The Khirāj imposed by the Caliph ‘Umar (rta) on the
conquered lands of Syria and Iraq was nothing more than rent imposed on public
property. He refused to distribute it among the warriors and was of the opinion
that it should belong to the state. However, instead of the state itself
managing these vast areas, he chose to give them in the hereditary possession of
the owners on the condition of a fair rent that would be paid to the state. This
amount varied according to the produce and nature of the land. It is pertinent
to mention here that Khirāj was imposed only on cultivated lands or lands which
were a source of income for the farmers. Residential lands, for example were
totally exempt from Khirāj.
Consequently, it cannot be regarded as a tax.