ISIS Forcing Christians Of Al-Qaryatayn to Pay Jizya
60 days have passed since Islamic State fighters invaded Al-Qaryatayn city, 120 km Northeast Damascus, after few hours of clashes with the Syrian Arab Army, forcing it to withdraw from the city. Yesterday, the ISIS media has posted a video titled “Hata Yoatu Al-Jizya aan Yad w hom Sagheroun – (until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled) حتى يعطوا الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون “which is talking about issuing Jizya on the Christians left in Al-Qaryatayn who couldn’t escape after ISIS captured the city, numbered about 200 men and women. The Islamic state gave the Christians of Al-Qaryaten the three options given to Christians in other cities captured by ISIS such as Muosel and Raqqa:
- Convert to Islam
- Paying Jizya (willingly while they are humbled) Death
The Islamic State forced the Christians who want to keep their religion to sign the “Dhimma Contract” on Aug 30th 2015, the contract is consisted of 11 items, and shown in picture below in original Arabic language. What is the “Dhimma Contract”?
It is according to Al-Tawbah Surah in Quran, the holy book for Muslims, verse 29 “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.” So based on this verse, the Islamic State has been forcing Christians in the cities it captures to pay Jizya. Those who are Jizya must be applied on are the Christians, Jews, and most of non-Muslims who are called Dhimmis, the residents in return for taxes, and those who will break the Dhimma contract will be considered in war status with the Islamic state.
But the Dhimma contract is not only based on what is mentioned above from Quran, but also on the “Al-Uhuda Al-Umaria – Assurance of Umar العهدة العمرية “according to the second caliph in Islam after Prophet Mohammed death, Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khatab, who issued this Assurance on Aelia Christians (Jerusalem today) back in 637 AD after Muslim army led by Khaled ibn Al-Waleed and Umar ibn Ala’s invaded Jerusalem, then Patriarch Sophronius, the leader of Byzantine Christian Church accepted to surrender but he demanded that Umar comes to accept the surrender himself. Ibn Al-Khattab accepted the request and came to Jerusalem from Medina (now in Saudi Arabia).
Dhimma Contract on Christians of Al-Qaryatayn:
This is the safety assurance given by Emire Al-Moumeneen Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to Christians’ safety for their souls and wealth, and not to be forced on their religion or injured by Muslims under the following conditions:
- Not to build in their city nor nearby any church, abbey, or monk’s hermitage.
- Not to show their crosses or books (bible) in-front of Muslims in the city markets or on the roads, and not to use speakers while conducting their masses.
- Not to make Muslims hear their prayers, religious readings, or ringing their church bells.
- Not to participate in any hostile acts against the Islamic state, or hiding spies and wanted people, and if they know about any threat against the Islamic State they must notify it.
- To comply with not to show any of their worship rituals in front of Muslims.
- To respect Islam and Muslims, and not to criticize them.
- To pay Jizya, which is equal to 4 dinars/year (applied on Christians under the Islamic rule in the past, and 1 dinar = 4.25 g of 24 karat gold) that means the annual Jizea would be 17 g of 24 kt gold applied on wealthy Christians, and 50% of this amount on middle class, and 25% on poor Christians, and this amount can be divided on two instalments. According to the gold prices in Syria nowadays, the Jizya will be estimated as following: 17 x 36.59 = $622 / year on wealthy people. 50% x 622 = $311 / year on middle class people. 25% x 622 = $155.5 / year on poor people
- Not to carry/own weapons
- Not to sell pork meats or Alcohol to Muslims, and not to drink alcohol in public
- They must have their own cemeteries as usual
- To comply with the Islamic State rules of decency and conservative dress code.
On Aug 21st 2015, the barbaric Islamic State terrorists have demolished, using a bulldozer, a 1500-year-old St Elian Al-Sharqi Abbey in Al-Qryatayn, Mar Elian Monastery, a national Syrian treasure, which has stood in Al-Qaryatayn since 432 AD.
The Christians who are still living in Al-Qaryatayn are not allowed to leave the city, and apparently the IS wants to use them as human shield, whenever an airstrike will hit the village then they will have civilians casualties as collateral damage.
The video that ISIS posted on youtube and was removed next day by youtube, is showing some of the Christians who I recognized few of them, and how one of the ISIS terrorists throwing the cross from on the top of the church replacing it with the flag of ISIS.
Al-Qaryatayn has two churches and one old historical monastery, belonging to the Syriac Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Most of the Christians are living in Homs, Damascus, Zaidal, and Fairouzeh near Homs, and there is no official statistic about their population, but it is estimated to be about 25 thousands in total (including those who are outside the country), only two hundreds left in hands of ISIS in AL-Qryatayn.
It is not the first time that the Christians were called Dhimmis in Syria, as it is shown in an old document, dated April 1773 AD, representing a deed for buying a house for a Christian family (Tahan family in AL-Qaryatayn) while Syria was ruled by Ottomans.
Brief historical facts about Al-Qaryatayn:
It was mentioned in the Old Testament as “Hazar-Enan” [or the village of springs, forming a very attractive oasis in the heart of the Levant Badia desert], when God was talking to Moses about the borders of the Promised Land of Israel.
Since Aug 5th 2015, the date of AL-Qryatayn fall in hands of ISIS, till now the Syrian Arab Army has conducted few airstrikes on ISIS but without any trial to liberate the city by ground forces.
Below are the verses that Hazar-Enan were mentioned in the Bible:
- Numbers 34:9 and the border shall go forth to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar Enan: this shall be your north border.
- Numbers 34:10 "You shall mark out your east border from Hazar Enan to Shepham;
- Ezekiel 47:17 “The border from the sea, shall be Hazar Enon at the border of Damascus; and on the north northward is the border of Hamath. This is the north side.
- Ezekiel 48:1 Now these are the names of the tribes: From the north end, beside the way of Hethlon to the entrance of Hamath, Hazar Enan at the border of Damascus, northward beside Hamath, (and they shall have their sides east and west), Dan, one portion.
During the Muslim conquest of Syria, al-Qaryatayn's people resisted Khalid ibn al-Walid's army in the summer of 634. Al-Qaryatayn was inhabited by Christians at the time of ibn Al-Walid, and apparently the people didn’t convert to Islam because it was mentioned in Yaqout Al-Hamwi book “mu'jam al-buldān (معجم البلدان "Dictionary of Countries") and he stated that all its people are Christians. Why I am mentioning this fact? Because it is not known yet when the Islam entered to the village, and what Al-Hamawi mentioned is contradicting with the common hypothesis that the people of Al-Qaryatayn convert to Islam after the Ibn Al-Walid invasion to the village. Yāqūt ibn-'Abdullah al-Rūmī al-Hamawī (1179–1229 AD) (Arabic: ياقوت الحموي الرومي) was an Arab biographer and geographer of Greek origin, renowned for his encyclopedic writings on the Muslim world.