- Islam was the official religion of the Ottoman Empire and became more important after two seminal events: the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Arab regions of the Middle East. Due to the founder's religion, Islam was very important in the Ottoman Empire.
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The Ottoman Empire was, in principle, tolerant towards Christians and Jews (the "Ahl Al-Kitab", or "People of the Book", according to the Qur'an) but not towards the polytheists, according to the Sharia law. Such tolerance was subject to a non-Muslim tax, the Jizya.
- Why was the Empire successful? The recipe for success. There were many reasons why the Ottoman Empire was so successful: Highly centralised. Power was always transferred to a single person, and not split between rival princes.
- Constantinople. Constantinople was the heart of the Byzantine Empire. It became the capital of the Ottoman Empire when it was conquered in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II.
- Other religions. The millet system. Churches were converted into mosques © Non-Muslim communities were organised according to the millet system, which gave minority religious/ethnic/geographical communities a limited amount of power to regulate their own affairs - under the overall supremacy of the Ottoman administration.
- Sultan and court. The Sultan's life. Main entrance to the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey © The Sultans lived in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. The Sultan's life was run by rituals copied from the Byzantine court.
Sunni Islam was the prevailing Dīn (customs, legal traditions, and religion) of the Ottoman Empire, while the official Madh'hab (school of Islamic jurisprudence) was Hanafi. From the early 16th century until the early 20th century, the Ottoman sultan also served as the caliph, or politco-religious leader, of the Muslim world.
Ottoman Religion: Islam When Mehmet conquered Constantinople, he defeated the 1100 year old Byzantines, who were Christian, and installed Islam as the governing ideology of the Ottoman Empire....