Open Access Articles- Top Results for Jizya


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The history of the origins of the jizya is considered to be extremely complex, according to the Encyclopaedia of Islam. This is attributed to three reasons:[103]

  • in historical texts, the term "jizya" is used with different meanings, and thus medieval historians (who collected the text) tended to interpret them according to the meaning which was best defined in their own time;
  • the system established by the Arab conquest was not uniform, rather resulted from a series of non-identical agreements or decisions; and
  • finally, the system that followed after the earlier systems are imperfectly understood and subject to controversy.[97]

Historical development

Following his migration to Medina, Muhammad drafted a document, known as the Constitution of Medina, which codified the rights and duties among Medina's communities, including the Jews and Muslims.[104][105] According to F. E. Peters, the Jewish tribes of Medina rejected Muhammad's claim to be a prophet, and secretly liaised with Muhammad's enemies in Mecca to overthrow him.[106]

Moshe Gil writes that during the Tabuk campaign however, Muhammad altered his policies towards Jewish and Christian communities by offering them protection in exchange for certain promises as evidenced from the Qur'an.[107] In this new policy, Gil sees a "paradigm" shift occurring in the treaties and letters of security that future Muslim leaders issued to conquered peoples. These letters of protection were sent to several of these towns, asking them to pay taxes (jizya) and to agree not to maintain military forces in return for protection by Muslim forces (dhimma).[108]

Under Caliph Umar the Zoroastrian Persians were given People of the Book status, and jizya was levied on them. Christian Arab tribes in the north of the Arabian Peninsula refused to pay jizya, but agreed to pay double the amount, and calling it sadaqa, a word meaning "alms" or "charity". According to Yusuf al-Qaradawi the name change was done for the benefit of the Christian tribesmen, "out of consideration for their feelings".[109]

Fred Donner, however, in The Early Islamic Conquests, states that the difference between sadaqa and jizya is that the former was levied on nomads, whereas the latter was levied on settled non-Muslims. Donner sees sadaqa as being indicative of the lower status of nomadic tribes, so much so that that Christian tribesmen preferred to pay the jizya. Jabala b. al-Ayham of the B. Ghassan is reported asked Umar "Will you levy sadaqa from me as you would from the [ordinary] bedouin (al-'arab)?" Umar acceded to collecting jizya from him instead, as he did from other Christians.[110]

File:Suleymanname 31b 2.jpg
Devşirme was a form of human jizya (blood tax), collected from non-Muslim subjects of the Ottoman Empire. It was chiefly the annual practice by which the Ottoman Empire sent its military to force collect 20% of sons and abduct young non-Muslim boys as a tax, then convert them to Islam and require them to serve as soldiers in Ottoman military.[111] The blood jizya practice was deeply resented by non-Muslims.[112]

Sir Thomas Arnold gives an example of a Christian Arab tribe which avoided paying the jizya altogether by fighting alongside Muslim armies, stating "the tribe of al-Jurajimah, a Christian tribe in the neighbourhood of Antioch, who made peace with the Muslims, promising to be their allies and fight on their side in battle, on condition that they should not be called upon to pay jizya and should receive their proper share of the booty".[113]

A letter attributed to Khalid bin Walid said that "This is a letter of Khalid ibn al-Waleed to Saluba ibn Nastuna and his people; I agreed with you on al-jezyah and protection. As long as we protect you we have the right in al-jezyah, otherwise we have none.”[114][115] Khalid bin Walid is also attributed to the following offer to different communities as he invaded Iraq and Persia,

I call you to God and to Islam. If you respond to the call, then you are Muslims: You obtain the benefits they enjoy and take up the responsibilities they bear. If you refuse, then you must pay the jizyah. If you refuse the jizyah, I will bring against you tribes of people who are more eager for death than you are for life.[116]


In India, Islamic rulers imposed jizya on non-Muslims starting with the 11th century.[117] The discriminatory taxation practice included jizyah and kharaj taxes. These terms were sometimes used interchangeably to mean poll tax and collective tribute, or just called kharaj-o-jizyah.[118]

Jizya expanded with Delhi Sultanate and continued during most of the Mughal Empire rule. The tax rates varied, but typically was set at 50% of produce plus a fixed amount per person payable every month. Alā’ al-Dīn Khaljī, a Sultan of the Khilji dynasty who ruled over most of North, West and parts of Eastern India, from 1296 to 1316 AD, legalized the enslavement of the jizya and kharaj defaulters. His officials seized and sold these slaves in growing Sultanate cities where there was a great demand of slave labour.[119] The Muslim court historian Ziauddin Barani recorded that Kazi Mughisuddin of Bayanah advised Alā’ al-Dīn that Islam requires imposition of jizya on Hindus, to show contempt and to humiliate the Hindus, and imposing jizya is a religious duty of the Sultan.[120]

In late 14th century, mentions the memoir of Tughlaq dynasty's Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq, his predecessor taxed all Hindus but had exempted all Hindu Brahmins from jizya; Firoz Shah extended it over all Hindus.[121][122] He also announced that any Hindus who converted to Islam would become exempt from taxes and jizya as well as receive gifts from him.[121][123] On those who chose to remain Hindus, he raised jizya tax rate.[121]

Hindus who paid Jizya in Muslim-ruled parts of India were not free to practice their religion openly, and those who did were persecuted and killed. Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq, for example, wrote[122]

The Hindus and idol-worshipers had agreed to pay the money for toleration (zar-i zimmiya) and had consented to the poll tax (jizya), in return for which they and their families enjoyed security. These people now erected new idol temples in the city and environs in opposition to the Law of the Prophet which declares that such temples are not to be tolerated. Under Divine guidance I destroyed these edifices, and I killed those leaders of infidelity who seduced others into error, and the lower orders I subjected to stripes and chastisement, until this abuse was entirely abolished. – Autobiography of Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq, Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi[122]

The Hindus hated and evaded jizya.[124] During the early 14th century reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, expensive invasions across India and his order to attack China by sending a portion of his army over the Himalayas, emptied the precious metal in Sultanate's treasury.[125][126] He ordered minting of coins from base metals with face value of precious metals. This economic experiment failed because Hindus in his Sultanate minted counterfeit coins from base metal in their homes, which they then used for paying jizya.[125][127]

Jizya was temporarily abolished by the third Mughal emperor Akbar, in late 16th century. However, Aurangzeb, the sixth emperor, re-introduced and levied jizya on non-Muslims in 17th century.[128] Aurangzeb ordered that the collected jizya from non-Muslims be distributed as annual income to Muslim clerics and other Islamic causes.[129] Certain historians are of the view that the tax was aimed to encourage conversion of non-Muslims to Islam.[130]


After the Norman conquest of Sicily, taxes imposed on the Muslim minority were also called the jizya (locally spelled gisia).[131] This poll tax was a continuation of the jizya imposed on non-Muslims in Sicily, by Muslim rulers in 11th century, before the Norman conquest.[131]

Nineteenth and twentieth centuries

In Persia, jizya was paid by Zoroastrian minority until 1884, when it was removed by pressure on the Qajar government from the Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund.[132]

In 1894 jizya was still being collected in Morocco; an Italian Jew described his experience there:

The kadi Uwida and the kadi Mawlay Mustafa had mounted their tent today near the Mellah [Jewish ghetto] gate and had summoned the Jews in order to collect from them the poll tax [jizya] which they are obliged to pay the sultan. They had me summoned also. I first inquired whether those who were European-protected subjects had to pay this tax. Having learned that a great many of them had already paid it, I wished to do likewise. After having remitted the amount of the tax to the two officials, I received from the kadi’s guard two blows in the back of the neck. Addressing the kadi and the kaid, I said” ‘Know that I am an Italian protected subject.’ Whereupon the kadi said to his guard: ‘Remove the kerchief covering his head and strike him strongly; he can then go and complain wherever he wants.’ The guards hastily obeyed and struck me once again more violently. This public mistreatment of a European-protected subject demonstrates to all the Arabs that they can, with impunity, mistreat the Jews.[133]

The jizya was eliminated in Algeria and Tunisia in the 19th century, but continued to be collected in Morocco until the first decade of the 20th century (these three dates coincide with the French colonization of these countries).[134]

It is important to note that in the Ottoman Empire the "jizya" was abolished in 1856. It was replaced with a new tax, which non-Muslims paid in lieu of military service. It was called "baddal-askari" (Arab. Military substitution), a tax exempting Jews and Christians from military service. The Jews of Kurdistan, according to the scholar Mordechai Zaken, preferred to pay the "baddal" tax in order to redeem themselves from military service. Only those incapable of paying the tax were drafted into the army. Interestingly, Zaken shows that paying the tax was possible to an extent also during the war. Zaken shows that some Jewish individuals paid 50 gold liras every year during World War I. Apparently - according to Dr. Zaken - "in spite of the forceful conscription campaigns, some of the Jews were able to buy their exemption from conscription duty." Based on the testimonies of several Kurdish Jews, Zaken came to the conclusion that the payment of the "baddal askari" during the war was a form of bribe that bought them only a brief relief from military service. "It may have been a deferment of the military service for a one year period or shorter."[135]

Twenty-first century

As late as 2013, in Egypt jizya was reportedly being imposed by the Muslim Brotherhood on 15,000 Christian Copts of Dalga village.[136]

The jizya poll tax is no longer imposed in the Islamic world.[8] In the 21st century, jizya is widely regarded as being at odds with contemporary secular conceptions of citizen's civil rights and equality before the law, although there have been occasional reports of religious minorities in conflict zones and areas subject to political instability being forced to pay jizya.[7]

In 2009 it was claimed that a group of militants that referred to themselves as the Taliban imposed the jizya on Pakistan's minority Sikh community after occupying some of their homes and kidnapping a Sikh leader.[137]

In 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) announced that it intended to extract jizya from Christians in the city of Raqqa, Syria, which it controls. Christians who refused to pay the tax would have to either convert to Islam or die. Wealthy Christians would have to pay the equivalent of USD 664 twice a year; poorer ones would be charged one-fourth that amount.[9] In June, the Institute for the Study of War reported that ISIL claims to have collected jizya and fay.[138]

Comparison between Zakat and Jizya

Further information: Zakat
Zakat Jizya
obligatory upon Muslims[139] obligatory upon Dhimmis[140]
Zakat is obligatory if a Muslim's income and net worth of assets exceeded the Nisab (excess of certain basic amount)[141] Jizya is obligatory on a Dhimmi's regardless of income or wealth; no minimum (Nisab) to determine Jizya[142]
only payable on income and on assets continuously owned over one lunar year that are in excess of the Nisab; to be paid on day of harvest (income)[143] payable on all assets and income, paid yearly or quarterly regardless to Nisab.[140]
the amount of Zakat paid was specified by Sharia[140] the amount paid was not specified by Sharia.;[50][51] by the time of the Prophet, at least one gold Dinar and 12 Dirhams; later on, these taxes were often graded into three levels with minimum rate being 20% of all estimated assets and any sales.[55] The highest rates ranged from 33% to 80% of all annual farm produce on land inside the Islamic empire.[56]
paid only by the owner of the assets himself/herself[144] paid by all able-bodied adult males of military age and affording power [145]
refusal and failure to pay Zakat was treated with flexibility in some sultanates, with penalty and punishment in others[146][147] refusal and failure to pay Jizya by any non-Muslim subject in a Muslim state was a capital crime, punished by his family's arrest and enslavement.[76][77] The women and girls of an enslaved family would become property of a Muslim master and serve as houseworkers and slaves. In some cases, the family could escape this punishment by converting to Islam.[148]
should be paid seeking God's pleasure[149] paid with humiliation, servility and belittlement[150][151]

Criticism and support

Critics often cite jizya as a form of discrimination, persecution and oppression in Islamic law.[152][153][154]

Supporters argue that it is fair, since all Muslims are obliged to pay Zakat. While the tax rate and nature of zakat and jizya were different, supporters often cite jizya as a form of protection money and a religious requirement against non-believers in Islam per Sharia.[155][156]

In practice, however, Timothy H. Parsons states that during the early caliphate, non-Muslims had to pay the kharaj. The sum of the jizya and kharaj taxes levied on non-Muslims were considerably larger than the zakat tax on Muslims and conversion generally brought tax relief.[157] Some evidence suggests that the jizya was sometimes double the Zakat; for example, the Hedaya (Guide on Mussalman Law),[158] an Islamic legal text, declared it lawful to require twice as much of a Zimmee (dhimmi) as of a Mussulman (Muslim).[159]

See also


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  107. ^ Moshe Gil quotes At-Tawbah, 29
  108. ^ Gil, Moshe. A History of Palestine: 634–1099, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 28–30. The letter sent to the bishop Yuhanna at Eilat:
    "To Yuhanna bin Ruba and the worthies of Ayla, Peace be with you! Praise be Allah, there is no God save Him. I have no intention of fighting you before writing to you. Thou hast to accept Islam, or pay the tax, and obey God and his Messenger and the messengers of His Messenger, and do them honour and dress them in fine clothing, not in the raiment of raiders; therefore clothe Zayd in fine robes, for if you satisfy my envoys, you will satisfy me. Surely the tax is known to you. Therefore if you wish to be secure on land and on sea, obey God and his Messenger and you will be free of all payments that you owed the Arab [tribes] or non-Arabs, apart from the payment to God [which is] the payment of his Messenger. But be careful lest thou do not satisfy them, for then I shall not accept anything from you, but I shall fight you and take the young as captives and slay the elderly. For I am the true Messenger of God; put ye your trust in God and his books and his messengers and in the Messiah son of Maryam, for this is God's word and I too, put my trust in Him, for he is the Messenger of God. Come then, before a calamity befalls you. As for me, I have already given my envoys instructions with regard to you: give Harmal three wasqs of barley, for Harmala is your well-wisher, for if it were not for God and if it were not for this, I would not be sending you messengers, but rather you would be seeing the army. Therefore if you my messengers, you will have the protection of God and of Muhammad and all that stand at his side. My messengers are Shurahbil and Ubayy and Harmala and Hurayth b. Zayd who is one of the sons of the Banu Tayy'. All that they decide with regard to you shall be according to my wishes, and you will have the protection of God and of Muhammad the Messenger of God. And peace will be with you if you obey me. And the people of Maqnā thou shall lead back to their land."

    The letter sent to the people of Adhruh:

    "In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. From Muhammad the Prophet to the people of Adhruh; They [will live] securely by virtue of the letter of security from God and from Muhammad. They are due to pay 100 dinars, good and weighed, on every Rajab. And if one [of them] flees from the Muslims, out of fear and awe—for they feared the Muslims—they shall live securely until Muhammad will visit them before he leaves."
  109. ^ jizyah and non-Muslim Minorities - - Ask The Scholar
  110. ^ Donner, Fred McGraw. The Early Islamic Conquests, Princeton University Press, 1981, p. 251.
  111. ^ Perry Anderson (1979), Lineages of the Absolutist State, ISBN 978-0-86091-710-6, pp. 342-379
  112. ^ The devshirme system BBC Religions Archive
  113. ^ Thomas Walker Arnold. The Spread of Islam in the World. Goodword books (India). p. 62. 
  114. ^ Middle East and Arabic Countries Taxation Law Handbook, p. 35
  115. ^ Bernard Lewis (1974). Islam, from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople: Politics and war. Macmillan. p. 234. 
  116. ^ Khalid Yahya Blankinship (Translator), The History of al-Tabari Vol. 11: The Challenge to the Empires A.D. 633-635, SUNY Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-7914-0851-3, pp. 4-7.
  117. ^ Jackson, Peter (2003). The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 284–286. ISBN 978-0521543293. 
  118. ^ Irfan Habib, Economic History of Medieval India, 1200-1500, Vol VIII, part 1, ISBN 978-81-317-2791-1, pp. 78-80
  119. ^ Fouzia Ahmed (2009), The Delhi Sultanate: A Slave Society or A Society with Slaves?, Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, 30(1): 8-9
  120. ^ Elliot, H. M. (Henry Miers), Sir; John Dowson. "15. Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí, of Ziauddin Barani". The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Vol 3.). London, Trübner & Co. p. 184. Quote - The Sultan then asked, "How are Hindus designated in the law, as payers of tributes or givers of tribute? The Kazi replied, "They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths to receive it. The due subordination of the zimmi is exhibited in this humble payment and by this throwing of dirt in their mouths. The glorification of Islam is a duty. God holds them in contempt, for he says, "keep them under in subjection". To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, enslave them and spoil their wealth and property. No doctor but the great doctor (Hanafi), to whose school we belong, has assented to the imposition of the jizya (poll tax) on Hindus. Doctors of other schools allow no other alternative but Death or Islam. 
  121. ^ a b c Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 249-251, Oxford University Press
  122. ^ a b c Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi Autobiography of Firoz Shah Tughlaq, Translated y Elliot and Dawson, Volume 3 - The History of India, Cornell University, pp 374-383
  123. ^ Annemarie Schimmel (1997). Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. Brill Academic. pp. 20–23. ISBN 978-9004061170. 
  124. ^ Titus, Murray (1930). Indian Islam: a religious history of Islam in India. Oxford University Press. pp. 18–30. 
  125. ^ a b Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 236-242, Oxford University Press
  126. ^ William Hunter (1903), A Brief History of the Indian Peoples, p. 124, at Google Books, 23rd Edition, pp 124-128
  127. ^ Muḥammad ibn Tughluq Encyclopedia Britannica (2009)
  128. ^ Manas: History and Politics, Aurangzeb
  129. ^ Copland, Ian et al. (2012). A History of State and Religion in India. Routledge. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0415580663. 
  130. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1928). History of Aurangzeb, Vol 3. Calcutta. pp. 249–50. 
  131. ^ a b Shlomo Simonsohn, Between Scylla and Charybdis: The Jews in Sicily, Brill, ISBN 978-9004192454, pp 24, 163
  132. ^ "The Zoroastrians who remained in Persia (modern Iran) after the Arab–Muslim conquest (7th century AD) had a long history as outcasts. Although they purchased some toleration by paying the jizya (poll tax), not abolished until 1882, they were treated as an inferior race, had to wear distinctive garb, and were not allowed to ride horses or bear arms." Gabars, Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 29 May 2007.
  133. ^ Bat Yeor. Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002, pp. 70–71.
  134. ^ "Though in Tunisia and Algeria the jizya/kharaj practice was eliminated during the 19th century, Moroccan Jewry still paid these taxes as late as the first decade of the twentieth century." Michael M. Laskier, North African Jewry in the Twentieth Century: Jews of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, NYU Press, 1994, p. 12.
  135. ^ Mordechai Zaken, Jewish Subjects and their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival, Brill, 2007, pp. 280–284–71.
  136. ^,
  137. ^
  138. ^ Caris, Charlie. "The Islamic State Announces Caliphate". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  139. ^ Williams, G., & Zinkin, J. (2010), Islam and CSR: A study of the compatibility between the tenets of Islam and the UN Global Compact, Journal of Business Ethics, 91(4), 519-533; Quote- "Muslims are required ...(...).. (4) the payment of Zakat (obligatory charity);"; Also:
  140. ^ a b c Nienhaus (2006), Zakat, taxes, and public finance in Islam, Islam and the Everyday World, 1, pp 165-180
  141. ^ Algaoud & Lewis (2007), in Handbook of Islamic Banking, ISBN 978-1848444737, pp 38-41
  142. ^ Alwan et al., International Education Studies . 2011, Vol. 4 Issue 1, pp 230-237
  143. ^ Zakât Foundation of America. (2008), The Zakat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Muslims in the West, AuthorHouse, ISBN 978-1438902135, pp 34-73; Quote - "Every Muslim possessing the designated minimal amount of wealth (called nisab) for the full cycle of a lunar year must, as a matter of worship, satisfy the duty of the Zakat-Charity"; Quote - "pay immediately on harvest date" (page 73); Also:
  144. ^ Hunwick, J. (1999), Islamic financial institutions: Theoretical structures and aspects of their application in Sub-Saharan Africa, Credit, Currencies and Culture, pp 72-96
  145. ^ Kennedy, Hugh (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates. Longman. p. 68. 
  146. ^ Al Lami (2009), Zakat as Islamic Taxation and its Application in the Contemporary Saudi Legal System, J. Islamic St. Prac. Int'l L., 5, 83-88
  147. ^ Ahmed and Ahmad (1986), IN RESPECT OF ZAKAT, Islamic Studies, pp 349-368
  148. ^ see:
    • Gordon, Murray (1989). Slavery in the Arab world. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 25. ISBN 0941533301. Quote - prisoners were enslaved either in default of payment of a tax, the jizya and kharaj, or to avoid being massacred on the battlefield." 
    • I. P. Petrushevsky (1995), Islam in Iran, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-88706-070-0, pp 155, Quote - "The law does not contemplate slavery for debt in the case of Muslims, but it allows the enslavement of Dhimmis for non-payment of jizya and kharaj.(...) the Muslim community considers the slave (ghulam, raqiq, banda, kaniz) as chattels, movable property of the owner who could dispose of them as he pleased, by sale, by gift, by bequest."
    • Fouzia Ahmed (2009), The Delhi Sultanate: A Slave Society or A Society with Slaves?, Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, 30(1), pp 8-9; Quote: "‘Alā’ al-Dīn Khaljī legalized the enslavement of the revenue (jizya, kharaj) defaulters. (...) Sultans took the enslaved populations to growing Sultanate cities where there was a great demand of slave labour."
  149. ^ Saeed, A. (1995), The moral context of the prohibition of riba in Islam revisited, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 12(4), 496-517; Quote - "Spending is made obligatory via Zakat, but whatever you give by way of charity seeking God's pleasure,..."; Also:
  150. ^ "Sura #9, verse #29". Tafsir al-Kabir. 2004. 
  151. ^ Lázaro, F. L. (2013), The Rise and Global Significance of the First" West": The Medieval Islamic Maghrib, Journal of World History, 24(2), 259-307
  152. ^ Ahmedov, A. (2008), Religious Minorities in Shafii Law, Journal of Islamic Studies and Practical Int'l Law, 4, 3
  153. ^ Chandra, S. (1969), Jizyah and the State in India during the 17th Century, Journal de l'histoire economique et sociale de l'Orient, 322-340
  154. ^ Takim, L. (2007), Holy Peace or Holy War: Tolerance and Co-existence in the Islamic Juridical Tradition, Islam and Muslim Societies, 4(2)
  155. ^ Nasim Hasan Shah (1988), The concept of Al‐Dhimmah and the rights and duties of Dhimmis in an Islamic state, Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 9(2), 217-222
  156. ^ Weiner, J. R. (2005), Palestinian Christians: Equal Citizens or Oppressed Minority in a Future Palestinian State. Or. Rev. Int'l Law, 7, 26
  157. ^ Timothy H. Parsons (2010). The Rule of Empires. Oxford University Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-19-530431-2. 
  158. ^ Charles Hamilton (1957), Hedaya, Lahore
  159. ^ Hedaya, I.4.; see also K.S. Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, Delhi, 1999, pp. 139–140 (tax levies on Muslims in Muslim India: 5%, on dhimmis: 10%).



External links

  • jizyaEncyclopædia Britannica