views updated May 23 2018


A poll tax.

Several poll taxes were levied throughout the Middle East from the time of the Muslim conquests (seventh century). Caliph Umar II (717720 c.e.) established the principle that they should be levied only on non-Muslims. Islam exempted women, children, and the disabled or unemployed from the tax.

In 1855, the Ottoman Empire abolished the tax, as part of reforms to equalize the status of Muslims and non-Muslims. It was replaced, however, by a military-exemption tax on non-Muslims, the Bedel-i Askeri.

see also bedel-i askeri.


Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies, 2d edition. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 3d edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

elizabeth thompson


views updated May 18 2018

Jizya (Arab., jazā, ‘reward, requite’). The poll tax levied on non-Muslims in Muslim countries, based on e.g. Qurʾān 9. 29. In return for jizya, the Muslim state has an obligation to protect those who pay it.