The three empires, Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal, were three of the greatest Islamic empires ever. They had many, many similarities; but also many differences; they all had similar endings, and beginnings, but what happened in between is very different. Like any given empire, each of these Islamic empires had their faults- some were not tolerant towards certain ideas and/or ethnic groups, while others were completely lenient towards these same things. What things led to each empire’s downfall can be determined easily, by simply examining their differences.
Regarding the religious tolerance of the three empires, the leniency of each seems to fluctuate as time goes on; meaning, each empire had a period of extremists, and each a period (no matter how brief) of peace between groups. The Ottomans, for instance, were Muslim; Sunni Muslim. Islam tradition accepted the existence of other monotheistic religions like theirs; i.e. Jews and Christians. There were laws regarding the interactions between each group. Christians and Jews could pray in their own Churches or Synagogues, and Muslims continued to pray in their Mosques. The Ottoman system was a mix of tradition and what they believed was practical; their obvious tolerance was unique. However, they did have a tax on non-Muslim people that upset the population; when it was removed, there was a brief period of peace, but when it was reinstalled, and the population became aggravated once more. The Safavids were slightly less tolerant; when Isma’il came into power, he named Shi’a Islam as the religion of his empire- this caused many wars, but changed the path of the empire, affecting what we now know as Iran forever. The Mughals had the oddest idea- Akbar, though a great leader, made a weird decision; he combined the warring religions into one, called “G-d-ism” in English. It was named the state religion until his death, when everything he had done collapsed.
Concerning the militia affairs of the three empires, it is safe to say that all of them enjoyed conquering new states, though not necessarily for the same reason. The Ottoman empire was interested in conquering, just to spread Islam. Their religion was their inspiration, whereas the others had less of that incentive. The Safavids were interested also in conquering, but just to expand their empire. The Mughals had completely different reasoning. Babur, their first leader, wanted to reclaim the lands which had been stolen from him when he was young. That was his sole reason for conquering what is now called India.
In regards to Women’s Rights, the Ottoman Empire is very vague. The other empires had clear reasoning, while the Ottomans stuck to tradition, and fact. The Safavid Empire allowed for them to have more freedom; Akbar gave them the most. He attempted to eradicate the practice of “sati”- killing a woman when she is widowed, i.e. When her husband dies. He also encouraged the remarriage of widows, which was previously unheard of. He also discouraged child marriages. Sadly, after his death, their status began to decline. In the Mughal empire, their freedom took a dive; it was there that the stereotypical culture we imagine today developed- i.e. the covering of their faces, the horrible conditions which we are trying to relieve them from even today, attempting to modernize their very traditional society.
All in all, these three cultures have many differences, but it is safe to say that their overall experiences were very similar. The empires were all Islamic- despite one being distinctively Sunni and another distinctively Shi’a- or at least monotheistic, and all enjoyed conquering new areas, determined to conquer Europe, but never quite succeeding. Their impulses and incentives for conquering, and their beginnings were similar, as were their dramatic downfalls.
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