In my textbook it states that the Christians who lived in the Ottoman Empire received a humanitarian treatment. They were permitted to live peacefully as normal citizens of the state. I believe there is some bias here. Is this true?

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    Devşirme or blood tribute involved kidnapping young Christian boys, forcibly converting them to Islam and then enrolling them in the Janissary military or in Ottoman administration.
    – Henry
    Jul 4, 2015 at 13:22
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    The notion of "fair treatment" evolved with time. They certainly could not have "equal rights" in a Muslim empire. But they were not converted by force as in the earlier Muslim conquests.
    – Alex
    Jul 4, 2015 at 16:11
  • Also, the immediate aftermath of battles is usually a bloody issue. Are you refering to the days/weeks following the conquest or after the situation had settled.
    – SJuan76
    Jul 4, 2015 at 19:26
  • I mean after the situation had settled. When the Muslims conquered Persia for example people were given two choices, either pay a huge sum of money or convert to Islam. I was wondering what non-Muslims did under the Ottoman rule.
    – Dave
    Jul 4, 2015 at 20:07
  • @Alex I googled' fair treatmen', i didnt find such , Do you mean dhimmi contract ?
    – moudiz
    Jul 5, 2015 at 1:19

1 Answer 1


In Ottoman empire (and Islamic empire on general) the non-islam citizens are called Dhimmi (residence in return for taxes). Their rights is fully protected in their communities, but as citizens in the Islamic statet:

  • They had certain restrictions.
  • they pay jizya tax.
  • excluded from specific duties , zakat and political rights.
  • they are equal in term laws of property, contract and obligation.
  • They have "dhimma contract".
  • They can practice their religion, subject to certain conditions.
  • They had their own communities (quoted from above link)

For example, the Jewish community in Medina was allowed to have its own Halakha courts, and the Ottoman millet system allowed its various dhimmi communities to rule themselves under separate legal courts.

The monotheists, Jews and Christians have been afforded a special status. The Ottoman empire didn't interfer in their matters unless they asked for that.

As for Christians: Chsritians and jews had special treatment back then, but polytheists were not. Forced conversion of those raised by a non-Muslim father is counter to Sharia law, and was not a standard practice (except for Christian boys collected for military service as Janissaries). after fall of Constantinople the Hagia Sophiaturned into a mosque

Things changed in the late of 1830 . The treatment to christians changed for sevral reasons The status of the dhimmi "was for long accepted with resignation by the Christians and with gratitude by the Jews" but the rising power of Christendom and the radical ideas of the French Revolution caused a wave of discontent among Christian dhimmis.The continuing and growing pressure from the European powers combined with pressure from Muslim reformers gradually relaxed the inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims.

  • 1930? ​ Do you means 1830s? ​ ​ ​
    – user2110
    Jul 5, 2015 at 4:22
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    it would be good to mention that the Jizya was (and is) cripplingly high, and the dhimmi status extremely restrictive in the civic and economic activities the non-muslims could engage in. Effectively they were in many cases worse off than slaves.
    – jwenting
    Jul 6, 2015 at 7:53
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    @jwenting really ? I didnt know that .. do you have articles or references mentiont that dhimmi was treated badly ? we could added it in the asnwer
    – moudiz
    Jul 6, 2015 at 8:12

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