Sharia tax law: conversion through payolaDecember 24, 2012
Supporters of zakat, the Islamic tax on wealth, mislead people into believing that that zakat helps the poor. The truth is that poor Muslims are one category of eligible recipients of zakat, but believers of other religions are not entitled to such alms. And the broader truth is that the general purpose of zakat isn’t to help the poor, but to help spread Islam. One factor of this propagation is the one exception in sharia tax law that allows a non-Muslim to receive zakat: as an inducement to convert.
…The majority view is clearly that one of the uses of Zakat money is to “reconcile” or “win over” people’s hearts to Islam or to Mohammed. This obviously refers to giving non-Muslims money in order to entice them to become Muslims or to favour Muslims – i.e. bribing them.
Let me also note that this is the only reason for which a non-Muslim can receive anything from Zakat. Put another way, the other categories apply solely to Muslims.
In the view of Ahamed, Rodwell, Sale and Yousaf Ali the Zakat money is given to those who are new converts to Islam to cement their allegiance – i.e. to bribe them to remain “good” Muslims.
I should add that in his footnotes Rodwell writes that this money was given to “petty Arab chiefs with whom Mohammed made terms …in order to secure their followers”. Thus although Mohammed gave the money to bribe new converts according to Rodwell’s translation, part of it at least was used to bribe the rest of the tribe(s) into following Mohammed and Islam according to Rodwell’s footnote. Thus Rodwell confirms that both forms of bribe were used…