What were the Criteria for Paying Jizya?

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle


What were the criteria for paying jizya?


Islam is a complete religion that addresses all aspects of our life, including politics. It provides a framework for Muslims to live by in times of war and peace and guarantees certain rights for non-Muslims living under Muslim rule.

One such right is the military protection of their persons, property, and religious centers. In compensation for this protection, non-Muslims did not have to pay alms (zakat) or serve in the army; non-muslims had to pay a poll tax. It was known as jizya, derived from the word jaza (recompense) since it was compensation or payment for the service rendered to them.

Poll tax (jizya) was collected from non-Muslims sane and free adult males who are citizens of the Muslim state. It was not to be taken from women, enslaved people, or children.

The elderly, handicapped, ill, monks, hermits, and even those who chose to fight in the army were not supposed to pay the poll tax. [Mawardi, The Ordinances of Government; Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin]

If someone was not able to pay, it just became a debt. [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin]

Other opinions state that the disabled, the elderly, the blind, and monks should not pay jizya; therefore, no debt would accrue. [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin] It would be up to the Muslim ruler to choose which position to apply based on his judgment.

Please see The Ordinances of Government by Imam al Mawardi. It is available in English.

Historically, jizya has not been collected from non-Muslims since the 19th century. After 1856, the Ottoman Empire substituted it with a military exemption tax (badal askari).

I pray this helps.

[Shaykh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language