Why Does Islam Forbid Taxes?


Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh,

I’m sorry to join this discussion once more, since I work in customs institution, thus I feel like I have a moral burden to write about this according to my knowledge of it.

In customs institution, there are no such term as ‘Black Market’, instead, the existing term is ‘smuggling’ as listed in Article no. 102 Act No 17/1996, about customs duties. In that article, the categories and practices that might come into term of ‘smuggling’ is explained in detail.

In that act, there are no legal, illegal or half-legal way, but red and green line. Simply said, whoever imports or exports without noticing the customs institution (BC) is considered as committing smuggling. Thus, every thing is legal through one door, that is through BC.

Probably what Mr. Chris meant was wholesale import (this is not a term in customs, but a general term). This kind of import that being fought by our brothers who work in BC, since it usually manipulates the datas to reduce the amount of entrance fee (BM).

I’m questioning, as a common people in Islamic knowledge, is every thing in Islam should be rigidly comprehended, and that if religion does not regulate something means that it is legal and government’s rules is allowed to be violated? Isn’t it better for us to open our mind to my simple understanding below:

Is every regulation made by government without any indications or without any basis from the Qur’an and hadith legal to be violated? I can’t imagine what if all traffic signs (which of course has no indications from our religion) are neglected or violated by all people because religion does not regulate the traffic. How many people that will be abused by the irresponsible act of other drivers, and how many people will be dead or wounded due to the accidents?

I can’t imagine if smuggling is allowed in our religion, because indeed the threat it possesses is greater than it’s benefit. Let’s take an example the government policy that ban the import of second-hand clothing. If such clothing is allowed to enter the country, it will spread plague that might attached to the clothes, as well as destroy our local textile industries due to their inability to compete with the second-hand clothes.

The entrance fee is charged so that our industry will be able to compete with the imported goods. For information, the entrance fee is higher for finished goods, while some raw materials got 0% of entrance fee. If smuggling is legalized, or entrance fee is not imposed, the result will be terrible, that is our industries will be bankrupt and the wave of firings will cause social vulnerability. People’s buying power will be lowered and inflation rate will soar.

Entrance fee is charged to support the development our country, and of course the impacts reach all citizens, us too. If smuggling is allowed and no entrance fee imposed, where will the fund to build infrastructures -that enjoyed by all citizens, including businessmen -come from? Is it from zakat? Is our country, which is not a muslim country, able to fund it’s development by zakat, while the citizens are still not aware of the importance of zakat to replace taxes?

Among Indications that you and the other brothers gave, I haven’t find yet any indication that explicitly mention that Allah or Prophet Muhammad strictly ban muslims to charge taxes. I mean, as a common person, isn’t it better for us to view the matter comprehensively from the benefits of muslims, and how the bad impacts created from no entrance fee policy outweigh it’s benefits.

That is my simple perception as a common muslim, but as a common muslim too, if we do not obey our government, then who will be in charge to regulate and control relationships between men in worldly context that has not been established in the time of the Messenger of Allah, such as customs regulation, traffic regulation, business license, residence license, etc. Everything will be chaotic since no regulator to obey, because people will take over and oppress other people’s property. And Allah know best.

Donny E.

All praises be to Allah, peace and prayer may always be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his devoted companions.

Brother Donny and my other brothers who have kindly given their comments about rulings for taxes, I would like to thank you all for your inputs and criticisms, I wish what you have stated here will get you rewards from Allah’s side.

From several comments that enter the forum, I think brother Donny’s comment is enough to represent the content of all comments. Thus, I feel it is enough to reply to this comment only.

Brothers, before I respond further, I hope you’d like to re-read my answer regarding this matter.

I’ve mentioned in my previous answer about kinds of charges allowed in Islam. To remind you all, I’ll mention it once again:

Zakat Mal (obligational charity) and zakat of soul. This charge only obliged for muslims. I believe you are already familiar to it’s detail and distribution.

Al Jizya (Tribute), charged for souls, is obliged for the people of scriptures who live in Islamic country.
Al Kharaj (a kind of land taxes), charged for people of scriptures who use the land that belongs to the Islamic country. Income from both of these charges for people of scriptures who live inside Islamic country is used to fund the governance of Islamic country.

Al ‘Usyur or Nisful ‘Usyur. Al ‘Usyur (that is 1/10) is a charge on merchant from countries of disbeliever (a disbeliever who live in disbeliever countries and there are no peace treaty between his country and Islamic country, or even disbeliever country that against the Islamic countries). About 1/10 of their revenue from trading activities in Islamic country is taken. As for nisful ‘usyur (1/20), is charged on merchants from ahl zimmah, that is disbelievers who live in Islamic country.

If you, o brothers, think about these four charges deeply, I am sure you’ll find that all problems you stated before will be gone by itself, or at least lessen into minimum level.

But how come ? That is because jizya basically is similar to income tax charged by our current government, but the difference is that it is only charged to disbelievers/non muslims who live in Islamic country. Thus, muslims in such country would not be charged with income tax.

A Kharaj is similar to land taxes charged by the government, but the difference is that it is only charged upon productive land. Thus, al kharaj is lighter in burden than land and building taxes applied by the government today. And this charge is also imposed only to the disbelievers who reside in Islamic country and allowed to cultivate some part of state land.

Al ‘Usyur or Nishful ‘Usyur resembles commercial taxes imposed by the government.

Thus, the core of the problem here is not on whether there are charges or not,but the group of the society that become the object of those charges.

If customs taxes are applied just like what currently happened in some countries, it will benefit the disbelievers living in Islamic countries. They just need to pay one type of charge, while muslims need to pay for taxes, customs taxes, as well as zakat for property and zakat for their souls.

Think about this fact, doesn’t it mean that the current condition actually oppress the muslims? Doesn’t it mean that this policy benefiting the disbelievers over muslims? Are you willing to let this unfairness happened?

As a muslim who believes in Allah and the Last Day; what will you prioritize, and impossible to leave; zakat, or taxes?

According to your perspective and your feeling, what will cause larger negative effects if it is being violated?

Which one from these options that truly erase the poverty and prospering the citizens, zakat, or taxes?

I am sure, as a believer in Allah and the Last Day, you will choose zakat for all questions above. Zakat is the mean that truly able to reach the destitute, boost the buying power of society, and invoke blessings in their social them.

The fact that occurs in our country as well as other countries, where the government does not care about zakat, and prioritize taxes over it, is it the religion’s mistake, or human’s ?

Suppose that the current government is willing to manage and distribute zakat, as ordered in shari’a, the country will certainly be prosperous, people’s buying power will be high, schools and medications will be free, people’s debt will be paid, our policemen and soldiers will be well-paid, and the country will be able to buy weapons for defense.

But since the government prioritize taxes, these funds become unblessed, and income from taxes are taken illegally by some people, tax consultants become rich, disbelievers are free to outwit the government thus they’ll be able to abandon their obligation to pay the tax, and so on.

Brother, you’d like to know the difference of zakat and taxes? It lies on one’s faith. Your motivation to pay zakat comes from within, from your faith and piety. While in taxes, if it is not for they being forced to do it, probably 99% of the tax payers will avoid their obligation. This is why some of them hire the tax consultants, to be able to outsmart the amount of their taxes. Isn’t it?

Look again, brother: For all these years, who’s always try to avoid their taxes; people who pay zakat or those who do not pay it? Muslims, or disbelievers?

If only the government want to manage the zakat professionally, their officials do not need to spend to remind the citizens about the compulsory state of zakat, since every chaplain, scholar, religious teacher, and preacher will naturally do the socialization.

Ask the chaplain or friday preacher around you, Who orders them to admonish people about zakat? How much are they being paid for that work?

Hence, the government simply need to collect, manage, and distribute it. Nice, isn’t it?

Regarding tax problems in our country, I’d like you to think cleverly, who are the real owners of Toyota factory, McDonald restaurants, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sony, Pepsi, etc, that we have here in Indonesia. Are they muslims, or non muslims, while muslims merely act as their agent or single holder of the brand, that function as representative?

If so, then it would be no problem to charge taxes from such goods, since it is part of the non muslims possession.

I’d like to as you again, Who are the owners of CALTEX, Shell, Freeport, and the like? I believe you already know that those companies belong to non muslims, thus you don’t need to be worry over taxes that they being charged of. Moreover, they suppose to get more taxes than they get now, since according to the example set by caliph Umar Ibn Al Khattab, they suppose to be charged about 10% (‘usyur) from their total income.

By this, you don’t have to worry that our country will loose it’s financial sources and supports. Furthermore, your worry that Islamic countries will be flooded by foreign goods has no basis at all, since Islamic government will charge about 10% or minimum of 5% of the total revenue of non muslims company selling their goods in Islamic countries.

Embracing these concepts of zakat, Kharaj, ‘Usyur or Nishful ‘Usyur above, is there still any concerns left that this country will be collapsed without any income resources? Or is there still any concerns that our domestic industry (muslims’) will not be able to compete with the foreign companies?

Brother, there are one sad fact to consider about our muslim communities today, Muslims prefer to buy the branded goods to high quality goods. I’m sure you know what I mean. For example, how shoes made in Cibaduyut (a famous are in Central Java for it’s shoes factories) which have good qualities, equal to the quality of made-in-Italy shoes, are not popular in it’s own country although it is sold with low prices? But if it is shoe from Italy, although the price soars, people will strive to buy it?

Moreover, those who choose to buy the Italy shoe will feel that they are high-class people, noble and prestigious. But the case is totally different with Cibaduyut shoe, they are embarrass to wear it. This mindset is the true destroyer of our domestic products. Their self pride and loyalties are with the non muslims brand and embarrassment is with the muslims or domestic brand.

Hence, I hope you’re not changing the focus of our problem, making you unable to view this rulings of taxes on muslims in clear perspective.

Brother Donny, may Allah bless you and your family. You said in your mail that, “Entrance fee is charged to support the development our country, and of course the impacts reach all citizens, us too. If smuggling is allowed and no entrance fee imposed, where will the fund to build infrastructures -that enjoyed by all citizens, including businessmen -come from? Is it from zakat? Is our country, which is not a muslim country, able to fund it’s development by zakat, while the citizens are still not aware of the importance of zakat to replace taxes?”

I think it is inappropriate for a muslim to give such statement about zakat, whichp is one of the main pillars of his religion. Think again about this statement! After that, imagine what will you say, at the time you stand alone in front of Allah, and Allah demand your responsibility over this statement. What will you say to Allah? Think about it carefully my Brother!

I understand why you’re complaining about my answer, because you try to match and decide upon Islamic sharia based on practices and facts in our country, which you admit not an Islamic country.

No wonder if you can’t find the solution between them. If you’re trying to discuss Islamic sharia, you shall view it from your faith’s perspective, not from the common practices in society or mistakes of the current government.

If you speak according to your faith perspective, I am sure you’ll utter no word but these:

إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ . النور 51

“When those that believe are called to Allah and His Messenger in order that he (that is, the Messenger) may judge their disputes among them, nothing becomes them but to say: ‘We hear and we obey.’ Such shall attain true success.” (Qs. An Nur/The Light: 51)

Traffic rules and the like have no relation to rulings for taxes upon muslims, since such rules merely bring goodness and no one suffer any loss due to it, as well as they are not against Islamic sharia.

But in taxes, there are indeed a contradiction: Know that every country that charge taxes to it’s people must abandon zakat. Whereas zakat is one of the main job of government ofIslamic country. As countries that charge taxes wont make any difference between muslims and non muslims, they all will be charged, thus the burden of muslims is double compare to the non muslims.

Inlanders burden will be twice the foreigner’s burden. Non muslims and foreigner will get special service, while muslims will be treated as step child. As a muslim, I believe you’ll feel displease with such treatment. If you already understand this fact, you’ll be able to understand why the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- declared:

إِنَّ صَاحِبَ المُكْسِ فِي النَّارِ. رواه أحمد والطبراني في الكبير من رواية رويفع بن ثابت رضي الله عنه ، وصححه الألباني.

“Verily, the tribute collectors will enter the Hell.” (Narrated by Ahmad and At Thobrani in his work, ‘Al Mu’jam Al Kabir’, from narration of Ruwaifi’ Ibn Thabit -may Allah be pleased with him-, and classed sahih by Al Albani)

The tribute collectors are threatened with Hell, since such act means to make resemblance between muslims and non muslims. In fact, non muslims are still better-treated than muslims, because the collectors will still view the muslims who had paid their zakat and give charity, as criminal; it seems like zakat has no value to them. While the non muslims will be considered as good citizens or good and wise member of society as long as they pay their taxes, although they disbelieve in Allah and worship other deities beside Allah, and they neglect the poor and destitute.

I wish this answer will be useful for you, my brothers, and will open your eyes wider to the wisdom of Islamic sharia. And Allah knows best.

Ustadz Dr. Muhammad Arifin Badri, M.A.
Article of www.syaria.com

2 thoughts on “Why Does Islam Forbid Taxes?

  1. I read interesting comments. I want to know o e thing in light of sharia, example: if u import some products in my country, let’s say original cost I pay to seller is $50 for item, but to save custom and other taxes, I ask seller to mention price as $25 instead of original 50, will it be considered as lie or what is sharia rule on it? Thanks

    1. “Yes this would be considered as a lie. We are not allowed to be deceitful by delivering information that is contradicts the reality. Lying is haraam and it is firmly stated by Syariah. May Allah protect me, yourself and all of us from this bad deeds. na’uuwdzu billahi min dzaalik.

Leave a Reply to Admin Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *