Rise of the Ottomans

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Ismail Kamdar

Channel: Ismail Kamdar

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This is going to be our final module on the political history of Islam before we get into the history of the scientific developments of the Muslim world, and the last empire that I want to focus on are the Ottomans, or the Osmani Khilafah of Turkey. And this is the only empire that they'll be focusing on that non Arab. The Omean cinnabar. Since we're both Arab empire is now this doesn't mean that all the great empires were Arab, rather, they were not African empires, like the Milanese and the Morabito and the more ah, they were Turkish empires, like the soul Jukes and the Ottomans. You know, they were many different empires for many different races. The Ottomans were the most famous

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of the non Arab empires, because they ruled for a large portion of our history, right until recently, right until World War One. So let's go through a brief history of the Ottomans.

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Who were they why did they come about? And, you know, why are they important? So, generally, before the Ottoman Empire was founded, many of the Turkish people were nomads, right, particularly this tribe, who became the Ottomans, the Chi tribe, they were nomads, nomads means that they lived in tents moving from land to land, they didn't live in cities or towns, and wherever they found languages for the animals, they would move there. So they were traveling nomads, and

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basically, they turn into an empire out of necessity.

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Those of you who watch the TV series, the realist ruler, it gives you an idea of exactly how they started and why they started.

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The the people of Turkey found themselves at war on two fronts. On one hand, the Christian Crusaders were invading their lands and trying to take over on the other hand, the Mongols were invading the lands and trying to take over. So they found themselves sandwiched between the Crusades and the Mongols. So they had to establish cities, they had to establish fortresses, they had to establish boundaries, they had to fight off enemies into France. And so this basically led to, to the start of what is meant to be, you know, just a means of protecting their people from outside invaders, but eventually grew into one of the most powerful empires in the history of this world.

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So the guy he tried, which is what the TV series, speaking about, it was all about this tribe, they took over a few cities, to establish a base on which they could fight the Romans and the Mongols. And from there, they grew. So they took over some of the Roman cities, and they took over more of the Roman cities and took over more of the Roman cities. Until eventually over a few centuries, they grew into a superpower. So it's very fascinating that a small tribe of nomads takes over a few cities, to protect the people from two sets of of invaders. And then they start to take over those invaders cities and over time, they grow into a huge empire. Right. And again, if you want to

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understand this point of the history better, the fights against the Crusaders and the Mongols and the need for survival, and how these, these nomads became city dwellers in established themselves, the TV series delivers to rule, the first three seasons of which are available on Netflix, and covers it very beautifully. So really a very beautifully made TV series that really covers this, this point in our history very well. It really shows the necessity of establishing their own lands at that time. The whole show shifts between like season one, they fight in the Crusaders, season two, the Mongols, season three the fighting both of them, it's, it's, it really shows why it was a

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necessity at that time for them to establish their own land, and it shows how they went about doing it. It's a bit fictional is slightly fictionalized, but in general, it gives you an idea of what happened and why it happened.

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So moving on to the next phase of the Ottoman history. The Ottoman Empire was a really long empire, it lasted over 600 years. In fact, it only ended in World War One, right, which was less than 100 years ago in 1924. To be specific, it was the last great Muslim superpower, and the only of these three superpowers not to be Arab or Qureshi. So three Muslim empires reached a point of greatness were they were like a superpower of their time. They were like one of the most powerful empires of the time.

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Those three being the maids, the passage and the Ottomans. The Ottomans were the only of the three they were not from the Qureshi Arabs,

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the Ottomans, after they took over many lands, the really hit a golden age in the reign of Muhammad the second so this was like in the second century of Ottoman rule. Muhammad, the second also known as Muhammad the conqueror, he conquered Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantium empire. And that was that was the end of the Roman Empire that was the last Roman capital to fall. He conquered the capital of the Roman Empire. He turned it into Istanbul and it became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire and from his way

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onwards until the time of his great great grandson of Solomon the magnificent. This became the golden age of the Muslim man of the Muslim world of the Ottoman world. And this was really when they were at the height of their power.

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Again, if you want to get a glimpse of the Ottomans in the height of their power, the TV series magnificent century covers the reign of supermodel magnificent. It's not exactly very Halal in its content, because it focuses more on the romance between Charlemagne and his concubines. But nonetheless, if you just want to see what the world looked like, you know, in terms of the palaces and the cities, and the city centers, and how people live their lives during the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire, this TV series captures it very well, the first season was available on Netflix, I'm not sure if it still is. But really, for those people who just from a historical perspective, want

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to see what the world looked like, in the time of Solomon, magnificent during the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire. This TV series really does justice to showing just what life was like at that point in time in the Ottoman Empire. So every other empire, they went through their ups and downs. And eventually, over time, the Ottomans also got too caught up in luxury, they became incompetent as rulership. And the Empire fell into stagnation, it fell behind the technology. And this coincided with the renaissance of Europe. So Europe was going to return a science at the same time that the Ottoman Empire was going through its stagnation and decline. And this led to a point in time where

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the Ottomans went from the most technologically advanced empire in Europe to the most backwards empire in Europe, until they actually developed the

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title of the sick man of Europe because they were so behind the rest of Europe. And this caused a lot of rebellions, people began to,

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you know, rebel against the Ottomans. And the rebellions took place and to complete opposite extreme ends. So in Turkey, modernist wanted to make the country more like the rest of Europe. And they essentially took over Turkey during the time of World War One, and turned into a secular democratic state and tried to get rid of Islam altogether from Turkey. Right? We can see they feel that that because in the past five to 10 years is a there has been a return to Islam in Turkey very slowly, very suddenly, but it is taking place.

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The opposite end to that where the extremists even Saudi Wahhabi takeover of Arabia. So at this point in time, the Ottomans were ruling Makkah and Medina and a group of extremists in their claim that the Ottomans because they were Sufis that did not real Muslim that we have to take over this land from them. And so they started their own rebellion, they took over Arabia and turned it into Saudi Arabia. And this split the OMA further, causing the collapse of the last major empire.

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So, this led to the two main pillars of our time, the two main problems of our time, we are facing a time where the Muslim world has two opposite threats. On one end, we have extremists, very literalist Muslims, trying to enforce the understanding of Islam upon the world while fighting all the other Muslims, including all the other Muslims to be deviants and just causing a lot of strife in the ummah. On the other extreme, we have the modernists who are trying to change Islam, to make it to make it suit American liberal values and just completely butchering the religion in that way. And these are the two main problems we face in our time, very often, people are attracted to one of

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these two extremes and we have to remind people to find that balance modal pot in between the two.

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So eventually, the rebellions in Turkey by the modernists led by Kemal Ataturk he was successful. And the Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1924. And it was turned into a modern secular state. And there was just a complete,

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complete effort to try and eradicate Islam from that land, which had long term ramifications that lasts right until today. This happened during the colonial era and the Ummah has not covered since so, during the colonial era, the British took over each of the took over India, they cause the Roman Empire to splinter up, you know, they help the

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secular talk stick over Turkey they help the Saudis take over Arabia. And then he shows that the you know, the West were didn't really care who took over what as long as the Ottoman empire crumbled because the secular Turks and the Saudi families were complete opposites. They both received help from the west to take over these lands just to the Empire would collapse. And there was it you know, the Ottomans. An empire that spanned 600 years, started from nothing, just a group of nomads grew into the most dominant civilization of its time just to give you an idea in the time of Solomon

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The magnificent the Ottomans ruled over 50 countries across three continents, most of them in Europe. huge, massive Empire

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is really something that first generation Ottomans wouldn't even have imagined. And at the end, they completely fell apart. For many reasons, they lost their attachment to the religion, they lost their scientific and technological advantage over the rest of the world. And as a result, they were taken over from two opposite ends, those who wanted to be more technologically advanced and those who wanted to be more religious. And both of both of those groups succeeded in taking over different parts of the lands, and the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Muslim ummah has not had an empire ever since we've been broken into tiny little countries. And that's the way it has remained, right until

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today.

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So what can we learn from this again, as from the first lesson, we learned that grading start small and take many generations to grow into anything meaningful. Right when the first chi leaders truly mature, and it's an honor to rule, we are fighting the Crusaders and Mongols in trying to establish a homeland for the people. They never imagined during the time of their descendants, descendants will be ruling over 50 countries. Now to grow from trying to establish one city to ruling 50 countries, this took 200 years. But it happened because everything starts small and grows slowly over time. And that's really how we all should work. We should not expect instant success, we should

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take our time and realize that things take time to grow.

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The early Ottomans or another lesson we can learn from them is that many Allamah state that the reason why they were blessed and given great power. And great success is because they were very closely connected to righteous religious scholars. Right. And

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you'll notice that almost all of the early Ottoman rulers, they had a llama, Sufi, Hannah Viola, who they were very close to him, they took lots of advice from who they would ask to make dua for them before they went out for battle. And so this close connection to the Allama gave them some blessings in the in the efforts which allowed them to rise to power, which the lesson from that is always have a close connection to righteous Allah.

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We also see that the Ottomans learned a lot of lessons from the Abbas's and the Romanians, which made him a much more powerful empire. They set up policies to avoid the mistakes of those who came before them. Some of these policies were good, some of them were bad, but all of them were affected, even the ones that were technically bad, for example, because the Abbas is a lot of the power was lost from whenever a brother was appointed as Caliph.

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Whenever a son of the king was appointed as caliph, his brothers would fight him over it. So the Ottomans adopted the policy that whenever one of the sons came to power, he would have all of his brothers executed.

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Very haram, technically, very long, but very effective because they were no sibling rivalries over the Ottoman rulership, it actually worked. And the older more of the attempt justified as the lesser of two evils, then rather one person or two people die, then hundreds of 1000s of people die in the Civil War. Allah knows best. As I said, politics is brutal. And sometimes good people did very bad things to stop even worse things from happening. But that's the reality. Ottomans did kill their brothers to maintain their power. We shouldn't hide these aspects of our history, because history is brutal and honest, whether we like it or not. Another thing they did, for example, was the

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Janissaries. So essentially, they took like the most from they went to different Christian villages. And they took young Christian boys who showed potential, and they move them to the Ottoman palace and raise them as Muslims. And these became the Ottoman army, whose only loyalty was to the king and not to anybody else. And so this, this stopped them from having armies that were led by people who could become rebellious and have their own ambitions for power. So you see the adopted policies, which essentially revolve around not making the mistakes of the apostates and the only it's made.

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Me amazing thing about the Ottomans, you have the height of the power. They ruled 50 countries. And these countries were spread across Europe, Africa and Asia. And they did it much more efficiently and effectively than the Abbasids did, because I guess this is a later point in history. They learn from the mistakes of the above seeds. They develop better systems of rulership, they had better access to better technologies. And so things were much more efficient, especially during the time of Solomon the magnificent, but eventually as you anything else, they collapsed. The main lesson about the Ottomans the one that really really stands out for me is that this started off as a small tribe

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of nomads getting grew into the rulers of 50 countries.

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This took less than 300 years to accomplish. Think about that.

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If you think any of your goals are too big, and everything seems impossible, how did the group of no bad nomadic warriors

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grow over a period of 250 years into a Empire the rule 50 countries. This is us sustained intergenerational growth. You know, you don't think about yourself, you think about your grandchildren and your great grandchildren, and you work to make a better world for them. That's the only way that this world gets better. And with that, we come to the end of our history of the great empires. And in the next set of lessons we will begin looking at the scientific achievements of the Muslim world