dhimmis had to recognise the political sovereignty of Islam, to respect Muslims, to refrain from ostentatious religious celebrations, to wear distinctive clothing and, finally, to pay a poll-tax known as jizya. Some contemporary writers have seen these conditions as proof of the remarkable tolerance shown by the Muslims, while others have condemned it as an act of oppression inflicted on non-Muslims. There can, however, be no doubt that it provided security and autonomy on the one hand, and legal inferiority on the other, which was applied variously depending on region, period, rulers and social setting.
The general trend is quite clear. In the period under consideration, from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, dhimma status was imposed more severely and the material position of dhimmis deteriorated. Behind this were general developments within Islam. Just as the schism of 1054 is of great symbolic significance for Orthodoxy, so the year 1055 marks an equally important rupture in the history of Islam, for in that year the Seljuq leader Tughril Beg entered Baghdad, putting an end to the dream of a pan-Islamic community united around its caliph. The Seljuqs of Iraq and Iran - and in their wake various military dynasties, first in Syria, and then with Saladin in Egypt - developed new models of legitimacy and of the exercise of power, for which the defence of Sunni Islam was central. At a time when the demographic, cultural and social influence of Christianity was on the wane, Islam set the social norm, which meant the strict application of Muslim law and of dhimma status. It is significant that the earliest version of the so-called pact of 'Umar should date precisely from the twelfth century, since it was taken as authoritative when it came to establishing dhimma status. 18
Instructive are thepolicies pursued by the sultan Saladin(ii7i-93). He revived measures that had apparently fallen into disuse: for example, Christians were required to wear a yellow belt, were forbidden to ride horses or mules, and were expected to show due modesty in their religious ceremonies and buildings, which meant among others things the removal of crosses from the exterior of churches. Such a rigorist attitude on the part of the rulers might have encouraged further measures against Christians. It was to guard against this that Saladin reminded the inhabitants of Aleppo that in return for respect for Muslim law minorities could expect protection. He informed them: 'When we ordered the dhimmis to wear the distinctive clothing which distinguishes them from Muslims . . . we heard that gangs of thugs inflamed by hatred attacked
18 See al-Turtushi, Simj al-muluk (Cairo, 1289/1872), i35ff.; trans. M. Alarcon, Lamparas de los principes por Abubiquer de Torotosa, ii (Madrid: Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, 1931), i43ff. Cf. A. Fattal, Le statut legal des non-musulmans en pays d'lslam (Beirut: Imprimerie catholique, 1958), 60-3.
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