Taxing Citizens: Socio-legal Constructions of Late Antique Muslim Identity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The regulations pertaining to Islamic charity taxation illuminate underappreciated dimensions of how Muslims defined identity boundaries in late antiquity. To demarcate the contours of a historical process of Muslim identity construction, I analyze Islamic jurisprudential debates about who is and who is not obligated to pay the charity tax. Most late antique and medieval jurists made the charity tax incumbent on minors or others lacking full legal capacity, even though these groups were exempt from "for-thedivine" practices. I suggest Muslim citizenship as a framework for understanding late antique Muslim identity. Because charity tax liability had socio-political and economic implications, it functioned simultaneously as a gate into and out of a Muslim community. This article contributes to the discourse on Islamic beginnings by exploring the intricacies of Muslim self-conceptions in late antiquity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-367
Number of pages35
JournalIslamic Law and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016


  • Islamic beginnings
  • Islamic law
  • charity
  • citizenship
  • divine
  • identity
  • jurisprudence
  • late antiquity
  • law
  • political
  • polity
  • religion
  • sacred
  • tax
  • taxation


Dive into the research topics of 'Taxing Citizens: Socio-legal Constructions of Late Antique Muslim Identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this