Jihad in the Koran

The Right-to-Live-as-an-Unbeliever Tax

The Jizya

Jihad In the KoranThe Verse of the Sword, verse 9:5 is said to supersede all other verses on the subject of war and peace, and verse 9:111 the Salvific Covenant (do this for me and I will do this for you, save you, give you Paradise) as announcing a universal war, a jihad against all unbelievers.

9:5 Then, when the Sacred Months (these are the four months during which war was prohibited in pre-Islamic times) are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them [as captives], besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every point of observation. If they repent afterwards, perform the prayer and pay the alms then release them. Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Merciful.

9:111 Allah has bought from the believers their lives and their wealth in return for Paradise; they fight in the Way of Allah, kill and get killed. That is a true promise from Him in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an; and who fulfills his promise better than Allah? Rejoice then at the bargain you have made with Him; for that is the great triumph.

The Prophet’s declaration of all-out war for the purpose of making believers out of unbelievers and infidels has been re-phrased in more acceptable terms. Today, jihad is presented, not as a fight to rid the world of people who will not submit to the Will of Allah, but as a fight to rid the world of oppressors – and who does not hate oppressors – or to protect a community from those who would oppress it.

Unbelievers who believe, and only believe in the God of Abraham (the so-called People of the Book) are not to be killed “wherever you find them”, if they are submissive, and are willing to humbly pay money in the form of a poll-tax (a tax levied on people rather than on property) so that their lives might be spared.

9:29 Fight those among the People of the Book who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden and do not profess the true religion, till they pay the poll-tax out of hand and submissively.

God's Messenger first tried to impose the jizya after the Battle of Badr, the first real battle in the Arab Civil War between the believers and unbelievers which started it all. The Jews ridiculed his proposal saying that Allah could not be so poor as to require their money.

The Jizya became a fact of life for the People of the Book after the defeat of the Jews at the Battle of Khaybar.