Dr. Amani Tawfiq, Professor at Mansoura (Egypt) University: "If Egypt wants to slowly but surely get out of its economic situation and address poverty in the country, the Jizya (head or poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects) has to be imposed on the Copts," declared in a press statement by a university professor, who is supposed to be in the highest of levels of the educated society, and who is also expected to be a civilized person due to her educational position.
This was not the first time that Christians have been asked to pay Jizya in their own country. It happened and was demanded before by the "banned"Muslim Brotherhood, two days before the first round of election. Also the Muslim Brotherhood’s official candidate for Shoubra, north of Cairo, declared that within the program of his movement, the Copts should pay the Jizya, and wanting to reassure the Copts, he added that the Muslims also will pay the Zakat (alms for the poor). He then went on to assure the Muslims, "our Zakat is more than their Jizya" – of course, so that they are confident that we are not their equal! They have used the same arguments before, and have intensified it by, "refusing that Copts should join the army". Then they retracted their statement and apologized!
A short Pause is due here before we address certain questions that are necessary in such cases. We would like to point out some simple facts related to this law, which appears to have been forgotten by many Muslims, presently holding positions of authority; Muslims who have once imposed the Jizya on non-Muslims.
Jizya and Zakat from an Islamic Perspective
1- Jizya is not a substitute for Zakat. Zakat is the poor man’s right to the wealth of the rich, and the Jizya is the right of the army, which protects non-Muslim citizens of the State, which is spent mainly on the development of the military, and for the payment of its personnel’s salaries.
The Jizya rate was determined primarily according to the army’s needs, in that it supplies it with funds, in addition to other sources of financing. Exempt from Jizya were all those who were unable pay it (in the sense, that when its value exceeded the army’s need for it, a greater number of poor non-Muslims were exempt from payment, also the surplus would be distributed among the rich non-Muslims, who had a protected status like the Muslims citizens, but who were of a different religion).
2- The Jizya was refunded to the non-Muslims, if Muslims failed to protect them, as in the case of Abu Ubaida, when he withdrew from Homs, and returned the Jizya to its people, after acknowledging that the military situation has prevented him from their protection.
Accordingly, should the Christians not join the army, will the Muslim protect and defend them?!Does the Jizya of the non-Muslims equate the Zakat for the Muslims?Is Zakat a national duty or a religious obligation?! Jizya and the Problem of Poverty Was our academic Professor unable to find another solution to the problem of poverty except the payment of the Jizya by Christians?!Why did she use this term in her demand, while using another term forMuslims which is Zakat?
Zakat is a religious duty and NOT a national obligation.If this is the case, then the Christians also carry out their religious duty by paying their Tithe contributions and donations, which goes towards helping the poor!! Don’t you know, Respectable Lady, that many poor Egyptian families are dependent on the Church to cover their needs, which in turn exempts the State from support them? What for are you demanding JIZYA from the Christians?Is it in exchange for not joining the Army?!
They do join the army, defend their homeland and history is the best witness for that, besides, this is not the right opportunity to expand on this matter.Who will protect us from the intolerance of some Muslim fanatics who are demanding the payment of the Jizya by Christians, who still enroll in the army, defend their country and pay their taxes?
Who will protect us from those who split the nation and tear it apart in an obvious way, and call for imposing the Jizya on (non-Muslims) and the so-called Zakat (on Muslims) and not the so-called ‘taxes’ on all Egyptians?! What saddens us all, is that this kind of thinking, and this logic is present within the walls of the Egyptian universities.
What Jizya do you want and in exchange for what exactly?! This humanitarian work, which you are demanding the Jizya to be imposed on theChristians for it, is the responsibility of the State with all its organs.
We have not heard you demanding to put an end to the rampant corruption in the State which has resulted in creating a class phenomenon in theEgyptian society, nor have we heard you calling for a charitable humanitarian project to tackle poverty involving all citizens.Did you only have this solution to the problem of poverty? We will not question what is in exchange for the Jizya payment as others do, because we are Egyptian citizens, and the Jizya is not a duty nor an obligation to be imposed on us.
We are carrying out our duties as citizens towards this homeland, regardless of our usurped rights. The persecution and oppression of all Christians is the best witness to the natural outcome of a society which has fallen prey to people like you, who seek to divide the Egyptians into Christians paying the Jizya and to the Muslims paying the alms.
Fear God, for the sake of this country, and do not add more fuel to the fire already burning, and I recommend you look into a scientific issue which might give you the fame that you seek, rather than playing with the homeland’s capabilities.
Translated into English by Voice of the Copts from Katiba Tibia 20.12.08