Ertugrul… This is a popular and household name today among the people. Its popularity is due to the Turkish drama which has broken all records of popularity. That is why this drama was dubbed in different languages of the world and is still being aired on different channels. Currently, it is the heartbeat and sensational in Indo-Pak subcontinent, especially among Muslim youth. Ertugrul is a symbol of determination, pride, faith, love for community and the spirit of doing something for it. A spirit of persevering truth and justice at any cost in spite of inconveniences and life threatening. The Muslim Ummah is going through a period of disrespect, misery, decline, chaos, despair and deprivation. In this difficult and discouraging time, this name and character is a source of courage and determination. In spite of all the weaknesses, this character inspires that sincerity, determination, proper planning, unity and solidarity and the spirit of doing something to achieve the goal can still lead to success, triumph and pride, with this spirit Muslim ummah can prosper in the world and emerge from the mire of worthlessness, weightlessness and insignificance. This desire, passion and spark is in the heart of every Muslim. ‘Ertugrul’ has ignited and raised it. That is why it has become the voice of the heart of every Muslim and becomes spokesman of his desires and aspirations.
In the thirteenth century AD, when the Muslim world was in turmoil, the Abbasid Caliphate was weakened, the Mongols were ravaging the Muslim world with successive invasions and the Christian Byzantine Empire was waging war against the Muslim world. In that period, “Qai” tribe was like other Turkic tribes, was a nomadic tribe. That first settled in Aleppo and then in Söğüt. The first chief of this tribe to become famous was Suleiman Shah. One of his sons Ertugrul, not only rallied the Turkish tribes against the conspiracies of the Crusaders and the Mongol invasions but also founded a state that would later be on the world map for nearly seven hundred years in the name of the Great Ottoman Empire. Which united the Arabs and non-Arabs under the unity of the Caliphate and raised the banner of Islam on the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. As long as this great Ottoman Empire remained strong, the Muslims ruled the world. This drama series is based on the life of this “Ertugrul”.
Although, I watched only few episodes of this drama so far, but according to various sources this serial “Diriliş: Ertuğrul”, directed by Turkish filmmaker Mehmet Bozdag, is a historical fiction that connects the past to the present and try to build the future. This is the mirror, in which the past and the present appear together. There are five seasons of this serial. From the first season to the fifth season, the story, plot, characters, dialogues and productions are perfect in every aspect. In these characters you will clearly connect with many characters of today’s Muslim world. The actors who play these roles have also shown the essence of acting that makes the viewers amazed. The role of Ertugrul and Halima Sultan in particular are very effective and lively. While in the good characters of this drama we can see the reflection of our heroes and great peoples, in its negative characters we can see the reflection of today’s rulers and government officials.
The civilization shown in this drama is the ancient Islamic Turkish civilization, the social role of women is very lively and natural. The civilization portrayed is a mix of Islamic civilization and profound effect of Turkish civilization. The attributes of Islamic civilization have been shown in Ertugrul’s character, such as sincerity, turning to Allah in difficult stages, immense love and devotion to the Prophet (PBUH), keeping promises even in the difficult circumstances, generous in hospitality, respect for the elders, compassion for the youngers, respect for religious scholars, excellence of morals, kindness, faith, honor and dignity, etc.
This series tells the story of the early days of the Great Ottoman Empire. It is important not only because it has a history of Turkish ancestors, but also because it has served to connect the Turks to their past in the present times, in an attempt to overthrow the current President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan few years back. The whole young generation came out and resisted. That seems to be influenced by Ertugrul’s character.
As far as the biographical data of the hero of this drama, Ertugrul is concerned, it is a clear fact that the history books do not provide solid information and details about his life and his works. This article will try to shed some light on the information that has been obtained about this great historical leader.
According to the online information and Wikipedia, historically his existence confirmed by imprinted coins by Ertugrul’s son Osman-I. In these coins, Usman-I had engraved his father’s name on it “Ertugrul”. Historians have to rely on folk stories that became popular in the Ottoman Empire a hundred years after his death. The doubts have been expressed about these stories as well.
Ghazi Ertugrul bin Suleiman Shah was the son of Suleiman Shah, the chief of the Turk “Qai” tribe. He wa the father of Uthman-I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The date of birth is around 1119 AD while the year of death is said to be 1281 AD. He is buried in Söğüt, Anatolia, Turkey of present days. The “Qai” tribe, was a branch of the Oghuz Turk tribes and its family was called ‘Baigh’, meaning Leader. This tribe was religiously affiliated with Ahl-e-Sunnah-wal-Jama’t and was a Hanafi sect.
Ertugrul went to Aleppo to demand land for his tribe on his father Suleiman Sah’s direction. Where Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi’s grandson Al Aziz was ruling. Al Aziz became admirer of Ertugrul’s capabilities and he handed over the land of Söğüt to Ertugrul, which at that time was on the border of the Byzantine Empire. Ertugrul Ghazi befriended the Ayyubids and the Seljuks and conquered a stronghold of the Crusaders near Aleppo and became very close to Sultan Allauddin of Seljuk. He married Sultan Alauddin’s niece Halima Sultan with whom he had three sons. Later on, this land formed the basis of establishment of the Ottoman Empire.
Ertugrul Ghazi remained loyal to the Seljuk Empire throughout his life. In the last days of his life, the Seljuk Empire was dying and the Mongols had occupied all of Anatolia, which was of great concern to Ertugrul. His dream was to establish a great Islamic empire. Uthman-I the youngest son of Ertugrul, fulfilled this dream and laid the foundation of a great Ottoman empire.
British historian Caroline Finkel writes that according to the Ottomans, their empire began with a dream that Uthman had during his stay in the house of a great Sheikh. According to Finkel, documentary evidence in support of this dream story is also found in history.
According to the historian Leslie P. Paris, after his initial successes, Uthman had a dream in which a moon appeared from the chest of a Sheikh Edebali and entered his chest. At the same time, a huge tree emerges from this belly, the shadow of which covers the whole world. There are springs flowing under the branches of this tree from which people drink water and get irrigated.
When Uthman inquired about the interpretation of this dream from Sheikh Edebali, he said that God had chosen’ Uthman and his descendants to rule the world. He said that the moon that came out of his chest and entered Uthman’s chest was his daughter who later became Uthman’s wife.
This dream acted as a movement for Uthman and he began to understand that he now had the support of God. He then conquered over large parts of Anatolia, defeating the surrounding Seljuk, Turkmen states and eventually the Byzantines.
Uthman’s successors soon set their sights on Europe, conquering two major Greek cities, Thessaloniki in 1326 and Serbia in 1389, but their historic victory was the conquest of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1453, on which Muslim were trying to conquer for seven hundred years. Sultan Muhammad now moved his capital to Constantinople and took the title of Caesar Rome.
The Ottomans successfully continued his series of conquer, in 1516 and 1517 defeated the Mamluks of Egypt and doubled the size of their empire by occupying present day Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Jordan and above all the Hejaz, in addition to Egypt. According to the sources, the Ottoman Caliphate began in 1517. Salim-I is considered the first caliph, before that Ottomans were called Sultan or King. During the reign of Salman Alishan, the empire reached its military, political, economic and cultural heights. Salman also conquered Belgrade and Hungary.
This was the era when Europe was taking shapes. It was a time of invention in Europe. Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and British navies were exploring the seas around the world. With the discovery and occupation of the Americas, Europe gained the upper hand over the rest of the world and began to establish colonies in various places.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europe surpassed the rest of the world in the field of science and technology and this gradually led to their rise and dominance over the world. But at the same time, Muslims did not make any significant progress in the field of science and technology, even on several occasions opposed European inventions. The invention of the printing press in 1439 AD that led to the intellectual revolution in Europe. Thus, Muslims were deprived of it. If the Ottomans had also used the printing press, the history of the world might be different today. But Yazid-II, the son of the Sultan Fateh, in 1483 AD, imposed the death penalty on those who printed books in Arabic script. The reason was that the scholars had declared the printing press as an invention of the British and had issued a fatwa that it was against religion to publish the Qur’an or Arabic script on this foreign invention.
This fatwa of the scholars left big consequences on Muslim’s progress. Europe were moved forward due to spreading of the education. While the Ottoman Empire shrunk year after year, even during World War-I, when the British took over almost all of it except Anatolia, the modern-day Turkey.
Finally, in 1922 the Turk nationalist powers led by Kamal Ataturk, seized power and deposed Caliph Abdul Hamid-II and abolished the caliphate. Thus, the sun set for the glorious 623-year-old empire. During the reign of Ottoman, 37 sultans from the same family ascended the throne (ruled), which according to one historian is no less than a miracle.
Even today, the pain of elimination of this Caliphate still in the heart of the Muslim ummah and anything related to the glorious past in this age of authoritarianism and insignificance fascinates them. Since, Ertugrul Ghazi drama is about that glorious past that represents to shining rays of hope and a bright future. Therefore, in search of a new dawn, Muslims and especially its youth are having great attraction and drawn to this drama series.
Mohammad Mohsin having vast experience in journalism. He was associated with major news papers in the past. He is currently associated with major Media houses in India.