As Muslim dynasties expanded and began ruling territories with non-Muslim populations, laws were established to create a hierarchy with Muslims at the top. Non-Muslims were ordered to pay the jizya, a poll tax that allowed non-Muslims to practice their religion and receive protection from the Muslim ruler. However, converts to Islam would reap even more benefits than those simply paying the jizya. The tax became an incentive for elite non-Muslims to rejoin the ruling group and transcend limits imposed on non-Muslim communities and traders. Conversions to Islam by communities along the Silk Road can be attributed to the desire of non-Muslims seeking better trade contacts and contracts.