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    Default Islam and the Ottoman Empire

    Islam and the Ottoman Empire


    If you read many Western histories of the Ottoman Empire, you may not even learn that the Ottomans were a Muslim empire. They are often seen as a typical European multi-cultural empire whose only purpose in existence was to promote its own interests. The truth is far from this, however. Throughout its history from the 1300s to the early 1900s, the Ottoman Empire was a strongly Muslim state at its core. Islamic law and ideas formed the basis of society, law, and government. Ottoman sultans saw themselves as the protectors of the Muslim world. With this emphasis on Islam, however, protection for other religions in the empire was ensured in ways that would take Christian Europe centuries to match.

    The Ghazis


    At the very beginning, the Ottoman state was nothing more than a small tribal alliance led by a Turkish bey, by the name of Osman. His beylik (small state) in western Anatolia bordered the hostile Byzantine Empire. Osman was known as a ghazi, or a soldier of the faith. In the Turkish culture of the time, huge emphasis was placed on being a Muslim soldier defending Muslim lands against Byzantine attacks. The Byzantines had been in a state of war with Muslim empires on and off since the Righteous Caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali.


    Under Osman, the Turks of Anatolia found a common identity in sticking to Islam in all walks of life, and using their expertise as soldiers in defense of Muslim lands. This emphasis on Muslim identity is seen in Osman’s advice to his son:

    Son! Be careful about the religious issues before all other duties. The religious precepts build a strong state. Do not give religious duties to careless, faithless and sinful men or to dissipated, indifferent or inexperienced people. And also do not leave the state administrations to such people. Because the one without fear of God the Creator, has no fear of the created…Depend on God’s help in the esteem of justice and fairness, to remove the cruelty, attempts in every duty. Protect your public from enemy’s invasion and from cruelty.
    Clearly, the patron of the Ottoman Empire (Ottoman is a Latin corruption of Osmanli, the Turkish name for their empire) placed great emphasis on Islam as a pillar of his state. All subsequent sultans of the Ottoman Empire were coronated with Osman’s sword by a religious scholar. This symbolized the status of the sultans as the defenders of Islam.

    Leaders of the Muslim World

    From their humble beginnings as a small Turkish state in the 1300s, the Ottomans would grow to become the premier Muslim empire throughout the 15th to 19th centuries. In 1517, the Ottoman Empire extended its domain to include the Arabic-speaking regions of North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. With this, they now controlled the 3 holy sites – Makkah, Madinah, and Jerusalem – and thus bore the responsibility of the protectors of the holy cities.

    In the holy cities, the Ottomans placed much emphasis on the protection and preservation of Islam’s most important places. The oldest parts of the current Masjid al-Haraam in Makkah, the inner arcade of pillars, was built by the Ottomans in the 1500s. In Madinah, the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman greatly decorated the grave of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), while also protecting the grave from damage with a brass and gold covering that still stands today. In Jerusalem, Sultan Suleyman ordered the rebuilding of the city’s walls, which also still stand.

    Besides just architectural achievements, the Ottomans were the ensurers of the yearly pilgrimage to Makkah. They organized official processions of pilgrims from Yemen, Central Africa, and Iraq. The main pilgrimage routes however were through Damascus and Cairo. Every year the sultan would appoint a special delegate who would lead the pilgrimage from Damascus. He would take with him vast amounts of gold and silver as a gift to the people of Makkah and Madinah to help support them economically. During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II in the late 1800s, a railway was built from Istanbul to Madinah, to help transport the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims going to the holy cities.

    In addition to protecting the holy sites, the Ottomans saw it as their duty to protect Muslims worldwide, whether or not they lived within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman naval fleets intermittently aided Muslim rebels fighting persecution in newly Catholic Spain in the 1500s. Also, in 1565, the Ottomans sent their fleet to distant Sumatra (present-day Indonesia) to protect the Sultanate of Aceh from Portuguese attacks. From these examples and others, it is clear the Ottomans were very willing to use their military power to protect Muslims everywhere, regardless of whether they were a part of the Ottoman Empire or not.

    Islam and Government

    Unlike the modern secular ideas regarding government separation from religion, the Ottomans felt that Islam should play a vital role in the government. After 1517, the Ottoman sultan was also the caliph or khalifah of the Muslim world. The caliph ideally plays a role as a spiritual and political leader of all Muslims worldwide. With the sultan-caliph at the top of the government, a complex religious bureaucracy developed that ran the religious affairs of the empire.

    According to Islamic law, the most important and basic duty of a Muslim ruler, particularly a caliph, was to maintain Islamic law throughout the empire – the shari’ah. Scholars of Islamic law, the ‘ulema, were organized in a heirarchical fashion. At the top were two top Islamic judges that were permanent members of the sultan’s group of advisors. Under them were the qadis, or judges, of the major cities of the empire, such as Damascus, Cairo and Baghdad. They oversaw all the laws of the Ottoman Empire, and presided over civil and criminal cases in their cities. For example, a qadi‘s job included diving up inheritance after someone’s death, finding solutions between two feuding parties, and prosecuting criminals. These qadis also oversaw lesser qadis that presided in smaller towns throughout the empire.

    Before laws could be sent down to individual qadis throughout the empire, they had to pass through another Islamic branch of the government. Separate and independent from the sultan was the mufti of Istanbul – also known as the shaykh al-Islam. Mufti is an Arabic word meaning a scholar qualified to interpret religious laws, and shaykh al-Islam means “the scholar of Islam”. The shaykh al-Islam had the right to review any laws the sultan wanted to implement, and reject the ones that went against the shari’ah. In many cases, the sultans would work closely with him to ensure all of the empire’s laws conformed with Islam. For example, Sultan Suleyman was nicknamed Kanuni, meaning “the law giver” because he personally went through all the empire’s laws in the mid-1500s with the shaykh al-Islam to ensure none contradicted Islamic laws.

    The Millet System

    While analyzing the Ottoman Empire’s Islamic character, one must keep in mind that much of the empire’s population was not Muslim. Large communities of Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Catholics all lived in the empire. At some times, Muslims even formed a minority of the empire’s population. At no time in the empire’s history were non-Muslims forced to abide by any Muslim laws. Instead, a system of religious pluralism, known as the millet system, was implemented. In the millet system, each religious group was organized into a millet, or nation.

    Each millet was allowed to run by its own rules, elect its own leaders, and enforce their own laws on their people. For example, after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II had the Orthodox Christian community of the city elect a new patriarch, who served as their leader. By not enforcing Islamic laws on non-Muslims, the Ottoman Empire ensured social and religious stability and harmony within its borders for much of its history. Contrary to this, throughout the rest of Christian Europe, religious freedom only began to take root in the 1700s and 1800s. Denial of rights and persecution of non-Christians continued, however, as is seen in the Holocaust of the 1940s and the ethnic cleansing of Muslim Bosnians in the 1990s.

    Conclusions

    While the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, officially employs a policy of state secularism, the history of the Ottoman Empire is intertwined with Islamic history. For centuries, the Ottomans were the protectors of the Islamic faith. They presided over the holy sites of Islam, and made it their mission to protect Muslims from outsiders. Islamic law was the fundamental basis of the empire’s law system itself. Along with this emphasis on Islam, non-Muslims never had their rights violated, and in fact found stability and protection in the Ottoman Empire.

    Bibliography:
    Hourani, Albert Habib. A History Of The Arab Peoples. New York: Mjf Books, 1997. Print.
    Itzkowitz, Norman. Ottoman Empire And Islamic Tradition. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1981. Print.

    http://lostislamichistory.com/islam-...ttoman-empire/

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    When Five Kuffar Countries Attacked The Ottomans


    On 18th of March 1915 England, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Scotland launched a massive naval offensive against Ottoman Empire in order to capture Istanbul and secure sea routes to Russia.

    The battle of the Dardanelles started off with the joint offensive of the British and the French in a bid to capture Istanbul and to give support to their ally Russia. The offensive expected to be crowned with victory in a very short time was pushed back by the Ottomans' unprecedented and unusual defense both at sea and on land. The British and French armies were defeated in the battles at the Strait of Dardanelles and in the Gallipoli peninsula and coerced to withdraw. This is considered an important breaking point in terms of both Turkish and World history.

    This Video was made by the Turkish presidency to remember the martyrs and veterans of that battle.

    video: http://viewpure.com/3_3b3dmw194?start=0&end=0

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    The Fall of an Empire and the Fall of Medina

    A short documentary about the Defence of Medina with English subtitles.

    Fakhreddin Pasha did not surrender. However some of his soldiers started rebelling and wanted to arrest him. Some officers tried to take him down, Fakhreddin Pasha was resisting and they threw sand in his eyes, arrested him and handed him over to British officers. Fakhreddin Pasha had tears in his eyes and was screaming that he will never give Medina to the enemy. Captured soldiers were sent to camps in Egypt, where they had to jump in a pool with acid for "disinfection", some soldiers became blind. Some soldiers were lucky and could escape; they walked by foot from Medina to Beirut and took a ship to Istanbul. Many Arabs did not participate in the Arab revolt; they shared their food and homes with the Ottoman soldiers, and the people of Medina were crying when Fakhreddin Pasha was arrested, they were saying: "Don't leave us."



    https://www.facebook.com/OttomanSult...6501039380668/

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    Ibn Taymiyyah’s Letter To The Christian King of Cyprus


    by Dr. Saleh As Saleh

    Imam Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullaah wrote a letter to the then Christian King of Cyprus inviting him to Islam and exposing the lies and corruption being committed by the priests and monks whilst they knew fully well that they were upon falsehood. After mentioning the devoutness of the King, his love for knowledge and good conduct towards the people, Ibn Taymiyyah then invited him to embrace Islam and adopt the correct belief. He did this in a gentle and exemplary manner addressing his intellect, and entrusted him to behave benevolently towards the Muslims in Cyprus, not to strive to change the religion of a single one of them.

    Audio - 52 minutes: https://abdurrahman.org/2016/09/15/i...ing-of-cyprus/


    The Conquest of Cyprus


    When Selim II entered the throne Venetian pirates kidnapped the Egyptian Defterdar (head of financial department). Cyprus belonged to Kingdom of Venice and Venetian pirates were attacking several Ottoman territories, that's why it was important for the Ottomans to conquer Cyprus. On 15th May 1570 Ottomans conquered Cyprus. The "Holy League" (Kingdom of Venice, Austria, and Spain) wanted Cyprus back and defeated an Ottoman Fleet, however they were not able to get Cyprus. As soon as the Ottoman fleets recovered, the Kingdom of Venice asked for peace and agreed to pay compensation to the Ottomans.

    ---

    The westerners claim that the Muslims were at war with them and invaded their lands. Yet, real history shows that Muslims were always attacked by the westerners and as a result they lost their territories. Another thing westerns claim is that Muslim "pirates" were attacking their ships when it's these people who had pirates attacking Muslims.

    Notice how these people join countries to form a gang to attack Muslims. On March 18, 1915 England, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Scotland launched a massive naval offensive against Ottoman Empire and lost. They did the same when they attacked Iraq and Afghanistan, they created their "allies of good" gang and attacked one country at a time.

    This is why it's so important for Muslims to learn their own history.



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    Environmentally Friendly Architecture in Ottoman Masjid

    Sinan's architecture acknowledged the importance of harmony between architecture and landscape, a concept which did not surface in Europe until the 16th century.



    This is Suleymaniye Mosque in Eminönü district.






    Ottoman Muslims' Kindness To Animals

    During the Ottoman era, people used to summarize faith as "respecting the words of Allah and his creatures;" therefore, they did not overlook animals, while they were helping people in need.

    According to Islamic culture, people should avoid being unjust to others, and it places animals' rights above human rights since it is possible to compensate for the wrongdoing to people by asking for their forgiveness; however, it is not possible with animals as they lack reason.







    Conquer of Constantinople

    “Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will her leader be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!”

    Narrated from Bishr al-Khath`ami or al-Ghanawi by: Ahmad, al-Musnad 14:331 #18859



    The Battle of Manziker

    The Battle of Manzikert was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuq Turks on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert (modern Malazgirt in Muş Province, Turkey). The decisive defeat of the Byzantine army and the capture of the Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes played an important role in undermining Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and allowed for the gradual Turkification of Anatolia.


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    Muslim Rulers Protected Non-Muslims in Their Lands

    Throughout Islamic history, non-Muslims living in Muslim societies have been guaranteed security and were free of intimidation and harassment.

    In 1463, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II issued the following royal decree:

    "I, the Sultan Han the Conqueror, hereby declare to the whole world that, The Bosnian Franciscans granted with this decree are under my protection. And I command that: No one shall disturb or give harm to these people and their churches! They shall live in peace in my state. No one shall insult, put in danger or attack these lives, properties, and churches of these people! By declaring this decree, I swear on my sword by the holy name of Allah who has created the ground and sky, Allah's prophet Mohammed, and 124,000 former prophets that; no one from my citizens will react or behave the opposite of this decree!"

    [TR] Fatih Sultan Mehmedin Bosna ruhbanlarının dinî hayatlarını serbestçe sürdürebilmeleri hakkındaki fermanı -1463




    https://www.facebook.com/OttomanSult...16060265091412

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    Grand Bazaar, The First Shopping Mall

    Grand Bazaar, built in 1455 (upon the orders of Fatih Sultan Muhammed) The 500-year-old Grand Bazaar, is one of the largest indoor marketplaces in the world as well as the oldest shopping spot in the world. It has 60 covered streets, over 4,500 shops, 60 restaurants, mosques, hamams and fountains which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. You can simply find here anything from antique furniture and old coins to great food. What sets the Grand Bazaar really apart is that some of the shops date 500 years back and are authentic craft stores.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/OttomanSult...1871695510269/

    shop online - http://www.grandbazaarshopping.com/

    Tourism - http://www.grandbazaaristanbul.org/G..._Istanbul.html




 

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