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Financial Rules

It appears that during the early Islamic period, the financial rules of Iran that had been inherited from the Sassanid period had undergone very limited changes because, following the conquest of Iran during the reign of the second caliph, not only was a major and important portion of the earlier rules preserved in Iran but these rules also became applicable in the other territories that were under the central caliphate. The financial registers of the Islamic caliphate were based on the Iranian patterns to such an extent that until the end of the first Hejirā century the financial registers of Iraq and the territories situated on its east were written in the Persian language and it was only during the times of Hajjāj bin Yusof that the language of these registers was changed into Arabic. Furthermore, until the mid 2nd Century AH/8th Century AD taxes on land revenues were levied and collected in Iran on the basis of the prevailing laws during the Sassanid rule. However, the prevalent geographical and environmental changes necessitated certain reconsiderations – a concern that became the subject of discussion and debates in the jurisprudential circles of the 2nd Century AH/8th Century AD. Some Islamic scholars like Qāzi Abu Yusof emphasized that the existing traditions in the Persians territories that had remained unchanged even after the advent of Islam in these territories should continue to prevail in spite of the complaints on the part of those who paid their taxes to the Imam.

Nevertheless, amendments were inevitable and these amendments began after the establishment of the Abbasid rule in which people like Hafsuyeh, an Iranian secretary of the caliphate, played a fundamental role. The other steps taken in this regard were the rewriting of the taxation laws and the regionalization of the taxes collected from Iran. Despite general taxation laws the taxation rules related to Iran were written separately, and were popularly referred to as the “Dastur” (order) or even the “Qānun” (law). A number of reports have been recorded regarding these dasturs and qānuns.

The laws concerning the government expenditure, too, were strictly based on the Sassanid laws in the early Islamic centuries. For instance, reference can be made to the “Bistgāni” payment system to the government officials that was in use until the Mongol invasion. A number of significant steps were taken towards the reformation of the administrative system during the Seljuq period in which Khwājeh Nizām al-Molk - the famous Iranian minister of the Seljuqs - had undoubtedly played a fundamental role.

A major portion of the legal amendments that took place during the reign of the Ilkhānid Mongol rulers concerned the revision of administrative and financial laws such as the levying and collection of taxes, the transfer of assets among the various regions, the supervision of the minting of coins, the legislation of government orders, and the elimination of the harassment of people at the hands of government officials. As a result of these amendments a law-oriented system had prevailed over the affairs of the country, which supervised the appointment of all the government officials from the ministerial level downwards to the ordinary officials as well as the appointment of candidates to religious posts.

Similarly, the “Tazukāt-e Teimuri”, the contents of which have been attributed to Tamerlane, is another example of governmental and administrative regulations to which some limited and gradual amendments were made during the period of the Turkmen and the Safavid rulers.


* source: Pakatchi , Ahmad "Iran Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.10 ,pp.625

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