Dhimmitude Past and Present: An Invented or Real History? - October 10, 2002 by Bat Ye'or

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The Law says:
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I call dhimmitude the comprehensive legal system established by the Muslim conquerors to rule the native non-Muslim populations subdued by jihad wars. It is my opinion that this system has not been fully investigated. […]

Characteristics of dhimmitude

The basic element of dhimmitude is a land expropriation through a pact: 'land for peace'. The vanquished populations of territories taken during a millennium of jihad were ‘protected’, providing they recognized the Islamic ownership of their lands, which had now become dar al-Islam, and that they submitted to Islamic authority.

The vanquished peoples are granted security for their life and possessions by the Muslim authority, as well as a relative self‑autonomous administration under their religious leaders, and permission to worship according to the modalities of the treaties. This concept of 'toleration' is linked to a number of discriminatory obligations in the economic, religious and social fields. There are different opinions among the jurists concerning which transgres sion of these obligations can be considered as breaking the protection pact (dhimma), and what sanctions should be applied.

The first 'right' is the right to life, which was conceded on payment of the jizya (Koran 9:29), a poll-tax paid with humiliation by the dhimmi.. The refusal to pay the jizya is considered by all jurists as a rupture of the dhimma, which automatically restores to the umma its initial rights of war ‑ to kill and to dispossess the dhimmi, or to expel him, because he has therefore returned to his former status of being an unsubjected infidel.

Hence Abu Yusuf wrote in his book on the kharaj (land tax) that it was not allowed for the governor to exempt any Jew, Christian, or other dhimmis from the jizya: “and no one can obtain a partial reduction. It is illegal for one to be exempted and another not, for their lives and belongings are spared only because of payment of the poll tax." 9

Protection is abolished if the dhimmis rebel against Islamic law, give allegiance to a non‑Muslim power, refuse to pay the jizya, entice a Muslim from his faith, harm a Muslim or his property, or commit blasphemy. The moment the pact of protection is abolished the jihad resumes, which means that the lives of the dhimmis and their property are forfeited. Today, one finds Islamists in Upper Egypt who kill and pillage Copts, because they argue that these dhimmis have forfeited their 'protection' as they no longer pay the jizya.

The Baha'i religion is not protected even today in Iran. In 1994 two Muslims kidnapped and killed a Baha'i. The Islamic court held that as the Baha'is were "unprotected infidels... the issue of retribution is null and void". 10 This means that an infidel has no human rights, unless he is protected by Islamic law.

In the context of its time, the protection system presented both positive and negative aspects. It provided security and a measure of religious autonomy, but in a legal context of discrimination. These rules, mostly established from the eighth to ninth centuries by the founders of the four schools of Islamic law, set the pattern of the Muslim community's social behavior toward dhimmis.