Submitted by Kaleem Kawaja


We, religious, political and community leaders of the Indian Muslims, are alarmed at the reports coming out of Pakistan’s tribal areas about the Pakistani Taliban’s kidnapping, extortion of huge amounts of money from their Sikh compatriots as “Jizya” and demolition of the houses and shops of those who fail to pay the demanded sums.


We would like to say that Jizya is a tax paid in an Islamic state for exemption from military service by healthy non-Muslim adults who are free to follow their vocations without restriction or fear, and that there is no other tax payable by them after paying this tax, unlike Muslims who have to pay various taxes including Zakat and have to perform military service as well.


Jizya was payable by non-Muslims only in lands conquered by Muslims like Egypt, Syria and Iraq but not in unconquered areas like Madina where during the time of the Holy Prophet no Jizya was ever imposed on non-Muslim citizens who enjoyed equal rights and duties under the Constitution of Madina. For many centuries Jizya has not been levied by Muslim states and today even the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Iran do not levy Jizya on non-Muslims for the simple reason that non-Muslims in these states pay all taxes payable by others. Prominent Islamic scholars of the modern times like Shaikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi are of the view that Jizya should not be imposed now as non-Muslims are equal citizens of Muslim states and  pay all taxes paid by other citizens and shoulder all the duties.


We wish to make it clear that the imposition of the so-called Jizya is nothing more than extortion by an armed and lawless gang which does not constitute a sovereign government or state or even an organ thereof. Moreover, Pakistan’s tribal areas are not “conquered lands” as their non-Muslim population has been living there for centuries. These areas were part of the British India and became part of the new State of Pakistan as a result of peaceful transfer of power on Partition.


As regards the huge amounts in millions reported to be demanded, these are arbitrary and exorbitant as the amount of annual Jizya paid by non-Muslims in early Islam was merely one to one and a half dinar, which is 4.24 gram to 6.36 grams of gold. Moreover, this tax was payable only at the end of the year and not in advance.


We regard this as an act of injustice incompatible with the letter and spirit of Islam and the international covenants accepted by all Muslim states.


We demand that the Pakistani authorities must take earliest steps to retrieve the extorted sums and pay them back to their affected non-Muslim citizens and facilitate their peaceful return to their homes and properties in their traditional homelands and give them all due protection.


Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmad; Shahi Imam, Jama Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi; Hafiz Muhammad Yahya, President, All India Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees; Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind; Syed Shahabuddin, Former member of the Parliament and  ex-President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat; Prof Tahir Mahmood, Member Law Commission of India; Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind; Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi, President, Shah Waliullah Institute, Delhi; Maulana Waris Mazhari, Editor, Monthly Tarjuman, Delhi; Dr Zafar Mahmood, President, Zakat Foundation of India; Dr SQR Ilyas, Member, Muslim Personal Law Board; Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat; Mirza Yawar Baig, President of Yawar Baig & Associates; Shahnawaz Ali Raihan, Secretary, Students Islamic  Organisation.


(Issued at New Delhi on 2 May 2009)

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