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This article is about dhimmi in the context of Islamic law. For the neologism, see dhimmitude.

A dhimmi (also zimmi, Arabic: ذمي‎, collectively: اهل الذمۃ, ahl al-dhimma, the people of the dhimma or pact of protection) was a "free" (i.e. non-slave), non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with shariaIslamic law. A dhimmi is a person of the dhimma, a term which refers in Islamic law to a pact contracted between non-Muslims and authorities from their Muslim government. This status was originally only made available to non-Muslims who were People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians), but was later extended to include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and, in some areas, Hindus<ref>Bat Ye'or (1985), p. 45</ref> and Buddhists.<ref>The Chach Nama English translation by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg. Delhi Reprint, 1979.</ref><ref> Annemarie Schimmel (2004), p.107, "The conqueror Muhammad Ibn Al Qasem gave both Hindus and Buddhists the same status as the Christians, Jews and Sabaeans in the Middle east". They were all "dhimmi" ('protected people')"</ref> The status of dhimmi applied to millions of people living from the Atlantic Ocean to India from the 7th century until modern times.<ref> Lewis 1984 p. 62–66</ref> Over time, many dhimmis converted to Islam. Most conversions were voluntary and happened for a number of different reasons. However, forced conversion did play a key role in some later periods of Islamic history, mostly in the 12th century under the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and al-Andalus as well as in Persia where Shi'a Islam is dominant.<ref name="conseq">Lewis (1984), pp. 17, 18, 94, 95; Stillman (1979), p. 27</ref>

Dhimmis were allowed to "practice their religion, subject to certain conditions, and to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy" and guaranteed their personal safety and security of property, in return for paying tribute to Muslims and acknowledging Muslim supremacy.<ref>Lewis (1984), pp. 10, 20</ref> Taxation from the perspective of dhimmis who came under the Muslim rule, was "a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes"<ref name="Cahen">Cl. Cahen in Encyclopedia of Islam, Jizya article</ref> (but now lower under the Muslim rule<ref name=Esposito/><ref> Lewis 1984 p.18 </ref><ref> Lewis (2002) p.57 </ref>) and from the point of view of the Muslim conqueror was a material proof of the dhimmi's subjection.<ref name="Cahen"/> Negative attitudes towards Dhimmis existed partly due to the "normal" feelings of a dominant group towards subject groups, partly due to the contempt Muslims have for those who they perceive have willfully chosen to refuse to accept the truth (convert to Islam) while the opportunity to do so exists; and partly due to certain specific prejudices and humiliations. The negative attitudes however rarely had any ethnic or racial components.<ref> Lewis (1984) p. 32–33</ref> Various restrictions and legal disabilities were placed on Dhimmis, such as prohibitions against bearing arms or giving testimony in courts in cases involving Muslims.<ref>Lewis (1987), p. 9, 27; Bat Ye'or (2002), p. 74</ref> Most of these disabilities had a social and symbolic rather than a tangible and practical character.<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 26</ref> Disarmed and unable to defend themselves in courts, dhimmis were vulnerable to the whims of rulers and the violence of mobs,<ref>Tritton (1970), p. 49</ref> although persecution in the form of violent and active repression was rare and atypical.<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 8,62</ref> While recognizing the inferior status of dhimmis under Islamic rule, Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, states that in most respects their position was "was very much easier than that of non-Christians or even of heretical Christians in medieval Europe":<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 62, Cohen (1995) p. xvii</ref> for example, in contrast, Dhimmis rarely faced martydom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and with certain exceptions they were free in their choice of residence and profession.<ref> Lewis (1999) p.131 </ref>


[edit] Etymology

The word dhimmi (plurar dimam) literally means 'protection, care, custody, covenant of protection, compact; responsibility, answerableness; financial obligation, liability, debt; inviolability, security of life and property; safegurd, guarantee, security; conscience'<ref name = "Wehr">Wehr, Arbaic English Dictionary, fourth edition, p. 360</ref> and ahl-dhimmi is "the free non-Muslim subjects living in Muslim countries who, in return for paying the capital tax, enjoyed protection and safety."<ref name = "Wehr"/>

[edit] Development of the dhimma in the early Islamic period

[edit] Peace terms

As the early Muslims expanded their territory through conquest, they imposed terms of surrender upon some of the defeated peoples:

Before launching an attack he (Muhammed) would offer them three choices — conversion, payment of a tribute, or to fight by the sword. If they did not choose conversion a treaty was concluded, either instead of battle or after it, which established the conditions of surrender for the Christians and Jews — the only non-Muslims allowed to retain their religion at this time. The terms of these treaties were similar and imposed on the dhimmi, the people ‘protected’ by Islam, certain obligations.<ref name = "CourbageFargues">Courbage and Fargues (1995), p. 2</ref>

A classic precedent of the dhimma was an agreement between Muhammad and the Jews of Khaybar, an oasis near Medina. Khaybar was the first territory attacked and conquered by the Muslim state ruled by Muhammad himself. When the Jews of Khaybar surrendered to Muhammad after a siege, Muhammad allowed them to remain in Khaybar in return for handing over to the Muslims one half of their annual produce. The Khaybar case served as a precedent for later Islamic scholars in their discussions on the issue of dhimma, even though the second caliph Umar I subsequently expelled the Jews from the oasis.<ref name = "Lewis">Lewis (1984), pp. 10–11; Bat Ye'or (2002), p. 41</ref>

[edit] Byzantine precedents

In the 9th century, the Muslim historian Baladhuri drew parallels between the dhimma and Byzantine legislation, writing that Jews had been the dhimmis of Christians.<ref>Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 68</ref> Modern historians also agree that discriminatory legislation enacted against Jews and non-Melkite Christians in the Byzantine Empire, as well as laws applying to Jews and Christians in the Sassanid Persian Empire, were used as sources of dhimmi regulations, although Islamic jurists never explicitly acknowledge these sources.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2003), p. 111; Lewis (1984), pp. 18–19; Stillman (1979), p. 26; Goddard (2000), p. 47</ref> Numerous provisions of the Theodosian Code of 438 and the Justinian's Code of 529 appear to have migrated into Islamic law virtually unchanged. Under Byzantine rule, Jews were obliged not to pray loudly; their prayers were not to be audible in the nearby church. Building new synagogues (and repairing existing ones) was likewise prohibited, unless the buildings threatened to collapse and a special permission was obtained. Jews were banned from all public offices and the army; they were prohibited from criticizing Christianity, marrying a Christian, or owning a Christian slave. Furthermore, Jews paid distinctive taxes, possibly the precursors of jizya. Such regulations, justified by Hadith — Bat Ye'or states, worsened on specific factors — came to be imposed upon Christians under the dhimma arrangements, after Byzantine lands were occupied by Muslim forces.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), pp. 111–113</ref>

[edit] Relevant texts

Lewis states that verse 2:256, "…there is no compulsion in religion…", has usually been interpreted in the Islamic legal and theological traditions to mean that the followers of other religions should not be forced to adopt Islam. He also holds that verse 109:6 "…To you your religion, to me my religion…" has been used as a "proof-text for pluralism and coexistence" and that the verse 2:62 has served to justify the tolerated position accorded to the followers of Christianity, Judaism, and Sabianism under Muslim rule.<ref name = "Lewis14">Lewis p. 14</ref> The consensus opinion of Muslim scholars justifies the imposition of tribute on non-Muslims who fall under the Muslim rule in terms of Sura 9:29 of the Qur'an.<ref name="verse929use">Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 158; Bat Ye'or (2202), p. 51; Lewis (1984), p. 14</ref> The verse reads: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden that which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued [Arabic: صاغرون 'saghiroon']." (Qur’an 9:29.<ref>Wehr (1976), p. 515, 516</ref>). The interpretation and implications of the Arabic word 'saghiroon' are discussed below.

Bernard Lewis cites a hadith "One who kills a man under covenant will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise", as a foundation for the protection of the People of the Book in Muslim-ruled countries, but his view is that the position of dhimmis was in general insecure.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 32</ref>

The Pact of Umar supposedly concluded between caliph Umar I and the conquered Christians, was another source of regulations pertaining to dhimmis. The document enumerates the obligations and restrictions that the Christians purportedly proposed to the Muslim conquerors as conditions of surrender.<ref name="pactofumar"> The provisions of the Pact of Umar are cited as translated in Stillman (1979), pp. 157–158</ref> However, Western orientalists doubt the authenticity of the Pact, arguing that it is usually the victors, not the vanquished, who propose, or rather impose, the terms of peace, and that it is highly unlikely that the people who spoke no Arabic and knew nothing of Islam could draft such a document. Academic historians believe that the Pact of Umar in the form it is known today was a product of later jurists who attributed it to the venerated caliph Umar I in order to lend greater authority to their own opinions. The striking similarities between the Pact of Umar and the Theodesian and Justinian Codes suggest that perhaps much of the Pact of Umar was borrowed from these earlier codes by later Islamic jurists. At least some of the clauses of the pact mirror the measures first introduced by the Umayyad caliph Umar II or by the early Abbasid caliphs.<ref>Tritton (1970); Lewis (1984), pp. 24–25; Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 48; Goddard (2000), p. 46</ref>

[edit] The Arabic word saghiroon

The word saghiroon appears at the end of verse 9:29,<ref name = "Wehr1976-515">Wehr (1976), p. 515, 516</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> which was used to justify the imposition of tribute on non-Muslims who fell under the Muslim rule.<ref name="verse929use"/> The verse is translated slightly differently in three common English-language translations: (9:29)

Yusuf Ali: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Pickthal: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

Shakir: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

This is the only Qur'anic verse that enjoins struggle against people of the book.<ref> "Ethics and the Qur’an,” in Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, vol. 2, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill, p. 73. </ref> Patricia Crone states that this verse is the only Qur'anic verse which seems to endorse war of aggression, however if read as a continuation of previous verses (9:1-23), it would be concerned against a particular group of "polytheists" who are accused of oath-breaking and aggression (cf. Qur'an 9:30)<ref name="Crone"> Patricia Crone, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, War article, p.456 </ref>

Wehr states translates the word sa:ghir as "low, lowly, despised, contemptible; humbled, meek, dejected; submissive, servile; subject."<ref>Wehr, Arabic English Dictionary, Fourth edition, p. 602</ref>

Claude Cahen states that the word Saghiroon apparently must be interpreted to show acceptance of the "subject of Islam or, more accurately, as a member of an inferior social class" confirmed through the payment of Jizya "rather than as implying the necessity for a humiliating procedure, which later rigorists claimed to find in it." Cahen supports his claim through connecion "with the well-known instances of notables or Arabs refusing, although Christians, to pay the Jizya."<ref> Encyclopedia of Islam, Jizya article </ref>

Lewis points out that jurists, belonging to the early periods of Islam, had a more humane and practical attitude towards dhimmis than the commentators who belong to the period when Islam was under threat both at home and abroad.<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 15</ref> (Jurists belong to the early periods of Islam since Sunni Muslims tend to follow the opinion of the 7th and 8th century scholars Hanbali, Hanafi, Maliki and Shaafii. The Shias in contrast believe that only a living scholar must be followed.<ref>Sunni and Shia, BBC Religion and Ethics</ref>) While al-Zamakhshari an 11th-century commentator gives a very humiliating procedure of exacting jizya (See the Humuliation section below for a list of quotes), the 8th-century jurist Abu Ubayd, authur of a classical treatise on taxation, insists that dhimmis must not be burdened beyond their capacity or caused to suffer. The great jurist Abu Yusuf, again belonging to the 8th-century, also rules against such humiliating procedure of exacting jizya. He states: "No one of the people of dhimma should be beaten in order to exact payment of the jizya (Taxation), nor made to stand in the hot sun, nor should hateful things inflicted upon their bodies, or anything of that sort. Rather they should be treated with leniency." Abu Yusuf however insisted that the specified tax must be exacted from Dhimmis and prescribed imprisoning for those who do not pay the tax completely.<ref> Lewis (1984) p.15 </ref>

Yaqub Jafari, a Shia scholar, in Tafsir Kosar states that saghiroon is understood in the following ways:<ref name="jafari"> Tafsir kosar, Yaqub Jafari, page 462</ref>

  • Some jurists hold that saghiroon implies that jizya should be collected with humiliation (e.g. dhimmi's should not be told about the exact amount of jizya they have to pay beforehand so that they become worried, although these jurists hold that jizya must not be burdensome for the dhimmis)
  • Other jurists such as Sheykh Tousi however hold that saghiroon only implies dhimmis' commitment to the Islamic laws.<ref>Footnote of Tafsir kosar: Almabsoot, Sheykh toosi, volume 2, p. 38 </ref>
  • Also some have understood sagharoon to imply that the dhimmi should pay jizya standing while the Muslim collector is sitting.<ref> Footnote of Tafsir kosar: Almokhtalef, Alameh, pp. 332–334.</ref>

[edit] Status of dhimmis according to orientalists

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Some of the information in this article on "Dhimmi" may not be verified by reliable sources. It should be checked for inaccuracies and modified to cite reliable sources.

[edit] Tolerance

Lewis and Cohen point out that until relatively modern times, tolerance in the treatment of non-believers, at least as it is understood in west after John Locke, was neither valued, nor its absence condemned by both Muslims and Christians.<ref>Lewis (1995) p. 211, Cohen (1995) p.xix</ref> Cohen states that it seems that all the monotheistic religions in power throughout the history have felt it proper, if not obligatory, to persecute nonconforming religions. Cohen however notes that the historical evidence show that for example the Jews of Islam, especially during the formative and classical centuries, experienced much less persecution than did the Jews of Christendom. Cohen makes a detailed analysis of the factors that account for the constraints on the persecution and intolerance of Jews in Islamic world.<ref> Cohen (1995) p. xix </ref>

[edit] Legal and social status

dhimmis were subject to legal and social inferiority, and discrimination was permanent, necessary, and "inherent in the system and institutionalized in law and practice," due to the fact that Dhimmis were not allowed to testifie against a Muslim in court Dhimmis were often subject to violence and crimes committed by Muslims. despite strict regulations to keep theam on a lower status then Muslims they often managed to secure considerable economic wealth and occasionally (though extremely rare) some measure of political power.<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 7; Lewis (1995) p. 211</ref> Lewis also notes that although the regulations and restrictions imposed on dhimmis by the many Islamic communities "did not always conform to the high morals and religious principles of Islam", in practice the actual treatment and social realities of the dhimma under Islamic rule were sometimes better than the written regulations would suggest.<ref>Lewis (1995) p. 211</ref>

In his classic treatise on the principles of Islamic governance, the 11th-century Shafi'i scholar Al-Mawardi divided the conditions attached to ‘’dhimma’’ on top of the requirement to pay tribute into compulsory and desirable. The compulsory conditions included prohibitions on blasphemy against Islam, entering into sexual relations or marriage with a Muslim woman, proselytizing among Muslims, and assisting the enemies of Islam. The desirable conditions included a requirement to wear distinctive apparel, a prohibition to visibly display religious symbols, wine, or pork, ringing church bells, or loudly praying, a requirement to bury deads unobtrusively, and finally, a prohibition on riding horse or camels, but not donkeys.<ref name="mawardi161">Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 161</ref> The latter restrictions were largely symbolic in nature and were designed to highlight the inferiority of dhimmis compared to Muslims.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 16</ref>

Friedmann holds that the principle that "Islam is exalted, and nothing is exalted above it" (as Bukhari puts it) had many practical effects on the relationship between Muslims and unbelievers in Muslim lands.<ref>Friedmann (2003), p. 34, 35</ref> According to Lewis, it would have been a theological and logical absurdity for traditional Islamic societies to give the "same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who willfully reject it."<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 4</ref>

The treatment of dhimmis, including the enforcement of restrictions placed on them, varied over time and space, depending on both the goodwill of the ruler and the historical circumstances. The "dhimma" was the most oppressive in Morocco, where Jews were subjected to what Norman Stillman called “ritualized degradation”,<ref> Stillman (1979), p. 87</ref> as well as in Yemen and Persia.<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 99; Lewis (1984) p. 39–40</ref> The periods when Islamic states were strong generally coincided with more relaxed attitude towards dhimmis; however, treatment of non-Muslims usually became harsher when Islam was weak and in decline.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 32</ref><ref name="stillman109">Stillman (1979), p. 109</ref> Over time, the treatment of dhimmis tended to develop in cycles, such that periods of when restrictions imposed on dhimmis were relaxed were immediately followed by the periods of pious reaction when such restrictions came to be enforced again.<ref>Lewis (1984), pp. 49–51</ref>

[edit] Religious aspects

[edit] Conversions to Islam

The spread of the Muslim faith in the first centuries of the Islamic rule was mainly by persuasion and inducement and there was little or no attempt at forcible conversions. Many Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians converted to Islam, however there were significant differences among the conversion rate and scale of these three religions. Most Zoroastrians converted rather rapidly, while the conversion of Christians was gradual. Judaism however on the whole survived throughout Islamic lands. Lewis explains that the reason for rapid conversion of Zoroastrians was the close association of the Zoroastrian priesthood and the structure of power in ancient Iran, and also neither possessing "stimulation of powerful friends abroad by the Christians, nor the bitter skill in survival possessed by the Jews." For the Christians, the process of Arab settlement, of conversion to Islam and assimiliation into the dominant culture caused their gradual conversion. For many of them, transition from a dominant to a subject status, which involved disadvantages, was too much to endure. In some places, like the Maghreb, Central Asia, and southern Arabia, Christianity died out completely. Jews in contrast were more accustomed to adversity. For them, the Islamic conquest was just a change of master. They had already learnt how to adapt themselves and "endure under the conditions of political, social and economic disability."<ref name="conseq">Lewis (1984), p. 17–18; Stillman (1979), p. 27</ref> Jewish Encyclopedia reports the high rate of conversion to Islam of informed Jews in the twelfth century. Kohler and Gottheil in Jewish Encyclopedia agree with Grätz who thinks the reason was 'the degeneracy that had taken hold of Eastern Judaism, manifesting itself in the most superstitious practises,' and also their being 'moved by the wonderful success of the Arabs in becoming a world-power.' Jewish Encyclopedia also reports outward conversions of Jews to Islam at around the year 1142 in southwestern Europe due to the rise of the Almohades.<ref> Jewish encyclopedia, Apostasy and Apostates from Judaism article </ref>

[edit] Freedom of religion and forced conversions
Maimonides (pictured) narrowly escaped death during the massacre of dhimmis in Cordoba

From an Islamic legal perspective, the pledge of protection granted dhimmis the freedom to practice their religion and spared them forced conversions. Furthermore, the dhimmis were also serving a variety of useful purposes, mostly economic, which was another point of concern to jurists.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 9; Bat Ye'or (2002), p. 66</ref> Indeed, in the first several centuries after the Islamic conquest and subsequently in the Ottoman Empire, forcible conversions were rare. Subsequently, rulers occasionally broke the pledge and dhimmis were forced to choose between conversion to Islam and death. Forced conversions occurred mostly in the Maghreb, especially under the Almohads, a militant dynasty with messianic claims, as well as in Persia, where Shi'a Muslims were generally less tolerant than their Sunni counterparts.<ref>Lewis (1984), pp. 94–95</ref>

In the 12th century, rulers of the Almohad dynasty killed or forcibly converted Jews and Christians in Al-Andalus and the Maghreb, putting an end to the existence of Christian communities in North Africa outside Egypt.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 52; Stillman (1979), p.77</ref><ref name="batyeor88">Bat Ye'or (2002), p. 88</ref> In an effort to survive under Almohads, most Jews resorted to practicing Islam outwardly, while remaining faithful to Judaism; they openly reverted to Judaism after Almohad persecutions passed.<ref>Stillman (1979), p.78</ref> During the Cordoba massacre of 1148, the Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician Maimonides saved his own life only by converting to Islam; after Maimonides moved to Egypt, this conversion was ruled void by a Muslim judge who was a friend and patient of Maimonides.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 100</ref> As a result of Almohad persecutions and other forced conversions that took place in Morocco afterwards, several Muslim tribes in the Atlas Mountains, as well as many Muslim families in Fez, have Jewish origin.<ref name="batyeor88"/>

Although Lewis claims they were very rare overall, most forced conversions of dhimmis that did happen occurred in Persia.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 40, 152</ref> In 1656, Shah Abbas I expelled the Jews from Isfahan and compelled them to adopt Islam, although the order was subsequently withdrawn, possibly because of the loss of fiscal revenues.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 152; Littman (1979), p. 3</ref> In the early 18th century, Shia'a clergy attempted to force all dhimmis to embrace Islam, but without success. In 1830, all 2,500 Jews of Shiraz were forcibly converted to Islam.<ref name="littman4">Littman (1979), p. 4</ref> In 1839, Jews were massacred in Mashhad and survivors were forcibly converted.<ref>Littman (1979), p. 4; Lewis (1984), p. 168; Stillman (1979), p.76</ref> The same fate awaited the Jews of Barforoush in 1866, even though they were allowed to revert to Judaism after an intervention from the British and French ambassadors.<ref name="littman4"/>

The Almohads and Muslim authorities in Yemen practiced forcible conversion of children. Ye'or and Parfitt believe that this practice was based on the belief that every child is born a Muslim.<ref>Parfitt (2000), p. 211; Bat Ye'or (2002), p. 88</ref> Suspecting a lack of sincerity on the part of Jews who were forcibly converted to Islam, Almohad rulers took Jewish children from their parents and raised those children as Muslims.<ref name="batyeor61">Bat Ye'or (1985), p. 61</ref> In Yemen, a 1922 Zaydi statute known as the Orphans Decree obligated the state to take under its protection and convert any dhimmi child whose parents had died (later extended to include fatherless children).<ref>Parfitt (2000), p. 211, 212; Eraqi-Klorman (2003), p. 392</ref> Although possibly intended to alleviate the plight of orphaned children, the Jewish community was dismayed,<ref>Eraqi-Klorman (2003), p. 392</ref> and Jewish leaders who helped hide orphans were imprisoned and sometimes tortured.<ref>Parfitt (2000), p. 212</ref> Despite this, the Jews in Yemen generally continued to feel that their position in society was secure.<ref>Eraqi-Klorman (2003), p. 392</ref>

Sporadic waves of forced conversion occurred at different times and places: for example, in Libya in 1558-89, in Tabriz in 1291 and 1338, and in Baghdad in 1333 and 1344.<ref name="batyeor88"/>

[edit] Restrictions on practice

Although dhimmis were allowed to perform their religious rituals, they were obliged to do so in a manner not conspicuous to Muslims. Display of non-Muslim religious symbols, such as crosses or icons, was prohibited on buildings and on clothing (unless mandated as part of distinctive clothing). Loud prayers were forbidden, as was the ringing of church bells or the trumpeting of shofars.<ref>Karsh 29.</ref> According to one hadith, Muhammad said: "The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan." (Sahih Muslim 24:5279). This hadith actually refers to music in general, this is not aimed at Church bells.<ref>Bat Ye'or (2002), p. 86</ref>

Dhimmis had the right to choose their own religious leaders: patriarchs for Christians, exilarchs and geonim for Jews. However, the choice of the community was subject to the approval of the Muslim authorities, who sometimes blocked candidates or took the side of the party that offered the larger bribe.<ref>Stillman (1979), pp. 37–39</ref>

Dhimmis were prohibited from proselytizing on pain of death. Neither were they allowed to obstruct the spread of Islam in any manner. Other restrictions included a prohibition on publishing or sale of non-Muslim religious literature and a ban on teaching the Qur’an.<ref name="pactofumar"/>

As required by the Pact of Umar, dhimmis had to bury their dead without loud lamentations and prayers.<ref name="pactofumar"/> Incidents of harassment of dhimmi funeral processions by Muslims, involving pelting with stones, battery, spitting, or cursing, even by Muslim children, were common regardless of place and time.<ref>Stillman (1979), pp. 304–305; see also Stillman (1979), pp. 201–203, for examples of specific incidents.</ref>

[edit] Places of worship

According to Islamic law, the permission for dhimmis to retain their places of worship and build new ones depended upon the circumstances in which the land fell under the Muslim rule.

There was no consensus in Islamic jurisprudence as to whether it was permissible for dhimmis to repair churches and synagogues. The Pact of Umar puts an obligation on dhimmis not to "restore, by night or by day, any [places of worship] that have fallen into ruin",<ref name="pactofumar"/> and Ibn Kathir adhered to this view.<ref>Ibn Kathir, Tafsir. URL accessed on April 30, 2006</ref> At the same time, al-Mawardi wrote that dhimmis may "rebuild dilapidated old temples and churches".<ref>Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 162; see also Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 179</ref> As in the case of building new houses of worship, the ability of dhimmi communities to repair churches and synagogues usually depended upon its relationship with local Muslim authorities and its ability to pay bribes.<ref name="batyeor8385"/> According to the Shafi'i Islamic jurist al-Nawawi, dhimmis could not use churches and synagogues if their land was conquered by attack. In such lands, as well as in towns founded after the conquest, or where inhabitants voluntarily converted wholesale to Islam, Islamic law does not allow dhimmis to build new churches and synagogues, or expand or repair existing ones, even if they fall into ruin. If the country submitted by capitulation, al-Nawawi wrote, dhimmis were permitted to build new houses of worship only if the capitulation treaty stated that dhimmis remained owners of their land. In observance of this prohibition, Abbasid caliphs al-Mutawakkil, al-Mahdi and Harun al-Rashid ordered the destruction, in their realms, of all churches and synagogues built after the Islamic conquest. In the 11th century, the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim oversaw over the demolition of all churches and synagogues in Egypt, Syria and Palestine, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. However, al-Hakim subsequently allowed the rebuilding of the destroyed buildings.<ref name="batyeor8385">Bat Ye’or (2002), pp. 83–85</ref>

Nevertheless, dhimmis sometimes managed to expand churches and synagogues and even build new ones, albeit at the price of bribing local officials in order to get permissions.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 85</ref> When non-Muslim houses of worship were built in cities founded after the Islamic conquests, Muslim jurists usually justified such evasions of the Islamic law by claiming that those churches and synagogues had existed in the earlier settlements. This logic was applied to Baghdad, which was built on the place of an eponymous Persian village, as well as to some other cities.<ref>Goitein (1974), pp. 68–69</ref>

[edit] Blasphemy

Blasphemy against Islam, which included defamation of Muslim holy texts, denial of the prophethood of Muhammad, and disrespectful references to Islam, on part of dhimmis was a capital crime.<ref name="mawardi161"/> Scholars of the Hanbali and Maliki schools, as well as the Shi’ites, prescribe a death penalty for blasphemy, while Hanafis and to some extent Shafi’is advocate flogging and imprisonment in some cases, reserving the death penalty only for habitual and public offenders.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 39</ref>

Many dhimmis were executed as a result of accusations that they insulted Islam.<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 103; Lewis (1984), p. 40</ref> Although some deliberately sought martyrdom, many blasphemers were insane or drunk; it was not uncommon was the blasphemy accusation to be made due to political considerations or private vengeance, and the fear of a blasphemy charge was a big factor in the fearful and subservient attitude of dhimmis toward Muslims.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 40</ref> As Edward William Lane put it describing his visit to Egypt: "[Jews] scarcely ever dare to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten by the meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew have been put to death upon a false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against the Kuran or the Prophet".<ref>Lane, Edward William (1871). An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, p. 305. Quoted in Lewis (1984), p. 40</ref> Accusations of blasphemy provoked acts of violence against the entire dhimmis communities, as it happened in Tunis in 1876, Hamadan in 1876, Aleppo in 1889, Sulaymaniya in 1895, Tehran in 1895, or Mosul in 1911.<ref>Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 60</ref>

[edit] Taxation

Dhimmi communities were subjected to the payment of taxes in favor of Muslims — a requirement that was central to dhimma as a whole. Sura 9:29 stipulates that jizya be exacted from non-Muslims as a condition required for jihad to cease. Failure to pay the jizya could result in the pledge of protection of a dhimmi's life and property becoming void, with the dhimmi facing the alternatives of conversion, enslavement or death (or imprisonment, as advocated by Abu Yusuf, the chief qadi — religious judge — of Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid).<ref name="lewis1415">Lewis (1984), pp. 14–15</ref>

Taxation from the perspective of Dhimmis who came under the Muslim rule was "a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes" and from the point of view of the Muslim conqueror was a material proof of Dhimmi's subjection.<ref>Cl. Cahen in Encyclopedia of Islam, Jizya article</ref> Lewis states that it seems that the change from Byzantine to Arab rule was welcomed by many among the Dhimmis who found the new yoke far lighter than the old, both in taxation and in other matters. Some even among the Christians of Syria and Egypt preferred the rule of Islam to that of Byzantines.<ref> Lewis (2002) p.57 </ref>

The importance of dhimmis as a source of revenue for the Muslim community is illuminated in a letter ascribed to Umar I and cited by Abu Yusuf: "if we take dhimmis and share them out, what will be left for the Muslims who come after us? By God, Muslims would not find a man to talk to and profit from his labors."<ref> Lewis (1984), pp. 30–31; see Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 170, for a full English translation of the letter</ref> The two main taxes imposed on dhimmis are known as jizya — a poll tax — and kharaj — a land tax. Early chronicles use these terms indiscriminately; only later did the kharaj emerge as a tax payable by a farmer regardless of his religion.<ref>Lewis (2002), p. 81</ref>

Lewis states that

In an important early account, Malik's Muwatta reports that the jizya was collected from men only, dhimmis were exempt from zakat, and additional taxes were to be levied against dhimmis who travelled on business:
"The Sunnah is that there is no jizya due from women or children of people of the Book, and that jizya is only taken from men who have reached puberty. The people of dhimma ... do not have to pay any zakat ... This is because zakat is imposed on the Muslims to purify them and to be given back to their poor, whereas jizya is imposed on the people of the Book to humble them...If in any one year they frequently come and go in Muslim countries then they have to pay a tenth every time they do so, since that is outside what they have agreed upon, and not one of the conditions stipulated for them. This is what I have seen the people of knowledge of our city doing." (17 24.46)

Most Islamic scholars agree that jizya must be levied only upon adult males. Another interpretation is that jizya was only paid by men because it was an exchange for the dhimmi's life: as it was only the adult males whose lives were forfeit in defeat, so only they had to pay the jizya.

The 8th-century scholar Abu Ubayd advised that dhimmis must not be burdened above their capacity or caused to suffer.<ref name="lewis1415"/> Al-Nawawi, however, dissents, demanding "the poll tax to be paid by dying people, the old, … the blind, monks, workers, and the poor, incapable of practicing a trade." The latter view was often applied in practice, as contemporary non-Muslim sources give witness of taxation even of dead persons, widows, and orphans. Al-Nawawi demands that the unpaid amount of poll tax remain a debt to the dhimmi’s account until he becomes solvent.<ref name="batyeor6971">Bat Ye’or (2002), pp. 69–71</ref> In the Ottoman Empire, dhimmis had to carry a receipt certifying their payment of jizya at all times, upon pain of imprisonment.

Although in general dhimmis had to pay higher taxes (despite not having to pay zakat), Lewis notes that there are varying opinions among scholars as to how much of an additional burden this was.<ref name="lewis1415">Lewis (1984), pp. 14–15</ref> According to Norman Stillman: "Jizya and kharaj were a crushing burden for the non-Muslim peasantry who eked out a bare living in a subsistence economy."<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 28</ref> Ultimately, the additional taxation was a critical factor that drove many dhimmis to accept Islam.<ref name="conseq">Lewis (1984), p. 17–18; Stillman (1979), p. 18</ref>

[edit] Legal aspects

[edit] Use of Muslim and dhimmi courts

Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order. However, in the Ottoman Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries dhimmis frequently attended the Muslim courts. This was not only when their appearance was compulsory (for example in cases brought against them by Muslims) but also in order to record property and business transactions within their own communities. Cases were taken out against Muslims, against other dhimmis and even against members of the dhimmi’s own family. Dhimmis often took cases relating to marriages, divorces and inheritance cases to the Muslim courts so that these cases would be decided under shari’a law. Oaths sworn by dhimmis in the Muslim courts were sometimes the same as the oaths taken by Muslims, sometimes tailored to the dhimmis’ beliefs.<ref> al-Qattan (1999) </ref>

[edit] Prohibition on testimony

When a case pitched a Muslim against a dhimmi, the word of Muslim witnesses nearly always preponderated over that of dhimmis. According to Hanafi jurists dhimmi testimony and oaths were not valid against Muslims.<ref> al-Qattan (1999) </ref> On the other hand, Muslims could testify against dhimmis.<ref>Friedmann (2003), pp. 35–36</ref> This legal disability put dhimmis in a precarious position where they could not defend themselves against false accusations leveled by Muslims, except by hiring Muslim witnesses and bribing qadis.[citation needed] Bat Ye'or believes that apart from breeding corruption, the prohibition on non-Muslim testimony deepened the rift between communities, as dhimmis sought to reduce the possibility of conflict by limiting contact with Muslims.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 74</ref>

[edit] Punishment for murder of a dhimmi

In all schools of Islamic jurisprudence, except the Hanafi, the maximum punishment for the murder of a dhimmi, if perpetrated by a Muslim, was the payment of blood money; no death penalty was possible. For Maliki and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence, the value of a dhimmi's life was one-half the value of a Muslim's life; in the Shafi'i school, Jews and Christians were worth one-third of a Muslim and Zoroastrians were worth just one-fifteenth. The Hanafi school, which represents the majority of Sunni Muslims, however, believes that the murder of a dhimmi must be punishable by death, citing a hadith according to which Muhammad ordered the execution of a Muslim who killed a dhimmi.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 75</ref>

A peculiar practice developed in Yemen, where Arab tribes collected jizya from Jews, offering them protection. If a Muslim from one tribe killed a Jew protected by another tribe, then the other tribe could retaliate by killing a Jew protected by the tribe of the murderer. As a result, two Jews were murdered, while no direct sanctions were imposed on the Muslims.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 79</ref>

[edit] Inheritance

The general rule in Islamic law is that a difference in religion is an obstacle to inheritance, so that neither dhimmis can inherit from Muslims, nor Muslims can inherit from dhimmis. However, some jurists maintain that a Muslim can inherit from a dhimmi, while a dhimmi cannot inherit from a Muslim. Shi'a scholars went so far as to argue that if a dhimmi dies leaving even one Muslim heir, all the estate belongs to the Muslim heir at the expense of any dhimmi heirs. This provision was a subject of frequent complaints from Persian Jews.<ref>Lewis (1984), pp. 26–27; see also Friedmann (2003), p. 35</ref>

[edit] Personal safety

In accordance with the Pact of Umar, dhimmis had no right to bear arms of any kind.<ref name="pactofumar"/> The few exceptions to this rule were some Jewish tribes in the Atlas Mountains and in the Central Asia.<ref> Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 62</ref> Despite the prohibition to carry weapons, Muslim jurists allowed using a dhimmi as an auxiliary soldier "as one would use a dog".<ref>Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 66; the expression in quotes is from al-Sarakhsi, translated in Lewis (1984), p. 199; see also Friedmann (2003), p. 36</ref> In the border provinces, dhimmis were sometimes recruited for military operations. In such cases, they were exempted from jizya for the year of service;<ref>"Djizya (i)", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online</ref> however, they were not entitled to a share in the booty, receiving only a fixed stipend.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 199</ref>

Being forbidden to bear arms, non-Muslims relied on the Muslim authorities for personal safety. Usually these authorities managed to protect dhimmis from violence, but such protection was likely to fail at times of public disorder.<ref name="lewis36">Lewis (1984), p. 36</ref> In the Maghreb during changes of reign and periods of instability, Jewish quarters were pillaged and their inhabitants either massacred or abducted for ransom.<ref name="batyeor61">Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 61</ref>

Outbreaks of violence, including massacres and expulsions, directed against dhimmis became more frequent from the late 18th century. In 1790, Jews were massacred in Tetouan and then in 1828, in Baghdad. In mid-19th century a wave of violence and forced conversions of Jews swept across Persia: in 1834, Jews were massacred in Safed, in 1839 in Mashhad, and in 1867 in Barforoush. Other outbreaks followed in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and other Arab countries of the Middle East.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 168</ref> In 1860, 5,000 Christians were massacred in Damascus.<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 104</ref> In 19th-century Iraq, especially in the area of Mosul, both Jews and Christians lived in a state of constant insecurity.<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 102</ref> Jewish quarters were destroyed in 1912 in Fes and as late as in 1948 in San‘a’.<ref name="batyeor61"/>

[edit] Enslavement

The Islamic law and custom prohibited the enslavement of free dhimmis within the Islamic lands.<ref> Lewis (2002), p.92 </ref> An exception to the right of personal freedom guaranteed by the dhimma was the practice of enslavement of young non-Muslim boys for the ruler’s slave army. The practice goes back to the Abbasids, who recruited such slave warriors mainly from non-Muslim Turkic populations; descendants of those slaves later formed the Mamluk dynasties.<ref>Lewis (2002), p. 90</ref> The Ottoman Empire practiced a similar system, known as devshirmeh, by annually enslaving young boys from the Christian population of its Balkan provinces, to muster Janissary troops.

[edit] Social and psychological aspects

[edit] Humiliation of dhimmis

In his commentary on Sura 9:29, Ibn Kathir writes that dhimmis must be:

disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of the dhimma or elevate them above Muslims, for they [dhimmis] are miserable, disgraced, and humiliated.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Friedmann sees some Quranic verses as suggesting that Muslims inflict humiliation and misery on unbelievers in support of the goal of making Islam prevail over all other religions.<ref>Friedmann (2003), p. 34</ref> As a 14th-century Egyptian scholar Ibn Naqqash put it: "[T]he prior degradation of the infidels in this world before the life to come — where it is their lot — is considered an act of piety."<ref>Ibn Naqqash, English translation in Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 188</ref> In the Arab society, where honor plays a critical role, denigration of dhimmis was supposed to reduce them to the lowest level of human life, helping to generate many conversions among dhimmis of upper classes.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 90; Stillman (1979), p. 73</ref> Bernard Lewis comments:

The Qur’an and tradition often use the word dhull or dhilla (humiliation or abasement) to indicate the status God has assigned to those who reject Mohammad, and in which they should be kept for so long as they persist in that rejection.<ref name="lewis14">Lewis (1984), p. 14</ref>

As recommended by many Muslim scholars, jizya was to be collected in a humiliating procedure:

[T]he collector remains seated and the infidel remains standing…, his head bowed and his back bent. The infidel must place money on the scales, while the collector holds him by his beard and strikes him on both cheeks.(Al-Nawawi)<ref>Al-Nawawi, Minhadj, quoted in Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 70</ref>
Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya… on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]… (Al-Ghazali)<ref>Kitab al-Wagiz fi Fiqh Madhab al-Imam al-Safi’i, English translation cited in Andrew Bostom (2005), p. 199.</ref>
Following this [the handing over of the jizya payment] the emir will strike the dhimmi on the neck with his fist; a man will stand near the emir to chase away the dhimmi in haste; then a second and a third will come forward to suffer the same treatment as well as all those to follow. All [Muslims] will be admitted to enjoy this spectacle. (Ahmad al-Dardi al-Adawi)<ref>Ahmad ad-Dardi el-Adaoui. Fetowa [1772]: ‘Réponse à une question’ Translated into French by François-Alphonse Belin. Journal Asiatique, 4th ser. 19 (1852): 107–8. English translation from Bat Ye’or (1996), pp. 361–362.</ref>
On the day of payment they [the dhimmis] shall be assembled in a public place … They should be standing there waiting in the lowest and dirtiest place. The acting officials representing the law shall be placed above them and shall adopt a threatening attitude so that it seems to them, as well as to the others, that our object is to degrade them by pretending to take their possessions. They will realize that we are doing them a favor in accepting from them the jizya and letting them go free. They then shall be dragged one by one for the exacting of payment. When paying, the dhimmi will receive a blow and will be thrown aside so that he will think that he has escaped the sword through this. This is the way that the friends of the Lord, of the first and last generations, will act toward their infidel enemies, for might belongs to Allah, to His Prophet, and to the believers. (Muhammad Abd al-Karim al-Maghili)<ref>Georges Vajda. “Un Traité maghrébin ‘Adversus Judaeos’. Ahkam ahl al-Dhimma [Laws relating to the dhimmis] du Shaykh Muhammad b. Abd al-Karim al-Maghili.” In Etudes d’Orientalisme dédiées à la mémoire de Lévi-Provençal. 805–813. Paris: Masionneuve & Larose. English translation from Bat Ye’or (1996), p. 361</ref>
The dhimmis posture during the collection of the jizya – [lowering themselves] by walking on their hands, reluctantly; on the authority of Ibn ’Abbas (al Tabari).<ref>Tabari, Ja: mi ’al-Baya:n …, ed. M. Sha: kir (Beirut, 1421/2001), vol. 10, pp. 125–6. English translation from Andrew Bostom (2005), p. 128.</ref>

Some scholars explicitly link this ritual to the interpretation of Sura 9:29, that jizya was not merely to be a tax, but also a symbol of humiliation:<ref name="lewis14" />

[Saaghiruuna means] submissively… by coercion… [’an yadin means] directly, not trusting the trickery of an intermediary… by force… without resistance… in an unpraiseworthy manner… while you stand [and the dhimmi] sits with the whip in front of you [you take] the money while he has dirt on his head. (Al-Suyuti's tafsir on Sura 9:29)<ref>From Al-Suyuti’s Durr al-Manthu:r … (Beirut, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 228. English translation from Andrew Bostom (2005), p. 127.</ref>

Abu Yusuf, however, advises against the mistreatment of dhimmis during jizya collection, saying that "they should be treated with leniency".<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 15</ref> The annual payment ritual was not followed in parts of the Ottoman Empire, where jizya was collected from individuals by representatives of the dhimmi communities themselves.<ref name="batyeor6971" /> Dhimmis were frequently referred to by derogatory names, both in the official and in the everyday speech. In the Ottoman Empire, the official appellation for dhimmis was "raya", meaning "a herd of cattle". In the Muslim parlance, "apes" was the standard epithet for the Jews, while Christians were frequently denoted as "pigs". These animalistic parallels were rooted in the Qur'anic verses describing some People of the Book being transformed into apes and pigs (Qur'an 5:60).<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 214; "Kird" Encyclopaedia of Islam Online</ref>

Echoing a saying attributed to Muhammad (Sahih Muslim 26:5389), Hasan al-Kafrawi, an 18th century scholar, advises that "if you [Muslims] encounter one of them [dhimmis] on the road, push him into the narrowest and tightest spot".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Both Muslim sources and European travelers to the Middle East describe humiliations and insults of dhimmis, and especially of the Jews.<ref name="lewis14" /><ref>Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 64; see Lewis (1984), pp. 164–166, Stillman (1979), pp. 315–316 for some specific examples.</ref> Throwing of stones at dhimmis was a favorite amusement of Muslim children in many places from early times until nowadays.<ref name="lewis36">Lewis (1984), p. 36</ref><ref>Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 64</ref>

[edit] Distinctive clothing

See also Yellow badge

For dhimmis to be clearly distinguishable from Muslims in public, Muslim rulers often prohibited dhimmis from wearing certain types of clothing, while forcing them to put on highly distinctive garments, usually of a bright color. To increase the debasement of non-Muslims, the clothes usually had to be made of rough fabrics and were often incongruous. Although distinctive clothing for non-Muslims was not spelled out in Islamic holy texts, Muslim scholars still agreed that dhimmis must not wear the same clothing as Muslims do; frequently, these scholars cited the Pact of Umar in which Christians supposedly took an obligation to "always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and… bind the zunar [wide belt] round our waists". Al-Nawawi required dhimmis to wear a piece of yellow cloth and a belt, as well as a metallic ring, inside public baths.<ref>Al-Nawawi, Minhadj, quoted in Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 91</ref>

Regulations on dhimmi clothing varied frequently to please the whims of the ruler. Although the initiation of such regulations is usually attributed to Umar I, historical evidence suggests that it was the Abbasid caliphs who pioneered this practice. In 807, Harun al-Rashid ordered that Jews should wear high cone caps and yellow belts, the first prototypes of the yellow badge; Christians had to wear blue belts. These distinction marks became obsolete in 849 when al-Mutawakkil ordered dhimmis to put a yellow veil on their heads and shoulders and wear a wide belt. He also required them to wear small bells in public baths. In the 11th century, the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim ordered Christians to put on half-meter wooden crosses and Jews to wear wooden calves around their necks. In the late 12th century, Almohad ruler Abu Yusuf ordered the Jews of the Maghreb to wear dark blue garments with long sleeves and saddle-like caps. His grandson Abdallah made a concession after appeals from the Jews, relaxing the required clothing to yellow garments and turbans. In the 16th century, Jews of the Maghreb could only wear sandals made of rushes and black turbans or caps with a red piece of garment on it.<ref name="cloth">Bat Ye’or (2002), pp. 91–96</ref>

Ottoman sultans were similarly diligent and inventive in regulating the clothings of their non-Muslim subjects. In 1577, Murad III issued a firman forbidding Jews and Christians from wearing dresses, turbans, and sandals. In 1580, he changed his mind, restricting the previous prohibition to turbans and requiring dhimmis to wear black shoes; Jews and Christians also had to wear red and black hats, respectively. Observing in 1730 that some Muslims took to the habit of wearing caps similar to those of the Jews, Mahmud I ordered the hanging of the perpetrators. Mustafa III personally helped to enforce his decrees regarding clothes. In 1758, he was walking incognito in Istanbul and ordered the beheading of a Jew and an Armenian seen dressed in forbidden attire. The last Ottoman decree affirming the distinctive clothing for dhimmis was issued in 1837 by Mahmud II. Discriminatory clothing did not exist only in those Ottoman provinces where Christians were in majority, e.g. in Greece and the Balkans.<ref name="cloth" />

[edit] Riding

Dhimmis were forbidden to ride horses or camels; they were only allowed to ride donkeys and only on packsaddles, a prohibition that has its roots in the Pact of Umar.<ref name="pactofumar" /> In the 18th century, Damanhuri, rector of Al-Azhar University, summed up the consensus of Islamic jurists: "Neither Jew nor Christian should ride a horse, with or without saddle. They may ride asses with a packsaddle."<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 97</ref> An additional requirement for dhimmis was not ride astride, but only sidesaddle, like a woman.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 36</ref> In the Mamluk Egypt, where non-Mamluk Muslims were not allowed to ride horses and camels, dhimmis were prohibited even from riding donkeys inside cities.<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 471</ref> The same prohibition imposed on dhimmis was recorded in the 19th century in Damascus,<ref name="batyeor68">Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 63</ref> as well as in Tunisia.<ref>Stillman (1979), p. 417</ref>

European travelers passing through the Middle East in the 18th and 19th centuries left ample evidence of the careful enforcement of prohibitions on horseback riding. Danish traveler Carsten Niebuhr wrote in 1761 that in Egypt, Jews and Christians were forced to alight while passing the houses of notable Muslims and when meeting such notables in the street.<ref>Bat Ye’or (2002), p. 98</ref> A Frenchman visiting Cairo in 1697 recorded the same situation. In Yemen and in the rural areas of Morocco, Libya, Iraq, and Persia, dhimmis had to dismount from a mule when passing a Muslim.<ref name="batyeor68"/>

[edit] Dwelling places

The dhimmis’ obligation not to build houses higher than those of Muslims is one of the clauses of the Pact of Umar,<ref name="pactofumar"/> supported as a desirable condition of “dhimma” by the consensus opinion of Islamic scholars.<ref>Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 161</ref> According to Bat Ye’or, the rule was not always enforced; for example, no such laws were recorded in Muslim Spain, and in Tunisia Jews owned fine houses.<ref>Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 62</ref> Sometimes, Muslim rulers issued regulations requiring dhimmis to attach distinctive signs to their houses. In the 9th century, Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil ordered dhimmis to nail wooden images of devils to the doors of their homes.<ref>Al-Tabari, Ta'rikh al-Rusul wa 'l-Muluk, translated in Stillman (1979), p. 167</ref> At about the same time in Tunisia, a qadi of the Aghlabid dynasty compelled dhimmis to nail onto their doors a board bearing the sign of a monkey.<ref>Al-Maliki, Riyad an-Nufus, translated in Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 186; see also "Kird", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online (2006)</ref> In Bukhara, Jews had to hang a piece of cloth out of their houses so that they could be distinguished from those of Muslims.<ref>Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 64</ref>

Dhimmis were seldom prohibited from living in certain places, but there were some exceptions. In Morocco, where beginning from the 15th century and especially since the early 19th century, Jews were confined to mellahs — walled quarters, similar to European ghettos. Jews were also forced to live in separate quarters in Persia. Neither Jews nor Christians were allowed to live in Hejaz after Umar I had expelled them.<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 28</ref>

[edit] Marriage

Islamic jurists reject the possibility that a dhimmi man (and generally any non-Muslim) may marry a Muslim woman.<ref>Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 161; Friedmann (2003), p. 161; Lewis (1984), p. 27; Bat Ye'or (1985), p. 62</ref> According to Friedmann, Islamic law regarding mixed marriages developed out of three Quranic verses — 2:221, 60:10, and 5:5. As some early Muslim scholars put it, Friedmann relates, such a marriage would lead to an incompatibility between the superiority of a woman by virtue of her being a Muslim and her unavoidable subservience to a non-Muslim husband. Friedmann also claims that some traditionalists compare marriage to enslavement and thus just like dhimmis are prohibited from having Muslim slaves, so dhimmi men are not allowed to have Muslim wives; conversely, Muslim men were allowed to marry women of the "People of the Book" because the enslavement of non-Muslims by Muslims is allowed.<ref>Friedmann (2003), pp. 161–162</ref> Azizah Y. al-Hibri states that the relevant hadith regarding marriage and slavery are just drawing an analogy between the status of women in Muhammad’s society to that of powerless slaves and are beseeching the male audience to treat them kindly: "Be good to women; for they are powerless captives (awan) in your households. You took them in God’s trust, and legitimated your sexual relations with the Word of God, so come to your senses people, and hear my words…"<ref>Azizah Y. al-Hibri, 2003</ref>

The prohibition of marriage between Muslim woman and Dhimmi man was enforced with the utmost rigor,<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 27</ref> with any violations of it, including a sexual relationship between a non-Muslim man and a Muslim woman, being punishable by death; similar to the position between Christians and Jews under the laws of Byzantine Empire "according to which a Christian could marry a Jewish woman, but a Jew could not marry a Christian woman under pain of death".<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 27, Bat Ye’or (1985), p. 62; Friedmann (2003), p. 163</ref> All schools of Islamic jurisprudence, with the exception of Hanafi, treated dhimmis who married or engaged in sexual relations with Muslim women like adulterers, for whom the punishment is death by stoning.<ref>Al-Mawardi (2000), p. 243</ref> In cases when a non-Muslim wife converts to Islam, while her non-Muslim husband does not, their marriage is annulled.<ref>Friedmann (2003), pp. 163–164</ref>

[edit] Contact restrictions

Andrew Wheatcroft describes how some social customs such as different conceptions of dirt and cleanliness made it difficult for the religious communities to live close to each other, either under Muslim or under Christian rule.

For Muslims and Christians alike the experience of living in close proximity to unbelievers was disquieting. The social customs of each group invariably sought to minimize contact with the people of other faiths. Each often spoke of the other in terms of fear and sometimes disgust.<ref>Wheatcroft (2003) p. 73</ref>
[edit] Shia Ritual purity

Shi'a Islam devotes much attention to the issues of ritual purity — tahara. Strict Shi'as consider Non-Muslims ritually unclean — najis — so that certain physical contact with them or things they touched with wet hands would require purification before undertaking religious or ritual duties.<ref> Lewis (1984), pp. 33–34</ref> In Persia, where Shi'ism is dominant, these beliefs brought about restrictions that aimed at limiting physical contact between Muslims and dhimmis. In the late nineteenth-century, some very strict authorities in Iran forbade Jews to go out in rain or snow. "By the early years of the twentieth century such beliefs and the resulting practices were gradually being forgotten". However, Lewis, pointing out the view of Ruhollah Khomeini on ritual purity, states that such beliefs have been more recently remembered.<ref>Lewis (1984), pp. 33–34</ref> Opinions of modern Shi'a scholars range from Ruhollah Khomeini's view that all non-Muslims are unclean<ref>Lewis (1984), p. 34</ref> to the position held by Fazel Lankarani that Jews and Christians are clean.<ref>Official website of Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani URL accessed on April 27, 2006</ref>

[edit] Consequences of dhimma

Over the course of many centuries, dhimma gradually led to the conversion of most Zoroastrians and Christians to Islam, but had a limited impact on the Jews. Zoroastrianism was the first to crumble after the Muslim conquest of Persia. Closely associated with the power structures of the Persian Empire, Zoroastrian clergy quickly declined after it was deprived of the state support.<ref name="conseq">Lewis (1984), p. 17–18; Stillman (1979), p. 27</ref>

For Christians, the process of conversion was slower — it is possible that as late as at the time of the Crusades Christians still constituted a majority of the population — but no less inexorable. The switch from a dominant to an inferior position proved too difficult for many Christians and they converted to Islam in large numbers to avoid oppression. Christianity disappeared altogether in Central Asia, Yemen, and the Maghreb, when it was subjected to persecution by the Almohads. Christians continued to live in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, but their numbers were still reduced to a tiny minority. The relative resiliency of Christians in those countries stemmed from their subordinated position in the Byzantine Empire, which made them more amenable to accepting Muslim supremacy; he suggests that many of them felt better under the early Muslim rule than under the Byzantines.<ref name="conseq" />

Jews were the least affected. Accustomed to survival in adverse circumstances after many centuries of Roman and Byzantine persecutions, Jews saw the Islamic conquests as just another change of rulers; this time, not necessarily for the worse. Voluntary conversion among the Jews was rare, and they managed to preserve their religion all over the Muslim lands.<ref name="conseq" />

[edit] Dhimma in the modern world

The status of dhimmi "was for long accepted with resignation by the Christians and with gratitude by the Jews" but ceased to be so after the rising power of Christendom and the radical ideas of the French revolution caused a wave of discontent among Christian dhimmis.<ref>Lewis (1984) p. 62</ref> While Muslims opposed abolishment of dhimma laws, continuing and growing pressure from the European powers and also pressure from Muslim reformers gradually relaxed the inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims.<ref>Lewis 1984 summary of pp. 62–66. See p. 62 (second paragraph), p. 65 (third paragraph)</ref>

The enforcement of the laws of the dhimma was widespread in the Muslim world until the mid-nineteenth century, when the Ottoman empire significantly relaxed the restrictions placed on its non-Muslim residents.<ref>Spencer (2005), p. 51</ref> These relaxations occurred gradually as part of the Tanzimat reform movement, which began in 1839 with the accession of the Ottoman Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid I.<ref>"1839–61", The Encyclopedia of World History Online</ref>

On November 3, 1839, an edict called the Hatt-i Sharif of Gulhane was put forth by the Sultan that, in part, proclaimed the principle of the equality of all subjects regardless of religion. Part of the motivation for this was the desire to gain support from the British Empire, whose help was desired in a conflict with Egypt.<ref>"1839 Nov. 3", The Encyclopedia of World History Online</ref>

On February 18, 1856, another edict was issued called Hatt-i Humayan, which built upon the 1839 edict. It came about partly as a result of pressure from and the efforts of the ambassadors of England, France, and Austria, whose respective countries were needed as allies in the Crimean War. It again proclaimed the principle of the equality of Muslims and non-Muslims, and produced many specific reforms to this end. For example, the jizya tax was abolished and non-Muslims were allowed to join the army.<ref>"1856, Feb. 18", The Encyclopedia of World History Online</ref><ref>Lapidus (1988), p. 599</ref><ref>Lapidus (2002), p. 495</ref>

[edit] Views of Modern scholars about Dhimmi

  • Ayatollah Khomeini in his book "On Islamic Government" indicates unequivocally that non-Muslims should be required to pay the poll tax, in return for which they would profit from the protection and services of the state; they would, however, be excluded from all participation in the political process.<ref>Hukuma Islamiyya, n.p. (Beirut), n.d., pp. 30ff.; Vilayat-i Faqih, n.p., n.d., pp. 35ff.; English version (from the Arabic), Islamic Government (U.S. Joint Publications Research Service 72663, 1979), pp. 22ff.; French version (from the Persian), Pour un gouvernement islamique (Paris, 1979), pp. 31ff. Another version in Hamid Algar, Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini (Berkeley, 1981), pp. 45ff. </ref> Bernard Lewis remarks about Khomeini that his main grievance against the Shah was that his legislation allowed the theoretical possibility of non-Muslims exercising political or judicial authority over Muslims.<ref> Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam notes on page 3]] </ref>
  • Allameh Tabatabaei, a prominent contemporary Shia scholar, commenting on a hadith that claims that the verse 9:29 has "abrogated" other verses asking for good behaviour toward dhimmis, states that "abrogation" could be understood either in its terminological sense or its literal sense. If "abrogation" is understood in its terminological sense, Muslims should deal with dhimmis strictly in a good and decent manner.<ref> Tafsir al-Mizan on verses 2:83–88, Allameh Tabatabaei </ref>
  • Javed Ahmed Ghamidi writes in Mizan that certain directives of the Qur’an were specific only to the Prophet Muhammad against peoples of his times, besides other directives, the campaign involved asking the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for exoneration and the others for jizya and submission to the political authority of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection as the dhimmis of the Muslims. Therefore, after the Prophet and his companions, there is no concept in Islam obliging Muslims to wage war for propagation or implementation of Islam.<ref>Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Mizan, Chapter: The Islamic Law of Jihad, Dar ul-Ishraq, 2001. OCLC: 52901690 [1]</ref><ref>Misplaced Directives, Renaissance, Al-Mawrid Institute, Vol. 12, No. 3, March 2002.[2]</ref>
  • The Shia jurist, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi states in the selection of the Tafsir Nemooneh that the main philosophy of jizya is that it is only a financial aid to those Muslims who are in the charge of safeguarding the security of the state and Dhimmis' lives and properties on their behalf<ref> Selection of Tafsir Nemooneh, Grand Ayatollah Makarim Shirazi, p. 10, volume 2, on verse 9:29 </ref>

[edit] Dhimmi in the literature

Bernard Lewis states that there are two well-established myths available in the literature about the position of Jews in the Islamic world.<ref name="Lewis 2006">Lewis (2006)</ref> Mark Cohen calls them the "Myth of an interfaith utopia" and "countermyth of the Islamic persecution of Jews".

The first myth states that medieval Islam provided a peaceful heaven for Jews while Christendom relentlessly persecuted them.<ref> Cohen (1995) p.3</ref> 'A golden age of equality, of mutual respect and cooperation, especially but not exclusively in Moorish Spain'<ref name="Lewis 2006"> Lewis (2006) </ref>

The other myth is the story of "dhimmitude" (a term coined by Bat Ye'or), of subservience and persecution and ill treatment.<ref name="Lewis 2006"> Lewis (2006)</ref>

Lewis says these are myths and that like many myths, both contain significant elements of truth. According to Cohen they equally distort the past. The historic truth is in the middle of these extremes.<ref name="Lewis 2006">Lewis (2006)</ref><ref>Cohen (1995) p.xvii</ref>

[edit] See also

Related concepts

Related historical events

Related to Islamic Law

Terms used for people of other faiths

Related to restrictions


[edit] Notes

<references />

[edit] References

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  • Bat Ye'or (2002). Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide. Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses. ISBN 0-8386-3943-7.
  • Bat Ye'or (1996). The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude. Seventh-Twentieth Century. Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses. ISBN 0-8386-3688-8.
  • Bat Ye'or (1985). The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam. Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 0-8386-3262-9.
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  • Bostom, Andrew, ed. (2005). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Prometeus Books. ISBN 1-59102-307-6.
  • Bosworth, C. E. (1982). The Concept of Dhimma in Early Islam In Benjamin Braude and B. Lewis, eds., Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society 2 vols., New York: Holmes & Meier Publishing. ISBN 0-8419-0520-7
  • Cahen, Claude. "Djizya (i)". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Ed. P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912.
  • Cohen, Mark (1995). Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01082-X.
  • Courbage, Youssef and Fargues, Philippe (1995). Christians and Jews under Islam. London: I.B. Tauris Publishers. ISBN 1-86064-285-3.
  • Friedmann, Yohanan (2003). Tolerance and Coercion in Islam: Interfaith Relations in the Muslim Tradition. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82703-5.
  • Goddard, Hugh (2000). A History of Christian-Muslim Relations. Chicago: New Amsterdam Books. ISBN 1-56663-340-0.
  • Eraqi-Klorman, Bat-Zion, Reeva Spector Simon (Ed.), Michael Menachem Laskier (Ed.), Sara Reguer (Ed.) (2003). The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times. Columbia, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10796-X.
  • Karsh, Ephraim (2006). Islamic Imperialism: A History. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10603-3.
  • Lapidus, Ira M. (2002). A History of Islamic Societies (2nd Edition). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-77933-2.
  • Lewis, Bernard (2002). The Arabs in History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280310-7.
  • Lewis, Bernard (1984). The Jews of Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00807-8.
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  • Al-Mawardi (2000). The Ordnances of Government (Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya w’al-Wilayat al-Diniyya). Lebanon: Garnet Publishing. ISBN 1-85964-140-7.
  • Parfitt, Tudor (2000). Israel and Ishmael : Studies in Muslim-Jewish Relations. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-22228-9.
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  • Stillman, Norman (1979). The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 1-82760-198-1.
  • Tritton, Arthur S. (1970). The Caliphs and their non-Muslim Subjects: a Critical Study of the Covenant of Umar. London: Frank Cass Publisher. ISBN 0-7146-1996-5.
  • Viré, F. "Kird". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Ed. P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912.
  • Wehr, Hans (1976). J. Milton Cowan, ed.: A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Ithaca, New York: Spoken Language Services, Inc.. ISBN 0-87950-001-8.
  • Wheatcroft, Andrew (2003). Infidels: A History of the Conflict between Christendom and Islam. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-025738-1.

[edit] Further reading

  • Choksy, Jamsheed (1997). Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society.
  • Fattal, Antoine (1958). Le statut légal des non-musulmans en pays d’Islam (in French).
  • Goitein, S. D. (1967-71). The Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (4 vols.).
  • Bat Ye'or: Der Niedergang des orientalischen Christentums unter dem Islam. 7.-20. Jahrhundert. Gräfeling 2002, ISBN 3-935197-19-5
  • Karl Binswanger: Untersuchungen zum Status der Nichtmuslime im Osmanischen Reich des 16. Jahrhunderts. Diss. phil. München 1977, ISBN 3-87828-108-0
  • Mark. R. Cohen: Unter Kreuz und Halbmond. Die Juden im Mittelalter. München 2005, ISBN 3-406-52904-6
  • Nabil Luka Babawi: Les droits et les devoirs des chrétiens dans l'état islamique et leurs conséquences sur la sécurité nationale, thèse de doctorat.
  • Bat Ye'or: Le Dhimmi : profil de l'opprimé en Orient et en Afrique du Nord depuis la conquête arabe. Éditions Anthropos, Paris 1980, ISBN 2-7157-0352-X
  • Bat Ye'or: Les chrétientés d'Orient entre jihâd et dhimmitude : VII-XX siècle. Éditions du Cerf, Paris 1991, (L'histoire à vif), ISBN 2-204-04347-8
  • Yohanan Friedmann: Classification of Unbelievers in Sunnī Muslim Law and Tradition. In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 22 (1998), S. 163–195
  • Mohammad Amin Al-Midani: La question des minorités et le statut des non-musulmans en Islam. In: La religion est-elle un obstacle à l'application des droits de l'homme?. colloque tenu les 10-11 décembre 2004 à Lyon.
  • Pessah Shinar: Some remarks regarding the colours of male Jewish dress in North Africa and their Arabic-Islamic context. In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 24/2000, S. 380–395
  • M. Levy-Rubin: Shurut `Umar and its alternatives: the legal debate on the status of the dhimmis. In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 30/2005

[edit] External links

da:Dhimmi de:Dhimma es:Dhimmi fr:Dhimmi it:Dhimmi he:דימי nl:Dhimmi fi:Dhimmi sv:Dhimmi


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