The Dhimmi and the Ger Toshav

Many non-Muslims mistakenly perceive the Dhimmi status as negative, what few realize is that Judaism had its own Dhimmi status long before Islam. We hope to dispel the myths and promote the similarities between both statuses.

What is a Ger Toshav

In biblical times a Gentile who observed the seven Noachide laws in while living in the land of Israel was regarded as a resident stranger (Ger Toshav in Hebrew).

The 7 Noachide laws are:

  1. Prohibition of Idolatry
  2. Prohibition of Murder
  3. Prohibition of Theft
  4. Prohibition of Sexual immorality
  5. Prohibition of Blasphemy
  6. Prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive
  7. Establishment of courts of law

A Ger Toshav that swears in front of 3 chachamim (learned men) that he wont stray from these laws is believed to be righteous. By taking this oath he acquires an elevated status that entitles him to legal protections and special charity/financial aid from the community.

A gentile that has forgone idolatry but has not sworn so in front of 3 chachamim is considered an informal Ger Toshav. He is not entitled to financial aid, but he still acquires an elevated status. He is not subject to the same restrictions that pertain to an idolater.

What is a Dhimmi

The term ‘Dhimmi’ in Arabic means ‘Protected Person’, this state only exists in a nation under Islamic rule. Dhimmi traditionally is extended to Ahl adh-Dhimma (Jews and Christians) and is derived from the word ‘Dhimma’, which means ‘Obligation to Protect’. Islam considers both Muslims and Dhimmis living under the Khilafah as citizens of the Islamic State and thus secures and protects their beliefs, honour, property and life.

Because the Dhimmi does not subscribe to the religious ideology of the state; they are not called upon to defend it at a time of war. But as the protection of the Islamic army extends to them, they are obligated to make a financial contribution the ‘Jizya’ (compensation) tax (which relieves them of paying the Muslim Zakaat tax).

Surely, by giving the Jizya, their wealth becomes as valuable as ours and their blood like ours.

– Ali

Surely, whoever oppresses a person under covenant (Mu’ahid) or imposes upon him more than he can afford and humiliates him or takes anything from him without his consent I will challenge him on the Day of Judgement.

– Abu Dawud

  Ger Toshuv Dhimmi
  • Monotheists following the code of Noah
  • People of the book (traditionally Jews and Christians)
  • Jews are commanded to give charity (tzedakah) to the Ger Toshav
  • Poor Gerim can collect the leftover crops in the field, alongside poor bnei Yisrael (Lev. 23:22)
  • Gerim may eat from the tithe exactly like the widow and the orphan (Deut. 14:29)
  • “NonMuslims deserve whatever the Muslims deserve from the Bayt Al-Mal (state treasury from which the poor took charity) ” (Hukm Shari’ah)
  • Exempt from Zakaat tax
  • A Jew cannot oppress a Ger Toshav moniterally (Exodus 22:20)
  • Gerim who are day-laborers may not be abused. They must be paid on the same day (Deut. 24:14-15)
  • They cannot be charged interest (Massekhet Gerim 3:2-4)
  • A Dhimmi is commanded to pay Jizya
  • As Muhammed (PBUH) hired Dhimmis, so to can a Muslim employ the services of a Dhimmi labourer
As an equal
  • “[A Jew] shall love [a Ger] as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt, I the Lord am your God” (Lev 19:33-34)
  • “[God] loves the Ger, providing him with food and clothing” (Deut 10:17-18)
  • “[God] watches over the Ger” (Psalms 146:9)
  • “You do not settle him on the border or in a bad district, but rather in a good district in the middle of Eretz Yisrael where his trade may develop” (Massekhet Gerim 3:2-4)
  • A Jew is prohibited from verbally abusing a Ger Toshav (Exodus 22:20)
  • The Ger Toshav must be treated equally in court (Deut. 1:16 and cf. Lev. 24:22; Numbers 35:15)
  • “The security of Allah is equal for all groups” (Treaty of Medina)
  • “the people of other faiths have equal political and cultural rights as Muslims” (Treaty of Medina)
  • “they will have autonomy and freedom of religion” (Treaty of Medina)
  • “The one who kills or harms any of the Dhimma without right, he will not smell the fragrance of Jenna (Heaven)” (Ahmed).
  • “If a Muslim kills anyone from the People of the Dhimma, then the killer deserves the same punishment, regardless of being male or female.” (Imam Abu Hanifah’s madhab)
  • “It is agreed upon in Islam that the People of Dhimma, could drink liquor, eat pork and do what their religion allows for them.” (Imam Abu Hanifah’s madhab)
  • “‘From the women of the ahl al-kitab which ones are permissible on us [to marry] …. the one who pays the jizyah is permissible [to marry] and the one who doesn’t is not permissible [to marry]” (Imam Fakhruddin Razi )



4 thoughts on “The Dhimmi and the Ger Toshav

  1. well to correct it its themmi not dhimmi it comes from word thema it means Conscience so people of themma is people with conscience it refffered to abrahimc religion .these people are under the protection of islam and thier religion is acceptaed as a holy true religion

  2. What about the laws of Dhimmi that require a Jew to walk on only certain sides of a Muslim? Or the one where no Jewish building could be hire than a mosque? Or the one that says the Jews must stand when a Muslim enters a room? Those are some of my favorites…

  3. Tzvi’s comment is correct. The Dhimmi status is protected, yes, but also second class. An ugly example: Muslims are permitted to take wives from Dimmi women, but a Jew or Christian man is not permitted by Sharia to take a Muslima as a wife. In other words, respect for my peoplehood is not as important as respect for the peoplehood of Muslims. In SHARP CONTRAST, The Torah of Israel says that the peoplehood of all should be respected; Jews may not marry non-Jews, and non-Jews may not marry Jews. Equal respect.

  4. these are myths as far as i know (especially the standing one)… most of these practices (the walking side) were politically driven in times of discrimination and hostilities and have no backing in the Islamic law. on the other hand, the building law which is more of a tradition, albeit true, extends to all building in the city (whenever it is taken seriously) including “secular” buildings built by Muslims themselves. this gives a new dimension to the recent Kaaba controversy…

The Dhimmi and the Ger Toshav