Is raising taxes by the leaders of an Islamic state allowed? If a person will not voluntarily pay these taxes: may force be used to collect them (like in almost any state today)?

In my opinion "taxes" is just a nicer word for "theft" by the leaders and we all know that theft is considered a very bad thing in Islam, while, as far as I know, personal property and the possibility to have the fruits of one's labor are held high.

I know that there is at least one type of tax which is allowed: the Jizyah non-Muslims have to pay.

What about the Zakat? Is it collected by the state (possibly using force), or is it the Muslims own responsibility to pay it?

Edit: Maybe I should try to clarify my question a little bit: In my opinion taxation is an infringement of personal property, which is protected by Islam. Is their any Islamic evidence, that taxation, as it is common in almost all modern countries, is nonetheless allowed?

  • 1
    Taxes allow us to have nice things like paved roads, free schools, free healthcare, police, fire department, etc. :)
    – user83
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:37
  • @Swati some may argue that tax is unjust. Consider how many people loaf on free unemployment insurance forever. It happens a lot where I live.
    – ashes999
    Jun 28, 2012 at 16:54
  • If you want to see a debate on the legality (or not) of taxes you should visit a Libertarian forum :) Jun 28, 2012 at 18:13

6 Answers 6


In islam we are advised to listen to the rule of the land unless we are told to carry out a sin. Taxes would count as laws or rules that the government has placed on us. The reason for this is because the people of the country and and the ruler have an agreement with eachother and by disobeying these laws you will be breaking this agreement, which muslims are not allowed to do.

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no adherence and obedience.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2796 & Sunan Tirmidhi)

And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have taken it, [O believers], and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allah , over you, a witness. Indeed, Allah knows what you do.16:91

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Amr (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Four traits, if found in an individual, then he will be a complete hypocrite (munafiq), and if an individual possesses one of these four, he will have one portion of nifaq: When he is given a trust he breaches it, when he speaks he leis, when he makes an agreement (ahd) he is guilty of treachery and disloyalty (gadar), and when he disputes he is fouled mouth.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 34)

both quran and hadith warn us to keep true to our promises. The hadith above states that by breaking an agreement and becoming disloyal to somone your are a hypocrite or munafiq

Although we must pay taxes, and it isnt haram for us to pay them, it would be haram of the government to forcibly take the money from us.

Safwan ibn Sulaym narrates from a number of Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah be pleased with them all) on the authority of their fathers who were relatives of each other, that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Beware, if anyone oppresses (or wrongs) the one with whom one has a agreement (mu’ahid), or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 3047

the above hadith applies to both sides, the ruler and the resident.So in conclusion, we must pay taxes if they are the rule of the land we reside in, but it is haram for them to forcibly take the money from us.

  • +1 for proofs about obeying the law. You may also wish to quote surah Maida, verse 1: "Fulfill your obligations." This answer may also apply to my question: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/916/…
    – ashes999
    Jun 28, 2012 at 19:13
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    the full ayah talks about fullfiling obligations of hajj it wouldnt be refering to this type of contract more of a religious one
    – NesreenA
    Jun 28, 2012 at 19:17
  • it's also a general ayah that talks about contracts and promises/obligations.
    – ashes999
    Jun 28, 2012 at 19:18
  • 3
    A new born child also pays some kind of tax like sale tax of his material. When did he make promise to the government for paying tax? I'm 30 years old but I don't know when I made any agreement with the government for tax paying.
    – user810
    Nov 19, 2012 at 14:56
  • 2
    Truly, a politically-correct answer; however I still find myself agreeing with user810 above. I live in a non-Muslim country and the government here extracts taxes and keeps increasing them at the drop of a hat. I myself do not recall any time I made any such covenant or even a "pledge of allegiance" (as @NesreenA calls it) with them. Just living there is enough for them to arm-twist you into coughing up your hard-earned money.
    – Najeeb
    Jul 10, 2013 at 14:46

A few points so that things are not mixed up:

Taxes are NOT the same as zakat. Taxes go to the ruler, zakat goes to the needy. Zakat is an individual responsibility and voluntary in the sense that no one can force u to pay it but not paying it is a big sin and you will be held accountable for it on the day of judgement. Taxes however are NOT voluntary, they are the result of a man made law (nothing to do with islam) and enforced by the state, you have go to jail if u dont obey the ruler.

Secondly in my opinion, if you live in an 'islamic' state, then you are NOT required to (and must not, to whatever extent possible) obey anti-islamic laws or laws that promote corruption, and tyranny. Taxes are the source of corruption and the bread and butter of the system of tyranny and as such it is the duty of a good muslim to avoid paying taxes as much as possible.

Please read this excellent article as well: http://economicsexposed.com/makas-al-makas-al-makaas/

  • 1
    How can you say that zakat is voluntary when, after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the first caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) vowed to wage war against the people who refused to pay zakat?
    – goto
    Oct 21, 2013 at 11:44
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    Yes I have been quoted about this by many people in past as well so I did my research. The vow Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) made was NOT against people who refused to pay it to the state, it was against people who refused the principle of zakat as something that is mandatory (farz). So it was a principle stand rather than a matter of how it is to be implemented.
    – Jawad
    Nov 18, 2013 at 8:38
  • There are few very solid obligations on an Islamic state, and they definitely include handling of baitul-maal and making sure to take zakat from the rich, and if they refuse then take from them by force.
    – Usman.3D
    May 10, 2017 at 16:11

Sunni point of view:

Zakat is the third pillar in Islam, it is obligatory for each Muslim to calculate his zakat and pay it in the correct timing. Skipping the paying of Zakat money is like skipping praying, you will receive punishment in judgment day.

There are eight categories of people (asnaf) who qualify to receive zakat funds, according to the Quran:

1- Those living in absolute poverty (Al-Fuqarā')
2- Those who were restrained because they cannot meet their basic needs (Al-Masākīn)
3- The zakat collectors themselves (Al-Āmilīna 'Alaihā)
4- Non-Muslims who are sympathetic to Islam or wish to convert to Islam.(Al-Mu'allafatu Qulūbuhum)
5- People whom one is attempting to free from slavery or bondage. Also includes paying ransom or blood money (Diyya). (Fir-Riqāb)
6- Those who have incurred overwhelming debts while attempting to satisfy their basic needs (Al-Ghārimīn)
7- Those working in God's way (Fī Sabīlillāh)
8- Children of the street / Travellers (Ibnus-Sabīl)

As you can notice, it is totally different from ways to spend taxes money (public service salaries, roads, public hospitals/schools, ...) .

Since taxes are mandatory by law. Note that law (and constitution) is the contract between citizens. Fulfilling all your contracts are obligatory in Islam.


  • please mention it is pillar of sunni Islam. because pillars of shia Islam are different. Jun 28, 2012 at 14:43
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    This doesn't have anything to do with tax and doesn't answer the question.
    – ashes999
    Jun 28, 2012 at 16:54

The tax governments collect is different of Zakat (religious tax). Tax is for costs of government but Zakat is for poor Muslims and other usages.

In Islam no Muslim should be forces for paying Zakat. But governments may use force for collecting tax.

  • 3
    Not a bad start to an answer. But, needs proofs.
    – ashes999
    Jun 28, 2012 at 18:08
  • please answer the things you have knowledge in
    – user7322
    Jan 22, 2013 at 9:52

You are in their country, u use their water, their food and their electricity which u pay but you pay a little and that is because of tax, by making everyone pay taxes the government is able to put a limit to how high the price for something can go to, not only that the medicine u buy is also supported by the government. The school your kids go to also gets funding from the government so do you see that the tax that is obtained from you is used for good. It matters not if you agreed to it or not because you are in their country you must follow their rule, there is no sin if they take tax from you by force or with your permission, that is common knowledge. It is like going to someone's house and when they ask you to take off your shoes before you enter , you say "no" .You do not need to quote The holy Quran or a hadith, just use your brain.


The Rulers need money to, 1.Protect country from external invaders (Military Expenses) 2.To maintain internal law and order and peace (Police expenses) 3.To Maintain Law and justice system (judiciary system) 4.To manage natural disasters 5.To have common facilities like roads, water,electricity,public transport,dams,bridges.etc 6.To have educational and accreditation system.. 7.To hire and pay people's to carry out all above functions.. The government needs money, In early islamic ages "BAITUL MAAL" was meant for this, Now if everyone consumes from BAITUL maal but didn't replenish it, how will it work... I think the distribution of zakat in the Era of hedret umar was through BAITUL maal..In that sense wealth tax (only on wealthy person)of 2.5 % per annum is what prescribed by Allah.. Now in almost countries even you go to toilet and return,it is very likely that U may have paid some taxex..they have levied taxes on each activity,every buying, selling,using service etc..and it is the bread and butter of the politicians and bureaucrats.. Every tax must be analysed in the light of basic islamic principles to see if it involves oppression or gasab.. Allah knows the best

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