What Sultan Abdul Hamid II did to protect the nation

By Dr. Ali Al-Sallabi May 01, 2023 2645

Abuses of this lofty Islamic personality and stature, namely the Ottoman reformer Sultan Abdul Hamid II, have been perpetuated in our time. Whenever one of them felt the need to excuse his defeat or inability, he alluded to the former ruler who protected the nation, retained its borders, and defended its faith against the nation's adversaries to the east and west. When politicians in Turkey and the Arab world engage in party debates or compete in periodic elections, they say: Sultan Abdul Hamid caused this or that country's weakness and break up. In interpreting history and the rules of civilizational change, this is slander, deception, and superficiality.

Who is Sultan Abdul Hamid II? What is his role in protecting and uniting the Islamic nation and making it one strong state despite all the challenges he faced during his rule?

Sultan Abdul Hamid is the thirty-fourth sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He assumed the throne of the state when he was thirty-four years old. He was born on the 16th of Sha'ban 1258 AH / 1842 CE.

His mother died when he was ten years old, so his father's second wife took care of him, and she was sterile. So, she raised him well, and tried to be a mother to him, so she gave him her tenderness, as she recommended her inheritance to him. Sultan Abd al-Hamid was influenced by this upbringing, and admired its reverence and religiosity, and its low, quiet voice, and this was reflected in his personality throughout his life.

Abd al-Hamid received regular education at the hands of a select group of the most famous men of his time in terms of knowledge and morals. He learned the Arabic and Persian languages, studied history, loved literature, delved into the science of Sufism, and composed some poems in the Ottoman Turkish language. (Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Muhammad Harb, p. 31).

He learned how to wield weapons, mastered the sword, and hit the target with a handgun. He used to exercise regularly and was interested in world politics. In truth, Sultan Abdul Hamid was the Ottoman Empire's last person with actual power over the affairs of the Islamic world. He reigned from 1876 to 1909 CE.

 Sultan Abdul Hamid II's role in thwarting the enemy's plans:

Britain began, since the first quarter of the nineteenth century, to incite the Kurds against the Ottoman Empire, with the aim of creating Ottoman-Kurdish hostility on the one hand and separating the Kurds with a state cut off from the Ottoman Empire on the other hand.

When the British East India Company was established, the British interest in Iraq increased, and it worked to create a national movement among the princes, and British delegates toured among the Kurdish clans in Iraq in an attempt to unite the Kurdish clans against the Ottoman Empire. However, the Ottoman intelligence was following matters with extreme precision, and Sultan Abd al-Hamid developed a plan against the British destructive action, so he did the following:

- The Ottoman Empire protected the Kurdish citizens from the bloody attacks of the Armenians against them.

 - He sent delegations of Muslim scholars to the Kurdish clans for advice and guidance, and a call for union under the Islamic League.

- Sultan Abd al-Hamid took measures to ensure that the Kurdish princes were linked to him in the state.

- He founded the Hamidiye military units in eastern Anatolia from the Kurds, to stand up to the Armenian attacks.

- The state's position was strong against the ambitions of the Armenians to establish a state that would be cut off from its lands, and thus the Kurds residing in the same area felt safe. (Sultan Abdul Hamid II, p. 132).

Sultan Abdul Hamid was able to limit British influence in Yemen, and achieve clear success in his struggle with the British in that region. He established a military contingent in Yemen, consisting of 8,000 soldiers, to return Yemen to the Ottoman Empire again. The British tried to stoke the flames of rebellion in Yemen against the Ottoman Empire, but the wise policy pursued by the Sultan ensured his success in Yemen. (Sultan Abdul Hamid II, p. 224).

The Ottoman mentality was seeking to extend the railway line from the Hijaz to Yemen, and this was proven by the documents that indicated the existence of planning and in-depth study of this great project.

Resisting Italian ambitions in Libya and confronting them

 Italy dreamed of annexing North Africa. Because it sees it as an Italian inheritance, declared its prime minister, Mazzini, but France occupied Tunisia, England occupied Egypt, and there was nothing left for Italy except Libya.

Italy drew its policy in Libya in 3 phases:

  • The first stage: Peaceful solutions by establishing schools, banks, and other service institutions.
  • The second stage: Persuading countries to recognize Italy's hopes to occupy Libya through diplomatic means.
  • The third stage: Declaring war on the Ottoman Empire and actual occupation.

 The Italian policy did not draw attention to its movements, unlike British or French policy at the time, and the Italians moved very wisely and calmly without provoking the sensitivity of the Ottomans.

Sultan Abdul Hamid was alert to these Italian ambitions. Therefore, he requested information from various sources about the Italians' activities in Libya and their goals. The information came to him saying: The Italians, with their schools, banks, and charitable institutions that they establish in the Ottoman provinces, whether in Libya or in Albania, have a final goal, which is to achieve Italy’s ambitions to seize: western Tripoli, Albania, and the regions of Anatolia located on the Mediterranean Sea.

Sultan Abdul Hamid took the necessary measures against Italian ambitions, and when he felt that he would face an Italian armed attack on Libya, he provided the Ottoman forces in Libya with 15 thousand soldiers to strengthen them. He remained sensitive to Italian movements; This made the Italians must postpone the occupation of Libya, until the era of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)

The Islamic League, confronting Western ambitions, and uniting the nation.

 The idea of the Islamic League had a far-reaching resonance in the Islamic world for several reasons, including:

  • In the second half of the nineteenth century, European countries were competing for colonialism in the East, and a series of attacks against Islamic peoples took place. France occupied Tunisia (1881 CE), England occupied Egypt (1882 CE), and France interfered in the affairs of Morocco until it was able to declare protection over it (1912 CE), dividing its lands with Spain. Likewise, European colonialism penetrated into Islamic African countries such as Sudan, Nigeria, Zanzibar, and others.
  • The Islamic world's transportation and communication systems expanded, and the press movement spread in Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, India, Persia, Central Asia, and Indonesia. The newspapers used to discuss colonialism and European countries' goals in the Islamic world.
  • The efforts of scholars and their calls for the necessity of reviving the glory of Islam had spread throughout the Islamic world. The call to the unity of the nation has also spread, and the feeling has increased that the Western aggression is continuing uninterruptedly against the Islamic peoples, which reinforces the need for more connection and cohesion. There was a feeling that the time had come for the Islamic peoples to unite and join under the Ottoman caliphate. (The Awakening of the Sick Man, p. 112).

Sultan Abd al-Hamid succeeded in reviving the Muslims' sense of the importance of adhering to and striving to unite the ranks of the nation under the banner of the Ottoman Caliphate, and thus he could achieve two goals:

The first: Establishing the Khilafah state at home against the Western, Masonic, Jewish, colonial, and Christian nationalist campaigns.

Second: Outside the state, the Muslim masses who are subservient to European countries such as Russia, Britain, and France rally around the banner of the Khilafah, and thus he can confront those countries, and threaten them to provoke Muslims, and declare jihad against them throughout the Islamic world. (The Awakening of the Sick Man, p. 112).





Last modified on Thursday, 07 March 2024 08:11