The Importance Of Religion In The Ottoman Empire

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Ottoman Empire was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable empires that shape the history.It is founded by Osman Gazi in the small place in today 's west of modern Turkey, however, he and his successors made it become empire from a small beylik in three continents.Ottoman Empire was not a national state; it consisted of a bunch of mixture of various ethnicities and religions.To consider our contemporary world, it can be said that it is extremely hard that managing people from different roots, but ottomans somehow managed it gloriously until the 19th century.This paper investigates how ottomans deal with religious diversity in the empire.

To start with, Islam’s role is incontrovertible on relations with non-Muslims.Dhimma is the non-Muslim citizens in an Islamic state.Dhimma relations were theologically, practically and imperially considered in the Ottoman empire.Economically, Ottoman rulers demand a special tax on land holdings called kharja or a poll tax from non muslims.Those taxes were rare, and it was not as the burden as Muslims pay which is called zakat, however, zakat was one to fourty of wealth as cizye and kharja were not.

Unlike the popular thought, from first years to 1600s, in the ottoman land, there were largely Christians living more than Muslims because of the expansions to Balkans.Even in Anatolia, there were considerably Christians living along with their Muslim neighbors.As Benjamin Braude states, the subject Christian population and the
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