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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A raiyah or reaya (from Arabic: رعاياraee`aya, a plural of رعيّة ra`iya "citizens,[1] subjects,[1] nationals,[2] flock", also spelled raiya, raja, raiah, re'aya; Ottoman Turkish رعايا IPA: [ɾeˈʔaːjeː]; Modern Turkish râiya [ɾaːˈja] or reaya; related to the Arabic word rā'ī راعي which means "shepherd, herdsman, patron"[3]) was a member of the tax-paying lower class of Ottoman society, in contrast to the askeri (upper class) and kul (slaves). The raiyah made up over 90% of the general population in the millet communities. In the Muslim world, raiyah is literally subject of a government or sovereign. The raiyah (literally 'members of the flock') included Christians, Muslims, and Jews who were 'shorn' (i.e. taxed) to support the state and the associated 'professional Ottoman' class.[4]

However, both in contemporaneous and in modern usage, it refers to non-Muslim subjects in particular, also called zimmi.[5][6][7]

In the early Ottoman Empire, raiyah were not eligible for military service, but from the late 16th century, Muslim raiyah became eligible, to the distress of some of the ruling class.[8]

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See also


  1. ^ a b "Google Translate". Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  2. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  3. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  4. ^ Sugar, p. 33
  5. ^ Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48, "Raiyah \Raee"yah\ (r[=a]"y[.a] or r[aum]"y[.a]), n. [Ar. ra'iyah a herd, a subject, fr. ra'a to pasture, guard.] A person not a Mohammedan (i. e. Muslim), who pays the capitation tax. (Turkey) (1913 Webster)"
  6. ^  definition
  7. ^ "Raiyahs,"--all who pay the capitation tax, called the "Haraç." "This tax was levied on the whole male unbelieving population," except children under ten, old men, Christian and Jewish priests. --Finlay, Greece under Ottoman and Venetian Domination, 2856, p. 26.
  8. ^ Greene, p. 41, quoting Halil Inalcık


  • Molly Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean, Princeton, 2000. ISBN 0-691-00898-1
  • Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule, 1354-1804, series title A History of East Central Europe, volume V, University of Washington Press, 1983. ISBN 0-295-96033-7.
This page was last edited on 28 July 2021, at 08:41
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