Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
Although in Islamic thought all non-Muslims were considered infidels, there was a distinction drawn between polytheists and the 'ahl al-Khitab', the 'people of the book' (Jews and Christians). These people of the book were granted 'dhimmi' status and guaranteed safety for their life, body, and property, as well as freedom of movement and religious practice, on condition that they acknowledged the domination of Islam. This included the payment of various taxes, the most important being the jizya, a poll-tax levied on all able-bodied free adult dhimmi males of sufficient means.
Posted at Nov 30/2010 03:08PM:
ian: These communities in essence constituted legally defined nations within the sovereignty of the Muslim polity.