Dhimmah is the money paid by non-believers to the government to benefit from the services and protection offered. Financials should follow Islamic regulations while religious beliefs are theirs to handle.

Dhimmah and jizyah

Linguistically speaking, the Arabic term dhimmah means pledge, security or warranty. The dhimmah pledge means, in Islamic terminology, leaving some unbelievers alone and protecting them in return for their payment of jizyah and abiding by the Islamic rules that apply to them.[1]

In the hadith reported by Buraydah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him:

‘Then call them to believe in Islam: if they give you a favourable response, accept this from them and do not harm them [...] If they refuse, ask them to pay the tribute i.e. jizyah’

Related by Muslim, hadith No. 1,731.

When the dhimmah pledge has been given, it becomes forbidden to fight those unbelievers. The Muslim state is required to protect them and their property, ensuring their freedom and that they come to no harm. 

'Ali is reported to have said: ‘They are paying us the jizyah so that their lives should be like our lives and their property like our property.’ The general rule agreed by scholars says: ‘They have the same rights and duties as we have.’

Islamic rules apply to people that have agreed a dhimmah pledge in two areas: the first is financial transactions. They may not enter into any transaction that is unacceptable under Islamic law, such as a usurious transaction. Secondly, the Islamic penal law applies to them when they commit punishable crimes. Anything that is related to religious beliefs and worship, and to family matters including marriage and divorce, is left to them to conduct as they wish. They have complete freedom in these matters. If they ask us to arbiterate in their disputes, we may agree or refuse to do so.[2]


  1.  Ibid., p. 209.
  2. Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunnah, vol. 2, pp. 662–3.