The Military Iqta‘ in Bilad al-Sham in the Ayyubid Period (570-648 A.H./1174-1250 A.D.)

Fawzi Khaled Al-Tawhih


The Ayyubid period represented a new stage in the domination of the military elements and the introduction of the military iqta‘ of the Saljuq type. Two kinds of iqta‘ were prevalent: the administrative iqta‘, which concerned the sultans of the ruling Ayyubid family, the leading princes and administrators, and the second military iqta‘, which did not differ in origin or form from the Saljuq iqta‘. The iqta‘ in Bilad al-Sham in the Ayyubid period underwent a series of changes due to the political and economic situation. There were also iqta‘s for Arab tribes in certain areas. The military iqta‘ was connected to an integrated administration, known as the Diwan al-Iqta‘, subject to the Diwan al-Jaysh. The value of an iqta‘ was determined by esstimation and was granted in lieu of a salary in return for military service. The holder of an iqta‘ had military responsibilities, such as providing a fully equipped unit for the army of the sultan in time of war. The iqta‘ holder was also responsible for some economic duties, such as maintaining the irrigation projects within his iqta‘ and collecting for the state the taxes and duties imposed on his iqta‘. In the Ayyubid period the iqta‘ system was hereditary and was found in a number of districts.


Iqta‘, Bilad al-Sham, Ayyubid period

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