The journey of Ertuğrul and Osman…from immigration and suffering to the establishment of the last caliphate of Muslims

In the seventh decade of the fifth AH / eleventh century AD, while the great Seljuks were hammering the southern Caucasus after absolute control over central and western Asia from Mesopotamia and East Turkistan to the coasts of the Mediterranean in the Levant, the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) state, which She has been stalking Islam and Muslims since the age of prophecy. She has begun to realize the danger of these Seljuk Turks to their presence in Anatolia and Eastern Europe, as she previously realized the danger of Islam and its previous countries.

The Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV at the time had decided, very strictly, the necessity of a decisive confrontation with the Seljuks, who began to control the southern Caucasus, Azerbaijan and eastern Anatolia, and in this region the famous battle of Manzikert took place in 463 AH / 1071 AD, which resulted in the absolute control of the Seljuks over the entire Anatolia to the Mediterranean Sea. Marmara after a crushing defeat of the Byzantines, capturing their emperor and killing tens of thousands of them, and then establishing a new Seljuk branch whose followers were known in the history of the region as the “Seljuks of Rome” or “Seljuks of Anatolia”, and they fought a long conflict with their Byzantine neighbors in the far west, then the Crusaders and the Mongols, before they They engage in internal conflicts that were exploited by the Turkmen groups that settled in Anatolia in all its regions.

Anatolia was left, according to the Seljuk sources, over a long period of time spanning more than two centuries, during which Persian and Arab culture prevailed in official documents and literature before the Qaramanite dynasty ruling central Anatolia in Konya announced a Turkish revolution in culture, thought and writing since the seventh century AH, followed by the Ottomans. later.

And if the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan and his sons and grandsons, had attacked the Islamic countries from Central Asia, then Iran, to the Caucasus, Iraq and Anatolia, and their barbaric attacks played a role in crushing the Abbasid civilization and the fall of their state, then the flight of millions in front of them was a historical opportunity to cause the largest wave of human migrations in the history The Middle Ages, including the migrations of Turkmens from Central Asia to Iran, Azerbaijan and Anatolia, and from these the “Qayi” family emerged that brought out Ertugrul Ghazi and his son Osman and their state. How did the Ottoman Empire emerge on the stage of history? And how were its leaders made amid conflicts, spears, and rattles of swords?

From immigration to stability

In the middle of the seventh century AH / thirteenth century AD, the Seljuks – after two centuries of stability in Anatolia – had been subjected to a series of civil wars, exacerbated by the Mongol occupation that divided their state. For decades, the Seljuk sultans of Anatolia fought for their independence, and fate had thrown them with a Turkmen family that migrated for fear of the Mongols’ oppression to Anatolia. It belonged to a branch of the “Qayi” clan, one of the most famous branches of the Turkish “Oghuz” tribes (which the Arabs knew as the Al-Ghaz tribes). It was led by a man named Ertugrul Gazi.

Historical accounts differ about Ertuğrul, one of which says that his father is “Suleiman Shah”, while other accounts say that his father is called “Kunduz Alp.” bin Ertugrul bin Kunduz Alp. In any case, luck favored Ertuğrul Ghazi when he led 400 knights of his tribe with the help of the Seljuk Sultan “Aladdin Kaykabad”, who ruled Anatolia between 1220-1237 AD, in one of the battles in which he faced the influence of the Mongols in his country, and thanks to this support The Seljuk Sultan was able to defeat the invading Mongol force, so he decided to give the region of “Sogut” in western Anatolia and the Armenian mountain in southern Anatolia a fief of Ertugrul and his soldiers, and since that date the influence of “Al-Qayyin” led by Ertugrul in the far west of Anatolia, in the area near Eski famous (1).

The Turkish historian “Yilmaz Oztuna” tells us in his book “The Brief History of the Ottomans” that the Seljuk state of Rum has consistently granted fiefs on the western borders touching the Byzantine state to some of the Turkmen families that were subordinate to it, and represented the front line of defense for the Seljuks and the Turkish presence in Anatolia, and the Çoban oğulları dynasty, on the northwest border, was famous, with their capital in Kastamoni, while the Germiyan oğulları dynasty was stationed in the southwest and their capital was Kütahya, both of which played a pivotal role in the defense of the Anatolian Seljuks. against the Byzantines. When Ertuğrul and his clan went to Sogut, he became politically dependent on Goban Ogolari in Kastamoni, and his son Osman Ghazi became after him before he became independent in his emirate following the strong victories he achieved against the Byzantines later (2).

Many Ottoman historians see that the lack of contemporary sources for the early years of the history of the Ottomans is the main reason for the ambiguity around the era of Ertugrul and even his son Osman. The fifteenth, but what we know for sure is that the area settled by Ertugrul and his group was in direct contact with the Byzantines who returned to western Anatolia and occupied it again after the Crusades on Anatolia and the Levant.

However, in the period between 1260-1320 AD, the Oghuz leaders of the Turkmen fighters were able to establish independent emirates in western Anatolia in the lands they had carved out from Byzantium. Which regained Constantinople in 1261 AD, was preoccupied with the events in the Balkans to the extent that it neglected its Asian borders, and the Turkmen princes took advantage of this and established special areas of influence on the outskirts of the Byzantine state (3).

“Brother” password

The circumstances paved the way for the emergence of the Turkmen militarily, but their ingenuity did not stop there. The culture of Sufism, which was entrenched in Anatolia since the Seljuk era, had its great role and influence in political and military activity, as all regions were associated with it, and all the Turkmen families who inherited the state embraced it. Seljuk in Anatolia after its collapse in the beginning of the eighth century AH / fourteenth century AD. These families were keen to foster mysticism, and blessed the establishment of the “brotherhood” angles and ligaments, a great mystical movement with which the middle classes of craftsmen were associated, as well as the upper classes in all parts of Anatolia, even Ibn Battuta, the famous traveler, when he arrived in the region at the beginning of the decade The fourth of the eighth century AH was his descent in every city with these Sufi fraternities and ligaments.

Ibn Battuta described it, saying: “One brotherhood is my brother, according to the word brother if the speaker adds it to himself, and they are in all the Turko-Roman countries, in every country, city and village, and there is no like them in the world in their celebration of strangers from people and their haste to feed food and meet needs, and take At the hands of the oppressors, the police killed and the evil people who followed them. They are called young men, and one of them is called, as we mentioned, my brother, and I have not seen in the world more beautiful deeds than them. (4)

For this reason, Ertuğrul was most likely associated with the brotherhood, and he singled it out with an exaggerated appreciation and respect, and it seems that his son Osman was associated with the brotherhood of his region since his childhood, whose sheikh was a man who combined the Arabic, Turkish and Persian tongues. In the Levant in the first half of the seventh century AH, then he came and settled in the “Beljek” region in western Anatolia, and he followed the loyalty method founded by Sheikh “Abu al-Wafa’ al-Baghdadi,” and at the same time he headed the brotherhood or brotherhood organization in that region. Indeed, Uthman had a lineage relationship with this sheikh when he married his daughter, and he was his spiritual inspirer, moral teacher and political guide as well (5).

Brotherhood Sufism was a spiritual, social, moral and religious inspiration for all social classes in Anatolia, and its great men were in contact with the spiritual and cultural movement in the Levant, Egypt and Iraq, and the spirit of confrontation against the Byzantines, especially in the areas of contact with them, prevailed, and for this reason the goal was The basic principle of the emerging Ottoman Emirate is to follow the policy of conquests, which was based on the concepts of conquest and jihad, which was in harmony with the social and anthropological nature of the Turks who loved fighting, war, moving and nomadism since they were in Central Asia.

Othman establishes his state

OthmanOsman I

The word “Osmanli”, as Turkish historians tell us, began to gain its meaning little by little, until this meaning expanded to be a flag not only for the inhabitants of the border area, but also for the local people in the lands of the conquest (6). The ratio of the emerging state to Osman and not to his famous Ghazi father Ertuğrul reveals to us the great position that Othman achieved among the Turks, and the reputation he gained among the Byzantine enemies. Byzantine historical sources have informed us of his non-stop attacks between “Eskişehir” in the north, to “Bursa” and “Iznik” in the west and south, and according to the writings of the Byzantine historian “Bakhimers”, the invader Othman bin Artgrel began his conquests around the year 1301 AD / 701 AH with the siege of Iznik ( Nicaea), the ancient capital of Byzantium, so the emperor sent an army of mercenaries to confront him, consisting of two thousand soldiers, but Othman ambushed him and defeated him in the summer of that year. Anatolia regions under his banner (7).

The conquests and spoils gave Osman Ghazi a leadership advantage over all the Turkmen princes in the emirates far from the front lines against the Byzantines. For a long time, these princes followed an irrational policy against their subjects, and restricted them in taxes and other things, unlike the Ottomans, who built their reputation through the financial generosity that the spoils of jihad provided them with, as well as their eagerness to spread justice, and their respect for scholars and mystics, all of which paved the way for the accession of hundreds From the warriors coming from the neighboring regions to the ranks of Osman Ghazi or Osman Bey, and thus his influence and strength in the face of the Byzantines on the one hand, and in the face of the neighboring Turkmen emirates that were dominated by the sons and grandsons of Othman over time on the other hand, on the other hand (8).

And if Ertuğrul Ghazi was able to leave his son a fledgling emirate of 4800 km, Othman was able, after four decades of confrontation and war on the squares of Iznik, Bursa, “Beljek” and others in western Anatolia, to leave to his son Orhan Ghazi an emirate of 16,000 km, which is four times what his father left him; It included the most famous, oldest and largest cities in Western Anatolia, such as Bilecik, Eskişehir, Sakarya, Kütahya, and important areas of Bursa (9).

Orhan Ghazi and his sons and grandchildren continued after him on the same path laid down by the founders, Ertugrul and Osman, as their state rose from the phase of the emirate to the state to the sultanate to the caliphate, in a story whose events spanned over the next six centuries, a story whose first chapters, paradoxically, emerged from the womb of immigration And the fear of the swords of the Mongols, before they spread their glory on the battlefields and under the teeth of spears.



  1. Ahmed Shemshergil: History of Bani Othman 1/12
  2. Yılmaz Öztuna, Brief Ottoman History, p.9.
  3. Khalil Enalcik: History of the Ottoman Empire from Origin to Decline, p. 15.
  4. The Journey of Ibn Battuta 2/163.
  5. Ahmed Shemshergil: History of Bani Othman 1/12
  6. The Ottoman Empire, History and Civilization 1/10.
  7. Yılmaz Öztuna, Brief Ottoman History, p.16.
  8. Behcetü’l tevarih, p53.
  9. Yılmaz Öztuna, Brief Ottoman History, p10.

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