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The Law of Paying Taxes in Islam – Complete Explanation

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The word “tax” in Arabic is Adh-Dharibah. It means a charge that is taken from people by tax collectors. According to Imam Al Ghazali, tax is a thing that is obligated by the ruler (Muslim Government) to rich people by drawing from them what is considered to be sufficient (the needs of society and country in general) when there is no cash in the  baitul mal.


In the history of Islam, tax is only for those who are non-Muslim. So their lives will be always secure and safe under Islamic rule. See also right of minorities in Islam.

The tax that is applied in the early Muslim government is al Jiziyah (tributes from scholars to Muslim government), al Usyur (customs for non-Muslim trader who come in the Islamic state) and al Kharaj (the Islamic government tax).

While the tax that we know in our country now is income tax, land value tax, value added tax, goods and services tax, luxury goods sales tax and many more. Then, how is the law of paying taxes that is imposed the government to us today?

There are two different opinion about this, the first opinion is not allowed to impose tax for Muslim beacuse Muslim has been imposed with zakat. This is strengthened by hadith of Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam :

“Do not you do zhalim (he said it three times). Indeed, treasure of someone is not halal except by the will from its owner.”  (Narrated by Imam Hamad V/72 number 20714 and it is verified by Al-Albani in Shahih wa Dha’if Jamu’ush Shagir number 7662 and Irwa’al Ghalil number 1761 and 1459).

From the hadith above, it is clear that Muslim have not to be taken tax because tax collection is not based on discussion with Muslims on the will of their property to be taken by the state.

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَأْكُلُوٓا۟ أَمْوَٰلَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِٱلْبَٰطِلِ إِلَّآ أَن تَكُونَ تِجَٰرَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنكُمْ ۚ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا

“O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” (Q.S. An-Nisa : 29)

Imam Muslim narrated a hadith about the execution of stoning to an adultery (a woman from Ghamid), after that women was decided to be stoned, Khalid bin Walid Radhiyallahu ‘anhu come near that woman with throwing a stone to her, her blood got on Khalid’s cloth, then Khalid was angry while yelling abuse.

The Messenger of Allah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said :

“By the essence which my soul is in His hand, indeed that woman has really repented, if a tax collector repented as her repentance, his sin will be forgiven.” (Narrated by Muslim III/1321 number : 1695, and Abu Daud II/557 number 4442, and it is verified by Sheikh Al-Albanu in the Al-Hadith Ash-Shahihah Lineage page 715-716)

See also :

Even, the Prophet Muhammad Shallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam asserted that those who take taxes in zhalim are those who work on sin, for that those who take tax are advised to repent soon. Rasulullah SAW said :

“Indeed, a time will come to people when people do not care where they they get treasure, from halal or haram.” (Narrated by Bukhari Al-Buyu : 7)

See also : How to increase wealth in halal way

While the second opinion is allowing tax collections from Muslims with some terms and conditions, such as if the state really needs and if the tax is not taken, the state is in an emergency. It is based on the word of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala :

لَّيْسَ ٱلْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ ٱلْمَشْرِقِ وَٱلْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلْبِرَّ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْءَاخِرِ وَٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ وَٱلْكِتَٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّۦنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَٰكِينَ وَٱبْنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَٰهَدُوا۟ ۖ وَٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ فِى ٱلْبَأْسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلْبَأْسِ ۗ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا۟ ۖ وَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُتَّقُونَ

“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [trust] righteousness is [in] one who believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.” (Q.S. Al-Baqarah : 177)

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala commands us to help those who need our help, moreover if the state is in an emergency, then all of citizen must help. If the state is in this position, then tax collection is allowed for the salvation of state. This act also includes jihad with treasure.

ٱنفِرُوا۟ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالًا وَجَٰهِدُوا۟ بِأَمْوَٰلِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew.” (Q.S. At Taubah : 41)

See also :

Those are two opinions from ulama about tax collections. Indeed, tax is enacted for non-Muslim and it should only be collected if the state is in an emergency and there is no cash at all. Then, how about the state that still collect taxes although the exchequer is till abundant? Something like this is actually not allowed because it includes tyranny against the people. But if that leader is a Muslim, then we are not allowed to fight.

The Prophet Shallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam explained to his companions Radhiyallahu ‘anhum that the zhalim leaders will come at the end of time. Then he was asked about the attitude of Muslims : “Is it possible to fight or revolt?”. Then Rasulullah SAW answered : “Should not! While they still do prayers.”

Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said

“After me, the leaders will come, they do not take my guidance and nor do my guidance. And then, there will be a leader whose hearts like the hearts of demons in human bodies.” Then I (Hudzaifah) asked :  


O Messenger of Allah, what should I do if I find this?” He said : “Let you listen and be obedient to your leaders although your back is hit and your treasure is taken, keep listen and be obedient to him.” (Narrated by Muslim III/1475 number 1847 from Hudzaifah Ibnul Yaman radliyallahu ‘anhu)

Thus this article about the law of paying taxes in Islam. May we all avoid from all evil and always get the grace of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Amen.

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