How the Ottoman and Safavid empires employed the Perso-Islamic theory of kingship to administer and maintain their empires.

            The Ottoman Empire was the strongest and most powerful among the three empires namely, Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal. The Ottoman Empire represented the prime of stability and unquestioned security. They created a strong state system which had a hierarchy of authority with the emperor being the leader. All state revenue was devoted to this system which was regarded as the central government (Evliya 43). In the 1500’s the Ottoman empire had expanded widely as they colonized many states including Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Mecca, Medina and many more. They were solely concerned with defending all what they had acquired because this was their life. They could do anything to protect their territory.

Firstly to employ the Perso-Islamic theory of kingship, the Ottoman had a system where they recruited local natives to join the service of the Sultan. Agents sent by the Sultan would conduct a search throughout the empire to find people best suited to serve the Sultan.  They mostly chose youths who were well fit and trained them. They later took positions in the empire and served the Sultan. The training they took helped them to take up administrative positions in the empire thus creating a cordial relationship with the civilians. They kept on increasing the number of natives working in high positions. They also joined the army and were recruited into Islam. By creating a working relationship with the natives, the Ottoman empire was successful because they made their slaves believe that they had their best interests at heart. The civilians could work without any concerns because their masters treated them with respect. The Ottoman empire also developed an interest in the culture and faith of its colonies. Though they wanted to covert the people to Islam, showing a little interest in their lives was helpful so that they conquered easily. Though they acquire slaves throughout their territories, the respect with which they accorded their slaves ensured their success.

Another thing that made the Ottoman empire successful was that it gave the people at the grassroots the power over their own wealth. The Sultan in Ottoman Empire usually conducted polls to enquire on the public demands (Evliya 69). This was what was done. Laws and taxes were made available to the public thus making it clear on what was going on in the Sultan’s kingship. Provinces in the Ottoman empire were governed by local leaders who ensured that the interests of the people were taken care of. These local leaders also worked closely with leaders from the Sultan. This close relationship ensured that the Sultan’s leadership did not clash with the interests of the local people. Though conflict was inevitable at times, ensuring that the people at the grassroots had sufficient resources, greatly reduced the occurrence of conflict. This is one of the major reasons why the Ottoman Empire was so strong.

In the Ottoman Empire, race and ethnicity was not a barrier to progress in the society. The empire was ruled in the favor of the general public. It was crucial to serve the public diligently. This is why European powers became jealous of this empire. They wanted to colonize and divide the empire among themselves. The Ottoman Empire believed that because their rule was fair and just, they were real Muslims. They believed that their actions were in accordance to the Muslim sharia law. Though this was the right thing to do, other empires found fault in their rule. They found it easy to defeat the Ottoman Empire and take over its territories. They found the system being followed by the Ottoman Empire as being inefficient and weak. The Ottomans’ proved weak during battle and this left their enemies with a greater advantage over them. They were eventually defeated and their territories taken over by their enemies. The Ottoman Empire had become so strong due to the way it put importance on local people and treated them with respect and care (Kissing 45). Their involvement in issues of nation building was also a great advantage to the Sultan’s rule.

The Safavid dynasty was a dynasty formed from an Islamic order; the Safaviyev (Kissing 215). It was later transformed from a religious group to a political group. This group was funded by Safi al-Din in a part of Iran. The transformation into a political dynasty occurred in the 15th Century when their beliefs became predominantly Shiite. This empire conquered the whole of Iran with the help of 14 year old Shah Ismail. There was conflict between the Safavid and the Ottoman Empires and they kept on fighting from time to time. The Safavid territory was invaded frequently and they had to engage in battle recurrently weakening their military power.

Shah Abbas the Great came into power and saved the Safavid dynasty. He came up with new strategies which gave rise to a better system of governance in this empire. He took up one of the ideas that the Ottoman Empire was using to make its empire strong. The Safavid leadership went and picked natives from their homes and used them as a personal force called, “slaves of the royal household.” These people were made to work in the fields and were forced into working against the local leaders of their tribes. These people were also used as soldiers when they had to go to battle. In the following years he had managed to defeat most of their enemies including the Ottoman Empire. Shah Abbas was praised for the great work he was doing for his empire. The problem with his system was that, instead of treating the natives with respect, he used them as slaves to build his name. This is why the Safavid Empire was not as strong as the Ottoman’s empire. Success of an empire could only be achieved if the civilians were empowered and allowed to do what was pleasing to them.

Another aspect that derailed the Safavid Empire was when Shah Abbas declared that the only religion in that dynasty would be Shiism (Kissing 198). This meant that all persons in the Safavid territory had to convert into Shiism. This was a great mistake by Shah Abbas because it was a restrictive measure on the freedom of the people. When people’s rights are threatened, there is a sense of fear in the people. This is what Shah Abbas achieved. The people were afraid of him and treated him as though he were a god. Shah Abbas built cities creating a new monarchy. His lack of concern for the native people led to the downfall of the Empire. The people got to know that they had a right to these resources and retorted by stealing from the state. Shah Abbas was a proud man and was not interested in the good of the public but was concerned with building his own legacy; this is what drove him to do the things he did.

As years went on the Safavid Empire grew weaker and could not sustain and take care of its wounded soldiers. The battle between Safavid and its neighbors, Ottoman and Uzbeks raged on and it was difficult for Safavid to control their territory any longer. Other dynasties were being established around it bringing in competition in terms of trade and resources making it difficult for the Safavid Empire to sustain its needs. The battles continued and in the 18th century the Safavid dynasty was no more. It had been finished by its rulers’ lack of regard to native people and constant battles with its neighbors.

In conclusion these two empires are totally different. The approach used by Ottoman’s empire is different from that used by the Safavid. The Ottoman Empire was really concerned about the well being of the public and kept them well replenished. On the contrary, The Safavid dynasty used the people for their own interests. They only took the people they needed and used them to create wealth. In these two cases we can conclude that, the success of an empire is determined by the way the leaders relate with the public. For a strong empire, the public have to be involved and their needs well taken care of. Kingships cannot prosper without the help of the populace which supports them.

Works Cited.

Evliya, Çelebi. Evliya Çelebi. Turkey: Ministry of Tourism and Information, 1973. Print.

Kissing, H J. The Last Great Muslim Empires. S.l.: Brill Academic Pub, 1997. Print.

Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!

WELCOME TO OUR NEW SITE. We Have Redesigned Our Website With You In Mind. Enjoy The New Experience With 15% OFF