Dictionary term

Definition of "Al-muqata‘ah"

A system of taxation followed by ’Umayyads (AD 661–750) and ‘Abbasids (AD 750–945). It referred to a procedure for collective tax payment for the state and the caliph. It was used in a number of ways: (i) a fixed yearly sum of money payable according to agreement and without regard to the prosperity of the cultivator or the population; (ii) an annual due paid for a fief; (iii) a tax paid by allied nations and provinces as a tribute on condition of retaining a certain autonomy; and (iv) dues paid by the one who undertakes the tax management of an entire province or a major area. In the Ottoman empire (AD 1281–1924) the system was classified into three categories: Timar, Emanet and ’Iltizam. The first form was similar to the fief system of European feudalism, whereby the feudal lord kept the income and in return was obliged to perform certain services for the state. The second form constituted income from properties administered on a trustee basis, which was handed over to the state in return for a reward. The third form was tax tenure whereby the tax tenant (’amWn) was allowed to keep a part of the taxes for himself and had to give the rest to the state.

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