Posts Tagged ‘camel’


Islam prices people like livestock

October 14, 2011

What’s the life of a human being worth under Islam?  A hundred camels if you’re a male.  If you’re a woman, fifty.  If you’re a non-Muslim, twenty-five.  From Crossroads Arabia last month:

The Price of Camels and a Life

Blood Money or diyya is an Shariah principle that arose to avoid feuds and independent application of lex talionis or retribution. In the case of accidental death, it may be covered by insurance, but for intentional killings, it falls upon the miscreant and his family. The value of blood money has remained static in Saudi Arabia for the past 29 years. It is now being raised to three or four times the old value to keep in line with the changes in its baseline figure: the price of a camel.

The Saudi system still values women’s lives at half that of men and of non-Muslims at only a quarter.

Proposal to raise blood money limit gets royal consent
ARAB NEWS RIYADH: Royal consent has been given to raise the diyyah (blood money) limit for murder to SR400,000 and accidental killings to SR300,000, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said the adjustments were requested by the Supreme Court in light of the hikes in the price of camels. According to Shariah rules, the heirs of a murdered person should be compensated with 100 camels.

The new blood money values are expected to be circulated soon.

Blood money values, currently set at SR110,000 for murder and SR100,000 for accidental killings, have been static for the last 29 years. Murdered women are paid half of the amount…

Selling daughters for some sheep

Meanwhile, men across Afghanistan have a tradition of (and are continuing to) sell their daughters for “some sheep”…  Hat tip to Act for America and forrestlynx:

This is the same Islam that prohibits assigning a monetary value in terms of an interest rate (riba) to loans.  But the religion has no qualms about assigning a monetary value to people’s lives.  Nevertheless, we’re told that Islamic finance is more “ethical” than Western finance.


Pay zakat or die

January 12, 2011

Non-Muslims aren’t the only victims in Islam’s devilish tax system.  The Hadith tell the ummah that those who do not pay zakat will be tortured throughout eternity in hell.  Penalties here on earth are stiff too.  The 60-year-old man in this article was shot in the head for not paying al-Shabaab what he owed for camel zakat

And remember, the Muslims in California accused of terrorist financing were supporting al-Shabaab.  This is the kind of activity they support:  shooting somebody in the head in 2010 for not paying a camel tax invented in the seventh century.

The Religion of Peace does a great job at linking to stories like this one, which is from the Daily Nation on Jan. 7:

Kenyan herder killed by Al-Shabaab

A Kenyan herder was on Friday killed in Somalia by members of the Islamist group Al-Shabaab for refusing to part with his five camels as payment for a yearly tax.

The 60-year-old man, identified as Mr Mohamed Muhumed, was among thousands of Kenyans who fled Hamey Village in Damajaley location after a ravaging drought in North Eastern Province.

He is reported to have been shot on the head several times before his entire stock of camels was confiscated.

Muslims are expected to pay zakat, a form of alm, willingly in the first month of the Islamic calendar (Muharaam). The payment can be in the form of animals or money. But in the case of Mr Muhumed there was use of force.

Speaking to the Saturday Nation in Hamey Village, some 10 kilometres from the Somali border town of Hosingo, the Damajaley ward councillor, Mr Hassan Noor Sahal, said Kenyan herdsmen who fled with their animals to Somalia were being forced to pay zakat by the Islamist group.

“The militants are confiscating animals and harassing our people who moved there in search of water,” said the councillor…


Setting the record straight on Islam’s camel tax

March 28, 2010

Gulf News offered this syrupy ode to the camel yesterday:

Dubai: The UAE is historically known for its attachment to camels which are of social and economic value in the region.

The animal is famously known as the ship of the desert because of its walk, which is much like the motion of a ship at sea. Patience is one of its most observable features and camels are generally useful animal.

Historically, camels in the UAE were a dependable source of not only transport but also food and milk.

Arabs were proud of the number of camels they possessed.

The camels were given as a bride’s dowry among the Bedouin tribes. Not to mention its use as payment of Zakat — the annual portion of a Muslim’s personal fortune that is given as charity to people in need — as which was at times paid in camels instead of money.

The population of camels in the UAE in 2003 was estimated at over 178,000, according to the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage.

Contrary to what Gulf News states above, Islam requires camels to be used as payment for zakat.  Camels are themselves a form of wealth under Islam and are subject to taxation.  As payment, the camel owner must forfeit a number of camels based on complicated ratios set forth in the Hadith.

Like I’ve said before, more passages of the Hadith address the camel zakat than the 2½ percent monetary zakat.  The Gulf News should know better, and they probably do, but they are trying to make a religious obsession with camels sound quaint.

The reason why I spend any time blogging about this subject is that the zakat on camel wealth illustrates perfectly the anachronistic foolishness of carrying forward a tax system devised by Muhammad in the seventh century into the present day.


The Zakat: Part II

November 7, 2009

Leaving aside the profound flaws of the zakat for the moment, this second post in Money Jihad’s zakat series will address the legal and administrative details of zakat collections.

Who pays & when:  Muslim men and women pay the zakat.  Paupers who are eligible to receive the zakat do not pay the zakat.  However, there are numerous statements in the Hadith to the effect that giving just one date fruit is better than giving nothing.  Payment is due annually at Ramadan.

How much:  The Sahih Bukhari says “For silver the Zakat is one-fortieth of the lot (ie 2.5%)” (2.24.534).  In this passage “silver” has been interpreted throughout Islamic history as liquid monetary wealth, whether it’s in cash, gold, or silver.  The zakat tax rate of 2½ percent should be carefully distinguished from the Christian tithe of 10 percent, or American marginal income tax rates of 10 to 35 percent.  The zakat taxes wealth, not income; that is, it counts against everything a Muslim possesses at the end of their lunar year after paying any debts or expenses.  It is not a tax on profits or net revenues (which are subject to different tax rates, especially among Shiite Muslims).

Just to give you a sense of what the zakat tax rate means, multiply your net worth by 2½ percent.  Compare the result to what you paid in income taxes last year.  If your personal finances are like mine, the two figures are comparable.

Deductions:  With the zakat (somewhat similarly to taxes on personal property such as commercial inventory or privately owned boats in the United States), there is an established threshold value under which no goods are taxed.  In Arabic, this threshold value is known as the “nisab.”  For example, Sahih Bukhari 2.24.534 establishes that no zakat is due on less than 200 silver dirhams (which today would be several hundred U.S. dollars).

Animal wealth:

  • Animal nisab:  Apart from the 200 dirham nisab on monetary wealth, the Hadith outline nisab for animal wealth.  A Muslim pays no zakat on less than five camels or less than 40 sheep.  For animal wealth in general, the zakat is paid with a smaller number out of your animals or an animal of lesser value.  For example, if a Muslim owns between five and 24 camels, he pays the zakat with one sheep.  The larger your herds, the higher animal zakat you’ll pay. 
  • Camel taxesI’m trying to convey the animal tax as simply as possible, but the Hadith’s arcane rules on camel wealth are beyond my powers to condense.  Strikingly, Islam’s tax on money is explained in just one sentence, while the tax on camel wealth goes on for paragraphs after paragraphs.  I suppose this is what happens when a tax system that is supposed to endure for eternity is established in 8th Century Arabia.
  • Horse exemption:  The zakat is not due on horses (Shahih Muslim 2.24.542).  I cannot find a Koranic explanation for the exemption, but I have read elsewhere that it was granted because horses help carry holy warriors in jihad.

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