious tenet. This entails that if we learn that a particular Islamic government in the past imposed this tax that should not be attributed to Islam. It should be attributed to the Muslim rulers who imposed the tax. There is also no reason to hold that the difference observed in this regard was based on the religious affiliations of the payers. It could have been based on economic facts and reasons. The scholars who believe that this kind of tax is a valid legal tax hold that this tax can only be imposed when the Muslim rulers have already been granted the right to do so through a treaty with the relevant groups of non-Muslims. In absence of any such terms in the treaty, the non-Muslims cannot be subjected to the payment of any kind of tax other than jizyah.[42]
The fourth misconception in this regard is the commonly held view that the Muslims have been taught not to let the dhimmīs walk along them on the roads and paths in their towns. This can be negated by the mere fact that many of the Muslims scholars of early period consider it allowable for the believers to be the first to greet when they meet some dhimmīs. Ibn ‘Abbās, Abū Imāmah, Ibn Muhayriz, Qāḍī ‘Ayāḍ, ‘Alqamah and Nakha‘ī held this view.[43] This makes it quite impossible to hold that Islam teaches its adherents to stop the dhimmīs from using their sidewalks and road like the Brahmans of Madrās hinder the lower caste Hindus from mixing with them.
The fifth misconception is that the non-Muslims in the Islamic State are forced to abide the Islamic social, cultural, penal and dietary laws. The dhimmīs must follow the Muslim conduct in this regard, it is held. There is no doubt in that, in the Islamic State, the law of the land is the Muslim law. Otherwise there remains no meaning in its claim to be an Islamic State. However, our contenders here are forgetting the point that the Islamic State does not interfere with the religion, culture, civilization and personal law of the non-Muslims. The extent of freedom granted them can be assessed by the fact that eating pork and drinking wine, which is absolutely illegal (ḥarām) as per the Islamic sharī‘ah, is allowed them.[44] In fact no state can tolerate anything which has the potential to bring the collective social life against the foundational principles of the state. Similarly, the Islamic Sate does not allow interest based businesses or opening brothel houses even if these things are considered allowable by a certain religious group. For these things risk the moral and economic system of the society. Non-Muslim women are not allowed to dress in such a way that deteriorates moral condition of the youth. They are, however, never subjected to the Islamic dress code.
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[1] Here one must keep in mind the difference between a Muslim government and the Islamic government. Equally important is the fact that the war waged by a Muslim government, which does not take the word of God and his Messenger as their guide, cannot be considered jihād. Many governments fight for worldly gains and benefits. This needs to be duly stressed because our discussion does not relate to a government which is not led by the principles of Islam and is merely ostensibly called Islamic.
[2] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 109.
[3] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 48.
[4] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 92.
[5] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 188.
[6] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 55.
[7] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 16.
[8] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 55.
[9] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 16.
[10] Ibid., 113.
[11] Ibid., 106.
[12] Ibid., 113.
[13] Ibid., 122-3.
[14] Ibid., 123.
[15] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 49-50.
[16] Ibid., 51.
[17] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 123.
[18] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 54.
[19] Ibid., 56.
[20] Ibid., 61.
[21]Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 139.
[22] Dr. Muhammad Ḥamīd Allāh, The Muslim Conduct of State (Lahore, Pakistan: Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, 1977), 101.
[23] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 57.
[24] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 144.
[25] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 168-9.
[26] Shawkānī, Nayl al-Awṭār, 7: 10.
[27] This discussion is entirely based on Shawkānī, Nayl al-Awṭār, 7: 64-6.
[28] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 14.
[29] ‘Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 197.
[30] Ibid., 198.
[31] Ibid.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Ibid., 199.
[34] Ibid., 192. Ibn ‘Ubayd added that the visitors will only be entitled to necessary food and fodder for animal.
[35] Ibid., 196.
[36] Ibid., 133.
[37] Ibid., 45.
[38]Ibn Qayyim, Zād al-Ma‘ād,5: 60.
[39] Haykal, al-Fārūq ‘Umar, 2: 116-7.
[40] Ibid., 2, 160-1.
[41] Abū Yūsuf, Kitāb al-Kharāj, 144.
[42] Shawkānī, Nayl al-Awṭār, 63.
[43] Ibid., 67.
[44] Abū ‘Ubayd, Kitāb al-Amwāl, 133.