Muafiyet was a tax exemption mechanism for Ottoman towns or villages; an individual decree of tax exemption was called a muafname.[1]

After a muafname was issued to a town, the urban population would be exempted from some of the taxes on raya, such as resm-i çift. Taxation in the Ottoman Empire was complex, including various routine and extraordinary taxes, and different rates for social groups; a muafname might apply to one or more of these taxes.[2]

The Muafiyet system was a deliberate policy of the Sublime Porte, working to encourage the growth of urban populations from the 15th century onwards,[3] although forgoing some tax revenue.

Tax exemption was prized by locals; so, the granting of a muafname was subject to "pull" as well as "push". Muafname might be requested by the local bey or kadı. Enforcement of the complex patchwork of taxes and exemptions could vary; in one case, taxes were collected from villages despite a muafname, and the local kadı wrote that subsequent legitimate taxes were held back to compensate for the wrongful taxation.[4]

A muafiyet emri, or tax exemption order, might even be given to an individual ship's captain.[8]


  1. Demirci, Süleyman (2009). The functioning of Ottoman avâriz taxation: an aspect of the relationship between centre and periphery : a case study of the province of Karaman, 1621-1700. Isis Press. ISBN 978-975-428-380-8.
  2. "CEEOL Contributions to Oriental Philology / Revue de Philologie Orientale , Issue 54 /2004". 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  3. Lauer & Schreiner (1996). Die Kultur Griechenlands in Mittelalter und Neuzeit : Bericht über das Kolloquium der Südosteuropa-Kommission 28.-31. Oktober 1992. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht. ISBN 978-3-525-82600-3.
  4. Darling, Linda (1996). Revenue-raising and legitimacy: tax collection and finance administration in the Ottoman Empire, 1560-1660. ISBN 978-90-04-10289-7.
  5. Malcolm, Noel (2002). Bosnia: A Short History. Pan. ISBN 978-0-330-41244-5.
  6. Jahrbücher für Geschichte und Kultur Südosteuropas. 2004 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Zachariadou, Elisavet (1992). The Via Egnatia under Ottoman rule (1380-1699). Crete University Press.
  8. Networks of power in modern Greece: essays in honor of John Campbell. Columbia University Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-231-70103-7.
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