What is Jizya? Read from Islamic sources how Muslim Jizya collectors had all rights to spit into Hindu payer’s mouth. Read how Muslim invaders used to humiliate Indian Muslims’ forefathers.

This article is contributed by Rushmore, an active member of Satyagni.


Jizya (the per capita tax levied on an Islamic state’s non-Islamic populace) can be traced back to the Aramaic word “gaziyat.” In pre-Islamic period, this kind of taxation was in vogue as a poll tax that was collected from those people that were perceived to be inferior to the ruling class or aristocracy in the region that is the plexus of today’s Iran, Turkey, Syria and part of today’s Iraq. The book “Al-Jizya” by Shibli Nu’mani traces the concept of jizya to exist even during 531 AD. And the book also goes on to state that in that Aramaic speaking society based on class structures, paying gaziyat was considered to be a mark of degradation and inferiority.

So, Islamic jizya, as we know it, while having pre-Islamic roots, has a strong streak of establishing the payee of jizya to be inferior to the one that imposes the tax.

Jizya and Quran:

The concept of jizya is seen in the Quranic verse 9:29.

YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden 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 Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

PICKTHAL: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

Now, irrespective of the spin that the likes of Zakir Naik and Bilal Philips use (by calling Jizya a normal tax to be paid by Non Muslims), the verse clearly points to the payment of jizya as a form of subjugation. The key words from the above translations are “subdued,” “being brought low,” “state of subjection” etc. So, jizya, is a form of subjugation of non-Muslims by the Muslims. And the bottom line is that Muslims, in the above verse, are being mandated to fight non-Muslims till the non-Muslims pay jizya.

Jizya and Hadiths:

Jizya is found in many places in the Hadiths and the consistent theme being that this tax is levied on non-Muslims by Muhammad himself or by Caliphs after Muhammad as a way out, for the non-Muslims, against death enforced by Muslim commanders or battle against a Muslim army or continuance as a non-Muslim.

While there are a number of verses from Hadiths that can be quoted on jizya, here are a few for starters.

Sahih Muslim:

Book 19, Number 4294 states that Muhammad commanded his military leaders to demand jizya from non-Muslims if they refused to accept Islam, and to fight them if they refused to pay.

Book 32, Number 6328 states that Hisham passed by Syrian farmers who had been detained for jizya and made to stand in the sun, and Number 6330 states that he came by some Nabateans who had been detained “in connection with the dues of jizya”.

Book 42, Number 7065 states that that Muhammad collected jizya from the people of Bahrain.

Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386 states that Muhammad commanded Al-Mughira and his army to fight non-Muslims until they worshiped Allah alone or gave jizya.

Volume 2, Book 24, Number 559 states that the King of Aila wrote to Muhammad that his people agreed to pay the jizya tax in return for being allowed to stay in their place.

Sunan Abu-Dawud:

Book 19, Number 3031 states that Muhammad captured Ukaydir, the Christian prince of Dumah, and spared his life and made peace with him on the condition that he paid jizya


Al-Muwatta of Malik Book 17, Number 17, 24, 42 states that Muhammad collected jizya from the “Magians” (Zoroastrians) of Bahrain, Umar ibn al-Khattab from Magians of Persia, and Uthman ibn Affan from the Berbers.

Book 17, Number 17.24.44 states that Umar ibn al-Khattab imposed a jizya tax of four dinars on those living where gold was the currency, and forty dirhams on those living where silver was the currency. As well, they had to “provide for the Muslims and receive them as guests for three days”.

Jizyah in India:

Now that we have clearly established the idea behind the Islamic concept of Jizya, let us set out to see how this played a huge part in the Islamization of India and subjugation of the populace.

Unlike the lightning victories that Muslim armies saw from Spain to Mongolia, India was way too large, too populous, too varied (geography, society, customs) and importantly too resistive to Islamic onslaughts. While Muhammad Bin Qasim gained a toehold in Sind, be it him or any of the future Islamic warriors could not gain complete control from Kashmir to Deccan or from Sind to Bengal. In fact prior to Hajaj, two other Caliphs had sent at least ten expeditions to subjugate India but they were all beaten back.

As the Islamic rule was beginning to get established in pockets of North West India and then in Delhi, the invading Islamic rulers and their advisers realized the futility of completely Isalmizing India, unlike a Syria or Egypt. So they fell back on a combination of forced conversions and jizyah in order to forward the Islamic cause. And India did not have one emperor or figure head, who, once defeated, would mean the subjugation of the entire land mass. As soon as a Muslim army won and beheaded a Hindu king and plundered the city, another Hindu ruler had to be contended with. And there were always open revolts in many parts of India against the Muslim rulers.

All these prompted Islamic rulers had to come up with an innovation, where, the wealth of the people that was propelling the rebellions had to be rooted out. Simply put, if the people are brought down to a hand to mouth existence, they will not have any wherewithal to revolt. This mindset of Muslim rulers is reflected in Fatawa-i-Jahandari by Barani and in Farishtah, where, the strict imposition of jizya was followed up with a rise in the land tax (kharaj) to 50% and they started taxing possessions like cows, buffaloes and goats. Added to this was another tax called the grazing tax. Barani proudly writes that all these meant “Hindu women and children went out begging at the doors of the Musalmans.”

The same is chronicled in Tarikh-i-Wassaf and Futuh-us-Salatin by Wassaf and Isami respectively.  In order to ensure the realization of these tyrannical taxing systems, a separate department called Diwan-i-Mustakhraj was established by the Muslim rulers. There were many recorded instances where defaulting of tax payments by peasants led to their wives and children being carried away as slaves. The tillers were made to part with more than 2/3rd of the produce failing which, they were apprehended and if an entire village opposed it, the village was sacked by the local Muslim commander [Abdul Fazal, Akbar Nama].

All this not only led to the complete crippling of the agriculture-based economy driving people out of their settlements but the desperate situation gradually led people to convert to Islam to escape taxes and lead a normal life. While the fanatic brainwashed Muslims, today, claim that even Muslims pay Zakat as an obligatory tax, Muslims rulers usually levied jizya to be twice that of zakat. (And please remember that Zakat is not the symbol of any inferior status of the payer but Jizya is). This is permissible based of “Hedaya” which is an Islamic legal text.

In FuthuHat-i Firozshahi by Shaikh Abdur Rashid, one can read the following, after Firoz Shah Tuglaq imposed jizyah on Hindus also said that jizya would be exempted if they converted to Islam: “‘the Hindus thronged in clusters after clusters and groups after groups and were glorified by the glory of Islam. And likewise to this day of ours, they come from far and wide, embrace Islam, and Jizyah is off from them.” Kashmir had a unique situation, where Sikandar Butshikan levied both zakat and jizyah upon Hindus, which obviously multiplied the economic miseries manifold. And Amir Khusrau writes about jizya being a hatch for the dhimmis: “Did the Dhimmis not enjoy the concession of the Shariah, all trace of the Hindus would vanish root and branch.”

And the actual event of a collector of Islamic jizya visiting a Hindu neighborhood was shameful for the kinds of things he engaged in. Qadi Mughith ad-Din told Sultan Ala’ud-Dîn Khaljî: “If the Jizyah-collector asks a Hindu for silver, the latter should offer gold in all humility. If the collector wishes to spit into his mouth, the latter should open his mouth without demur, so as to enable the former to spit into it.” [from Diyâ’ ad-Dîn Baranî, Tarîkh-i Firozshâhi, Sayyid Athar Abbas Rizwi, selected Hindi tr., in his Khaljî-Kalîna Bhârata, Aligarh, 1955, p. 70]

In conclusion, while jizya was viewed as the second best thing by Islamic rulers of India (given the factors unique to India that prevented complete Islamization), it is this Islamic tax system that led to so much of economic hardships of the common Hindus that many ended up converting to Islam to escape the tyranny and many had their wives and children enslaved by Islam.

And from the standpoint of economy, the Islamic tax system simply broke the back of the wealthy Indian economy, where, Hindus were reduced to a hand to mouth existence, agricultural productions dropped, as, many agrarian families escaped from their native agricultural land for fear of punishment and in general, the human enterprise of the native Hindu was thrown out.

What a tragic development that Indian Muslims- the descendants of those Hindus who had to pay Jizya and later convert to Islam from the fear of enslavement- are now paying Jakat to strengthen the same Arabic system that once enslaved their forefathers! May Eeshvar give strength to all Muslims to come to their ancestral roots, Vedas. In the next article we will discuss Islamic way of spreading the cult- Imperialism.

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