Is It True That Some Non-Muslims Are Exempt from Jizya?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question

Is it true that non-Muslim women, children, the elderly, the handicapped, the sick, the insane, monks, hermits, slaves, foreigners, non-Muslim soldiers, and those unable to pay Jizya are exempt?

If so, can you provide a reference from the Quran/hadith to show where it says that?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I pray you are well.

The Jizya and Its Wisdom

Jizya is a form of tax levied on certain non-Muslim individuals who choose to live within a state governed by the Shari’a. The Shari’a aims to establish justice and equity. Non-Muslims who wish to live in such a state and benefit from this are required to pay a nominal amount to do so.

In return, they are treated as the Muslims citizens are, given the freedom to practice their religions, given protection by the state and its army, not required to fight, etc. Ultimately, the jizya acts as an encouragement for them to accept Islam and benefit in this life and the next.

Are Women, Children, and the Weak Excluded From Paying It?

Yes, according to the Hanafi school, at least, children, women, old men, the disabled, the blind, the poor who cannot work, and monks who restrict themselves to their monasteries do not pay the jizya. [Halabi, Multaqa al-Abhur]

Below are some narrations establishing this:

  1. Umar wrote the commanders of the (Muslim) armies telling them to collect the jizya, but not from women and children. [Abu ‘Ubayd, al-Amwal]

    The work has additional narrations including the weak, those who cannot work, etc, based on the commands of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al ‘Aziz, which he deduced from the actions of ‘Umar b. al Khattab in the coming narration.

  2. Abu Bakr al-Absi said he saw ‘Umar speak to an old man of the non-Muslims who said he didn’t have any wealth and that the jizya was taken from Him. Umar said, “We haven’t been fair to you.” He then wrote to the Governors of the precincts commanding them not to take the jizya from old men. Imam Abu Yusuf added the category of the blind in his narration. [Abu Yusuf, al-Kharaj]

I pray this helps.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.