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Emet m'Tsiyon

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Muslim Jurist on the Rights/Privileges of Dhimmis

Ibn Taymiyya is one of the most famous Muslim jurists; to be sure, he is considered stricter than others. Here is what he had to say about an order issued in Egypt to shut down the synagogues and churches in Cairo. Ibn Taymiyya lived under the Mamluks in the years1263-1328. He was born and educated in Syria, spending part of his life in Cairo, the Mamluk capital. He insisted on the duty of jihad, even against fellow Muslims perceived as not being sufficiently strict, such as against regimes governed by converts perceived as having converted hypocritically and opportunistically [i.e., the Mongols]. His writings have had had a major influence on the fanatic movements operating today, such as the Wahhabites, the Islamic sect from which Bin Laden sprang forth.

The Mamluk regime [rising to power in 1250] worsened the dhimmi condition, reaffirming the clauses of the Pact of `Umar, particularly prohibitions and humiliations. Attacks by Muslim mobs and other persecutions took place repeatedly between 1293 and 1354. Synagogues and churches were destroyed. An order to close dhimmi places of worship was issued which Ibn Taymiyya justified, as follows:

As for their assertion [of Jews and Christians] that the Muslims have committed an injustice by closing the kanay [places of worship], it is a lie which is in fact in contradiction to the universal consensus of Muslims. In fact, all Muslims of the four schools of [Muslim] law. . . as well as of the Companions of the Prophet and of their successors --may God have them in His beatitude-- are unanimous in proclaiming that, if Islam had wanted to destroy all the synagogues and churches in the land of the believers, for example in Egypt, in the Sudan, in the provinces of the Euphrates, in Syria and in similar countries, it would not be an injustice on its part, and it even must be obeyed. Whoever might oppose its efforts [Islam's efforts] would violate the covenant with God and commit the gravest sin. [quoted in Yahudiya Masriya, Les Juifs en Egypte (Geneva: Editions de l'Avenir, 1971), p 25]

Ibn Taymiyya goes on to assert that the sovereigns have the duty of demanding the head tax from the dhimmis,
of humiliating them and of oppressing them, forcing them to perform the stipulations of the Pact of `Umar; they [Muslim rulers] have the duty of removing them [dhimmis] from the fine positions [offices, functions] that they [dhimmis] occupy and of forbidding them, in a general manner, from having access to Muslim affairs. [Yahudiya Masriya, p 26]

The countries that Ibn Taymiyya lists above were part of the Mamluk empire [for the Sudan, this meant only part of northern Sudan].
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Coming: Poems of Zion, the condition of the Jews in Jerusalem, etc.


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