What is Jizya Tax?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Jizya tax historically referred to a tax paid by non-Muslim populations to their Muslim rulers. The Jizya tax has historically been regarded in Islam as a payment for the protection provided by the Muslim ruler to non-Muslims, for the exemption of non-Muslims from military service, for the right to practice a non-Muslim faith in a Muslim state with some communal autonomy, and as tangible evidence of the non-Muslims’ submission to the Muslim state and its laws.

Jizya is mentioned in the Quran and hadiths but isn’t given a rate or amount, and its use changed throughout Islamic history. Jizya Tax UPSC notes should be read by every aspirant to have a solid foundation of knowledge for the examination. In this post, we have provided details regarding the Jizya tax along with who introduced and abolished this taxation system.

Jizya Tax

After Muhammad’s passing, non-Muslim Arab tribes were required to pay the Jizya tax in place of military service. Poor non-Muslims, the elderly, women, serfs, religious workers, and people with mental illnesses typically did not pay taxes. According to early sources, under the first caliphs, poor Christians and Jews were instead given stipends from the state treasury, which was largely funded by money from the zakat, the obligatory tax paid by Muslim men and women of means, and from the Jizya tax paid by wealthy non-Muslim men.

For the first time, the Jizya tax was introduced by Qutb-ud-din Aibak on non-Muslims in India. Taxes imposed on non-Muslim subjects, along with kharj, a term that was occasionally used interchangeably with Jizya tax, were among the principal sources of income gathered by several Islamic polities, such as the Ottoman Empire and Indian Muslim Sultanates. Jizya rates were typically fixed annually and were determined by the payer’s financial capacity.

The Mughal emperor Akbar abolished jizya in the 16th century, but Aurangzeb reinstated it in the 17th. In place of military duty, Aurangzeb chose to reimpose jizya on non-Muslim subjects in 1679. This decision was sharply opposed by numerous Hindu emperors and Mughal court officials.


What is Jizya Tax?

Jizya tax meaning is a charge made to Muslim rulers by non-Muslim communities. Muslim jurists mandated payment of the Jizya to adult, sane male members of the dhimma community, but they exempted women, children, elders, people with disabilities, people who are ill, monks, hermits, slaves, non-Muslim foreigners who are just passing through Muslim-majority countries temporarily. The Jizya tax was imposed by Qutb-ud-din Aibak on non-Muslims in India.

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