Islam in the Ottoman Empire

Bursa Ulu Camii located at the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The mihrab of Bursa Ulu Camii in the above.
Şadırvan (Interior ablution area) in the above and its Dome in the image below.
It was built by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, in between 1396-1400. It is located in the city center of Bursa. Ulu means in Turkish "the greatest" and it is the greatest, the biggest mosque in Bursa.

Sunni Islam was the official religion of the Ottoman Empire. The highest position in Islam, caliphate, was claimed by the sultan, after the defeat of the Mamluks which was established as Ottoman Caliphate. The Sultan was to be a devout Muslim and was given the literal authority of the Caliph.[clarification needed] Additionally, Sunni clerics had tremendous influence over government and their authority was central to the regulation of the economy. Despite all this, the Sultan also had a right to the decree, enforcing a code called Kanun (law) in Turkish. Additionally, there was a supreme clerical position called the Sheykhulislam ("Sheykh of Islam" in Arabic). Minorities, particularly Christians and Jews but also some others, were mandated to pay the jizya, the poll tax as mandated by traditional Islam.[citation needed]

Sunni Islam

Creed and madhab

Since the founding of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottomans followed the Hanafi madhab (school of Islamic jurisprudence).[1][2][3] However, it was the Ash'ari creed that was more prevalent in the madrassahs (Islamic schools).[1] Both the Maturidi and Ash'ari schools of Islamic theology used Ilm al-Kalam to understand the Quran and the hadith (sayings and actions of Mohammed and the Rashidun) so as to apply Islamic principles to fatwas (Islamic rulings). This is in contrast to the Athari school of Islamic theology which takes the Quran and the hadith literally.[citation needed]


Ottomans often wore little charms, such as necklaces, to protect themselves from evil. The greatest of these evils, to which most of this charm was the Evil Eye. The Evil Eye was no specific evil, but was most often attributed as jealousy.[citation needed]


Because of their heterodox beliefs and practices, Alevis have been the target of historical and recent oppression. They sided[when?] with the Persian Empire against the Ottoman Empire[citation needed] and forty thousand Alevis were killed in 1514 by Ottomans.[4] The Qizilbash of Anatolia found themselves on the "wrong" side of the Ottoman-Safavid border after 1555 Peace of Amasya. They become subjects of an Ottoman court that viewed them with suspicion. In that troubled period under Suleiman the Magnificent the Alevi people were persecuted and murdered.


  • Lewis, Raphaela (1971). Everyday Life in Ottoman Turkey. Dorset Press. p. 208.