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The PJ Tatler

by
Raymond Ibrahim

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July 31, 2014 - 10:30 am

Is jizya—the money non-Muslims historically paid their Muslim conquerors—meant to buy them “protection,” including from outside enemies, as modern Western academics maintain?  Or was it simply extortion money meant to buy non-Muslims their lives, as Islam’s scriptures mandate?

The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued(emphasis added).”

In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

Keeping the above in mind, consider the following July 18 report from Reuters:

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….

It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”

“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.

“After this date [July 19], there is nothing between us and them but the sword,” it said.

The Nineveh decree echoes one that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the former name for the Islamic State, issued in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February, demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.

Note how straightforward the Islamic State’s words are—jizya, conversion, or death—compared to the language of Reuters, which twice invokes the concept of “protection” without explaining from whom:  1) “a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya”; 2) “demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.”

Reuters doesn’t bother to clarify this notion of “protection,” but rather leaves it vague, implying that the protection Christians receive is against some random elements.

The reason for this obfuscation is that Mideast academics in the West have been whitewashing the meaning of jizya for decades.  After all, the concept of jizya is one of the most ironclad proofs that Islam is innately intolerant of non-Muslims.

A very typical Western definition for jizya can be found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis [conquered non-Muslims] and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection [from whom?] and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya.”

Other academics have gone so far as to claim that non-Muslims paid jizya to buy Muslim protection against outside forces.  Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.  It essentially makes the idea of being subjugated to Islamic overlords and paying them tribute appear as an enviable position for non-Muslim minorities:

In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …

The idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie—one that, as the equivocal tone of the aforementioned Reuters report indicates, has taken root in the West.

Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their despised “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad without first converting to Islam.

The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”

Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).

So jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves.  Whether it’s the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it’s the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their non-Muslim subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money.

There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else become one of us and convert to Islam, or else die.

And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam.

In short, jizya is an ugly fact of Islam—one that, distort as they may, the academics can’t whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum; and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.
Top Rated Comments   
The Koran is a poorly stitched-together palimpsest of New and Old Testament misinterpretations and Arabian Peninsula moon worship. In places it is rigidly monotheist, while in others it veers toward pagan polytheism. Its teaching on treatment of People of the Book is similarly erratic. As result, Christians remaining under the muslim lash, whether dhimmi or not, are never more than one interpretation away from the sword.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (3)
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The Evil genie is out of the Bottle. It all began in 1967 when the Israeli Forces reclaimed all of Jerusalem but in a moment of weakness and misguided secular-Jewish largesse decided to allow the Muslim's Al Aksa Mosque to remain undisturbed on Temple Mount. Temple Mount is a Spiritual Vortex, given to the Jewish Nation to safeguard by the Holy ONE, the Omnipotent Force of all Forces in the Universe, with strict instructions as to what is allowed and forbidden on this most Awesome and powerful Spiritual Powerplant on planet earth.
The Jewish People have no Spiritual claim to the Holy Land when they do not fulfill their 'part of the bargain', that is, their G-d given responsibility under the Covenant to serve as
Custodians of the Mount. In effect, fulfilling that singular responsibility, more than any historical claims or 'legal' titles of ownership is what gives legitimacy to the Jewish possession of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
On a deep and subconscious spiritual level this truth is felt if not understood not only by the European Union and United Nations but particularly by our half brothers in the Muslim world who have rightfully concluded the weakness and spiritual faithlessness of the Jewish Nation in spurning G-d's Will. Their fraudulent possession of Temple Mount and the Israeli Government's complicity in reinforcing of this fraud by officially forbidding any Jewish prayer or even for Jews to set foot there has caused a world-shattering metaphysical imbalance, a short-circuit so to speak.
Since 1967 the cancer of Radical Islam has metastasized world-wide, threatening every civilization with physical and spiritual destruction. The 9-11 attacks, Violent terror attacks on non-Muslims, Islamic unrest and Sharia in Europe, everywhere Islam has a presence, the dread and unspeakable menace of two nuclear armed Islamic States, Pakistan and soon Iran, just to name a very few nightmares.
Is all this a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that all three major religions hold Jerusalem as sacred ground to be fought and died for? A coincidence that Jerusalem is never mentioned in Islam's holiest book, Koran, yet thousands of times in Jewish Scripture!
The truth is that nothing can stop this Cancer from spreading. Not Armed forces, Drone assassinations, Civil laws or security checkpoints. Not even the false panacea of a 'successful' political settlement with Arab Palestinians in Judea/Samaria for 'Palestinian' Statehood there will turn the tide and return the 'Genie' to the 'bottle'. Those are nothing but band-aids on soon-to-be terminal cancer. And more and more as the nations of the world, including formerly friendly ones in European Capitols and Washington D.C. Quietly have begun to openly question the merits, even the 'legitimacy' of the Jewish State, the situation facing Israel has become dire. Far worse than Iranian nukes is this other threat. Sadly, more and more American Jews have come to question Israeli status in that region. The BDS movement grows on American University campuses, most troubling as it now includes growing numbers of young liberal Jewish students, men and women.
Militarily, politically, philosophically, morally ...Israel is becoming weakened on many fronts. It is not certain the Jewish State can survive much longer under the expanded and multifaceted front.
Unless...The Jewish Nation will do what should have been done in 1967. Remove the Al Aksa from Temple Mount. We need not destroy it, for we Jews do not destroy. We are not a vindictive people even towards our enemies. This golden-domed edifice can be disassembled brick by brick, placed on flat bed trucks, hauled overland and presented as a gift to the Hashemite King as a goodwill gesture.
We must Restore balance to the spiritual vortex of this Awesome Temple Mount as was intended by the Holy ONE. There Is No Other Way. Yes, it will be painful. The region and world will bleed with Muslim fury and world-violence. For a while. And then, the cancer will die as the Genie of Spiritual imbalance is returned to the Bottle. There Is No Other Way. And Time Is Running Out.




Yoelarry
KOZMAN


8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment

Western civilization can spend the next decade ( if we last that long )
Trying to contain and defeat the Jihadist forces of Islam.
We can keep struggling in the quest for the Democratization of Islamic states which we already did and failed at after investing billions in money and blood.
We can try to strengthen the so-called 'moderate branches of Islam, if there is one. They're either being cowed Into silence or winking and nodding to their Islamist brothers.
We can continue to use drones and special forces and police actions but so far That hasn't been effective. The violent Jihadists reproduce faster than we can neutralize them.
We can try making nice with the organizations of 'Soft-Jihadists' who advance Sharia and Jihad through usually peaceful and legal
Means (like the Muslim Brotherhood Obama's been backing for
The last six years) but that backfired.
The problem of violent Islamic Jihad is more widespread and virulent today than it was even at the height of its glory days when Hordes of Jihadists Advanced on Spain and other parts of Europe, something happening again even at this moment. For Over 1400 years of Jihadist violence, of murder and enslavement, forced conversions, and abuse Of women and children ...and yet still In this modern day and age Islam remains more a retro-sixth century ideology of bloody conquest than anything resembling a religion of peace and harmony.
The world can't wait for this backward cult of Muhammad to somehow 'reform' itself.
Not when nuclear and chemical weapons of Jihad very soon will be within the reach Of religious psychopaths and end-of-days fanatics who yearn for martyrdom.
When a beehive is burnt the surviving bees are disoriented
And dispersed. Certainly there are many angry bees initially but then they lose their ability to sting and just Disappear and scatter into the countryside and soon die.
There's a lesson in this. The hive is in Mecca. It's called the
Kaaba. Or we can continue getting stung for the rest of history!


Yoelarry
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Koran is a poorly stitched-together palimpsest of New and Old Testament misinterpretations and Arabian Peninsula moon worship. In places it is rigidly monotheist, while in others it veers toward pagan polytheism. Its teaching on treatment of People of the Book is similarly erratic. As result, Christians remaining under the muslim lash, whether dhimmi or not, are never more than one interpretation away from the sword.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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