Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe

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Overview

In Honored by the Glory of Islam Marc David Baer proposes a novel approach to the historical record of Islamic conversions during the Ottoman age and gathers fresh insights concerning the nature of religious conversion itself. Rather than explaining Ottoman Islamization in terms of the converts' motives, Baer instead concentrates on the proselytizers — in this case, none other than the sultan himself. Mehmed IV (1648-87) is remembered as an aloof ruler whose ineffectual governing led to the disastrous siege of Vienna. Through an integrated reading of previously unexamined Ottoman archival and literary texts, Baer reexamines Mehmed IV's failings as a ruler by underscoring the sultan's zeal for bringing converts to Islam.

As an expression of his dedication to Islam, Mehmed actively sought to establish his reputation as a convert-maker, convincing or compelling Christian and Jewish subjects to be "honored by the glory of Islam" and Muslims subjects to turn to Islamic piety. Revising the conventional portrayal of a ruler so distracted by his passion for hunting that he neglected affairs of state, Baer shows that Mehmed IV saw conversion as central to his role as sultan. He traces an ever-widening range of enforced piety, conversion, and conquest expanding outward from the heart of Mehmed IV's empire.

This account is the first to correlate the conversion of people and space in the mature Ottoman Empire, to investigate conversion from the perspective of changing Ottoman ideology, and to depict the sultan as an interventionist convert-maker. The resulting insights promise to rework our understandings of the reign of a forgotten ruler, a largely neglected period in Ottoman history, the changing nature of Islam and its history in Europe, relations between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Europe, the practice of jihad, and religious architecture in urban history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Honored by the Glory of Islam is an important new source on the study of conversion. Much of this most informative book deals with the dual role of conversion and conquest in defining the controversial reign of Sultan Mehmed IV. Baer's innovative reading of Ottoman chronicles and his focus on the nuances of conversion within one own's religion makes this text an invaluable presentation of an exciting new area of research." —Ethel Wolper, University of New Hampshire

"Marc Baer offers an innovative interpretation of religious conversion, especially conversion to Islam in the Ottoman age. Lacking enough evidence to speculate on the motives of the converts, he instead focuses on the agency of those who initiated the conversion process - in this case no less than the sultan himself. Baer focuses on the career of Sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648-87), and on the people who came into direct contact with his court. In this way he sheds important new light on a critical period in the Ottoman Empire's long history. Baer also convincingly revises the character of Mehmed IV as an inept ruler whose incompetence led to the catastrophic siege of Vienna in 1683. This original study will be of great interest not only to Ottoman specialists, but to students of Islam and of religious conversion." —R.M.Eaton, Professor of History, University of Arizona

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195331752
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,220,285
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc David Baer, a historian of Religion and Islamic history, is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Conversion of Self, Others, and Sacred Space 3

1 Inauspicious Enthronement 25

2 A Decade of Crisis 39

3 Enjoining Good and Forbidding Wrong 63

4 Islamizing Istanbul 81

5 Conversion to Piety: Mehmed IV and Preacher Vani Mehmed Efendi 105

6 Converting the Jewish Prophet and Jewish Physicians 121

7 Conversion and Conquest: Ghazi Mehmed IV and Candia 139

8 Conversion and Conquest: Ghaza in Central and Eastern Europe 163

9 Hunting for Converts 179

10 The Failed Final Jihad 205

11 Mehmed IV's Life and Legacy, from Ghazi to Hunter 231

Conclusion: Islamic Rulers and the Process of Conversion 245

Postscript: Silences and Traces of the Past 253

Notes 257

Bibliography 301

Index 319

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