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Steuern und Gelehrsamkeit in der frühen ʿAbbāsidenzeit: Das Kitāb al-amwāl des Abū ʿUbaid al-Qāsim b. Sallām. Teil 1: Abū ʿUbaids Steuersystematik und die Rolle des Herrschers

Pages 53 - 93


Abū ʿUbayd al-Qāsim b. Sallām (d. 224/838) is one of the oldest Islamic scholars, whose works are preserved until today. Among them we find his famous Kitāb al-amwāl, a treatise on taxation from the early 3rd/9th century. Görke argued convincingly that firstly the Kitāb al-amwāl was written by Abū ʿUbayd himself, that secondly he edited it himself in approximately 215/830, and that thirdly it was transmitted into our time with few alterations only. This makes it a valuable source for issues of taxation, for statements of rule and for a legal argumentation by an individual jurist in early ʿAbbāsid times. Looking at the Kitāb al-amwāl from these three perspectives, it becomes clear that Abū ʿUbayd developed a coherent system of taxation that he derived from the Qurʾān, the sunna and from various aḥadīth. This system focuses on rates of taxation, on the recipients of taxes and on those who are obliged to pay the taxes. Furthermore the Kitāb al-amwāl mentions rights and duties of the ruler and therefore offers a glimpse on the early Islamic state in connection with taxation. Abū ʿUbayd argues these matters on the basis of traditions from the prophet Muḥammad, early caliphs and later jurists. Besides, he uses several other techniques of argumentation, like analogy, ratio legis or practical experiments, in order to provide a convincing position.

Whereas part 1 of the article focuses on the issues of taxation and features of rule in the early Islamic state, part 2 gives an insight into the practical side of the nascent Islamic law by depicting Abū ʿUbayd's legal approach in detail.


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