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Reâyâ (from Arabic رعية, DMG raʿīya , pl. رعايا, DMG raʿāyā or raʿya , Pl. Raʿāyā , "guarded flock"; also Turkish reaya ; Bosnian / Croatian / Serbian  raja ; Greek ραγιάς rajás , Pl. ραγιάδες rajádes ) originally referred to the taxable subjects of a Muslim ruler . It was not until the 18th century that Reaya became the name of the Christian subjects in the Ottoman Empire, while the name Yehudi remained common for the Jews . The status of the Askerî differed from the Reaya .

In the Ottoman Empire, nomads, farmers, craftsmen, shopkeepers and merchants were counted as Reâyâ. People with a Reâyâ background were only rarely accepted into the Askerî class. It was objected that many Kuls (slaves) descended from Reâyâs (taxable farmers), while many Sipahis ("riders", owners of Tımaren ) came from Kuls.

In Kurdish society, the Reâyâ were not tribally organized peasants who had to pay tribute to the (semi-) nomads organized in Eşiret (tribes).


  • Michael Ursinus: Reaya . In: Konrad Clewing, Holm Sundhaussen (Ed.): Lexicon for the history of Southeast Europe . Böhlau, Vienna et al. 2016, ISBN 978-3-205-78667-2 , p. 757 f .
  • Klaus Kreiser : The Ottoman State 1300-1922 . 2nd edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, p. 66.
  • CE Bosworth , Suraiya Faroqhi: RA'IYYA . In: Encyclopaedia of Islam . 2nd ed., Vol. VIII, pp. 403-406.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Günter Behrendt: Nationalism in Kurdistan. Prehistory, conditions of origin and first manifestations up to 1925. Deutsches Orient-Institut, Hamburg 1993, p. 45