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Pluralism in the Ottoman Empire Research Assignment (Research Paper Sample)


-examine several aspects of legal pluralism in the Ottoman Empire by focusing on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic courts within the Ottoman millet system.
-explain why the legal politics of the empire was important and how potential conflict within and between religious communities helped strengthen the stability of the Islamic state.
-first provide an overview of Islam in the Ottoman Empire, trace the history of Ottoman legal pluralism as well its implications for imperial society and interreligious, intercommunal life in the empire (consider the use of legal pluralism to assimilate non-Muslims—that is, Jews and Christians—into a hegemonic Islamic court system while keeping interreligious peace and tolerance)
-Finally, explore how the cultural hegemonic messages and meanings embedded in the Ottoman court system articulated and modulated the tension between the non-Muslim community courts and the central government's representative, the kadi courts.


Ottoman Empire Legal Pluralism
Founded by Osman I, the Ottoman Empire represents one of the largest imperial projects in the human history. The empire ruled over vast regions and territories within the North of Africa, Middle East and parts of the Balkans. The reign of the empire lasted over five centuries, making it one of the largest and longest rules over such vast territories. During the rule of the Ottoman, there was quite some emphasis on the sustenance of the Islamic civilization. It was quite common for the outsiders and the insiders to have element of mistrust for one another. In most of the cases the outsiders would be viewed as a threat to the empire. This was especially the case when considering the non-Muslims in the empire. These were the outside and even they, did not have much trust for the empire. For the empire this represented the element of security, where they much relied on their Muslim believes to drive most of the aspects of the society at the time (Yapp & Shaw, 2017). However towards the end of the existence of the empire this was viewed as a means to corrupt the society and more importantly a means to decadence. It is however important to note that towards the end of the empire there had been some efforts that went into trying to bring about democracy. The process was later sabotaged by the young Turks. At the same time the empire was suffering from massive debt as such it was trying to move away from the European politics. In this effect, it joined forces with Germany in a bid to improve trade and commerce. This was an alignment that was strategic given the fact that, this is the only partner at the time who had healthy trade operations with the empire (In Nielsen, 2012). As such the ottoman empire was trying to make sure it could survive the politics and the dynamics in the society with reference to the factions of the empire that were now feeling disgruntled by the arrangements and the Islam approaches. Of interest in this paper is the relationship of the various religions in the empire. This is with reference to the Jews, Christians and the Islam within the millet system (Yapp & Shaw, 2017). These were the main relations in the empire the way they interacted also defined the way the empire formulated policies and also related with the external world. Using legal pluralism the Ottoman Empire was able to build a dominant Islamic state while maintaining peace and tranquility among the religions.
Organization of the Empire
The empire's success is largely associated with the element of organization that they used to rule over the rest of their territories. Their organization was based on a hierarchy with the Sultan at the top of the power ladder. The Sultan was also the Caliph and below him were the Viziers, court officials and then the military commanders. The sultan made sure that the empire experienced the element of justice for the occupants. However there was also a body that was referred to as the Diwan which tasked with observing the sultan. There was some element of openness in the empire given that the sultan made effort to collect polls on the popular opinions of the people. It was also quite interesting to note that, even the popular laws and the taxes would be posted in the public forums so that all the people had the chance to get in touch with the content (Yapp & Shaw, 2017). The provinces had been previously governed by the military leaders who in most of the cases would pass the positions to their offspring. Later on however, there were pashas who were appointed, after which there was the subdivision of the provinces into smaller units which were now supervised by the Beys. On the other hand the leaders of the millets were the leg...

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