AḤDĀṮ, WOJŪH-E, fines collected in Safavid times by the officers of the night watch (aḥdāṯ), who were under the supervision of the dārūḡa (see Taḏkerat al-molūk, ed. and tr. V. Minorsky, London, 1943, pp. 82, 149). The duty of the aḥdāṯ was to patrol the city at night, stop brawls in taverns, arrest prostitutes, break up gambling parties, etc. According to Eskandar Beg, the early kings had neglected to collect the fines imposed by the aḥdāṯ, because the dārūḡa nearly always had to take the offender to court, and presumably the sums accruing to the treasury did not cover the administrative costs involved. The ruler had therefore adopted the practice of levying a flat-rate tax on all taxpayers under the heading “aḥdāṯ fines.” Presumably this practice must have been resumed by Shah ʿAbbās I, since, when he was conducting a major review of the tax system in Ramażān, 1024/September-October, 1615, he raised with his accountants the principle of double jeopardy in regard to the aḥdāṯ taxes, which were collected both ad hoc and as an extraordinary tax. The accountants admitted that the shah was right. The result was not the abolition of one form of the tax or the other, but the reduction of the level of taxation in both cases. As a charitable act, Shah ʿAbbās I seems to have waived all forms of taxation, including the aḥdāṯ tax, during the holy month of Ramażān, throughout the Safavid empire (Eskandar Beg, tr. Savory, pp. 1111-12.
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(R. M. Savory)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 635