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Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Dynasty – Rise of Muslims Episode 6

Based entirely on the book by Ali Mahmood titled “Muslims” –

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The Ottoman dynasty governed the Muslims and built one of the largest empires the world has ever seen

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Osman Gazi and the Birth of the Ottoman Empire

In the summer heat in the year 1071, a history-changing battle was raging in the eastern part of Anatolia.

The Seljuk Turks from Central Asia, had built a powerful empire that was clashing with the mighty Byzantines Empire.

The result of the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 was a decisive Seljuk victory with the Byzantine army in tatters.

Turkish settlers created their own towns and cities, while intermarrying with the local populations, who were converting to Islam.

These states were known as “beyliks.” Each State had a leader who directed the Ghazi’s. By the 1200s, there were numerous beyliks.

One of these beyliks was that of ghazi by the name of Osman. He was born in 1258, the same year Baghdad was destroyed by the Mongols.

Legend has it that Osman once had a dream in which a tree grew out of his chest. It’s roots and branches grew to cover Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Osman’s Shaykh interpreted the dream as a sign that Osman’s descendants would have an empire that controlled the three continents.

The borders of Osman’s beylik in the town of Söğüt in northwestern Anatolia pressed right up against the Byzantine Empire.

This made being a ghazi vital and central to Osman’s life. As a result, his stature grew and ghazis rushed to join his growing state.

In addition to this, the Mongol armies were still wreaking havoc on Southwest Asia, and fleeing refugees found a new home in Osman’s beylik.

With a huge influx of warriors, Osman continued to press against the Byzantines who were at this point were in full decline.

As a result, Osman greatly expanded his territory throughout the opening decades of the 1300s. His beylik became an empire.

The Ottomans themselves called their state Devlet-i Osmaniyye, Turkish for “The State of Osman”. Known in English as “The Ottomans.”


Osman’s Dream – Book by Caroline Finkel
Hourani, Albert Habib. A History Of The Arab Peoples. New York: Mjf Books, 1997. Print.
Itzkowitz, Norman. Ottoman Empire And Islamic Tradition. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1981. Print.

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Ertuğrul Gazi And The Birth Of The Ottomans

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Diriliş Ertuğrul and the Birth of the Ottomans

Brand new KJ Vid in special collaboration with Dilly Hussain – Co-founder of 5Pillars Media – the biggest Muslim news site in Britain – 5Pillars

Millions have been inspired by the hit Turkish documentary on the founding father of the Ottoman State.

It’s very easy to understand why!

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Millions of Muslims around the world have been watching the hit Turkish show, ‘Dirilis Ertugrul’.

The show is a fictionalised historical drama series on the life and struggles of Ertugrul Gazi and the Kayi tribe.

Ertugrul Gazi was the father of Sultan Osman I, who founded the Ottoman State in 1299 CE (698 AH).

Most Ottoman chroniclers date the dynasty’s lineage back to the Kayi tribe.

The Kayis migrated from Central Asia to escape the Mongol raids in the beginning of the thirteenth century.

They eventually settled in Anatolia under the protection of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (the Western Seljuk State).

Initially led by Suleiman Shah, the father of Ertugrul Gazi and the grandfather of Sultan Osman I, the Kayis were loyal citizens of the Seljuk State.

They defended the Western frontier of the Seljuk State, which neighboured the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire.

The Kayis led by Ertugrul Gazi, fought the Byzantines, the Crusaders and the Mongols under the banner of the Seljuk State.

Ertugrul Gazi was an advocate of Muslim unity and the establishment of a State which would rule with the Divine justice of Islam.

The renowned Sufi mystic, Ibn al-Arabi and the famous Anatolian scholar, Shaykh Edebali both documented their encounters with Ertugrul Gazi.

After the gradual decline and subsequent demise of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, independent ‘Beyliks’ (principalities) began to emerge in Anatolia.

One of these Anatolian Beyliks in the late thirteenth century was the Kayi principality, which evolved to the Ottoman Sultanate in 1299 CE.

Ertugrul Gazi is a revered figure among Turkish Muslims because he laid the foundations for the Ottoman State.

Ertugrul Gazi died in 1281 in the city of Sogut, which was the first capital of the Ottoman State and is regarded as the birthplace of the Osmanli Dynasty.

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The Great Game of the 19th Century

The Great Game  was an intense rivalry between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia, beginning in the nineteenth century

British Lord Ellenborough started “The Great Game” on January 12, 1830, with an edict establishing a new trade route from India to Bukhara, using Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan

The aim was to create a buffer against Russia to prevent it from controlling any ports on the Persian Gulf.

Meanwhile, Russia wanted to establish a neutral zone in Afghanistan allowing for their use of crucial trade routes.

This resulted in a series of unsuccessful wars for the British to control Afghanistan, Bukhara and Turkey.

The British lost at all four wars — the First Anglo-Saxon War (1838), the First Anglo-Sikh War (1843), the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848) and the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878) — resulting in Russia taking control of several Khanates including Bukhara.

Although Britain’s attempts to conquer Afghanistan ended in humiliation, the independent nation held as a buffer between Russia and India

The Great Game officially ended with the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, which divided Persia into a Russian-controlled northern zone, a nominally independent central zone, and a British-controlled southern zone.

The Convention also specified a borderline between the two empires running from the eastern point of Persia to Afghanistan and declared Afghanistan an official protectorate of Britain.

Relations between the two European powers continued to be strained until they allied against the Central Powers in World War I

The term “Great Game” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling in his book “Kim” from 1904, wherein he plays up the idea of power struggles between great nations as a game of sorts.

Today, the Great Game is often quoted to describe the Geopolitical competition between America, China and Russia over Central Asia.

Afghanistan plays a vital geopolitical role in this Great Game as it borders Central Asia

The Struggle for Afghanistan lies in an even Greater Game for control over the Eurasian Landmass

This theory was first talked about by Sir Halford Mackinder but reinforced by Nicholas Spykman where he famously outlined his core geopolitical argument in 1944

“Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia, who rules Eurasia controls the destiny of the world”

The Rise of Ibn Saud

Following the Arab revolt, Sherif Hussein proclaimed himself King of all the Arab countries, but the British government was prepared to recognise only his control of the Hijaz.

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Confrontation over the future of Arabia ensued between Hussein and another British protégé. Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, a rising power in central Arabia whose forces had captured the Nejd region with its capital at Riyadh.

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The Ottoman-Portuguese War

The second Ottoman-Portuguese War (1538–1559) was an armed military conflict between the Portuguese Empire, the Kingdom of Hormuz and the Ethiopian Empire against the Ottoman EmpireAjuran Sultanate, and Adal Sultanate, into the Horn of Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and in East Africa.


This war took place upon the backdrop of the Ethiopian-Adal War. Ethiopia had been invaded in 1529 by the Somali Imam Ahmed Gragn. Portuguese help, which was first asked by Emperor Lebna Dengel in 1520 to help defeat Adal while it was weak, finally arrived in Mitsiwa on February 10, 1541, during the reign of Emperor Galawdewos. The force was led by Cristóvão da Gama (second son of Vasco da Gama) and included 400 musketeers, several breech-loading field guns and few Portuguese cavalry as well as a number of artisans and other non-combatants.

War begins

Major hostilities between Portugal and the Ottoman Empire began in 1538, when the Ottomans with 54 ships laid siege to Diu, which had been built by the Portuguese in 1535. The Ottoman fleet was led by Suleiman I‘s governor of Egypt Suleiman Pasha, but the attack was not successful and the siege was lifted.

The Portuguese under Estêvão da Gama (first son of Vasco da Gama) organized an expedition to destroy the Ottoman fleet at Suez, leaving Goa on December 31, 1540 and reaching Aden January 27, 1541. The fleet reached Massawa on February 12, where Gama left a number of ships and continued north. The Portuguese then sacked the Ottoman port of Suakin. Reaching Suez, he discovered that the Ottomans had long known of his raid, and foiled his attempt to burn the beached ships. Gama was forced to retrace his steps to Massawa, although pausing to attack the port of El-Tor (Sinai Peninsula).

On February, 1542, Cristóvão da Gama and his forces were able to capture an important Adalite stronghold at the Battle of Baçente. The Portuguese were again victorious at the Battle of Jarte, killing almost all of the Turkish contingent. However, the Gragn then requested aid from the Ottoman governor of Yemen in Aden, who sent 2000 Arabian musketeers, 900 Turkish pikemen, 1000 Turkish foot musketeers, some Shqiptar foot soldiers (with muskets) and Turkish horsemen. In the Battle of Wofla, Somali and Turkish forces defeated the Portuguese, Gama was captured and killed by Gragn himself upon refusing to convert to Islam.

Gelawdewos was eventually able to reorganize his forces and absorb the remaining Portuguese soldiers and defeated Gragn (who was killed) at the Battle of Wayna Daga, marking the end of the Ethiopian-Adalite war (although warfare would resume not long after, at a much diminished scale).

Elsewhere in the Indian Ocean naval combat was also intense. In 1547 the Admiral Piri Reis took command of the Ottoman-Egyptian fleet in the Indian Ocean and on 26 February 1548 recaptured Aden, in 1552 sacked Muscat. Turning further east, Piri Reis failed to capture Hormuz,[2] at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. In 1554 the Portuguese soundly defeated an Ottoman fleet led by Seydi Ali Reis in the Battle of the Gulf of Oman and in 1557 the Ottoman captured the port of Massawa to the province of Habesh. Finally, in 1559 the Ottomans lay siege to Bahrain but the Portuguese successfully repel the attack.


Unable to decisively defeat the Portuguese or threaten their shipping, the Ottomans abstained from further substantial action in the near future, choosing instead to supply Portuguese enemies such as the Aceh Sultanate. The Portuguese on their part enforced their commercial and diplomatical ties with Safavid Persia, an enemy of the Ottoman Empire.

See also
  1. Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, ABC CLIO, 2009, p. 76, “In the end both Ottomans and Portuguese had the recognize the other side’s sphere of influence and tried to consolidate their bases and network of alliances.”
  2. Holt, Lambton, Lewis, p. 332
  • Peter Malcolm Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis The Cambridge history of Islam 1977.
  • Attila and Balázs Weiszhár: Lexicon of War (Háborúk lexikona), Athenaum publisher, Budapest 2004.
  • Britannica Hungarica, Hungarian encyclopedia, Hungarian World publisher, Budapest 1994.

Original Source – https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Ottoman%E2%80%93Portuguese+conflicts+(1538%E2%80%9357)

T.E Lawrence (The Lawrence of Arabia) and the Arab Revolt

This British strategy of colonial divide and rule reached its peak in the Middle East during and after the First World War. During the War Britain appealed to the Arabs in the Middle East to join it in overthrowing Ottoman rule of their territories. But where does T.E Lawrence, better known as, “The Lawrence of Arabia” come into all of this?

In this video we take a brief look at the role of T.E Lawrence in the Arab Revolt during WW1.

In May 1915, Britain proclaimed to the ‘people of Arabia’ that:

‘the religion of Islam has always been most respected by the English government’, and that, despite the sultan of Turkey having become an enemy, ‘our policy of respect and friendliness towards Islam remains unchanged’.

Britain made promises to the then ruler of the holy city of Mecca, Sharif Hussain who agreed to lead an Arab revolt in return for British recognition of him after the war, as the ruler of a vast territory stretching from present-day Syria to Yemen, thus encompassing all of modern Saudi Arabia.

“The British government wrote to Hussein in November 1914, stating that:

If the Amir and Arabs in general assist Great Britain in this conflict that has been forced upon us by Turkey, Great Britain will promise not to intervene in any manner whatsoever whether in things religious or otherwise . . . Till now we have defended and befriended Islam in the person of the Turks: henceforward it shall be in that of the noble Arab. It may be that an Arab of true race will assume the Khalifate at Mecca or Medina, and so good may come by the help of God out of all the evil that is now occurring.”

This last momentous sentence was Britain promising to help restore the Islamic Caliphate to Arabia and for Sherif Hussein to be the new caliph, the successor to the Turkish sultan.

Lord Kitchener, the secretary of state for war, noted in March 1915 that ‘if the Khalifate were transferred to Arabia, it would remain to a great extent under our influence.’

Sherif Hussein came out in revolt against the Ottoman empire in June 1916, recruiting a small Arab force of a few thousand men to fight in the Hijaz region, the western coastal area of Arabia containing the cities of Jeddah, Mecca and Medina.

British officers served as military advisers to Hussein’s revolt; one such was Colonel T. E. Lawrence ‘of Arabia’, an aide to Faisal, Sherif Hussein’s son. Lawrence was appointed to command the Faisals military forces.

One month before the Arab revolt broke out, Britain and France secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between their zones of influence, in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, named after their respective foreign ministers.

Lawrence, supposedly the great ‘liberator’ of the Arab world, wrote an intelligence memo in January 1916 stating that the Arab revolt was:

beneficial to us because it marches with our immediate aims, the break up of the Islamic ‘bloc’ and the defeat and disruption of the Ottoman Empire, and because the states [Sherif Hussein] would set up to succeed the Turks would be . . . harmless to ourselves . . . The Arabs are even less stable than the Turks. If properly handled they would remain in a state of political mosaic, a tissue of small jealous principalities incapable of cohesion.           

After the war, Lawrence wrote a report for the British Cabinet entitled ‘Reconstruction of Arabia’, arguing that it was urgent for the British and their allies to find a Muslim leader who could counter the Ottoman empire’s attempted jihad against them in the name of the caliph:

“When war broke out an urgent need to divide Islam was added, and we became reconciled to seek for allies rather than subjects . . . We hoped by the creation of a ring of client states, themselves insisting on our patronage, to turn the present and future flank of any foreign power with designs on the three rivers [Iraq]. The greatest obstacle, from a war standpoint, to any Arab movement, was its greatest virtue in peace-time – the lack of solidarity between the various Arab movements … The Sherif [Hussein] was ultimately chosen because of the rift he would create in Islam.”

Lawrence of Arabia 2nd from right, middle row. (National Archives)

The benefit of division in the Middle East was also recognised by the foreign department of the British government of India: ‘What we want’, it stated, ‘is not a United Arabia, but a weak and disunited Arabia, split up into little principalities so far as possible under our suzerainty – but incapable of coordinated action against us, forming a buffer against the Powers in the West.’

So there you go guys, this a brief history of the role of T.E Lawrence and how he played a role on behalf of the British Government to divide the Ottoman Caliphate.

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50 pictures of the late Ottoman era that will blow your mind

A poster calling for the unification and mobilization of Muslims to support the Caliphate during World War I, 1914.

A poster calling for the unification and mobilization of Muslims to support the Caliphate during World War I, 1914.

Illumination of Eminönü New Mosque during Ramadhan in 1811.

Kaaba, Ottoman-era Makkah, early 1900’s.

The tomb of Kanunî Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Istanbul, 1817.

On June 1, 1911 in Ottoman history, the Ottoman Air Force (Kıtaat-ı Fenniye ve Mevaki-i Müstahkame) was founded.

An Ottoman soldier, Istanbul, 1870’s.

Tarawih prayer in Hagia Sophia mosque during the month of Ramadhan, Ottoman Istanbul.

The first dig phase of the construction project of the Istanbul-Baghdad railway, Konya-Baghdad Line, 1903.

Camels resting outside the Fatih mosque, Istanbul, 1900’s.

Galata tower, Ottoman Istanbul, 1911.

Circassians in Ottoman Istanbul, c1900.

Selimiye mosque, built in Edirne by the Master Architect Mimar Sinan between 1568-1574

An Ottoman miniature of Makkah, 1800’s.


Transport of Ottoman ships over land during the conquest of Constantinople, May 29, 1453. Done upon the orders of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, this military tactic has entered into history as one of the most strategic moves in military history.

The Ottoman ‘Şahi’ cannons used during the conquest of Constantinople on May 29, 1453.

May 29, 1453 in Ottoman history marks the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, following a 53-day siege of the city. Sultan Mehmed II’s conquest which led to the fall of the Byzantine Empire was prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in his famous narration (hadith):
“Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!”

The conquest of Constantinople by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, May 29, 1453.

A grandfather and his grandson reading Qur’an, Istanbul, 1800’s.

The public procession of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Ottoman Istanbul, 1800’s.

The Ramadan cannon being fired from the Tower of David in Jerusalem, Ottoman Palestine, 1900’s.

Topkapı, Ottoman Istanbul, 1890’s.

An Ottoman mosque between the columns of an ancient temple in Latakia, Ottoman Syria, c1800.

Ottoman Istanbul, late 1800’s.

Ottoman gold coin from the era of Sultan Selim II, Baghdad, 1566.

The Ottoman army led by the Grand Vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha advancing towards Sofia in 1788 during the Austro-Ottoman War.

A picture of one of the most famed Ottoman photographers, Pascal Sébah (middle) sitting at the Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III, Istanbul, 1870.

The Süleymaniye mosque, Ottoman Istanbul, 1680

The Bodrum Castle, 1860’s.

Ottoman guards at the Port of Iskenderun, Anatolia, c1800.

Ottoman Istanbul, late 1800’s.

Hejaz Railway, Damascus-Haifa line, early 1900’s.

Ottoman children, early 1900’s.

Ottoman Medina, 1850’s.

Map of Vilâyet-i Kosova‎, Ottoman Empire, late 1800’s

Bazaar time in Istanbul, 1800’s

Topkapi Palace, Ottoman Istanbul, 1600’s.

Ferik-i Evvel (Field Marshal) Hüseyin Nâzım Pasha, the Turkish Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire, First Balkan War, 1913. He was assassinated in the same year.

Travelling through Ottoman Syria, 1837.

Conducting business in the street, a bustling venue for sales, Ottoman Istanbul, 1920. This is a practice that has popularly continued into the present-day.

Sultan Mahmud Han’s II calligraphy with the saying of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the first line: “My intercession will be for those of my community who committed great sins.” In the second line the Sultan begs for the intercession of the Prophet.

A British map of the political landscape between Ottoman Istanbul and Burma, 1912.

United States Embassy in Ottoman Istanbul, World War I.

Interior of the Sultanahmet Blue mosque, Ottoman Istanbul, 1890’s.

Turkish women, Ottoman Istanbul, 1919

Men from the Ottoman Içel Sanjak region (Mersin) of different ethnic backgrounds, 1890’s.

The Ottoman city of Çorlu, 1800’s.

Ottoman Istanbul, c1850.

Doctors from India (modern day Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India) volunteered in treating Ottoman wounded soldiers during the Balkan wars by serving in the Ottoman Red Crescent (Hilâl-i Ahmer), 1912. They arrived at Istanbul using their own personal expenses or via funds donated by fellow Muslims in India. This mission was led by Dr. Muhtar Ahmad Ansari. Abdur Rehman Peshawari (third row, second from left) was forced to sell all of his belongings to come to Istanbul. He continued to defend and serve in the Ottomans until his death.

Süleymaniye mosque, Istanbul, 1800’s.

An Ottoman Turkish coffee pot, 1800’s.

250mm cannon of the Mesudiye Ironclad battleship, 1876.

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