Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jizya and its real meaning (Part 1)

In Indian history text books one learns that Non Muslims (Hindus) paid Jizya tax to Muslim rulers but why it was imposed on Hindus was never explained. If at all Jizya is explained then it is only in falseness and not even close to truth because authors write “Jizya has nothing to do with religion and this tax is more of political in nature”. Funny, isn’t it? The underlying reasons for this kind of tax and law is not believing in Islam and continuation of adhering to their ancient faiths, yet authors wanted every one to believe that the issue of religion has no role in this. Hmm! Making sense? Their point that this levying of Jizya is only political is half truth from the perspective that Islam is equally a politically ideology; not that authors intend to imply this. Their (Our left intellectuals and Historians) uncompromising effort, out right lies and deceptions to sanitize Islamic history of barbarianism and cruelty becomes itself a worthy science subject to scrutiny and appraisal.

The reasons for imposition of Jizya and other humiliating conditions are both political and religious. But, religion and politics are inseparable in Islam. It is not just that Allah in Koran excoriates, condemns and curses Non Muslims for disbelief in Him and Mohammad but also explicitly lays down what kind of relations should exist between Muslims and Non Muslims and how Non Muslims should be treated in His law. After all 61% of Koranic text is about Non Muslims. The only viable explanation for this kind of Jizya on Non Muslims in Islamic Law is the very nature of Islam it self, Nothing else.

Both Koran and Sunna assign a sort of more than degraded status to Non Muslims in Islamic theology and law. Since this passage (Verse 9:029, see below) of imposing Jizya on Non Muslims appears clearly in Koran it suffices to say that Islam mandates this tax on infidels. The way this ruling of imposing Jizya appears in Koran also indicates that Jizya is not just a mere monetary tax but symbolic expression of subordination, humiliation or abasement of Non Muslims and to emphasize the inferior status of Non Muslims. It is worth examining this Koranic verse (ruling), its meaning and the way Muslims understood and understand.

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.

The Arabic word at the end of verse used here is saghiroon and it means subdued or brought low or in a state of subjection.

Here Allah is not only commanding Muslims to fight Non Muslims but also is indicating the final status assigned to Non Muslims. In the beginning of Islamic history, Jizya was only to be collected from Jews, Christians, Sabians and Farsis and others were to be dealt with in accordance with the ruling of the verse 9:005. Later the provision of paying Jizya was also extended to all Non Muslims like Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.

Muslim apologists say that this tax is like a protection tax and is of insignificant in amount. But they can not tell why this additional and separate tax has to be paid by Non Muslims for protection in the first place. Nothing can be inferred directly from Koran about whether this Jizya is significant or insignificant in monetary sense, so not worthy of perusal here. Paying Jizya, nevertheless, has a symbolism. It is this symbolism which is very important. Jizya is a symbolic expression of subordination and humiliation. It indicates state of abasement where in Non Muslims should be kept for as long as they persist in rejection of truth, only truth i.e. Islam. Jizya and its wider meaning could be understood from following conversation between Persian General Rustam and Muslim (Arab) Army Commander al-Mughira bin Sa’d:

Al-Mughira said “I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement.”

Rustam replies “I know what jizya means, but what does ‘a state of abasement’ mean?”

Al-Mughira replied “You pay it while you are standing and I am sitting and the whip is hanging over your head.”

With out pestering on this monetary aspect of Jizya and let’s try to understand the later part of the verse i.e. ‘with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.’ Muslims who give their funny interpretations for Jizya, in defending that Islam is just and tolerant, are literally silent when asked about the meaning of this ruling. Actually how should one understand this part of the verse’s ruling besides the obvious implication that Muslims and Non Muslims are not equal? Wide range of definitions can come up for this kind of wording. But if we take what Koran says about Non Muslims in other verses in to consideration and over all theology of Islam (i.e. Islam considers it self as absolute truth and other faiths as falsehood), then the reasons behind this kind of law becomes clear.

For most people this kind of Jizya and its underlying significance does not make any sense and look logical. But Islam is very logical in constructing this Jizya. The rational for Jizya stems from the very foundation of Islam i.e. its out look on Non Muslims and their disbelief. According to teachings of Koran, a Non Muslim is an ungrateful creature, a follower of Satan, an enemy of Allah and his way is satanic and seductive. And finally his faith and laws he lives by are an affront to Islam it self. This continuation of disbelief and freedom of infidels is a threat to the stability and survival of very humanity. These are not Islamic assumptions but deductions and teachings of Allah and now every thing about Islam’s offensive becomes a defensive war against oppression. This is a characteristic of Islamic supremacism.  What is inhuman and cruel in our view becomes a cure and necessary in Islamic theology.

If one thinks what I wrote above is a fiction, they can read from the words of Abdul Ala Maududi, the founder of Jamat-e-Islami. In his tafsir (Commentary), he writes the following on the verse 9:29 regarding Jizya and Jihad:

This is the aim of Jihad with the Jews and the Christians and it is not to force them to become Muslims and adopt the `Islamic Way of Life.' They should be forced to pay Jizyah in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true Faith, who should assume the sovereignty and lead others towards the Right Way, while they should become their subjects and pay jizyah. jizyah is paid by those non-Muslims who live as Zimmis (proteges) in an Islamic State, in exchange for the security and protection granted to them by it. This is also symbolical of the fact that they themselves agree to live in it as its subjects. This is the significance of "..... they Pay jizyah with their own hands," that is, "with full consent so that they willingly become the subjects of the Believers, who perform the duty of the vicegerents of AIIah on the earth. "

This is jizyah " of which the Muslims have been feeling apologetic during the last two centuries of their degeneration and there are still some people who continue to apologize for it. But the Way of Allah is straight and clear and does trot stand in need of any apology to the rebels against AIIah. Instead of offering apologies on behalf of Islam for the measure that guarantees security of life, property and faith to those who choose to live under its protection, the Muslims should feel proud of such a humane law as that of jizyah. For it is obvious that the maximum freedom that can be allowed to those who do not adopt the Way of AIIah but choose to tread the ways of error is that they should be tolerated to lead the life they like. That is why the Islamic State offers them protection, if they agree to live as its Zimmis by paying jizyah, but it cannot allow that they should remain supreme rulers in any place and establish wrong ways and impose them on others. As this state of things inevitably produces chaos and disorder, it is the duty of the true Muslims to exert their utmost to bring to an end their wicked rule and bring them under a righteous order.

As regards the question, "What do the non-Muslims get in return for Jizyah " it may suffice to say that it is the price of the freedom which the Islamic State allows them in following their erroneous ways, while living in the jurisdiction of Islam and enjoying its protection………

What needs to be noted from above quotes is ‘erroneous ways of Non Muslims’. This refers to man made laws like Constitution, which is an important foundation for infidel countries.

Now coming to monetary aspect of Jizya, Islamic law stipulates that it should not be collected from women and children and also disabled. But the way this law was applied in the past conveys that it was rulers who mostly decided this Jizya according to their political needs and political conveniences. Some Kings like Akbar even banned it and in turn he was called Apostate by some Islamic Jurists. But he only banned it because he wanted to consolidate his empire. When Jizya was imposed, sometimes it was very high and some times moderate. Sometimes it was collected forcibly.  Bat Ye’or in her book ‘The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam’, pp. 78-9, writes:

The poll tax was extorted by torture. The tax inspectors demanded gifts for themselves; widows and orphans were pillaged and despoiled. In theory, women, paupers, the sick, and the infirm were exempt from the poll tax; nevertheless, Armenian, Syriac, and Jewish sources provide abundant proof that the jizya was exacted from children, widows, orphans, and even the dead. A considerable number of extant documents, preserved over the centuries, testify to the persistence and endurance of these measures. In Aleppo in 1683, French Consul Chevalier Laurent d’Arvieux noted that ten-year-old Christian children paid the jizya. Here again, one finds the disparity and contradiction between the ideal in the theory and the reality of the facts.

But what is important and should be noted is the very law of Jizya with its nuances, not what Muslim apologists say on this epiphany, which is nothing but an effort to conceal and gloss over the inherent cruelty towards infidels.
(To be cont.)

No comments: