So I asked this question along with other questions in the thread “Why does Islam treat non Muslims as second class citizens”. The thread was closed due to me asking too many questions and that’s understandable. So I will ask each question one by one. Why are non Muslims killed for not paying jizya (Muslims pay Zakat too but aren’t killed for not paying it)? This part of the fatwa says

So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah.

Fighting them basically means that you are going to fight them until they are killed. Plus the polytheists don’t even get the choice of paying the jizya. They are either fought or forced to convert to Islam.

Source: https://islamqa.info/en/answers/34770/there-is-no-compulsion-to-accept-islam

  • 3
    The linked fatwa doesn't say that they are killed for not paying jizyah
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 18:54
  • 2
    Please quote the relevant parts of the fatwa and explain exactly what you're having trouble understanding. The explanations given in the link all seem fairly straightforward to me.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


Your question has several false assumptions:

  • A Muslim can be killed for not paying Zakat. One who refuses the obligation of Zakat is executed, being an apostate. And one who refuses payment of Zakat while admiting its obligation is to be forced to pay it and is to be fought if necessary. It is well known that Abu Bakr fought against those who refused to pay Zakat (Bukhari 6924)

  • A non-muslim can not be killed for just not paying jizya without considering the cause behind it. For example he can not be killed if he is unable to pay due to poverty or when he gives some excuse or needs to delay payment. Only one who refuses to accept the imposition of Jizya can be killed.

  • A non-muslim who refuses Jizya can be killed, but it is not required to do so. Rather he is one whose life and property has lost protection and so he can be killed, enslaved, ransomed or freed (i.e. sent outside the Islamic state).

  • You seem to be under the delusion that Islamic law aims to treat Muslims and non-muslims equally. This is simply not true.

Why can non-muslims be killed for refusing to pay Jizya?

The answer is because the only reason war ceased with them was their treaty of Dhimmah. When they break this agreement they fall back to the state of war and hence their life is no longer sacred in Islamic laws.

  • "A non-muslim who refuses Jizya can be killed, but it is not required to do so." I am not sure if "fight those who refuse to pay Jizya" necessarily means to kill them until or unless it is proven from authentic Islamic sources. Can you please cite an example where a Non-Muslim was killed for refusing to pay Jizya? Thanks.
    – Ren
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 19:47
  • It is common sense that when fighting is allowed then killing is allowed. The Islamic custom is to give dawah before war and the opponents are given the choice between accepting Islam, Jizya and War. Hence any non-muslim would have been killed in any of these wars would have been killed because of refusing Jizya.
    – UmH
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 4:19
  • Brother, I do not think that the word "fight" denotes killing in an absolute or literal sense. In a Hadith Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihiwassalam) has been reported to have said, ""Fight the polytheists with your wealth, lives and tongues." Riyad as-Salihin 1349 Please do correct me if I am wrong. Thanks and Jazakallah.
    – Ren
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 9:44
  • @Ren There is a difference between جاهدوا and قاتلوا . The verse about Jizya is about Qital which is reserved for fighting. Whereas the hadith you have mentioned talks about Jihad which can be inclusive of other forms.
    – UmH
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 9:46
  • I do not think that the definition of the word "Qital" precisely means to kill someone. According to Hans Wehr Arabic to English Dictionary, the Word "Qatal" could also refer to "Struggle against someone", "fight" or "to fight with one another". (See Hans Wehr Dictionary, page no. 742-743). Moreover, I am not aware of any incident where the four rightly guided Caliphs (Radhi'allahu'anhu) killed anyone for not paying Jizya. If you do know about any such incident where any Dhimmi was killed for that, then please do enlighten me about it. Thanks and Jazakallah.
    – Ren
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 19:15

First of all to pay jizyah you must be a non-Muslim who lives under Muslim leadership. And even then: Jizyah is only paid by male non-Muslims (not by female or children) to simply name one of the conditions for this payment and there are many more.

So in order to have the option paying jizyah or being killed you must be fighting Muslims and the commander of Muslims gave you one of three options:

  1. fight or
  2. accept Islam and revert/convert or
  3. capitulate and accept the Muslim leader ship and pay the jizyah.

Note that the commander of a winning Muslim army has also choices among which is to release the captured or defeated non-Muslims...

As Allah the Almighty ordered:

Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled. (9:29)

In fact jizyah is not only a tax it is a privilege as non-Muslims who pay jizyah must be protected in case of a war by the Muslim army and they don't need to send out (young) men to support this army. While jihad on Muslims is fard and the support financial and personal is a due on them.

However jizyah only applies for specific kinds of non-Muslims one could generally speak about ahl-al-Kitaab any other kinds of non-Muslims have only two options:

  1. fight or
  2. accept Islam

Finally this concept also exists in the Bible:
Here some examples

10 And they drove not out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day and serve under tribute.

3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and rendered him tribute.

25 He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus preceded him, saying, “What thinkest thou, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? From their own children, or from strangers?”

strangers: refers to non-Christians or disbelievers

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