JIZYAH, a poll tax, or capitation tax, imposed on all able-bodied non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state. It was required of Dhimmis (see AHL AL-DHIMMAH), who were Christians, Jews, and other monotheistic non-Muslims with a protected status. They were barred from enlisting in Islamic armies, and their poll tax was supposed to pay for Muslims to take their place in fighting the battles of Islam. The jizyah was totally independent of the KHARAJ, which was levied on land rather than individuals.
The jizyah, fixed in the seventh century by Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattat, originally amounted to forty-eight dirhems for the rich, twenty-four for the middle class, and twelve for the poor (Ye’or, 1985, p. 185). This estimate, however, was subject to greater increase by the imams, who did not hesitate to multiply it under later caliphs.
AZIZ S. ATIYA
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