OF KAFIRS AND ZIMMIS
non-Moslems are infidels. However, there are gradations. The people of the Book
(meaning the Bible, both the old and the new testaments) are the Jews, the
Christians and the Moslems. According to Islam, Mohammed was the last prophet
and there would be no other future prophet or prophets.
The Jews and Christians
are considered as people of little faith by the followers of Islam. On the other
hand, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Jains, the Sikhs, the Zoroastrians, the
Taoists, in fact, all other religions are considered as the religions of the
kafirs. They are the worst of all and do not have the right to exist in this
world unless of course they accept Islam unconditionally.
All the infidels living in
an Islamic state are supposed to pay a special tax called the 'jiziya' which
signifies their acceptance of the superiority of Islam. Such people are called 'zimmis'.
At one time the kafirs did
not have the right of a 'zimmi', the second class citizen. He was to be
slaughtered or forcibly converted into Islam. However, the Hanafi school of
thought was in support of giving the rights of 'zimmis' to the Hindus, Buddhists
and Jains as well as the Sikhs and other people who did not belong to the Book.
All other Islamic schools of thought were against giving any right to the kafirs.
Ziyauddin Barani wrote:
"If Mahmud had gone to India once more, he would have brought under his
sword all the Brahmans  of Hind  who, in that vast land, are the cause of
the continuance of the laws of infidelity and of the strength of the idolaters;
he would have cut off the heads of two or three hundred thousand Hindu chiefs.
He would not have returned his Hindu-slaughtering sword to its scabbard until
the whole of Hind had accepted Islam. For Mahmud was a Shafiite, and according
to Imam Shafi the decree for Hindus is Islam or death - that is to say, they
should be either put to death or accept Islam. It is not lawful to accept 'jiziya'
from Hindus who have neither a prophet nor a revealed book."
However, the great number
of Hindus in India made it impossible for the believers to kill them all and
eventually even the Hindus had the 'good fortune' to be accepted as 'zimmis'.
But to a Moslem such people have been and still are kafirs.
A Moslem jurist called
Shaikh-ul-lslam had propound ed the doctrine of 'din-panahi' during the reign of
a Moslem king called lltutmish. On the subject of the kafirs being treated as 'zimmis'
he was of the opinion: "The kings should protect the religion of Islam with
sincere faith... And the kings will not be able to perform the duty of
protecting the faith unless, for the sake of Allah and the prophet's creed, they
overthrow and uproot 'kufr' and 'kafiri' (infidelity), 'shirk' (setting partners
to Allah) and the worship of deities. E5ut if the total uprooting of idolatry is
not possible owing to the firm roots of 'kufr' and the large number of kafirs,
the kings should at least strive to insult, disgrace, dishonor and defame the
Hindus, who are the worst enemies of Allah and the prophet. The symptom of the
kings being the protectors of Islam is this: When they see a Hindu, their eyes
grow red and they wish to bury him alive; they also desire to completely uproot
the Brahmans, who are the leaders of 'kufr' and owing to whom 'koir' is spread
and the commandments of 'kufr' are enforced...Owing to the fear and terror of
the kings of Islam, not a single enemy of Allah and the prophet can drink water
that is sweet or stretch his legs on his bed and go to sleep in peace."
However, the fact is that
the Moslem kings were no fools and knew better. The mullahs lived in a fool's
paradise amidst leasure and luxury in towns protected by Islamic armies. They
could very well issue injunctions from their ivory towers. The Moslem kings, on
the other hand, had to live mostly on battlefields and could feel in their guts
the power equations of a situation in which they had to wage a constant war
against repeated Hindu reassertions of independence. They had discovered very
soon that the Hindus hated
Islam as a system of black barbarity and would fight rather than submit to this
sinister creed. Moreover, they needed the Hindus for doing work which the
mullahs and the swordsmen of Islam were neither equipped nor inclined to do -
agriculture, commerce, industry, scavenging and so on. No wonder the Moslem
kings fell for the Hanafi school of thought as soon as it was expounded to them,
not because they liked this school of thought but simply because they had no
other choice. They imposed 'jiziya' and other disabilities on the Hindus, and
reduced them, wherever they could, to the status of hewers of wood and drawers
The mullahs howled at this
'sacrilege'. They mourn ed: "Should the king consider the payment of a few
coins by way of 'jiziya' as sufficient justification for allowing all possible
freedom to the infidels to observe and demon strate all orders and details of
infidelity, to read the misleading literature of their faith and to propagate
their teachings, how could the true religion get the upper hand over other
regligions and how could the emblems of Islam be held high? How will the true
faith prevail if rulers allow the infidels to keep their temples, adorn their
deities and to make merry during their festivals with beating of drums, singing
Prophet Mohammed permitted
the Jews and the Christians living in Islamic countries in those days, the right
to survive as 'zimmis', if they refused to accept Islam. On that basis, one can
separate the two kinds of infidels as follows:
or Christians (this includes Catholics and Protestants of all de nominations);
Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Shintos, Taoists and Animists.
It is true that the 'Ahmediyyas'
or 'Qadianis' of Pakistan and the 'Shias' of Iran are sometimes called 'non
Moslems' by the 'Sunni' Moslems but that is a subject beyond the purview of this
1. Brahmans: Hindu
priestly class: Brahmins.
2. Hind: India.