Part I | Part II

Empires can be likened to complex kaleidoscopes which change colours through time. For this reason it is difficult to see if an empire is steadily weakening or reforming by changing colour. Hence there is much debate over when the Ottoman Empire began to significantly decline. Historians such as Dan Smith, Edward Freeman, Albert Hourani assert that the empire began to steadily decline after the death of Sulayman the Magnificent in 1566.[1] Others such as Donald Quataert claim that the reformations in the late 17th and 18th Century “should be seen as transformation but not decline”.[2] Some such as Stanford Shaw traced the starting point of decline from “midway in the reign of Sulayman and continuing almost without pause until the end of 18th century,” however the Europeans only noticed this decline in the 17th Century.[3]

Despite the disagreements, the majority agree that it was during the reign of Sulayman that the Empire reached its zenith. Therefore this paper will deal with the major events which took place after Sulayman. I will look at the four sources of power claimed by Michael Mann; military, economic, political, ideological[4] and show how the Ottomans steadily lost power in each of these areas.

Military

Firstly, from a military perspective the Ottomans began to be defeated in battles and despite a few victories, overall they lost and subsequently began to contract. The Ottomans, who began as a warrior state against the Byzantine Empire, were known for their military edge. However with the discovery of the New World and thus the wealth which flowed into Europe, they advanced technologically and militarily and so the balance began to tip. This was exasperated, as Hourani says, by the end of the 16th Century as rulers who were weak in character and intellect came into power.[5] This stopped military progress as this curtailed the constant quest for better and more effective military strategies.

The Ottomans lost many battles and signed many treaties but four incidents marked as major milestones in the Empire's decline. The first were the Ottoman-Habsburg wars. In 1683 they were defeated by the better trained and technologically advanced Habsburg army outside Vienna. This was followed by a further defeat in 1687 at the battle of Mohacs which freed Hungary from Ottoman control.[6] In 1697 they were again defeated by the Habsburgs at the Battle of Zenta which was the impetus for the Treaty of Karlowitz[7]. This treaty signified the end of Ottoman power in central and south Eastern Europe and the beginning of the Habsburg dominance.

The second was the Ottoman-Russian wars in 1768-1774.[8] The war which was a decisive Russian victory culminated with the Treaty of Kukuk Kaynarca in 1774. This treaty had devastating effects. Crimea, where the population was mainly Muslim[9], became independent (later annexed by the Czarist state[10]), which meant the Ottoman lost the Crimean Khan's military forces. This force was particularly important as it had supported the Ottoman army since the revolt of the Janissaries (more on this below). The Ottomans also had to lose their monopoly over the Black Sea. Moreover the Russians now had the right to protect the Christians in the Ottoman Empire which marked the first time another power ratified their authority. [11] But later, as Quartaert who denies the decline in the 18th century points out, some of these agreements were revoked as the Ottomans won a few other battles where they regained the Black Sea monopoly and Russia withdrew from the principalities.[12] Yet overall the Empire did not territorially expand.

The third major turning point was the invasion of Egypt, the jewel of the Empire, by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.[13] This effortless victory shattered the illusion of the powerful Ottoman Empire and hence this gave Europe more confidence to divide and conquer in the later years. When the French left, Muhammad Ali came into power in 1805 and modernised Egypt. He destroyed the Mamluks who were against reform and created a modern army and navy trained by the French. His increase in power decreased Ottoman control in Egypt and from that point on Egypt's revenue no longer went to Istanbul.[14] However they did collaborate when they had the same interests for example the extermination the Wahhabi movement in Arabia.

The fourth major turning point was the Greek revolt in 1821-1830. In Romania and Greece they wanted independence and supremacy to lie with the Greek Orthodox rather than the Turkish Muslims. At first the Ottoman army were unable to subdue the revolt but were successful with the help of Muhammad Ali's new army and navy. However with European intervention their army was defeated and in 1830 at the Treat of London, Greece was declared an independent state. This was an inspiration for other Christians to gain independence and use the European powers to their advantage.[15]

Economic

From an economic perspective, the Empire was also suffering by the international development in trade, industry and finance.  In the 16th Century Europe was on the hunt for gold and so they focused on the navigation of the seas to find new trade routes. As early as 1580 Ottoman geographers warned the Sultan of this new trend. Omer Talib wrote, “Now the Europeans have learnt to know the whole world; they send their ships everywhere and seize important ports. Formerly the goods…used to come to Suez and were distributed by Muslims to the entire world. But now these goods are carried on Portuguese, Dutch and English ships…the Ottomans must seize the shores of Yemen and the passing trade…otherwise Europeans will rule.[16]

Exactly as Talib predicted, the world trade which used to flow through the Ottoman Empire decreased sharply in the 17th Century. The Europeans traded directly with Asia leaving the Ottomans in the middle. Moreover the Ottomans had a silver based monetary system and with the new found metals from Americas it caused the sudden flow of cheap and plentiful silver which had a catastrophic financial impact. The price of silver fell and that of gold increased. Turkish raw materials became cheap for European traders so they bought in great quantities. The industrial revolution in Europe led to the creation of new industries especially in textiles and metallurgy. Hence with the cheap raw materials from Turkey these products were developed and exported back to the Ottomans competing with their own indigenous craftsmen. The European products were cheaper and at times better quality which undermined local businesses.[17]

Continued inflation meant that prices quadrupled and the devaluation of the coin. In 1584 the asper was reduced from one-fifth to one-eighth of a dirham of silver. Twice in the 17th Century the government tried to curtail inflation by introducing new silver currency; first the para in the 1620's which was a silver coin and then the piastre in the 1680's, an imitation of the European dollar.[18] In the mid 16th century, Egypt had been a major contributor to the state revenue but by the 18th century no revenue or military people were conscripted. In 1789 the Ottoman revenue was a pitiful £3.75 million compared to £16.8 million for the British and £24 million for the French. It is estimated at this time that more than four fifths of the states' revenue stuck to the hands of the local elites which shows how decentralised the system had become.[19]

Furthermore, unlike in England whose technological advancements had revolutionised English agriculture, in Turkey they were still primitive. Not only were they not advancing, but farmers abandoned their villages and fled to the towns, known as the “Great Flight”[20]. This was firstly because of the decrease in feudal siphasis, a tactic used by Mehmed the Conqueror during the monetary crisis, namely paying the soldiers with fiefs rather than money. However; since warfare had changed in the 16th and 17th Century this was no longer feasible as the use of firearms and artillery necessitated the maintenance of even larger paid professional armies.  This led to tax farming and land-owners that did not care for peasant welfare or land conservation but just immediate taxes. Due to the decentralisation of power, regular land surveys and population censuses were abandoned, leaving it to the tax farmers, lease holders and bailiffs.

The result of the “Great Flight” in the late 16th Century was that agriculture shrank, hence the supplies of food diminished and increased prices hit the trade routes while Europe traded elsewhere. The influx of peasants in the urban areas caused issues with housing, employment and food. Many found jobs in the lowest level of urban society as cleaners and servants. Schools were inundated with poor boys that saw education as their only outlet. However with the falling standards of education, the system could not cope and became centres of idleness with students participating in social anarchy.

The ruling class reacted with trying to bring about social reform by rooting out corruption. While they enjoyed little success they could not reverse the steady decline. The system needed to be revamped and modernised, but with no finance, an angry population and a decentralised government the task was insurmountable.

To be continued in Part II…

Bibliography

Freeman, Edward. The Ottoman Power in Europe
Smith, Dan. The state of the Middle East
Hourani, Albert. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age
Quartaert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire
J Shaw, Stanford. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey Vol 1
Mann, Michael. The Sources of Power
Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey
Lieven, Dominic. Empire
Marcus, Abraham. The Middle East on the Eve of Modernity: Aleppo in the Eighteenth century
Barkey, Karen. Bandits and Bureaucrats: Ottoman Route to State Centralization


[1] Edward Freeman, The Ottoman Power in Europe, page 139
[2] Donald Quartaert, The Ottoman Empire, page 37
[3] Stanford Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, page 169
[4] Michael Mann, The Sources of Power
[5] Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, page 34
[6] Dan Smith, The state of the Middle East, page 16.
[7] Donald Quartaert, The Ottoman Empire, page 38
[8] Ibid page 40
[9] Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, page 39
[10] Donald Quartaert, The Ottoman Empire, page 40
[11] Ibid page 40
[12] Ibid page 42
[13] Ibid page 41
[14] Ibid page 41
[15] Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, page  44
[16] Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, page 28
[17] Shaw pg 173
[18] Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, page 29
[19] Dominic Lieven, Empire, page 140
[20] Stanford J Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey Vol 1, page 174

32 Responses

  1. Umm Ousama

    While I was excited by its title, I am very disappointed by the article. All the sources are non-Muslims and thus do not take account of the religion. As Muslims, we should make a link between our actions and our condition, between our deen and our “political” state. SubhanAllah, there is only one lesson that I remember from my history classes, even though it was given in a Christian college as I was Christian back then and this lesson is:

    “Every empire that fell down was because of debauchery and the sins of its people”. Look at the Persian Empire, look at the Roman Empire (Pompei is a prime example), look at the Greek, look at Europe (isn’t it striking that all countries’ Independence happened just before the “sexual revolution”?) And this is why I can predict you that America is in its decline now. How long will it take? Only Allah knows but, as things seems to go faster, I don’t think it will take 250 years like for the Ottoman Empire.

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    • Hira Amin

      Salam

      Jazak Allah khair for your comment. You are absolutely right- religious sources were not used as this was actually an essay submitted for my Masters course. Therefore it is an academic paper and not Islamic i.e. not intended for a Muslim audience. A few members of MM thought it would be a good idea to publish it on this site since little information is known about the Ottomans so every little bit helps. Insha Allah I do hope to rewrite this article with a Muslim audience in mind and focus more on the lessons we can learn as Muslims. Maybe this thread could start the discussion.

      With regards to your statement about sins being the sole cause of destruction, I would have to say in my short study of empires I have found their decline to be fascinating yet complex. While corruption does play a big part in their decline, I have found that almost ALL empires have corruption from its inception. Even the Ottomans during the time of Sulayman the Magnificent (most agree this is their peak) has signs of corruption. Therefore to say this is the sole cause, in my opinion, would be incorrect. This is definitely a factor, but many other factors are key reasons also.

      Allah knows best.

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      • Fezz

        Nice article. I liked the detailing of the historical dates as these are often little known.

        Certainly perhaps mention of the excessive national debt (with punitive interest payments) of the empire doubled with its shameless and fradulent debasing of its currency contributed to part of its downfall. And you could relate this to the Ottomans aswell :p

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      • Mustafa

        Assalaamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        I second her statement.

        We need to understand why Allah brought these nations down.

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    • mofw

      The idea of “debauchery and sins” being the cause of the fall of a civilization is simplistic and unhelpful for serious study of history.

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  2. Siddiq

    Salaam alaikm,

    First, great topic. There is so much the current ummah can learn from the History of the Ottoman Empire (the multiculturalism, government, and religious diversity). The effort you put into writing this article is greatly appreciated. Your choice of books is also pretty balanced (Quartaert, for example). However, the amount of information you are trying to cover is just too much for a Part 1. If you were someone like Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick (which you may be) I would just end my comment here.

    I had a few issues with some of the statements made: “The Ottomans, who began as a warrior state against the Byzantine Empire,” , the notion that when Bonaparte invaded Egypt it was wholly united with the Ottoman Empire, and a lack of discussion on the tension between the sultan and the janiisaries/bektashi lobby. It would be great if you could focus on this time period a bit more and not move to quickly into the Tanzimat and The Young Turks Era, although I am interested in what you have to say regarding that era as well.

    Overall, great article. Maps of eastern Europe, Anatolia, and Crimea ,may be helpful for readers to look up. Definitely look up some books by M. Şükrü Hanioğlu for even more information about the topic. Lastly, does it matter if one spells the name Mehmet versus Mohammad, in this context? Whatever you plan to use, keeping it consistent will help reduce confusion in the following parts.

    Jazakallahu khairun for this beautiful addition to the site.

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah khair for your comments. I agree with you- this topic is HUGE, which is why I could not focus on a lot of important areas. Subhanallah this essay literally scratches the surface. As Muslims we look back at the Ottoman empire as the “Golden era” and glorify this past. Whilst there is much to be proud of, it is important to see where and most importantly why did they fail, so insha Allah we do not make the same mistakes.

      Ws

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  3. Hassan

    Man such long article, and just part 1. Would it not be easy to blame Saudis for it?

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  4. Musa

    As salamu alaykum,

    Masha Allah – Jazakallhu khairan for the article – I am trying to learn some ottoman history but it seems there surprisingly is very few islamic lectures/books or even articles on this empire, So this was a nice and useful one…. May Allah reward you.

    I wanted to know one thing: if I have an article that I want to contribute an article, what is the procedure?

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah khair for your comment.

      MM are always looking for new articles. Contact them via this site and insha Allah they should get back to you shortly.

      ws

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  5. Umm Sulaim

    I stopped reading when I got to the ‘Wahhabi movement of Arabia’.

    Umm Sulaim

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      • Umm Sulaim

        If Truth hurts, I will not be a Muslim.

        Rather falsehood hurts. Blind repetition of erroneous appellations hurts. Wilful consumption of everything non-Muslims say about Muslims hurts.

        I have read several books on the Uthmani empire (and I might add on the ‘war on terror’), many of which were authored by non-Muslims. The difference is I WILL NOT repeat the same words with which they describe Muslims.

        In full support of Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhab and As-Saud,
        Umm Sulaim

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      • Gibran

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Agreed. I don’t know about the house of Saud, but definitely 100% support for Muhammad ibn Abdal Wahhab.

        That man by the mercy of Allah renewed the religion. If Allah wills, he was a mujadid, may Allah make me mujadid as well.

        Ahmad, Ibnu Taymiyya, Abdulwahhab-may Allah exalt them for the efforts they took to preserve iman at such times they lived in.

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  6. Leo Imanov

    bismi-lLah wa-lhamdu li-lLah wa shallatu wa sallamu ‘ala rasuli-lLah wa ‘ala lihi wa man walah

    assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatu-lLahi wa barakatuH

    well i found the articel is very pregnant and interresting though lacks of islamic view.

    i do believe that the decline every state lies in the corrupt of believe, once the believe is corrupted the in every way of lives will be corrupted as well, economy, politic and social.

    so i would be very glad if you try to find out whether islam is started being corrupted at that time since when and how.

    wa-lLahu ‘alam wa bi-llahi-ttaufiq wa-lhidayah

    wa-ssalamu ‘alaikum

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  7. Nahyan

    Excellent article indeed.

    The part about being technologically and militarily surpassed rings a bell of the decline of Andalus. Each “regime change” from 1200s onward resulted in more internal conflict, then divided land and focus on architecture more than military tech. When the Christian army arrived 1480-ish the Muslims almost-literally brought knives to a gun fight…

    Something you can add for part 2 and onwards, to really get the picture, is to add maps to show what the world looked like at that time. Especially shrinkage of the empire during the decline.

    Jazkallahukhair

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Yes exactly. The culture of constantly advancing and being ahead of the competition faded which was a key factor in its decline.

      ws

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  8. Yasir Qadhi

    Great article… waiting for the next parts!

    Of course, this is an introductory essay to a topic that would require many, many volumes of research. Such essays serve a useful purpose: those who have little or no knowledge of the field will be exposed to a basic introduction, and those who do know something will refresh their facts and be presented with alternative views.

    Keep up the good work, and we also want others to submit their article of a similar nature.

    Yasir

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  9. mariam

    Absolutely enlightening! This is a subject we don’t often read abt in history books in detail but its important to know how the last Muslim empire fell. Its crucial to know history so we can learn from it,especially if its your own history Jazakallukhairun for your hard work on this

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    • Hira Amin

      Jzk Allah Khair Mariam! Insha Allah will see you and Annie at the next Ilmsummit :)

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  10. Iman Kouvalis

    Wow, ma sha Allah! Hira, I didn’t know you were studying this. No wonder you like my Greek-Turk jokes. :D

    Seems like we have quite a few criticizers on this thread. I loved how your article was a great summary ‘once-over.’ I agree it’s great for a site like this, where people don’t want to read hundreds of pages just to find out what were the factors of empire decline.

    Maybe at the end of part two, you can give us a small byline about you and what your Masters is on etc. Keep up the great work!

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah khair for your comments and congratulations on your award! I bumped into Jabeen at the Twins of Faith conference and we were remembering you :)

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      • Iman Kouvalis

        Wa alaikum assalaam Hira!

        Aww, thanks! I’m honored to receive the award! Alhamdu lillah the conference was a great initiative for women. It was practical and actually, now that I think of it, it was an extension of our talks at Ilm Summit about women’s role in society today and all of the confusion around that.

        And, it’s funny that you mention the following statement, “The culture of constantly advancing and being ahead of the competition faded which was a key factor in its decline,” because if we apply it to the 21st century, what are Muslim leaders doing to stay ahead of the prime issues of today, one being leading and advising society about the new role of women in the 21st century?

        I was excited to hear about Sh. Waleed’s new class. This is the beginning and we have a lot more to do. Now that I think about it, I feel like writing an article about that! :D

        p.s. If you want to catch my acceptance speech, you can find it on my fanpage:
        http://www.facebook.com/imankouvalis

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  11. Zayd

    Assalaamu Alaykum

    “Therefore it is an academic paper and not Islamic i.e. not intended for a Muslim audience”

    This is something I hear often today. Can you explain to me how the ‘reality’ of something changes for audiences, in such a way that an entire source set is changed to fit another people? Your statement seems to indicate that an absolute separation between the Islamic and Secular disciplines exists, with the later being distinctly Western.

    We are Muslims, therefore everything we do is Islamic. It doesn’t have to be ‘Islamically biased’, as you are inferring by this that Muslims cannot have a true academia, which they did and do, and also that the sources you used are themselves not biased. Surely ibn Khaldun is a fine example of how a great Muslim can also be a great academic in disciplines of a historical and social nature.

    The reliance on Western sources is one thing, but what really makes me uneasy is the underlying notion that when Muslims are studying what are now deemed ‘secular sciences’, they have to confine themselves to this mystical ‘other audience’, which subjugates them to the subjective Western framework.

    “religious sources were not used as this was actually an essay submitted for my Masters course.”

    Is everything a Muslim says a ‘religious source’? If so, then isn’t what every Christian says a Christian source, doesn’t everything a Western academic says come with the baggage of traditions and culture he is entrenched in? If Muslims want to do what is needed, they have to push boundaries, especially in challenging the set discourse if it is shallow, narrow and Western-centric.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a history student myself and I really enjoy reading Muslims writing about history, and I really long for them to fill the gaps in knowledge and academia, but many a time I feel the method we follow and the criteria we allow to be set for us is self-defeating and falls into pointless imitation, which only manifests as a sort of hollow game of catch-up to something we aren’t but feel we have to be. If a lecturer told me that I could only use Western sources, which are naturally going to portray something from their vantage point and ideas, I would tell that lecturer exactly how much chance there was of it- 0%

    Due to the gap, it may seem tempting to throw a quick easy overview, but that overview in and of itself changes depending on who’s interpretations and underlying narrative you choose to use.

    Likewise, it isn’t doom and gloom in and of itself to use Western sources, or even sources you completely disagree with, to use scholars of ‘a classical Western interpretation’ or slightly revised etc, but the problem is with solely using them, especially when it is an overview and there is no space for scrutiny and critical analysis, because it gives the illusion that they encompass the historiography.

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah Khair for your comments.

      You are correct in saying the reality of something does not change, but the style and emphasis certainly does change. If it was solely for a general Muslim audience the focus would be on the lessons we can learn and sunnah of Allah with past nations. I don’t believe in separation between Islamic and secular disciplines – hence the post on this site  When I said “religious sources” I was referring to the Quran and hadith.

      Also I would have to disagree with you when it comes to Western sources being incorrect as it is from their vantage point. If that was true then nothing positive would ever be written about the East, and the West would be glorified in every western history book.

      ws

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  12. Carlos

    This is an excellent article. The authors are true students of history. Good job.

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  13. Sajjad

    As Salam alaykum warahmatullahi , wabarakatuhu,

    This article that has been posted has nothing to do with facts,but what some people who wrote the books that have been cited as sources ‘thought’ to be as facts from their perspective.

    For e.g. the sources which include Non Muslims books which have been written proves in itself that this these perspectives are nothing but the views of those individuals who have written the books with the mindset that they had , and secondly it also shows , how much Muslims are dependent on Non Muslims and their sources even if they talk about some issues relevant to Islam.

    Then those to get inspired , since they have find no alternative direction in many cases to find the truth of the matter , actually think that this can be true and then form an own opinion about it from the sources that they have gathered , just like the originator of this post has done.

    So again , the post does not have to do anything with facts, but just present opinions which are perceived as facts ,

    For e.g. the shia perspective that Hazrat Ayesha radiAllahu Anhi is a fornicator is not a fact but the Shias they perceive it as a fact does that make it a fact , no it does not , yet the sources that they have are considered genuine to be believed by the shia and their ‘scholars’ who have written it regardless of authenticity so that they come up with the views that they have.

    Similarly the opinion of the British and their opinions about the Indian subcontinents are just their views that they have written from their perspective thinking that it was the reality of the situation , but in fact if you ask those who were actually under their rule , they will know what was the real situation.

    Also among these people who will show the real perspective against the British will not be someone who will be among the people who were actually being oppressed by the British , but he had the means to write a book and he did it just for the sake of letting people know his opinion , so this is a very important point to consider before reading a book by a known ‘historian’.

    Again , this highlights the facts that history as it is presented , has nothing to do with the Deen , and Alhamdulillah that our Deen is not actually dependent on the Non Muslims and their views about Islam , else we would be having no way of reconciliation after being dependent on them to know about who were are and what our pious predecessors did.

    So articles like these have a great potential of being the reason behind a student scoring good marks in the exams , but when it comes to actually posting it on a website named ‘Muslim’ matters , it holds no weight and shows the dependency of Muslims on the curriculum of Non Muslims and how they see themselves and affairs relevant to them , from the eyes of the Non Muslims and the perceived ‘scholars’ from them , in different ages.

    As for the below statement , it proves in itself what I have tried to explain above,

    “Therefore it is an academic paper and not Islamic i.e. not intended for a Muslim audience. A few members of MM thought it would be a good idea to publish it on this site since little information is known about the Ottomans so every little bit helps. ”

    Thanks you so much for this clarification , but if something is not Islamic and Not intended for Muslim audience why should it be posted on a website which itself says ‘MuslimMatters’ and 99% of it’s readers/audience are Muslims? food for thought…. :)

    This is just ‘information’ , from the various Non Muslims sources that can be found on the topic (It’s important to keep in mind how many Anti Islamic books have been written against Islam and compare them with the perspective which comes up from these books which are cited as sources) that never consider it knowledge , because those who consider knowledge as information and start believing in it , they are deluding themselves and those who refer to them for information thinking that they will get some knowledge.

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  14. Umm Ousama

    As this was presented for non-Muslims, it makes sense to draw those points. However, a Muslim can hardly take lessons from this to change today’s situation. I once read a book of the Crusades written by a famous Muslim historian. It made the perspective completely different. Before the Crusades, the Muslims were asking the Christians to help them against their own Muslims brothers. Salahuddin then came and conquered back al-Quds, not mainly because of his army but because he united the Muslims first and was putting his religion first. The same reason why Muslims lost Spain. They lost because the Muslims were fighting the Muslims because they wanted power instead of being an Ummah. So, yes, it IS important to get sources too from a Muslim point of view and not just from a non-Muslim point of view. A historian will only put the facts that he deems important and relevant and another historian, especially if his outlook is completely different, will find other facts and, maybe, draw other conclusions.

    Yes, as Muslims, we should prepare what we can of military force but this doesn’t give us victory. When Muslims were few in numbers and high in Imaan, they won; when at the battle of Hunayn, they praised their numbers and their strength, they lost.

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    • Musa

      Salahuddin al-Ayyubi united Muslims and so he had access to a large army – which was why he was well prepared.

      Agree with your conclusion!

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