Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Zakat and Jizyah is common Income Tax in Muslim state


The Wikipedia Encyclopedia defined the jizyah as follow:

“Under the Islamic law jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state’s non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria. The tax is/was to be levied on able bodied adult males of military age and affording power, (but with specific exemptions). From the point of view of the Muslim rulers, jizyah was a material proof of the non-Muslims' acceptance of subjection to the state and its laws, "just as for the inhabitants it was a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes." In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, to be exempted from military service and the zakat taxes obligatory upon Muslim citizens. It is also worth mentioning here that the word Jizyah is derived from the root word that refers to “part”, hence taken from a part of the wealth of the non-Muslim citizens. In fact, the use of the word jizyah was not even necessary. Al Tabari wrote that some members of the Christian community asked the companion “Umar bin al-Khatab if they could refer to the jizyah as sadaqah which literally means “charity”, which he approved of.”

On the contrary it can be observed that if the above story on Umar is compared to the Message of the Quran there is no truth whatsoever in the reliability of the story because the jizyah is not sadaqa which is voluntary but the jizyah is obligatory and it is equal to the zakat which is an amount to be contributed by all citizen who are capable to contribute part of their income to the ruling authority of the day. Between sadaqa and zakat the former is flexible charity and is contributed based on the following verse: 

They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider. (Surah 2:219)

However for those who are wealthier and have much surplus over their need the form of tax to be paid is the zakat which is mandatory for Muslims to contribute one fifth or twenty percent of their net profit or income based on the figure from the following verse of the Quran:

And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer, if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing, the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things. (Surah 8:41)

Although the Quran in the above verse mentioned it as a percentage of war bounty it is nevertheless applicable during the time of peace of the same equivalent as profit to the trading or business activities in time of peace and those eligible to receive the assistance were still the same needy people whether during war or peace time. Furthermore the plural of the Arabic word “ghanim” is “maghanima” take the meaning of profits as well as stated in the following verse:

O ye who believe! When ye go abroad in the cause of Allah, investigate carefully, and say not to anyone who offers you a salutation: "Thou art none of a believer!" Coveting the perishable goods of this life: with Allah are profits and spoils (maghanima) abundant. (Surah 4:94)

Since the tax is compulsory so as to maintain the Government expenditure for running the administration and maintaining security in the country the same percentage of the tax is applicable to both the Muslims who pay the “zakat” and the non-Muslims who pay the “jizyah”. The explanation in the Quran there are two different words to describe the same tax is because when a Muslim pays “zakat tax” it is in the Name of Allah and “zakat” is from the Arabic word “zakiy” which mean purifying. Apart from paying the tax in the name of Allah he is also purifying his soul.

On the other hand a non-Muslim who do not worship Allah will unlikely to pay the tax in the name of Allah nor will he believe that the payment in the name of Allah is purification of cleansing of his sins and thus when he pays, he is paying as a responsible citizen and this is called the jizyah. There was no discrimination or marginalization imposed on them in the Quran during the Prophet’s time, the words zakat and jizyah only signified the different in belief when the payment is made while the rate or percentage imposed on all citizens is the same which is twenty percent of his net income.

The misconception that the Western scholars have in criticizing the words jizyah to be a discriminatory tax imposed on non-Muslims in a common community of free citizens is therefore misconstrued. In the Quran it will give proofs that the jizyah is not discriminatory and it will provide the best argument to correct the allegation and wrong impression that Muslims have been practicing double standard as taught by their religion as the readers will find that the Quran not only expose the falsehood that contradict what has been preached but also exposed the roots leading to the nasty consequences that have been propaganda and evangelized by sinister. The Quran gives assurance that Allah guarantee and left out nothing in His Book for those who want to worship Him, it is a healing and guidance to those who believe:

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, or a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Surah 6:38)

O mankind! There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe it is a guidance and a mercy. (Surah 10:59)

Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. (Surah 4:82)

The jizyah tax (by Walter Short)

Walter Short in his commentary said that the American Revolution was fought on the principle 'no taxation without representation', the idea being that constitutional equality was a precondition for the sovereign exercise of levying taxes. The only basis for different levels of taxation is socio-economic distinction, but even here the tax is identical in character, is levied without regard for one's communal origins. The principle of distinction in progressive taxation is ability to pay. The tax imposed does not punish a businessman for his success. Refusal to pay will result in fines or imprisonment, but never execution. Furthermore, the tax he pays grants him entitlement to the full protection of the state, and thus full and equal citizenship. The goal of the tax is the same with everyone - the enabling of the state to provide for the security and well-being of all its citizens.

He claimed this is not the case with the Jizyah, which is a tax that the Dhimmi (non- Muslims) uniquely had to pay. It has its origins in Surah Tauba 9:29, where it is explicitly revealed as a sign of the subjugation of conquered non-Muslims. Hence, the tax is clearly a tribute, and a sign of subjection, in no way equivalent to the alms tax Zakat. Yusuf Ali's comment on the Jizyah clarifies this:

Jizyah: the root meaning is compensation. The derived meaning, which became the technical meaning, was a poll-tax levied from those who did not accept Islam, but were willing to live under the protection of Islam, and were thus tacitly willing to submit to its ideals being enforced in the Muslim State. There was no amount permanently fixed for it. It was in acknowledgment that those whose religion was tolerated would in their turn not interfere with the preaching and progress of Islam. Imam Shafi'i suggests one dinar per year, which would be the Arabian gold dinar of the Muslim States. The tax varied in amount, and there were exemptions for the poor, for females and children (according to Abu Hanifa), for slaves, and for monks and hermits. Being a tax on able-bodied males of military age, it was in a sense a commutation for military service. 

The Quran (Surah 9.29)

Fight those who believe not in Allah or 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 Jizyah with willing submission (an yadin), and feel themselves subdued.
The Arabic word in the above verse 'An Yadin (literally, from the hand) has been variously interpreted. The hand being the symbol of power and authority, I accept the interpretation "in token of willing submission." The Jizyah was thus partly symbolic and partly a commutation for military service, but as the amount was insignificant and the exemptions numerous, its symbolic character predominated.

Abul 'Ala Mawdudi, Qur'anic exegete and founder of the Islamist Pakistani group Jama'at-i-Islami was quite unapologetic about Jizyah:

The Muslims should feel proud of such a humane law as that of Jizyah. For it is obvious that a maximum freedom that can be allowed to those who do not adopt the way of Allah but choose to tread the ways of error is that they should be tolerated to lead the life they like.

He interprets the Qur'anic imperative to Jihad as having the aim of subjugating non-Muslims, to force them to pay the Jizyah as the defining symbol of their subjection:

“... Jews and the Christians ...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.”

The consequence of this is that in an Islamic State – specifically the Khilafah – non-Muslims should be denied Government posts, since the state exists for the Muslims, who alone are true citizens, whilst the non-Muslims are merely conquered residents, and the Jizyah signifies this:

That is why the Islamic state offers them protection, if they agree to live as Zimmis by paying Jizyah, but it cannot allow that they should remain supreme rulers in any place and establish wrong ways and establish 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 an end to their wicked rule and bring them under a righteous order. Differences of taxation demonstrate distinctions in citizenship. As a symbol of subjection, it signifies that the state is not really the common property of all its permanent residents, but only the Muslims. The non-Muslims are conquered outsiders. It demonstrates their inferior condition. It also punishes them for their disbelief in Islam. Islamic law makes it very clear that the Jizyah is punitive in character. Further, it is to be levied with humiliation. Hence, it is in no way comparable to Western tax systems. Even progressive taxation is not a 'punishment' for economic success, nor is any tax specifically humiliating in character.

This illustrates that essentially, in an Islamic State, the non-Muslims are in a worse situation than prisoners out on parole, since they are still being punished – they are not considered 'good, law-abiding citizens' however exemplary their conduct, but rather criminals given day-leave. Their crime is their faith. Moreover, their crime is capital in nature – they deserve death. This demonstrates the unique character of the Jizyah tax – unlike Western taxes, payment does not grant equality and liberty to the payee, but rather merely permission for another tax period to live; failure to pay it results in death. Again, it is rather analogous to a convict on parole regularly visiting the police station or parole officer to register. This is different from the case of someone in the West who refuses to pay his tax for whatever reason; he is punished, though it must be stated not by execution, for breaking the law. The reverse is true with the Jizyah – the tax itself is punishment, and the payee lives in the permanent condition of being punished for his faith until he converts. Essentially, non-Muslims live under a permanent death-threat.

Walter concluded that only by the wildest stretch of the imagination could the situation of non-Muslims under Islamic law be seen as one conferring equal citizenship, whatever Muslim apologists claim. Similarly, only a leap of fantasy could ever believe that such a situation is one that non-Muslims would welcome. The honor, dignity, equality and even the lives of non-Muslims are by no means guaranteed under Islamic law. The Jizyah tax in particular demonstrates the constitutional inferiority and humiliation such a legal arrangement confers. For non-Muslims, it is rather like permanently walking under the sword of Damocles, ready to fall at any moment. If Muslims wish Christians and others to regard an Islamic political order as something attractive, their scholars had best engage in a some heavy work of ijtihad to revise those elements of Islamic jurisprudence and legislation which are particularly offensive to non-Muslims.

The problem with Islamic law from sources that contradict the Quran

Jizyah is mentioned a number of times in the hadith. Common themes across multiple hadith (and often multiple collections of hadith).

Sahih Bukhari

Include Muhammad ordering his military commanders to fight non-Muslims until they accepted Islam or paid the jizyah, Muhammad and a number of caliphs imposing jizyah on various peoples, and the eventual abolition of jizyah by Jesus’ Second coming. Sahih Bukhari

Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 475 states that 'Umar's concern for the well-being of dhimmis on his deathbed (after he was stabbed by a dhimmi). 'Umar commanded his would-be successor to "abide by the rules and regulations concerning the Dhimmis (protectees) of Allah and His Apostle, to fulfill their contracts completely and fight for them and not to tax (overburden) them beyond their capabilities".
Volume 2, Book 24, Number 559 states that the King of Aila wrote to Muhammad that his people agreed to pay the jizyah tax in return for being allowed to stay in their place.

Volume 4, Book 53, Number 384 states that Umar did not take the jizyah from the "Magian infidels" (Zoroastrians) until he heard testimony that Muhammad had taken the jizyah from the Magians of Hajar.

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 jizyah.

Volume 9, Book 83, Number 49 reports that Muhammad said: "Whoever killed a Mu'ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling)",

Sahih Muslim

Sahih Muslim Book 1, Numbers 287 and 289 stated that the "son of Mary" will "descend as a just judge" and, among other things, abolish the jizyah.

Book 32, Number 6328 states that Hisham b. Hakim b. Hizam passed by Syrian farmers who had been detained for jizyah 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 jizyah". In both cases his response was to quote Muhammad as saying "Allah would torment those persons who torment people in the world."

Sunan abu Dawud

Sunan Abu Dawud Book 19, Number 2955 has Umar ibn al-Khattab stating that he provided protection for non-Muslims by levying jizyah on them, and neither took one-fifth from it, nor took it as booty.

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 jizyah.

Book 37, Number 4310 states that Jesus will come again, and at that time will (among other things) abolish jizyah, as Allah will "perish all religions except Islam".


Al-Muwatta of Malik Book 17, Number 17.24.42 states that Muhammad collected jizyah 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 jizyah 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".

Book 17, Number 17.24.45 states that Umar ibn al-Khattab took a camel branded as jizyah (not zakat) and ordered for it to be slaughtered, the meat placed on platters with fruits and delicacies, and distributed to the wives of Muhammad. He then had the remainder prepared and invited the Muhajirun and the Ansar to eat it. Malik stated regarding this "I do not think that livestock should be taken from people who pay the jizyah except as jizyah."

Book 17, Number 17.24.46 states that Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz relieved those who converted to Islam from paying jizyah. It also gives the sunnah on those who must pay jizyah, principally non-Muslim males who have reached puberty, rather than zakat, as zakat is for the purpose of purifying Muslims, whereas jizyah is for the purpose of humbling non-Muslims. It also outlines the additional tithe or ‘ushr travelling traders must pay, and the rationale for that.

Islamic legal Commentary

Malik, in Al-Muwatta (Book 17, Number 17.24.45), protests the practice of summarily appropriating livestock from dhimmis; he states that livestock should only be taken as jizyah. In Book 17, Number 17.24.46, he states that the sunnah is that jizyah is only taken from male dhimmis and Zoroastrians who have reached puberty. Jizyah is imposed on non-Muslim "People of the Book" to humble them; also, they do not have to pay zakat, which is paid by Muslims as mandatory charity. If the non-believers remain in one country, they pay no other property taxes; however, if they do business in multiple Muslim countries, then they have to pay ten percent of the value of the traded goods each time they move to another country. The reason given is that jizyah is imposed on the condition (which they have agreed to) that they will stay in one country and avail of the security thus availed them by their submission; if they do business in multiple countries, then this is outside the stipulated agreements and conditions for jizyah, and therefore they must pay ten percent each time. Malik also states that this was the practice in his city.

Finally, in Book 21, Number 21.19.49a Malik states that when one collects jizyah from a people who surrendered peacefully, then they are allowed to keep their land and property. However, if they are overcome in battle and forced to give jizyah, then their land and property become booty for Muslims.

Abu Yusuf, an eighth century Hanafi jurist states in his Kitab al-Kharaj that "The wali [governor of a province] is not allowed to exempt any Christian, Jew, Magian, Sabean, or Samaritan from paying the tax, and no one can obtain a partial reduction. It is illegal for one to be exempted and another not, because their lives and possessions are spared only on account of the payment of the jizyah. He also cautions that "no one of the ahl al-dhimma should be beaten in order to exact payment of the jizyah, nor made to stand in the hot sun, nor should hateful things be inflicted upon their bodies, or anything of that sort. Rather, they should be treated with leniency. [. . .] It is proper, O Commander of the Faithful—may Allah be your support—that you treat leniently those people who have a contract of protection from your Prophet and cousin, Muhammad—may Allah bless him and grant him peace. You should look after them, so that they are not oppressed, mistreated, or taxed beyond their means."

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi writes in Mizan that certain directives of the Qur’an were specific only to Muhammad against peoples of his times, besides other directives, the campaign involved asking the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for exoneration and the others for jizyah and submission to the political authority of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection as the dhimmis of the Muslims.

Application on jizyah

Jizyah was applied to every free adult male member of the People of the Book. slaves, women, children, the old, the sick, monks, hermits and the poor, were all exempt from the tax, unless any of them was independent and wealthy. However, these exemptions were no longer observed during some periods in Muslim history, and discarded entirely by the Shafi’i School of Law, which prevailed in Egypt, also in theory. There was no amount permanently fixed for the tax, though the payment usually depended on wealth: the Kitab al-Kharaj of Abu Yusuf sets the amounts at 48 dirhams for the richest (e.g. moneychangers), 24 for those of moderate wealth, and 12 for craftsmen and manual laborers.

Though jizyah was mandated specifically for other monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism), under the Maliki school of Fiqh jizyah was extended to all non-Muslims. Thus some Muslim rulers also collected jizyah from Hindus and Sikhs under their rule. The collection of the tax was sometimes the duty of the elders of those communities, but often it was collected directly from individuals, in accordance with specific payment rituals described in the writings of Muslim jurists.
In return for the tax, those who paid the jizyah were permitted to keep their non-Muslim religion. Their economic and political security was guaranteed by the Islamic state, provided that they accepted Islamic control. They could not serve in the military or bear arms, but their community was considered to be under the protection of the Muslim state, subject to their meeting certain conditions. If someone refused to pay the jizyah, he could be imprisoned. The jizyah was used for paying the salaries of state servants, pensions and on charities. In some instances, however, it ended up in "private" treasuries.

Benard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, states that the discrimination in the amount of taxation was inherited from the previous Byzantium and Iranian empires. Scholars differ as to the exact burden imposed by the jizyah tax. Documentary evidence, including that found in eleventh-century Cairo Geniza documents suggested that the burden, at least for the poorer classes, was heavy. As the taxation amount was fixed in gold, it became less burdensome over the centuries.
According to Abu Yusuf, jurist of Harun al-Rashid, those who didn't pay jizyah should be imprisoned not to be let out of custody until payment. It is not permissible to exempt one person, while obliging another to pay jizyah, nor is jizyah to be reduced. Though it was an annual tax, non-Muslims were allowed to pay it in monthly installments.

The jizyah in reality is common income tax according to the Quran.

There are two Arabic words in the Quran the zakat and the sadaqa which most people will read it to mean charity. However when the words are scrutinized with the message in the Quran one can see that the differences between the two words become obviously glaring. Zakat is compulsory while the sadaqa is voluntary. However both the action of contributing the sadaqa and zakat are action of purifying the souls.

The Sadaqa

The word sadaqa among its meaning are to be true, to be sincere, veracity and to be right. As such those who give sadaqa are one who is sincere and have much more to give after he has settled his payment of zakat to the authority. Sadaqa or giving charity is voluntary in nature and is supported by many evidences in the Quran. In the following verse on pilgrimage for compensation on those who cannot complete the hajj (pilgrimage) or the umra (the lesser pilgrimage) God allow one to choose from  among the options either fast, give charity to the poor or sacrifice an animal shows that sadaqa is in fact voluntary as confirmed in the following verse of the Quran:

And complete the Hajj or 'umra in the service of Allah. But if ye are prevented from completing it, send an offering for sacrifice, such as ye may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his scalp, necessitating shaving, (He should) in compensation either fast, or feed the poor (sadaqatin), or offer sacrifice; and when ye are in peaceful conditions……. (Surah 2:196)

The other evidence that is provided in the Quran that the sadaqa is voluntary is shown by the fact that when one give charity he can do it openly or in secret but giving in secret is the preference but unlike zakat it must be done officially:

If ye disclose acts of charity (sadaqatan), even so it is well, but if ye conceal them, and make them reaches those really in need, that is best for you: It will remove from you some of your stains of evil. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do. (Surah 2:271)

The sadaqa or voluntary charity is also seen as a way of penitence to God. Whenever a person contributes an amount which is surplus over his commitment he is also purifying his souls in the hope of getting the mercy of God to absolve his past sins. And God is ever acceptance of repentance from His servants and the following verse guides the action:

Of their goods, take charity (sadaqa), that so thou might purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf. Verily thy prayers are a source of security for them: And Allah is One Who hear and know. Know them not that Allah doth accept repentance from His votaries and receives their gifts of charity (sadaqaa), and that Allah is verily, the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surah 9:103-104)

They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider. (Surah 2:219)

It can be seen that when God speak of sadaqa normally He approaches by using words of encouragement that any among the community volunteer to contribute for the good of the society and also for the penitence of his souls but when it is zakat it will be in the form of command as He commanded mankind to do the obligatory daily prayers or Salat. Thus there is contrasting difference between sadaqa and zakat as shown by the following verse in the Quran:

O ye who believe! When ye consult the Messenger in private, spend something in charity (sadaqa) before your private consultation. That will be best for you, and most conducive to purity of conduct. But if ye find not (the wherewithal), Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Is it that ye are afraid of spending sums in charity (sadaqa) before your private consultation (with him)? If, then, ye do not so, and Allah forgives you, then (at least) establish regular prayer; practice regular charity (zakat); and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Surah 58:12-13)

From the above verse it can be seen that the sadaqa is voluntary in nature and that if one is unable to fulfill his extra or additional dedication, contributing obligatory alms or zakat is the norm of the basic practice of giving. It is therefore clear from the message of the Quran there is the voluntary charity and there is the obligatory charity tax which is the zakat and the jizyah. In addition if anyone is without surplus and yet he still wish to contribute the little he had this is considered by God to be the highest noble sacrifice as shown in the following verse:

And what will explain to thee the path that is steep? (It is) the setting free of a slave, or the feeding, upon a day of (one’s own) hunger to the orphan with claims of relationship, or to the poor man lying in the dust. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. Such are the Companions of the Right Hand.
(Surah 90:12-18)

The Zakat

The Arabic word zaka means to be pure in heart and to be righteous and thus zakat is equivalent to the noun which means alms or poor dues as a compulsory form of charity or tax in a Muslim society. The zakat is therefore the payment of tax by a Muslim to the Islamic authority for managing the country and the distribution to those who are eligible for the funds. One who pays the zakat is paying his obligation to the state and at the same time when he contributes he is also purifying his soul for the mercy of his Lord. The action of contributing of the zakat is surrendering to God to purify one’s heart:  

Allah did confer a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, purifying them (yuzakkihim), and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error. (Surah 3:164)

The compulsory amount to be paid as a form of zakat is one fifth or twenty percentage of net profit and the percentage are calculated on the fraction which is due to the people who participated in the battle during the Prophet’s time. Since the war booty is profit during war time the relevant fraction will not be different in peace time, both are a fraction of profit which is due to the state and the needy. The relevant verse is as stated below:

And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer, if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing, the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things. (Surah 8:41)

The evidences that the zakat is compulsory as shown in the Quran is that whenever obligatory prayers (salat) are mentioned it normally goes together with zakat as shown from the following verses:

And be steadfast in prayer; practice regular charity (zakat); and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). (Surah 2:43)

And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity (zakat): And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that ye do. (Surah 2:110)

The contribution of zakat is compulsory as in salat by the fact that those who neglect or fail to fulfill the command by God will be punish in the hereafter but for the zakat they are also liable to be punished in this world as action can be taken against them by people of authority in the state. The following verses of the Quran illustrate the fact:

“What led you into hell fire?” They will say: We were not of those who prayed; nor were we of those who feed the poor. (Surah 74:42-44)

And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity (zakat); and that is the religion right and straight.
(Surah 98:5)

In other verses of the Quran it is stated that Muslims will have to be punished if they do not pay the zakat and they are also condemned to be in the category of polytheists if they fail to do so:

Say thou: "I am but a man like you: It is revealed to me by Inspiration, that your God is one God: so stand true to Him, and ask for His Forgiveness." And woe to those who join gods with Allah, those who do not pay the regular alms (zakat), and they are unbelievers in the hereafter. (Surah 41:6-7)

The relationship between the zakat and the Jizyah

The common features between zakat and jizyah according to Quran is that both are compulsory contribution of tax to the authority of the day. The amount due for both kind of tax is the same which is one fifth or twenty percent of net profit. The following verses of the Quran mentioned the jizyah and the amount for compulsory contribution:

Fight those who believe not in Allah or 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. (Surah 9:29)

According to the Surah 8:41 it is stated that those who believe in Allah and the revelation to the Prophet must give a share of one fifth of their effort for the various recipients mentioned in the verse and these were also compulsory for non-Muslim citizens. As this payment is mandatory it falls under the category of zakat and not sadaqa. Similarly since the jizyah in the above Surah 9:29 is also compulsory it is therefore the counterpart of the zakat. Everything between the zakat and the jizyah is equal in term of payment fraction or its citizen status in the community except the words used is different simply because the zakat contributions refer to Muslims as when he makes the payment it is a purifying action and he gave or contributed by mentioning in the name of Allah.

On the contrary polytheists, disbelievers or the People of the book whether they be Christians or Jews it will be natural for them they will not ascribe their payment in the name of Allah so they make the payment as a responsible citizen of the state and that is why this payment is called jizyah. This is where the principle of freedom of religion according to Surah 2:256 is observed, there is no enforcement for the people of the book to be forced to pay the jizyah with the death penalty they are equally treated to pay jizyah as the Muslim pays the zakat. They are not forced to pay on religious basis in the Name of Allah but they can treat it as their social responsibility.       

There are however mentioned in the Quran some of the Jews pay the zakat and these were the category of people who accept the Quran as their Book of guidance and they treat payment as a religious obligation in the name of God and they are as good as Muslims and these are being mentioned in the following verse of the Quran:

But those among them (the Jews) who are well-grounded in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what hath been revealed to thee and what was revealed before thee: And (especially) those who establish regular prayer and practice regular charity (pay the zakat) and believe in Allah and in the Last Day: To them shall We soon give a great reward. (Surah 4:162)

So from the evidences of the message of the Quran there is no discrimination or double standard imposed among all the citizens in a Muslim society if the authorities take the guidance from the Quran. There is no avenue for misinterpretation of the words zakat and jizyah if all the evidences are put into its rightful place and none of its citizen will be discriminated in paying taxation as claimed by some ignorant observers.

The inaccuracies or discrepancies of the meaning of the jizyah and the zakat cannot be avoided when sources other than the Quran are taken as prime source like the hadith. Thiswill lead to the distortion and contradiction to the message of the Quran. The allegation that the jizyah is punishment for those who disbelieve in Islam and those who failed to pay is punishable by death is false and irresponsible because it contradicts with the main principle of Islam that there is no compulsion and no death penalty in the Quran as we have a prophet who do not disobey the command of God:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. (Surah 2:256)
O ye who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand and compensate him with handsome gratitude, this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty. In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves. (Surah 2:178-179)

Apart from no compulsion in religion and no death penalty in the Quran, one is to uphold justice when one is to make judgment and this is a command by Allah to be obeyed by all Muslims:

O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Surah 5:8)

Allah doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; And when ye judge between man and man, that ye judge with justice: Verily how excellent is the teaching which He giveth you! For Allah is He Who heareth and seeth all things. (Surah 4:58)

Of those We have created are people who direct (others) with truth. And dispense justice therewith. (Surah 7:181)