Author [EN] [PL] [ES] [PT] [IT] [DE] [FR] [NL] [TR] [SR] [AR] [RU] Topic: Is Kharaj (Land Tax) Sanctioned in the Quran?

Offline alipomustaqimo

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Is Kharaj (Land Tax) Sanctioned in the Quran?
« on: June 26, 2022, 01:03:52 PM »
Assalam, I would like to know whether Kharaj is sanctioned in the Quran. Kharaj is a fee imposed on conquered lands. The cultivators of a conquered land have to pay a certain fees to the State. This question is also related as to whether Quran allows any taxation at all.

More info on kharaj as explained by Mohammed Malkawi in the book "Fall of Capitalism & Rise of Islam":

Throughout the history of the Islamic state, the largest source of
income for the state has been the revenue generated from the property
ownership of land called Kharaj (the lands annexed to the Islamic state
through war). Kharaj literally means output. The term kharaj replaced the
term fai’i, which was used for the land annexed without a fight. Abu Obaid
narrated in his book Al-Amwal on the authority of Az-Zuhri that Prophet
Mohammad (PBUH) considered the lands of Bahrain after its conquest a
land of Kharaj even after the people in Bahrain had converted to Islam.116
Kharaj land is defined as a land added to the territory of the Islamic state
and whose ownership belongs to the state. The state grants the right to
use the land for farming or development in exchange for a predefined fee.
The fee is due to be paid by the user of the land whether he was able to
benefit from the land or not. The fee is not in exchange for the product of
the land; it is in exchange for the right to use it. If the user of the land is a
Muslim, he still has to pay the Zakah portion of the products. If the user of
the Kharaj land is not a Muslim, he only has to pay the Kharaj fee.

During the reign of Caliph Harun Ar-Rasheed,117 the land of the
Islamic state was enormous due to the expansion of the state into Africa,
Central and East Asia, and well into Europe. The caliph requested his
chief judge Abu Yousuf 118 to write a book detailing the rules related to the
wealth associated with the land of Kharaj, and to explain the various ways
of spending the Kharaj money. Following the footsteps of Abu Yousuf,
several other books on the subject of Kharaj were compiled.119 The famous
book of Hadeeth compiled by Abu Dawoud, known as Sunan Abu Dawoud,
contains a section titled “The Book of Kharaj.” Referring to the huge land
of the caliphate state, Harun Ar-Rasheed once addressed a passing cloud
over the city of Baghdad saying, “You may drop your rain wherever you
wish; your Kharaj will eventually come back to me.”

laws of Kharaj. Abu Yousuf narrated in his Kharaj book the following
incident. In the year AH 16, the Muslim armies of the caliph Omar
occupied a huge land in Iraq after the battle of Qadisiyyah. Prominent
Muslim companions and army generals Bilal Al-Habasihi, Abderrahman
Bin Awf, and Zubair Bin Al-Awwam divided part of the occupied land
among the fighting soldiers. They treated the occupied land as spoils
of war and thought to divide it among the fighters according to Islamic
method for dealing with spoils of war. The caliph Omar had another
opinion. He wanted the land to remain a property of the state and convert
it into a land of Kharaj. After consulting with his advisers in Medina, Omar

"I want to keep the land of Iraq and let the people who currently
own it continue utilizing it in exchange for a Kharaj fee. The Kharaj
money will be for all Muslims including the fighters, their offspring,
and the generations to come. I want the Kharaj money to pay for the
cost of securing the long borders, and protecting the large cities of Sham,
Jazirah, Basra, and Egypt. If we divide the land among the fighters
now, the state will not be able to pay the salaries for the soldiers who will
have to protect the land and the borders."

But for this opinion to become a law, Omar had to support his
proclamation with an evidence from the Quran or the Sunnah of the
Prophet, especially since the Prophet in a previous occasion did distribute
the land among the fighters (the land of Khaibar, for example).
After consulting prominent scholars in Medina, Omar used verses
7-10 from Surah Al-Hashr (chapter 59) in the Quran to prove his point.

The verses talk about the rules related to spoils of war including the land.
Following is the text of the verses:
[59:7] What Allah gave as booty (Fai’) to His Messenger from
the people of the townships—it is for Allah, His Messenger, the kindred
of Messenger Muhammad, the orphans, Al-Masakeen (the poor), and
the wayfarer, in order that wealth may not remain a fortune circulated
between the rich ones among you. And whatsoever the Messenger gives
you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). And fear
Allah; verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.

This verse establishes the principle that the returns of war are for the
Messenger to use and distribute among the most needy ones (orphans,
poor, wayfarers). The Messenger in this case is referred to in his capacity
as a head of the state; the spiritual and religious aspect is covered by the
part which refers the booty to Allah.
Furthermore, this verse established a major principle in the political
economy in Islam which guards against the accumulation of wealth in the
hands of the richest ones in the society. This is reflected in the portion of
the verse which reads, “In order that it may not remain a fortune circulated
between the rich ones among you.”

The second verse in this series further describes the groups of people
who are entitled to receive the dividends of the booty and proceeds of war.
The first group is the poor among the Muslims who migrated from Mecca
to Medina leaving all their wealth behind. They receive a portion of the
spoils of war to help them get over the poverty status they gained as a
result of the sacrifices they made.
[59:8] (And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor
emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property,
seeking Bounties from Allah and to please Him, and helping Allah (i.e.
helping His religion) and His Messenger. Such are indeed the truthful
(to what they say).

The next verse describes the second group of people who are to receive
a portion of the proceeds of war. This group belongs to the Muslims in
Medina who subjected their wealth and property to sanctions imposed by
Quraish and the Jews in Medina. They also shared their wealth with their
fellow brethren who migrated from Mecca. For all of these sacrifices, they
deserve to be compensated in order to keep them out of poverty.

[59:9] And (it is also for) those who, before them, had homes (in
Medina) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them,
and have no jealousy in their hearts for that which they have been given
(from the booty), and give the emigrants preference over themselves even
though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own
covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.

The next verse is what caught the attention of Caliph Omar. It describes
a group of people who are entitled to receive part of the proceeds of war,
including the land, but this group is yet to exist. The group belongs to future
generations who love and appreciate all what has been accomplished by
the first generation of immigrants and hosts. Omar declared that this verse
had established the right to own part of the returns of war for the future
generations of Muslims. The fact that the verse did not specify a time
period in which the group would live implies that all Muslim generations
without any limit are entitled to receive dividends from the land gained
through the war.
[59:10] And (it is also for) those who come after them and say:
“Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith,
and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed.
Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.

Citing these verses, Omar told the soldiers and generals who were in
favor of distributing the land that the only way he can guarantee that the
third group mentioned in verse [59:10] receives their rights is to treat the
land as a Kharaj land; this way the wealth generated from the Kharaj fees
will return to the state treasury. Then the state will spend this money in the
best interest of the public. The companions of the Prophet unanimously
agreed with Omar’s verdict and this has become the law. Abu Yousuf
narrated in the Kharaj book that the Kharaj revenues from the southern
part of Iraq during the reign of Omar reached one hundred million dirhams
(a dirham is equal to 2.98 gram silver).
The majority of the land in the Muslim world is considered a Kharaj
land. Examples of lands which are not subject to Kharaj include the islands
of Malay, Indonesia, and the Arabian Peninsula. The Kharaj land in the
Muslim world is extraordinarily large. The Kharaj revenues from this huge
land are a significant source of income for the Islamic state.

What do you think? It seems to go against freedom of property in as enshrined in Quran 4:29 "O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. "

But that one could say that the conquered annexed land belongs to the state, but why should it belong to the state when the enemies do not use the land to fight in the war, as opposed to swords and shields which are used in wars. The land never belonged to the enemy state in the first place. It belonged to a private individual.