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For example, the jizya was a tax for Dhimmi. Dhimmi were also exempt from military service, however, and did not pay the alms that Muslims were expected to pay, somewhat leveling the balance of obligation between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Ottoman Empire is example of an example of an Islamic state which governed according to the precept of Dhimma. Dhimmi were called millet. The word millet means religion or religious community, but it can also be translated as nation due to affinity between ethnicity and religious identity at the time.

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The millet operated under the rules of the Dhimma mentioned in the previous paragraphs, and maintained thriving communities in all the major cities of the empire. The Ottoman Empire is often recognized for its achievement of pluralistic governance because of this, although the minorities also faced some level of discrimination.

Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law | University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Armenian Christians are one such community, which was displaced after the Turkish war of independence and the end of the Ottoman Empire. To anoint someone ceremonially was to make him king. The dhimmi communities living in Islamic states had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who had their own Halakhic courts. However, dhimmis faced social and symbolic restrictions, [72] and a pattern of stricter, then more lax, enforcement developed over time. From an Islamic legal perspective, the pledge of protection granted dhimmis the freedom to practice their religion and spared them forced conversions.

The dhimmis also served a variety of useful purposes, mostly economic, which was another point of concern to jurists. One example was the Zoroastrian practice of incestuous "self-marriage" where a man could marry his mother, sister or daughter. According to the famous Islamic legal scholar Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya — , non-Muslims had the right to engage in such religious practices even if it offended Muslims, under the conditions that such cases not be presented to Islamic Sharia courts and that these religious minorities believed that the practice in question is permissible according to their religion.

This ruling was based on the precedent that Muhammad did not forbid such self-marriages among Zoroastrians despite coming in contact with them and having knowledge of their practices. The Arabs generally established garrisons outside towns in the conquered territories, and had little interaction with the local dhimmi populations for purposes other than the collection of taxes. The conquered Christian, Jewish, Mazdean and Buddhist communities were otherwise left to lead their lives as before.

According to historians Lewis and Stillman, local Christians in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were non-Chalcedonians and many may have felt better off under early Muslim rule than under that of the Byzantine Orthodox of Constantinople. The subsequent Crusades brought Roman Catholic Christians into contact with Orthodox Christians whose beliefs they discovered to differ from their own perhaps more than they had realized, and whose position under the rule of the Muslim Fatimid Caliphate was less uncomfortable than had been supposed.

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Consequently, the Eastern Christians provided perhaps less support to the Crusaders than had been expected. The Ottomans had long experience dealing with Christian and Jewish minorities, and were more tolerant towards religious minorities than the former Muslim rulers, the Mamluks of Egypt. However, Christians living under Islamic rule have suffered certain legal disadvantages and at times persecution.

In the Ottoman Empire, in accordance with the dhimmi system implemented in Muslim countries, they, like all other Christians and also Jews, were accorded certain freedoms. The dhimmi system in the Ottoman Empire was largely based upon the Pact of Umar. The client status established the rights of the non-Muslims to property, livelihood and freedom of worship but they were in essence treated as second-class citizens in the empire and referred to in Turkish as gavours , a pejorative word meaning " infidel " or " unbeliever ". The clause of the Pact of Umar which prohibited non-Muslims from building new places of worship was historically imposed on some communities of the Ottoman Empire and ignored in other cases, at discretion of the local authorities.

Although there were no laws mandating religious ghettos, this led to non-Muslim communities being clustered around existing houses of worship. In addition to other legal limitations, Christians were not considered equals to Muslims and several prohibitions were placed on them. Their testimony against Muslims by Christians and Jews was inadmissible in courts of law wherein a Muslim could be punished; this meant that their testimony could only be considered in commercial cases.

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They were forbidden to carry weapons or ride atop horses and camels. Their houses could not overlook those of Muslims; and their religious practices were severely circumscribed e. Because the early Islamic conquests initially preserved much of the existing administrative machinery and culture, in many territories they amounted to little more than a change of rulers for the subject populations, which "brought peace to peoples demoralized and disaffected by the casualties and heavy taxation that resulted from the years of Byzantine-Persian warfare".

Jews from other parts of Europe made their way to al-Andalus , where in parallel to Christian sects regarded as heretical by Catholic Europe, they were not just tolerated, but where opportunities to practice faith and trade were open without restriction save for the prohibitions on proselytization. Generally, the Jewish people were allowed to practice their religion and live according to the laws and scriptures of their community.

Furthermore, the restrictions to which they were subject were social and symbolic rather than tangible and practical in character.

That is to say, these regulations served to define the relationship between the two communities, and not to oppress the Jewish population. The legal and security situation of the Jews in the Muslim world was generally better than in Christendom, because in the former, Jews were not the sole "infidels", because in comparison to the Christians, Jews were less dangerous and more loyal to the Muslim regime, and because the rapidity and the territorial scope of the Muslim conquests imposed upon them a reduction in persecution and a granting of better possibility for the survival of members of other faiths in their lands.

According to the French historian Claude Cahen , Islam has "shown more toleration than Europe towards the Jews who remained in Muslim lands.

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Cohen notes that, in contrast to Jews in Christian Europe, the "Jews in Islam were well integrated into the economic life of the larger society", [89] and that they were allowed to practice their religion more freely than they could do in Christian Europe. According to the scholar Mordechai Zaken, tribal chieftains also known as aghas in tribal Muslim societies such as the Kurdish society in Kurdistan would tax their Jewish subjects. The Jews were in fact civilians protected by their chieftains in and around their communities; in return they paid part of their harvest as dues, and contributed their skills and services to their patron chieftain.

By the 15th century, major parts of Northern India was ruled by Muslim rulers, mostly descended from invaders.

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  • In the 16th century, India came under the influence of the Mughals Mongols. Babur , a ruler of the Mongol Timuri empire, established a foothold in the north which paved the way for further expansion by his successors. The Muslim rulers from Turks to Mughals retained their Islamic identities, and made various attempts at conversion and subjugation of native Hindu populations. Under Muslim rule, vandalism, and outright destruction of temples became a widespread phenomenon.

    In fact, such was the extent of persecution and genocide that there was a decline in population of India during the years of Muslim conquest. Historian K. Lal in his book Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India claims that between the years AD and AD, the population of the Indian subcontinent decreased from to million.

    He stated that his estimates were tentative and did not claim any finality. There were a number of restrictions on dhimmis. In a modern sense the dhimmis would be described as second-class citizens. 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 were the ringing of church bells and the blowing of the shofar. Most of the restrictions were social and symbolic in nature, [72] and a pattern of stricter, then more lax, enforcement developed over time. Lapidus states that the "payment of the poll tax seems to have been regular, but other obligations were inconsistently enforced and did not prevent many non-Muslims from being important political, business, and scholarly figures.

    In the late ninth and early tenth centuries, Jewish bankers and financiers were important at the 'Abbasid court. Payment of the jizya obligated Muslim authorities to protect dhimmis in civil and military matters. Sura 9 At-Tawba , verse 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, death or imprisonment, as advocated by Abu Yusuf , the chief qadi Islamic judge of Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid who ruled over much of modern-day Iraq.

    Lewis states there are varying opinions among scholars as to how much of a burden jizya was. The importance of dhimmis as a source of revenue for the Rashidun Caliphate is illustrated 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?

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    By God, Muslims would not find a man to talk to and profit from his labors. Islamic jurists required adult, free, healthy males among the dhimma community to pay the jizya, while exempting women, children, the elderly, slaves, those affected by mental or physical handicaps, and travelers who did not settle in Muslim lands. The early Islamic scholars took a relatively humane and practical attitude towards the collection of jizya , compared to the 11th century commentators writing when Islam was under threat both at home and abroad.

    The jurist Abu Yusuf, the chief judge of the caliph Harun al-Rashid , rules as follows regarding the manner of collecting the jizya [].

    Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law

    No one of the people of the dhimma should be beaten in order to exact payment of the jizya, nor made to stand in the hot sun, nor should hateful things be inflicted upon their bodies, or anything of that sort. Rather they should be treated with leniency. In the border provinces, dhimmis were sometimes recruited for military operations.

    In such cases, they were exempted from jizya for the year of service. Religious pluralism existed in medieval Islamic law and ethics. The religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, were usually accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as exemplified in the Caliphate , Al-Andalus , Ottoman Empire and Indian subcontinent.

    The dhimmi communities living in Islamic states usually had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who had their own Halakha courts. Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems. However, dhimmis frequently attended the Muslim courts 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 marriage, divorce or inheritance to the Muslim courts so these cases would be decided under sharia 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. Muslim men could generally marry dhimmi women who are considered People of the Book, however Islamic jurists rejected the possibility any non-Muslim man might marry a Muslim woman.

    A hadith by Muhammad, "Whoever killed a Mu'ahid a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years of traveling.