Were customs dues levied at the time of the Prophet Muḥammad?
By Michael Lecker
Al-Qanṭara, Vol 22, No 1 (2001)
Abstract: The levying of customs was common in pre-Islamic Arabia. They were usually levied in the annual fairs and in Mecca, where Muḥammad’s ancestor, Qusayy, reportedly levied them from the non-Meccans entering Mecca. Muḥammad continued this age-old practice, hence the phrase lā yu ‘sharūna wa-lā yuḥsharūna in his letters to certain parties. It exempted these parties from the payment of customs, while all the others had to pay up.