11 Dhimma rules that Christians must obey in the Islamic State

Zee News begins this story with this assertion: “After massacring hundreds and thousands of Christians, the Islamic State rulers have now decided to allow them the right to live, provided they sign ‘Dhimma’ contract, follow its 11 strict rules, and pay Jizyah tax.”

That sentence gives the impression that the Islamic State had originally intended to kill all the Christians, and has now changed its mind and is letting some of them live. That is not the case. The Islamic State offered dhimmitude, the state of subjugation under the rule of Islamic law, to the Christians from the beginning, demanding from them the jizya soon after conquering the territories where they lived. But at that time the Christians refused or fled the area, making them, in the eyes of the Islamic State, kuffar harbi, Infidels at war with Islam, who according to Islamic law should be killed.

Christians in Islamic State

The Christians who remained in Islamic State domains, however, and were not refusing the Islamic State’s demands, were able to take on dhimmi status. These rules listed below are not inventions of the Islamic State. They are as old as the concept of dhimmitude itself. Compare the Islamic State’s rules to the rules for dhimmis enunciated in Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), a classic manual of Islamic law:

O11.4: The Non-Muslim Poll Tax

The minimum non-Muslim poll tax is one dinar (n: 4.235 grams of gold) per person (A: per year). The maximum is whatever both sides agree upon.

It is collected with leniency and politeness, as are all debts, and is not levied on women, children, or the insane.


Such non-Muslim subjects are obliged to comply with Islamic rules that pertain to the safety and indemnity of life, reputation, and property. In addition, they:

-1- are penalized for committing adultery or theft, thought not for drunkenness;

-2- are distinguished from Muslims in dress, wearing a wide cloth belt (zunnar);

-3- are not greeted with “as-Salamu ‘alaykum”;

-4- must keep to the side of the street;

-5- may not build higher than or as high as the Muslims’ buildings, though if they acquire a tall house, it is not razed;

-6- are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, (A: to ring church bells or display crosses,) recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays;

-7- and are forbidden to build new churches.


They are forbidden to reside in the Hijaz, meaning the area and towns around Mecca, Medina, and Yamama, for more than three days when the caliph allows them to enter there for something they need).


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A non-Muslim may not enter the Meccan Sacred Precinct (Haram) under any circumstances, or enter any other mosque without permission (A: nor may Muslims enter churches without their permission).


It is obligatory for the caliph (def: o25) to protect those of them who are in Muslim lands just as he would Muslims, and to seek the release of those of them who are captured.

Every provision of the Islamic State’s rules is in there.

More on this story. “Islamic State: 11 ‘Dhimma’ rules that Christians must obey to stay alive,” Zee News, September 5, 2015:

Istanbul: After massacring hundreds and thousands of Christians, the Islamic State rulers have now decided to allow them the right to live, provided they sign ‘Dhimma’ contract, follow its 11 strict rules, and pay Jizyah tax.

Dhimma of [sic] Dhimmi s [sic] a historical term referring to non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state. The word literally means “protected person”. A person has to sign a Dhimma contract and pay Jizyah (levied by a Muslim State from its non-Muslim residents) to become eligible to be protected under Islamic Law.

As per a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute, dozens of Christians from Al-Qaryaten city signed a Dhimma contract to safeguard their lives and interests.

11 rules for Dhimmis:

1. Christians may not build churches, monasteries, or hermitages in the city or in the surrounding areas.

2. They may not show the cross or any of their books in the Muslims’ streets or markets, and may not use amplifiers when worshiping or during prayer.

3. They may not make Muslims hear the reciting of their books or the sounds of church bells, which must be rung only inside their churches.

4. They may not carry out any act of aggression against ISIS, such as giving refuge to spies and wanted men. If they come to know of any plot against Muslims, they must report it.

5. They must not perform religious rituals in public.

6. They must respect Muslims and not criticize their religion.

7. Wealthy Christians must pay an annual jizya of four gold dinars; middle-class Christians must pay two gold dinars, and the poor must pay one. Christians must disclose their income, and may split the jizya into two payments.

8. They may not own guns.

9. They may not engage in commercial activity involving pigs or alcohol with Muslims or in Muslim markets, and may not drink alcohol in public.

10. They may maintain their own cemeteries.

11. They must abide by ISIS dress code and commerce guidelines.

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