Much more nuance can be embedded within all of these terms that are sometimes highly contested among scholars, but considering the limited scope of this paper, we will move forward to address the larger picture at hand.The power of the Muslim state was dependent on its ability to provide two precious resources to its people: security and justice.
As you can imagine, the majority of situations resulted in the people agreeing to remain as Christians, Jews, or Zoroastrians in exchange for abiding by the rules that they themselves agreed to.
At the end of the day, the Muslims were initially outnumbered so they needed to take extra precautions to ensure that their authority would not be challenged.
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (ra), the student of Ibn Taymīyah, for example, wrote what is considered to be the most comprehensive work on the regulations pertaining to religious minorities in his compendium, Now, when you take a closer look at the details of the ordinances in the pact, you will come across what a lot of Islamophobes and Orientalists cite as evidence for Muslim intolerance of non-Muslims.
Take for example the notion that Christians and Jews must dress differently from the Muslims.
The pact has been broken down into various sub-themes by later scholars but can essentially be summarized as promoting Christian and Jewish self-government and legal autonomy, while also requiring their support against enemies of the state when needed.
The nuances of this pact are important to discuss because, as we will come to see, later Muslim scholars based a lot of their legal arguments about religious minorities on it.
Modern scholarship has swung in both directions, with some academics such as Bat Yeʾor denouncing Islam as an oppressive religion that incites intolerance, and others such as Milka Levy-Rubin arguing that the agreements contracted by the early Muslims with minorities were far more progressive than the precedents set by their neighbors.
to religious minorities, nor does it seek to defend the actions of Muslims or non-Muslims in regard to religious minorities; rather, it seeks to provide an overview of the topic at hand through contextualization.
So while Christians historically at times suffered at the hands of Muslims, it was almost never a result of their Before delving into the technicalities, it is important to begin by reflecting on some of the historical foundations relevant to the treatment of religious minorities.
We begin at the time of the Prophet ﷺ, who upon his arrival in Medina, contracted a treaty with the non-Muslims that essentially established rights and responsibilities between the various Muslim groups and the Jewish tribes.