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«ESSAYS ON FAITH: MANY MISUNDERSTAND VERSES FROM HOLY QURAN Publication: SUNDAY GAZETTE-MAIL Published: 07/17/2005 Byline: IMAM MOHAMMAD JAMAL DAOUDI ...»

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Returning to the verse, I want to say the context, again, was that of a fight against those who initiated and were engaged in military warfare against the Muslim community. This meaning is confirmed by verse 90 in Chapter 4 when it reads: "...Therefore, if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and instead send you (guarantees of) peace, then Allah has opened no way for you to war against them."

Let us, once again, reflect upon the commentary by the late Muhammad Asad on verse 29:

"...Thus, jizya is no more and no less than an exemption tax in lieu of military service and in compensation for the 'covenant of protection' (dhimmah) accorded to such citizens by the Islamic state. (The term itself is derived from the verb jaza, 'he rendered [something] as a satisfaction,' or 'as a compensation [in lieu of something else]' - cf. Lane II, 422.) No fixed rate has been set either by the Quran or by the Prophet for this tax, but from all available traditions it is evident that it is to be considerably lower than the tax called zakah ("the purifying dues") to which Muslims are liable and which - because it is a specifically Islamic religious duty - is naturally not to be levied on non-Muslims. Only such of the non-Muslim citizens who, if they were Muslims, would be expected to serve in the armed forces of the state are liable to the payment of jizya, provided that they can easily afford it. Accordingly, all non-Muslim citizens whose personal status or condition would automatically free them from the obligation to render military service are statutorily - that is, on the basis of clear-cut ordinances promulgated by the Prophet exempted from the payment of jizya: (a) all women, (b) males who have not yet reached full maturity, (c) old men, (d) all sick or crippled men, (e) priests and monks. All non-Muslim citizens who volunteer for military service are obviously exempted from the payment of jizya."

I hope I have cleared up some of the misunderstanding about two of the often misquoted and misinterpreted verses of the Quran. And only God knows best.

Daoudi is the imam of the Islamic Association of West Virginia.

Copyright © 1985-2005 Charleston Newspapers Interactive

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