ottoman empire and its religious commnitites Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in ottoman empire and its religious commnitites Deck (35):

What was ahl-al-kitab?

Jews, Christians and Muslims – people of the book share a common Abrahamic tradition with. Holding reverence for the same prophets. Islam gives respect for Jews and Christians


The dhimmi contract

The original agreement the Jews of Medina (paid jizya in return for protection and freedom of worship) Muhammed and followers trying to stabilise with the return to mecca. Tension with the Jews but compromise agreement reached and as Muslims become strong and grows. Dhimma (client/protected) Jews given freedom of worship and Muslims protect them


describe ottoman empire




a tax paid by dhimmi - non muslim communities pay this in return for freedom of worship and Muslims protect them. particularly started with jews of medina


Abbasid Caliphate (around baghdad) 750-1298

only in the abbasid period you find the expansion of the Umma and the creation of the Ulama. Key practices laid down in this period. Learning, religious discourse. muslim communities and forces separated beforehand from the conquered. many start to choose to convert to islam


Pact of umar

· Jerusalem until 637 under Byzantine. 2nd Caliph al-Khattab forces reach jeruselum. Local ruler Sophhronius local ruler salso political ruler. Besieged Christian govt refuses to surrender. Sophronius will only surrender if speak directly with leader al-khattab himself. agrees if he can speak to al-Khattab himself. Says travelled on donkey to show how humble he is is the folklore.
· Sdophronius invites in walled jeruselum and gives him a tour - invites him to prary. Al-Khattab refuses to pray with him as he doesn’t want the church will to be converted to a mosque thus taking the holiest shrine away from christianity. So prays next to – later a mosque is built in the place he prayed still stands today mosque of umar. This happening as muslims conquering christian reas. Muslims not ssure what to do with these non muslims. So many pacts are drwn up with local rulers. Most famous -
· Treaties drawn up with local rulers – pact of honour with Sophronius – Pact of Umar 637 SLIDE≥ later informs many muslim and non muslim practices later. In this pact we find key features of relationships between Muslims and non Muslims. Assurance of safety, property, churches. Churches not inhabited by Muslims or destroyed. Not forcibly converted. One hand very tolerant.


repressive side of umar pact

On the other hand other aspects of this treaty repressive. Christian not allowed to build new churches. Jews not allowed to build synagogues. Jews and Christians must not hold religious processions. Wear certain clothes to show they’re not Muslims. IE keep what you have but no further



islamic Jurisprudence



religious scholars


ulama created because?

· Muslim forces separated from the communities they conquered however many converted to Islam during this period. Different dynamic created – no longer garrison towns and keeping their distance but now integrated into the community.
· How do they now live within this community?
During Abbasid period a trained scholar (ulama) of fiqh – Islamic students.


founder of ottoman empire?

300 ottoman start to emerge but significant ottoman empire is expanding into majority Christian areas. Osman I founder of ottoman empire. Not recorded period not literate.
· Anatolia Turkic speaking places in competition with each other. On being Osmanogulllan –named after empire.


when middle east come under ottoman

· Ottoman empire emerging next to Christian dominant byzantine empire.
Middle east currently under Mamluk up to 1450


date Constantinople falls to ottoman empire

1453. many see this date as a start date of modern europe because europe defining itself as a modern muslim power which has conquered constantinople as a christian centre of the world. not as simple as christian replaced by muslim


does it obliterate the christian way in constantinople

legal system, cultural traits - ottomans happy to build on them and incorporate them. is n no way obliterating the byzantine empire. creates mosques in churches, shouldn't see it as an either or oppositional relationship.


Devshirme system

· Devshirme system. Recruoit young christian boys., take one boy from a family at a young age, forcibly convert to islam train him up in the elite corps of the army. Janissaries. The sultans personal retinue. A sign of religious aggression/persecution. Harrowing for families. Need to again be careful. No mass forced conversions. They will only take one or two boys in each town or village. In order to not overly aggravate. See the sense of pragmatism.


whyt 16 c the golden age of the ottoman empire?

Reaches peak territoriality, artistically, culturally.
· Selim I 1512-20 expands to middle east under selim the grim
· Most of people under rule is Christian. Selim I Muslim. Next sultan suleyman I) the magnificent) high point of ottoman empire. He takes the Sharia law and incorporates it into his own sultanic law. Brings Muslim legal traditions under ottoman framework. Flourishing of ottoman arts and culture. Probably most important man in world at time – suleymen.


religiously speaking how did the ottoman empire change in the 16th century?

· Selim I 1512-20 expands to middle east under selim the grim
. This is when it expands southward to the middle east and become protectors of the holy muslim sites. Far more muslims under rule than previous. was until then a christian majority run by muslim minority empire.



Next sultan suleyman I) the magnificent) high point of ottoman empire. He takes the Sharia law and incorporates it into his own sultanic law. Brings Muslim legal traditions under ottoman framework. Flourishing of ottoman arts and culture. Probably most important man in world at time – suleymen.


a pragmatic empire (dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.)

always imperial interests come first. sultan is the caliph. and inheritor of byxantine traditions. No evidence of mass conversion in newly conquered Christian lands. also maintained boundaries and constantly reinforced the position of islamic orthodoxy(following or conforming to the traditional or generally accepted rules or beliefs of a religion, philosophy, or practice.)


Millet system

In the Ottoman Empire, a millet was a separate legal court pertaining to "personal law" under which a confessional community (a group abiding by the laws of Muslim Sharia, Christian Canon law, or Jewish Halakha) was allowed to rule itself under its own system/ Millet system separates Christians and Jews – particularly legally- so they sort their own affairs. Autonomy for non Muslims


Sunni Orthodoxy in ottoman cities reinforcing the boundaries

the ulama is co-opted into the ottoman structure. Ulama conservative and resistant to change as they lose their capacity to innovate - to think beyond the orthodoxy as subsumed into the wider ottoman state. Ulama puppets of ottoman state. Ulama are supports of Sunni.


use of non muslims for imperial interests

in terms of trade particularly jews.


31/3/ 1492 - Alhambra Decree - christian reconquer spain january 1492

jews and muslims pushed out of spain. jews can either leave with muslims or convert to christianity or executed., many of the sephardic jews dispersed around the mediterannean. Many Spanish Jews also fled to the Ottoman Empire, where they were given refuge. Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire, learning about the expulsion of Jews from Spain, dispatched the Ottoman Navy to bring the Jews safely to Ottoman lands, mainly to the cities of Thessaloniki (currently in Greece) and İzmir (currently in Turkey).[12] Many of these Jews also settled in other parts of the Balkans ruled by the Ottomans such as the areas that are now Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia. Some Jewish refugees also settled in the Ottoman Empire's Arab territories, intermingling with the existing Arabized Jewish communities of Cairo, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Aleppo and Damascus. Some even traveled beyond the Ottoman Empire, settling among the Bukharan Jews of Central Asia and the Cochin Jews of the Malabar region of southern India.


quote the sultan of or roman empire at time of diaspora of sephardic jews - Bayezid II

‘Can you call such a king wise and intelligent? He is impoverishing his country and enriching my kingdom – talking about Ferdinand.


why was sultan so open to jews

Ottomans needed new man power and trade – Jews seen to be useful for this. They went to parts of the empire where the empire was in need of new man power and building trade.


conversion to islam?

The attraction of converting to Islam.; one is that crossover between Christian and Islamic practises. Shrines/saints they worship ritual of prayer. Sufis encourage this – esoteric form of Islam and engage in front line of conversion. Sufi particularly open to other influences. They blend Christian and Islamic beliefs.


trade guilds

Shouldn’t define people by religion. Trade guilds are like trade unions. People belong to these from mixed religious background.


islamic courts used by non muslims?

Non Muslims using Islamic courts to resolve disputes. A lot of non Muslim use them – masters talks about this for divorce. Islam divorce permitted under certain circumstances so Catholics go to courts for it. Christian women convert to Islam in order to divorce their husband.



Argues against common practice of focusing on formal traditions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in favor of studying folk religiosity as the true religious mainstream.

n this study of everyday religious culture in early modern Syria and Palestine, James Grehan offers a social history that looks beyond conventional ways of thinking about religion in the Middle East. The most common narratives about the region introduce us to the separate traditions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, highlighting how each one has created its own distinctive traditions and communities. Twilight of the Saints offers a reinterpretation of religious and cultural history in a region which is today associated with division and violence. Exploring the religious habits of ordinary people, from the late seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, when the region was part of the Ottoman Empire, Grehan shows that members of different religious groups participated in a common, overarching religious culture that was still visible at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Most evident in the countryside, though present everywhere, this religious mainstream thrived in a society in which few people had access to formal religious teachings. This older, folk religious culture was steeped in notions and rituals that the modern world, with its mainly theological conception of religion, has utterly repudiated. Indeed, the people of Syria and Palestine today would hardly recognize religion as it was experienced in the not-so-distant past. Only by uncovering this lost lived religion, argues Grehan, can we appreciate the largely unacknowledged revolution in religion that has taken place in the region over the last century.



In this interesting and well-researched book, Bruce Masters analyses the history of Christian and Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces and how they fared within a Muslim majority and hierarchy. By and large, this important study is a story of modernization, identity, and ecclesiastical politics that focuses primarily on Christian communities in Aleppo, Syria. The book’s main themes are somewhat familiar: How Christian and Jewish communities were in an advantageous position to benefit from increasing European influence in the Middle East, and how a secular political identity (Arab nationalism) emerged in the Levant. The book’s value lies not in its overarching thesis, but rather in the details of the story and the impressive research upon which this well-crafted narrative is based.


Joint religious practice

Syncretism of Muslim Christian and Jewish practices. Muslim Jesus important figure in Islam – Sufi Muslims, hold Jesus in a high regard. Prophet of love. Not as divine. Bible says less about Jesus' birth than the koran. Bethlehem has an important for muslims. the muslim story differs in that mary retires to the desert to give birth, terrible pains and exhaustion and finds sitting by palm tree and god says shake the palm tree. dates fall and water spring appears.



told there are 4 quarters with muslim/jews/christian. not how jerusalem looked.


HISTORIOGRAPHY - Simon Sebag Montefiore

The city is the focus of the struggle between abrahamic religions, the strategic battlefield of clashing religions. check this


Memoir by christian wasif jawhariyyeh - HISTORIOGRAPHY

growing ump in jerusalem at turn of 20c. christian gets woken up for call to prayer by sheikh with 'beautiful voice'. however he is replaced and new sheikh terrible voice. father, also a christian, went to the administration to ask for removal. he was successful



· Islamic law said that peoples of the book J and C would be protected (The dhimmi contract: The original agreement the Jews of Medina (paid jizya in return for protection and freedom of worship) could practise own religion as long as recognised superiority of Islam
· All had to be subordinate to the state. However, intermarriages took place – many conversions to Muslim
· Allowed others to use the Sharia for certain things – divorce, was inheritance one? P 14
· Sultan took decision making first as per Turkish way. Sharia not as strong? P13
· Suleyman incorporated Islam as part of the empire. Significant as done publicly and shaped the empire yet it was adapted by the rulers as to when they wanted to
· Rulers believed themselves to be the caliph, leader of Sunni Islamic community – how did Shias feel about this as they denounce first three caliphs therefore how could they accept the sultans taking om the role of a caliph?
How tolerant was the Ottoman Empire towards its religious minorities?
· Ottoman empire more tolerant towards religions than say the catholic church (persecution)
· Yet, they had to wear different clothing to show they were not Muslims. Not allowed to build synagogues.
· Muslims were only allowed to to hold tax farms yet J and C did and was not always enforced that they did not follow the restrictions p17
· Many of the more well off were non Muslims p.18
· Recognizes the J and C as peoples of the book – ahl al-dhimma – rights to property, livelihood and freedom of worship
· Arab tribesmen who were Christian but fought for Umma were close to status of Muslim Arabs. New converts to Muslim conversely not accorded as high a status p20
· No wide scale forced conversions – one/two young boys taken from family, converted and trained for ottoman army
· Murders or other public outrages against non Muslims rarely brought o court p.31
· Had to use a different version of the name dependent on the religion to show whether Jew Christian or Muslim – eg yusuf – m, jasif C or J p31
· Christians could do what they wanted behind closed doors but anything in public that offended Muslims was dealt with p35
· Govt taxed burials? p36
· Exchange of food on special holidays – sacrificed meat etc. and joint celebration on saint’s day
There was violence but it seems it does not outweight their tolerance