Being a second class citizen means less responsibility!

From the comments:

Jizya is only a financial tribute / aid to the Muslim State which is in-charge of safeguarding the security of the state and non-muslim's lives and properties on their behalf.

Non-muslims pay Jizya BUT they are EXEMPTED from any other taxes which muslims pay in a Muslim State i.e. Zakat, Khums etc.

As compared to taxes which the Muslims are subjected in a Muslim state, the amount of Jizya is very low.

As such, Jizya should not be interpreted as "Additional Tax" imposed on non-muslims. It is rather a "lesser" obligation as compared to that of a Muslim.

I've heard this argument before from family members who are Muslims. This is analogous to Confederate apologists ("Southern patriots") who explain that the Civil War ("War of Northern Aggression") was actually fought fundamentally over tariffs and states' rights. This is part of the story, but really dodges the moral of the tale of being told. In a traditional Muslim state non-Muslims, dhimmis, are "protected" as second class citizens. Their position is analogous to women in nations where suffrage is denied; women have no rights or responsibilities of citizenship, they are under the "protection" of their men. One major difference between women and dhimmis is that women are necessary for men, while dhimmis persist only at the pleasure of Muslim authorities. Once the proportion of dhimmis in a Muslim society reaches a low enough threshold there is a pattern of increased persecutions, pressures and violations of maxims such as "no compulsion in religion" (the best case-study of this phenomenon is in the Levant and Iran, where non-Muslim religious figures initially had a great deal of power and influence as mediators, but who were generally marginalized and shunted aside once Muslims became a majority).

In any case, the general tendency isn't limited to Muslims. Some aspects of the Muslim-dhimmi relationship drew upon precedents among pre-Muslim Arabs in terms of patron-client dynamics (though this influence is more explicitly evident among early Muslim converts) as well as how the Byzantine state regulated Jews and Samaritans within an officially Christian state (the case of non-Chalcedonian Christians is more complex). Contemporaneously, Christian Dominionism has strong similarities to Islam, ergo, articles such as Christian Supremacy: Pushing the Dhimmitude of Non-Christians in America.

As someone interested in history and anthropology there is a place for neutral evaluations of customs and norms. But I simply won't tolerate repainting what was clearly subordination and subjugation as if it was a cosseted existence.

A more fundamental point is that people may have to reinterpret their own core values and beliefs to come into line with the values and beliefs at the heart of the societies in which they live. I don't particularly care how that reinterpretation occurs, and I'm not too interested in the details. For example, I think the way some Jews try to contextualize the genocide in the Hebrew Bible is as silly as the way some neo-pagans attempt to mitigate the horror of human sacrifice.* That being said, it is imperative that Jews and neo-pagans do interpret their religious history in a manner which allows them to the come the "right" conclusion as to how they interact in a pluralist society. I don't care about the logic of the rationalization because I think the premises of these religions are false anyhow. Similarly, I don't care about the intellectual process which makes it so that Islam no longer accepts the death penalty for apostasy as within the limits of reason, or the subjugation of non-Muslims in a "protected" dhimmi status as a long term goal, these conclusions simply need to occur for Muslims living in Western countries.

Note: The exact implementation of Islamic laws, or their interpretation, varied a great deal. For example, during much of medieval Indian history Brahmins were exempted from the jizya. We know this because Brahmin sources object vociferously at the injustice of having to pay the tax once Muslim rulers felt powerful enough, or were religiously short-sighted enough, to alienate local Hindu elites.

P.S. The commenter above lives in the United States.

* You can add a long list of religions and identities. Additionally, you can swap out the values. In Indonesia Hindus and Buddhists are monotheists, because the Indonesian state ideology has its first plank a principle that is basically the Islamic concept of tawhid.

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The Jaziya rate for non-muslims was 30% and the Zakat rate for muslims was 3%

You are also aware of the islamic concept of Takiya which means lying for the sake of islam when in minority

The No Compulsion in Religion was an early Mecca verse and was abrogated by Sura 9:5, slay the idolators in the later Medina verses

rec1man's comment, as usual, samples from one side of the distribution. which verses were abrogated is situation dependent, but it's more complicated than a case majority/minority (e.g., turco-muslims, like many of the early arab muslims, to some extent viewed the religion as an ethnic-racial one, and so were often disinclined to allow natives of 'hindustan' to join the 'club').

Didn't status also vary by whether the dhimmi in question were "people of the book"? I've heard that islamic legal scholars encouraged a much more degrading treatment for Hindu subjects than Jews & Christians.

Didn't status also vary by whether the dhimmi in question were "people of the book"? I've heard that islamic legal scholars encouraged a much more degrading treatment for Hindu subjects than Jews & Christians.

who are these "islamic scholars" you speak of? :-) in any case, very early on the term "people of the book" got expanded out. see the comments of the arab conquerors of the sindh in the 8th century in regard to the buddhists and brahmins of that region (they even permitted brahmin tax levies to support the temples which they ran to continue).

in india distinctions between hindus, and jews & christians, are obviously a moot point, right? outside of kerala there was basically no christian or jewish community to speak of. the ulema did recommend many things, but the powers that be generally ignored them whn convenient. i don't want get into regurgitating a huge load of disparate facts, but between 1600 and 1700 the successive mughal rulers become progressively less tolerant and indulgent toward hindus. and yet they still continued to allow for public monies to fund the construction of hindu temples as well as mosques. this was even true of aurangzeb, who is the most intolerant of the mughals. aurangzeb's compromises were certainly not driven by sincere belief, but by pragmatism. but it shows the limits of abstract/scholarly opinions (the ulema inveighed against akbar in particular during his later years when he basicall renounced islam for his own idiosyncratic religion).

p.s. the greatest success of the sunni ulema is probably the persecutions of shia, in particular the ismaili, as well as eliminating syncretism, so that to a large extent across much of the subcontinent sunni orthodoxy was enforced among mulims. aurangzeb stabled his horses in the shia mosque when he entered hyderabad to show them what he thought of them.

I think Razib has hit the nail on the head. We have certain standards of behavior that really have to be accepted for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, basically secular society to function. What convoluted logic the adherents of any particular religion use to get to these accommodations is less of an issue. It is really not necessary to argue with Western Muslims about their "faith" as if one is trying to correct their misunderstanding of their own religion and is trying to force them to pick the most intolerant and "muslim-supremacist" interpretation as the correct one. If some Muslims want to pick "no compulsion in religion" as the verse to follow, let them do it. Those muslims who follow particular salafist or wahabi interpretations will no doubt complain, but why should non-muslims have to step in to lecture people about the "correct" order of the verses?
Having said that, I will be the first to agree that orthodox opinion in Islam tends to be fairly uniform (and intolerant and oppressive by our standards) about these issues AND continues to have a greater degree of legitimacy among Muslims than Calvinist orthodoxy has among Protestants or Jewish orthodox law has among Jews. But the vast majority of Muslims in the world "respect" those opinions in principle without knowing much about them in any detail. Its a race between neo-orthodox "fundamentalists" trying to show them what those sacred books of medieval law actually say, versus pragmatic interpreters who encourage ignoring the details and making up/picking out stories that suit current circumstances a bit more..

outside of kerala there was basically no christian or jewish community to speak of.

Coastal Maharashtra has had a Jewish population for over a millennium. They maintained their religious customs throughout but were otherwise remarkably well integrated into the society at large.

"aurangzeb's compromises were certainly not driven by sincere belief, but by pragmatism. "

I suspect that in that case Aurangzeb's sincere beliefs encompassed the need for pragmatism. ;-)

A small joke. But seriously, the mind has a way of embracing the most contradictory and bizarre beliefs that it finds to be in its survival interest, and very sincerely at that.

By Ray in Seattle (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink

Neither Christianity nor Islam should be denigrated by the radical whackjobs in their midst. Christian dominionists as well as Muslim terrorists should be ostracized by reasonable people.