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Constitution of the Caliphate State / Economic System

Article 151: Revenues of the Bayt Al-Mal

The Constitution of the Caliphate State, Article 151: Money taken at the borders of the State from custom duties, income derived from public or State property, inheritance for which there is no inheritor and the assets of the apostates are all considered to be part of the revenue of the Bayt Al-Mal.


The evidence for the article is what has been reported from Umar (ra) regarding the Muslims taking from the traders of those they were at war with according to what they took from the Muslim traders; it is reported by Ibn Abu Shayba in Al-Musannaf: “from Abu Mijliz – that Omar sent Uthman Bin Hanif who imposed upon the wealth of people of Dhimma that they differed over, a tax of one Dirham from every twenty and wrote to Omar who was content and gave him permission, and he said Omar: How much should we take from the people of war if they come to us? He said: How much do they take from you if you go to them? They said: A tenth. He said: So take the same from them”.

Abu ‘Ubayd reported in Al-Amwal from ‘Abd alRahman Bin Ma’qal who said: I asked Ziyaad Bin Hudair about whom they would take a tenth from. He said: “We didn’t use to take a tenth from a Muslim, nor from someone who had a covenant. I said: So who did you take the tenth from? He said: The disbelievers from the merchants of war, so we used to take from them as they used to take from us”. This is an evidence that custom duties which are taken from non-subjects of the State are considered to be from the sources of income of the Bayt Al-Mal.

This is with respect to the taxes, as for the wealth which is produced by public property, the Khalifah has been made the representative of the Muslims in managing their interests, and so whatever is from the public wealth which all of the individual citizens are able to enjoy, then they are left to them to use as they please, such as rivers and well water which could be used for irrigation. But if the usage of some prevents others, such as steel minerals, which leads to the one who is capable taking it while the one incapable gets nothing of it, then the Khalifah takes responsibility for managing this resource and extracting whatever is there in order to enable all the citizens to benefit from its sale. Accordingly, this wealth is placed in the Bayt Al-Mal and is considered to be from its sources of income because the Khalifah is the one who manages it. However, it is not spent according to the opinion and Ijtihad of the Khalifah in everything, since it is for the general citizens, and his opinion and Ijtihad is regarding the equality and inequality in expenditure, and not upon who it is paid for, since it is not from the State property.

And as for the wealth which has no inheritor for it, it is placed in the Bayt Al-Mal. If an inheritor is found then it is given to them, and if not then it is considered as the property of the Bayt Al-Mal because the Bayt Al-Mal is the inheritor of anyone who has no inheritor, since the Muslims used to give the inheritance of the one who had no inheritor to the Messenger  صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم , and he  صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم used to ask whether the person had any progeny or relatives? And (if he didn’t have any) then he  صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم would order it to be given to whomever he considered, which indicates that it is a source of income for the Bayt Al-Mal.

As for the wealth of the apostates, this is considered to be booty for the Muslims and is placed in the Bayt Al-Mal in the register of war spoils and Kharaj, and is spent upon what they are used for. His wealth is not inherited, since if one of the couple apostatised before consummating the marriage the contract is voided immediately and so there is no inheritance between them, and if the apostasy occurred after consummation then the marriage contract between them is voided, and if either of them die neither of them inherits from the other, since one of them is Muslim and the other a disbeliever. Similarly if the apostate was from those who inherit from a Muslim who died, the apostate does not inherit since he is a disbeliever and the one who left the inheritance is a Muslim, and a disbeliever does not inherit from a Muslim. Accordingly, his share of the remainder of the inheritance, if there were other inheritors, and if not then all of it is considered as booty for the Muslims, and it is placed in the Bayt Al-Mal. If the apostate died and he had inheritors from his sons, father, mother or siblings who were Muslim, they do not inherit from him, since a Muslim does not inherit from a disbeliever and it is all considered to be booty for the Muslims and is placed in the Bayt Al-Mal for the Muslims. From Usamah b. Zayd who said: the Messenger of Allah said:

«لا يَرِثُ الْمُسْلِمُ الْكَافِرَ، وَلا يَرِثُ الْكَافِرُ الْمُسْلِمَ»

A Muslim cannot be the heir of a disbeliever, nor can a disbeliever be the heir of a Muslim.(agreed upon). And ‘Abd Allah b. Umar said that the Messenger of Allah  صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said:

«لا يَتَوَارَثُ أَهْلُ مِلَّتَيْنِ»

people of two different religions would not inherit from one another.” (reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawud). Similarly if all of his inheritors apostasise with him, all of their wealth has no sanctity and it becomes booty for the Muslims, and they do not inherit from each other.

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