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ON THE ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE
MEANING OF ZAKAT IN EARLY ISLAM
HE INFORMATION provided by Muslim sources on zakdtlsadaqa
(poor-tax/rate, almsgiving), which eventually emerged as one
of the "pillars" (arkdn) of classical Islam, has been outlined by
modern scholars. While the voluntary vs. obligatory nature of
zakdtlsadaqa and their interchangeable occurrence in these sources
were considered, it has also been noted that, in the time of the
Prophet, these were still vague regulations and did not represent
taxes demanded by religion. Widely circulated reports concerning
the refusal of certain Bedouin tribes to pay zakdt after the Prophet's
death as they considered their agreements with him cancelled by
that, as well as 'Umar's inclination to agree with this, and the fact
that only Abuf Bakr made it a permanent institution, were brought
in support of such an assessment.'
The basic difference between sadaqa, which was primarily applied
to the supererogatory, and the obligatory nature of zakdt, has also
been noted.2 And the eventual emergence of alms as an obligatory
duty in Islam led one scholar, H. Grimme, to the suggestion that
Muhammad "should be treated as a social rather than a religious
reformer. "3 R. Bell, in turn, gave weight to the fact that the order
to pay zakdt occurs in "Meccan passages" of the Qur'an and noted
that such occurrence comes "only in the sense of alms and volun-
tary giving to the poor, as much for the purification of the giver's
J. Schacht, s.v. "Zakat" in Encyclopaedia of Islam, first edition, IV, 1202-4;
H.A.R. Gibb andJ. Kramers, eds., Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden 1974, pp.
654-5, and the sources cited therein.
2 E. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, repr. Beirut 1980, IV, p. 1668.
H. Grimme, Mohammed, Miunster 1892, quoted by Tor Andrae, Mohammed,
the Man and His Faith, London 1936, pp. 101-2; and R. Bell, The Origin of Islam
in its Christian Environment, London 1926, p. 79.
Arabica, tome XL, 1993
soul as for relief of the needy. "4 Concerning the institution of zakdt,
which is nowhere regulated, J. Schacht cautiously pointed to the
fact that Muslim sources place it in Medina between the years 2 and
9 A. H., while R. Bell sounds more confident when saying that "its
beginning belongs to the first year or two in Medina and was
motivated by the circumstances of the poorer Muhajiriun and
necessities of the state. "5
Scholars also disagreed concerning the similarity between and
possible origins of zakdt and sadaqa in parallel institutions and
cognate words from the vocabulary of other religions in the area.
R. Bell held that "the word zakdt is Syriac and therefore Chris-
tian", but J. Schacht and others expressed the view that it was bor-
rowed from Jewish usage of Hebrew-Aramaic zdktt.6 And the same
was held concerning sadaqa as a transliteration of the Hebrew seddka
which originally meant "honesty". We are also told that, as
applied by the Pharisees for what they considered the chief duty of
the pious Israelites, namely almsgiving, the proper sense of this
word, which is voluntary or spontaneous "charity", was still
retained at the time of the coming of Islam and elsewhere.7 One
scholar, H.P. Smith, held that Muslim tazkiya in the sense of
purification of property corresponds to a similar notion expressed
in Deuteronomy 14:28, though, later, zakdt emerged as a regular tax
of the Muslim State.8 C.C. Torrey, in turn, expressed the view that
zakdt and sadaqa are loan words from the North Semitic languages,
corresponding in particular to Aramaic zakuit and sidakta and
Hebrew sidaka, respectively. The Aramaic words, he held,
originally meant "purity" and were used by both Jews and Chris-
tians in the sense of "virtuous conduct". To this he added the view
that "the latter term (sidakta) was widely used in Aramaic speech
to mean alms."9
R. Bell, Introduction to the Qur'dn, Edinburgh 1953,
166. Cf. also M.
Hudgson, The Venture of Islam, Chicago 1974, p. 181.
5 J. Schacht, p. 1203; R. Bell, ibid.
6 J. Schacht, p. 1202; H.A.R. Gibb andJ.H. Kramers, p. 654. Compare, how-
ever, with A. Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'dn, Baroda 1938, p. 153, where
it is stated that neither of the Aramaic or Syriac cognates seem to have ever meant
alms, though this meaning could easily be derived from them.
H.A.R. Gibb and J.H. Kramers, ibid.
8 H.P. Smith, The Bible and Islam, N.Y. 1897, p. 313.
C.C. Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam, N.Y. 1933, p. 141.
86 SULIMAN BASHEAR
For all the investigation of the origins and development of zakdt
in early Islam, the subject is far from being satisfactorily concluded.
In an attempt to contribute to it, we propose to open with a closer
examination of the material provided by Arabic lexical sources as
well as a comparative enquiry into cognates from other Semitic
languages. This, we hope, will help to elucidate some of the parallel
aspects of this institution which existed in other religious cultures
and in early Islam. In order to follow the possible continuity of such
legacy and the development of the Muslim institution of zakdt, a
closer examination of the Qur'anic material on it will also be con-
ducted. Special attention will be paid to Qur'an IX: 103 as well as
other scriptural instances which are believed by Muslim scholars to
have established the duty of zakdt in Islam. Besides the traditional
material on its nature, the circumstances of levying it and other
related issues, we shall also examine the Halakhic aspects of the
above-mentioned positions associated with the names of Abuf Bakr,
'Umar I and other early Muslim figures. However, one thing must
be made clear at the outset. The present study is an enquiry into
the initial religious meaning of the concept of zakdt and not into the
views concerning the varying amounts and portions out of the dif-
ferent properties from which it was levied.
Lexical and Scriptural Indications to a Pre-Islamic Legacy
Arabic lexical and other sources point to several meanings given
to abstract nouns derived from the root ZKA/I/W. Zaka' was inter-
preted by al-Khalil b. Ahmad as growth and increase, especially if
applied in reference to planting (zarc);
a notion reiterated by several
later sources.10 Ibn Durayd adds to this the meaning of a tax (itcP)
levied by God upon the crops (ma yukhrijuhu l-lahu tacdld mina 1-
thamar)."I As for zakat, one of the meanings given by al-Khalil and
Azhari is saldh in the sense of validity.'2 From Jawhari one can
Al-Khalil b. Ahmad (d. 175/791), Kitab al-cAyn, Baghdad 1982, V, 394; Ibn
Durayd (d. 321/933, Kitab Jamharat al-Lugha, Haydarabad 1345/1926, III, 17;
Azhari (d. 370/980), Tahdhfb al-Lugha, Cairo 1964, X, 319-20, quoting Ibn al-
Anbdrd; Ibn Faris (d. 395/1004),
Maqdyts al-Lugha, Cairo 1368/1948, III,
Taj al-Lugha wa-Sihdh al-cArabiyya, Cairo 1282/1865, II, 482. Cf. also
Ibn Qutayba (d. 276/889), G/arib al-Hadfth, Beiruth 1988, I, 25; Sarakhsi, al-
Mabsiz, Cairo 1324/1906, II, 149.
l Ibn Durayd, ibid.
Al-Khalil, V, 394; Azhari, X, 319.
gauge the difficulty of philologically relating zakdt to the second
stem, zakkd. For, the abstract noun which he gives for paying zakdt
is tazkiya wich he notes can also denote praise. One notes also that
he adds the meaning of charity associated with the fifth stem,
tazakkd which he equates with tasaddaqa.13
The other meaning given by al-Khalil, his contemporary, al-
Layth b. Sa'd (d. 175/791) and later lexicographers for zakdt is
"purification" (tath&r). From the usual wording of such an inter-
pretation, however, one feels that zakdt in this sense is applied
exclusively to whatever is levied on property (wa-l-zakdtu zakdtu 1-
mdli wa-huwa tathiruhulwa-yuqdlu: al-taharatu zakdtu l-mdli).'4 Azhari,
Ibn Faris and Jawhari try to harmonize the main two meanings by
saying that purifying the property causes it to grow and increase.
One also notes that behind such morally inclined reasoning by Ibn
Faris and Jawhari stands Qur-an IX: 103 which orders the Prophet
to levy a sadaqa on properties for the aim of purification using the
phrase tutahhiruhumltutahhirhum wa-tuzakkdhim biha.'5 And Sarakhsi
in particular clearly reflects the main current in Qur'anic exegesis
when he says that zakdt is called as such because, according to Qur'dn
IX 103, it
its payer from sins (li-annaha
Against this background, it will be interesting to examine the
meanings given to cognates from some Semitic languages. A quick
glance at words derived from the roots ZKA/H/I/W in all these
languages as well as in Sumerian, shows that they bear basically
two meanings: purity and exemption from the payment of taxes.
The word zakutu is originally Sumerian and reappears in Akkadian
texts in the senses of cancelling taxes due to the king and right being
granted by the king and relating to setting people free. Note that
in Akkadian in particular, this word occurs also in contexts of free-
ing people from acts and payments due to the gods."7
Jawhari, II, 489.
Al-Khalil, V, 394; Azhari, X, 319 quoting Layth; Ibn Faris, III, 17.
Ibn Faris, ibid.; Jawhari, II, 489.
Sarakhsi, II, 149. More on this verse, below.
W. Winefeld, Trial andJustice in Israel and Among the Peoples, Jerusalem 1985,
pp. 82-3, 167 (in Hebrew); K.H. Gordon, Before There Was the Bible, Tel-Aviv
1966, p. 36. For the comparative search into this as well as the other Semitic
languages throughout this section I was helped by 0. Ifrati to whom I owe a debt
88 SULIMAN BASHEAR
From the root ZKH in Assyrian is derived the word zaku in the
senses of being pure, clean and shining as well as free from com-
mitments. Uzakki means to declare one free from commitments,
while zakuta occurs in texts of the same language in the sense of:
being free from payment of tithes due to the gods, an agreement,
a judgement, a declaration of the independence of cities and regula-
tions and laws relating to land properties. 18 And Uzakki in Ugaritic
texts indicates freeing a town from works due to the king. 19 Phoeni-
cian words derived from the roots ZK and ZKA are used in the
sense of "pure", while ZKI of the same language occurs also in the
senses of being not guilty and free of charge.20
The root ZKH in Gecez denotes purity,2" while in Tigre and
Gurage the word zakat means both a tax paid to the local chief and
a present.22 In Amharic, however, words derived from the same
root denote food either begged for by poor students or given by rich
people to the poor and the priests.2" And a similar meaning, of
charity for the poor, as well as a tax, is derived from the Sabaean
The senses of being innocent, declared not guilty in court and
pure, are often born also by Syriac and Imperial Aramaic words
derived from the roots ZK/H/I/W. Besides, such words in Syriac
are used also in the senses of to be victorious, overcome, occupy
and rule by force.25 And the same can be noted about Hebrew
W. Muss-Arnolt, Assyrisch-Englisch-Deutsches Handwdrterbuch, Berlin 1986, I,
C.H. Gordon, Ugaritic Manual, Part 3: Comprehensive Glossary, Roma 1955, p.
20 Cf. Z.S. Harris, A Grammar of the Phoenician Language, Philadelphia 1936, p.
99; Ch.-F. Jean and J. Hoftijzer, Dicti.onnaire des
Inscriptions Sernitiques de l'ouest,
Leiden 1965, p. 76.
W. Leslau, Concise Dictionary of Gecez, Wiesbaden 1987, p. 637.
W. Leslau, Etymological Dictionary of Gurage, Wiesbaden 1979, III, 705; idem,
North Ethiopic and Amharic Cognates in Tigre, Napoli 1982, p. 85.
W. Leslau, Concise Amharic Dictionary, Wiesbaden 1976, p. 183.
A.F.L. Beeston, M.A. Ghul, W.W. Muller and J. Ryckmans, Dictionnaire
Sabeen (Anglais FrancaisArabe), Beyrut 1982, p. 170; B.J. Copeland, Dictionary of Old
South Arabic Sabaean Dialect, Chicago 1982, p. 159.
25 Cf. J. Payne Smith, ed., A Compendious Syriac Dictionary, Founded Upon the
Thesaurus Syriacus of R. Payne Smith, Oxford 1903, p. 115; M.H. Goshen-Gottstein,
A Syriac-English Glossary, Based on Brockelmann's Syriac Chrestomathy, Wiesbaden
1970, p. 21; A.J. Darham, Darham's Dictionary of the Stabilized and Enriched Assyrian
Language and English, Chicago 1943, p. 145; L.B. Costaz, Dictionnaire Syriaque-
Francais, Syriac-English Dictionary, Beyrouth 1963, pp. 87-8; Ch.-F. Jean and J.
Hoftijzer, op. cit., p. 76.
cognates occurring in the Old Testament as well as Talmudic and
Midrashic Hebrew.26 Note also that the adjective zakay (from the
root ZKH) occurs in the Old Testament, Micah 11/6 in the sense
of one who is proved innocent when charged with cheating, while
in Psalms 76/13, 119/9, Proverbs 20/9, Isaiah 16/1 and Daniel 23/6,
the senses conveyed are: being clean, morally clean and not
guilty.27 And once in the Talmud, the same root is applied in the
senses both of payment of a monetary fine and an obligatory poor
Against the background of such a rich pre-Islamic legacy, it is
interesting to note that a few of the Qur'anic verses which order to
perform prayer and give zakdt actually address the Children of
Israel. Such are the cases of Qur'an II:43, 83 and 1 10. And the fact
that these verses explicitly order the Jews to pay zakdt seems not to
have constituted any serious problem for Muslim scholars. In his
commentary on Qur'an II:110, the philologist Abui cUbayda (d.
210/825) for example, says only that the phrase "wa-dtu l-zakdta"
means give it (ay a Ctli)29. Qurtubi (d. 667/1268) does not comment
upon the fact that Qur'an II:43 addresses the Jews and only notes
that while most scholars understood it as meaning the usual zakat
ordained upon Muslims, Malik b. Anas (d. 179/795) was reported
as holding that rather the charitable alms given after breaking the
fast (sadaqat al-fitr) was the one meant.30 From another source we
learn that support to this latter view was reported also by Abiu
Ijayyan al-Taymi (Yahya b. Sacid b. Hayyan, Kafan d. 145/762)
from al-Harith al-CUkli (b. Yazid al-Taymi, death date
Two different views were associated with the name of Ibn cAbbas
concerning the phrase "wa- dtui l-zakdt" of Qur'an II:43. One,
through Muc'wiya b. Salih (Uims, d. 172/788) cAll b. Abi Talha
(al-Jazari who lived in Hims, d. 143/760), says that zakat here
A. Even-Shoshan, The New Dictionary, Jerusalem 1969, II, 670-72 (in
Hebrew); Y. Steinberg, The Bible Dictionary, Hebrew and Aramaic, Tel-Aviv 1960,
27 S. Radi, The New Dictionary of the Bible, Jerusalem 1989, I, 132 (in Hebrew);
Y. Steinberg, The Bible Dictionary, Hebrew and Aramaic, Tel-Aviv 1960, p. 205.
The Babylonian Talmud, Qiddushin 27/(a).
Abu cUbayda, Majdz al-Qur'dn, Cairo 1988, I, 51.
Qurtubi, Tafsfr, Cairo n.d., I, 292.
Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327/938), Tafsir, Riyad 1408/1987, I, 150.
90 SULIMAN BASHEAR
means obedience and loyalty to God (IdCatu l-ldhi wa-l-ikhl1&u lahu).32
However, through Abui Rawq ('Atiyya b. al-HIirith, Kiifan, death
date unknown) Dahhak (b. Muzahim, Khurasini, d. 102-6/720-4)
we learn that Ibn cAbbas held that the zakdt meant here is the one
which God ordained the Children of Israel to give out of their pro-
perties. And one variant of this tradition explains that such an
order was a sunna different than the sunna of Muhammad, namely
that the former was a sacrifice which the Children of Israel used to
make and that a fire used to descend from heaven and carry it away
as a sign that it was accepted by God.33
Qatada (d. 117-8/735-6) and Hasan al-Basr1i (d. 110/728) are
reported to have held that zakdt in both Qur'an II:43 and 83 is an
ordinance exactly like the prayer (saldt) with which it was coupled
But this fact, which Mujahid (d. 102-3/720-
1) too was reportedly well aware of, I does not seem to have con-
stituted a problem for the exegetes or even most of the later com-
mentators. From both Muqatil b. Hayyan (d. 150/767) and
Muqatil b. Sulayman (d. 150/767) we learn that at least Qur'an
11:43 contains an order to the Jews/var., ahl al-kitab to pray with the
followers of Muhammad and to pay the latter zakdt on their proper-
ties (amarahum anyu'ti 1-zakdtayadfaci'nahd ild n-nabiyyi(y)).36 Tabari,
who expresses a similar understanding of this verse, adds that,
hence, the Jews were ordered to submit to God and His Messenger,
i.e. Muhammad, as the Muslims did (wa-anyakhdaci7 li-l-ldhi wa-li-
rasuilihi kamd khadaczi).3 Zamakhshari and Nasaff say only that they
were ordered to perform the same prayer and pay the same zakdt
of the Muslims (yacni saldta l-muslimfna wa-zakdtahum).38
The comments made by other late scholars are equally
interesting. Ibn cArabi (Abu Bakr, d. 543/1148) raises the
possibility that the Jews were ordered by Qur'an I:43 to pay the
same zakdt because it is known in all religions (wa-yuhtamalu an
Tabari (d. 310/922), Tafsfr, Cairo 1954, II, 297-8; Ibn Abi Hatim, ibid. Cf.
also Tabarsi (d. 548/1153), MajmaC al-Baydn, Beirut 1957, I, 337.
Tabarl, ibid.; Tabarsi, ibid.
Tabari, I, 572-3;
Ibn Abi Hatim, I, 150, 259.
Tafsfr, Beirut n.d., I, 83.
Ibn Abi Hatim,
149-50; Muqatil b. Sulayman, Tafszr, Ms. Saray, Istan-
bul, III Ahmet, 74, I, 9(b), 16(a), 19(b).
Tabari, I, 572-3. Cf. also his II, 506 concerning Qur'an II:110.
38 Zamakhshari (d. 528/1133), al-Kashshdf, Cairo 1354/1935, I, 66/ Nasafi (d.
701/1301), Mad&irik al-TanzFl, Beirut n.d., I, 45.
yakiiniu umirui bi-z-zakdti li-annahd ma'liimatun
kulli dinin mina 1-
adydn).39 R5zi (d. 606/1209) and
Baydlaw1 (d. 685/1286) say that
addressing the Jews by this verse proves that Muslim religious laws
apply to unbelievers too (wa-dhdlikayadullu cald anna l-kuffara mukha/-
tabiiza bi-furiuci sh-shard)i).40 Qur'an II:83, however, means for
Baydawi that the prayer and zakdt mentioned there are the ones
ordained upon the Jews but only according to their religion (yuridu
md furida calayhim ft millatihim), i.e. not the Muslim duties.41
Qur'an IX:33 warns the believers against most of the religious
leaders of Judaism and Christianity (al-ahbdr wa-l-ruhbdn) who
unjustly eat people's properties", etc.42 To this, Qur'an IX: 34
adds a warning of severe torture against those who accumulate gold
and silver (wa-l-ladhTnayaknizi7na dh-dhahaba
...) and do
not spend it in the way of God. From the exegetical material on
these two verses one feels that the very reading of the conjunctive
waw" between them (in wa-l-ladhfna) was itself a matter of inter-
pretation as both verses were presented as referring to those who do
not pay zakdt from among the adherents of Judaism and Chris-
tianity as well as the Muslims. Moreover, some of the traditions
cited in reference to Qur'an IX:34 in particular, point to the
involvement of cUmar I on behalf of those who were rebuked by it
from among the followers of Muhammad, a notion which con-
stitutes part of such role which, as we shall see below, was strongly
associated with the name of cUmar.
To begin with, connecting this verse with the order to pay zakdt
was based on several prophetical traditions which interpret kanz (lit.
treasure) as any property whose zakat is not payed (kullu md lam
tu 'adda zakituhufahuwa kanz). Such traditions were transmitted from
the Companions Ibn cUmar (through both Nafic, d. 117-20/735-7,
and cAtiyya, poss. al-cAwfi) and Ibn cAbbas (through cAli b. Abi
Talha) as well as reported from cIkrima (d. 104-7/722-5), Shacbi (d.
103-10/721-8), Hasan al-BasrI and Suddli (d. 127/744).43 Also
39 Ibn CArabi, Ahkim al-Qur'dn, Beirut 1972, I, 20-1.
al-Ghayb, Cairo 1308/1890, I, 325; Baycdwi-, Anwdr al-Tanzil,
Lipsiae, 1845, I, 56-7.
For the translation, see A.J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, London and N.Y.
1955, I, 211.
Tabari, XIV, 219, 225; Tabarsi, X, 53: Baghawl (d. 516/1122), Sharh al-
Sunna, Beirut 1983, V, 478; Suyiiti (d. 911/1505), al-Durr al-Manthur, Beirut 1983,
92 SULIMAN BASHEAR
Muqatil held the same view." And from one source we learn that
the early fourth century al-JubbaiP (d. 303/915) said that on this
matter there was a consensus
As for the question who were those referred to by this verse, two
main currents can be discerned. One says that it warned against the
Jewish ahbdr and Christian ruhbdn/var., ahl-al-kitib who did not pay
zakat, and the second held that it included the Muslims too because
of the conjunctive waw, as noted above. From a unique tradition,
one can gauge that this reading with waw aimed in the first place
at presenting the whole verse as referring to both ahl al-kitib and
Muslims. According to this tradition, cAlba' b. Ahmar, who was
a "reader" (qiri') of the Qur'an, active in early to mid-second cen-
tury Basra (exact death date unknown), said that when cUthman
b. cAffan ordered the canonical Codex to be written down people
wanted to omit the waw, but Ubayy objected and threatened to
fight for it and thus, it was retained.46
In spite of such "interpretative reading", to use J.
Wansbrough's terminology,47 both cAbbas (through a family line of
cAtiyya al-cAwfi) and Dahhak are reported to have held that this
verse referred to both ahl al-kitab and Muslims.48 Suddi, in turn, is
said to have held that the part of the verse which begins with "wa-l-
ladh/na" refers to the Muslims (lit., people of the qibla).49 And cAta'
is said to have transmitted a view similar to this latter one from Ibn
A clear expression of the two conflicting currents over the
applicability of this verse comes in the form of a reported debate
between Mucawiya and Abu Dharr, a debate which is said to have
determined the personal future of the latter. According to one tradi-
tion, when asked by Zayd b. Wahb about the reason for which he
was banished to al-Rabadha, Abu Dharr explained that it was his
IV, 176-8. Cf. also Nasafi, II, 124. For a unique view reported from al-Baqir (d.
114-8/732-6), see al-Qummi (d. 326/939), Tafsir, Najaf 1386/1966, I, 289.
Muqitil, I, 153(a).
Tabarsi, X, 53.
46 Suyfii, Durr, IV, 178-9, quoting Ibn al-Dirris.
For the view that Qur'anic "reading" is actually a matter of exegesis, see
his Qur'dnic Studies, Oxford 1977,
48 Tabari, XIV, 225; WaIhidi (d. 468/1075), Asbalb al-Nuzzll, Beirut n.d., p. 184;
Suyuti, Durr, Iv, 178, quoting Abui al-Shaykh (d. 369/979).
Tabari, XIV, 219; Suyiati, Durr, IV, 179, quoting Ibn Abi Hatim; Wihidi,
p. 183; Qurtubi, IV, 2963.
Wahidi, p. 184.
conflict with Mu'awiya over the applicability of Qur'an IX:34. We
specifically learn that when Abiu Dharr recited this verse, with its
warning against those who accumulated gold and silver from
among the Muslims (an implied reference to the Syrian governor,
Muc'wiya and his aristocratic Umayyad clan), Muc'wiya defended
himself by claiming that this verse was revealed only concerning
ahl-al-kitab. However, because Abui Dharr persisted in his criticism,
Muc'wiya complained to the Caliph, cUthman b. cAffan and the
latter banished the "rebellious Companion" to al-Rabadha. As for
the isndd of this tradition, we notice that its main reporter from
Zayd b. Wahb was Husayn b. cAbd al-Rahman (Kiifan, d.
136/753) from whom it was circulated in the late second century by
Warqa' (b. Umar, Kfifan, exact death date unknown), Hushaym
b. Bashir (Wasit, d. 183/799) and Ibn Idris (cAbd Allah ? , Kulfan,
Tabarl cites a similar tradition of
Dharr albeit without the
element of Zayd's enquiry. It was reported in a maqti' form by Abiu
Bishr (Jacfar b. Abi Wahshiyya/b. Iyas, Wasiti, d. 123-31/740-8)
and circulated from the latter by the link: Ibn Idris Ashcath (b.
Sacid, Basran, d. ca. 150/767) and Hisham (unidentified).52 From
Qurtubi we learn that the view associated with the name of
Muc'wiya was put forward by as late as al-Asamm (Abui al-cAbbas,
d. 346/957) implying that unbelievers too are required to comply
with the orders of Muslim sharica.ss Finally, Nasafi only says that
the verse may have referred to either ahl al-kitab or the Muslims.54
An Act of Cleansing the Guilt
Occasionally, other verses were also presented as urging repay-
ment of zakat or invoked by traditions including such urging. These
traditions were associated with the names of Ibn Masci'd, Ibn
cAbbas, Abil Hurayra, Shacbi, al-Baqir and Suddi concerning the
phrase "al-ladhina yabkhalzina" of Qurlin III: 180.55 Other tradi-
Mujahid, Tafsfr, Beirut n.d., I, 277 (where Warqa"s tradition does not state
Mucawiya's name and says instead: "then, a man said ..."; Tabari, XIV, 227-8;
Qummi, I, 52 (where no isnad was provided);
Wah.id!, p. 183; Qurtubi, IV, 2963.
Qurtubi, IV, 2963.
Nasafi, II, 124.
Ibn Maja (d. 275/888), Sunan, Cairo 1952, I, 568-9; Nasd'i (d. 303/915),
Sunan, Cairo 1987, V, 11-2; Tabarani (d. 360/970),
94 SULIMAN BASHEAR
tions, associated with the names of 'All and Ibn 'Umar, interpret
the word "al-ma'un" of Qur'an CVII:7 as zakct and sadaqa.56 And
similar isolated traditions connect Qur'an XLI: 7 and III:144 with
urging to pay zakdt and Abu Bakr's decision to fight against those
who refused to do so, respectively.57
Shafici (d. 204/819) notes Qur'an III:180, IX:34 and IX: 103 as
verses connected with ordaining the payment of zakdt, but does not
express any preference between them.58 From two fourth century
sources we uniquely learn that both cIrak b. Malik (Medinese, d.
101-5/719-23) and cUmar II held that Qur'an IX:34 was actually
abrogated by Qur'an IX: 103.59 Indeed, this latter verse is the one
most often cited as regulating the order to pay zakdt, a fact which
justifies a detailed examination of the exegetical and traditional
material on it.
To begin with, Qur'an IX: 103 orders the Prophet to extract
sadaqa from certain people in order to purify them of their guilt,
using the verbs tutahhiruhum wa-tuzakkfhim to denote such an aim.
The ones referred to by this verse are anonymously hinted at in the
preceding one, Qur'an IX: 102, as having committed bad deeds,
and the whole Qur'anic complex conveys the sense of sadaqa not as
charity but rather as a fine levied in order to purify from guilt.
Indeed, Razi, in his above-mentioned commentary on Qur'an
II:43, puts forward this notion as an alternative meaning of zakdt
by referring to Qur'an IX:103.60
The narratives often cited concerning the actual occasion on
which this verse was revealed, differ on the names and number of
those meant by it, as well as on the circumstances in which they
committed their sin, their repentance and related issues. The
1983, IX, 261-2; Baghawi (d. 516/1122), Sharh al-Sunna, Beirut 1983, V, 478;
Tabarsi, IV, 283.
56 Cf. 'Abd al-Razzaq (d. 211/826), Tafszr, Ms. Diir al-Kutub, Cairo, Taf-
sfr/242, 136(b); A. Mah.iyiri, Tafsfr Sufydn b. cUyayna (d. 198/813), Cairo 1983,
p. 349; Majlisi (d. 1111/1699), Bihir al-Anwar, Beirut 1983, XCIII, 29; Ibn
cAsakir, (d. 571/1175), Terikh, facs. ed., Amman 1988, IX, 693.
cAbd al-Razzaq, 125(b); Ibn cAsakir, III, 43; but compare with Tabari, VII,
251-60, where no such connection is made.
Shaficl, al-Umm, Beirut 1980, II, 3. Cf. also al-Shaykh al-$aduiq, Jamic al-
Akhbdr, lithog. ed. 1310/1892, p. 99.
Ibn Abi Hatim and Abil al-Shaykh, quoted by Suyuiti, Durr, IV, 179. Com-
pare, however, with Ibn Maja, I, 569-70, where a similar notion was associated
rather with the name of Ibn cUmar.
number of sinners varies between one and ten according to the dif-
ferent traditions which relate the whole affair, with the name of
Abfi Lubaba, Marwan b. cAbd al-Mundhir al-Ansdri often said to
have been the central figure in it. From Ibn CAbbas,
Qatada, Zuhri (d. 124/741) and Ibn Zayd (d. 182/798), we learn
that the sinners concerned were those who did not join the Prophet
for the campaign of Tabuik and that they were ten in
number. Zayd b. Aslam (Ibn Zayd's father, Medinese, d.
136/753), however, says that their number was eight. Qatada, in
turn, is reported to have also advocated the number of four, while
to others were attributed the views that the actual number was
variably six, five, three or only one person, Abui LubTba.6' But the
element of Tabilk does not seem to have stuck well into this nar-
rative before the mid-second century Muqatil, Ibn Zayd and some
figures of the generation which reported from the "students" of Ibn
cAbbas. More often than not we are merely told that the verse was
revealed concerning Abui Lubaba and his associates (nazalat ft abf
lubdba wa-ashdbihd) who tied themselves to the pillar (sdriya) of the
mosque as a sign of repentence, and were untied by the Prophet
only when Qurc'n IX: 102 was revealed. Then they came to the
Prophet offering him their property by which they hoped he would
purify their sin. However, the Prophet, we are told, refused to take
it until Qur'an IX: 103 was revealed.
Mujahid is cited as holding that the affair of Abul Lubaba's guilt
and repentance occurred rather when he informed Banfi Qurayza,
who were besieged by the Prophet, that they were about to be
executed.62 And as cited by Bayhaqi, Sacid b. al-Musayyib (d. 93-
100/711-8) was reported to have combined the two occasions in
which Abfu Lubaba committed such sin, i.e., Tabuik and Banfi
Qurayza, in one tradition.63 However, a cross-examination of a few
other sources reveals some serious gaps in connecting the Banui
Qurayza affair with the verse under consideration. Muqatil, for
example, records the treacherous behaviour of Abui Lubaba in the
Cf. Muqatil, I, 159(b); 'Abd al-Razzaq, 53(b); Tabarl, XIV, 454-6; Wahidi,
p. 195; Ibn cArabi, II, 1010; Razi, IV, 507; Qurtubi, IV, 3081; Nasafi, II, 143;
Abul Hayyan (d. 754/1353), al-Bahr al-Muh4t, Cairo 1328/1910, V, 94; Suyfiti,
Durr, IV, 275, quoting Tabari, Ibn al-Mundhir (d. 318/930), Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn
Wardawayh (d. 410/1019) and Bayhaqi's (d. 458/1065) Dald'il al-Nubuwwa.
Qurtubi, IV, 3081; Abui Hayyan, V, 94.
Quoted by Suyfiti, Durr, IV, 276.
96 SULIMAN BASHEAR
Affair of Banui Qurayza in his commentary on Qur'an VIII:27 and
does not mention the Prophet's taking of sadaqa out of his property
on that occasion.64 Qummi, in turn, cites a tradition of al-Baqir
which claims that Qur'an IX: 103 was indeed revealed when Abfu
Lubaba repented following the affair with Banui Qurayza and that
he offered all of his property to the Prophet, but the latter took only
one third of it.65 But the same notion of extracting only one third
of Abui Lubaba's property on that occasion was forwarded by an
anonymous tradition cited in Wahidi's commentary on Qur'an
VIII:27.66 As for the Sira compilation of Ibn Hisham (d. 213-8/828-
33), we notice that the tradition of Ibn Ishaq (d. 150/767) does not
mention the revelation of either verse or the extraction of sadaqa on
Abiu Lubaba's property following the affair of Banui Qurayza. Here
Ibn Hisham resorts to hadith sources on the matter. But note that
on the one hand he cites a tradition with the isndd: Sufyan b.
CUyayna (d. 198/813)
Khalid (d. 146/763)
cAbd Allah b. Abi Qatada (Medinese, d. 99/717), which says that
it was Qur'an VIII:27 that was revealed on that occasion. On the
other hand, Ibn Hisham quotes unspecified hadfth scholars (bacd ahl
al-'ilm) who say that Qur'an IX: 102 was revealed concerning Abui
Lubaba's repentance, but fails to mention the extraction of any
sadaqa from his property on that occasion.67
The legal roots and implications of these discrepancies are worth
noting. They can be gauged from the way Malik b. Anas (d.
179/795) is reported to have used the tradition on the Prophet's
extraction of one third of Abul Lubaba's property. For, as noted by
Ibn cArabi and Qurtubi, this tradition was reported from Malik by
Ashhab (b. CAbd al-cAzlz, d. 204/819), Ibn al-Qasim (CAbd al-
Rahman, d. 191/806) and cAbd Allah b. Wahb (d. 197/812), and
on its basis the Maliki legal school ruled to extract one third of one's
property as a sadaqa. As against this, the Shafici and Hanafi rites
put forward a tradition according to which the Prophet told another
repenter, Kacb b. Malik, to keep an unspecified amount of his pro-
perty and, hence, they contradicted the ruling concerning the
extraction of one third. Needless to say, from the way the whole
Muqatil, I, 143(b).
Qummli, I, 303-4.
WIidi, pp. 175-6.
issue was tackled by Ibn 'Arab! in particular, it is clear that what
remained for Muslim scholars was to argue whether the Abui
Lubaba tradition was a sahTh one.68
Probably more important from the point of view of the develop-
ment of zakdt, was the question whether Qur'an IX: 103 was to be
considered as the verse which ordained it as the Muslim regular
duty or just a sadaqa of repentance (al-kaffdra) levied specifically
from the sinners concerned. The information provided by our
to 'Ikrima and
Juwaybir (d. 140-50/757-67)
cAbbas as holding the former view while the latter was associated
with the name of Hasan al-Basri.69 We are also told that Malik
tended to accept this latter view which has some implications con-
cerning the refusal by certain Bedouin tribes of the regulation of
zakdt on its basis and their claim that this was a particular case of
levying sadaqa personally by the Prophet from those who sinned.70
To this last point we shall come back in the section on the ridda
(apostasy). One must note here that the position of the exegetes (ahl
and most legal scholars (al-fuqah/d) that this verse implied
the ordaining of regular zakdt upon the Muslims, had to face the
more general meaning implied by it, i.e. that the aim of zakatlsadaqa
was the purification of sins. And this difficulty is clearly reflected
in the variant reading of tutahhirhumltathuruhum in reference to
either the Prophet or to the sadaqa itself as the purifier of sins.71
Also noteworthy is the second part of verse IX: 103 in which the
Prophet was ordered to pray for those who pay the sadaqa (wa-salli
calayhim inna saldtaka sakanun lahum). Ibn Qutayba (d. 276/889)
understands prayer here as supplication (ducdY).72 From the
exegetical commentaries on this verse we learn that whenever
zakdtlsadaqa was paid, the Prophet prayed for the cleans-
ing/forgiveness of the donor's sins. In the words of Tabari, what
was meant by it was that "your (= Muhammad's) supplication
and request for their forgiveness is tranquillity (tuma'nina) to them
Cf. Ibn 'Arab!, II, 1011; Tabarsi, X, 134; Qurtubi, IV, 3081.
Razi, IV, 507-8; Qurtubi, IV, 3082.
Qurtubi, IV, 3083.
(d. 311/923), Maceinfal-Qur'an wa-ICribuhu, Beirut 1988, II, 467; Ibn
cArabi, II, 1010; Tabarsi, X, 134; Razi, IV, 508-9; Nasafi, II, 144; Abuf Hayyan,
V, 95; Baydawi, I, 400.
Ibn Qutayba, Gharfb al-Hadith, Beirut 1988, I, 15.
98 SULIMAN BASHEAR
that God has forgiven them and accepted their repentance" (inna
du'daaka wa- stighfdraka tuma'ninatun lahum bi-anna i-ldha qad 'afd
'anhum wa-qabila tawbatahum). For this he relies on a tradition of Ibn
cAbbas (from the family line of cAtiyya al-cAwfi) which interprets
wa-salli calayhim" as "request on their behalf for forgiveness of the
sins which they committed." The same was attributed to Ibn
cAbbas by IbnJurayj (d. 150/767) as well as reported from Dahhak
and forwarded by Muqatil.73 And Abui cUbayda, Ibn Qutayba,
Zajjaj and some later scholars understand "prayer" in this case as
supplication (ducdY), mercy (rahma) and forgiveness (maghfira).74
Clear support for this notion comes from the hadith genre in the
form of a widely circulated tradition associated with the name of the
Companion cAbd Allah b. Abi Awfa. It attributes to the latter the
saying that the Prophet used to pray for people from whom they
brought their sadaqdt and that once he made such a prayer on behalf
of cAbd Allah's father, Abuf Awfa.75 From one source we uniquely
learn that the Companion Bashir b. al-Khasasiya from the tribe of
Saduis advised a certain relative of his, named Dalsam (possibly
Daysam al-Sadiisi) to ask the collectors of sadaqa to pray for him as
stated in Qur'an IX: 103 explaining that this would safeguard
against ill treatment by the latter.76 However, the isndd information
and certain variations in the tradition of Ibn Abi Awfa provides a
better ground for dating. From such information one can easily
conclude that the one responsible for circulating this latter tradition
Tabari, XIV, 454-6; Suyuit1, Durr, IV, 281, quoting Ibn Abi
Muqatil, I, 159(b).
Abiu 'Ubayda (d. 210/825), Majdz al-Qur'an, Cairo 1988, I, 268; Ibn
Qutayba, Ta'wil Mushkil al-Qur'dn, Cairo 1973, pp. 460-1; idem, Tafstr GharTb al-
Qur'dn, Beirut 1978, p. 192; Zajjaj, II, 467; Baghawi, Sharh, V, 486;
Zamakhshari, II, 170-1.
Tayalisi (d. 204/819), Musnad, Beirut 1406/1985, p. 110; CAbd al-Razzaq (d.
211/826), Musannaf, Beirut 1983, IV, 58; Ibn Hanbal (d. 241/855), Musnad, Cairo
1313/1895, IV, 353, 355, 381, 383; Bukhri- (d. 254/868), $aht.h, Beirut 1981, II,
136; Muslim (d. 261/874), $aih4, Beirut n.d., III, 121; Ibn Maja (d. 275/888),
Sunan, Cairo 1952, I, 572; Ibn Qutayba, Mushkil, p. 461; Nasa7i (d. 303/915),
Sunan, Cairo 1987, V, 31; Ibn al-Jariud (d. 307/919), al-Muntaqa Min al-Sunan,
Beirut 1987, p. 150; Tabarani (d. 360/970), al-Mujam al-Kabfr, Baghdad 1983,
XVIII, 10; Bayhaql (d. 458/1065), al-Sunan al-Kubra, Beirut 1986, IV, 157;
Baghawl, Sharh, V, 485; Tabarsi, X, 133-4; Ibn Hajar (d. 852/1448), Buluigh al-
Mardm, Beirut 1982, p. 145; Suyu-ti, Durr, IV, 281, quoting Ibn Abi Shayba (d.
235/849), Bukharl, Muslim, Ibn Maja, Abui Dawiud, Nasa'i, Ibn al-Mundhir (d.
318/930) and Ibn Mardawayh (d. 410/1019).
76 Suyiiti, Durr, IV, 282, quoting Ibn Mardawayh and al-Baru-di's Marijfat
was the mid-second century ShuCba b.
al-Hajiaj (d. 160/776). And
this is indirectly supported by an isolated report cited by the early
cAbd al-Razzaq which seemingly aimed to contradict the notion of
supplication made by the collector on behalf of the payer of sadaqa.
According to it, Ibn Jurayj (d. 150/767) asked 'Ata' (b. Abi
Rabah?, d. 114/732) whether he had heard of any such supplication
being made in accordance with Qur'an IX: 103, and the latter's
answer was in the negative.77 However, cAbd al-Razzaq's contem-
porary, ShMfici, is quoted as having stood in favour of making such
supplication and even as developing a certain formula of it which
conveys a trace of the element of purification, though the element
of guilt committed by the payer is not mentioned. "May God", it
says, "recompense you for what you have given, make it a purifier,
and bless what you have kept" (uhibbu an yaqula l-wdlz cinda akhdhi
s-sadaqatz: ajaraka l-ldhu ft-md actayta
tuhu-ran wa-baraka laka
The Ridda Context and the Abui Bakr-cUmar I Controversy
In an isolated tradition bearing the name of the Companion Abui
Umama al-Bahili, Thaclaba b. Habib al-Ansari is said to have
refused to abide by Qur'an IX: 103 and, when asked by the Prophet
to pay sadaqa, considered it as equal tojizya, saying: "by God, this
is but a sister to jizya" (wa-l-ldhi mad hddhihi illd ukhayyatu l-jizya).79
However, what seems to be a better reflection of cases of refusal to
pay zakat and of considering it as a fine (maghram) is Qur'an IX:98
which is wholly dedicated to blaming certain Bedouins for that.
One notices that most commentaries understand the payment
referred to by this verse as the requested sadaqa saying that
Bedouins used to pay it hypocritically and fearfully (riya'an wa-
taqiyyatan) without believing in any recompensation (thawdb) by it
and hoping that the Muslim rule (ghalaba) would pass away. In
some sources, the notion is forwarded that the payment meant here
is aimed also for the purpose of jihd.d80 From other ones we learn
'Abd al-Razzaq, Musannaf, IV, 57.
Zamakhsharl, II, 170-1; cf. also Bayhaql, Sunan, IV, 157; Tabarsi, X, 133-4.
Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-Kabfr, VIII, 260-1.
Cf. Muqatil, I, 158(b); Fayr-azabadi (d. 817/1414), Tanwfr al-Miqbas Min
Tafsfr Ibn CAbbds, Beirut n.d., p. 127; Ibn Qutayba, Tafsfr, p. 191; Zamakhshari,
II, 168; Tabarsi, X, 124-5; Qurtubi, IV, 3073; Nasafi, II, 142; Baydawi, I, 399.
100 SULIMAN BASHEAR
that Dahhak and Suddi understood the requested payment as sada-
qdt extracted from properties or what is spent "in the way of God"
(fi sabfli 1-ldhi).81 But probably more revealing is the notion for-
warded by Ibn Zayd that the Bedouins referred to used to make
such payment hypocritically in order to avoid being raided and
fought against and, hence, considered their spending as a fine
(maghram).82 Farra' (d. 207/822) and
are quoted as saying
that the hypocritic Bedouins used at the same time to wish that the
Muslims and their Prophet die or be killed in order to be freed of
the payment which they considered merely as a fine without any
recompensation.83 And warning against such an attitude comes in
the form of two unique prophetical traditions, though the ones
referred to by them are not explicitly said to be Bedouins. In one,
associated with the name of Abui Hurayra, the Prophet urges
people not to forget the recompensation of zakdt which, he explains,
is earned by asking God to consider it as booty (maghnam), not a fine
(maghram).84 The second, attributed to the Prophet through a family
line of Ja'far al-Sadiq (d. 148/765) says that considering zakdt as a
fine is one of the ominous signs for the end of times (ld taqiimu s-
saCatu hatta takuina ... z-zakdtu maghraman).85
But the widest coverage of cases of Bedouin tribes who refused
to pay zakdt was traditionally related to the period of the ridda wars
after the Prophet's death. This led several western scholars, like
Wellhausen, Caetani, Brockelmann and others to emphasize the
socio-political and economic revolt of these wars, belittle their
religious motives and even question the very applicability of the
term "apostasy" to them.86 Others, like Wensinck and Kister,
doubted the authenticity of the traditional reports especially on the
positions attributed to Abui Bakr and 'Umar I, while they con-
sidered them as indicating that the obligation of paying zakdt to
Abuf al-Shaykh and Ibn AbiI Hatim, quoted by Suyati, Durr, IV, 267.
Tabari, XIV, 431; Suyu-ti, Durr, IV, 267, quoting Ibn Abi Hatim.
Quoted by Tabarsi, X, 124-5.
84 Ibn 'Asakir, VII, 452.
Majlisi, XCIII, 28.
J. Wellhausen, Das Arabische Reich und Sein Sturz, repr. Berlin, 1960, pp. 14-5;
C. Brockelmann, History of the Islamic Peoples, N.Y. 1947, pp. 45-6. For Caetani's
view, see A.J. Wensinck, Muslim Creed, Leiden 1932, p. 12. See also B. Lewis, The
Arabs in History, London 1958, p. 51; M.A. Sha'ban, Islamic History, a New Inter-
pretation, Cambridge 1971, pp. 19-23; E. Shoufani, Al-Ridda and the Muslim Con-
quest of Arabia, Beirut 1972, pp. 10-47, 71-106.
the rulers was questioned as late as the second century A. H., but
still emphasized the socio-economic and political rather than
theological motives behind the ridda wars.87 Of the scholars who
highlighted the religious aspects of the ridda wars, mention may be
made of M.W. Watt and E. Landau-Tasseron, though the former
did so because he accepted the traditional Muslim view on the
All this justifies a further examination of the reports on the
motives for the refusal to pay zakdt after the Prophet's death as well
as other related issues. One may recall here the information, briefly
noted above,89 that Malik b. Anas tended to accept the rationale for
such refusal during Abui Bakr's reign, namely that the imperative
verb khudh of Qur'an IX: 103 applied personally to the Prophet and
that, since the latter was the only one empowered by God to levy
zakdt in return for making the prayer and invocation to purify the
payers, such a condition ceased to exist with his death; hence, the
duty to pay zakdt to his successor does not apply. Also of importance
is the fact, noted by Kister, that, following Shafici, some scholars
differentiated between two different kinds of murtaddiin: those who
renounced Islam completely and followed the "false prophets",
and those who adhered to Islam, were ready to perform prayer but
refused only to pay zakdt, saying that, according to Qur'an IX: 103,
only the Prophet was empowered to purify them in return. 90
Clearly, as Kister rightly notes, the question at stake, at least for
the Shica, was recognizing Abiu Bakr's authority after the Prophet,
a fact testified by a poetical verse usually cited in this context and
alternatively attributed to al-Hutay'a, his brother, al-Khutayl b.
Aws, Haritha b. Suraqa al-Kindi and possibly others
Wensinck, pp. 13-4; M.A. Kister, "... illa bi-haqqihi ....", Jerusalem Studies
in Arabic and Islam, 5 (1984), 51-2.
E. Landau-Tasseron, Aspects of the Ridda Wars, unpublished Ph.D. disserta-
tion, the Hebrew University ofJerusalem, 1981, pp. 3-4; W.M. Watt, Muhammad
at Medina, Oxford 1956, pp. 147-8.
See note 70, above.
Kister, pp. 35-6. Cf. Shafili, al-Umm, Cairo 1322/1904, IV, 135; al-Busti (d.
388/998), Mac'lim al-Sunan, Halab 1933, II, 5-6; Ibn cArabi, II, 1006-7; Ibn Abi
al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Baldgha, Cairo 1963, XVII, 210; Baghawi, Shark, V, 491;
Qurtubi, IV, 3083; Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1372) al-Biddya wa-l-Nihdya, Cairo 1932,
VI, 311. See also Ibn Actham al-Kilfi (d. 214/829), Kitub al-Futiih, Beirut 1986,
I, 14, where such differentiation is made without mentioning Qur'an IX: 103.
102 SULIMAN BASHEAR
too.9' It is worth noting that, as cited by one source in a report car-
ried by a clear Syrian line of isndd, this verse was placed in the con-
text of Abui Bakr's dispatch of Khalid b. al-Walid to reinforce the
Muslim forces of occupation in Syria.92 But it is probably more
important to note, as E. Landau-Tasseron has, that there is nothing
in the verse which implies that only the political and not the
religious authority of Abui Bakr was challenged. Actually, one verse
of the poem could be taken to imply that the rebels considered the
prayer of purification which they expected in return "as sweet or
even sweeter for them than dates" (wa-inna l-ladhi sacaliikumu fa-
manaCtumu, la-ka-t-tamri aw ahld ladayhim mina t-tamri).
Another important element which figures centrally in the reports
on the refusal to pay zakat by the ridda people was cUmar's initial
opposition to Abui Bakr's decision to fight them in spite of the fact
that they were ready to profess the testimony of faith (shahada) and
perform prayer. But before conducting a detailed examination of
these reports note must be made of a few traditions which attribute
to cUmar a certain opposition to the enforcement of paying the
zakdt also during the Prophet's lifetime. They are unusually cited
in the context of interpreting the above-mentioned Qur'an IX:34
and bear the names of the Companions Ibn cAbbas and Thawban
as well as that of the Successor Salim b. Abi al-Jacd (d. 97-101/715-
9). From Ibn cAbbas we hear through the link: Jacfar b. Iyas (Abuf
We are told that when
IX:34 was revealed, people complained that they could leave
nothing for their children to inherit. cUmar spoke on their behalf
and the Prophet explained that zakdt was ordained so that the
remainder of their property be purified (li-yalfba bihd amwdlukum)
Kister, pp. 38-40, notes 15, 16, 19. 20. This verse usually opens with saying:
ataCnd rasuila 1-lihi ma kdna baynand, fa-yd la-cibddi 1-lahi ma- li-abi bakri.
For the variant wording and attribution of it, see al-Hutay'a, Dfwan, Cairo 1958,
pp. 329-30; Shaficl, IV, 134; Ibn Actham, I, 49; al-Busti, II, 4; al-Baghdadl,
Khizdnat al-Adab, Cairo 1967, II, 408, quoting Ibn Qutayba; Ibn cAbd al-Barr, al-
Tamhfd, Rabat 1974, IV, 232; al-Mawardi, al-Ahkdm al-Sultdniyya, Cairo
1282/1880, pp. 54-5; Ibn Abi al-Hadid, XVII, 211-2; Yaqut, Mu jam al-Bulddn,
Leipzig 1867, II, 286-7; Ibn Kathir, VI, 313. Cf. also the sources cited by Kister,
p. 35, n. 9, and E. Landau-Tasseron, pp. 131-2, n. 113.
92 Bayhaqi (d. 458/1065), al-Sunan al-Kubrd, Beirut 1986, VIII, 178, the full line
of isnad being: ... Yacquib b. Sufyan (al-Fasawl, d. 277/987) - Abiu al-Yaman al-
Hakam b. Nafic (Hims, d. 211-2/826-7) - Safwdn b. cAmr (Himsi, d. 155/771)
cAbd al-Rahman b. Jubayr b. Nufayr (d. 118/736).
and that the properties which they leave behind were safeguarded
by the laws of inheritance (al-mawdrfth).93
The Thawban and Salim b. Abi al-JaCd traditions are almost
identical in content. They do not explicitly refer to zakdt and say
only that when this verse was revealed people complained by
wondering what kind of property they were allowed to acquire. We
are also told that, in answer to 'Umar's enquiry the Prophet said
that the best kind of property is "a tongue to admonish God, a
heart to thank Him, and a good/believing wife to help one in the
matters of his religion. " A close look at the isndd of these traditions
reveals that they were basically transmitted from Salim and that the
chain of Thawban was added to the line only in some variants
reported from Salim by Mansuir b. al-Mu'tamir (d. 132/749), 'Amr
b. Murra (d. 116-8/734-6) and a certain Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah
al-Muradi. Note also that when the tradition is reported from Man-
suir and CAmr by either Thawri (d. 161/777) or al-ACmash
(Sulayman b. Mihran, d. 145-8/762-5), then the isndd line ends
with Salim b. Abi al-JaCd.94
Coming back to 'Umar's opposition to Abu Bakr during the ridda
wars, one notes that it usually takes the form of attributing to the
Prophet the saying that he was ordered to fight people until they
profess that there was no God but Allah, and that from the moment
they pronounce such a statement, their blood and properties would
be safeguarded except for the rights due on them, with God being
the only one to whom they should account (umirtu an uqdtila l-ndsa
hattdyaquluz la ildha illd 1-ldh, fa-idha qdliiha casamui minni dimadahum wa-
amwdlahum illd bi-haqqihal wa-4hisdbuhum (ald 1-ldh). As against this,
Abu Bakr is usually quoted as swearing to fight against those who
distinguish between prayer and zakdt, the latter being the right due
out of property, even if it was only a camel's rope which they used
to pay to the Prophet (wa-l-ldhi la-uqdtilanna man farraqa bayna l-saldti
wa-l-zakdti, fa-inna l-zakdta haqqu 1-mdli, wa-l-ldhi law manaCuini ciqdlan
kdnu yu 'addtinahu ild rasuili 1-ldhi la-qdtaltuhum calayhz).
Roughly speaking, such reports were attributed to Anas, Ibn
cUmar, AbM Hurayra, Jabir and other Companions as well as
Bayhaqi, ShuCab al-Iman, Beirut 1990, III, 194; Qurtubi, IV, 2965, quoting
Abu Dawuid (d. 275/888).
Thawrl, Tafsir, Beirut 1983, p. 123; Ibn Hanbal (d. 241/855), Musnad, Cairo
1313/1895, V, 278, 282; Tabari, XIV, 220-3; WMhidi, p. 184; Tabarsi, X, 53;
Suyiti-, Durr, IV, 176-8.
104 SULIMAN BASHEAR
reported from Successors in mursal forms and come within different
contexts and variations. The ones relating 'Umar's position usually
conclude with his saying that he was convinced by Abui Bakr.
Noting this latter kind of report, Wensinck generally expressed the
view that "they were prepared in later times with a view to ques-
tions that were then urgent."95 To this, Kister rightly adds the
observation that "the precedent of Abui Bakr had to serve as an
example for dealing with similar cases of revolt in the contemporary
Muslim Empire. " 96 And Landau-Tasseron suggests that those who
justified wars against those who refused to pay alms, not only
during the reign of Abui Bakr but also in later times, had to identify
them as murtaddiin who are worse than just infidels. On the other
hand, she says, "the fact that the position of Abui Bakr needed
justification points to some objections not only contemporaneous to
it but also in later times when the (relevant) traditions
crystallized. "97 In order to elaborate further on dating what seems
to be a process of turning the payment of zakdt into an obligation,
but without going into further details of the ridda wars themselves,
a closer examination of the relevant reports is unavoidable.
To begin with, according to the tradition associated with the
name of Ibn 'Umar, the Prophet says that he was ordered to fight
against people until they not only profess the two testimonies of
faith but also perform prayer and pay zakdt (4attdyashhadiu ... wa-
yuqfmu- 1-saldta wa-yu tk 1-zakdta ...). Note also that this tradition
brings the Prophet's statement in its own right, i.e. without the
context of Abuf Bakr's policy, cUmar's intervention, or the ridda
wars in the first place.98
According to the tradition of Anas, the conditions for not fighting
were stated to be professing the two shahddas, facing the qibla in their
prayer and eating meat slaughtered according to Muslim law.
There is no doubt that this tradition belongs to a later stage of
establishing certain criteria concerning who is a believer whom
Muslims should not fight and does not relate to zakdt in particular.
95 Wensinck, p. 14.
Kister, p. 38.
Landau-Tasseron, p. 15.
BukhMri, I, 11-2; Muslim, I, 39; Muhammad b. Nasr al-Marwazi (d.
294/906), TaCz4m Qadr al-Saldt, Medina 1406/1985, I, 89-95; al-Busti, II, 10-11;
Ibn Manda (d. 395/1004), Kitdb al-Imdn, Beirut 1985, I, 165-6; Baghawi, Sharlh,
Note also that it was transmitted exclusively by the link: Ibn al-
paring the stylistic variations in it shows that its literary form was
the product of the generation which circulated it from Ibn al-
Mubarak.99 One must add that, as such, this tradition does not
mention the involvement of cUmar or the ridda context. And
though this context is mentioned by an isolated variant of it
transmitted from Anas by the link: Macmar b. Rashid (d. 153/770)
Zuhri (d. 124/741), the comment of the traditionist Ibn Abi
Hatim (d. 327/839) leaves no doubt that this was a confused
moulding with another tradition associated with the name of Abui
Hurayra, the circulation of which was made through Zuhri too.100
No mention of cUmar's involvement, the ridda context or any
conditions apart from the shahdda was made by less circulated tradi-
tions associated with the names of the Companions Abui Bakr, Jabir
b. cAbd Allah, Jartir al-Bajall, Sahl b. Sacd, Samura b. Jundab, Ibn
cAbbas, Abui Malik al-Ashcari, al-Nucman b. BashIr, Mucadh b.
Jabal, a certain cousin of a man from Balqin and a mursal report
of Ibrahim al-Nakhaci (d. 96/714),101 and the same can be noted for
most variants of the widely circulated tradition of Abut Hurayra,
transmitted from him by Sacid b. al-Musayyib (d. 93-100/711-8),
Abiu Salama b. cAbd al-Rahman (d. 94-104/712-22), Abiu Salih
(Dhakwan al-Samman, d. 101/719), al-Hasan (al-Basr1 ?), Ham-
mam b. Munabbih (d. 132/749), al-Acraj (cAbd al-Rahman b.
Hurmuz, d. 110-17/728-35), cAbd al-Rahman b. Abi cAmra (death
date unknown), cAbd al-Rahman b. Yacqfib al-Juhani (death date
Cf. Ibn al-Mubarak, Musnad, Riyad 1987, p. 147; Ibn Hanbal, III, 199, 224-
5; Tirmidhi (d. 279/892), Cairo 1934, X, 71-4; Marwazi, ibid.; al-BustY, ibid.,
quoting Abfu Dawuid; Baghawl, Sharh, I, 69; Abu Nasr al-Ytindrti (comp. in
521/1127), Hadtth, Ms. Zahiriyya, Daamascus, majmzuc/24, p. 91; Haythami (d.
807/1404), Majmac al-Zawa'id, Cairo and Beirut 1987, I, 26; quoting Tabarani's
al-Mu'jam al-Awsat with additional variations.
100 Ibn Abi Hatim, cIlal al-Hadtth, Beirut 1985, II, 152-3, 159-60, quoting Abu-
Zurca (al-Rdzi, d. 264/878). Cf. also Bayhaql, Sunan, VIII, 177.
101 Muslim, I, 40; Ibn Maja, II, 1295; Marwazi, Tacz4m, I, 95 (cf. also his al-
Sunna, Beirut 1988, pp. 49-50, where, owing to an obvious textual confusion, one
is led to understand that the ones meant by this statement are the Jews and Chris-
tians); Tabarani, al-Mujam al-Kabir, VI, 132; VIII, 382; XI, 201; Abul TThir al-
Dhuhall (d. 367/977), IHadtth, Kuweit 1986, pp. 23-4; Bayhaqi, Sunan, VIII,
Haythami, I, 25-6, quoting Tabarani's al-Mu5am al-Kabir and al-Mujam al-Awsat
and Bazzar's (d. 292/904) Musnad. According to the mursal report of al-Nakhac1,
Abui Bakr stated his position invoking Qur'an III:144. See for it Ibn Abi Shayba
(d. 235/849), Mu.yannaf, Bombay 1970, III, 114.
106 SULIMAN BASHEAR
unknown) and father of Abiu al-CAnbas (Kathir b. CUbayd, death
date unknown).102 Note also that the reporter of the tradition of
b. Mihran, d.
145-8/762-5) who reported the same from Abui Sufyan (Talha b.
Nafic al-Wasiti, death date unknown) - Jabir. And the fact that
Sacid b. al-Musayyib's transmission from Abu Hurayra was
reported by Zuhri can also be suggestive concerning the dating of
this tradition. For, this is basically different from another variant
of a tradition of Abui Hurayra which Zuhri reports from cUbayd
Allah b. cAbd Allah b. cUtba b. Masciid (d. 92-9/710-7) where the
Prophet's statement is said to have been invoked by cUmar in the
context of his controversy with Abui Bakr over fighting against the
All in all, then, attributing such controversy to Abiu Bakr and
cUmar in the context of the ridda is made only by this last variant
of Zuhri's tradition which actually opens with the introductory
note: "when the Prophet died and Abui Bakr came and the Arabs
apostasized ..." etc.. And from Zhuri it was widely circulated by
several mid-second century figures like cUqayl b. Khalid al-
Umawi, Yahya b. Sacid al-Ansari, Muhammad b. al-Walid al-
Zubaydi, Shucayb b. Abi Hamza, cAbd al-Rahman b. Khalid b.
Musafir, Muhammad b. Hadar (Khidr), Sulayman b. Kathir, the
biographer Muhammad b. Ishaq, Yu-nus b. Yazid al-Ayli and
Muhammad b. AbI Hafsa. Comparing the slight variation in its
wording suggests that its wide circulation was the product of efforts
by people who reported it from this generation in the second half
of the second century. Note also that as reported from Zuhri by
Macmar b. Rashid, this tradition is presented as a mursal one of
cUbayd Allah b. cAbd Allah b. cUtba; when reported by Sufyan b.
cUyayna (d. 198/813) it is even a mursal of Zuhri himself; and when
reported by Sufyan b. al-Husayn (d. ca. 170/786) it is not clear
whether it included the element of the ridda.103
Muslim, I, 38-9; Ibn Maja, II, 1295; Tirmidhi, X, 68-9; Abui al-Fawdris
al-Zaynabi, Amdlf, Ms. Zahiriyya, Damascus, majmuzi/35, p. 94; Marwazi,
Tacz4m, I, 89-95; Tabarani, al-Mu?am al-Awsat, Riyad 1986, II, 158-9; Ibn
Manda, I, 508; Tammam al-Razi (d. 414/1023), Fawd'id, Beirut 1989, I, 84-6;
Bayhaql, Sunan, I, 38-9, 106; III, 186; IV, 338; VIII, 177, 196, 202; Baghawl,
Sharh, I, 65-6.
103 Cf. Ibn Hanbal, I, 11, 19, 35-6; Bukharl, II, 109-10; Muslim, I, 38; Tir-
midhi, X, 70-1; Nasali (d. 303/915), Sunan, Cairo 1987, V, 14-5; al-Busti, II, 2;
Ibn Manda, I, 164-6, 382; Bayhaqi, Sunan, I, 188; VIII, 176-8.
In a few sources, the Abud Bakr-'Umar controversy is brought
either without sufficient traditional information or in a form imply-
ing a discourse about the position of CUmar.104 Qatada was once
reported by Sacid b. Abi cAruiba (d. 156-7/772-3) as placing Abut
Bakr's insistence on fighting against people who refused to pay
zakdt within the context of interpreting Qur'an V:54. However,
though this report hints at a certain opposition to Abut Bakr, it does
not specify cUmar or any other companion for it.105 In another uni-
que report cited by al-Jahiz (d. 255/868), the opposition to Abu
Bakr by invoking the above-mentioned prophetical statement is
said to have come from the Ansar and Muhajiru-n.'06 From a family
report of Yahya b. Yacmar/Yacmur, we learn that opposition to
Abut Bakr was shared by all the Companions of the Prophet except
cAll who encouraged him to enforce the payment of zakdt.'07
Various elements of the position of Abui Bakr as well as opposi-
tion to him casually occur in a few "historical" reports on the ridda.
An isolated one, cited by Ibn Actham, attributes such opposition to
the Companion AbM Ayyub al-Ansari in the context of the ridda of
Banut Kinda under al-Ashcath b. Qays. Needless to note that at the
center of this report stands Abui Bakr's persistence in his position
on fighting against those who refused to pay "even a camel's rope
which they used to pay to the Prophet''.108
Two similar narratives on the ridda of Banut Kinda were cited by
Tabari, Ibn cAsakir and other sources. One of them bears the name
of Ibn Ishaq (from cAbd Allah b. Abi Bakr, d. 130-5/747-52), and
the other is carried by an isndd ending with Ibrahim al-Nakhaci.109
We notice that in this latter report AbM Bakr refused to accept Banut
Kinda's willingness to pray without payment of zakdt, insisted on
Shafici, al-Umm, IV, 134; Ibn Hibban, al-Stra al-Nabawiyya wa-Akhbadr al-
Khulafd', Beirut 1987, p. 430; Mawardi, al-Ahkdm al-Sultaniyya, Cairo 1298/1880,
pp. 54-5; Ibn 'Arabi, al-CAwdsim Min al-Qawdsim, Cairo 1408/1987, pp. 63-4; Ibn
Kathir, al-Biddya wa-l-Nihdya, Cairo 1932, VI, 311; Dhahabi, Tdrikh al-Isldm,
Beirut 1987, III, 27; al-Muhibb al-Tabari, al-Ryadd al-Nadira, Cairo 1970, I, 175;
Suyiti-, Tdrikh al-Khulafd', Beirut 1986, pp. 84-6. Note that the phrase usually
applied here "wa-can 'umara" could also be taken to mean "and about 'Umar".
Sunan, VIII, 177-8.
Al-Jahiz, al-cUthmanziyya, Cairo 1955, pp. 81-2.
Al-Muhibb al-Tabari, 1, 175-6.
Ibh Actham, I, 58. For the other cases of refusal to pay zakdt by Qurra b.
Hubayra al-Qushayrl and Malik b. Nuwayra al-Tamimi, see his I, 23, 25-6.
Tabarl, Tdrikh, Beirut 1967, III, 339; Ibn cAsakir, III, 43; Majlisi (d.
1111/1699), Bihalr al-Anwair, Beirut 1983, XXVIII, 11, quoting TUisi's Amdlf.
108 SULIMAN BASHEAR
waging jihdd against anyone who refuses to pay even a camel's
rope, and invoked Qur'an III:144 on that occasion.
The reports on the refusal of Hadramawt to pay zakat to Abui
Bakr bear the names of Sayf b. 'Umar (d. 180/796), Yuinus b.
Bukayr (d. 199/814) and Waqidi (d. 207/822). What is common
between them all is the element of Abfi Bakr's insistence on pay-
ment of zakdt. However, they sharply differ on the issues of opposi-
tion to him, the leaders of the rebels, the involvement of Baniu
Kinda, the above-mentioned poetical verses on disobedience to
Abui Bakr and other minor details."10
The refusal of Banui Tamim and Banfi Hanifa to pay zakdt is
mentioned by the reports of Waqidi (from cUqba b. Jubayra),
Muhammad b. cAbd Allah and Usama b. Zayd al-Laythi (both
from Zuhri) and Muhammad b. cAbd Allah b. cUrwa (from his
father).11' However, these reports do not include any reference to
the positions of either Abuf Bakr or cUmar or indeed any Qur'anic
verse being invoked or poetry uttered on that occasion. From
Tabari we hear of two
reports by Sayf
on the ridda of a confedera-
tion of Baniu Asad, Ghatafan an Tay'. We also learn that these
tribes sent delegations to Medina proposing to perform prayer but
not pay zakdt and that these delegations were sponsored by the
leaders there (wujuihu 1-ndsz) except al-cAbbas. However, no men-
tion of the invocation of the above-noted prophetical statement on
the matter is made in this context, though Abui Bakr's insistence on
fighting even for a camel's rope occurs in one of them."12 Finally,
there is one
Hisham b. cUrwa
in which Qurra b. Hubayra complains about the payment of sadaqa
which he considers "a tax" (itdwa) and promises that the Arabs
woule obey if exempted from it."'
Cf. Tabari, Tdrikh, Beirut 1967, III, 339; Ibn CAsakir, III, 37-40; IX, 639;
Zaylali (d. 762/1360), Nasb al-Raya, Cairo 1938, II, 342, quoting Waqidi's Kitab
al-Ridda. For this last source, see E. Landau-Tasseron, p. 20 and n. 106 in
reference to M. Murayni, "Ein neuer Bericht uber die Wahl des ersten Kalifen",
Arabica, 25 (1978),
Ibn 'Asakir, V, 555.
Cf. Tabari, Tdrfkh, III, 244-6, 258; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, VI, 312.
Tabari, Tdrzkh, III, 259.
Scholars' Views and Concluding Remarks:
This last kind of historical reports on the ridda wars as well as
some of the exegetical traditions on Qur'an IX:98 may contain a
grain of truth about actual cases in which certain Bedouin tribes
resisted the enforcement of paying zakdt and considered it as a tax,
fine or even a kind ofjizya. It is striking to note, however, that such
reports do not figure at all in the second century theological con-
troversies over the obligatory nature of zakdt, which centered on the
question of whether those who refuse to pay it should be fought
against. Such controversies drew basically upon the hadath material
where the two opposite views were attributed to Abui Bakr on the
one hand and 'Umar, by invoking the above-mentioned pro-
phetical tradition, on the other.
An example of such use is the way in which the early Abuf Yiusuf
(d. 182/798) cites the above-mentioned tradition of Jabir b. 'Abd
Allah, on the conditions for fighting against non-believers, as a
basis for the legal ruling concerning one who apostasizes (al-hukmu
1-murtaddi cani 1-isldmi). According to him, this tradition implies
that such a person should be requested to repent (yustatdb). From
the way the whole issue is presented one can also gauge the
existence of an opposite view which relied on another prophetical
statement saying: "he who changes his religion should be killed"
(man baddala dinahu fa-qtulzihu)."14 And the comment made by
Baghawi leaves no doubt that such legal controversy also stood
behind the circulation of the traditions of Ibn cUmar and Anas
which, as noted above, do give detailed conditions in which a non-
Muslim should be combatted. In Baghawi's words, these traditions
meant for most scholars (wa-huwa qawlu akthari ahli l-cilm) that the
repentance of a zindaq must be accepted though his sincerity should
be left to God. However, he says, Malik and Ibn Hanbal added
that such repentance should not be accepted from one who conceals
his infidelity (ld tuqbalu tawbatu l-kdfiri 1-mustasirri bi-kufrihi).115
A similar use of the widely circulated tradition of Zuhri from
Abiu Hurayra, was made by al-Busti. Referring
to the phrase "wa-hisdbu hum cala l-ldh", he says that "most
scholars" held that an infidel who conceals his unbelief should not
be punished if he demonstrates Islam and his repentance should be
Abui Yiusuf, Kitab al-Khardj, Cairo 1352/1933, p. 180.
Baghawl, Sharh, I, 69.
110 SULIMAN BASHEAR
accepted even when he admits that he previously used to conceal
disbelief. We also learn that Malik, and possibly Ibn Hanbal too
(wa-yuhkd dhdlika aydan 'an ahmad bni hanba), used in turn to reject
the repentance of a zindiq. 16 From another source we learn that Ibn
Hanbal in particular held that one who does not pay his zakdt
should be severely exhorted with the aim of causing him to repent,
but no mention of considering him an unbeliever or fighting against
him is made.117 And Ibn CAbd al-Barr says that Makhlul (d.
118/736), Hammad b. Zayd (d. 179/795), Wakic (d. 197/812),
Shafic1, his student Abui Thawr (Ibrahim b. Khalid al-Kalbi, d.
240/854) and all followers of the Shaficite school understood Abiu
Bakr's vow to fight against people who separate between prayer and
zakdt as meaning those who do not fulfill either of these two
duties. 1" 8
A certain legal use of the Jabir tradition is inherent in the
reference of one variant of it to Qur'an LXXXVIII:21-2 according
to which the Prophet is told that he is merely a reminder (mudhakkir)
and not a forceful ruler (musaylir) except for those who turn away
and disbelieve. This variant was reported from Jabir by the link:
but does not
occur when Abui al-Zubayr is reported by Ibn Jurayj. Note also that
such reference to the scripture is absent from another variant of
the link: al-Acmash Abu- Sufyan,
though this variant was cited already by the early Abfi Yfisuf in the
context of the Prophet's blame against Usama b. Zayd for killing
certain people who professed the shahdda."19
The gradual rise of the concept of zakdt and its institution as an
integral part of Muslim creed is reflected in a series of statements
attributed to figures from early Islam and usually cited without the
context of the ridda wars. One such statement was cited already by
Abiu Yuisuf who attributes it to Ibn Masci'd without isndd (using the
phrase: "balaghanT can"). According to it, Ibn Masci'd said:
"anyone who holds out the zakdt is not a Muslim and if he does not
pay it he has no (accepted) prayer" (ma- manicu l-zakdti bi-muslim,
Abfu al-Fadl Salih (d. 266/879), Masa'il al-Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, Delhi
1988, II, 252.
Ibn CAbd al-Barr (d. 463/879), al-Tamhid, Rabat 1974, IV, 231.
Cf. Abfi Yuisuf, p. 180; Muslim, I, 39; Ibn Maja, II, 1295; Ibn
166-9; Tammam al-Razi, I, 84-6; Bayhaqi, Shucab, I, 38-9.
wa-man lam yu'addiha fa-ld saldta lahu). To this Abu- Yuisuf
immediately adds, albeit also without isndd, part of the report
according to which Aba Bakr threatened to wage a holy war (jihdd)
against people who abstain from paying even a camel's rope, etc.'20
Two other early sources, Abui cUbayd (d. 224/838) and Ibn Abi
Shayba (d. 235/849), cite a similar statement attributed to Ibn
Masctid by the link: Abut Ishaq al-SabilC (cAmr b. cAbd Allah, d.
b. Malik b. Nadla, d. ca.
80/688). Note however that when the reporter from Abui Ishaq is
not his grandson Isradil (d. 160-2/776-8), but Sufyan (al-Thawri ?)
then the isnad of it ends with Abut al-Ahwas, i.e. it is not attributed
to Ibn Mascuid.l21
Another expression of the gradual rise of the obligatory nature
of zakdt, is a statement reported from the Sixth Shici Imam, Jacfar
al-Sadiq (d. 148/765) which says that whoever holds out one qfrl.t
of the zakdt is neither a mu'min (believer) nor a muslim. 122 Another
Shici source associates the name of cAll through a family tradition
of al-Sadiq (can dba'ihi) with a prophetical saying that zakat is the
arch (qantara) of Islam.'23 Note, however, that almost the same say-
ing was attributed to the Prophet through Abui al-Dardad,'24 as well
as reported as Qatada's own statement in reference to Qur'an
XLI:7.'25 From the group of other statements in which al-Sadiq
urged people to pay zakdt, note especially the one in which he says
that anyone who holds out may as well die as a Jew or a Chris-
tian.'26 Finally, to Kister's observation that the main reasoning
behind the Shici position concerning the controversy over the pay-
ment of zakdt to Abui Bakr and subsequent Muslim rulers was that
the legal authority after the Prophet passed to the Shfic Imams,'27
must be added a parallel debate which seems to have prevailed
among Sunni scholars of the early second century around the ques-
Abui Yuisuf, p. 80.
Abii 'Ubayd, Kitab al-Amwdl, Cairo
1353/1934, pp. 354-5;
Majlisi, XCIII, 11, quoting Qummi's Tafstr.
Majlisi, XCIII, 15, quoting Tiisi's Amadlf
Bayhaqi, Shucab, III, 195-6.
'Abd al-Razzaq, Tafsfr, 125(b).
Majlisl, XCIII, 20. For other statements
XCIII, 18-22, 29; and Tu-si's (d. 460/1067), Amdli, Najaf 1965, II,
Kister, p. 40, n. 22.
112 SULIMAN BASHEAR
tion whether zakdt should be paid to the ruler irrespective of his per-
sonal conduct of the view concerning the legitimacy of his rule.'28
* * *
To recapitulate, the enquiry conducted above shows that, as
presented by Arabic lexical sources, the word zakdt conveys the
sense of a payment due on property in order to purify it and, hence,
cause for it to be blessed and multiply. A cross-examination of
cognate words from most of the languages current in the area in
pre-Islamic times, shows that the meanings of purification and
examption of taxes were the main ones conveyed by them. There
is even enough evidence for a use in the sense of being not guilty
in Phoenician, Syriac, Imperial Aramaic as well as in certain Old
Testament and Talmudic occurrences parallel to the notion, over-
whelmingly attested in the Qur'an and other Muslim sources that
zakdt (sadaqa) was paid to the Prophet by sinners in return for his
prayer and supplication so that they may be purified. While such
evidence does not allow for pointing to zakdt as a loan word from
Judaism, Christianity or any other religious culture in particular,
and though no affinity between it and any other Semitic cognate
word was explicitly recognized or even hinted at in the Muslim
sources, note must be made of the fact that the order to pay zakdt
in several Qur)anic verses, like II:43 and 110, comes in contexts
where the Children of Israel were the ones addressed by it. There
is also a strong exegetical current which presents Qur'an IX:34 as
referring to "the People of Scripture". We have also seen that these
two facts basically did not cause embarrassment to early Muslim
The notion that zakdt in its pre-institutional phase in early Islam
was applied as a payment aimed to purify sinners is predominant
in the narrative exagesis on Qur'an IX: 103, though there is a wide
disagreement concerning the actual "historical" occasion of its
revelation and the people involved. In any case, the perception that
it was an exclusive role of the Prophet to perform the purification
prayer on behalf of the paying sinners was behind the reported
This is clear fromn the list of Successors quoted by Ibn Abi Shayba as
holding the view that zakdt should be paid to the rulers in any case (man qdla tudfa'u
l-zakdtu ild I-sultdnt) as against those who gave a concession (rukhsa) for not paying
it in certain cases. Ibn Abi Shayba, III, 156-8.
refusal of certain tribes to comply with the same order under Abui
Bakr. To this traditional core, the information that 'Umar
intervened on behalf of the rebels was added a notion which occurs
in a certain current of interpreting Qur'an IX:34 as well. However,
our investigation reveals that other second century elaborations
were also made in the form of traditions bearing the names ofJabir,
Anas, Ibn cUmar and others which aimed at establishing the pay-
ment of zakat as one of the criteria for defining who is a Muslim
upon whom war should not be waged, and did not originally stem
from the core of reports on actual cases of refusal to pay zakdt
during the ridda wars.