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Title: Heresy and Legitimacy in the Ottoman Empire in the Sixteenth Century
Author: Ustun, Ismail Safa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 8117
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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Before the 16th century, Ottoman claims to legitimacy went through several such stages as associating with dervises called abdals, being Warriors of the Faith, being the legal heirs to the Selcuks, being descendants of Kayi, the story of Edebali's dream foretelling the future ascendancy of the dynasty. In the 16th century, however, there was a marked shift towards finding a justification for Ottoman rule in canonical Islamic sources, as a result of, not only the intellectual dominance of the ulema', but also political developments. The propaganda of the "heterodox" Safawids after c. 1502 required an "orthodox" counter propaganda; and the conquest of the Mamluks and the acquisition of Mecca and Medina in 1511-17, led the Ottomans to claim supremecy among Islamic rulers. The new legitimacy argument was that the Ottomans were leaders and defenders of the ahl al-sunna. The Ottoman ulema' supported and formulated this claim. They issued fetvas against the Safawids, rawing their arguments from sharti texts, and declaring the Safawids to be enemies within Islam. In these fetvas, a clear definition of heresy -and of heretical enemy- was not fully developed. Alongside external enemies, the Ottomans also perceived the existence of internal enemies to their rule from the beginning of the 16th century, encouraged particularly by the dynasty's need to present itself as defenders of orthodoxy against the Safawids. The Melametiyye are an example of a group opposed to Ottoman rule. Individuals such as Molla Kabiz and Karamanli seyh were certainly perceived by the Ottoman authorities as threats to their own legitimacy. The Ottoman authorities, however, faced difficulties in dealing with "heretics" since they had not yet formulated an adequate definition of what "heresy" was. Kemal Paqazade's judicial definition of the term zindik through his risäla on zandaka was a major step in creating the legal instruments to oppose heresy. He clearly adopted the concept from fukahä' of the 11th-12th centuries who had used it against the Ismä ills and Bä inis of their own day. The risäla also had a role in claims to legitimacy as representative and protectors of sunni Islam. Together with the risäla on zandaka, Kemal Pagazade, as a result of Molla Kabiz case, produced another risäla on sabb al-Nab! which also serves to define heretical enemy of the Ottoman dynasty. In his fatwä against al- Rawäfi , he deals with the offence of cursing the Companions and indicates that the offence merited execution. The inspiration for this view was clearly the Ottoman's need to justify action against Kizilbas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: JISC Digital Islam
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available