Religion of Conquerors
As shown above there was reluctance on the part of the early Arab Muslims to convert non-Arabs. The fact is that the
Arab conquerors were far less interested in the mass conversion of the vanquished peoples than in securing their tribute. Not until the second and third Islamic centuries did the bulk of these populations embrace the religion of their latest imperial masters, and even this process emanated from below in an attempt to escape paying tribute and to remove social barriers, with the conquering ruling classes doing their utmost to slow it down.
In its’ initial expansion Islam was not a proselytizing faith for other than Arabs. Only after more than a century did the Arab ruling elite become seriously interested in converting non-Arabs. From that point on, the succeeding Muslim vanguards were interested in conversion from the first days of their conquests. This accounts for the rapid spread of Islam in Anatolia and for the tragic and bloody experience undergone by the Hindu “idolaters”. However, the tribute that even the first Arab conquerors were interested in included slaves and concubines as well as material possessions. Many of these slaves converted to Islam and the children of the concubines were brought up as Arabic speaking Muslims. This was, in part, a consequence of the nature of the initial conquests:
Far from a mass migration of barbarian hordes in desperate search of subsistence, the Arab invasions were centrally organized military expeditions on a strikingly small scale. … There is no evidence of whole tribes migrating into the Fertile Crescent … or of warriors taking their own families and herds with them (apart from a few isolated cases). It was only after the consolidation of the initial conquests that substantial numbers of Arab colonists arrived in the newly acquired territories. … This makes the conquests first and foremost a quintessential expansionist feat by a rising imperial power, in which Islam provided a moral sanction …
In Egypt, as well, the number of Arab conquerors was small, although not known with any certainty. According to Hasan, “Amr b. al-As came with an army of three or four thousand, al-Zubayr b. al Awwam followed him with five or twelve thousand, and Abdullah b. Sa’d had twenty thousand in his first campaign against Nubia!” And as in Iraq and Syria, it was at a later time that large numbers of colonists followed when Arabs of the Qays tribe migrated to Egypt and practiced agriculture. These settlers were to be important in the eventual Islamization of the Copts. “The sedentary occupations of these Arabs encouraged their intermixing with the Egyptians, and were an important factor in the spread of Islam among the Egyptians. The Copts were gradually induced by social and financial privileges to be converted to Islam and to adopt the Arabic tongue.”
The following template set by the earliest Arab conquerors was copied by later invaders; the Moors in Spain, the Turks in Anatolia, the Turks, Moguls and Iranians in India. A warrior elite seizes territory and co-opts local women to create a hybridized population. This opens up the territory for subsequent nomadic infiltration, often against the wishes of the now settled hybridized Muslim population. These new invaders are then diverted to the frontiers where they can engage the infidels. Over a period of centuries, the conquered population slowly accepts the religion and sometimes the language of the invaders. That happened with the Arab infiltration in North Africa and the Sudan, with the Turkish frontier ghazis in Anatolia and with the extension of Islamic sultanates into unconquered areas of southern and eastern India.
Triumph of proselytism
Islam with its clear pretensions to universality could not long remain an Arab exclusive religion. The urge to spread the new faith on the part of its zealous adherents was matched by the ease with which a non-Muslim could adopt the new religion. This was in keeping with the pragmatism demonstrated by the early Muslims. All that was required was a simple declaration of faith. No complicated ritual or painful initiation rites were required. The temptation to convert must have been great to those most severely affected by the conquests – prisoners, slaves, concubines and those dhimmis living in close proximity to their new overlords. Eventually the temptation to convert with its consequent increase in legal rights, enhancement of economic opportunities and avoidance of ruinous tax and tribute obligations induced masses of non-Muslims to, at least verbally, profess the conquering faith. Furthermore, the conversion process was to turn into a positive feedback loop; the converts themselves induced still further conversions among their countrymen. Trifkovic gives a capsule summary of the long conversion process typical of many Muslim conquests:
Muhammad’s pragmatism in demanding only verbal submission to start with was a very useful device in spreading Islam throughout the conquered lands from Bosnia to India. St. Paul’s ‘Let each be convinced in his own mind’ could not apply to the conquering faith that depended on the power of the sword, not that of the word. In the longer term, as it turned out, the formal submission of the first generation of converts inevitably led to the irreversible change of identity and belief system of those that followed. Lingering suppressed guilt at the original act of betrayal turned Muslim converts of the Balkans, in particular, into zealous oppressors of their Christian kinsmen who had retained their identity.
Even in the early days of the Arab conquests, some of these converts were motivated by religious zeal as well as by hoped for social advantages. Some of them even, “proved religiously ‘more royal than the king’, and their zeal for the new faith made them persecute non-Moslems. Among the most intolerant early Moslems were some of those converts from Christianity and Judaism.”
It was under the caliph Umar II (717-720), that a more deliberate policy of conversion was adopted. Umar rescinded the taxes that were re-imposed on Muslim converts by his predecessors with an inevitable and unfortunate fiscal consequence. “Though inspired by the best of intentions, Umar’s policy was not successful. It diminished the revenues of the state and increased the number of clients in the cities. Many Berbers and Persians [and Iraqis] embraced Islam to enjoy the pecuniary privileges thus accorded them.” He also sought to promote conversion by imposing humiliating restrictions on non-Muslims; a precedent that was to be repeated by many future Muslim rulers. It is interesting that Umar was regarded by Muslims in succeeding years as being particularly noted for piety and righteousness.
In addition, the conversions of non-Muslims advanced by Umar and other proselytizers backfired in yet another way:
Non-Arabian Moslems in general and Persian Moslems in particular had good reasons for dissatisfaction. Far from being granted the expected economic and social equality … they were … reduced to the position of clients and were not always exempted from the capitation tax paid by non Moslems. What made them more disconnected was the consciousness that they represented a higher and more ancient culture … It was among such discontented neophytes that the Shi’ite-‘Abbasid seed found fertile soil.
Following the Abbasid revolution Islam’s proselytizing imperative was fully in effect. According to Hitti:
During the first century of ‘Abbasid rule the conquests entered upon their second stage, the victory of Islam as a religion. It was in the course of this stage that the bulk of the population was converted… such a country as Syria continued to present the aspect of a Christian country throughout the whole Umayyad period. The situation now began to change. The intolerant legislation of al-Rashid and al-Mutawakkil undoubtedly contributed its quota of fresh converts. Cases of individual and collective conversion added to their numbers … But the process of conversion in its normal working was more gradual and peaceful, though also inescapable. … To escape the payment of the humiliating tribute and other disabilities, to secure social prestige or political influence, to enjoy a larger measure of freedom and security, these were the strong motives in operation.
Abbasid officials, however, experienced many of the same problems with these neo-Muslims as had their Umayyad predecessors. The decline in state revenues accelerated as the numbers of Egyptian, Persian and Aramaean converts exceeded the number of Arab Muslims. Furthermore, the increased financial burden this placed on the still unconverted population, undoubtedly, had a positive feedback effect leading to still more conversions. Finally, the entire fiscal basis of the Muslim state had to be overhauled:
Escape from oppressive taxation and social inferiority was certainly a great inducement to conversion. … Many mawali were sorely disappointed when they discovered they were not to be permitted to go from being tribute bearers to pension receivers by the ruling Arab military elite. Eventually, however, there were enough converts to undermine totally the old tax base and necessitate fundamental changes in the economic system of the empire.
In addition, the Abbasid revolution did not diminish the unrest endemic to the converts. Most of “these neophyte Moslems formed the lowest stratum of Moslem society, a status which they bitterly resented.” This explains why many of them found Shi’ite or Kharijite causes so appealing. Some converts, however, entered the ranks of the social elite; among them were those Persian officials who continued the traditions of the Sasanian bureaucratic class under the new regime.
Conversion of the Natives
The Muslim nomadic conquerors, in almost all instances, formed a small elite minority amongst a large vanquished population of non-Muslims. Yet, over time, the conquered populations in most of these territories accepted Islam, so that the Muslim proportion in modern times is overwhelming. There were, of course, both major and minor instances of territories where the native populations held on to their old faiths despite long periods of Muslim domination. The two most prominent such territories were India and the Balkans. In India Hindu majorities generally prevail although the Muslims, through a recent exchange of populations, became the overwhelming majority in what are now Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the Balkans, Christian majorities prevail, although aided by similar population displacements, the Muslims form a large majority in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Eastern Thrace. The Caucasus and the mountains of Lebanon are two lesser territories where non-Muslim populations remained a majority, at least until very recent times.
Professor Richard Bulliet has derived a set of conversion curves for those territories that were conquered in the initial wave of Arab conquests. These are obtained by fitting data from various biographical dictionaries onto a mathematical function called the logistic curve; a device commonly used by statisticians and economists who study the spread of technical and social innovation. The Bulliet curves are reproduced below. These show the percent of conversion to Islam over time.
The conversion curve for Egypt also applies to Tunisia and most likely, the rest of the Maghreb. Conversion times for parts of central Asia, Afghanistan and western India are probably similar to that for Persia, although other parts of these territories were much more resistant to Islam. The conversion curve for Spain is more problematic due to the slow expansion of Christian held territory. As historian of the Spanish reconquista Harvey points out, Bulliet’s curve for Muslim Spain “is not replicated exactly in the history of the peninsula” and leads to estimates that are too high. Therefore, the above reproduction of the curve for Muslim controlled territories of Spain is scaled down somewhat from the original Bulliet estimated curve. Indeed, the reconquest of Spain by Christians was a mirror in reverse of the Turkish conquest of Anatolia with a demoralized Muslim population, mass conversions to Christianity, displacement and the entry of large numbers of new immigrants.
Based on the shape of the above logistic curves as fitted to conform to historical accounts of the Muslim expansions, the following approximate conversion curves are drawn for the two other major territories with current Muslim majorities. Islam was, of course, established in Anatolia and Indonesia (including Malaya) by later groups of non-Arab Muslims.
The rapidity of conversion in Anatolia may partly reflect the fact that Muslim rulers subsequent to the initial Arab conquerors were no longer reluctant to promote the spread of Islam.
The small numbers, usually less than ten percent of the population, who still resisted conversion, marked by the leveling off of Bulliet’s curve, consisted of a disproportionate number of artisans and craftsmen. The reason for their survival is given by Darlington as follows:
They continued to follow their hereditary trades and professions. They continued also to follow their equally hereditary religions. There were Jews, Samaritans and Mandaeans. And there were the diverse Christian sects, Greek or Maronite, Coptic, Assyrian or Armenian. These different faiths continued in the cities of Islam. They maintained themselves by their rejection, not only of interbreeding with Muslims … but also of interbreeding with one another.
Hence, the non-Muslims were the most pure descendants of the ancient peoples while most Muslims, particularly those living in the towns and cities, underwent considerable interbreeding with peoples brought in from all over Islamic territory. Furthermore, while “the peasants of Egypt, the shepherds of the Maghrib and the minor artisans of the cities escaped hybridization and resisted change, each new conquest or revolution threw urban society into some disorder.”
Bulliet in constructing his curves emphasizes that, as previously indicated, in the early years of the Arab conquests “one must conclude that those who converted to Islam during the period when the mawali were so heavily stigmatized must have been people for whom being second class Arabs was superior to any other options. …prisoners of war who might seek through conversion to escape slavery and people … from the very lowest classes.”
For Iraq and Syria the curves support Hitti’s contention that not “until the second and third centuries of the Moslem era did the bulk of the people in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia profess the religion of Muhammad.” However, in parts of Syria, especially in the north “Christian majorities survived through the twelfth century, until – compromised by their sympathies with and assistance to the Crusaders – they were put under severe pressure.” Many of these even held out until the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
In Iran, as seen in the above graph, by the 10th century a major part of the population had become Muslim. It was under the Muslim national Iranian dynasties that conversion to Islam became universal, although it proceeded at varying rates in different parts of the country.  The dhimmis “were not forced to convert, but they suffered from restrictions. … How seriously such rules were applied depended on local conditions, but even in the best circumstances the position of a minority is uneasy and the inducement to convert existed.” According to Lapidus, the remaining non-Muslims of both Iran and Iraq, soon after Islam became the majority faith, came under intense pressure. “Only with the breakdown of the social and religious structures of non-Muslim communities in the tenth to twelfth centuries did the weakening of churches, the awakening of Muslim hostility to non-Muslims, sporadic and localized persecution and the destruction of the landed gentry of Iraq and Iran destroy the communal organization of non-Muslim peoples.”
The Abbasid ascendancy opened up the top ranks of the aristocracy to talented and energetic non-Muslims, particularly Iranians. In Iran under the new Abbasid order:
The Shi’ites considered themselves avenged. The clients became emancipated. … Khurasanians formed the caliphal bodyguard and Persians occupied the chief posts of government. The original Arabian aristocracy was replaced by a gamut of nationalities under the caliphate. The old Arabian Moslems and the new foreign conquerors were beginning to coalesce and shade off into each other.
Members of the old Persian aristocracy found that this Abbasid open door policy made taking the Islamic profession of faith quite advantageous. Petty tributary rulers at the far reaches of Persia, such as Mazyar the early ninth century king of Tabaristan converted. The famous Barmakid family of officials and viziers who ruled the Islamic empire under the early Abbasids was originally a “Buddhist priestly family from Balkh”.
In western Central Asia, Islam was overwhelmingly the religion of the masses by the end of the ninth century while Zoroastrianism still lingered in many parts of the Iranian countryside. Moreover, the new west Central Asian converts, in contrast to the Iranians, became staunch upholders both of Islam and Arabism. “When non-Arabs converted to Islam they were given Arabic names and … were said to have become Arabs. As frequently happens with new converts, many became more fanatic than the Arabs.”
In Egypt, as in the Fertile Crescent, the first Arab conquerors had little desire to promote Islam to the conquered population. And the latter found little of appeal in Islam. Eventually, as in Iraq when the Umayyad dynasty declined and with the ascension of the Abbasids, circumstances changed. “The Arabs in Egypt were a privileged minority. … Only towards the end of the Umayyad rule did they start to mix with the Egyptians. In a few hundred years Egypt was turned into an Arab and Muslim country.” As in Iraq, the number of conversions accelerated in the 10th and 11th centuries with increasing persecution and weakening of Christian institutions. The conversion curve for Syria, Iraq and Egypt shows an increase in the converted fraction of the population over these two centuries from about one quarter to three quarters. In the following centuries, Egyptian dhimmis were subject to sporadic persecution and Islam continued its steady progression. Under the repressive Mamluks “large numbers of Copts and Jews, especially among the professional classes who found the institutionalized humiliation too burdensome, converted to Islam.”
Native Syrian, Iraqi and Egyptian converts never attained the degree of prominence within the Islamic state as that attained by the Iranians. Nevertheless, there were instances where some western converts reached positions of great power. For example the Jew Ya’qub b. Killis “who still maintained close ties with his former coreligionists” was brought to the attention of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu’izz. He helped plan the conquest of Egypt and helped prepare “Egypt to become the center of the greater Fatimid Empire.”
In Muslim Spain, as in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Egypt many non-Muslims adopted the Islamic faith in the hopes of improving their status, only to be disappointed and resentful at their continued second class status. As Hitti observes, in Spain
Christians flocked to Islam. … In the course of time these neophytes became the most discontented body in the population. Their ranks were recruited mainly from serfs and freedmen … Some of them were ‘secret Christians’; but they all knew well the clear and inexorable law of apostasy from Islam, which prescribed death. The Moslem Arabs treated all … as inferior, though some were of noble descent.
These converts became the majority in several cities “where they were the first to take up arms against the established order.”
North Africa illustrates a type of conversion to Islam that was typical of nomadic or primitive cultures when first engaged by Islam.
It is reported … that various North African Berber tribes converted to Islam and subsequently fell away. This type of conversion, although the words of the confession of faith might actually have been mouthed by the tribesmen, would not qualify as social conversion. … Apostasy probably had little significance because formal conversion alone meant very little in any social sense. The same could be said at a later period for the conversion of various Turkish tribes…
The Turkish conquest of Anatolia and later of the Balkans, taking much longer and being better documented than was the case for the early Arab conquests, illustrates many details of the conversion process. The Seljuk annexation of the central Anatolian plateau amounted to the introduction of a small Turkish military elite ruling over a large Christian population. In this respect it was rather similar to the earlier Arab conquests of Byzantine territory. Vryonis notes that there “has been a tendency to exaggerate the number of the original Turkish settlers, but the sources seem to suggest that … the Turks who came at this time very definitely constituted a minority.” And as was the case with the Arab conquests, in the first century following the Turkish occupation of the plateau, only a small percentage of the population embraced Islam so that the left side of the conversion curve probably looks very similar to that of Syria and Iraq. As Vryonis contends,
…in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, conversion also had the effect of decreasing the number of Christians while increasing the Muslim population. …there seems to be some indication that in this period conversions to Islam were numerically significant, though not as extensive as they later were to become.
Furthermore, despite “migrations, displacement, massacres, plagues, famine, and enslavement, it is highly probable that the majority of the Anatolian Christian population remained in Asia Minor fifty years after Manzikert.” Vryonis emphasizes that the Turks at this time were a small minority and that during the “first half century of occupation of Anatolia they formed a small governing and military caste and appear from time to time in the sources as the administrators and military garrisons of areas otherwise inhabited by Christians.” A number of contemporary sources attest to the continuing Christian majority in the early decades of the Seljuk ascendancy; in fact Christians appear to constitute a significant portion of the population for over two centuries following the first arrival of the Turks:
There are other indications that the Christian population of Asia Minor was still quite extensive in the twelfth and even in the thirteenth century. The History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria asserts that the majority of the subjects of the sultan Mas’ud I (1116-56) were Greeks, and there is the testimony of the thirteenth and fourteenth century travelers. … Marco Polo implies that the urban classes contained a large Christian element. A contemporary William of Rubruque, remarks rather exaggeratedly … ‘that not one man in ten there is a Saracen; rather they are all Armenians and Greeks.’ … Both Sanuto and Ibn Battuta noted the presence of considerable numbers of Christians in western Asia Minor as late as the early fourteenth century. …the single largest source of revenue in Muslim Anatolia during the latter half of the thirteenth century was the tax that they paid.
Thus, the pattern of conversion appears to be broadly similar to that which took place in the Arab Byzantine territories. However, there seems to be a slight acceleration in Anatolian, as compared to Syrian conversions, since at the time of the Turkish conquests, Muslims were fully committed to the conversion of infidels. The Turkish epic Danishmendname
attributes a strong proselytizing zeal to the Muslims … There are conversions of individuals, bodies of soldiers, and whole towns and the conversions that occur in the poem break down into two categories: voluntary and forced. Those who convert voluntarily do so as a result of a religious vision, or for romantic reasons, or because of some material advantage to be obtained.
Muslim proselytizing zeal was strongest among the various Sufi sects that eventually followed the Seljuk warriors. Vryonis believes that it was “only in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that the conversionary activities of these orders become manifest.” The dervish contribution to the conversion of the Anatolian population was considerable and extensive as subsequent territory came under Muslim rule. In the 14th century dervish missionaries roamed the newly annexed territories in western Anatolia and “so successful were they that … the western traveler … von Suchem … in the mid fourteenth century … remarked that the Turks as a people were in part Christian renegades.” The demoralization of the Christian population and the collapse of Byzantine institutions under unceasing Muslim pressure paved the way for the spread of the dervish teachings. These brotherhoods were instrumental in “transforming the majority of the Greek and Armenian Christians into Turkish Muslims.” Sufi missionary activities, so extensively documented in Anatolia, were an important factor in most conversions subsequent to the first Arab expansion. Central Asia and India were also scenes of mass conversions brought about through the efforts of various Sufi brotherhoods.
The continued depredations of nomadic Turkmen were an important factor in the demoralization of the Byzantine population. This is one more, well attested example, of a process common to the other Muslim expansions. Vryonis gives an example of the way the nomads affected the settled population on the Byzantine frontier. “The inability of the Byzantines to retake Konya and to retain Ankara, and the partial removal of the Greek population from southern Phrygia are not the only indications of the comparative density of the Turkmens in these regions. The sources refer specifically to the fact that the Turkmens were present in large numbers.” This example is indicative of a higher rate of infusion of Turks in the central plateau than in western and coastal Anatolia; it is plausible that a third of the population on the plateau consisted of the original Turkish invaders and the following nomadic Turkmen. Byzantine chroniclers write, with approval, of various benevolent Turkish rulers. However, as Vryonis points out these “very authors who praise Malik Shah and others as the clement protectors of the Christians make it quite obvious that the element against which the sultans had to protect the Christians was the Muslims themselves.”
Thus, the migration of Turkmen tribes into Anatolia disrupted the order established by the Seljuks. The descendants of these Turkmen continued their unrest into Ottoman times. In their period of decline the Ottomans were confronted with agitation from a group known as Jelalis who “drew their strength … from Turcoman, Kurdish, and other Asiatic tribesmen … and…from the dispossessed feudal sipahis.” These Jelalis controlled whole provinces and extracted tribute from towns in Central Anatolia. Their leader “Deli Hassan was induced by the central government to lay down his arms, and as condition was made governor of Bosnia. This enabled him to use his wild troops in Europe. In a new invasion of half-naked, long-haired Asiatic ‘barbarians,’ they ravaged Rumeli, slaughtering Moslems and Christians alike.”
These well documented instances in Anatolia illuminate an important factor in the decimation of non-Muslim populations in most of the Islamic conquered territories. Continued pressure on dhimmi populations as a result of subsequent nomadic migrations also characterizes Muslim conquests prior to the great Turkish expansion. The Hilali invasion of the Mahgreb in the 11th century, as noted in Chapter 3, Shadow of the Sword, was decisive in the almost total extirpation of the Christian religion in North Africa. Other Arab Bedouin tribes afflicted the settled populations of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Egypt with severe impact on surviving non-Muslim communities. The Christian kingdoms of the Sudan were under pressure from nomadic Arabs for centuries. At the same time Anatolia was being ravaged by new migrations of Turkmen, these kingdoms came under renewed Bedouin pressure which was finally fatal. In about the year 1324, Bedouins from Upper Egypt were forced by the Mamluks to flee into Nubia. “Those who migrated to Nubia were already famine stricken and could do nothing but continue their rapacious behavior – plundering the Nubian Christians and quarrelling with the new Muslim rulers or among themselves.”
Furthermore, since the new Muslim nomads evinced the same yearning for a more comfortable settled existence as their immediate predecessors, a series of petty Muslim emirates followed in the wake of the migrations. In Anatolia, for example, the “disappearance of political unity attendant upon the Turkish invasions not only brought considerable upheaval but often placed the Anatolian populations under the onerous burden of supporting a large array of courts, administrations, and armies.”
Other key factors leading to Islamization: slavery and the forced conversion of non-Muslims were well illustrated in the history of Asia Minor. The effects of these, according to Vryonis, were quite significant over long periods of time.
It is difficult to give the number of Christians [youths] who were taken into the system [of slave administration] and thus Islamized. Obviously the number was comparatively small at any given time, but the system must have had some affect on the conversion of Christians over a period of several centuries. We are told that after the capture of the city of Chiliat in about 1231 a troop of 1,000 royal gulams was left to settle the affairs of the city, and in another instance there is mention of 500 serhenk. When Trebizond fell 800 Greek youth were taken, and 100 were levied from New Phocaea.
Furthermore, “Scholarius’ writings bear extensive testimony to the large scale conversions that were emptying the Christian ranks. …sieges, massacres, enslavement, famine, taking away of children, dishonoring of priests, and above all conversion to Islam, both voluntary and involuntary.”
By the year 1500 the conversion of Anatolia was essentially complete. Thus, the right-hand side of the above conversion curve can be drawn as asymptotically approaching a maximum close to 90%. As Vryonis asserts:
The evidence as to the remaining Christian populations in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries contrasts greatly with the testimony of the twelfth and thirteenth century sources which indicated that the Christians were probably still the majority. … The critical transformation of the population, prepared by the events of the eleventh and twelfth centuries was consummated in the late fourteenth, and the early fifteenth century. But the absorptive process had been a long one, stretching over four hundred years.
Furthermore the “basic farming stock of Seljuk Anatolia up to the mid thirteenth century consisted of Greek, Armenian, and Syrian peasants. After the thirteenth century, the majority of these farmers converted to Islam and these converts, with the sedentarized nomads, came to constitute the Turkish farming population of most of Anatolia.” However, under more settled Ottoman times, pragmatic sultans permitted significant re-colonization of the western Anatolian coastlands by Greek Christians; a situation that was reversed early in the 20th century. Moreover, descendants of converted Byzantines make up the major part of the population of modern Turkey. “The numbers of the Muslim population were increased by the emigration of Arabs, Persians and Turks … but especially by the mounting tide of religious conversions.”
The first Abbasids owed their success, in large part to the talent and energy of Iranian converts. Similarly, Greeks and other converts energized the states established by the Turkish conquerors. The long run success of the Turks and the longevity of the Ottoman Empire were due to these neo-Muslims. Numerous examples of such converts are mentioned in the historical accounts for the case of Turkey; it is undoubtedly the case that this was an important characteristic of most Muslim expansions. There were two distinct categories of talented converts. One consisted of many prominent aristocrats, high officials, scholars, soldiers or mercenaries who, through self interest or genuine conviction joined the Turkish ranks. The other category consisted of “upwardly mobile” slaves who through sheer ability rose to the upper echelons of the Turkish state.
Vryonis remarks on the existence of many socially prominent Byzantine collaborators and converts:
The appearance … of a number of the representatives of these Anatolian aristocratic families in the services of the Turks during the centuries of Seljuk and Ottoman rule indicates that a significant portion of the Greek aristocracy came to a mutually profitable understanding with the Turks. …many retained their Christian faith for a considerable period of time, while others apostatized to Islam early.
And of somewhat lower rank were the many soldiers of Christian origin employed by Turkish rulers:
There are also indications that the Seljuk rulers frequently employed Christian troops, those specifically mentioned being Greeks, Franks, Georgians, Armenians, Russians and Germans. … The Greek troops were drawn … from the Byzantine lands and from the sultan’s domains. … Upon the worsening of conditions in Bithynia in the latter half of the thirteenth century, the acrites sought service with the Turks. …it seems to have been customary to recruit military units for the Seljuk armies from among the Greek Christian subjects of the sultan, and it is quite possible these soldiers were eventually converted to Islam.
The history of the Ottoman state is replete with instances of prominent converts. The early Ottoman sultan Osman held power in the province of Bithynia. Among his “closest companions were the Greek families of Michaelogli and Marcozogli … As a result of their association with him, they adopted the Moslem faith.” Mehmed the Conqueror employed numerous converts from the high Byzantine aristocracy. His general Hass Murad Pasha was a descendant of the Palaeologus family. Another scion of the Palaeologus family, the last Byzantine dynasty, was his admiral Mesih. In addition, Mehmed’s grand vizier Mahmut Pasha was a Byzantine from a noble Greek and Serbian lineage. In the century following, the famous Ottoman admirals, the Barbarossa brothers were from a lower rank of Greek society, but still respectably middle class. These were the “red-bearded sons of a potter, a Christian renegade retired from the Janissaries and married to the widow of a Greek priest … from the island of Lesbos.”
Another variety of converts profitably employed by the Ottomans were from distinctly lower strata of society, often slaves. The genius of Ottoman administration, which undoubtedly was crucial to the longevity of the dynasty, was the scope given to talented slaves and converts of humble background to rise to the top rungs of Ottoman society. After the execution of his vizier Halil, Mehmed “had around him only advisors of the growing renegade class, Christian converts to Islam whose careers depended directly on the Sultan’s favor and on whom he could thus count to do his bidding. His new Grand Vezir was his general Zaganos Pasha, an Albanian in origin.” Mehmed’s replacement of Turkish officials with lower class converts was the final blow to the old nomadic Ottoman ideal of egalitarianism among the conquering warrior elite. And the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans opened a whole new base on which to draw lower class or slave converts into the ranks of the administration.
In the centuries after the reign of Mehmed, Balkan converts continued to staff the highest positions of the state. Ibrahim Pasha, Suleiman’s Grand Vizier was born a Greek Christian. Ibrahim’s successor was “Rustem Pasha, the Bulgarian, who as an economist skillfully handled the Ottoman treasury”. Rustem’s successor was Sokollu Pasha “a Slav from Bosnia who in boyhood had served as an acolyte in a Serbian church, and who was to uphold for a crucial period the power and prestige of his late master.” Sokollu who continued in power under Suleiman’s dissolute son Selim, “set indeed a precedent for the pattern of centuries to come when from time to time a strong vezir, often Christian in origin, would emerge to counterbalance a weak Sultan, and help guide the state through its periods of crisis.” The strength of Christian institutions in the Balkans coupled with a moderating of the Turkish impulse to convert in the Ottoman period preserved a large Christian population from which the Sultans could draw slaves or other humble converts for the military and administration; converts who had no problematic power base but were completely dependent on their Ottoman patrons. The continuance of a large Christian “reservoir” was, undoubtedly, the reason that the Ottoman dynasty lasted much longer than other Islamic regimes. It may well be that the more far-seeing Ottoman rulers were willing to curb the zeal of their Muslim subjects for converting non-Muslims, in order to maintain this advantage.
The Ottoman search for talented converts was wide ranging. “The first grand vizier of definitely Caucasian slave origin seems to have been Hadim Mehmed Pasha, a palace eunuch of Georgian birth … in 1622-3.” Hadim was one of many officials of slave or humble backgrounds from remote mountainous areas. The founder of the Koprulu dynasty of Grand Viziers was Mehmed Koprulu an Albanian of humble origin who began his career as a cook. “His appointment stimulated a growing process of recruitment and conversion to Islam of Balkan Christian mountain tribesmen, both in Albania … and Bulgaria, which was to infuse the army and the administration with new sources of energy and loyalty.” The increased susceptibility of the ‘mountain tribesmen’ to conversion shows, once again, the greater appeal of Islam to more primitive societies. Even in the later centuries of the Ottoman state the continuing large Balkan Christian populations enabled the Ottoman dynasty to continue appropriating human resources not yet stultified by Islam and, thus, to renew the life of their Empire.
India proved much more resistant to conversion than were the Levant, Central Asia and Anatolia. However, there were many instances of Hindu soldiers joining the Islamic invaders to avail themselves of the greater material and sexual opportunities available to warriors of the Prophet. “In fact there is good evidence that the superior prospects on offer to the champions of Islam induced some Hindus from the north-west frontier to switch both religion and allegiance and to fight for the Ghaznavids.”
Despite the conversion of some Hindu auxiliaries, India was a tough nut to crack. Unlike the dry plateaus and desert areas, there was a large dense population; the towns were not few and scattered, but close by and well fortified. Also the Hindus faced a much starker choice. Since they were not “people of the book”, those Muslim leaders who were more fanatical and less pragmatic than the first Arab governor, Qasim, could offer them only conversion, slavery or death. This undoubtedly stiffened the resistance of those committed to their beliefs. The large dense population necessitated the use of native vassals, and these would often apostatize as soon as their overlords left the area. There were similar conditions in the Balkans, although there the Christian inhabitants could not lawfully be forcibly converted; a fact of which Sultan Selim the Grim was reminded by his qadi when he schemed to implement a policy of forced conversion.
Historian of India John Keay writes of the difficulties faced by some of the bloody-minded Muslim invaders of this vast and populous land:
Mahmud, seemingly, ravaged only to revive. Even as he was demolishing some of the north’s greatest temples, others were being built; even as he carted away their wealth, more was accumulating elsewhere. … For every fifty thousand idolaters that were massacred, fifty thousand equally unregenerated devotees swarmed to some other place of pilgrimage … or politico-religious significance.
Moreover, if “temple-building was indeed ‘a political act’, there could be no more eloquent testimony to the … defiance of … the Muslim invader.” It was not until the time of Muhammad of Ghor and the Delhi sultans that many temples of northern India were destroyed by the fanatical Muslim iconoclasts. Indeed, the modern day destruction of Buddhist monuments in Afghanistan is a continuation of the Muslim commitment to destroying pagan temples and icons. In India pagan temples, unlike Christian churches, were generally destroyed wholesale. In conquered Christian territories, the best churches would be converted into mosques, but lesser ones were permitted to continue in use by jizya paying Christians.
Lapidus compares and contrasts the experiences of India, Anatolia and the Balkans under these later Muslim conquests:
In Anatolia, as in the rest of the Middle East, the conjunction of Muslim state power, the decline of organized Christian societies, and the social and cultural relevance of Islam facilitated mass conversions to the new religion.
In the Balkans, however, the spread of Islam was limited by the vitality of the Christian churches. It came at a later stage of the Turkish conquests, at a time when Ottoman policy favored Christian nobles and churches as vehicles of Ottoman administration … Most Balkan peoples, buttressed by the continuity of organized Christian community life, remained loyal to their faith.
The history of Islam in India most closely resembles that of the Balkans. … In most of India … as in the Balkans, the appeal of Islam was relatively restricted. Only in the Northwest Frontier, the Punjab, Sind, and Bengal were populations converted en masse. In these regions the transition from hunter-gatherer and pastoral activities to settled agriculture was the occasion for a total reconstruction of society under Muslim leadership and for the development of new Islamic identifications. Conversion to Islam on a mass scale was most likely among disorganized populations.
However, in some parts of India as in Anatolia, with fragmented and demoralized populations, conversions were abundant. It is also interesting that the northwest India frontier peoples were, like certain mountain peoples of the Balkans, notably, Albanians and Bosnians attracted to Islam. Moreover, in parts of India as in Anatolia “the adaptability of Sufism to traditional religious cultures was important in the transition … to Islam.”
Since it is the duty of all Muslims to spread Islam, traders carried the Islamic religion to those peripheral territories not under effective government control and to foreign nations beyond the borders of the Dar-al-Islam. The periphery of the Muslim world, consisting largely of tribal peoples at a lower level of civilization was resistant to direct or permanent conquest by Islamic armies. Despite raids capturing numerous slaves, the Arabs found it impossible to subdue another nomadic group entirely by military means. Hence mercantile missionary activity was needed to complete the process of Islamization.
The Berber tribes inhabiting the hinterland of the Maghreb were defeated by Arab armies. Nevertheless, continuing resistance and apostasy made an accommodation with these tribes necessary. The Berbers were induced by the prospect of conquest and booty to join forces with their nominal Arabian overlords. At a later date these very Muslim Berbers faced similar circumstances as, following trade routes across the desert, they spread Islam through much of West Africa. Along the East African coast Islam was spread by Arab traders who found it necessary to come to an accommodation with local power holders to spread Islam beyond a few fortified trading posts.
Similarly for most of the Central Asian steppes:
The major impetus for conversion to Islam, despite the evidence of considerable military activity, does not appear to have been the jihad. Rather, Islam penetrated the steppes in a more pacific fashion through Muslim merchant caravans and settlers.
Of course, as seen in chapter 3, Shadow of the Sword, in these peripheral areas local converts in later years would take up jihad to conquer and convert their neighbors. The easternmost conquest of Islam in Central Asia occurred during the reign of a local Muslim ruler, Mansur (1502-43) who “took up the jihad, aimed chiefly at eastern Sinkiang.” It was at that time “that formerly Buddhist places like Turfan definitively entered the Dar al-Islam.”
Indonesia and adjacent areas of Southeast Asia had been exposed to the ideas of higher civilization carried by Hindu traders and Buddhist missionaries. Nevertheless, the inhabitants were primarily tribal or else lived in geographically isolated areas divided into numerous petty states. Seas and impenetrable jungles prevented any direct Muslim conquest. However, seafaring Muslim merchants abetted by converted local rulers slowly Islamized most of the islands in the archipelago. The process of Islamization lasting some seven centuries is not as well documented as the one in Anatolia. Nonetheless a hypothetical conversion curve for Indonesia is shown above modeled on the general shape of the other logistic curves.
In China, with its long history of civilization, Islam made little progress despite extensive trading relationships with Muslim merchants. Some natives in certain regions of China intermarried with Muslims and adopted Islam. The first penetration of Islam into China occurred in the early days of the Abbasid dynasty:
Eastward, Moslem traders ventured as far as China, which … was reached from al-Basrah as early as the days of the second Abbasid caliph. … In the mid eighth century a number of Moslems settled in China … under the name Ta-shih (a Persianized form of the Arab tribe Tayyi) and later under the title Hui-Hui …
A second wave of Islamic penetration occurred when Turkish subjects of Chingis Khan, who was indifferent to religious matters, imported Islam into China. Sociologist Reuben Levy notes that Islam had relatively little appeal to the average Chinese:
Even when the road was thus left open, and although Muslims are now to be found in every Chinese province, they only achieved considerable numbers in the west and north, i.e. in Kansu, Sinkiang, Shensi, Shansi, Chuhli and Yunnan.
He also notes that the Muslims in China “are said to be indistinguishable from their fellow countrymen … and have long been cut off from Muslims elsewhere”. That may account, at least in part, for the relative peacefulness of Chinese Muslims up to the present day.
It is not surprising that Islamic conversion achieved its greatest success in the conquered territories, for in those circumstances Muslims related to non-Muslims as superiors. Islamic conversion was also reasonably successful in unconquered areas where Muslim traders encountered the inhabitants on the basis of equality. With respect to one group, the Mongols, Muslims were in the unaccustomed position of inferiors. The Mongol converts were a result of the unique case where non-Muslim conquerors were absorbed into the culture of, and adopted the religion of, their Muslim subjects. As the Romans conquered the Greeks only to be conquered by Greek civilization, so it was that the rude Mongol tribes were assimilated into the more sophisticated civilization of their subjects. In the western part of their domains that civilization was Islamic. One group of western Mongols, the Ilkhanids in Iran was Islamized under Ghazan Khan who ruled from 1295 to 1304. Another group, the Batuids, who came to be known as the Golden Horde, converted under Uzbek Khan between 1312 and 1341. The conquests of the Golden Horde, as we have seen, represented the farther most northern extension of the Dar-al-Islam before being halted in 1380 by the Russians under Prince Dmitri at Kulikovo.
As will be shown in the next chapter, Culture of the Harem, interbreeding was a crucial factor in the Islamization of the vast Muslim conquests. It is difficult to disentangle the effects of hybridization from those of conversion in the growth of Muslim populations. Since the laws and customs of the conquerors forbade marriage or concubinage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim male, in most cases the father would be a member of the Muslim military elite. However, there were, undoubtedly, very many instances where a new Muslim convert would enter into marriage with a Muslim female.
The Turkish conquests provide the most abundant documentation of intermarriage and its relation to conversion. Kinross refers to the ease with which such intermarriage occurred in Anatolia. He notes that
a number of Christians became Moslems from choice … in a realistic spirit, preferred the relative order and security of Osmanli rule, together with its greater freedom of opportunity for Moslems and exemption from onerous taxes. … Socially they did not differ profoundly from their frontier neighbours the Osmanlis in their background and habits of life. … Intermarriage became common between Turks and Greeks.
The sons of these mixed marriages known as mixovarvaroi as well as converts formed a large part of the Turkish armies. “The mixovarvaroi came to play a significant role as a further source of military manpower … and so did the converts. The Turks resorted to taking Christian children and converting them” to meet their demand for military manpower.
And, of course, the intermarriage of the conquerors with the Dhimmi population was an important factor in Islamization, Arabization and Turkification. “Though this phenomenon of intermarriage [in the 12th century] and the appearance of a new generation of mixovarvaroi is only briefly mentioned by the sources, one must assume that it was no rare or isolated occurrence.” Vryonis, like Kinross, also notes the ease and frequency with which such unions occurred in the early days of Turkish rule:
There is every reason to suppose that intermarriage took place rather extensively from the very beginning of the Turkish occupation … and for several centuries afterward. … Nicephoras Gregoras passed through Bithynia … in the middle of the fourteenth century … he observed that the population consisted of Greeks, mixovarvaroi … and Turks. Thus intermarriage of Muslims and Christians at every level of society played a very important role in the integration and absorption of the Greek Christian element into Muslim society.
The importance of intermarriage, conversions and slavery in forming the present day Anatolian population is emphasized by Vryonis:
…a significant portion of the Muslim population in Anatolia represents the ‘invisible’ physical residue of this Byzantine past. The mass conversions, intermarriage, gulam-devshirme, and slave systems resulted in the fusion of the majority of the Byzantine population with the Turks and, consequently, made of the Turks a people with origins as mixed as those of the Greeks, Serbs, Armenians, and Bulgars.
The addition of other racial elements absorbed by the Turkish nomads occurred at a very early stage in their migrations. Geneticist C. D. Darlington notes that the “first Turkish conquerors, the Seljuks, were gradually changed, diversified, and multiplied by hybridization with Greeks and Armenians, Persians and Arabs.” Vryonis observes how such hybridization, occurring at a very early period with groups such as the Kurds continued in later Turkish history as the tribesmen fused with Christians and with recently converted Muslims. Therefore, such interbreeding was of crucial importance in the expansion of Turkish Islam.
Kinross notes a number of prominent instances of intermarriage at the highest levels of both Ottoman and Byzantine society. The Byzantine statesman Cantacuzene gave his daughter in marriage to Sultan Orkhan as did the tsar of Bulgaria. John Palaeologue gave his daughter in marriage to Orkhan’s son Halil. Also the Serbian ruler Stephen gave his sister in marriage to Sultan Bayezid I. The latter also married the daughter of Greek aristocrat Helen Cantacuzene. Vryonis notes an instance of the marriage of a high Byzantine aristocrat who converted to Islam. “John Comnenus, the nephew of the emperor John II Comnenus, took to wife a daughter of the sultan and turned Muslim.”
While Turkish history is especially rich in documented instances of intermarriage, this was a widespread occurrence in all Islamic territories as noted by other historians. In Iran “before long a large proportion of the Arabs yielded to their environment and, as a result of mixed marriages, were using a language with Iranian words; conversely, Islamic influence was particularly strong in the zones where Arab penetration was most concentrated.” In parts of West Africa Muslim traders “married local women and raised families, which were tied to the Muslim community through the father and to the local pagan community through the mother. The offspring of such marriages often inherited chieftainships and brought about the conversion of local peoples.” Often these chiefs “tried to maintain elements of both pagan and Muslim ritual in order to satisfy the cultural interests of their double constituencies.” Since in instances such as the latter where the Muslim outsiders did not enter as conquerors, the Islamic indoctrination of their mixed-breed offspring was less complete. The result was a syncretistic religion and a hybrid culture.
Whims of the Rulers
The Dhimmi population was always subject to the whims of particular rulers. Some Muslim rulers were relatively benevolent, others were scrupulous in carrying out Muslim law in protecting Dhimmis, but often these would be followed by less well disposed successors or rivals. One such occurrence took place in the Byzantine city of Melitene which was captured in the early days of the Seljuk incursions. “Kilidj Arslan took it in 1106, and though he was kind to the inhabitants, on his death the citizens were subjected to financial oppression by his successors.” Vryonis emphasizes the fact “that the very chroniclers who praise individual Turkish and Arab rulers for their clemency to the Christians … make them the exceptions to the more general rule.”
Some Muslim rulers either through an excess of religious zeal or simple ignorance of their obligations under the contract of dhimmitude decreed the forced conversion of dhimmi populations:
Periods of forced conversion interrupted the protection-persecution rhythm which alternated throughout history within complex parameters and was governed by imponderable factors, combining individual personalities and political contingencies. As protection was guaranteed by the highest political authority – caliph or sultan – orders for conversion emanating from this source eliminated the possibility of any recourse. …such orders were decreed under the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids and Mamluks – from Spain and the Maghreb to Yemen and Persia. Even if they could be revoked by payment of heavy ransoms, they decimated whole communities…
The Islamic Welfare State
Another reason for the rapid spread of Islam, as well as the Arabic, and subsequently the Turkish, language, was the attractiveness their concept of society held for many Syrian, Greek, Egyptian and Persian rural peasants and urban proletarians previously oppressed by rapacious bureaucrats and greedy aristocrats. Islam had a well developed charitable structure; a sort of primitive welfare state. In addition, the class structure of medieval Islam was somewhat less rigid, at least for males, than that of their Byzantine and Persian rivals. As we have seen this allowed young men of energy and ability to rise more easily in the social structure. Similarly, in India, Islam was attractive to numerous Hindus as an escape from the oppressive caste system. Of course, the very disruption of non-Muslim religious and social institutions along with mass impoverishment created by the Muslim attacks was an additional factor that impelled many non-Muslims to embrace Islam and its charitable institutions.
Vryonis notes how the Islamic welfare state discriminated in favor of Muslims at a time of great hardship for the Christian community:
The Muslim state … supported and favored Islam in every way, and Christianity was tolerated only as the religion of its second-class citizens. The sultans and officials built mosques, medresses, imarets, zawiyas, hospitals, caravansarays, and fountains for the Islamic associations and endowed them with lands, serfs, and revenues. Consequently, the ulema and dervishes had the economic wherewithal to perform their spiritual functions with elegance and their socioeconomic tasks with great efficiency.
These wakfs (endowments) account for a considerable “part of the history of Christian decline and Muslim expansion.” Also important is the fact that the burden of financial support for these religious and charitable institutions were often imposed on nearby Christian communities. These Muslim charitable endowments, “by harnessing much of the land, manpower, and revenues of Anatolia to Islamic institutions, enabled the latter to achieve preeminence at the expense of Christianity.”
In addition, some Sufi sects were quite amenable to using their considerable charitable endowments to bribe impoverished Christians to convert. “The Bektashis … appear as a group that dispenses charity and food to all the needy …this dervish community along with others were able to furnish to Christians, as well as Muslims, the charity and sustenance that the Christian church was no longer able to provide.”
Thus, often the resources of Christian subjects were directed toward the support of their fellows who were converting to Islam. Nor was it only Christian apostates who were the beneficiaries of these resources extracted from their former co-religionists. Jews who were in the process of converting, as well as pagans among the Mongol and Tatar tribes accompanying the invading Turkmen were also the beneficiaries of such largesse. Vryonis gives an example of one establishment outside of the city of Konya that was dedicated to these new converts. “One-fifth of the income from an eighteen-room khan … was to provide for the teaching of the Koran and prayers, the performance of circumcision, provision of shoes, clothes and food to Christians, Jews and pagans who apostatized to Islam.”
The Ottomans extended the Islamic welfare state inherited from their Seljuk predecessors. Mehmed the Conqueror endowed a number of charitable institutions, wakfs, in his newly conquered city. “When Mehmed built his own great mosque, there were eight medresses around it … a children’s school, a library, two hostels for travelers, a refectory, kitchens where the poor were given food, and a hospital … Here was the free education and health service of a medieval Islamic welfare state.” Under Suleiman the mosques’ “precincts … included also treasuries, banks, hospices for travelers, refectories, libraries, bathhouses, fountains, and other such charitable amenities of the Ottoman ‘welfare state’ as soup kitchens, hospitals, and madhouses.”
The Islamic welfare structure in combination with the destruction of existing institutions was an important reason for the spread of Islam in all Muslim conquered lands. In Abyssinia, for example, “among the causes given for the spread of Islam among the common people in later times, one is that the Christian priesthood was corrupt and ignorant, and another that the Church had abandoned large tracts of territory and was therefore unable to fulfil its charitable obligations.”
Finally, one additional factor facilitating conversions to Islam is the lure of theological simplicity. Reuben notes how in Africa Islam by providing the tribesman “with a way of life which, though not by any means easy, is yet simple and clearly defined, … frees him from the numerous vague terrors inseparable from a primitive state of culture.” Such simplicity was undoubtedly a factor advancing Islam among the less educated and sophisticated in all lands penetrated by Muslims.
In chapter 7, Culture of the Harem, another important cause of the remarkable growth of the Muslim religion is analyzed. This was the Islamic breeding system in which the oppression of Muslim women and their total subordination to Muslim men was accompanied by a system of sexual slavery prescribed in Islamic scripture.
 Chapter 3: Shadow of the Sword: Patterns of Islamic Conquest.
 Karsh, Islamic Imperialism, p. 22.
 Hasan, The Arabs and the Sudan, p. 33.
 Ibid, p. 34.
 Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet, p. 49.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 232.
 Ibid, p. 219.
 Ibid, p. 283.
 Ibid, p. 360.
 Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands, pp. 27-8.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 232.
 See Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: an essay in quantitative history.
 L. P. Harvey, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1990, pp. 7-9.
 Darlington, The Evolution of Man and Society, p. 344.
 Ibid, p. 345.
 Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period, p. 41.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 145.
 Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, p. 200.
 Frye, The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 4, p. 307.
 Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 47.
 Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, pp. 200-201.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 286-87.
 Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, p. 60.
 Frye, The Heritage of Central Asia, p. 203.
 Hasan, The Arabs and the Sudan, p. 33.
 Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands, p. 73.
 Ibid, p.43.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, pp. 510-11.
 Ibid, p. 511.
 Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period, pp. 33-34.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 180.
 Ibid, p. 176.
 Ibid, p. 179.
 Ibid, p. 181.
 Ibid, pp. 182-83.
 Ibid, pp. 176-77.
 Ibid, p. 179.
 Ibid, p. 394.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 287.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 187.
 Ibid, p. 213.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 287.
 Hasan, The Arabs and the Sudan, p. 106.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 144.
 Ibid, p. 242.
 Ibid, pp. 362-63.
 Ibid, p. 446.
 Ibid, p. 475.
 Ibid, p. 405.
 Ibid, p. 230.
 Ibid, p. 234.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 26.
 Ibid, pp. 134-37.
 John Freely, Inside The Seraglio, London, Penguin, 1999, p. 18.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 218.
 Ibid, p. 116.
 Ibid, p. 259.
 Ibid, p. 262.
 Lewis, The Middle East, p. 126.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 332.
 Keay, India, A History, p. 211.
 Ibid, pp. 212-13.
 Ibid, p. 213.
 Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, p. 202.
 Ibid, p. 203.
 Golden, The Karakhanids and early Islam, p. 353.
 Soucek, A History of Inner Asia, p. 121.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 344.
 Levy, The Social Structure of Islam, p. 45.
 Ibid, p. 46.
 Soucek, A History of Inner Asia, p. 114.
 Chapter 4: Limits of Empire.
 Soucek, A History of Inner Asia, p. 121.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 26.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 182.
 Ibid, p. 176.
 Ibid, pp. 228-29.
 Ibid, p. 463.
 Darlington, The Evolution of Man and Society, p. 381.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 277.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, pp. 39-70.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 228.
 Frye, The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 4, p. 307.
 Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, p. 411.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 158.
 Ibid, pp. 171-72.
 Yeor, Islam and Dhimmitude, pp. 87-8.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, pp. 352-53.
 Ibid, p. 355.
 Ibid, p. 378.
 Ibid, p. 353.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 120.
 Ibid, pp. 211-14.
 Levy, The Social Structure of Islam, p. 48.
 Ibid, p. 52.