CONCEPT OF DHIMMI
CONTRADICTORY INTERPRETATIONS OF SHARIA DHIMMA STATUS
The dhimmi status of Sharia law is open to many interpretations as the sources include contradictory and ambiguous statements on the Islamic state's attitude to "people of the book". There has always been a discrepancy between the theological declarations and the practical implementation by various rulers throughout history, with cyclical ups and downs within the general framework of dhimmi-millet status. One problem of traditional dhimma status is that it includes no specific guarantees for minority rights, nor specific penalties for their violation. Another problem was the attitude inculcated in the Muslim masses over centuries of Islamic dominance.
TWO BASIC CONCEPTS
Dhimmi status is based on two important concepts: First, that Muslims are superior to any other religious group ("Ye are the best community that has been raised up for mankind" 3:110), and secondly, that Christians and Jews who had not accepted Islam should be conquered, humiliated, and subjected to the payment of the tribute poll tax, the jizya, not payable by Muslims (4:29: "fight against those who have been given the scripture and... follow not the religion of truth until they pay the tribute readily, being brought down"). Dhimmis were barred from sharing in the government and from service in the army, but were granted protection of life and property by theMuslim state in return for paying the jizya. They also retained the right to manage affairs pertaining to personal status (marriage, divorce, etc.) according to their own laws, but they enjoyed no political rights of any kind.
RELIGIOUS CATEGORIZATION AND DISCRIMINATION FUNDAMENTAL TO SHARIA
Categorization and discrimination on grounds of religion is fundamental to Sharia law. Human rights are the privilege of persons with full legal capacity, meaning of mature age, free, and of Muslim faith. It follows that non-Muslims in Islamic states are only partially protected by law. A person's status, legal rights and capacity are determined by his religion: Muslim, Kitabi, or non-Kitabi non-Muslim. Only Muslims are full citizens of an Islamic state enjoying all rights and liberties of a citizen. Kitabis are tolerated as a community enjoying a limited degree of autonomy under a compact of dhimma with the Muslim rulers. Non-Kitabis have no rights whatsoever except under temporary Aman for political expediency. A Muslim who abandons Islam is guilty of apostasy, punishable by death under sharia. Apostasy involves civil law consequences: losing the capacity to conclude contracts, loss of property to state, marriage immediately dissolved.
ORIGINAL MODEL OF DHIMMA
Dhimma status was originally modelled on the contracts between Muhammad and Jewish and Christian tribes of Arabia during the first decade after the Hijra. The Muslim state granted communal and legal autonomy to ahl al-kitab, including the right to collect taxes for their own communal institutions, administer law in personal and family affairs, freedom of religious education and worship, and recognized the status of the head of the community. Equality was practiced within the Muslim community, but did not extend to non-Muslims. Dhimma thus clearly violates religious freedom by modern standards, but in the context of the 7th century it was a considerable improvement on accepted norms. However advanced such laws might have been relative to their times, today minorities regard such treatment as demeaning second-rate status.
DHIMMA TO ISLAM AS WOMEN TO MEN
Dhimmis were treated as weak, subordinate, shameful and protected in relation to the Muslim majority. In some ways, dhimmis are to the Muslim majority what women are to Muslim men: weak, protected, segregated, different, with specialized functions in society, must manifest modesty and humility in their demeanor, not equal before the law, yet the honour of the dominant party dependens on them.
Most Muslim writers perceived the first generation of Muslims as weak and endangered in relation to the non-Mulsim world, thus creating a persecution-complex that persists today in spite of tremendous changes in Muslim status in early centuries and thereafter. This is especially true because the Prophet's era is the model for all Muslim times. This explains early Muslim mistrust of non-Muslims, transmitted across time by the classical jurists. It also explains the exaggerated use of naskh (abrogation) by the jurists in the field of external relations to gain legitimacy and rally moral support against hostile neighbours. It did not help them think into the future beyond their immediate circumstances.
HAWKS AND DOVES
The "hawkish" interpretation of jihad may have played a role in the relationships with non-Muslims in the classical period. There were however also "dovish" elements by some commentators who saw jihad in defensive terms, defining relationships between groups in terms of peace and equality. However, the underlying nature of the actual relationships did not allow for fruition of this notion. As the Christian powers never accepted the emergence of the Muslim state and its ideals, as they persecuted their subjects who accepted Islam, Muslims reciprocated with harsher tendencies within their own realms.
The subordinate non-Muslims who eventually became actual minorities had no love lost for the dominant Muslim state in which they lived. However they respected the order and authority it represented. They also understood that their safety and well being depended upon the effective functioning of governemnt as a deterrent to their enemies. Naturally they continued to hope for the time when the God of History would intervene in the affairs of men and bring about their redemption and vindication. Most Christians prudently awaited the demise of the Muslim state in the distant apocalyptic future. In the meantime, they accepted their subordinate role within it as part of the inscrutable Divine plan.
INFERIORITY OF DHIMMIS
In theory the lives and property (as well as religious property) were guaranteed to those who accepted the dhimma pact, but very soon the interpretation and application of its conditions transformed the dhimma into a codified system of legalized tyranny, spiritual in theory, but which in practice often led to physical genocide and was at the base of the Arabization and Islamization of the Christian Orient. Its evolution over the centuries was governed by the irrefutable belief in the superiority of Islam and its universal supremacy.
VARIOUS SHARIA RULES ON DHIMMIS
The pact of Umar II regulated the discriminatory status imposed on the dhimmis. They had to pay the jizya, and in order to have the right to cultivate their land, also the kharaj. The Muslim Empire was subsidized by the non-Muslim taxes.
The construction of new churches, restoration of old ones, as well as the use of bells, banners, sacred books, crosses in public were prohibited. Services were to be silent, and no lamentation allowed at funerals. Their houses had to be inferior to those of Muslims. Blasphemy against Islam was punishable by death. relations with dhimmis were discouraged. Dhimmis were not allowed to exercise authority over Muslims, and could not testify against them. Their movements were restricted and they were not allowed to bear arms.
Their inferiority was also expressed in their dress - they were denied certain coloyrs, had to be seen as different to Muslims. Horses and Camels were reserved for Muslims, dhimmis could ride donkeys. They had to stand up in presence of Muslims, address them in low tones, give them the right of way in narrow streets, pass them on their left. The jizya was paid in a ceremony that included a slap on the face of the dhimmi to publicly humiliate him.
DHIMMA IN CLASSICAL JURISPRUDENCE
In classical Islamic jurisprudence, dhimma is defined as a permanent agreement between Muslim political authorities and non-Muslim subjects which provides for protection for non-Muslims and peaceful internal relations. In return the non-Mulsims accepted Islamic rule and paid jizya in lieu of serving in the army. Jurists were aware that in return the state not only tolerated non-Muslim faith and religious practices and laws, but also provided them with protection of life and property. Some jurists (ibn-Qayyim al-Jawziyya) regarded those agreements as a punishment on non-believers. This position influenced by the cumulative effect of centuries of tension in communal relationships, Crusader and Mongol invasions and confusion on theoretical basis of Islam. Classical jurists generally made mistake of focusing on the micro rather than the macro aspects of Islamic system, focused on "saghirun" (vanquished, overpowered, 9:29) to justify humiliation, rather than on significance of Muhammad's pacts with Christians of Najran and Jews of Medina. Jurists extended treatment intended to aggressive, corrupt mushrikun enemies, to all non-Muslims including ahl al-Kitab regardless of their actual attitude to Islam. Classical framework of political thought pertaining to relationship with non-Muslims in muslim state was in some aspects negative, lacking an understanding of Islam's intent or interest in long-range relationships with non-Muslims.
The classical Islamic jurisprudence dealt with whom to tolerate and how to deal with tolerated people. All agreed that the tolerated were "ahl al-kitab". These jurists were far removed from original meaning of early Islam. The term "ahl al-kitab" is a favorable assessment of Christians and Jews, both in terms of revelation and of knowledge and civilization, in contrast to savage al-Arab (the Beduins)! Classical juristic attitude to non-Muslims was rigid, and due to its narrow interpretation of Islamic values out of context, lost flexibility and tolerance in its attitudes to non-Muslims.
The word dhimma means a compact which a believer agrees to respect and the violation of which makes him liable to dham (blame). The four madhabs had differing views on who was included under dhimmi status. Hussain believes dhimmi status can be afforded to all non-Muslims who pay jizya. Dhimmis enjoy protection of life, liberty, property and honour. They are given full freedom of conscience. They are exempted from military service in return for paying the jizya. The Islamic state deals with dhimmis as members of a community, not as individuals. The Sharia regards the adherents of each religion as a community controlled by the guardians of its sacred traditions. The individual dhimmis are obliged by the state to follow their communities' traditions and laws.
Since the state is theoretically theocratic, the dhimma are outside the full community of the state. Dhimmis were tolerated but subordinate minorities with a recognized but inferior position. Dhimma status required the state to protect the life and property of its dhimmis, exempt them from military service and allow them freedom of worship within limits. In return they were expected to pay higher taxes in form of jizya, not to insult Islam, not build new places of worship, and dress in distinctive fashion so as not to be mistaken for Muslims. They were allowed to retain own religious organization and places of worship and trusts. These principles were actually observed to large extent in the Muslim treatment of Christians over history, though there have been sporadic instances of persecution.
Minorities living amidst dominant Muslim society could not help be affected by its way of life. Most became Arabic in language and culture, and to some degree Islamized in social life and popular ethics. Depending on the jurists' opinions, dhimmis could be either excluded from serving in government altogether, or excluded from high government positions.
HUMILIATING ASPECTS OF DHIMMA IN PRACTICE
Historically, dhimma often lost its original character, and became the formal expression of legalized persecution. All dhimma contracts include sharia ordained humiliating jizya, exclusion from public office, inequality before law, and other measures designed to segregate and humiliate tolerated minorities. In light of this one can hardly fail to appreciate deep resentment and grave apprehension of Christian and Jewish communities. The best dhimma system would still discriminate against dhimmis and violate their religious freedom. This is especially objectionable in context of the modern nation state.
OTTOMAN MILLET SYSTEM
The Ottomans refined the dhimma system into the Millet system of their Empire in which Christians and Jews did not form part of the community of state, and had no share in its military or religious organization, though individual dhimmis could make themselves useful to the rulers. Non-Sunnis were marginalised and shut out from power. Each community formed a closed world sufficient unto itself. This led over the centuries to the closed, separate, minority communities who coexist but do not intermingle, and who eye each other with suspicion. The Millet system made it possible for minorities to retain their autonomous communal life, and they played a great part in commerce, finance and certain crafts, but their position was always precariously dependent on the ruler's caprice.
UNTIL 19TH CENTURY
Until the 19th century Christians and Jews lived officially as second class citizens, tolerated, sometimes abused, never full citizens equal to the Muslims in rights and duties. Some outstanding personalities among them reached high position in government and administration under the Islamic rulers, but they were employed for their ability and because they had no political ambitions, not because their community had a right to share in the government of the country.
IMPACT OF DHIMMA THINKING IN STATES TODAY
Islam has such a strong hold on its adherents that even today whenever there is a contradiction between the constitution and the religious precepts regarding non-Muslims, the contradiction is always resolved by administrative and practical measures in favor of sharia and against equality. The dhimma system on the status of non-Muslims is a fundamental of Sharia. If fundamentalists achieve hegemony in a state, dhimma stattus will be immediately installed. Major features of dhimma system will be introduced even if sharia is gradually introduced under a quasi democratic system. The dhimma sharia rules pose a grave threat to religious liberty if not drastically reformed!
NEW INTERPRETATIONS TO EQUALIZE STATUS OF NON-MUSLIMS
The way to resolve this problem is to redirect the Islamic sense of equality to reach out to all humanity on the optimistic basis of fitrah (nature) and da`wah (call), rather than on the pessimistic foundation of kufr.
Muslim modernists and reformers, such as Abduh, Rida, Azzam, al-Saidi made efforts to resolve problem of freedom of religion and equality in Islam, but it is not yet clear conceptually. Abu-Sulayman suggests an approach based on concern for one's fellow men, a basic Islamic ideology. This is expressed in the Quran in terms of love (tawwadduhum), help (tuhsinu), gentleness (allati hiya ahsan) and protection (dhimma).
DHIMMIS IN PRESENT ISLAMIC ME SOCIETY
In societies were Islamic values dominate, non-Muslim minorities live within the limits set by the majority. Christians in the Middle East are a minority, defined by religion. In Muslim societies, law determines personal identity and social status according to religious criteria.
Middle East Christians have ultimately been assimilated by Islamic and Arabic civilization. Christians participated in the formation of the dominant culture in social, administrative and literary realms, often to the neglect of their pre-Islamic past. It is an anomaly that though conversion to Islam is so easy, yet religion as the principal determinant of identity and status is difficult to alter or shrug off. Other determinants such as language, culture, had less consequences for personal identity and social status.
Because Islam insisted they do so, the various dhimmi communities of Christians came to think of themselves as Christian nations, symbolized by the possession of their own internal law. However they did not become one unified legal entity as the Muslims or Jews.
Dhimmi Christians became isolated from the dominant Muslim culture, and more isolated from each other. Some Christians relegated their religion to the most private portions of their lives in order to feel at home in the Islamic society outside their homes.
Christians are predisposed to secularism, giving it can guarantee their equality and separate identity, because law for them never had the theological impact of revelation that law has on Muslims and Jews.
Stillman prefers terms dominant-subordinate to describe relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic states, as Muslims in the early era where a numerical minority in the areas they conquered. In the new empire the Muslims were the rulers and the others subordinate according to Surat al-Thawba 9:29 "they are to pay tribute out of the hand and be humbled" (yu`tu 'l-jizya `an yad wa-hum saghirun"). Their status was established whilst they were still a numerical majority. Although there were ups and downs, better times and worse, their status remained the same through many changes of political regimes and institutions down to Ottoman times. One of the things that most galled Muslims in the Hatt-i-Humiyun given by the Ottomans under European pressure, was that the situation of non-Muslims not merely improved, but that Muslims were no longer the ruling millet (millet-i hakime). The dominant-subordinate relationship was overturned.
The Christian attitude was one of accepting "state" authority, although being subordinate was traumatic as in vast areas they had been the dominant group before the Muslim conquest. Yet they had the NT injunction to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" and to obey all authority. Although the Monophysites saw redemption in the Muslim victory over the Byzantines, their enthusiasm was subdued as time went on, and there was an attitude of acceptance of God's inscrutable decrees in Islamic domination. Muslim dominance and Christian subordination could be viewed as a stage in the fulfilment of eschatological prophecy.
DHIMMA AS EQUIVALENT TO MODERN CONCEPTS
Some Muslims try to present the position of non-mulsims under sharia as equivalent to contemporary concepts of citizenship and nationality. There is contradictory and confusing conclusions on real legal status of non-Muslim subjects of Islamic state.
NATIONALITY IN ISLAM AND DHIMMI STATUS
Nationality in Islam means participation in the ideology and outlook of life which constitutes Islamic nationality. It is not imposed by ethnic or linguistic accident, but by choice of belief and outlook. There is thus no scope for non-Muslims subjects of being nationals of an Islamic state. Some scholars argue the opposite. But sharia cannot change even if the whole Muslim world would deviate from it. A dhimmim is not bound to perform military duty and has no duty to protect the state. Dhimmis cannot be either nationals or citizens of an Islamic state. Citizens possess full political rights in their state, but a dhimmi does not possess full political rights. Non-Muslims on account of their restricted rights cannot be citizens of the Islamic state. A non-Muslim cannot be elected to posts which can influence the ideology of the state.
Dhimmis are similar to resident aliens in the Muslim state. However dhimmis enjoy right of permannet stay within the Islamic state.
Orientalists assume dhimmis inferior second class citizens because they are "saghirun" (humiliated, but actually according to Hussain subjected), pay jizya, have different penalties for certain crimes.
Dhimmi status is thus unique, and quite different to modern concepts of nationality, citizenship and resident alien. They are separate communities which enjoy wide autonomy in internal affairs. The Islamic state is thus a plural or multinational state, run by the dominant ideology. Others are granted freedom of conscience and given autonomy in cultural and judicial affairs. The staus of a dhimmi is determined by his being a member of his community, not simply a subject fo the state. Dhimmis enjoy dual status by virtue of being subjects of the state and members of their religious communities, distinct rights and obligations flow from the two kinds of status.
MUSLIMS SEE DHIIMA STATUS AS TOLERANT
Muslims are proud of the relative tolerance accorded by Islamic states to their non-Muslim subjects in history, usually far superior to that of Christian European states to their non-Christian subjects. Despite incidents of discrimination and mistreatment, it is fair to say that the Muslim world, when juged by the standards of the day, showed far greater tolerance in its treatment of non-Muslim minorities than did the Christian West.
IN 20TH CENTURY DHIMMA STATUS FRIGHTENS NON-MUSLIMS
However in the 20th century non-Muslims do not find the old formulas ressuring. Although Muslim rulers have often placed specific non-Muslims in prominent posts, the ultra-orthodox attitude does not condone the appointment of non-Muslims to positions of leadership and power. This explains why Copts for instance are so alarmed by the tendency to adopt Islamic legislation. Their full citizenship established under the Khedives is now threatened by the revival of the dhimma concept under which non-Mulsims are forbidden to govern over or judge between Muslims.
This formula, which was so noble in the Middle ages, does not seem compatible with the egalitarian achievemnts of the 20th century. Neo-fundamentalists follow Qutb and Maududi in an extreme antagonism to non-Muslims. Whilst the traditional concept implies fairness and protection coupled to exclusion from political participation, Islamists are quite insulting by implying non-Muslims do not belong to their native countries.
In most ME states, the Christian in spite of his education and skills finds the road blocked in way of his advancement. The number of Christians in top grades of the administration and army is way below their numerical proportion. The obstacles placed in their way are contrary to the law, but there always seem to be administrative stratagems which achieve the desired results. The state presents one or two Christians in nprominent positions as a fig leaf and example of non-discrimination (Butrus Ghali in Egypt), but this cannot hide the discrimination practiced against thousands in the lower ranks. In all cases the underlying sense is that Christians are not equal citizens, but conquered aliens, who pay the tribute, can be used to fill a post if needed, but cannot share in the government as of right.
CHRISTIANS LOOK FOR SECULAR PARTIES
As a result Christians seek participation in secular, socialist and nationalist movements which promise them full equality irrespective of religion. Muslims see these Christian activities as a sabotage of Muslim society, an attempt to break it up and destroy it. Christians feel they are only striving to gain self-respect, equal citizenship and rights in their homeland. Both sides seem to be telling the truth from their own point of view.
INBUILT INEQUALITY DESPITE LIMITED GUARANTEES
Whilst dhimma status gurantees protection of person and property and internal autonomy in religious matters, there is an inbuilt inequality in the polical arena. Power in a muslim state is only permissible to Muslims according to Sharia. Dhimmis must not assume high office where they could influence important decisions or lord it over Muslims. The classical Islamic legal system sees society divided into two classes of subjects. The Muslims are the real citizens, the others are tolerated subjects given limited guarantees by the Islamic state. These guaranteed rights are also based on the primary inequality of Muslims and dhimmis. They are not equal, do not have the same rights and duties, they are not equal before the law. Dhimmis are not without legal rights, but they are second class citizens. This mixture of tolerance and intolerance, this relative integration of non-Muslims in the state as accepted aliens, is not only a thological theory, but has been always implemented in practice in differeing measure of strictness or tolerance. This history has left a bitter residue among Christian and Jewish communities under Muslim rule, who see their history as one of continual Muslim pressure and suffering. The traditional maxim is: "Islam rules, it is not ruled". Islam must exercise its sovereignty and ensure the authority of Muslims in state and society.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN HISTORY AND PRESENT
The historical background must be kept in mind, and distinctions made between the past, in which imperialist campaigns were aimed at undermining the sovereignty of Muslim states by exploiting the issue of the treatment of non-Muslim subjects, and the present in which the equality of all citizens of Muslim states is an issue of international human rights law.
IMPERIALIST IMPACT IN MODERN TIMES
For centuries the status of non-Muslims was determined by Sharia law in a situation where Muslim rulers enjoyed unchallenged hegemony over their non-Muslim subjects. Imperialist European states than claimed that the treatment afforded the non-Muslims under Sharia was unacceptable. European powers wrested concessions from the Ottomans for their own citizens who were given extraterritorial status. In the face of mounting European pressure exemtion of non-Muslims from Sharia became associated with Imperialism.
In the 19th century European powers appointed themselves protectors of various Christian minorities and aggressively monitored their treatment as pretexts for interfering in Ottoman affairs. These pressures were a factor in the special edicts of 1839 and 1856 that formally granted equality to no-Muslim Ottoman citizens.
When they occupied Muslim states, the Europeans invariably favoured non-Muslim minorities and invoked the need to protect non-Muslim minorities from the Muslim majority as a rationale for their rule.
Following independence many non-Muslims emigrated, the proportion of non-Muslims to Muslims dwindled.
MUSLIMS SEE WESTERN CONCERNS AS HYPOCRITICAL
Muslims see Western concerns for minorities as hypocritical and part of a Western plot against Islam.
IMPACT OF MODERN ISLAMIZATION
Islamization has serious implications for the rights of religious minorities. Their status has been increasingly tied to the status of Muslim disiidents who consider themselves Muslims but are not deemed as such by the normative orthodoxy.
INCOMPATIBILITY WITH INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS
The premodern Sharia rules affecting the status of non-Muslims are incompatible with the relevant standards of international human rights law.
RISE OF SECULAR NATIONALISM
With the rise of secular nationalism in the 19th century, it seemed that the distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims were destined to dwindle. Although personal status laws based on sharia persisted, de jure discrimination diminished in the 20th century. In most states they gained the legal status of citizenship on par with Muslims.
Today, as the influence of secular nationalism wanes, and that of Islam as a political ideology is growing, Muslims are divided on the merits of reinstating sharia rules on dhimmis.
Secularists assume Islamization entails discrimination against non-Muslims, and oppose the reinstatement of sharia rules on dhimmis.
MUSLIM EFFORTS AT ALIGNING SHARIA RULES WITH HUMAN RIGHTS - LIBERALS
Some Muslims believe Islamic law, if properly understood, does stand in the way of observing international human rights standards that prohobit discrimination on religious grounds. Others believe that there must be an affinity between Islam and the principles of international law and therefore embrace the principle of full equality for all citizens as compatible with islam.
AL-BISHRI: Tariq al-Bishri of Egypt has called on specialists to reconcile this equality with Islamic law, expressing confidence that in a tradition as flexible and egalitarian as Islam this should oresent no problem - a rather naive view. He states that the nature of the modern state is so different from the the government known by medieval Islamic theorists, that sharia restrictions on non-Muslims holding high political office no longer logically apply.
Abdullahi al-Na`im bases his understanding on the teachings of the martyred Mahmud Muhammad Taha of Sudan who argued for a distinction between Meccan and Medinan rules, between eternal principles and temporal expediencies. Based on this distinction he derives Islamic human rights principles that abolish the status of dhimmis and mandate an end to all discrimination on a religious basis.
CONSERVATIVES AGAINST LIBERALS
Against such Islamic liberals (who form a miniscule minority) are arrayed Muslim conservatives like Tabandeh and Maududi who want to preseve or revive discriminatory sharia rules affecting non-Muslims. Their formulations are sometimes vague and ambiguous on this subject so as not to make their stance opposing human rights too obvious. Basically they refuse to endorse the principle of equality as understood in international law for women and non-Muslims. In this they seem closer to grass roots feelings among fundamentalists and radicals, who in spite of stress on Ijtihad as a tool for accommodating modern trends to Islam, have not offered a reinterpretation of dhimma atatus, although most of the traditional sharia rules are based on medieval commentators rather than on the original sources. All supporters of dhimmi status (Doi, Maududi, Solihin, al-Qardawi, etc.) claim total equality given by dhimma status, in spite of theoretical (theological) and historical realities.
TABANDEH: Tabandeh insists that the principle of equality does not apply to differences of religion. Ahl al-kitab deserve respect for their belief in the One God, but as their faith has not reached the highest level, sharia makes a difference between them and Muslims.
NON-MUSLIMS AND WOMEN
The inferior status of women and of non-Muslims is linked by many Muslim conservatives. They take an anti-individualistic approach. The rights of individuals are subordinated to the prestige of the Muslim community, whose honour must not be sullied by any subordination of a Muslim to a non-Muslim in marriage or employment or politics.
According to Tabandeh, non-Muslims are completely excluded from the judiciary, legislature, cabinet. Furthermore, no propaganda for any no-Muslim religion is allowed.
Maududi avoids clear statements on the subject. He advocated discrimination against non-Muslims. Muslims are accorded superiority over non-Muslims. He favours the reimposition of the jizya tax, exclusion from military service, and they must not meddle in the affairs of state. They are to be relegated to an inferior status.