Posts Tagged ‘kharaj’

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Syrian rebel fatwa: seize non-Sunni property

October 11, 2013

Unless they convert to Sunni Islam, the property of Syrian Christians and Shia Muslims should be confiscated.  So say the muftis in Syria who issued a fatwa on the subject.  They also instructed Sunnis to use the money that they confiscate to buy weapons for jihad.

The ruling is in keeping with the teachings of deceased Al Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who urged dispossession of infidel wealth.  The fatwa may also be partly inspired by the kharaj, an Islamic tax against defeated non-Muslims and their land.

From PI-News.org on Oct. 1:

Syria: Dispossession of All Non-Muslims

In Syria, islamist legal scholars have signed a fatwa calling for the seizure of the possessions of all Christians, Druze, Alawites and other minorities that “do not confess to the Sunni religion of the prophet.” The proceeds of this property is to be used for the purchase of weapons for “martyrs” and for their families. The Muftis also call for the breaking off of all ties with Syrians “who have betrayed or deserted from the Revolution.” Furthermore, it says: “We call our people to adhere to our islamic traditions and to visit the house of God regularly so that we may protect our souls and our society.” That means very well then that the “infidels” before they are slain are to be humiliated by this robbery of their property. (lsg)

Posted by PI / Translation: Anders Denken

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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.

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Tunisians vow to replicate Khaybar assault

February 17, 2011

Jihad Watch reports that Tunisian Muslims have shouted, “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad sa yaoud,” meaning “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return,” during recent protests in front of a Tunis synagogue.

As Robert Spencer points out, Islamists hail Khaybar as “an aggressive, surprise raid by Muhammad which resulted in the final eradication of the once considerable Jewish presence in Arabia.”

Khaybar was also the scene of a massive theft by Muslims of the Jews’ oasis and the target of an utterly foul 50 percent kharaj tax imposed against the remaining Jewish farmers.

The Khaybar chants at a synagogue aren’t just a threat against the physical presence of the Jews, but a portent of the Islamic tax policy that would be imposed against the Jewish population if the protestors win out.

This aligns at least one political faction of Tunisia with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party of Malaysia who have formally called for a revival of the kharaj tax against non-Muslims.

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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.

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Weekly word: Khaybar

September 15, 2010

Defenders of the jizya love making false claims that jizya paid by non-Muslims is a smaller tax than zakat paid by Muslims.  That is a lie, but even if it were true, it still excludes the sinister kharaj tax that non-Muslims are supposed to pay on the harvests of their land.

The Jews of Khaybar were forced by Muhammad to pay a 50 percent tax on their harvests!  Some people refer to the taxes on the Khaybar Jews as jizya, although technically it was kharaj.  Either way, that level of taxation is extraordinary and punitive even in the contemporary world of high-tech income and VAT taxes.

To put it in context, The Qur’an: an Encyclopedia* offers this entry on by Colin Turner on Khaybar:

Traditionally populated by Jewish farmers, Khaybar was a fertile, well-irrigated tract of volcanic land, 90 miles north of Medina, which became a centre of dissent and focus of unrest, particularly after the Siege of Medina.  Gradually developing into an almost wholly Jewish colony, complete with citadels and fortresses, it became the headquarters of the Jewish garrison and the last and most formidable Jewish stronghold in the Arabian peninsula.  Most of the expelled members of the Banu Nadhir were domiciled in Khaybar, where they made tactical alliances with other Jewish tribes as part of a larger Jewish conspiracy to attack Medina.  It was during their preparations for this that the Prophet marched against Khaybar, assisted by 1,400 men, including 200 cavalry. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Non-Muslims foot the bill of the Islamic army

March 10, 2010

The Bayt al-Mal, the treasury of the caliphate (both in real Islamic history and as a theoretical ideal today), is funded mostly by taxes on non-Muslims living under Muslim control.  That means cash flow comes from the jizya, the tax against non-Muslim people, and the kharaj, the tax against non-Muslim land.

Zakat, on the other hand, is essentially managed by the Islamic government, but not necessarily retained by the Bayt al-Mal.

This was confirmed by Abu Yusuf in the Kitab Al-Kharaj, the major tax treatise of Islam.  And Islamic finance bloggers are still making that point.  On Islamic Economy on March 5, blogger Romi Adetio Setiawan quoted from the eleventh century Hanafi jurist Al-Sarakhsi who said:

“If the head of an Islamic state needs money to give salaries to his army, but he finds no money in the Kharaj department of the Baitul-mal (wherefrom the salaries are generally given) he can give salaries from the sadaqah (Zakah) department, but the amount so taken from the sadaqah department shall be deemed to be a debt on Kharaj department.”

Did you catch that?  It’s a very short, jargony explanation.  But basically, wages for Islamic holy warriors shall be paid for out of the “Kharaj department” (the department taxing lands conquered by Islam). Wages can be paid for from zakat or sadaqa only under emergency scenarios and must be repaid.

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Word of the week: Nisab

March 1, 2010

In the United States, earners with incomes above a specified amount become subject to the federal income tax.

Likewise, local governments often tax property only if it is worth more than a pre-determined amount.  For example, your canoe is exempt from ad valorem tax, but your yacht is not.

Islam also establishes minimum amounts to be taxed.  This definition comes from the glossary of the most authentic rendering of the Hadith, the Sahih Al-Bukhari, as translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan:

Nisâb:  Minimum amount of property liable to payment of the Zakât…

Khan provides specific examples of how much the nisab is for money, crops, and livestock.  Muslims only pay zakat on wealth beyond the nisab amount.

What’s worth noting with this definition is the tax discrimination associated with the nisab.  Zakat is paid by Muslims, and the nisab applies to zakat.  No nisab applies to the jizya or kharaj, the taxes that non-Muslims are forced to pay.

Having less than a certain amount of wealth does not exempt non-Muslims from paying the jizya.  Producing a tiny amount of crops does not exempt non-Muslim farmers from paying the kharaj.

This definition has been added to the Money Jihad glossary.