There are only
two categories of non-Muslims in an Islamic state: (i) Mu‘āhidīn, that is those
who have come under an Islamic state on account of a treaty with it (ii)
Dhimmiyyīn that is those who have come under an Islamic state on account of
being subdued in a battle.
Prophet (sws) formed a government in Madīnah after migration, he concluded a
treaty with the Jews which is popularly known as ‘Mīthāq of Madīnah’.
Subsequently, such pacts were signed with other nations as well, the terms in
them depending on the different circumstances. If we study the ‘Mīthāq of
Madīnah’, it will become quite clear that after the Jews, as Mu‘āhidīn, accepted
the Prophet (sws) as their ruler they were given the same rights of a citizen as
any other Muslim in Yathrib. Ibn Hashām has recorded these words of the Mīthāq
in his book:
this tradition, the Jews will be considered as one nation with the Muslims in
the political sense. As regards their religion, the Jews will stand by theirs
and Muslims and their allies will stand by theirs.
the other hand, are those non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state who have
accepted its supremacy after being subjugated in a war. According to the Qur’ān,
if they give up their rebellious attitude and accept the sovereignty of the
Islamic state by paying Jiziyyah, just as the Muslim citizens have to pay Zakāh,
then they can become citizens and have protection of their rights by the Islamic
There is no
differentiation between Mu‘āhidīn and Dhimmiyyīn regarding their citizenship,
but both these groups have different rights. The rights of the Mu‘āhidīn cannot
be decided solely by the Islamic government; instead the final decision lies in
the pact concluded between the two parties. On the other hand, the rights of the
Dhimmiyyīn have been decided by the Islamic law. These rights are a permanent
part of the Islamic law. Just as the other decrees of the law are important in
an Islamic state, in the same way protection and fulfilment of these rights is
also essential and violation of these would be equivalent to deviation from
There is no
elucidation of the rights of the Mu‘āhidīn in the Islamic law. Their rights
would be decided absolutely and completely on the foundations of the agreement
between them and the Islamic state. Muslims are bound by their religion to abide
by these terms on all conditions. Any kind of deviation and transgression would
come under the breach of contract and Islam holds breaches of faith as
forbidden and has branded it a mortal sin. Allah has said:
covenants because indeed on the Day of Judgement you will be held accountable
for them. (17:34)
reason the Prophet (sws) said:
And let not
the enmity of a people turn you away from justice. Deal justly; this is nearer
to piety. (5:8)
according to this principle, it is the right of the non-Muslims that:
wealth and honour should be protected by the state such that no one is able to
lay hands on them.
imposed on them should be according to their financial conditions.
only be imposed on individuals who can take part in a war. Children, women, the
handicapped, the insane, hermits and monks who have given up the pleasures of
the world and the old and the sick who cannot earn their living should in all
circumstances be exempted from this tax.
The needy and
poor among them should be provided the basic necessities of life.
matters and religious rituals should be exempted from the law of the state and
no interference should be made in their faith and religion.
of worship should not be tampered with.
They should be
allowed to present their religion to others in a polite manner.
except for participating in the state affairs, they should be given all the
rights which are sanctioned by the norms of justice and fairness for people in a
civilised society, and in this regard all dealings should be done in a befitting
manner because Allah likes people who adopt this attitude.
Moiz Amjad's Commentary on Ghamidi's Manshūr)