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Abstract


SULTAN ABDÜLHAMID II’S SENSITIVITY TO HARAMAIN
International events that occurred in the 19th century went against Muslims almost all around the world, and were very destructive to the Ottoman Empire as well. In this process, especially those Muslim peoples whose countries were occupied got even closer to the Ottoman Empire. The fact that a great majority of the Ottoman subjects consisted of Muslims after the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877–78 (the War of ’93) led Sultan Abdülhamid II to follow a more Islamic-oriented policy. Accordingly, the Sultan showed a special interest in Haramain as the birthplaces of Islam including Mecca, where the pilgrimage service was performed, and Medina, where the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb was located. Assuming the title of Hadimu’l Haramain, Sultan Abdülhamid II attached a special importance to the Hejaz, which was one of the Ottoman Empire’s Middle Eastern Arab provinces, and tried to display an attitude befitting to his title for Haramain. With his approaches to the Hejaz, Abdülhamid II wanted to further legitimate his capacity as the caliph and be backed by the entire Islamic realm. The importance he attributed to the province of the Hejaz is seen in many examples from imperial yearbooks to charity expenditures made in the Hejaz. Through instructions he gave to the governors of the Hejaz, Abdülhamid II tried to ensure that the region remain as a peaceful Ottoman province away from all kinds of problems. In this time period that progressed towards the 20th century, great efforts were made like raising the Ottoman flag on the ramparts of Mecca in order to further Ottomanise the Hejaz. Even described as the jewel of the sacred crown of caliphate in official Ottoman correspondences, Haramain was decorated with signs of caliphate, and protected from all kinds of external influences and interventions.

Keywords
Abdülhamid II, Caliphate, Hejaz, Haramain, Pilgrimage


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