Islam in the Ottoman Empire

Part I:

Introduction: This paper seeks to make an analysis of the ways in which the Ottoman Empire was Islamic. It seeks to establish the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and Islam, the religion on which it was founded.

Part II:

Summary: At the core of this narration is the fact that the nature of enforcement of Islamic tenets in the length and breadth of the Empire kept shifting with time. Although Islam and the Ottoman Empire were inseparable, since the very foundation of the Empire was Islamic, the actual manner in which Islam was enforced in the Empire varied in relation to time and geographical space. The pattern in which Islam was enforced altered from that of a brutal version at the beginning of the Empire to one that moderated greatly as the decades and centuries progressed. In other words, the dispensation shifted from Jihad to Dhimma. [1] The nature and reasons for this metamorphosis forms the heart of the paper. Moreover, Islam in its unadulterated form could not be enforced in a monolithic, homogeneous fashion in all the centuries of Ottoman rule, because the territories they governed were vast and disparate. In view of this complex scenario, this paper, due to the severe constraint of space, takes up only two important aspects of Islam that were more or less a constant in the Empire as it grew –the treatment of non-Muslim subjects, and of women. In these, an overwhelmingly large part is devoted to the former, because administration enjoyed greater primacy, while the latter is referred to in passing. On account of this dearth of space, a unique element of the Ottoman Islamic military, the Janissaries, is left out.

Part III:

Discussion: The ascendancy to power of the Ottomans took place in the backdrop of the waning of authority of the Seljuk dynasty, the dominant power of Asia Minor until then.[2] In the given situation, since the political situation was very volatile, and opportunity was afforded to building an empire to one who succeeded in this unstable milieu, what was needed was brute force to achieve these ends. The period saw a novelty –the formation of a band of savage and predatory men calling themselves the Ghazis. Fanatically dedicated to Islam, these warriors derived their authority from the Islamic notion of Jihad –Holy War. The earliest Ottomans were typical examples of Ghazis. This concept enabled the Ottomans, who till then had been an insignificant vassal of the Seljuk dynasty, to now establish their authority in the region. This is how the establishment of the Ottoman Empire was based entirely on a primitive interpretation of and resort to militant Islam. (Turnbull, 2003, p. 10)

From these beginnings, over the years, the Ottomans displayed towards non-Muslim subjects a sense of tolerance that would put Europe to shame. During the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, when events such as the Inquisitions were becoming milestones in Europe’s history[3], the Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire. This was the predominant destination to which the persecuted Jews milled, and were able to practice their way of life without any hindrance. A Hapsburg ambassador in the court of Suleiman the Magnificent had this to say about the Ottoman Sultan’s attitude towards his empire’s non-Muslim subjects:

Get help with your essay today, from our professional essay writers!

Order a Unique Copy of this Paper

Essay Creek is an academic writing service provided to you by, a London-based company.

  • Experience
    Helping students successfully for 11 years.
  • Confidentiality & Security
    Be sure your information will be kept confidential due to our secure service.
  • Quality & Reliability
    8.5 out of 10 average quality score according to our customers' feedback. 97.45% of orders delivered on time.
  • Versatility
    478 active writers in 68 disciplines.
  • 100% money back guarantee
    You can always request a refund if you are not satisfied with the result.

Read more about us

Our team of writers is comprised of people with necessary academic writing skills and experience in various fields of study.

  • Skilled writers only
    We carefully choose writers to employ, paying attention to their skills and abilities.
  • Competence
    Your order will be assigned to a competent writer who specializes in your field of study.
  • In-depth knowledge
    Our writers know both peculiarities of academic writing and paper formatting rules.
  • Motivation
    We keep updated on results our writers show, motivating them to constantly improve their performance.

Read more about our writers

  • Testimonials
    Our clients' testimonials prove we're doing everything right.

Check for yourself

  • Sample essays
    The best way to understand how well our writers do their work is to view sample essays written by them.

View samples

  • Our Free Essay Tools
    Even more opportunities to improve your academic papers.

Bibliography Generator
Words to Pages Converter
Words to Minutes Converter
College GPA Calculator
Thesis statement generator