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In the Name of God بسم الله

What is a dhimmi or dhimmitude?

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Greetings,

Dhimmi or Dhimmitude is a non-Muslim living in an Islamic country. If you lived in a country where it was ruled by Muslims, you shouldn't be disrespected and you should be treated equally. We are taught to treat everyone equally, because if they are not our brethren in faith, then they are our brethren in creation - Imam Ali (successor of the Prophet). There is no justified reason for discrimination, anywhere and within the fold of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuhim): Whoever annoys a Dhimmi (a Jew or Christian living in an Islamic state) then i am his enemy and whoever I am his enemy I will be his enemy in the hereafter.

Edit: The Arabic word "dhimmi" is an adjective derived from the noun "dhimma", which means "being in the care of". The term initially applied to "People of the Book" living in lands under Muslim rule, namely Jews and Christians. Over time Muslims extended this category to Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and Sikhs. Many, but not all, extend this to Hindus.

Hope that clarifies,

Take Care :)

Edited by -ZeinaB-
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A dhimmi literally means one who is protected. Under the "oppressive yoke of shariah law" according to the letter of the law, a dhimmi pays the same taxes as Muslims and receives the same benefits to the state as Muslims, has his religious sites and his property and safety protected. At the same time, the dhimmi is under less obligations than the Muslim, not being required to serve in the military to defend the country.

"Dhimmitude" is a made up term used by Orientalists and those with an irrational axe to grind against Islam.

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Thank you for the quick replies. I don't know if I would be consider a dhimmi as I am Christian by tradition but not by belief.

Thanks again for the response

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Before the Salespeople of hate try to suggest that Dhimmitude means "protected", it would be wise to seek guidance from a source other than a Muslim apologist.

The Dhimmi: An Overview

DEFINITION: The status of People of the Book (Jews and Christians) unders Islamic rule.

DHIMMI HOTSPOTS:

Pakistan: anti-Christian legislation

Iran: Systematic oppression of the Bahai community

Sudan: Murder and enslavement of Black Africans

Saudi Arabia: Apartheid for all non-Muslims

Indonesia: Terrorizing of Christian minorities

Egypt: Oppression of Coptic Christians

Bangladesh: Terrorizing of Hindu and Christian minorities by Islamic radicals

DHIMMI: A BRIEF OVERVIEW

7th-21st century. The notion of Dhimmitude, originating in the 7th century, still applies today to non-Muslims under Islamic rule—whether Jews or Christians, whether in Saudi Arabia or in Sudan. Dhimmitude began in 628 CE when Mohammed and his forces conquered the Jewish oasis at Khaybar. They massacred many of the Jews and forced the rest to accept a pact ("Dhimma") which rendered them inferiror to their Muslim conquerors. Over the centuries, the ideology of Dhimmitude expanded into a formal system of religious apartheid.

Institutionalized apartheid. In Shari’a law, there are official discriminations against the Dhimmi, such as the poll-tax or jizya.

No legal rights. Jews may not testify in court against a Muslim and have no legal right to dispute or challenge anything done to them by Muslims. There is no such thing as a Muslim raping a Jewish woman; there is no such thing as a Muslim murdering a Jew (at most, it can be manslaughter). In contrast, a Jew who strikes a Muslim is killed.

Humiliation and vulnerability. Jews and Christians had to walk around with badges or veils identifying them as Jews or Christians. The yellow star that Jews had wear in Nazi Germany did not originate in Europe. It was borrowed from the Muslim world where it was part of the apartheid system of Dhimmitude.

Conditional protection. The protection of the Dhimmi is withdrawn if the Dhimmi rebels against Islamic law, gives allegiance to non-Muslim power (such as Israel), refuses to pay the poll-tax, entices a Muslim from his faith, or harms a Muslim or his property. If the protection is lifted, jihad resumes. For example, Islamists in Egypt who pillage and kill the Copts do so because they no longer pay their poll-tax and therefore are no longer protected.

http://www.dhimmi.com/dhimmi_overview.htm

Make no mistake about it, dhimmitude is equal to discrimination against the kafir. It allows the institutionalization of apartheid whereby Muslims feel superior over Kuffar purely for the fact that they are Muslims? There is a word for that, its called fascism.

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Most of what Veritas has cut and posted is fabricated nonsense. If the original poster wants to know the letter of the law on what the protection of religious minorities entails, this has been covered above.

If one wants to criticize lack of application of the correct principles of this in particular governments in history, that is an issue that is different from the one at hand, which is what the religion teaches regarding those of minority religious status.

No legal rights. Jews may not testify in court against a Muslim and have no legal right to dispute or challenge anything done to them by Muslims.

Fiction. Nonsense. There is a famous incident, well-recorded in the historical record, of a Jew bringing a case against Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) while he was khalif. The imam insisted that he be treated as any other defendant, and that the Jew be respected as any other plaintant. When the judge decided in favor of the plaintiff, the imam accepted the decision.

Humiliation and vulnerability. Jews and Christians had to walk around with badges or veils identifying them as Jews or Christians. The yellow star that Jews had wear in Nazi Germany did not originate in Europe. It was borrowed from the Muslim world where it was part of the apartheid system of Dhimmitude.

Nonsense. There is no such statute in Islamic law. Imam Ali's (as) letters to his governors regarding the respect he demanded in treatment of non-Muslims under their rule are well-recorded.

Conditional protection. The protection of the Dhimmi is withdrawn if the Dhimmi rebels against Islamic law, gives allegiance to non-Muslim power (such as Israel), refuses to pay the poll-tax, entices a Muslim from his faith, or harms a Muslim or his property. If the protection is lifted, jihad resumes. For example, Islamists in Egypt who pillage and kill the Copts do so because they no longer pay their poll-tax and therefore are no longer protected.

I cannot speak for the application of Islamic legal codes regarding treatments of minorities in particular cases in history or at the present time, but I will note that the law is a contract between two parties. When you break the law, you break the contract, and there are consequences. When you break a serious law in America, the government, through its judiciary, has the right to revoke your freedom and put you in jail.

It should be noted that the jizya tax is to pay for state services for which non-Muslims are also entitled, and is in replacement for the Muslim religious tax, the zakat, which non-Muslims are not required to pay. Non-Muslims are also excused from the obligation to defend their country in a time of war.

So to sum it up, non-Muslims pay the same taxes for the same rights with less obligations under the letter of Islamic law. What injustice!

:rolleyes:

Edited by kadhim
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So in summation, I shouldn't see my lifestyle change so much? Would I be required to wear a hijab. Would I be bothered for going out without a male escort? Would I make an easy target if I lived my life according to my beliefs and not Islam?

Your statement, kadhim, does not make sense to me.

Why would you treat someone that is inferior in a superior manner? By all accounts a Christian or a Jew cannot be superior to a Muslim.

From viewing the comments on threads such as "Why do you hate Israel so much?" I cannot honestly believe that you would treat a Jew with any amount of respect. Christians...the jury is still out. Muslims may not inflict damage, but they're still seen as infidels, right?

Please explain to me if my country came under Islamic rule during my lifetime how that would be a good thing for me if I did not "choose" to revert (convert)?

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So in summation, I shouldn't see my lifestyle change so much? Would I be required to wear a hijab. Would I be bothered for going out without a male escort? Would I make an easy target if I lived my life according to my beliefs and not Islam?

It really depends on which Muslim country you are in. :) :)

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So in summation, I shouldn't see my lifestyle change so much?

I cannot predict the future in terms of how well the law would be implemented. I can only answer your question by telling you how the letter of the law teaches that religious minorities must be treated. Just as the US Constitution is a great document that is often not properly implemented in practice, so is the shariah. It all depends on how faithfully the system is implemented, as with any legal system.

Would I be required to wear a hijab.

Possibly. Most likely, if the leaders were smart, in a nation that was newly coming under Muslim guardianship, there would be an effort to be understanding in this regard, and a philosophy of gradul social change would be implemented for non-Muslims, and perhaps Muslims as well. Unrest occurs when change is too drastic.

Probably, the first step, particularly in a Western country where the disparity between actual standards of dress and Islamic standards is so vast, things would start with a more modest standard, bringing things more toward Islamic standards as time goes by. Nations can set minimum standards for dress because it's something public. A government can't force you to believe, but it can regulate what people do in public for the public good.

Would I be bothered for going out without a male escort?

Again, depends on who is implementing, but there is no authentic Islamic law teaching such a thing.

Would I make an easy target if I lived my life according to my beliefs and not Islam?

Target for what?

Your statement, kadhim, does not make sense to me.

Why would you treat someone that is inferior in a superior manner? By all accounts a Christian or a Jew cannot be superior to a Muslim.

Because all are equal in their humanity. As Imam Ali (as) wrote 14 centuries ago to his new governor of Egypt, Malik al-Ashtar: (paraphrase from memory) "Treat the people kindly and fairly, for they are either your brothers in faith or your brothers in humanity."

The point is also to show the strength and gentleness that Islam is actually supposed to teach. When you treat those under your guardianship with respect and fairness, they respect you, and the system and ideology you follow, more. It is an excellent advertisement for Islam.

I am a Shia Muslim, so I am not going to speak for all the early khalifs in Islam, though the early ones before Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) were pretty good in their treatment of religious minorities, even by todays standards. But if you refer to the official documents preserved from Imam Ali's (as) caliphate, you will see that he taught much as I have explained, and worked as best he could within a hostile political aparatus to put this ideal into effect.

"Why do you hate Israel so much?" I cannot honestly believe that you would treat a Jew with any amount of respect.

First of all, despite what B'nai B'rith would like to claim, Israel is not equivalent to Judaism. Judaism is an ancient religion that holds a special status in Islam as a "religion of the book." Zionism is a political system invented in the 19th century in Europe from secular roots. A Muslim is commanded by his religion to NOT have a problem with JEWS. If someone chooses to disregard this commandment, that is his fault, not Islam's. Many Muslims, however, do have very big problems with the 50 year old political entity known as Israel, particularly their mistreatment of Palestinians and their efforts to destabilize their neighbors through military threats and covert actions, including assassinations on their neighbors soil.

Christians...the jury is still out. Muslims may not inflict damage, but they're still seen as infidels, right?

The jury returned a verdict 14 centuries ago. Christians hold protected status. They are "people of the Book."

Please explain to me if my country came under Islamic rule during my lifetime how that would be a good thing for me if I did not "choose" to revert (convert)?

There are too many variables and you're talking completely hypothetically. If you're talking hypothetically of a nation fully implementing Islamic guardianship over the society, with 100% sticking to authentic Islamic laws, without other countries imposing economic sanctions or funding terrorists to make trouble in your country, or paying your neighbors to attack you, then you should see some significant benefits over the first few years. Crime and poverty should drop. The social safety net should be repaired and well-tended to protect the weak of society. Free health care and education for all should become an essential priority. Overall, government should work to promote the general welfare, ensure domestic tranquility, and encourage the development of the resources of the nation, both natural material resources and human resources.. In such conditions, economic growth and prosperity tends to follow. Life should start to feel worth living again as the society is structured around the nurturing of the human potential of the people as a whole, and not just an elite that controls the power at the expense of everyone else. People should begin to feel that they are living under justice and peace again. Their spirits should feel lighter and more joyful.

This is what the Islamic law is designed to bring about if practiced according to the letter of the law. This all depends of course on a lot of variables -- reality is messy, and implementing the system requires people to willingly go along with it within the society, as well as a global system that has been reformed to be harmonious with the same universal human principles of justice, peace, and liberty. So it's hard for me to be definitive in this regard. For example, the question, "how would demoncracy affect the lives of Iraqis" depends for its answer on a lot of factors aside from the strength of democracy as a system of government. So it's all very hypothetical.

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MashAllah Kadhim, great explainations.

Make no mistake about it, dhimmitude is equal to discrimination against the kafir. It allows the institutionalization of apartheid whereby Muslims feel superior over Kuffar purely for the fact that they are Muslims? There is a word for that, its called fascism.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Really Veritas, haven't you spread enough lies already? We Muslims, have told this member and anyone else who is interested what it means and what kind of treatment they will get. Why do you insist otherwise? Don't you think we will have a better understanding about Islamic law than you and your anti-Islam hate spreading supporters?

Oh i forgot, you've studied the Qur'an and understand Islam better than every Muslim on the face of this earth. What a joke :!!!:

It really depends on which Muslim country you are in.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I know what you mean by this, but really, how non-Muslims are meant to be treated, is different to how they actually are treated, in some Islamic countries. Unfortunately.

Anyway, we shouldn't let that get in the way, of our judgement. Islamic law may be implemented differently, to what the actual law prescribes. But, the blame is on those who don't ensure the actual fulfillment of the prescribed law, and not Islam.

Take Care :)

Edited by -ZeinaB-
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Because all are equal in their humanity.  As Imam Ali (as) wrote 14 centuries ago to his new governor of Egypt, Malik al-Ashtar: (paraphrase from memory)  "Treat the people kindly and fairly, for they are either your brothers in faith or your brothers in humanity."

The letter bro Kadhim was talking about, in his above post, is this:

Malik! You must create in your mind kindness, compassion and love for your subjects. Do not behave towards them as if you are a voracious and ravenous beast and as if your success lies in devouring them.

Remember, Malik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you.

This shows that a ruler has to make sure the prescribed law is implemented and that everyone should be treated equally and justly.

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It all depends on how faithfully the system is implemented, as with any legal system.

Has it been faithfully implemented anywhere?

2. The jury returned a verdict 14 centuries ago.  Christians hold protected status.  They are "people of the Book." 

Best to ask actual dhimmis such as the Christians in Indonesia, or Hindus in Bangladesh, to find out just what that protected status actually means.

This is what the Islamic law is designed to bring about if practiced according to the letter of the law.

In principle. However, as you state below, the reality is messy, to say the least. So the question to ask is, after 1400 years of trying, if this system of law does not produce the desired result, it would seem to me that something is not working and its time to examine and change that which is not.

This all depends of course on a lot of variables -- reality is messy, and implementing the system requires people to willingly go along with it within the society

Why do Muslims have such a problem in "willingly going along with it" in much, if not all, of their world. A messy reality is the result of their reluctance.

...as well as a global system that has been reformed to be harmonious with the same universal human principles of justice, peace, and liberty. 

Been done already in many countries. Separation of religion and government.

So it's hard for me to be definitive in this regard.

So it's all very hypothetical.

Quite telling, this bit was..

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It all seems quite odd that Muslims would be promoters of a system that by definition, establishes an apartheid system whereby Muslims are granted greater authority than Dhimmis. As noted before, this is fascism, pure and simple and none of the utterly silly excuses and dodges offered by a Muslim to excuse this wretched system of institutionalized discrimination, (dhimmitude), can be used as an excuse for a fascist system.

While I admire good hyperbole, It’s pretty clear that there are few misconceptions people can have, more twisted and distorted, than mistaking Muslim enforced Dhimmitude as being anything more than a relic of slavery and servitude which we still see Muslims practicing, by the way.

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It all seems quite odd that Muslims would be promoters of a system that by definition, establishes an apartheid system whereby Muslims are granted greater authority than Dhimmis.

Do you even read what is said?

As noted before, this is fascism, pure and simple and none of the utterly silly excuses and dodges offered by a Muslim to excuse this wretched system of institutionalized discrimination, (dhimmitude), can be used as an excuse for a fascist system.

Why is it silly and why are they excuses? Could it be because we don't promote the same hatred you do? What we've said is from authentic Islamic sources, it's the truth. It's how Muslims should treat non-Muslims.

You seem to have a problem with the truth. Could it be because it doesn't provide fuel for your anti-Islam campaign?

While I admire good hyperbole, It’s pretty clear that there are few misconceptions people can have, more twisted and distorted, than mistaking Muslim enforced Dhimmitude as being anything more than a relic of slavery and servitude which we still see Muslims practicing, by the way.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You know what amazes me, the same hatred you speak up against, is the same hatred you so proudly spread.

While i admire your effort to put out the light of Islam and Muslims, it's pretty clear that everything you say is based on lies and the misconceptions surrounding Islam. The truth is infront of you and you have so proudly rejected it, well, that's your loss.

I'm sure the other non-Muslim members will see the truth and understand that in some Islamic countries, people don't treat non-Muslims the way they should. I'm also sure, that they are against your child like behaviour and your anti-Islam attitude.

May God open your eyes and heart - i sincerely mean this.

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Dhimmi is from dhimma, which means responsibility. In a truly Islamic governance, the welfare and security of the non muslims are the responsibility of the government, and they are answerable to Allah for it.

Non muslims are called dhimmis in Islamic constitutional parlance. They are required to pay a certain tax, inlieu of zakat and khums. This tax is called jiziah.

This is the crux of the matter, without any fancy footwork and or frills and embroidery.

Wassalaam

HaazirMoula

Edited by haazirmoula
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Has it been faithfully implemented anywhere?

To differing degrees. Once again, this is another question entirely from the one originally asked, which is what Islam teaches about the treatment of religious minorities under guardianship. The ideas are to be evaluated under their own merit, not on whether humans have chosen to put them into effect.

Best to ask actual dhimmis such as the Christians in Indonesia, or Hindus in Bangladesh, to find out just what that protected status actually means.

In principle.

You seem a bit confused in this matter. In principle means "de jure," by the letter of the law. The principles are the ideas on which the Islamic law is based. These principles have already been explained. The other question of how much of this has been put into place is a different issue altogether.

However, as you state below, the reality is messy, to say the least. So the question to ask is, after 1400 years of trying, if this system of law does not produce the desired result, it would seem to me that something is not working and its time to examine and change that which is not.

I'm sorry, I'm failing to see your line of thought. You can't blame an ideological system for people doing things contradictory to it. Islam tells people to treat non-Muslims with respect and dignity because we must be merciful and kind to expect mercy and kindness for ourselves in our final judgement. It is not Islams fault if someone wants to break its teachings. Such is the way of free will.

You know, I could just as well turn the problem around and ask why, in 2500 years of trying, the promise oif representative democracy has only been achieved in reality in little bursts here and there separated by a lot of corruption and far from perfect implementation. Do I hold democracy as an idea resposible? No. Do I hold the US Constitution responsible for great shortcomings in its implementation? No. I evaluate the document on its own terms. Do I blame the document for Americans taking another 80 years to ban slavery, even oin paper? Or to take 150 years to let women vote? Yes, these things were ammended to the consititution, but they were in effect there from the start under the preamble from which they are derived. Do I blame the founding fathers for this? No. I blame those who could not rise to their vision, and the vision of the intellectuals from whose ideas their vision was built.

Why do Muslims have such a problem in "willingly going along with it" in much, if not all, of their world. A messy reality is the result of their reluctance.

Humans are imperfect. Imperfect in will, imperfect in knowledge, imperfect in the goodness of their hearts. Everyone is not at the same level. If every Muslim had even my limited knowledge, you would not have so much of a problem.

Been done already in many countries. Separation of religion and government.

That has not been without its problems in implementation as well. Do you conclude that the separation of church and state is an unworthy idea because France is burning?

Edited by kadhim
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MindOverMatter, it really comes down to who is implementing the system. Hypothetically speaking, non-Muslims are not to be held to Muslim religious laws, discriminated against, etc. But then, unfortunately, there are plenty of bigoted Muslims out there. For a non-Muslim the Dhimma system as it is most often implemeted would probably not be as equitable as a system with complete seperation of church (or mosque) and state.

But then, it wouldn't be like living in the Middle Ages, either.

Historically, Jewish people have been much better of under Islamic rule than under Christian rule, but since the establishment of Israel, there has been some increasing anti-Semistism (hatred of Jews in general, and not just Israelis/Zionists) in Muslim countries, where Jews may be suspected of "collaborating" with Israel or being spies for Israel.

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This passage is from "Judaism for Dummies", by Rabbi Ted Falcon and David Blatner, and describes the dhimmi system as it was generally implemented in the Middle Ages:

"In general, Jews tended to be better off in Islamic lands than Christian lands during the Middle Ages. Jews and Christians were both considered "Peioples of the Book"-- worshipping the same God as Muslims and using holy scriptures-- and were therefore protected under Islamic law. The Jewish focus on scholarship gained them admiration, and the Jews, who quickly learned to speak Arabic, were allowed to be a part of the robust intellectual life of the Islamic Empire. The Christians, who had been the dominant power for so long, found the restrictions terrible, but to the Jews, Islamic rule was actually a relieif from the humiliating treatment they had gotten from the Christians.

However, the relationship wasn't exactly perfect. For example, the Jews were heavily taxed. The land tax especially made it difficult for4 Jews to own land, causing many of them to turn to non-agricultural professions, such as merchants, tanners, silk-workers, and weavers. They also had to wear distinctive clothing and were unable to carry weapons, ride horses, and live in houses larger than their Muslim neighbors. Islam recognized the "truths" of Judaism, but was convinced that Muhammad's revelations superceded those of the Jews.

Granted, not all Islamic leaders were the same. While most were tolerant and ensured the security of life and property, every now and then there were massive forced conversions to Islam, propery confiscation, and so on. However, as a whole, these persectutions were shorter in duration and less ferocious than had occurred, and were later to occur, in Christian lands."

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Note that the restrictions mentioned above were based on Sunni shariah, which is somewhat different from Shia shariah, and which has itself changed somewhat over the years. The old rules of non-Muslims being prohibited from riding horses and carrying arms, for instance, were intended to prevent them from raising religious militias with which to attack the state, so they aren't followed anymore.

I'm not sure about the restriction on the size of a non-Muslims' house, I've only ever heard of this restriction in references to the Middle Ages' dhimmi system. You could probably check and see if its still used in any Muslim countries today. And the distinctive clothing thing was always controversial and is not practiced today.

Edited by Trekker
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Guest DjibrilCisse

May I remind my enraged anti-Muslim friends that howevrmany examples of Indonesia, Africa or any other country they give, it is insignificant because however bad the implementation is, the concept is perfect.

It is about time you learnt to differenciate between the perfect religion and the misimplementation of it.

Muslims dont define Islam. Islam defines Muslims.

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May I remind my enraged anti-Muslim friends that howevrmany examples of Indonesia, Africa or any other country they give, it is insignificant because however bad the implementation is, the concept is perfect.

It is about time you learnt to differenciate between the perfect religion and the misimplementation of it.

Muslims dont define Islam. Islam defines Muslims.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Truly one of the most most blatant examples of ignorance ever displayed.

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  • 17 years later...
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The dhimmi concept reduces the ability of non-Muslims to oppress Muslims in Muslim countries

This is an old thread but covers issues relevant to today.

In particular the framing of some of the above arguments was in terms of the Muslim majority oppressing minorities. But in my opinion the diimmi system addresses the more serious problem of the majority being oppressed by the minority. More serious because we are talking about larger numbers of people being oppressed by minority groups.

Here is an example. This is about social and economic changes taking place in the Muslim Gulf states:
 

Quote

The share of Saudi women who hold jobs has doubled in just five years to 35 per cent. Longtime visitors to the country are now astounded to be greeted by female border agents, and to find raves, coffee shop dating and Halloween parties in a country that banned any public mixing of the sexes only a decade ago. The old ways have not entirely disappeared, however. Religious police no longer enforce the hijab but most women still wear it. 

https://www.ft.com/content/740703ba-96b2-43d1-af9e-848cec61f1ec

 

The author is chair of the Rockefeller Foundation whose mission is "to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable". You get the impression that the writer has lived / worked in the Gulf states.

The key statement is:

The old ways have not entirely disappeared, however. Religious police no longer enforce the hijab but most women still wear it. 

Clearly this person associates hijab as representing 'old ways' and ones he'd like to see 'modernised'.

It's reasonable for a non-Muslim to have different customs and values to Muslims, but where they gain positions of power and influence in a Muslim society (which the dhimmi concept is intended to avoid), those small numbers of people will affect the lives of millions.

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3 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

The dhimmi concept reduces the ability of non-Muslims to oppress Muslims in Muslim countries

This is an old thread but covers issues relevant to today.

In particular the framing of some of the above arguments was in terms of the Muslim majority oppressing minorities. But in my opinion the diimmi system addresses the more serious problem of the majority being oppressed by the minority. More serious because we are talking about larger numbers of people being oppressed by minority groups.

Here is an example. This is about social and economic changes taking place in the Muslim Gulf states:
 

https://www.ft.com/content/740703ba-96b2-43d1-af9e-848cec61f1ec

 

The author is chair of the Rockefeller Foundation whose mission is "to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable". You get the impression that the writer has lived / worked in the Gulf states.

The key statement is:

The old ways have not entirely disappeared, however. Religious police no longer enforce the hijab but most women still wear it. 

Clearly this person associates hijab as representing 'old ways' and ones he'd like to see 'modernised'.

It's reasonable for a non-Muslim to have different customs and values to Muslims, but where they gain positions of power and influence in a Muslim society (which the dhimmi concept is intended to avoid), those small numbers of people will affect the lives of millions.

I find this to be an odd take on a number of different levels. 

First of all, it ignores the reality that for rather vast periods of time, historically, Muslim rule was precisely the rule of a minority over a majority. I mean, that’s actually one of our classic arguments against the idea that we converted the Muslim world by the sword. No, many of the conquered lands remained non-Muslim majority for centuries after their conquest. 

Second, historically, there was no particular shortage of non-Muslims in high positions of power and influence within various caliphates over the centuries. Perhaps the very highest positions there was a glass (or stone) ceiling, but Christians and Jews found high places a step or two away as government ministers and viziers. 

Third, I find it a trifle discordant that you would invoke this from the comfort of the UK, where you have clearly benefited handsomely from a nation where minority religious status produces no hard limits to success and advancement. 

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This is definitely an oldie of a discussion. 

If I were to answer this today, I would give a little more weight to the acknowledgment that this concept was very often very poorly and sometimes maliciously implemented on the ground. 

I would also say that even the most exemplary examples of classical implementations of the idea of protections for religious minorities are probably superseded by more efficient modern implementations of the same concept. Classical dhimmah, when well-executed, was a beautiful, humanistic, forward-thinking solution for the medieval period, but the world had come a long way since then.

Edited by kadhim
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I've been meaning to come back to this thread but needed to do some more background research. I've found the following and am working my way through it:

Emon, A.M., 2012. Religious pluralism and Islamic law: Dhimmis and others in the Empire of Law. Oxford University Press.

One page 36 the author says:

Quote

Those adopting the myth of harmony do not ignore the dhimmī rules. They too are concerned about the facially discriminatory implications of such rules.

Which I will use to address this:

On 11/21/2022 at 12:24 PM, kadhim said:

Third, I find it a trifle discordant that you would invoke this from the comfort of the UK, where you have clearly benefited handsomely from a nation where minority religious status produces no hard limits to success and advancement. 

 

In both the above quotations I think what is going on is the following:

Quote

describing that period in terms of tolerance adopts a too-presentist perspective on any reading of the past.

Here Emon is describing the assessment of a scholar of Andalusian Islam. I like that phrasing and it sums up a lot of discussion on this site, which I have previously noted, but not used such an amazing word as 'presentist'.

Anyway, applying that idea to this discussion.

Today's society is beset with equality and it is presentist to judge all previous societies by that yardstick. I think we have set-up an abstract notion that sounds good in theory but whose practice is quite different to what is claimed and understood.

 

You refer to 'minority religious status producing no hard limits to success'. In this you are entirely correct. But I would argue the following:

  1. that there are 'soft limits', when you look at the statistics certain religions appear to be over and under-represented in various occupations, seniority of position in organisations and so on
  2. some of this may be self-imposed, where observant Muslims may find it hard to lead organisations that espouse values/practices quite different from their own and which make it very difficult for anyone else to 'opt' out. The proverbial Christian bakers who refuse to make wedding cakes for homosexual couples are sanctioned in the name of equality
  3. and that self-imposition will happen where the dominant culture identifies various red lines over which it will not compromise and over which minority groups will need to acquiesce if they are to continue living in that society 

Rather than claim equality which does not really exist, why not be honest and transparent and make it clear that if you are an observant Muslim you will face certain types of discrimination?

More later ...

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4 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

In both the above quotations I think what is going on is the following:

Quote

describing that period in terms of tolerance adopts a too-presentist perspective on any reading of the past.

Here Emon is describing the assessment of a scholar of Andalusian Islam. I like that phrasing and it sums up a lot of discussion on this site, which I have previously noted, but not used such an amazing word as 'presentist'.

Anyway, applying that idea to this discussion.

Today's society is beset with equality and it is presentist to judge all previous societies by that yardstick. I think we have set-up an abstract notion that sounds good in theory but whose practice is quite different to what is claimed and understood.

No. I didn’t do that at all. As I said above, the dhimmi system, setting aside some historical abuses, was revolutionary in its own historical context. It was an idea ahead of its time. 

My critique is that you seemed to be advocating for it being applied Control-V, to today, under the argument that it “reduces the ability of non-Muslims to oppress Muslims in Muslim countries”

I’m applying present judgment to the present

4 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

You refer to 'minority religious status producing no hard limits to success'. In this you are entirely correct. But I would argue the following:

  1. that there are 'soft limits', when you look at the statistics certain religions appear to be over and under-represented in various occupations, seniority of position in organisations and so on

Why else do you think I qualified no limits with the adjective “hard” in the first place? 

4 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

Rather than claim equality which does not really exist, why not be honest and transparent and make it clear that if you are an observant Muslim you will face certain types of discrimination?

I’m still finding this to be a bizarre leap of logic here. Soft limits and discrimination are a problem, they’re a recognized problem that society talks about and looks at ways to try to minimize. That’s part of the process.

But I don’t see how you leap from this to (seemingly) concluding that we should just embrace 7th century modes of hard discrimination in the 21st century and beyond. 

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On 11/29/2022 at 11:11 AM, kadhim said:

But I don’t see how you leap from this to (seemingly) concluding that we should just embrace 7th century modes of hard discrimination in the 21st century and beyond.

 

Let me illustrate:

The ideal

Screenshot 2022-11-30 at 07.13.30.png

This is your multi-culti, fully assimilated, and integrated, fully equal nirvana. Everyone interacts with all others regardless of their colour or other distinguishing characteristics. There is one group who are the majority, and the others are minorities.

Now this happens: 

The reality

Screenshot 2022-11-30 at 07.13.12.png

One group of people (coloured brown) realise that they come from the same village back home, they have a shared culture, heritage and so on, they start to spend more time together.

Trust within minority groups

These commonalities enable this specific minority to establish bonds of trust between themselves that are stronger than the ones that exist between people of different groups. So they decide to interact with each other more than they do with other groups.

Role of religion

The issue is even more acute when they share the same religion because then they are more likely to share the same values - which are even more important when it comes to building trust.

The economic impact

There is an obvious economic angle to this, since the bonds of trust help reduce the friction of doing business, in fact trust is more valuable in some industries (the ones with more risk and potentially more rewards).

Minorities outperforming majorities

A social aspect to their interaction therefore has economic repercussions. Left unchecked a minority group will gain an advantage over others. Societies can persist with the multi-culti fantasy for years.

Payback

But at some point there will be a reckoning, there always is. Obvious trigger points are when the majority face economic dislocation and see how much better minority groups are doing.

You can 'hope' that this time there won't be -  but that has not been the case over the previous millennia.

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Boundary spanners

Accidentally, I drew the picture in a way that helps illustrate another point.

The minority group accrues another advantage, where it can become a 'boundary spanner' e.g. between two different societies (the red line).

That advantage is less likely to be open to the majority groups in the two countries in which this minority lives.

Screenshot 2022-11-30 at 08.11.03.png

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11 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

Boundary spanners

Accidentally, I drew the picture in a way that helps illustrate another point.

The minority group accrues another advantage, where it can become a 'boundary spanner' e.g. between two different societies (the red line).

That advantage is less likely to be open to the majority groups in the two countries in which this minority lives.

Screenshot 2022-11-30 at 08.11.03.png

Wow. 

I’m honestly a little taken aback to see you put forward what is at heart identical to the sorts of xenophobic nativist conspiracy theory talk that is directed by the hard right against all sorts of religious and ethnic minorities, including Jews, Catholics, and Muslims. Two wrongs don’t make a right. 

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1 hour ago, kadhim said:

xenophobic nativist conspiracy theory

But these issues are also extensively studied in sociology and anthropology and there are hundreds of academic articles exploring these them.

The difference between a xenophobic treatment and the alternatives is that the former considers this sociological phenomenon to be a conspiracy on the part of one group to deliberately disenfranchise another. Academic study does not do that and neither do I.

Where I go further in this thread than academics is to refer to an Islamic institution which I consider to offer a solution - one which Western society has never found so far. Indeed Christendom has been characterised by repeated pogroms and genocides at a scale which have not happened in Muslim countries.

 

If you want an example of an academic perspective see for example:

Quote

A group of researchers studying the very successful Cuban business sector in Miami have argued that where, as in this case, an ethnic niche can be developed into a more complex ethnic enclave, with its own interlinked manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing and finmance and business service networks, based on continuing trust based ties, small firms within it can control competition, gaining some of the advantages of primary sector firms, while retaining secondary sector flexibility

which comes from:

10349952.1992.11876779

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1 hour ago, Haji 2003 said:

But these issues are also extensively studied in sociology and anthropology and there are hundreds of academic articles exploring these them.

The difference between a xenophobic treatment and the alternatives is that the former considers this sociological phenomenon to be a conspiracy on the part of one group to deliberately disenfranchise another. Academic study does not do that and neither do I.

You’re playing a bit of bait and switch here, Haji. I obviously don’t have any issue with descriptive theory and/or research looking at how groups of similar people in a society can form densely connected, efficient economic clusters and punch above their numerical weight. My issue is with your leap from that to a prescriptive theory that isn’t going to work. 

How do you think anyone is going to impose such restrictions in a secular democracy with no state-sponsored religious ideology and constitutional protections for religion and speech? And even if you did want to play devil’s advocate and argue for such policies hindering power of formation of economic elites, what is the argument to limit that to religious identity? Why not continue the line of thought to other minority networks like people who graduated from Ivy League schools in the US or from Oxford and Cambridge in the UK? I would bet those groups are wildly over-represented in the upper tiers of society and key parts of the economy and politics in both countries? If you want to try to dig deeper to find a more universal principle here, I’m open to hearing it. But I think you’ve frankly got a non-starter basing it only on religious identity. 

For example, how would you react if the Tories in the UK tried to impose such limitations on British Muslims like yourself? 

And in trying to invoke the dhimmah system as a “solution” to this phenomenon, you’re still kind of failing to engage with the point I raised earlier, that, ironically, the dhimmah system was originally precisely a system to install minority rule by Muslims in conquered territories where other faiths were the majority. 

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A couple of other points. 

I hear you above when you differ yourself from conspiracy theorists by not saying that minorities are deliberately making networks to capture outsized power, that it’s just an organic social reality. And that’s fine. But there’s another point here, which is that first and second generation groups will tend to form these networks not to have power beyond their numbers, but to counter-balance institutional biases in the greater society so that they can have power proportional to their numbers. It’s often a hack to equalize the game. That’s a good thing. 

Another point is that setting policy against this sort of thing punishes people for being socially organized and efficient, which ultimately tends to harm the society. Look at the example of Arab countries in the second half of the 20th century and beyond, and their Christian and Jewish populations. These minority populations were responsible for a lot of the economic productivity of their countries. When pan-Islamism contributed to making them feel unwelcome, they left in droves, and the countries suffered for that. 

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