Narratives of Jizyah and Kharaj A Historical Study of Financial Management at the Early Period of Islam

Discussion Committee: 
Prof. Jamal Juda/supervisor
Dr.Othman Tall/external examiner
Dr.Adnan Melhem/internal examiner
Prof. Jamal Juda/supervisor
Basel Amin Kamel Kiwan
The present dissertation, "Narratives of al jizyah and al Kharaj, a Historical Study in Financial Management at the Early Age of Islam", discusses the image of al jizyah in the Holy Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and the Caliphate state till the end of the Umayyad State, In addition, it follows up the significance of the term of land tax "Kharaj" in the Holy Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and the Caliphate and the Umayyad states. It also demonstrates the relationship between the term "spoils" and the terms of tribute and land tax by discussing the plunders, the spoils, the dilemma of the state treasury, and the servility of tribute and land tax payers. The time of the study is restricted chronologically to the period of the Prophet (PBUH) until the end of the Umayyad State (132 Higrah / 749 AD). The term " jizyah " is mentioned in the Holy Quran to mean penalty on every person who disbelieved. Therefore, paying of tribute was considered as humiliation of the Dimmis "free non-Muslims enjoying Muslim protection" during the period of the Prophet (PBUH). The study then discusses the term " jizyah " in the peace treaties that the Prophet (PBUH) signed with Christians and Jews in the northern and southern regions of the Arabian Peninsula. During this period, it did not have a special system nor constant bases. It varied between cash and property, neither was it unified everywhere, but it was rather varied between individual and joined. During the era of the Orthodox Caliphate, the term " jizyah " was used in the peace treaties signed by Abu Bakir Al-Siddiq leaders with some cities of western Iraq and Syria where the type of tax was joint-public. In the reign of Omar b. Al-Khattab, the term was used to refer to the aggregate monies added to a specific amount of agricultural crops, then the situation changed after a while of his reign when the tribute became monetary on cities and general on the countryside. In the Holy Quran, the term " Kharaj" was not used as a tax but it was rather used literarily to denote wages or grants. On the other hand, the term came to mean joint jizyah rather than land tax, whereas it was not mentioned in the Caliphate state by the narrations that accompanied the reign of Abu Bakir Al-Siddiq since it was used as part of general tributes. During the reign of Omar b. Al-Khattab, early narrators did not mention that he imposed kharaj as land tax but he rather imposed jizyah or aggregate tax (head and revenues taxes) on the inhabitants. However, the kharaj concept as equivalent of land tax was used by later narrators who lived during the late Umayyad State and the early Abbasid State and they attributed their narrations to the period of Omar b. Al-Khattab in order to gain legitimacy and precedence for their narrations. The study also investigates the beginnings of circulating the two terms of plunders and booty. It finds out that a lot of linguistic and jurisprudent sources used to consider both of them as one thing while distinction between them came at a later stage since the term booty referred to whatever movable or immovable properties gained by Muslims from the infidels during the age of the Prophet (PBUH). The study also investigates the causes of the state treasury dilemma. One of the reasons of that dilemma was the decreasing amounts of jizyah and land tax revenues due to conversion of the Dummis to Islam because the Prophet (PBUH), the Orthodox caliphs and some of the Omayyad caliphs exempted everyone who turned to Islam from the head and land tax. In addition, transferring kharaj lands to Arab ownership caused severe losses to the state treasury since such lands were exempted from land tax due to Muslim ownership that transferred it from kharaj to tithe lands. It seems that such purchases occurred during the reign of Omar b. Al-Khattab (who did not object to such operations) as a number of the Prophet's companions such as Abdullah b. Masoud, Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein sons of Ali and others possessed them. The appearance and expansion of Arab properties were at the expense of the kharaj lands due to several factors including extortion, purchase, feudalism, compelling and inheritance by loyalty. To deal with this situation, Omar Bin Abdel-Aziz imposed financial bases to delimit transferring kharaj lands to tithe lands. At the same time, he attempted to relieve the dilemma of the state treasury by considering kharaj as a tax on the land regardless of its owner whether he was a Muslim or Non- muslim. The study also investigates the concept of servility which was limited according to Muslim jurisprudents perspectives to paying head tax rather than land tax. It was found out that the prohibition to purchase kharaj land and attaching servility to Muslim purchasers was a late perspective formed by late narrators and attributed to the reign of Omar b. Al-Khattab to gain legitimacy.
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