Fatwa Bank

Should the Magians Be Treated as Ahl al-Kitab?

21/04/2008

Dear Sheikh, As-Salamu `alaykum. Do the Magians have the same ruling as the People of the Book? Thanks.

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, we commend your pursuit of knowledge and your keenness to seek what is lawful and avoid what is not. We earnestly implore Allah to bless your efforts in this honorable way.

The Magians should be treated in the same manner as Ahl al-Kitab (the People of the Book or the Jews and Christians) with regard to the payment of Jizyah (a tax levied on non-Muslims who live under the protection of Islamic government as an equivalent to the Zakah which Muslims pay). `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Treat the Magians in a way similar to that of Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book).”

As for the permissibility of eating the animals slaughtered by them as well as marrying their women Muslim scholars hold different opinions.

Regarding eating the animals slaughtered by them, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:

“Muslim scholars held different views regarding the meat slaughtered by the Magians. The majority of scholars view that it is not allowed to eat this meat as they are polytheists. Other scholars view that it is lawful as the Prophet said: “Treat the Magians in a way similar to that of Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book).” He also accepted the Jizyah from the Magians of Hajar. In his book, Al-Muhalla, Ibn Hazm stated in the chapter on “Slaughtering”: ‘They should be treated as the People of the Book and hence the ruling is the same as that applicable to the People of the Book in all these matters.'”

As for marrying Magian women, Ibn Qudamah, the Hanbali scholar, states in his book al-Mughni:

“The Magians do not have any divinely revealed Book, so it is not permissible to eat their slaughtered meat or marry their women. This is the opinion of Imam Ahmad and the majority of scholars with the exception of Abu Thawr who deemed this permissible on the basis of the Prophet’s hadith: “Treat the Magians in a way similar to that of Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book).” He also reported that Abu Huzayfah married a Magian woman and since the Jizyah is accepted from them so they are like the People of the Book.

However, in the Qur’an Almighty Allah has forbidden marrying polytheists and disbelievers; the only exception was made to marrying women from among the People of the Book so it should not be extended to others. What the Prophet meant by ‘treating them as the People of the Book’ is to protect them and accept the Jizyah from them and nothing else. Finally, it is not authenticated that Abu Huzayfah married a Magian as this narration is deemed weak by Ahmad and it is reported that he married a Jewish lady or a Christian lady in another version.”

Commenting on the previous ruling, Ibn Battal, a well-known Muslim scholar, states: “The majority of scholars maintain that the Magians are not to be treated in the same manner as Ahl al-Kitab in marriage (i.e. allowing Muslim men to marry Magian women and not vice versa), although there is nothing wrong in eating animals slaughtered by them.”

You can also read:

Does the Term “Ahlul-Kitab” Still Apply Today?

 

 

A Group of Islamic Researchers