Emily Hamlin: Similarities between the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires
N. R. Farooqi, Mughal-Ottoman Relations: A Study of Political and Diplomatic between Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire (Delhi, ). The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires all reached their peaks between The Mughals faced the largest religious divide, between the Muslims One consisted of those who were related to or had relationships with the. Their common heritage gave the Safavid-Ottoman rivalry a special intensity. By contrast, the political relationship between the Mughals and Safavids was.
And notably, they were one of the few empires that were able to fend off the Mongols. But now let's fast forward roughly years. Now a few things have changed. The Ming Dynasty has taken over the Yuan Dynasty in the middle of the 14th century. But much of their territory, including the Ilkhanate, has now been taken over by Timur, who we talk about in previous videos. And Timur famously sacked Delhi and really brought the Delhi Sultanate to its knees and as we will see, it will only last for roughly another years.
Now, you might also notice that the Ottoman empire, founded by Osman or Othman is continuing to grow and continuing to conquer. Now one thing to keep in mind. In previous videos, we talk about the invention of gunpowder in Tang China and the early Song dynasty, which was about four to five hundred years before the period that we're talking about right now.
But as we get into this period, we are now starting to see the use of gunpowder for guns and in particular artillery.
And when I say artillery, think cannons. So let's fast forward another years to see how the empires of Asia have evolved. So now we see several things. The Ming Dynasty is still in control of much of China. The Northern Yuan are still in Mongolia. You have a Kazakh Khanate, descendant from the Mongols. By the late 16th and early 17th century the Ottoman Empire has now expanded significantly, encompassing much of the Middle East.
In Persia, you see that the Timurid Empire fell within a few decades after the death of Timur. And as we enter into the 16th century, you have the Safavid Dynasty take over.
And then also in the 16th century, almost coincident with the founding of the Safavid Dynasty in Persia, you have Timur's grandson's great-grandson, Babur, who's born in current-day Uzbekistan, is able to defeat the Delhi Sultanate and establish the Mughal Empire. And Mughal is just the Persian word for Mongol and Babur is a direct descendant of Timur on his father's side and of Genghis Khan on his mother's side.
Now, many historians often group these three empires or dynasties together because they do share some commonalities.
And so let's think about each of them individually and think about where they are similar and where they are different. Not a lot is known about Osman who founds that first kingdom in the Anatolian peninsula.
It's a Sunni Islamic empire. In fact, the leader is eventually named a caliph.
The ruling class of this empire is Turkish. Now, one of their distinguishing characteristics is what's known as the Devshirme system in which the Sultan, the Emperor, would have a personal army of what could be called slaves, these Janissaries.
These Janissaries were actually Christian boys taken at a young age and then indoctrinated into the Janissary system. The reason why I said you can kind of call them slaves is that although they were forced to become Janissaries and taken from their families, they were given many privileges and over time, many of these Janissaries became some of the most notable figures in the Ottoman Empire, some of them even becoming the Grand Vizier, effectively ruling over the empire.
Now, the Ottomans are also known for one of the earliest empires to very successfully to use gunpowder in battle.Siege of Mumbai 1689 (English EIC vs Mughal Empire)
The Safavids, as you can see here, were really founded in the very early 16th century, officiallyby their founder Shah Ismail, sometimes known as Ismail I. And he is the heir to a religious dynasty, the Safavias. Twelver Shia is the major group of Shias today and it is based on the belief of 12 imams following Mohammed starting with Ali and we have videos on the Sunni-Shia split.
Each of the empires had to contend with religious divisions within their empires, and were able to overcome these differences and please the various groups within their empires.
Similarities & Differences of the Ottoman & MUghal empires. by Justice Kelton on Prezi
I will focus on the similar way that each of the empires dealt with religious divisions, as well as the status of women in each of the Gunpowder Empires. The three Muslim Empires are similar in that they each ruled over subjects with diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. Although each situation was different, the Empires separately came around to using very similar methods of dealing with religious differences. Both the subjects and the ruling class grew more and more diverse, and it was important that the Ottomans could maintain their legitimacy in the eyes of each of the various groups.
Later Ottoman rulers followed Sunni Islam, and encouraged, but did not force, Jews and Christians to convert to Islam . The Safavid Empire mainly united Persian speaking areas, but still faced religious clashes in multiple facets: Shii, as well as various other mystical Muslim beliefs .
Unlike the Ottomans, the Safavids went farther, persecuting non-Muslims.
- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires
However, these persecutions, which were supported by the Safavid ulama, never lasted long . The Mughals faced the largest religious divide, between the Muslims and the large number of Hindus within the Empire. Early Mughal rulers, such as Akbar, focused on promoting universal religious tolerance. Akbar did not wish to pick sides and incur the distrust of the large Hindu population, and thus chose to follow a new religion of his own creation.
There was no religion-based hierarchy in the ruling class; people proved their loyalty to the ruler by serving him, not by following a certain religion .
Aurangzeb did not force conversion to Islam, but nonetheless followed the pattern of confessionalization enacted by the Ottoman and Safavid Empires . Although all three empires faced different religious divides, they ended up dealing with them in much the same way.
All three empires ended up at least encouraging, if not enforcing, conversion to Islam it took an extra century or so for the Mughals, but the outcome was the same.
Mughal–Persian Wars - Wikipedia
However, none of the empires went so far as to severely harm other religious groups. Palace women were placed in essentially the same positions in all three of the Islamic Empires. From the beginning of the Ottoman Empire, sultans had children with concubines rather than with their wives. The reason for this was political: