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The Changing Map of the Islamic World: From the Abbasid Era to the Ottoman Empire of the Twentieth Century

Authors:
  • University of Oran 2 Mohamed Ben Ahmed
  • University of Oran 1
Chapter

The Changing Map of the Islamic World: From the Abbasid Era to the Ottoman Empire of the Twentieth Century

Abstract

With the goal of outlining the major historical events that led to the genesis of the modern system of nation-states, this chapter gives a very brief historical background of the political situation and the main ruling powers which shared the Islamic land during the centuries following the Abbasid Era (750 CE–1258 CE; 1261 CE–1517 CE). The Abbasid Caliphate (Arabic: الخلافة العباسية) was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Prophet and descended from Muhammad’s youngest uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (566–653) (Note, and unless otherwise indicated all dates refer to the period of the Common Era (CE) which is the same dating system used throughout the world). The Abbasid’s ruled as caliphs for much of their reign from their capital in Baghdad (the same as in modern-day Iraq), after taking back authority of the Muslim empire from the Umayyads in 750. The choice of a capital so close to Persia proper reflects a growing reliance on the Abbasids on Persian bureaucrats (most notably that of the Buddhist- and Zoroastrian-influenced Barmakid dynasty). Despite this cooperation, the Abbasids of the eighth century, were forced to cede their authority over Al-Andalus and the Maghreb to the Umayyads, Morocco to the Idrisid dynasty, Ifriqiya to the Aghlabids, and Egypt to the Shi’ite Caliphate of the Fatimids. Throughout all of this turbulence, the Abbasid’s capital city of Baghdad became the center of science, culture, philosophy, and invention. In time, Baghdad also was to become the center of the “Golden Age” of Islam the major elements of which were discussed earlier in this volume.
Metadata of the chapter that will be visualized online
Chapter Title The Changing Map of the Islamic World: From the Abbasid Era
to the Ottoman Empire of the Twentieth Century
Copyright Year 2016
Copyright Holder Springer International Publishing Switzerland
Corresponding Author Family Name Tiliouine
Particle
Given Name Habib
Suffix
Division Department of Psychology &
Educational Sciences
Organization/University Faculty of Social Sciences, University
of Oran2
City Oran
Country Algeria
Email htiliouine@yahoo.fr
Author Family Name Renima
Particle
Given Name Ahmed
Suffix
Division
Organization/University University of Chlef
City Chlef
Country Algeria
Email hist45@hotmail.com
Author Family Name Estes
Particle
Given Name Richard J.
Suffix
Division
Organization/University University of Pennsylvania
City Philadelphia
Q1
Q2
State PA
Country USA
Email restes@sp2.upenn.edu
Abstract With the goal of outlining the major historical events that led to the genesis of
the modern system of nation-states, this chapter gives a very brief historical
background of the political situation and the main ruling powers which shared
the Islamic land during the centuries following the Abbasid Era (750 CE–1258
CE; 1261 CE–1517 CE). The Abbasid Caliphate (Arabic:  ) was
the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Prophet and descended from
Muhammad’s youngest uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (566–653) (Note, and
unless otherwise indicated all dates refer to the period of the Common Era (CE)
which is the same dating system used throughout the world). The Abbasid’s
ruled as caliphs for much of their reign from their capital in Baghdad (the same
as in modern-day Iraq), after taking back authority of the Muslim empire from
the Umayyads in 750. The choice of a capital so close to Persia proper reflects
a growing reliance on the Abbasids on Persian bureaucrats (most notably that
of the Buddhist- and Zoroastrian-influenced Barmakid dynasty). Despite this
cooperation, the Abbasids of the eighth century, were forced to cede their
authority over Al-Andalus and the Maghreb to the Umayyads, Morocco to the
Idrisid dynasty, Ifriqiya to the Aghlabids, and Egypt to the Shi’ite Caliphate of
the Fatimids. Throughout all of this turbulence, the Abbasid’s capital city of
Baghdad became the center of science, culture, philosophy, and invention. In
time, Baghdad also was to become the center of the “Golden Age” of Islam the
major elements of which were discussed earlier in this volume.
Thus, the central focus of this chapter is on the overlapping political and
military factors that led to the decline of the period’s main ruling hegemonies
at least one of which, the Ottomans (1281–1924), continued to exist until the
twentieth century. Attention also is given to the period of the Western Crusades
into Islamic lands and their subsequent occupation in selected areas of the
Middle East. Afterwards, the periods of the Mongol (1206–1368), the Safavids
(1501–1722) and the Qajar (1779–1925) empires are briefly introduced. The
chapter concludes with a more detailed analysis of the long-lasting Ottoman
Empire (1281–1924) which dominated the majority of the Islamic lands until
the end of the First World War (1914–1918).
Keywords (separated
by “ - ”)
Abbasids - Crusades - Mongol Empire - Safavids - Qajars - Ottoman Empire
- Islamic World
AUTHOR QUERIES
Q1 Please confirm the affiliation details for Habib Tiliouine.
Q2 Please provide department name for Ahmed Renima and Richard J. Estes.
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
H. Tiliouine, R.J. Estes (eds.), e State of Social Progress of Islamic Societies,
International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life, DOI10.1007/978-3-319-24774-8_3
The Changing Map of the Islamic
World: From the Abbasid Era
to the Ottoman Empire
of the Twentieth Century
Habib Tiliouine, Ahmed Renima,
and Richard J. Estes
1 Introduction
This chapter aims to give a general overview of
the Islamic world during the period extending
from the gradual fall of the Abbasid Caliphate
until the early years of the twentieth century. Our
account is very brief and is focused on the main
events which occurred in the vast region known
to us today as the Islamic empire. In the begin-
ning, the reader should recall that during the
Prophet’s time, Arabia eventually became united
into a single polity. But soon after the death of the
Prophet, the Rashidoun Caliphs sought to take
the new faith to neighboring territories. They had
to struggle with the two major hegemonies of that
time: (1) the Byzantine Empire (330–1453)
which was the largest and most powerful empire
of the time and which controlled large areas of
Europe including the diverse countries that flour-
ished along the Western Mediterranean coast;
and (2) the Persian Sassanid Empire (224–651)
which rivaled the Byzantine Empire and had its
rule extended to reach all of what today includes
Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, parts of Saudi
Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates,
Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, the
Caucasus of Central Asia, parts of Turkey and
large parts of Central Asia and Pakistan. In a very
short period of time, the Umayyads captured
Ctesiphon, the Sassanid capital in the year 637,
and went on to besiege, but failed to conquer, the
Byzantine capital of Constantinople (now
Istanbul) in 717–718. On the Western front of
their empire, the Umayyads continued their
march through North Africa into the Iberian
Peninsula (732–733) until they were halted by
the Franks in Poitier, a city in modern day France.
2 The Fall of the Abbasid
Empire
The successors of the Umayyad Caliphs were the
Abbasids who moved to Baghdad as the new cap-
ital city of the Islamic Empire. All ingredients of
making a multi-ethnic powerful state were gath-
ered and the Abbasids had in their beginnings
sufficient stability to turn their attention to rein-
forcing the formation of what was to become
Islam’s Golden Age (Donner 1981). (Some
details concerning these efforts are contained in
[AU1]
[AU2]
[AU3]
H. Tiliouine (*)
Department of Psychology & Educational Sciences,
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oran2,
Oran, Algeria
e-mail: htiliouine@yahoo.fr
A. Renima
University of Chlef, Chlef, Algeria
e-mail: hist45@hotmail.com
R.J. Estes
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
e-mail: restes@sp2.upenn.edu
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chapter “The Islamic Golden Age: A Story of the
Triumph of the Islamic Civilization” of this
book). However, the later Abbasid Caliphs had
difficulties in keeping the expansive territories
under their control. Some of the reasons associ-
ated with the collapse were internal, much of it
resulting from diversity-related social conflict,
including the Abbasid’s inability to create the
needed balance between the many ethnic and
tribal groups that made up their powerful armies.
Nigosian (2004) explained:
Divested of their power and their control of the
state, the Abbasid caliphs were reduced to puppets
of military commanders. By the end of the 10th
century, local governors and military officers made
themselves masters of the Abbasid caliphs,
dethroning them at will and appropriating imperial
revenues (p. 30).
At the external level, the Abbasids had to cope
with numerous threats and challenges to their
authority from the many societies that surrounded
their empire. For instance, as early as the year
929, Abderrahman, who was the only survivor
from the Umayyads’ family massacre by the
Abbasids in Damascus, succeeded in restoring
his family’s rule in Andalusia which was to even-
tually result in the region’s break away from the
Empire. Abderrahman declared himself Caliph of
Andalusia by the time some even smaller dynas-
ties were formed and remained nominally under
the official rule of the Abbasids in North Africa.
These smaller empires included the: (1) Idrisids
(788–974); (2) the Almoravids (1040–1147); (3),
the Almohads (1120–1269) in North West Africa;
(4) the Aghlabids (800–909); (5) the Fatimids of
Egypt (909–973); (6) the Zirids (973–1148); (7)
the Almohads (1148–1229); and, the well-
established Hafsids (1229–1574) in the lands
known then as Ifriqiya (covering modern day
Tunisia, the east of Algeria and parts of Libya).
Egypt and the Palestinian regions also wit-
nessed successful dynastical rule, mainly those
imposed by the Tulunids (868–905), Ikhshidids
(935–969), members of the Fatimid Caliphate
(909–1171), the Ayyubid Dynasty (1171–1341)
and, in time, that of the Mamluks (1250–1517).
Moreover, modern Syria and Northern Iraq came
under the successful rule of other dynasties: (1)
the Hamdanids (890–1004); (2) the Marwanids
(990–1085); (3) the Uqaylids (990–1096); and,
(4) the longest lasting, the Seljuks, until finally
the rise of the Mongol Empire and the Ilkhnate
(1231–1335). Further to the Southwest of Iran,
more dynasties were created. i.e., the Buyids
(934–1055) and the Seljukjs (1034–1194) which
were followed by the rule of the far-reaching and
long-lasting Mongol Empire. Thus, the whole
period was characterized by the rise and fall of
successive dynasties but, in al cases, regimes that
placed Islam and its practices at the center of
their governance structure.
Finally, Transoxiana, i.e., Modern Central
Asia, witnessed the birth and fall of the following
dynasties: the Samanids (819–999), the
Karakhanids (840–1212), the Khwarazmians
(1077–1231) then came the ruling of the Mongol
Empire and the Changati Khanate (1225–1687).1
During most of these times, the Abbasids were
engaged in direct confrontation with one or the
other of the Christian Crusaders or, often at the
same time, overwhelming invasions of the
Mongols from Central Asia. On another front, the
highly decentralized and culturally divergent
Turkish tribes began to unite with the result that
some of their armies became sufficiently power-
ful to raid territories then held by Muslims.
The remainder of this chapter is devoted to a
discussion of the following major military forces
into lands that previously had been unified under
a single caliphate, e.g.
1. The Christian Crusades (c. 1095–c. 1291)
2. The Central Asian Mongol Empire
(1206–1368)
3. The Mughals of India and other areas of South
Asia (1526–1857)
4. The Safavids (1501–1736)
5. The highly influential and powerful Qajars
(1785–1925)
6. The Six-Centuries long Ottoman Empire
(1299–1922)
Our major data sources for discussing the con-
tribution of each of these major invasions by
[AU4]
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military forces into Islam lands were drawn from
a wide range of Arabic, French and English
sources. We also made extensive use of here to
for unavailable electronic sources, including
original text, in all of the above languages plus
others. Many of these ancient text now are also
available to scholars working principally in
English. Thus, many historical facts and, even
previously unknown state and political secrets,
have been revealed in these sources. Another
issue of considerable complexity dealt with by
the many sources we used concerned the large
geographic area and the numerous ethnicities and
cultural systems which were part of the events
that shaped Islam during the periods covered by
this chapter. The historical specificities associ-
ated with these groups have not yet been fully
recorded as systematically as they eventually will
be. Nonetheless, historically-oriented readers
should refer to more specialized sources cited in
this chapter for richer historical accounts of the
events reported than previously has been the
case.
3 The Crusades (1095–1291)
The Crusades were a series of holy wars carried
out under the auspices of the Papal States with
their headquarter in Rome, The Catholic Church
called for these wars with the promise of Papal
“indulgences”, i.e., the forgiveness of sins for
those who participated in the wars in the name of
Roman Pontiff. Muslim occupied lands were the
primary targets of these Crusades and the return
of previous religious sites to Rome as the ulti-
mate goal to be achieved. According to historian
Richard Abels, the ‘Crusades combined the ideas
of: Holy War and Pilgrimage to produce the con-
cept of “indulgences” (Abels 2009). This concept
is not far removed of that of the Islamic Jihad
which also offers Muslim warriors the forgive-
ness of sins for acts committed during wars and
conflicts officially declared Islam’s religious
leaders and Supreme Councils.
Historians disagree concerning the precise ter-
ritories on which these religiously-inspired wars
were fought as well as the precise dates concern-
ing their initiation and termination. Islamic tradi-
tionalists are of the view that only wars conducted
with the goal of restoring Jerusalem and other
Christian holy sites from Islamic to Christian rule
should be included in this period. Other histori-
ans, however, expanded the reach of these wars to
include all areas and regions over longer number
of decades in which the Papal armies fought
including the Baltic Crusades (also referred to as
the Northern Crusades) and to other wars under-
taken in the name of Christianity against the peo-
ple of Northern Europe during the twelve and
thirteenth centuries (Northern Crusades,
Wikipedia).2
The Crusades launched against the Islamic
World started at the end of the tenth century when
Pope Urban II was determined to reassert church
political leadership over lands that became part
of the Islamic empire. He seized the opportunity
of a request made to him by the Byzantine
emperor in Constantinople (modern Istanbul) for
assisting him in the struggle against the growing
power of the Muslims in the Middle East. Pope
Urban II who reigned from 1088 to 1099 con-
vened a “conclave” of senior ranking cardinals
and bishops the outcome of which challenged his
Christian warriors to rise to the occasion.
Christians were already prone to be suspicious of
Muslims; they had heard that they were “infidels”
or followers of a “false prophet” and were com-
mitted to destroying Christianity in all lands and
areas that contained sites equally sacred to
Muslims. St. John of Damascus (d.749), for
example, described Islam as a heresy derived
from Christian sources (Sonn 2004: 65–67) .3
Besides this, Muslims constituted a threat to the
Byzantine Empire, mainly after the new expan-
sions made by the Turkish Seljuq4 which ended in
the loss of fertile lands of the area of Anatolia in
1071 following the Seljuq victory at the Battle of
Manzikert.
Historian Richard Abels (2009) indicated that
during the first Crusade, referred to as “Prince’s
Crusade” (1096-1099), consisted of a military
force of more than 50,000–60,000 armed com-
batants and non-combatants, of which about
7000 were knights of various European king-
doms. The Crusade was led by prominent dukes
[AU5]
[AU6]
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and counts including Godfrey of
Bouillon, Baldwin of Boulogne, Raymond IV of
Toulouse, Stephen of Blois, Robert Curthose of
Normandy, Hugh of Vermandois, Bohemond of
Taranto (Norman of Southern Italy), and Robert
of Flanders. The crusade did not have a military
commander or a formal chain of military com-
mand; instead, the crusade’s moral leader
was Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the papal legate.
The outcome of these confrontations was that
Jerusalem was retaken and the original
Crusader states were reestablished.
3.1 The Crusader States
After the occupation of Palestine, most of the
Crusaders returned home to Europe, leaving the
problem of governing the conquered territories to
the few who decided to remain. But, the conquer-
ors’ views diverged on the issue of how to orga-
nize and share power over these lands.
Nevertheless, during the 25 years following the
Second Crusade, the kingdom of Jerusalem was
governed by two of its ablest rulers, Baldwin
III (reigned 1143–1162) who captured Ascalon in
1153 and extended the kingdom’s coastline
Southward, and Amalric I (1163–1174). The
powerful Nur ed-Din, who reigned from 1146 to
1174 in the Syrian province on behalf of the
Seljuk Empire (1037–1194) captured neighbor-
ing Damascus and hence stopped the advance of
the Crusaders and even undermined the threats
posed to Islam by the Crusaders (Baldwin 2014).
After the death of Nur ed-Din and Amalric in
the same year (1174), many expeditions were
arranged from Europe but ended in failure until
the much beloved, but equally feared, Saladin,
encircled the entire Crusader state and defeated
their army in the battle of Hattin, thereby, permit-
ting his army to enter take control of the holy city
of Jerusalem in 1187. Syrian or Greek Christians
were permitted by Saladin to remain in their
homes and Jews were permitted to settle in the
city (e.g., Saunders 1978; Sonn and Williamsburg
2004; Von Grunbaum 1970; Weiss 2000). For
most historians, the Crusades did not end until
1291 with the fall of the last Crusader castle of
the Latin Kingdom, the city of Acre (on the north-
ern coast of Palestine). Other scholars suggest,
however, that the period f the Christian crusades
did not end until 1588 with the arrival of the
Spanish Armada (Abels 2009).
The declining economic situation in Europe of
the ten to thirteenth centuries served as a major
stimulus for their foreign wars of conquest. Not
surprisingly, during this period of intense Islamic-
Christian conflict was a period of substantial
presence in the number of Western people who
lived in what eventually became fundamentally
Islamic lands. The
3.2 The Legacy of the Crusades
Historians stress that the Crusades constituted the
earliest accounts of Western European states with
eastern cultures. Their presence had an enormous
impact on Islamic lands and, in turn, on European
societies. Western Europe discovered more
advanced cultural and scientific innovations from
the Muslims and used to learning enhance their
own campaigns in other Arab lands. In the end,
this result in conquests that otherwise would not
have been possible using conventional Western
warfare methods along.
In addition to enhanced, typically brutal, war-
fare the Crusades also led to expanded trade
between Muslims and Christians (once the con-
flicts were resolved). Trade between North Africa
and at least Southern Europe increased exponen-
tially in coffee, sugar, spices, dates, and rice and
so on. Merchants also shipped to Europe manu-
factured goods such as mirrors, cotton cloth, car-
pets, mattresses and shawls, writing paper, metal
works and even wheelbarrows. Of some signifi-
cance, too, is that new irrigation techniques,
water wheels and water clocks to boost food pro-
duction then known in the conquered Islamic
regions were exported to Europe through
Crusaders expeditions.
Christians also learned from Muslims new
methods of architecture including the use of
architecture for defensive persons, e.g., such as
the construction of circular impediments for cas-
tles such as those that once surrounded Jerusalem.
H. Tiliouine et al.
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Trade routes with major Islamic cities of the East
such as Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo, and up to
Kabul in Afghanistan also were bustling with
Islamic-Western trade through which the discov-
ery of new lands, and other cultures’ way of life
were made possible. The famed Silk Road
emerged out of this process and, in turn, served
link wide expanses of the “Far East” with
European Christian lands (which included many
Jewish and other inhabitants). Lighter forms of
exchange were needed which encouraged the
regulation of currency, hence facilitating the
growth of no or low interest economies (details
in: Norman 2002; Saunders 1978; Weiss 2000,
Sonn and Williamsburg 2004; Von Grunbaum
1970; Al-Hassan et al. 2001).
Through the Crusades, Europe discovered the
rich treasures created by Islamic scholars in the a
wide range of fields of knowledge, all of which
were preserved through their translation of
Ancient Greek, Roman, Sarmiric, and even
Hebrew scientific writings into Arabic, (see chap-
ter “The Islamic Golden Age: A Story of the
Triumph of the Islamic Civilization” of this book
for more examples). Moreover, the near universal
use of Arabic numbers and, in turn, widespread
adoption of Islam’s advanced algebraic methods
had a profound and irreversible impact on writ-
ing, mathematics, and complex computational
systems. The adoption of the Arabic compass
(built on the astrolabe originally developed by
the Greeks and Romans) and, in turn, made pos-
sible the rapid spread of paper, paper-making,
and the preparation of nautical charts from which
we continue to benefit today (Norman 2002).
Paper making also made possible the emergence
of scriptoria and, in time, contributed to the
development of movable type and the earliest
printing process. It is difficult to overestimate the
tremendous contribution that Arabic numbers,
paper making, or early versions of the printing on
world civilization---but the impact of these con-
ceptual and technological innovation was and
continue to be essential elements in civilizational
development. Elements of many of these innova-
tions originated in China, India, Japan and else-
where but it was under Islamic modernization
efforts that the full potential of these innovations
were realized and, in turn, spread throughout the
rest of the world—both East and West.
However, these routes of exchange were not in
all cases safe. Some historians associate the out-
break of the most devastating pandemics in
human history known as the Black Death (or
plague) which spread in Europe (1346–1353)
with the Silk Road trade. Some evidence sug-
gests as well that the disease-infected fleas car-
ried by black rats transmitted the disastrous
infection of the fatal black plague to tens of mil-
lions Europeans. Some reports indicate that the
pandemics resulted in the death of 75–200 mil-
lion people or approximately 30–60% of Europe’s
total population with devastating consequences.
In total, “the black plague” reduced the world
population from an estimated 450 million to
approximately 350–375 million people world-
wide during the fourteenth century (Wikipedia
2015b). It has been estimated that Europe took at
least 150 years to recover from the effects of that
pandemic, albeit the overall population size of
Europe remain substantially diminished
(Wikipedia 2015b). A similar devastating effect
of this pandemic, coupled with wars and famine
was reported in the Islamic territories and many
regions were completed depopulated. From 1347
to 1349 the whole Middle East was hit which had
subsequent negative effects on the social life and
weakened economic structures, e.g., Norman
2002; Al-Hassan et al. 2001; Sonn and
Williamsburg 2004.
Islamic nations did not confront just the unre-
lenting threats of the European Christian
Crusaders but also fierce and equally unrelenting
attacks by the Mongols of Central Asia. Both sets
of attacks resulted in substantial losses of life and
property to warring parties on all three sides of
these conflicts and resulted in the fifteenth
Century being largely one characterized by
repeated wars, military occupations and, in time,
expulsion and the regaining of previously lost
lands. One of the most important outcomes of
these processes was the rise of new, even more
powerful, empires, but especially those of the
Mughals, the Ottomans and the Safavids—all of
which were all rooted in the Mongol-Turkish
synthesis and all of which attained spectacular
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socio-cultural-artistic accomplishments. In the
next sections of this chapter, we present an over-
view of these three empires.
4 The Mongol Empire
(1206–1368)
The Mongols originated from the eastern steppes
in Central Asia, territory that is known today as
the Inner Mongolian Province of the People’s
Republic of China (with Hohhut as its capital)
and the independent nation of Mongolia (with
Ulaanbaatar as its capital).
Both territories subsequently formed a unified
empire and started in the thirteenth century raid-
ing and conquering virtually all regions on their
way from Central Europe to Japan. For some his-
torians the empire was one of the most highly
contiguous land Empire in history (Morgan
2007: 5). Nomadic Turkic people who later
became the Tatars or Tatarus 5 were among those
driven out of their homeland by the Mongols.
The Tatars were recruited by the Mongol con-
queror, Batu Khan (1207–1255) to march west,
destroying on their way parts of contemporary
Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary.
Those who did this were referred to as “the
Tatars”. From January 29 until February 10,
1258, the Tartars besieged Baghdad, the capital
of the Abbasid Caliphate. The Mongols were
under the command of Hulagu Khan a (January
29 – February 10, 1258) grandson of famed
Genghis Khan (1162–1227), the founder of the
Mongol Empire. Hulagu was the commander of
the “Khanate” (a name given to “Mongol-
controlled- states6) who destroyed Baghdad,
marking the end of the Abbasids (Morgan 2007).
Some historians believe that Western Europe
could have experienced the same fate as Baghdad,
but was saved from destruction only because the
Mongol armies withdrew to travel to attend the
critically important ceremonials honoring the
death of the Great Khan Ogendei their leader in
what is now Mongolia. The Tatars settled in
Eastern Europe and remained as vassals of Batu
Khan the leader of what was known as the
Kipchak Khanate, or the “Golden Horde” (a
“khanate” was a Mongol-controlled state).
During this time, the vast majority of Tatars con-
verted from their shamanistic religious beliefs7 to
Islam. The Mongol elite fostered Islamization by
sponsoring the building of mosques. Some
Mongol leaders used Islamic rhetoric about jihad
to rally the Tatars to their raids. Nevertheless, the
Mongol elite did not become Muslim until the
1400s when the dissolution of their empire
(Morgan 2007). This “Golden Horde8 was espe-
cially powerful by the 1370s when it stretched
from Lithuania to Kazakhstan, a distance of more
than 3000 km. For the next 200 years the Mongol
armies were subject to the rule of Christian
Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. Historians
report that harsh treatments were used against the
conquered populations, including enslavement,
physical torture, mental pressures, high taxes,
and exceeding harsh rule by primarily unsympa-
thetic governors (Morgan 2007).
The Golden Horde started to weaken by the
1400s, especially in response to the all-pervasive
Black Plague. Internal discord and rivalries with
neighboring emergent powers gradually led to
the fragmentation within the Golden Horde itself.
Most important of all was the conquest of Timur
by Muslima (also known as Tamerlane) who
destroyed the capital at Saray. The Golden Horde
ended in smaller and weaker states which moti-
vated Russian leader Ivan the Terrible to destroy
the Tatar military forces and began to set up a
new Russian Empire with himself as the first
Czar. Ivan force many of remaining Muslim
inhabitants, over time, to convert to Orthodox
Christianity or face execution. The last to fall was
the Crimean Khanate, which was not conquered
until the eighteenth century by Catherine the
Great. This important conquest resulted in
Muslim Tatars being placed under rule by the
new Russian Empire through to modern times
(Athar 1966; Editors 2014; Morgan 2007).
The consequences of all these events have
been that by the beginning of the sixteenth cen-
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tury the political environment of Islam changed
dramatically. In particular, sixteenth century
Muslims witnessed a complete redrawing of the
map of their world with the rise of three great
empires the Mughals, the Safavids and the
Ottomans, all rooted in the Mongol-Turkish syn-
thesis and all of them were spectacular in their
accomplishments (Brown 2004: 190). The evi-
dence of the greatness of these empires is still
visible in the architectural treasures of cities such
as: Istanbul, Isfahan, Agra, and Lahore, among
others.
4.1 The Mughals (1526–1857)
The Timurid Empire was established by the pow-
erful Timur between 1370 until his death in 1405.
It belongs to a Turco-Mongol lineage. The empire
followed the Sunni Islam tradition and continued
to exist until about 1507. Under Timur’s leader-
ship, it stretched from present day Iran to the
Caucasus, Mesopotamia and Syria, Afghanistan,
large parts of Central Asia, and parts of Pakistan,
India and Anatolia. After 1405, small Timurid
emirates continued to exist in Central Asia and
parts of India until, in the sixteenth century, Babur
(or Babar),9 a Timurid prince from modern day
Uzbekistan, invaded modern Afghanistan and
established a small kingdom there. Twenty years
later, he invaded India to establish the Mughal
Empire (Wikipedia 2015c).
India flourished under a succession of remark-
able Muslim Mughal emperors. The first five of
these rulers, after Babur, extended their territory
often at the expense of other Islamic and Indian
kingdoms. Akbar the Great (1556–1605), the
grandson of Babar, is recognized as the greatest
of the Mughal emperors. He reigned for 49 years
and conquered all of Northern India and
Afghanistan. He was known as a religious man
who governed wisely and exercised a great level
of religious tolerance which led him to gain the
loyalty of many native Indians. Though, his
detractors accused him of trying to displace Islam
with a new syncretistic religion. Akbar and his
supporters countered that they were only empha-
sizing the universal aspects of Islam. His time
witnessed the conversion of great numbers of
Indians to Islam (details in Nigosian 2004: 34,
Athar 1966).
One of the emperors, Jihan I (1628–1658),
built in memory of his favorite wife the most
beautiful and costly tomb in the world. i.e., the
iconic Taj-Mahal. (Nigosian; 2004: 33). Situated
in Agra, near Delhi in India, its construction took
21 years (1632–1653). Most of those who see it
believe that the costs and labour involve in its
construction more than justified the effort
(Nigosian 2004: 34). Today, the Taj Mahal is one
of the major symbols of India and is recognized
as such by nearly all people worldwide.
With the passing of time the power of the con-
servative Sunni element grew to such an extent
that the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb I (1658–
1707) was prompted to impose conformity to tra-
ditional Islamic values (Athar 1966). He tried to
for non-Muslims to convert to Islam, levied a
special tax on Hindus, and destroyed many Hindu
temples. He then moved against Bijapur and
Golconda, two Shia kingdoms in southern India,
in a campaign that proved disastrous. His policies
alienated the Hindu Rajput military, which
formed a vital part of his army, and because of
this, internal troubles and costly wars developed
during his reign, which in turn weakened the
economy of the state and the morale of the army.
He left a troubled inheritance to his decedents
(Nigosian 2004; Athar 1966).
Within decades the Mughal Empire had bro-
ken up as several groups gained control in Central
and Western regions of India and founded their
own kingdoms. By 1757 the British East India
Company became one of the leading powers in
India, and in 1803 it placed the Mughal emperor
under its “protection”. A Muslim-led rebellion in
1857 against the British failed and brought the
Mughal Empire to its end. Emperor Bahadur II
(1775–1862) reigned between the year 1837 and
1858) then was sent to exile and control of India
was assumed by the British crown (Nigosian
2004: 34–35).
Ninety years later, in 1947, India’s Muslim
population established the separate Islamic state
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of Pakistan. But social, political, and cultural dif-
ferences among the Muslims of India, and even
those of Pakistan, led to another split resulting in
the formation of a second independent Muslim
state in 1971, Bangladesh.
Mughal’s Legacy
The Mughal Dynasty left a large and visible mark
on India. The beautiful buildings that were con-
structed in the Mughal style – not just the Taj
Mahal, but also the Red Fort in Delhi, the Fort of
Agra, Humayan’s Tomb and a number of other
lovely works attest to way of life many people
had. The melding of Persian and Indian styles
created some of the world’s best-known monu-
ments. This combination of influences can also
be seen in the arts, cuisine, gardens and even in
the Urdu language. Through the Mughals, Indo-
Persian culture reached an apogee of refinement
and beauty (more details are found in: Szczepanski
2015).
5 The Safavids (1501–1736)
A close contemporary of the Mughal dynasty that
took over power in India into the nineteenth cen-
tury was the Safavid dynasty of Persia (details in:
Savory 2007). This dynasty emerged gradually as
the Mongol leaders became anxious to secure for
themselves, by subtlety or the sword, a rich
Islamic slice of the Persian pie. Factional rivalry,
open conflict, and political instability gave way
to a semblance of order under Samall I (1501–
1524), the first of the Shia Safavids. He pro-
claimed himself “shah” (a Persian term meaning
“king” or “prince”), and, despite his Kurdish
antecedents, he was able to document family
connections traceable to Ali, the fourth caliph.
For 250 years, he and succeeding Shia Safavid
shahs exerted a potent influence in reversing cen-
turies of conservative Sunni dominance across
Persia and South-Eastern Turkey (Nigosian 2004;
Savory 2007).
Shah Abbas I (1588–1629) is recognized as
the greatest of the Safavid rulers. His kingdom
included nearly all of present-day Iran, with
Isfahan directly South of modern Teheran as its
capital. Under the Safavids, Shia Islam became
the state religion, resulting in the execution of
many members of the Sunni and other Islamic
sects. Despite serious internal weakness and
repeated invasions by Uzbeks and Ottomans,
Persia held firm as a Shia state. Then, for half a
century after Shah Nadir’s death in 1747, civil
wars between Sand and Qajar dynasties over-
whelmed Persia. In the end, the Qajars won con-
trol of the country and governed it under a number
of capable leaders until 1925 (Nigosian 2004:
35).
The period of Shah Abbas’ rule is often taken
as an illustration of a typical cultural blending.
This man diversified his relationship with other
nations. For instance his relationship with Europe
resulted in a flourishing industry and art. He also
brought Chinese artisans into the empire. ‘This
collaboration gave rise to gorgeous art work.
These decorations beautified the many mosques,
palaces, and marketplaces of Abbas’s rebuilt cap-
ital city of Isfahan. The most important result of
western influence on the Safavids may have been
the demand for Persian carpets. This demand
helped change Persian carpet weaving from a
local craft to a national industry’ (Cultural
Blending 2015).
Many leaders of the Empire were highly edu-
cated personalities. Even before Shah Abbas,
Shah Ismail I was a poet. He wrote his poetry in
many languages: Azerbaijani, Persian and Arabic,
while Shah Tahmasp was a painter. And, Shah
Abbas II was also known as a poet, writing Turkic
verse with the pen name of Tani (Yarshater 2015).
Moreover, Islamic philosophy flourished in the
Safavid era in what scholars commonly refer to
the School of Isfahan. Mir Damad is considered
the founder of this school and among the brilliant
philosophers, we find: Mir Damad, Mir
Fendereski, Shaykh Bahai and Mohsen Fayz
Kashani. The school reached its apogee with that
of the Iranian philosopher Mulla Sadra who is
arguably the most significant Islamic philosopher
after Avicenna. Mulla Sadra has become the
dominant philosopher of the Islamic East, and his
approach to the nature of philosophy has been
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exceptionally influential up to this day (Sajjad
2009).
The leaders of the Safavids gave specific
attention to the development of architecture. This
latter flourished because of the robust economy
and stable political situation. Traditional archi-
tecture evolved in its patterns and methods leav-
ing its impact on the architecture of the following
periods. Distinctive monuments like the Sheikh
Lotfallah (1618), Hasht Behesht (Eight Paradise
Palace) (1469) and the Chahar Bagh School
(1714) appeared in Isfahan and other cities. ‘This
extensive development of architecture was rooted
in Persian culture and took form in the design of
schools, baths, houses, caravanserai and other
urban spaces such as bazaars and squares. It con-
tinued until the end of the Qajar reign’ (some
details in: Jodidio 2004).
6 The Qajar’s (1785–1925)
During the entire period of the Qajars, Persia
came under the power and influence of Russia
and Great Britain (details in Elwell-Sutton 1983;
Bayat 1982; Bakhash 1978) and by the 1900s
both powers controlled the Persian government
and dominated its trade. This was the state of
affairs until after the First World War, when Reza
Pahlavi, an army corporal, led a military coup in
1921. In 1925, Reza, with political assistance
from the United States, became Shah of Iran, the
first of two rulers who represented the short-lived
Pahlavi dynasty. He lasted until 1941 when the
British and the Russians forced him to abdicate in
favour of his son, Muhammad Reza (1941–1979),
who ruled for 38 years until the forced return of
exiled Ayatollah Khomeini to Tehran from Pairs
(Nigosian 2004: 35–36).
The rejection of age-old Islamic convention,
the introduction of Western, non-Islamic values,
and a regime that was seen by many Iranians as
fascist and repressive provoked a major revolu-
tion that overthrew the monarchy in 1979 and
restored Islamic state under the leadership of
Ayatollah Khomeini which is until today leading
modern Iran (See the chapter on social develop-
ment in Iran in this book).
7 The Ottoman Empire
(1299–1922)
The following section is devoted to the rise and
expansion of the Ottoman Empire which led the
largest part of the Islamic world until the twenti-
eth century. The Empire today, of course, is con-
centrated in modern Turkey, albeit its elements
are to be found throughout Central Asia. The
Ottoman’s were the last leading power in Islam
and the final dynasty to claim the office of the
caliphate.
It should be reminded that the origin and his-
tory of the Ottomans before 1300 is shrouded in
legend.10 In ancient times, Turks formed large
confederations of pastoral tribes that wandered
all over the steppes of Central Asia. Many of
these people immigrated to the Muslim held
regions, but were coming as individuals or as
slaves. In these times, the Chinese Song Dynasty
(960–1279) 11 exercised a lot of pressure on the
Mongols who, in turn, pushed the Turkish tribes
to immigrate to the Western regions of Asia
(Burlot 1982: 158). From these original Turkish
tribes, therefore, emerged the tribes of the Seljuqs
who mainly under the leadership of Tughril Beg
(also spelled as Toghrïl Beg) forced the Abbasids
to recognize them to rule the rapidly expanding
populations of Muslims of Mesopotamia, Syria
and Anatolia under the title of ‘Sultan’. Tughril
Beg’s careful planning helped him to gain politi-
cal power over the Abbasids’ Caliphs of Baghdad.
He was then commissioned by the Abbasids to
overthrow the Shia Fatimid caliphs of Cairo in
Egypt and to restore, under the Abbasids’ rule,
the religious and political unity of the Islamic
world. A mounting threat from the Shia and dis-
content among his supporters over administration
and reward for services, however, resulted in a
general uprising against Tughril, but he suc-
ceeded in pacifying these potentially destructive
efforts by 1060 (Editors of the Encyclopedia
Britannica 2015; ; Mantran 1975).
However, the Ottoman principality was just
one of many small Turkish principalities in
Anatolia at the time that emerged after the disso-
lution of the Seljuks. The Westward drive of the
Mongol invasions had pushed scores of Muslims
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toward Osman’s principality, a power base that
Osman was quick to consolidate. As the Byzantine
Empire declined, the Ottoman Empire rose to
take its place (Nigosian 2004).
The name of the Ottomans comes from
Othman (also written Osman or Uthman), known
also as Osman Gazi and Osman I who lived
between the years 1258–1326 and reigned for 27
years (from 1299 to 1326). Osman I is the true
founder of the Ottoman Empire in 129912 in the
Eastern regions of the Byzantine Empire, and
eventually the Ottoman forces threatened the
Byzantines. Soon their prestige as defenders of
Islam spread far and wide, and their empire lasted
more than 600 years, ruled by a series of compe-
tent successors.13
Orkhan (1324–1360), the son of Osman I, suc-
ceeded his father and immediately organized the
Ottoman forces in Asia. In 1345 the Christian
Byzantine emperor, John Cantacuzene, called on
Orkhan to aid him in a civil war instigated by
Empress Anna of Russia. As Nigosian (2004)
pointed out, the result of this important political
and military partnership was a threefold victory:
‘the triumph of Cantacuzene; the marriage of
Orkhan to Theodora, daughter of the Byzantine
emperor; and an Islamic bridgehead in Eastern
Europe to match the one in Western Europe, but
principally that found in Spain’ (p. 36). Orkhan
was repeatedly called on by the Byzantine
emperor to aid him against invasions by Serbians
and other European people which contributed to
the settlement and spread of the Ottomans and
Islam into Eastern Europe.
Murad I the successor of Orkhan reigned from
1362 to 1389 and played a major role in expand-
ing further the empire. He conquered Southeast
Europe of the Balkans by 1362 and 1389, hence
capturing Adrianople (Edirne) in 1365 and made
it the capital the following year, replacing the old
capital of Bursa. In the years 1371–1372, the
Ottoman forces of Murad I conquered Macedonia,
Bulgaria, Serbia, and parts of Hungary, and they
raided Greece and Albania. Both Genoa and
Venice made treaties with Murad I in 1387.
Finally Murad I was assassinated by a Serb just
after the Battle of Kossovo in 1389, having
defeated a coalition of Serbs, Bulgars, Bosnians,
and Albanians. (Nigosian 2004: 36).
The years following the death of Murad I were
critical ones for the Ottoman Empire. The
Mongols, under the leadership of Timur
(Tamerlane), invaded Anatolia and routed the
Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Angora (Ankara)
in 1402. The Ottoman ruler Bayazid I (1389–
1402) was captured and the complete defeat of
his army threatened the dissolution of the
Ottoman Empire. However, Muhammad I (1403–
1421) regained control of the empire after Timur
retreated in 1403 and after two other contestants,
Sulayman and Musa, were eliminated (Nigosian
2004: 36–37). He devoted most of his energy
thereafter to consolidating the Empire and his
authority over it.
During the reign of Murad II (1421–1451), a
Crusade, initiated by Pope Eugene IV and com-
posed of troops from Hungary, Poland, Bosnia,
Wallahia, and Serbia, was launched to drive the
Ottomans out of Europe. At first, Murad II nego-
tiated a 10-year truce, but when the Hungarians
broke the truce and renewed their Crusade, he
responded swiftly and completely defeating the
Crusaders at Varna in 1444 (Nigosian 2004: 37).
Gradually, the Ottoman sultanate was trans-
formed into a transcontinental empire and rein-
forced its status as a caliphate. When Muhammad
II (also called Mehmet II or Mehmed the
Conqueror (lived between the years 1432–1481)
succeeded his father Murad II, he devoted his
attention to the capture of Constantinople, the
capital of the Byzantine Empire. His great tri-
umph followed on May 29, 1453, when
Muhammad II and his militant Ottoman army
ford an entry through the fortifications of
Constantinople. In the ensuing bloody battle the
Byzantine emperor Constantine IX was killed,
along with thousands of his forces. Near midday,
Muhammad II ordered his troops to halt the fight-
ing while he took ceremonial possession of the
Christian church of Saint Sophia in the name of
Islam. Later, he accorded the Greek patriarch
considerable civil and religious authority over the
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Christian Orthodox inhabitants. Churches were
then transformed into mosques, new palaces
were built, and the Ottoman capital was
transferred to Constantinople, now called
Istanbul. Thus, the powerful Christian empire of
the Byzantines was permanently conquered and
transformed by the Ottoman Muslims (Nigosian
2004; Inalcık and Quataert 1994).
The establishment of Istanbul as the capital of
the Ottoman Empire was the beginning of the
Imperial age. The Ottomans could then speak of
their empire as “a great tent” supported by the
high officers of the state. They referred to the
government of the sultan (a title of honour
adopted by Muslim princes and rulers since 900)
as the “Sublime Porte,” meaning the sublime
entrance to the sultan’s imperial palace (Inalcık
and Quataert 1994; Nigosian 2004). The Ottoman
Empire extent, though constantly changing,
stretched from India to Europe, including North
Africa, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, the Balkan states,
and Russia. Nigosian (2004) indicated that non-
Muslim citizens within the Ottoman Empire were
treated as separate groups who could retain with
certain restrictions their religious and cultural
identity and all internal Muslim dissent or revolu-
tionary movements were met with severe and
often fatal punishment.
Selim I (1512–1520), the grandson of
Muhammad II, overcame his two brothers before
succeeding to the throne. In 1517 he overran the
Mamluk rulers of Egypt, assumed the title of
caliph, and secured control of the holy sites in
Arabia. His son and successor Sulayman II
(1520–1566) was a proud and ambitious ruler
who concentrated his efforts on Islamic expan-
sion in Europe. He made an alliance with France,
invaded and occupied Belgrade (in 1521) and
Hungary (in 1526), laid siege to Vienna (in 1529
and 1532) and to Malta (in 1565). He incited the
newly converted Protestant princes of Germany
to engage in protests against the pope and the
emperor and to made occupied Hungary a strong-
hold for Protestant groups, but particularly the
Calvinists. This support of Protestantism,
(Nigosian 2004: 37) along with the alliance with
France, remained the official policy of the
Ottomans for almost two centuries, e.g.,
Mantrance 1975; Nigosian 2004; Saunders 1978.
A series of weak leaders followed Sulayman’s
death, giving way to years of progressive decline
following the establishment of Islam’s most
impressive empires. As a result, the sultans gave
less and less attention to government and, instead,
left day-to-day administration of the declining
empire in the hands of viziers, most of them court
favorites rather than men of political or manage-
rial ability. Corruption, divisions between the
members of the ruling family, and mounting con-
spiracies led inevitably to the decline of effective
military organization. Soon the Janissary corps
(an elite corps of Turkish infantry storm troops)
made and unmade sultans, most of whom were
mere puppets in their hands (details in: Shaw
1971; Nigosian 2004).
By the eighth century, the Ottoman Empire
and the well-being of the Islamic community,
were sagging. Often to the point of near collapse.
The Ottoman Empire lost territory by a combina-
tion of political neglect and widespread misman-
agement (Nigosian 2004: 39). Several European
powers kept the Ottoman Empire, now consid-
ered “the sick man of Europe,” from total disinte-
gration, including selected communities in
Africa, Western Asia, and India. Those that
retained some vestiges of autonomy questioned
the authority of the Ottoman sultans and the
claim that their authority derived either from God
or, as importantly, from general Muslim consen-
sus (e.g., Shaw 1971; Nigosian 2004).
7.1 The Ottoman Wars in North
Africa
Along with Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan,
Egypt was put under the rule of some Turk and
Caucasian military casts called the “Mamaluks”.
Then Mehmet II started to expand under the ris-
ing Ottoman Empire. The two neighbors,
Mamaluks and Ottomans, clashed when these lat-
ter accused Mamluks of supporting the Safavids
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of Persia in their war against the Ottomans.
Selim, the Ottoman Sultan, led himself the long
campaign to Egypt in 1516–1518, and personally
commanded and defeated the Mamluks in the
battles of Marj Dabiq and the Battle of Ridanieh in
Egypt. In this latter battle, Hadim Sinan Pasha
Fall was the final blow to Mamaluks. Then
Tumanbay II, the Mamluk sultan was arrested
and Selim annexed the entirety of the Mamaluk
territory, thereby, enlarging the Ottoman Empire
more than two times in only 2 years (Shaw 1971;
Burlot 1982: 137).
Algiers was occupied by the Spaniards at that
time, when two Turkish corsair brothers, Barbaros
Hayrddin and Aruj, were called, in 1516, by the
local population to help them fight the recurring
European incursions along the Mediterranean
Southern coasts, mainly after the fall of the
Islamic rule of Andalus (Spain). After the death
of the elder brother Oruc Reis, Barbaros appealed
to Selim for protection. Selim, in turn, appointed
him as the grand admiral of the Ottoman navy
and Algeria subsequently was annexed to the
Ottoman Empire for five centuries. Ottoman
admiral Salih Reis expanded the territory of the
Algerian to deep Southern regions. Algeria
remained incorporated in the Ottoman Empire,
until the French occupied Algeria in 1830.
Tunisia had the same fate when annexed to the
Ottomans in 1569 during the reign of Selim II
and after a series of wars against the Holy Roman
Empire, the French conquered it in the year 1881.
Furthermore, Libya became an Ottoman region
when admiral Turgut Reis captured the city of
Tripoli in 1551. Between 1711 and 1835 Libya
became autonomous under the Karamanlı
dynasty (a dynasty founded by a military ruler
from Karaman, Turkey). After 1835, Mahmut
II reestablished the Ottoman control over Libya.
Libya was lost to Italy in 1912 as was Egypt and
Sudan which were lost to the United Kingdom in
1914. Hence came the extended period of
European colonialism of much of North Africa
(See chapter on social development in North
Africa in this book).
7.2 The End of the Ottoman
Caliphate
Alien international forces, tensions, and prob-
lems created by modern technologies, the rise of
nationalism, and the longing to restore consistent
and rational leadership prompted a group of
reformers who called themselves “Young Turks”
to revolt against the Ottoman sultanate in 1908.
Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876–1909) was deposed
in spite of a counter-revolution mounted by his
supporters. The Young Turks took over the gov-
ernment and initiated measures of reform with
the hope of restoring the greatness of the Ottoman
Empire (Nigosian 2004: 39).
On November 1 1922, the Ottoman sultanate,
i.e., the Ottoman Empire, was abolished, to be
replaced a year later by the Republic of Turkey.
On March 3 1924, the centuries-old institution of
the caliphate was abolished by Mustafa Kemal
Attaturk, then president of the Turkish Grand
National Assembly. Hence, the existence of a
single caliphate, exercising supreme religious
authority over all the peoples of Islam, ended in
1924 (Nigosian 2004; Burlot 1982; Cooper and
Yue 2008; İnalcık and Quataert 1994; Lewis and
London Royal Institute of International Affairs
1968; Mantran 1975; Wittek; 2013).
7.3 The Ottoman Legacy
The Ottoman culture constituted a genuine com-
bination of different cultural elements and tradi-
tions as a result of the expansion of Ottomans in
all the Middle East, then into Europe and North
Africa. This cultural interaction was further rein-
forced through the tolerant policies followed by
the Ottomans towards all subjects and their tradi-
tional socio-cultural institutions in the lands
which they controlled. Mazower (2000) explains:
‘The binary between Muslims and non-Muslims
existed; and religious difference was recognised.
Nonetheless, people belonging to different eth-
nic, religious and cultural background co-existed
because these differences did not cause problems
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in daily life. People were respected to follow
their beliefs. Moreover, Christians, Jews and
Muslims would use each other’s amulets when
theirs did not work’ (p. 86).
Intellectual life in this long period of time was
also based on the rich heritage of previous tradi-
tions. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by
Mehmed II (Fatih) and the conquest of Arab
lands in Middle East in the time period of Selim I
(1512–1520), Muslim scholars interacted with
both Muslims and non-Muslims to get the true
knowledge. The other crucial components of the
Ottoman intellectual life were the Arabian and
Persian heritage. Many of the Ottoman scholars
travelled and were educated in the Arab and
Persian madrasas and turned back to their own
places to exercise as Ulema (scholars) who even-
tually gave various lecture and wrote thousands
of books, Kadis (Islamic judges), clerics, Imams,
teachers and the like. As a result, the mobility and
circulation of Ulemas throughout the vast empire
lands made the Ottoman intellectual life richer
and fruitful. Under the Ottomans, various schools
of Sufism flourished and gave birth to hundreds
of turuqs (Sufi orders) which yet exist across the
whole Islamic World (e.g. Mantran 1975; Shaw
1971).
Architecture developed in parallel with the
political structure of the Ottoman Empire.
Because of its location at the intersection of Asia
and Europe, the Empire was influenced by the
numerous competing architectural traditions of
Islam, China, the Mediterranean and Byzantine
worlds. For instance, the Byzantine architecture
such as the church of Hagia Sophia inspired
many Ottoman mosques. Building on its early
development particularly in Bursa and Edirne at
the end of the fourteenth Century, the Ottoman
world reached its high point during the so called
Classical period 1437–1703 notably under the
Sultans Suleyman I and Selim II. The finest
architectural achievements were undoubtedly the
works of the court architect Sinan 1489–1588
(e.g. Kuran 1987; Stierlin 1985). The apogee of
Ottoman architecture was therefore achieved in
the great series of külliyes and mosques that still
dominate the Istanbul skyline: the Fatihkülliye
(1463–1470), the Bayezid Mosque (after 1491),
the Selim Mosque (1522), the Sehzadekülliye
(1548), and the Süleymankülliye (after 1550).
The Sehzade and Süleymankülliyes were built by
Sinan. other greatest Ottoman architect, whose
masterpiece is the Selim Mosque at Edirne, Tur.
(1569–1575). All of these buildings exhibit total
clarity and logic in both plan and elevation; every
part has been considered in relation to the whole,
and each architectural element has acquired a
hierarchic function in the total composition
(more details in TheOttomans.org 2015).
Several varieties of Arabic script were greatly
perfected by the Ottoman Turks. This is yet visi-
ble in the city of Istanbul until today (Derman
2015). Ottoman miniature painting, which was
usually used to illustrate manuscripts or in albums
specifically dedicated to miniatures, was heavily
influenced by Persian miniature painting,
Byzantine illumination and Chinese artistic influ-
ences. A Greek academy of painters, the
Nakkashane-i-Rum, was established in the
Topkapi Palace in Istanbul in the fifteenth cen-
tury and a Persian academy, the Nakkashane-i-
Irani, added in the early fifteenth century. The
Greek artists typically specialized decorating
documentary books and painting portraits and
scenes from the lives of rulers and historical
events. The Persian artists specialized in illustrat-
ing traditional works of Persian poetry. Scientific
books on botany, zoology, alchemy, cosmogra-
phy, and medicine were also often illustrated
(Derman 2015; TheOttomans.org 2015; Kuran
1987).
Following the Islamic tradition, Ottoman
painters did not depict human beings or other fig-
ures realistically, instead they hinted in their
works to an infinite and transcendent reality. As a
result, their paintings were stylized and abstract,
although they became progressively more realis-
tic from the eighteenth century onwards with
influences from European modern styles.
8 Conclusion
As mentioned earlier at the outset of this chapter,
the Islamic Empire started to lose its political
unity early—while still under the rule of the
[AU12]
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Abbasids. Partly this was due to the fact that it
was very difficult to keep all the conquered vast
territories under a single centralized state in times
when the means of transportation were weak, and
supplies and information were slow to reach the
caliphs’ office, and greater social, cultural and
even tribal differences existed the various popu-
lation groups that made up the empire. And,
therefore, many dynasties broke away from the
Central governance of the Abbasids. Next to the
internal conflicts within the caliphate, external
invasions were powerful enough to divide many
parts of the Islamic state into separate territories,
especially as a result of invasions by the Crusaders
and the Mongols. As a consequence, with time,
and mainly by the beginning of the sixteenth cen-
tury, the political environment of Islamic held
territories changed dramatically, thereby, reshap-
ing the Muslim experience over the next three
centuries and continuing on into the nineteenth
century. In particular, sixteenth century Muslims
witnessed a complete redrawing of the map of
their world with the rise of three great empires
the Mughals, the Safavids and the Ottomans,
originating from the Mongol-Turkish synthesis
(Brown 2004: 190). The evidence of the great-
ness of these empires is still visible in the archi-
tectural treasures of Istanbul, Isfahan, Agra,
Lahore and elsewhere. Their contributions to the
development of Islamic art and sciences have
been great, even unparalleled among civilizations
(e.g., Yalman 2001), including in the religious
sciences through the emergence of Sufism and
other sects.
Finally, the authors stress that the partition of
the Islamic political unity did not in any way halt
the advance of the Islamic faith. Tens of millions
of people, despite significant political differ-
ences, came to embrace a unified Islam. As a
result, Muslims of non-Arab origin make up the
majority of the Muslim population today but all
share a common set of religious practices. This
partition did not bring to an end the remarkable
advances which were registered in areas of archi-
tecture, arts, philosophy and other fields of
knowledge as illustrated in many places in this
chapter.
Notes
1. More detailed timeline in Wikipedia
(Wikipedia 2015a, b, c) Abbassid Caliphate.
Retrieved March 2015 from http://en.wiki-
pedia.org/wiki/Abbasid_Caliphate
2. Northern Crusades. Retrieved March 2015
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Northern_Crusades)
3. On these issues se also: Sonn, T., &
Williamsburg, M. (2004). A brief history of
Islam (Vol. 37). Wiley-Blackwell; Lev, Y.
(1991). State and society in Fatimid Egypt,
(Vol. 1). Brill; Mallett, A. (2013). Europe
and the Islamic World: A History. Islam and
Christian–Muslim Relations, 24(4), 548–
549; Burlot, J. (1982), La civilisation
islamique, Paris: Hachette ; Brown, D. W.
(2009). A new introduction to Islam.
New York: John Wiley & Sons.
4. Byzantine- Seljuk wars were a series of
deadly battles that shifted the balance of
power in Asia Minor and Syria from the
Byzantine Empire to the Seljuq Turks.
5. Tatars: The name Tatar first appeared among
nomadic tribes living in northeastern
Mongolia and the area around Lake
Baikal from the 5th century . Unlike the
Mongols, these peoples spoke a Turkic lan-
guage, and they may have been related to the
Cuman or Kipchak peoples. After various
groups of these Turkic nomads became part
of the armies of the Mongol conqueror
Genghis Khan in the early 13th century, a
fusion of Mongol and Turkic elements took
place, and the Mongol invaders of Russia
and Hungary became known to Europeans as
Tatars (or Tartars). The Editors of
Encyclopedia Britannica (2014). Tatar.
Retrieved March 2015 from http://www.bri-
tannica.com/EBchecked/topic/584107/Tatar.
They were one of the five major tribal con-
federations (khanlig) in the Mongolian pla-
teau in the 12th century. After the
establishment of the Mongol Empire, the
Tatars were subjugated by the Mongol
Empire under Genghis Khan. Under the
H. Tiliouine et al.
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leadership of his grandson Batu Khan, they
moved Westwards, driving with them many
of the Turkic peoples toward the plains of
Russia. The “Tatar” clan still exists among
the Mongols and Hazaras. Retrieved March
2015 from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Tatars)
6. In 1224, Genghis Khan split his empire into
khanates ruled by his four sons Jochi
(Western part), Ogedei (Southern Siberia
and Western Mongolia), Chaghatay
(Transoxania and Kara-Khitai), Tolui (the
traditional Mongol lands).
7. Shamanism (/ˈʃɑːmən/ shah-mən or /
ˈʃeɪmən/ shay-mən) is a practice that involves
a practitioner reaching altered states of con-
sciousness in order to encounter and interact
with the spirit world and channel these tran-
scendental energies into this world. [1] A
shaman is a person regarded as having access
to, and influence in, the world of benevolent
and malevolent spirits, who typically enters
into a tran state during a ritual, and practice
is divination and healing. Retrieved March
2015 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Shamanism
8. Golden Horde, also called Kipchak
Khanate, Russian designation for the Ulus
Juchi, the Western part of the Mongol empire,
which flourished from the mid-13th century
to the end of the 14th century. The people of
the Golden Horde were a mixture of Turks
and Mongols, with the latter generally con-
stituting the aristocracy. The ill-defined
Western portion of the empire of Genghis
Khan formed the territorial endowment of
his oldest son, Juchi. Juchi predeased his
father in 1227, but his son Batu expanded
their domain in a series of brilliant cam-
paigns that included the sacking and burning
of the city of Kiev in 1240. At its peak the
Golden Horde’s territory extended from
the Carpathian Mountains in eastern Europe
to the steppes of Siberia. On the South the
Horde’s lands bordered on theBlack Sea,
the Caucasus Mountains, and the Iranian ter-
ritories of the Mongol dynasty known as
the Il-Khans. (Editors of Encyclopædia
Britannica (2014). Golden Horde. Retrieved
March 2015 from http://www.britannica.
com/EBchecked/topic/237647/Golden-Horde
9. Bābur, also spelled Bābar or Bāber, original
name ahīr al-Dīn Muammad (born Feb.
15, 1483, principality of Fergana [now in
Uzbekistan]—died Dec. 26, 1530, Agra,
India), emperor (1526–1530) and founder of
the Mughal dynasty of India. A descendant
of the Mongol conqueror Genkis Khan and
also of the Turkic conqueror
Timor (Tamerlane). Bābur was a military
adventurer, a soldier of distinction, and a
poet and diarist of genius, as well as a states-
man (Spear (2014).
10. On the origin of the Ottoman Empire, Wittek,
P. (2013). Rise of the Ottoman Empire.
Routledge; İnalcık, H., & Quataert, D.
(Eds.). (1994). an economic and social his-
tory of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914.
Cambridge University Press. Lewis, B., &
London Royal Institute of International
Affairs. (1968). the emergence of modern
Turkey. London: Oxford University Press.
11. Song Dynasty was an era of Chinese history
that extended from 960 until 1279. It succes-
sively saw the rule of five Dynasties and ten
kingdoms, and was followed by the Yuan
dynasty. It is believed to be the first govern-
ment in world history to nationally issue
banknotes or paper money, and the first
Chinese government to establish a perma-
nent standing navy. It is also reported to be
the first to produce gunpowder used the com-
pass for navigation purposes.
12. Osman announced the independence of his
own small principality from the Seljuk
Sultanate of Rum in the year 1299, and was
acclaimed the Khan of the Kayihan tribe.
13. On the rise and expansion of the Ottoman
Empire, see also Shaw, S. J., & Shaw, E. K.
(1977). History of the Ottoman Empire and
Modern Turkey: Volume 2, Reform,
Revolution, and Republic: The Rise of Modern
Turkey 1808–1975 (Vol. 2). Cambridge UK:
Cambridge University Press.
The Changing Map of the Islamic World: From the Abbasid Era to the Ottoman Empire…
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... Yazidi isolationism and killings first emerged in the Abbasid period (Tiliouine, Renima, & Estes, 2016) up until the Ottoman Empire (1281-1924) due to the misunderstanding brought by the exclusivity of their religion (Tayyar, 2014). The Yazda Documentation Project (n.d) listed the bases of Yazidi persecution by the ISIS. ...
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