Treatment of Jews and Christians as citizens of a true Islamic State

by Dwi P Nugroho (July 1st, 2016)

Allah created mankind as the descendants of Adam and Eve. And as the population growth and spread around the world, they organized their selves into tribes and peoples. Latter on they established a state based on their believe or ideology. There were a Buddha kingdom, Christian kingdom, and Islamic state that established by a religion and for now, most of states are based on nationality or ideology such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, America, Britain, China and else.

If the state is established based on a specific religion, nationality and ideology, it doesn’t mean there are no others religion, nationality or ideology in the state. An Islamic state doesn’t mean all the citizenship are Muslim, in an nation state Indonesia there are also non Indonesians native citizens  and in a communism state China there are also many of capitalist and liberal persons.

Islamic state is a state which the government based on the application of  sharia or the implementation of Islamic Laws are prominent in the daily life and all regulations applied are based on the Islamic principles. Islamic state first model are Madinah state established by Rasulullah where Muslim and non Muslims inside or around Madinah are bond in the so called Constitution of Madinah that promulgated by Rasulullah his self.

Even this constitution was applied in Madinah but as it is Rasulullah PBUH hadith that can be adopted as the source of Islamic Law as it was not amended with the latest hadith. From all the Islamic law and supported with the evidences in previous history, here are some Islamic principles to treat non Muslim in an Islamic state :

First, the freedom to embrace & practicing their religion. Muslim can not force non believers to convert to Islam. Allah also mentioned : “Allah SWT gave freedom to anyone to choose their prefered religion as Allah SWT said :“…There is no compulsion in religion…” (Quran 2:256). Islam also let them to practicing their religion such to worship their idol in their monastery, church, temples and else. Medina constitution also stated : “The Jews of Banu Awf shall be considered a community along with the believers. They shall be guaranteed the right of religious freedom along with the Muslims”. El-Awaisi  mentioned When Umar RA conquering Jerusalem, he refused to pray either in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or its atrium invited by Patriarch Sophronious worrying that the church will be taken by Muslim someday. Islam also forbade Muslim mocking non believer’s idols in order they will nat mocking Allah as well. In ottoman empire, Aksoy (2002) reported that the Ottomans did not spread the Islamic educational system among the non-Muslims to encourage their conversion.

Second, it is permitable for Muslim to do business with non Muslim. Allah said “Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who had neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact Allah loves the equitable.”  (Al-Mumtahana, 8). This ayah clearly permit Muslim to interact with non Muslim who doesn’t hostile or against Muslim. Non Muslim may to sell, to buy or to rent from Muslim vice versa. And it is allowed for non Muslim to hire or to contract a Muslim as their employee vice versa. Those business are allowed as long the goods are halal and the job requested also permitted. Muslim can not buy alcohol beverages and hired to build church for non Muslim. Rasulullah ever bought some foodstuff on credit from a Jew and mortgaged an iron armor to him (Bukhari). And once Madinah state established, the biggest market in Madinah was belong to Jews Bani Qaniuqa and some companions such as Abdurahman ibn Awf trading there. About the business partnership (mudarabah), some scholars such as Sheikh Zakariya al-Ansari dislike having a partnership with non Muslim or anybody who does not avoid dealing in Haram even if he is Muslim  (fatawa no 84460).

Third, every Muslim must respected their parents, gratitude and behave them kindly even they are non believers. Allah said : “But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that if which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to me in repentance and in obedience.” (Surah Luqman : 15). They must feed and visit them as those are every parents right to their children.  But non Muslim even parents can’t get the inheritance from their Muslim children as the Prophet PBUH said: “The believer does not inherit from a kaafir (disbeliever) and the kaafir does not inherit from a believer.” (Bukhaari). Syaikh munanjid advise to behave with parents, they still have opportunity to get such inheritance by giving them a will leaving one-third or less of his wealth.

Forth, a Muslim male can married Jews or Christian woman. Allah said : “marriage with chaste free believing women and also chaste women among the People who were given the Book before you is made lawful for you” (Al-Maidah : 5). But female Muslim can not married to non Muslim male as the law to marry idolaters still applied and not amended by other ayah. It is mentioned in Surah Al-Baqara 221: “and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe

Fifth, every Muslims ordered to treat kindly and help non-Muslims particularly the nearest neighbor. Narrated by Aisha RA I said, “O Allah’s Messenger  ! I have two neighbors! To whom shall I send my gifts?” He said, “To the one whose gate in nearer to you. (Bukhari). This hadith explain that every nearest neighbor have their right even they are non Muslim. Rasulullah also advise : “”The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.” [Daraqutni]. Again, Rasulullah did not limit Muslim to only benefiting Muslim, but they must be kind and benefit to all mankind including non Muslim

Sixth, it is the government obligation to protect the dhimmi, ie non Muslim citizens of Islamic state. Non Muslim must pay jizya so they officially get the protection from the Islamic State governments. The amount of jizya is about 1 – 4 dinars charged only to adult male while woman, children and also elders are not charged. (Zalloom, 1988). Rasulullah said : “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling)” (Bukhari). The protection Muslim ruler and their kindness were known well by people entire the Arabia and middle east. Awaisi mentioned when Muslim conquering Jerusalem –  at the time of Umar RA-,  Nestorian and Monophysite Christians welcomed them and found them preferable to the Byzantines. Islam treat them well Christians and Jews were employed by the Muslim authority in Islamic Jerusalem in all positions.

In conclusion, relationship between and non Muslim is developed based on (1) the understanding among the citizenship that they are different, both Muslim and non Muslim has different religion views that require tolerance “to you be your religion, and to me mine” (Al-Kafirun : 6) (2) both Muslim and non Muslim must obey Islamic rules during their interaction both private or business/public relationship. If there were disputes then Islamic jurist will be the decision makers. This is the same that stated in Constitution of Madinah “Whatever you differ about should be brought before God and Muhammad



  • El-Awaisi, Abd al-Fattah M. “A Muslim Model for Peaceful Co-Existence and Mutual Respect.” Politics and Religion 1.
  • Bekir, Aksoy. “The Status of Dhimmis in the Ottoman Empire.” Fountain Magazine (2002)
  • Ismail, Abdul Ghafar, and Abu Bakar Jaafar. “Government Revenue in the Eyes of Abu Ubaid-An Analysis.” International Journal of Asian Social Science 5.1 (2015): 1-17.
  • al-Munajjid , Muhammad Saalih. “Inheritance from non-Muslims .”
  • Zalloom, Abdul-Qadeem. “Funds in The Khilafah State.” translation of Al-Amwal fi Dowlat Al-Khilafah, Al-Khilafah Publications (1988): 120.
  • -. “Going into business with a non-Muslim”

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