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Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 96, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1976), pp. 89-96 Published by: American Oriental Society

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THE

DEVELOPMENT

AND

ROLE

IN

EARLY

OTTOMAN

OF

THE

HISTORY

SEYHIULISLAM

MICHAEL M.

PIXLEY

SEATTLE,

WASHINGTON

Research and investigation of the

eeyhiilislam has primarily been concentrated on his

post-Siileymanic role. Generally, these studies are very vague, at best, when describing

the chief Ottoman mifti

that students of Ottoman history

are all too frequently unfamiliarwith the early history of the geyhiilislam as well as the process of his growth in power through the end of the sixteenth century. This article

the first one hundredand fifty years

development of his office. The result of this situation is

and frequently avoid any significant discussion of the early

presents a general examinationof the yeyhiulislam in

of his existence as well as a discussionof how he fits within the complex Ottomanbureau-

cratic hierarchy.

WITHIN

THE

OTTOMAN

JUDICIAL

STRUCTURE.

the

qeyhiilislam1 was the leading miifti (jurisconsult) and as such a major spokesman for the ulema. Yet despite his prominence, the qeyhiulislam has rarely been the object of scholarly investigation, particularly with regard to his early development. Most works dealing with the Ottoman judiciary are limited to post-sixteenth century matters and do not discuss, save in summary, the chief Otto-

major

modern

in

man miifti

prior to this

of the

period.

Seyhiilislam

The

only

study

is included

Ismail

Hakki

UzunCarsili's

Osmanli

Devletinin

II-

miye TeSkilati (Ankara, 1965). In this book, Prof. Uzunfarsili provides a fuller presentation of the Ottoman learned class than has been available

and displays the fruits of much research.

heavy with information,

the

amount of analysis and it is frequently

reader to grasp the meaning of the material.

In short, many basic questions still remain to be answered or even presented.

the

origin, evolution and role of the chief Ottoman

to

clarify his importance. The period under exam-

miufti as

Although

a limited

up to

there

is only

The

purpose

a

of this

study

is

to

examine

and

thus

leading

judicial

figure

Therewere numerousother titles for the qeyhiilislam. Ilmiye Salnamesi (Istanbul, 1334), p. 305 and Joseph

See

von Hammer, Staatsverfassung und Staatsverwaltung des osmanischenReiches (Vienna, 1815), vol. II, p. 373. In most Ottoman sources, he is frequently termed the miiuti, without any other titles. Throughout this study, modern Turkish orthography is used.

1

ination extends from the creation of the Seyhiilis-

lamlik

reign

(1566-1574) and is subdivided into four periods;

1424-1480, 1481-1517, 1518-1542 and finally 1543-

remarks on

the

1574.

in

(office

1574,

Some

and

the

general

legal

duties

last

of the

of the

year

of

Seyhiilislam)

Selim

II's

1424 to

and preliminary

structure

Ottoman

can help to

explain

the context in which the seyhiilislam operated.

OTTOMAN

JUDICIAL

SYSTEM

The judiciary constituted the major portion of the Ottoman bureaucratic class referred to by some scholars as the "Men of Religious Knowl- edge (ehl-i iIm)."2 This group was responsible for the application and interpretation of law through- out Ottoman domains, a task of profound im- portance in Islamic societies. Roughly speaking,

we can divide the judicial system into two portions,

judges (kadis) and jurisconsults

(miiftis).

Kadis,

situated in all major cities and towns in the empire and of the Hanefi legal persuasion,3 possessed the authority to pass sentence on all cases in their courts (mahkemes), while the local administrative

ruler

The

counterpart

actually

of

implemented

the

judge

the

was

decision.

the

jurisconsult

2 Cf. Halil

Inalcik,

The Ottoman Empire;

the Classical

Age, 1300-1600 (New York,

the

1973), p.

100.

3 H. A. R. Gibb and H. Bowen, Islamic Society and

West (London, 1950-1957), vol. I, pt. 2, p. 135. After

their conquest by the

Ottomans, the Arab provinces

were still

allowed

to

use miitis

and kadis of the three

other "orthodox" legal schools. loc. cit.

See Gibb and Bowen,

89

90

Journal

of the American

who acted as a kind of legal advisor to the court and issued, when requested by either the kadi or the litigants, a legal opinion (fetva) based upon the law. Normally a kadi would heed the recom-

mendation

which we will discuss at

obliged

greater length later. By far the vast majority of kadis and miiftis destined for large towns and cities were recruited

from the professors

colleges (medreses).

or jurisconsult

(miilazim) might aspire depended upon four major

of

factors

his education; 2. where he was taught; 3. the prestige of his teachers and; 4. his patrons and

In

most

contacts

of

his

miifti

but

he

was

not

legally

to

do so, a point

(miiderrises) of the theological

The

which

highest

grade

a

candidate

importance:

1. the

of judge

for

office

degree

the

first

Ottoman

government.

two

points

were

the

to

of variable

within

cases,

the

most

significant. Obviously scholastic ability deter- mined the degree to which a cadidate could func-

tion well within a judicial system based upon

familiarity with complex and different legal codes.

As for the second element,

capital

the medreses of the

were

far

and

away

the

most

important

schools

Constantinople

in

the

former

empire.

in

1453,

the

After

that

of

the

city

conquest

became,

of

quite

understandably,

with

retaining great secondary prestige. The best and

most erudite professors usually gravitated to the main medreses of the empire and their students

held an edge over their fellow class-

mates

of Ot-

toman education. The fourth factor, that of con-

tacts within the government increased only as the scholarly

and the state regressed. Still, patrons were con- sidered a natural acquirement for any student but, in the healthier periods of the state, resulted not from preconceived or pressured prejudice but rath- er from the demonstration of significant ability on the part of the student.

his education as a student and

same underscores the frequently

Bursa

center

of

Ottoman

Edirne

learning

the

capitals

and

frequently

even

in

the

school,

a factor

which

prestige

personal nature

or familial

class deteriorated

After completing

thereafter working through the ranks, this time as a professor, a milazim faced two choices with regard to future employment outside of education.

He could seek a position as a judge or, secondly, as a jurisconsult. In terms of promotional op-

hier-

archy

of

if not

portunities,

role

of em-

ployment

he faced a gamble

to

the

held

to

in the active

yet

secure

periods

a greater,

as opposed

and

passive

limited

secure

a mifti.

A kadi

hoped

Oriental

Society

96.1 (1976)

equally, prestigious post elsewhere in the empire after the completion of his term of office.4 There was, however, no guarantee that he would succeed and might in fact suffer demotion. The mufti, on the other hand, knew his position to be secure

and tenable

even for life,5 but in the process he

surrendered his ambition to gain higher posts.

in our period

the seyhiilislam, as the chief miiti of the Ottoman

in-

The irony of this situation

is that

a miifti

Empire,

never

served

as

before

his

vestiture.6

provided the candidate for seyhiilislam, men who through their ability and practical experience were entrusted with helping to guide the state, now via their fetvas. Throughout this study, the principal Ottoman jurisconsult is described as essentially a giver of fetvas. It was expected and assumed that a miiti was well-versed in Islamic law, hence any opinion he gave was usually accorded the utmost in respect

by a judge or any other recipient. While deference to a fetva may have been the norm, it was by no means obligatory, a fact of tremendous importance in understanding the Seyhilislam's position in the Ottoman government. Any fetva of the seyhiilis- lam could be used, ignored or even sat upon until a propitious moment as a kind of insurance policy for future possibilities.7 In discussing the legal opinions of the seyhiilis- lam, we must take care to differentiate between

It was

the

"active" kadi system

that

4 Ismail Hakki Uzuncarsili,Osmanli Devletinin Ilmiye Teqkilati (Ankara, 1965), pp. 94-95.

5 Gibb and Bowen,

vol.

I, pt. 2, p. 135.

6 For biographies of the Seyhiilislams, see Ilmiye Sal-

namesi, pp. 322-641,

Mecdi (d.

1590-91), (Istanbul, 1269), Abdiilkadir Altunsu, Osmanli

zade,

Usameddin

Numanihe,

bin Ahmet

trans.

Mehmet

Taskoprilii-

$akayikal-

Seyhulislamlari

7 See

Uriel

(Ankara,

1972).

Heyd,

"Some

Aspects

of

the

Ottoman

Fetva," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African

Studies, vol. XXXII, (1969), pt. 1, p. 56. In his article

on

that the power to grant

fetvas was invested

This is

B.

MacDonald, "fatwa" (Encyclopedia of Islam (old ed.), M. Z. Pakalin, Osmanli Tarih Deyimleri ve Terimleri S6zliigii (Istanbul, 1971), vol. II, p. 599. Provincial miiftis also were in a position to give legal opinions. On the use of fetvas for various eventualities, see A.D. Alderson, The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty (Oxford,

1956),

incorrect.

"fatwa-

Ottoman

Empire

(Encyclopedia

of

seyhiilislam.

p.

174, n.

1;

Islam

D.

(new ed.)," J. R. Walsh states

strictly

See Uzuncarili,

in the

op. cit.,

p.

29, n.

4.

PIXLEY:

The Development

two broad categories; administrative fetvas and

those of the general public. The first group would include answers to queries made by the sultan,

the grand vezir or other high officials.

group, that is, private

in court,

The second

citizens

involved

used the qeyhilislam as a source of fetvas for re- solving purely local issues of law. By the begin-

century this latter task had

ning of the sixteenth

become so burdensome that an aide, the fetva

emini (official in charge of fetvas) was created in order to deal with the growing number of plaintiffs

seeking

legal

opinions.8

The nature

and use

of administrative

eeyhiilislam

for

the

and

kadi

the

were

government.

intended

to

fetvas is

a key point in clarifying the relationship between

the

fetvas

dispute between two parties, the legal opinion of the qeyhiulislam concerning bureaucratic or polit- ical problems did not involve this kind of situation. If, for example, the sultan wished to declare war

a

Whereas

resolve

the emperor

on the Habsburgs,

An

administrator

he could apply his legitimate

situation.

of an official presenting the qeyhiilislam with a

"loaded" question predetermining the response. In matters between the contestants in a kadi's

court,

(mesele)

only

the

no one summoned

from Vienna

to present

was merely

his side of the issue.

asking

whether

or not

authority in a specific

Implicit in this process is the possibility

opinion

as

the

of

mifti

theoretical

was

acceptable

problem

the

insofar

was correctly represented, thus making the judge

an intermediary figure.

When no such figure was

included in a legal question, such as in the case

a simple

fetva,

matter to describe an affair in a biased fashion.9

of an administrative

it

could

be

The $eyhiilislam obviously fulfilled a useful ca-

pacity in the state legal system through his judicial

opinions discussed above.

Empire did not, however, crystallize instantane-

His role in the Ottoman

8 Heyd,

p. 48.

9 A good example of this is the fetva of MehmetEbus- suut (d. 1574) authorizing the death of Siileyman el- Kanuni's son, Bayezit. The text of the fetva's problem begins with the words, "(if) one of the sons of a righteous

sultan

.," and concludes,

after describing acts of trea-

son, asking whetheror not execution is in order according

to the ?eriat. ($erafettin

Turan, Kanuni'nin

Oglu $ehzade

Bayezid Vak'asi (Ankara,1961), p. 110). The permission of Ebussuut was given since, as he had to reply to a technically theoretical question, he had no other choice. In any event, Ebussuut knew exactly who was requesting the fetva and what was expected.

and

Role of the Seyhiilislam

 

91

a series

of discernable

him into

began

with

ously but rather followed

an

intensely political figure by the mid-sixteenth cen-

tury.

in

the early fifteenth

1424-1480

emerged

was a period of both profound recovery and success for the The interregnum period (fetret

1402 to 1413, represented years of civil and mili-

from

the

stages which eventually

transformed

process

The

first

step

o f t h e

of the

in this

Ottoman

formation

qeyhiulislamlik

century.

the

The century

in which

Seyhiilislam

chaos and amazing Ottoman

Empire.

devri), lasting

tary strife yet nevertheless resulted in an

state which engineered the conquest of one of

Europe's

a

organized

upon

most

I

fabulous

cities.

had

Bayezit

(1389-1402)

of direct conquest

embarked

policy

for geo-political

concern of his co-religionist Timur. His invasion

Bayezit

of Anatolia and the subsequent defeat of

which, more

than religious reasons, aroused the

in Anatolia

at the battle of Ankara (1402) threw the nascent

waged by

four of Bayezit's sons. While Mehmet I

(1413-

1421) emerged as the victor in this conflict, his

reign was by no means secure. Bedreddin and his pantheistic

as well as Diizme (the False) Mustafa, Mehmet was hard-put to deter their ominous threats to his

sovereignty. Although he crushed and executed

Bedreddin by 1416,10 he was unable

the elusive Mustafa. Mehmet had nevertheless

bequeathed to his son, Murad, a re-vitalized state

and thus

Ottoman

state into a four-way

civil war

Challenged by ?eyh

and communal views

to eliminate

the means

to deal with

dissent.

re-

most

pressing of which was that of Diizme Mustafa.

be

faced

time Murad's younger brother.

Murad

Mustafa

hanging from a fig tree before an Iznik storefront."

Murad had quelled the most immediate threats to his rule but absolute control still evaded him.

in

rebellious Mustafa, this

Murad finally

Murad II (1421-1451)

volts

at

the

beginning

with

silenced

yet

another

destroyed

him

faced

of

him

his

in

1423,

several

reign,

1422,

the

only

Moving

leaving

serious

to

quickly,

Samawna"

(Encyclopedia

considerable

suggests 1420 as the correct date, together with men-

See Uzungarsili, Osmanli Tari-

tioning other possibilities.

Uzungarsili

10 H.

J.

Kissling,

of

"Badr al-Din

ed.).

as

B.

this

Kadi

There

date.

is,

2.

Osmanli

Islam

(new

however,

disagreement

1961), vol.

Hami

I,

p.

to

365,

hi (Ankara,

11 Ismail

and n.

Izahli

I, p.

189.

Dani?mend,

1971), vol.

Tarihi

Kronolojisi (Istanbul,

92

Journal of the American Oriental Society 96.1 (1976)

The Byzantines maintained in their court a cousin

of

Murad's throne.l2

Morea,

Wallachia and Albania where they engaged Hun-

garian and Venetian

and

internal

regenerated Ottoman state, especially through his use of deviirme personnel as kapi kulu ("slaves of the gate"), men who, because of their dependence upon the sultan, were considered more loyal and

amenable to the Ottoman monarch.

of the sultan aroused considerable concern and

apprehension

society.

with dismay

and even for the poorest gazis centralization was

anathema.13 Impoverished non-Muslim elements

as well as some Muslims found

socialistic doctrines of *eyh Bedreddin and also

his important followers, Borkluce Mustafa and Torlak Kemal, and thereby further strained the fabric of the state, especially in Rumeli.l4

Murad,

Orhan,

and

Such

used

a

Ottoman

him

danger

as

a threat

did

not

to

to

stop

Murad from

sending

armies

forces in 1423.

both

to

In attempting

dangers,

to cope with Murad sought

external

centralize

the

This

effort

among

Turkish

several layers of Ottoman

artistocratic

class

viewed

The

any efforts to control their power

refuge

in

the

to

Mehmet

speculate

?emsiddin Fenari (1350-1431) as the first ieyhiilis-

lam of the state.l5

With

the

as

foregoing

foregoing

to

why

in mind,

Murad

II

it

is possible

named

There were probably two

12 Inalcik, p.

13 Ibid., p. 18.

20 and p. 23.

See also Paul Wittek, The Rise of the

Ottoman Empire(London,1938),p. 47 and Ernst Werner,

Die

Geburt einer Grossmacht-dieOsmanen (1300-1481)

(Berlin, 1966), pp. 180-218.

Werner, on pp. 198-213, discusses

the appeal of $eyh Bedreddin and Borluce Mustafa's

ideas to the Christians.

14

Inalcik, p. 18.

15 Ilmiye

,

p. 322,

Altunsu,

p.

1.

Cf. Ta?kopriilii-

zade, p. 49. There is, nevertheless, another figure de-

scribedas an appointedseyhiilislam who pre-dates Fenari

The Ilmiye

by around seventy years, Elvan Fakih.

Salnamesi (p. 317, n. 1), as well as Mehmet Pakalin,

Osmanli Tarih Deyimleri

(pp. 600-601) quote the

Miin$eat-i Selatin of Feridun Bey (d. 1583) as describing Elvan Fakih in a ferman to Evrenos Bey as the "?ey-

hilislam to the whole of the province of Rum (umum

Rumeli vilayetine seyhiilislam tayin [olup])." Yet this appointment would appear to be ad hoc in nature and hence atypical of Ottoman administrationat the time for

a numberof reasons. First, between the reigns of Murad

I and MuradII we do not find any other figure described

as a seyhiilislam which further implies that

position was pro tempore. Secondly, the fact that Fakih

Fakih's

reasons for his action. First, in creating a high- Islamic state, it was necessary, a priori, to allow religion an important place. Second, a high reli- gious dignitary could be used to undermine inter- nal opponents of the sultan. Both of these sug- gestions fit within Murad's overall efforts to cen- tralize and strengthen the state in addition to symbolizing a more developed sense of self-im-

portance

a

spectacular event in the eyes of the Ottomans, and chroniclers of that century, such as Uruc and

Asikpasazade do not even deign to mention the matter. Aside from his responsibility as the fey- hulislam, Fenari also kept his positions as the kadi of Bursa and a professor in a Manastir medrese,l6 which implies that Fenari was not wholly oc- cupied with his new office. In return for his service in giving fetvas, Fenari apparently received thirty akce per day, while at the same time the kazasker

(judge of the army) earned a daily wage

of around five-hundred ak9e, a comparison that

underscores the low profile of the qeyhilislam.17

for the

Ottomans

in the Islamic realm.

in

1424 was not

The

appointment

of Fenari

(yevmiye)

Despite the humble nature of the

at

this

time,

Murad had

created

eyhiilislamlik

an

office

with

potential for growth within the Ottoman central

bureaucracy. The limited scope of the office of

the chief miiti

limited power of the Ottoman Empire which still

relied

Great

state

fetvas.l8

was essentially

a reflection

for some

store

of the

for

the

with

of his

upon

the

Cairene ulema

however,

were

and

the

in

(1451-1481).

changes,

and consequently

death

of Murad

Mehmet

II

II

for the .eyhilislam,

accession

the

son,

With

his

dramatic

capture

of

Constantinople,

Mehmet, usually known as the

and

yet

famed Muslim figures. Besides his military prow- ess, Mehmet displayed a host of more delicate

gen-

of

"Conqueror

(Fa-

tih)," could have

still

have

left

resigned

his

from his position

high

on the

list

name

proclivities. A competent poet, builder and

manifestations

eral patron of culture, the sultan

talent for administration and did much to further

the similar efforts of his father and

this

One of the most notable

also evinced

a

grandfather.

of

was mentioned only as the miifti to Rumeli tells us that he was definitely not in charge of the empire as a whole.

16 Ta?kopriiluzade, p. 49, Ilmiye Salnamesi, p. 322.

17 Uzungarsili,

18 Halil Inalcik, "The Emergence of the Ottomans,"

Ilmiye

,

p.

175, n. 2.

The CambridgeHistory of Islam, ed. P. M. Holt, et. al.

(Cambridge, 1970), vol.

I, p. 290.

PIXLEY:

The Development

and

Role

of the

;eyhiilislam

93

ability

In this decree, the eeyhiu-

lislam was described as the "chief of the ulema."20

Pre-dating this kanunname, in Mehmet's reign the salary of the chief jurisconsult had risen to two-hundred akce daily, another apparent sign of

the

But what did these words and financial rewards mean in reality? As it turned out they signified very little for the chief mifti. The sultan, on the other hand, realized several advantages from his

masterful stroke. In the first place, it was utterly

leader

of the ulema while the kazaskers, grand vezir and sultan controlled the appointment of all miider- rises, miiftis and kadis in the state.22 For Mehmet, his action allowed him to emulate the models of the great Arab empires and the Mamluks insofar

as the Ottomans, as a leading Muslim power, could

super-

ficially

of reli-

gious

in

the

claim to maintain

result of

Mehmet's

was

an

administrative

kanunname

(code-

book) issued in 1480.19

Seyhiilislam's

increasing

power.21

meaningless

for the

seyhiilislam

to

be the

a high

religious

figure

similar to the caliph.23 A second

and

state.

ploy

was a closer identification

secular

interests,

thus

enabling

the

ulema

sultan to govern more effectively

the

in the imperial council (Divan-i Hiimayun), the seyhiilislam was little more than a sacred figure- head in the affairs of state.

Devoid of active authority or a seat

1481-1517

It

is only

in the period

1481-1517

that

we first

encounter many significant accounts of the Sey-

hiilislam

Lybyer claims that Bayezit II (1481-1512) placed

the

More interesting are the stories relating the con-

frontations between the seyhiilislam and the sultan

wherein

the

are centered

and recount

Zem-

and his relationship with the sultan.

miiti

on

a

throne

above

his

own.24

the

former emerged

victorious,

nature

of

the

state.

Such

implying

narratives

in the

reign

of Selim

I (1512-1520)

the

efforts

of his seyhiilislam,

chief

pious

19 Tarih-i Osmani Enciimeni Mecmuasi (1330), suppl.

pp.

9-32.

20

21 Ibid., p. 176.

22 Ibid., p. 179.

23 The idea discussed

24

Uzuncarsili,

is

A.

H.

Ilmiye

p.

175, n.

as

an

1.

Ottoman

,

of the feyhiilislam below.

caliph

Lybyer, The Government of

the Ottoman

Empire in the Time of Suleiman the Magnificent (Cam-

bridge, Mass., 1913), p. 209.

billi Ali (d. 1526), to defend the holy law.25 The celebrated nature of these encounters, however, proves their rarity, and such incidents by no

means

represented

the

norm.

The Ottoman

attitude

towards

the seyhiilislam

was severely

Ottomans captured Cairo and the Abbasid caliph, al-Mutawakkil (d. 1543). At this point it is ap-

propriate to discuss one of the most theories for the role of the

he was an Ottoman version of the Abbasid

Such an explanation

as

actions

a mistake,

Were

such a line of reasoning true, the Ottoman

could have maintained

removing the Seyhiilislam's raison d'etre. This

was not Ottoman policy, however, and the chief muiti continued to exist whereas al-Mutawakkil

was eventually allowed to return to Cairo where

he quietly

lislam

tion which had as of this date existed for almost a

century

statecraft.

tion,

juris-

consult was an official subordinate to the sultan.

The same cannot be said of the

ship between

wakkil

tan's

as the

practical plane, the caliph might have served as

a strong rallying point for dissidents conquered Arab provinces of the

him

the sul-

to be merely

be

tested

in 1517, the year in which the

seyhiilislam;

prominent

i.e., that

is not without

caliph.28

merit insofar

to

justify

sanction.

various

state

It

would

assume

the

seyhiilislam

of the caliph.

Abbasid

sultans

line,

thus

both

figures

through

served

religious

to

however,

a carbon-copy

the

passed

away into oblivion. The seyhii-

a distinctly

Ottoman

institu-

met

the

requirements

of

there was

no ques-

that

the head

potential

relation-

Al-Muta-

represented

and

admirably

More importantly,

or practical,

theoretical

the caliph and the sultan.

in

theory,

challenged

had Selim

could have, rule of the

spiritual

state

head

recognized

of the empire.

On a more

in the newly-

empire.

Empire,

By

refraining from recognizing al-Mutawakkil as the

religious leader of the Ottoman

Selim

removed a potential rival and reconfirmed the

312-313. Inalcik mentions

(The Ottoman Empire,

involving the questionable arrest of one hundred and

fifty treasury officials. Inalcik states that the sultan

prevailed over the protests of Zembilli Ali who

that Selim had violated the

contradicted by the account in

(p. 312) which concludes that the fact, effect the release of these men.

feyhiilislam did, in

the Ilmiye Salnamesi

25 Ilmiye Salnamesi, pp.

p.

94) one of these

anecdotes,

argued

$eriat. This presentationis

26 Gibband Bowen,vol. I,

pt. 2, p. 85 and J. H. Kramer

"Shaikh al-Islam," Encyclopediaof Islam (old ed.).

94

Journal

of the American

seyhiilislam as the principal ulema leader, yet still an official subject to the will of the sultan.

the only other

It is convenient

now to mention

general theory for the existence of the chief mifti, which asserts that he was a model of the Greek

As with the caliph-theory

above, this notion

on the generic role of legitimization

scrutiny

with sanctioning, or at least condoning, state

actions, the patriarch kept his own identity with-

in the

affairs and administration

quently engaged in the seemingly endless task of

determining orthodoxy. The seyhiilislam was not entrusted with such affairs and only by the last quarter of the sixteenth century did he even acquire limited administrative powers. There was no clear bifurcation of the Ottoman Empire into church and state as existed in the Byzantine

Empire, so to ascribe to the patriarch and seyhii-

lislam identical positions

in the state is to ignore

the realities of their respective statures. In his service to the state, the seyhiilislam did not mirror the caliph nor the patriarch but rather possessed his own unique position in society and government. The eyhiilislam carried with him the idea of the unity of "church-state" interests

along with the necessity

in imperial affairs, points which suffered a con-

siderable re-adjustment in the next period.

patriarch.27

mentioned

suffers from too much emphasis

and too little

Together

of church

not

infre-

of the actual officials involved.

government.

He was in charge

and

was

for moral/legal

guidance

1518-1542

Throughout the years of this period, the chief miiti continued to serve in his capacity as a legal

advisor

powers.

In fact,

suffered a drastic blow that both severely weaken- ed his office and also transformed it into an almost

purely political position. For the first time in

Ottoman

from office.

and

did

not

acquire

time

any

the

new

it was

at this

that

seyhiilislam

was

removed

history,

the

seyhiilislam

the

power of the 'grand' mifti, such as authoritative

legal knowledge and access to the sultan's ear,

the most important was the traditional life-long

fortified

his position in matters wherein he was opposed

of the sultan.

ignored

all died

im-

to the aspirations

tenure of his office. This last concept

Among

the

factors

which

contributed

to

Whether

or listened

in office.

to,

The

the

onus

first ten

seyhiilislams

with

of dismissal

all its

27 Ibid.

Oriental

Society

96.1 (1976)

plications first befell Koca Qivizade (1476-1547),

the eleventh

Qivizade

in

of the

eeyhiilislam clearly implied the importance

personal relationship between him and the sultan,

and it is apparently within this area that Koca Civizade ran afoul of the sultan. While some ac-

counts describe the mifti as a proponent of Sufism

and

wrath,29 the real cause probably lies in the dispute between Qivizade and the Rumeli kazaskeri, Meh-

met Ebussuut

who later became one

of

to

some of Civizade's fetvas, describing them as il-

legal

basis for the controversy

to the creation

and

Civizade

ground.31 Nevertheless, in the face of the seyhii-

lislam's continued intransigence, Stileyman acted out of personal expediency and dismissed the uncompromising Civizade, thereby inaugurating a dangerous precedent.32 Knowing full well that

in

particular

opposition

are

not

chief

Ottoman

miufti.28

The reasons for the dismissal

1542

by

entirely

Stileyman

el-Kanuni

clear.

The advisory

of Koca

(1520-1566)

capacity

of the

thence

the

object

of

Sileyman's

orthodox

(1490-1574),

celebrated

of the

sultan,

The

the most

eeyhiilislams

Ebussuut

if

not

in

history.

only,

A favorite

objected

the

(nameiru).30

on

this

center,

was (Qivizade's opposition

of vakfs using cash (vakf-i nikiid)

point

was

on

solid

legal

to

the

will

of

the

government,

the sultan,

might lead to dismissal,

the

chief miifti

was compelled

to seek the continence

28

29

30 Ibid., p. 22,

Ilmiye

Altunsu,

Salnamesi, p.

pp. 22-23,

361, Ta?kopriilizade, p. 446.

n.

1.

(Istan-

Ibrahim PeCevi, Tarih-i Pefevi

bul, 1283), vol. I, p. 49.

31 M. C. Baysun, "Ebiissuud Efendi," Islam Ansiklo-

pedisi (Istanbul, 1941), p. 94.

Cattan, "The Law of Waqf," Law in the Middle East, ed. Majid Khadduri (Washington, D.C., 1955), p. 205. There may have been a very practical reason as to why Ebussuud favored cash vakls when we recall his tendency to seek the gratitude of those in power. High officials might oftentimes possess much money yet little land that was not directly connected with their posts. Hence, after dismissal, especially under unfavorable circumstan-

On cash vakfs, see Henry

ces, it would be very beneficial and useful for security to

turn

touchable

household.

1559,