The issue of citizenship of an Islamic State needs
a little elaboration. It is generally held by Muslim authorities that non-Muslim
citizens of an Islamic state are of two categories:
(i) Dhimmīs, viz. those who have come under an Islamic
State on account of being subdued in a battle.
(ii) Musta’mins, viz. non-Muslim residents of Dāru’l-Harb
who temporarily reside in Dāru’l-Islām.
It needs to be appreciated that both these categories of
non-Muslims specific to the age of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta).
The directives of Fiqh related to Dhimmīs and Musta’mins consequently cannot be
related to the non-Muslims of today.
The Non-Muslim minorities of today living in Muslim
countries can only be classified as Mu‘āhids (citizenship by contract).
Keeping in view the general welfare of the state, through mutual consent, any
contract can be made with non-Muslims of today regarding their rights. As such,
all dealings with them should be according to the terms of the treaty concluded
Muslims are required Islamically to abide by these terms in
all circumstances and to never violate them in the slightest way. Such
violations according to Islam are totally forbidden and, in fact, amount to a
grave transgression. The Qur’ān says:
وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ
كَانَ مَسْئُولًا (١٧
Keep [your] covenants; because indeed [on the Day of
Judgement] you will be held accountable for them. (17:34)
The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:
أَلَا مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا أَوْ
انْتَقَصَهُ أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ
طِيبِ نَفْسٍ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ (ابو داؤد: رقم
Beware! I myself shall invoke the justice of the
Almighty on the Day of Judgement against the person who oppresses and persecutes
a Mu‘āhid, or reduces his rights, or burdens him [with responsibilities] he
cannot bear, or takes something from him against his will. (Abu Dā’ūd: No. 3052)
In this regard, the Qur’ān has explicitly stated the
principle that Muslims while dealing with their enemies must not exceed the
limits of justice, not to speak of Mu‘āhids who have accepted to live peacefully
in an Islamic State:
وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ
عَلَى أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ (٥
And let not the enmity of a people turn you away from
justice. Deal justly; this is nearer to piety. (5:8)
As far as their rights are concerned, they should be given
all the rights that are sanctioned by the norms of justice and fairness for
people in a civilized society. For example:
Their life, wealth and honour should be protected by the
state such that no one is able to lay hands on them.
They can be given independence in their personal law.
The needy and poor among them should be provided the basic
necessities of life.
Their personal matters and religious rituals should be
exempted from the law of the state and no interference should be made in their
faith and religion.
Their places of worship should be given full protection.
They should be allowed to present their religion to others
in a polite manner.
They should be allowed to be elected to public offices
except to those which may require Muslims to preserve the Islamic identity of