Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Servitudes in Persia"

This is a document entitled "Servitudes in Persia" from The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam by Bat Ye'or, Associated University Press, 1985, p. 336. I expanded the bibliographic citation at the end. By the way, those "advantages in inheritance" are in effect in Iran right now, according to the BBC.
At Hamadan in 1890, Shah Nasr-ad-Din (1848-1896) renewed his 1880 edict, which forbade advantages in inheritance for a Jewish convert to Islam to the detriment of the other Jewish heirs. This royal edict incited the mollahs and the mob to force the Jews of Hamadan in 1892 to conform to the following obligations, under threat of death or conversion:

1. The Jews are forbidden to leave their houses when it rains or snows [to prevent the impurity of the Jews being transmitted to the Shiite Muslims].
2. Jewish women are obliged to expose their faces in public [like prostitutes].
3. They must cover themselves with a two-coloured izar (an izar is a big piece of material with which Eastern women are obliged to cover themselves when leaving their houses).
4. The men must not wear fine clothes, the only material permitted them being a blue cotton fabric.
5. They are forbidden to wear matching shoes.
6. Every Jew is obliged to wear a piece of red cloth on his chest.
7. A Jew must never overtake a Muslim on a public street.
8. He is forbidden to talk loudly to a Muslim.
9. A Jewish creditor of a Muslim must claim his debt in a quavering and respectful manner.
10. If a Muslim insults a Jew, the latter must drop his head and remain silent.
11. A Jew who buys meat must wrap and conceal it carefully from Muslims.
12. It is forbidden to build fine edifices.
13. It is forbidden for him to have a house higher than that of his Muslim neighbour.
14. Neither must he use plaster for white-washing.
15. The entrance of his house must be low.
16. The Jew cannot put on his coat; he must be satisfied to carry it rolled under his arm.
17. It is forbidden for him to cut his beard, or even to trim it slightly with scissors.
18. It is forbidden for Jews to leave the town or enjoy the fresh air of the Countryside.
19. It is forbidden for Jewish doctors to ride on horseback [this right was generally forbidden to all non-Muslims, except doctors].
20. A Jew suspected of drinking spirits must not appear in the street;
if he does, he should be put to death immediately.
21. Weddings must be celebrated in the greatest secrecy.
22. Jews must not consume good fruit (1:377).

K Leven. English translation in Littman, D. G. "Jews Under Muslim Rule: The Case of Persia." WLB 32 (1979): 7-8
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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