- 一般社団法人 日本オリエント学会
- オリエント (ISSN:00305219)
- vol.49, no.2, pp.165-181, 2006 (Released:2010-03-12)
What were the reasons that provoked the majority of Copts to convert to Islam in fourteenth century Mamluk Egypt? Most modern scholars conclude that non-Muslims lived under coercion during that period. However, the causes and the extent of the pressures are still questionable. This article attempts to analyze the significance of the decree issued by the Mamluks in 1301 which prompted a change of attitudes towards the dhimmis. The decree endeavored to degrade and humiliate the non-believers, thereby ensuring the support of the jurists and the Muslim populace.Although the prescribed terms of the decree were long-established, two notable measures were introduced for the first time in Mamluk Egypt that remained effective throughout the remainder of the era. Firstly, the dhimmis were required to wear colored turbans. Secondly, the legendary Pact of 'Umar was revived as an effective treaty with the dhimmis.Enforcement of the conditions of the decree instigated riots against the dhimmis. The fact that the campaign against the dhimmis did not wane is evident from a riot in the town of Qus in 1307 in which a sufi shaykh justified the attacks by declaring that the Copts were violating the Pact of 'Umar.The implications of the 1301 decree made a huge impact on society. It was not the prevention from serving in the bureaucracy but rather the restrictions in every day life that motivated the Copts to convert. As all strata of Mamluk society willingly accepted the decree and made sure it was in force, this is evidence that the climate surrounding the dhimmis had definitely changed leading to mass conversion in the 1350s.