Definition of jizyah, its rate and who has to pay it

What is jizya? what is the quantum of jizya and from whom it is taken?

Praise be to Allah

Jizyah is what is taken from the People of the Book – and from the mushrikeen, according to some scholars – every year, in return for their being allowed to settle in Muslim lands, and in return for protecting them against those who would commit aggression against them. 

The word jizyah comes from the word jazaa’ (recompense). It is as if it is a recompense for us allowing them to live in our land and for us protecting their lives, property and dependents. 

See: Tawdeeh al-Ahkaam min Buloogh al-Maraam by al-‘Allaamah ‘Abdullah al-Bassaam (3/437); Lisaan al-‘Arab (14/146); Tahdheeb al-Asma’ wa’l-Lughaat by an-Nawawi (3/51); al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Kuwaitiyyah (15/149). 

The fuqaha’ are unanimously agreed that jizyah may be accepted from the People of the Book, and from the Magians (Zoroastrians). 

However, they differed concerning mushrikeen (polytheists) and idol worshippers, and also differed concerning the categories of People of the Book and Zoroastrians from whom jizyah may be accepted. 

The majority of Shaafa‘i and Hanbali fuqaha’ are of the view that it cannot be accepted from mushrikeen at all; nothing can be accepted from them except their becoming Muslim or being fought. 

The Hanafis and some of the Maalikis said: Jizyah may be accepted from the mushrikeen, except the mushrikeen among the Arabs. 

Al-Awzaa‘i – whose view is more likely to be correct according to the Maaliki scholars – said: It may be accepted from all the disbelievers, including the mushrikeen and idol worshippers, whether they are Arabs or non-Arabs, and whether they are Qurashis or non-Qurashis.

This view is more likely to be correct. The evidence for that is the hadith of Buraydah that was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh (1731): When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) appointed commanders for an army or expedition, he would advise them personally to fear Allah, may He be exalted, and to be good to those of the Muslims who were under their command. Then he said: “Fight in the name of Allah… When you meet your enemy among the polytheists, offer them three options, and whichever one they choose, accept it  from them and refrain from (fighting) them. Invite them to Islam and if they respond, then accept it from them and refrain from (fighting) them. Then invite them to migrate from their land to the land of the Muhaajireen (Madinah), and tell them that if they do that, they will have the same rights and duties as the muhaajiroon have. If they refuse to leave, then tell them that they are like the Muslim Bedouin and subject to the same rulings as the believers, but they will have no share of the booty and spoils, unless they strive in jihad alongside the Muslims. If they refuse, then ask them to pay jizyah. If they respond, then accept it from them and refrain from (fighting) them….” 

The evidence here is that he said “your enemy among the polytheists” and this is in general terms. 

That is also indicated by the fact that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) accepted jizyah from the Magians (Zoroastrians) of Hajar, as it says in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (3157), even though they were not People of the Book. 

This indicates that it may be taken from any disbeliever, and the meaning indicates that, because if it is permissible to take it from People of the Book and from the Zoroastrians, then others are like them, because the purpose is to allow the disbeliever to continue following his religion within a particular framework, and that is applicable to all disbelievers. 

Based on that, if one of the polytheists asks us to accept the jizyah from him and allow him to continue to follow his religion, and we see that there is a purpose to be served by that, then we may do that. 

This is the view favoured by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him). Ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘ (8/58) 

For more information, please see: al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Kuwaitiyyah (15/166) 

With regard to the rate of jizyah, the fuqaha’ differed concerning the exact rate, and there are several views. 

The first view: is that the wealthy man should pay forty-eight dirhams per year, the man of moderate means should pay twenty-four dirhams, and the poor man who is able to work should pay twelve dirhams. 

This is the view of Abu Haneefah, and of Ahmad according to one report. 

The second view: Maalik said that people who use gold as currency should pay four dinars and people who use silver as currency should pay forty dirhams, and there is no differentiation in that regard between rich and poor. 

The third view: ash-Shaafa‘i said: The minimum rate of jizyah is one pure gold dinar, and there is no maximum limit. There is no differentiation between rich and poor. 

Perhaps the most likely to be correct is the view that concerning the jizyah, it should be decided by the ruler, who may increase it or decrease it according to the ability of ahl adh-dhimmah to pay it, and according to what he sees fit. This was narrated from Imam Ahmad. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Imam Ahmad did not give a set amount for the jizyah, according to the more sound of the two reports narrated from him.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (35/350) 

See also: Ahkaam Ahl adh-Dhimmah by Ibn al-Qayyim (1/123-128) 

Jizyah is only to be accepted from adult men who are able to work. 

Jizyah is not taken from boys who have not yet reached the age of puberty, or women, or from the insane. There is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point. 

It is also not taken from very old men, the blind or the chronically sick. 

And it is not taken from the poor who are unable to pay it. 

For more information, please see: al-Mughni (13/216-221) and al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Kuwaitiyyah (15/149 ff) 

And Allah knows best.

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