Churches Were Protected In Early Period Of Islam?

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A series of claims have been for the past few years that the early Muslims destroyed Churches and other places of worship. Scholar Arthur Stanley Tritton shows from Muslim and non-Muslim sources that this is not true. The early Muslims gave protection for their churches, and also protected Christian lives, as long as they paid the Jizyah (tax). A Similar tax was also levied on Muslims, called ‘Zakat’.

This payment of tax in return would have paid for hospitals, schools, military defence of the country, helping the poor and needy. Both of these taxes (Jizya and Zakat) was needed for the Government to function, and adequate care for its citizens be met.

Scholar Arthur Stanley Tritton

In the treaty with Jerusalem, it is said that,

‘Umar gave them protection for their lives, property, Churches, and crosses, their sick and sound, and the rest of their religion. Their churches shall not be used as dwellings, nor destroyed, nor they (the Churches) nor their estates, nor their crosses, nor their property be diminished in any way.’

That with Lydda is almost identical. (Annals, Tabari, I, 2405 f.)

There are several forms of the treaty which Khalid is said to have made with them, and all guarantee the safety of the churches. The longest is this,

‘He gave them security for their persons, property, churches, and the wall of their city. None of their houses shall be destroyed or dwelt in. For this they have the promise of God, and the protection of His Prophet, the caliphs, and the believers. Nothing but good shall befall them if they tribute.’ (Futuh ul Buldan, Baladhuri, page 121) [1]

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Related Article:

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(2) – “Christian church destroyed by Isis rebuilt by Muslim residents” (Iraq – Mosul)

(3) – “53 Mosques and Churches Vandalized in Israel Since 2009, but Only 9 Indictments Filed” (24th September 2017)

(4) – “Holy Land Christians condemn wave of church desecrations” (27th September 2017)

(5) “Chinese authorities blow up Christian megachurch with dynamite” (12th January 2018)

(6) – “Jerusalem’s Church of Holy Sepulchre Closes in Protest Amid Row With Israel” (25th February 2018)


[1] The Caliphs And Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study Of The Covenant Of Umar [Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press – London Bombay Calcutta Madras, 1930], Scholar Arthur Stanley Tritton, page 39 – 40

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