From Halas al-Umma to Necat al-umma: A Few Notes on Continuing Issues of Ottoman Political Thought

The treatise of Halas al-umma fî ma’rifat al-a’imma, written in Arabic, by Lutfi Pasha (d. 1563) one of the Grand Vizier’s of the Suleiman the Magnificent, rejected the requisite of belonging to the Quraysh tribe for the caliphate. Based on largely Hanafi fiqh books, he announced the Ottoman sultans as legitimate caliphs in the person of Suleiman the Magnificent by this study. Having the idea of himself solved this important “legitimacy problem”, which started to occupy the agenda of the writers of Islamic political thought, especially following the weakening of the Baghdad Abbasid caliphate and its disappearance after the Mongol invasion, was this work of Pasha taken into account by the Ottoman political writers of the time? Pursuing this question, this study has reached an anonymous treatise written during the reign of Mahmud II. This treatise, Nacat al-umma fî ta‘at al-a’imma, took its final form in 1 Rajab 1247/6 December 1831 about three hundred years after Halas al-umma. The importance of Nacat al-umma fî ta‘at al-a’imma lies in bringing the issues related with the reform efforts of the time into agenda including the requisite of belonging Qurays. The aim of this study is to examine this treatise, which discusses the issue, in comparison with other treatises of the period, which are proponent of reform and also to take its relationship with the treatise of Halas alumma and the context in which it was written into account.

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