Archive for the ‘History’ Category


Non-Muslims bear burden in Islamic tax law

November 2, 2011

More from the Islamic department of discriminatory taxation.  Let’s jump in a time portal through Bernard Lewis’s The Arabs in History to look back at taxes under the Umayyad dynasty:

The Arabs took over only state lands and the lands of enemies of the regime.  Other landowners who recognized the new government retained effective freehold rights on payment of certain taxes.  The confiscated lands were registered and administered by the state.  Muslims were allowed to buy land outside Arabia and many were granted lands in a form of lease known as Qati’a (pl. Qata’i’).

These concessions might be cultivated lands or of dead lands, and in the latter case were usually accompanied by state aid in the form of tax remissions.  While few such grants were made by ‘Umar, many were made by his successors.  Muslim landowners outside Arabia did not pay the full land tax, but, after some dispute, paid a much smaller due known as the ‘Ushr, or tithe.  Apart from a small religious levy on Muslims all other taxes were paid by the subject non-Muslim peoples.  These included the Jizya and the Kharaj.  The Jizya, but not the Kharaj, is mentioned in the Qur’an.  In later times these terms were differentiated to mean the poll-tax payable by non-Muslims and the land tax.  Under the early Caliphate, however, while Jizya apparently already acquired the technical meaning of poll-tax, Kharaj was still a generic term for any kind of tax, and was used loosely for the collective tribute levied by the Arabs as a lump sum from each region.

What Lewis is saying is that the Umayyad rulers gave away a lot of the land conquered by Islam through concessions to Muslim ethnic Arabs.  And once those Muslim Arabs acquired the land, they only paid the ushr (which actually isn’t always a ten percent tithe—in the case of artificially irrigated land, the harvest tax is only five percent).  The “small religious levy” is, of course, zakat, although you wouldn’t know it to read all the falsehoods from modern Muslim liars who claim that zakat is greater than jizya.

As if the land giveaways and jizya of the early Umayyad period weren’t bad enough, Lewis paints a grim picture of tax policy under the later Umayyad period as well:

The main basis of the new order was the legal fiction that the land and not the landowner paid Kharaj.  From this time on, all land assessed as Kharaj land paid the full rate irrespective of the religion or nationality of its owner.  The ‘Ushr land formed under the early Caliphate continued to pay the lower rate, but could no longer be added to.  The Dhimmis in addition paid the Jizya, or poll-tax.  The working of this new system, which was to become the canonical system of Islamic jurisprudence, was made more effective by the appointment of separate financial superintendents alongside the provincial governors with the task of carrying out a survey and a census as the basis of new assessments.

“All land assessed as Kharaj land paid the full rate irrespective of the religion or nationality of its owner.”  On the surface that almost sounds fair or egalitarian, but the truth is quite the opposite.  The land assessed as kharaj land was land originally owned by non-Muslims prior to the incursion of Arab Muslims to the area.  Even those who converted to Islam were still liable for kharaj.  This was a central tenet of Arab racial supremacy during the Umayyad reign.  Non-Arabs, not just non-Muslims, suffered under Islamic taxation.


La sabiduría de Colón

October 10, 2011

A major factor behind Christopher Columbus’s voyage across the sea in 1492 was his desire to sidestep the heavily taxed Ottoman land routes, as Money Jihad documented on Columbus Day last year.  This year, in honor of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who funded Columbus’s voyage, and in appreciation to our readers in the Spanish-speaking world, we offer the information in Spanish:

Constantinopla Cristiana cayó al Imperio Otomano islámico en 1453. Los otomanos habían ganado el control de la Ruta de la Seda al Lejano Oriente. ¿Qué significó esto para la Europa cristiana y el descubrimiento de América? La Prof. Cynthia Smith, de la Universidad de Hawai, explica:

Hay una consecuencia final del control y la expansión otomana, quizás la más importante desde la perspectiva de la historia del mundo. El Imperio Otomano, a finales del siglo 15, controlaba el Cercano Oriente y el Mediterráneo Oriental. Esto significaba el control de las rutas de tierra que unían la Ruta de la Seda entre Asia y el Mediterráneo. El control de estas conexiones de comercio Este/Oeste permitió que los líderes otomanos cobraran impuestos a todas las mercancías que circulaban al Este y el Oeste a través de sus territorios. Por lo tanto, el control estratégico producía asombrosa riqueza para el Imperio Otomano–riqueza que disfrutaron por siglos.

Este control fue, como era de esperarse, una fuente de resentimiento cada vez mayor por parte de los europeos, especialmente después del siglo 14, cuando el comercio se convirtió cada vez más importante para los europeos. Los comerciantes europeos y líderes resentían la pérdida de ingresos debido a los altos impuestos, y los consumidores europeos de productos asiáticos resentían los altos precios. También hubo tensión religiosa sentían por los cristianos que tenían que seguir las leyes musulmanas para mantener sus conexiones comerciales con el Oriente. Este resentimiento que algunos europeos llamaron el “dominio absoluto” del Imperio Otomano en el comercio internacional fue la razón principal por la cual los líderes políticos y los intereses comerciales invirtieron dinero en  esfuerzos para encontrar las rutas marítimas a los mercados de Oriente–lanzando cambios épicos provocados por la exploración europea y la expansión a finales de los años 1400 a 1500.

En otras palabras, los viajes que resultaron en la “Era de los Descubrimiento” o “Edad de la Expansión” europea fueron motivados principalmente por el deseo de soslayar al Imperio Otomano. La expansión del dominio europeo y el poder global que fueron el resultado de estas primeras expediciones cambiaron la historia del mundo. El dominio otomán regional y los intentos europeos para evitar el control económico fueron los catalizadores del dominio marítimo europeo, la colonización, el “descubrimiento” del continente americano y el aumento de las interacciones globales.

Cada vez que alguien pasa a través de la jurisdicción de un ashir’ (recaudador de impuestos), paga impuestos. Si usted es un comerciante extranjero musulmán en un país musulmán, puede pagar aduanas mínimas. Cuando usted es un comerciante no musulmán en un país musulmán, tiene que pagar el máximo. Los intereses vitales de Europa eran incompatibles con la extorsión sharia durante la Era del Descubrimiento. ¿Cómo es que hemos olvidado lo que Colón reconoció 519 años atrás?


Jizya and the Armenian Genocide

August 19, 2011

Remember the caliphate that Islamist thinkers (and even Western elites) would like to restore to the world?  Some would even still like to see it be a Turkish-based caliphate like the last one, which worked out so well for the Christians (see here for earlier coverage) in that neck of the woods–at least if you like massacres, rapes, and taxation.  From the American Thinker on Aug. 7:

The “Armenian Genocide”

Most historians regard 1912 to 1925 as a time of massive Christian annihilation and relocation by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Although commonly given the misnomer “Armenian Genocide,” the atrocity was a carefully planned ethnic cleansing to rid Asia Minor of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other minorities in order to establish an exclusively Muslim Turkish state. Some scholars date the first phase of the Christian genocide from the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid and his Hamidian Massacres of 1895-1897 through the Istanbul Pogrom of 1955.

The Hamidian massacres attempted to assert Muslim supremacy and advance the cause of Turkification. French ambassador Pierre Paul Cambon described Turkey at the time as “literally in flames” with “massacres everywhere” and Christians murdered “without distinction.” Marauding Kurdish chieftains in the region were encouraged to join in and channel their aggression into the killing, pillaging and raping of non-Muslim populations. Estimates of the number of Christians who perished during the reign of Sultan Hamid range from 100,000 to 300,000.

From the 1900’s to 1922, the Christian population declined from 25% to less than 5% within Anatolia. Under Islam, Christians had few rights, paid exorbitantly high taxes – the jizya – and enjoyed limited political representation and access to government services. Their testimony was inadmissible, no provision existed for their legal protection, they were prohibited from owning firearms, and their property, wives and children were vulnerable to spontaneous attacks.

Approximately 2.5 million Armenians, Assyrians and Greek Christians were massacred during this period. Kurds were encouraged to settle in Christian territory, demand the payment of tributes and illegally seize land. They were given free rein against local Christians in exchange for their loyal service to the Ottoman government.

Read the full article here.


Culture Killer

February 13, 2011

“When he was asked why the vast majority of Egyptians, the heirs to a great pre-Islamic civilization, speak Arabic rather than Coptic, a leading Egyptian historian replied: ‘Because we had no Ferdowsi.’”  Amil Imani

The Persian poet Ferdowsi was able to save the Persian language and culture, but the original Egyptians are but a shadow of their former selves.  Unsurprisingly, Islamic taxation also played a part in the systematic destruction of that national pre-Islamic Egyptian identity.  A passage from Mordechai Nisan’s Minorities in the Middle East explains that history quite well (thanks to a Feb. 2 CAMERA article for bringing this to light):

The Islamic conquest of Egypt from 640 to 641 inaugurated the decline of Christianity in the Nile Valley. There were one hundred bishoprics in the year 600, but only seventy by 700; in the year 1300 only forty remained. While some Copts joined the Arab governmental apparatus as accountants and translators, others engaged in revolt to secure Christian self-expression. Overtime, the burden of dhimmi taxation compelled thousands to accept Islam. The surge to revolt, like the insurrections from 725 to 773, persisted intermittently until 830 at least, but to no avail. Copts were dragged off to Baghdad as slaves. By the tenth century, the spoken Coptic language had all but died, replaced by Arabic. The caprice of changing rulers would arbitrarily affect the Copts’ condition. It is said that Saladin, suspecting Copt collusion with the crusaders, punished them sternly. The overall Christian population, formerly some 90 percent of Egypt, dwindled incessantly to some 10 percent.

 The extreme fragility of Copt existence was rooted in the superiority of Muslims exercised through the dhimma doctrine. Islamic supremacy often degenerated into brutal repression. A Maghrebian visitor to Cairo in 1301 witnessed the degradation of the Christians: None could ride a horse or hold public office; churches were closed; and Christians had to wear a distinguishable colored turban different from that of the Muslims. Violence against Copts and their ecclesiastical establishment was a central theme in the sectarian relationship. Muslim mobs, based on the rule of Islam, ransacked Copt neighborhoods and massacred their inhabitants, as in Cairo in 1343.

 The situation led continually to mass conversions from the Cross to the Crescent. Islam legal opinion developed a harsh attitude toward churches, as both Ibn Taimiyya in the fourteenth century and Shaykh Ahmad al-Damanhuri in the eighteenth century condoned the construction of churches. Sixty churches were destroyed in 1321. With the Copt religion victimized, the Copt language fading, and the Copt community straining under heavy jizya and kharaj tribute, Copt history was burned with minority-status bitterness under Islam for more than a thousand years. (Page 119)

Remember, the kharaj can be even an even greater tax burden than the jizya, and it is imposed on land owned by non-Muslims and land formerly owned by non-Muslims.  Centuries ago, Persia waged a tax revolt against the kharaj that forced tax reforms by the caliph.  If only Egypt had been able to also, the Copts might not be staring down the barrel of their own oblivion today.


Your money and your sons

January 23, 2011

How Ottomans taxed Christian Bosnians

Lee Jay Walker offered up an alternative historical explanation of the conflict in the Balkans via the Pakistan Christian Post on Wednesday.  The Christians in Bosnia were long-suffering victims of the Muslim Ottoman tax system including the wicked devshirme and the jizya.

The hidden “Islamic jihad” and dimensions of Bosnia have been ignored prior to the conflict, during the civil war in the early 1990s, and afterwards. This misrepresentation of reality meant that thousands of Islamists from all over the world were aided by so-called democratic powers and the role of the mass media and many leading academics served the ambitions of Al-Qa’ida and other outside powers. Therefore, what is the reality of Bosnia and why is it claimed that all communities resided in peace and tranquility?

According to many naïve Western commentators Bosnia was a tranquil reality where Muslims and Christians lived happily together for many centuries. Not only this, the Western rhetoric claimed that in modern times it was the Muslim leadership in Bosnia which was open-minded, democratic, modernist, and which desired to maintain a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.

The truth could not have been further and Western commentators and academics are clearly glossing over reality because the Ottoman Empire was not based on enlightenment. On the contrary, the Islamization of Bosnia was paid by the blood of Christians and the slavery and forced conversions of young Christian boys who were forcibly converted to Islam via the barbaric devshirme system.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Jizya is lifeblood of imperial Islam

December 23, 2010

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch recently took part in a debate about Islam at Thomas More College.  Spencer suggested that Islam is at its wealthiest and most expansive when it has the largest number of Christians and Jews living under it from whom to extract funds through jizya.  Islam is at its feeblest once the religious minority communities have been sucked dry.

This shouldn’t be too controversial an argument given that classical Islamic tax law requires that Islamic armies be funded entirely by taxes paid by infidels through the jizya and kharaj.  Spencer makes a compelling case and sums up the historical and modern reality of jizya in Islamic law nicely.  From Jihad Watch on Dec. 21:

In chapter nine of the Qur’an are numerous teachings–which of course are portrayed as divine revelation which cannot be questioned and have to be obeyed by any pious and observant Muslim. These are instructions to wage offensive warfare against Jews and Christians–particularly in chapter nine verse twenty-nine which tells Muslims to fight against those who do not obey Allah and his messenger and do not forbid that which he has forbidden (in other words, don’t follow the strictures of Islamic law) even if they are the People of the Book, which is the Qur’anic designation for primarily Jews and Christians, until they pay the jizya (which is a tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.

That verse became the foundation of an elaborate superstructure of laws that are still part of Islamic jurisprudence and of Islamic political law that Islamists, that jihad terrorists, that any Islamic supremacist wants to impose over the world today. These laws mandate that non-Muslims, the People of the Book, must pay a special tax from which Muslims are exempt. As a matter of fact, you can pretty much correlate in Islamic history the strength and aggression and rise of the great Islamic empires of the past with the size of the Jewish and Christian communities that were subjugated within those empires and were paying for that imperial expansion. When those communities were exhausted economically, then the Islamic empires went into decline. This is an absolute correlation that recurs again and again and again. The Christians and Jews in Muslim lands were subjugated in accord with that section of the verse, that last part where they must ‘pay the jizya with willing submission and they feel themselves subdued.’ They never enjoyed equality of rights with Muslims: they were denied the right to build new houses of worship or to repair old ones; they were denied the right to hold authority over Muslims so that Jews and Christians were relegated to the most menial and degrading jobs in the society. They were subject to various other humiliating and discriminatory regulations.

Now this is, as I cannot emphasize enough, still part of Islamic law. This is not one sect or one school or one group that’s heretical that has made this part of their teaching. This is universal among all sects and schools of jurisprudence that are recognized as mainstream and orthodox by fellow Muslims. They all teach–you cannot find one that does not teach–the necessity to wage wars against unbelievers and to subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. In fact, Hamas, in Gaza, has announced its intention, once it’s fully consolidated its power, to impose this system of dhimmitude and subjugate the Christians that remain there under institutionalized forms of discrimination. Gangs in Baghdad, without government authority to be sure, terrorized the Christian community–which I’m sure you know is terrorized on a more or less daily basis: there was just another massacre in a church in Baghdad the other day–they were knocking on doors in Baghdad last year and demanding payment of the jizya, this tax which amounts to protection money. You pay it and you don’t get killed. But you don’t pay it, or you transgress some of the other laws that are set out for these subjugated peoples, and then your life is forfeit.

Read the full transcript of the debate here.


Jizya war waged against Sikhs

December 9, 2010

In 1735, Hakikat Rai, a Sikh Indian boy, was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam (h/t AlertPak).  Today, Sikhs still face the deadly three-part ultimatum of conversion, payment of the jizya, or death.

Sikh proudly dies rather than convert to Islam

The beheading of Haqiqat Rai

Now for a modern slice of life under an Islamic tax code from Time via Jihad Watch:

Sikhs like Darsha Singh, displaced from his village of Orakzai in the war-ravaged tribal territories further northwest, have sought refuge with their co-religionists in Peshawar, which now hosts some 500 families, the largest Sikh population in Pakistan.

In Darsha’s hometown, which was once Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud’s base, the insurgents demanded that the small indigenous Sikh community either convert to Islam, leave the land of their forebears or pay a 12 million rupee ($140,000) jizya – the medieval tax levied on non-Muslims in an Islamic state. The Taliban then provided incentive: forcibly occupying Sikh-owned shops and houses, demolishing almost a dozen homes and kidnapping several men, beheading two. The community banded together and managed to come up with about a quarter of the amount demanded by the Taliban…

Read Jihad Watch’s full analysis of the war on Sikhs here.


Columbus knew the dangers of the Muslim tax man

October 11, 2010

Time for a short Columbus Day history lesson. 

Christian Constantinople fell to the Muslim Ottoman Empire in 1453.  The Ottomans had also gained control of the vital Silk Road to the Far East.  What did this mean for Christian Europe and the soon-to-be discovered Americas?  Prof. Cynthia Smith of the University of Hawaii describes it very well:

There is one final consequence of Ottoman expansion and control, perhaps the most important from the perspective of world history. The Ottoman Empire, by the end of the 15th century, controlled the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean region. This meant control of the land routes linking the Silk Road connections between Asia and the Mediterranean. Control of East/West trading connections enabled Ottoman leaders to levy taxes on all goods moving East and West through their territory. Thus, strategic control resulted in staggering wealth for the Ottoman Empire – wealth they enjoyed for centuries.

This control was, not surprisingly, a source of growing resentment on the part of the Europeans, especially after the 14th century, as commerce and trade became increasingly important to Europeans.  European merchants and leaders resented the loss of revenue due to heavy taxes, and European consumers of Asian goods resented the high prices. There was also religious strain felt by Christians who had to follow Muslim laws and policies to maintain their trading connections with the East. This resentment of what some Europeans called the “stranglehold” of the Ottoman Empire on international trade was a primary reason why political leaders, commercial interests, invested money in efforts to find sea routes to the markets and goods of the East – launching the epic changes brought about by European exploration and expansion in the late 1400’s and 1500’s.

In other words, the voyages that resulted in the European “Age of Discovery” or “Age of Expansion” were launched primarily by the desire to go around the Ottoman Empire.  The expansion of European global control and power that resulted from these early expeditions changed world history. Ottoman regional dominance, and European attempts to avoid that economic control, were the catalysts for European sea dominance, colonization, Western “discovery” of the American continent and the further increase of global interactions.

Whenever you pass through the jurisdiction of an ‘ashir, you pay taxes.  If you’re a foreign Muslim trader in a Muslim land you pay low customs duties.  When you’re a non-Muslim trader in a Muslim land, you pay the highest customs duty rates.  Vital European interests were incompatible with sharia extortion during the Age of Discovery.  How is it that we’ve forgotten what Columbus recognized 518 years ago?