Chapter 27 Web Questions

Here are some excellent questions on Chapter 27 of the Bentley & Ziegler textbook written by your classmate, Madiha Rao.

1) Akbar, the emperor of the Mughal empire (1556-1605) practiced the “divine faith” and encouraged his subjects to practice it too. How did the steppe traditions allow rulers of the Islamic empire to assert their own laws in the empires? Why did the steppe traditions create chaos in the empire? Why do you think these problems arose mainly with the successors of the empire rather than with the earlier rulers?

2) The Islamic empire largely chose to keep limited communication with Europe. They didn’t believe that they had anything to learn from the Europeans and allowed themselves to be influenced by a limited amount of European ideas. Would it had benefited their empire to keep stronger ties with the Europeans? Were the Islamic rulers justified in limiting their communications with Europe?
3) The empire was prosperous during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries but religious tensions contributed to the decline of the empire. Did these tensions affect the empire earlier? How was the decline of the Islamic empire illustrated by the battle on the plain of Chaldiran (1514)? How did the differing views on the role that women should play in politics lead to religious tensions?

11 Comments on “Chapter 27 Web Questions”

  1. Niara Calliste says:

    I believe the Islamic empire would have probably succeeded if they had kept better communications with the Europeans. I say probably because the one thing that benefited the Islamic empire was European technology of weapons and though they had these weapons, they were largely out of date. Had atleast one or two of the empires kept in touch with the Europeans they would have been able to conquer more land and thus gaining more power and wealth. Though this is unlikely because the lack in communications with Europeans was not the only reason for their decline. These empires were very diverse and the main reason they were around as long as they were was because of social stability. With corrupt rulers and tension between the religious groups no amount of technology or weapons would have diffused the religious groups. In fact that would have sped up the process. One major reason for the lack of communication with foreigners was so that the technology and new discoveries didn’t undermine their religion.

  2. YU,ZEXUN says:

    I think there are two ways (good effect and bad effect) think about if Islamic empire has kept better communications with the Europe. Let’s look at good effect if Islamic empire has kept better communications with the Europe. Islamic empire could learn how to make their weapons. If Europe didn’t want to deal with technology of weapons, but Europe would be agree to do business in this category, arms export could bring huge wealth to Europe. And Islamic empire could use those weapons to protect and maintain its empire. Trading other stuff also could benefit both of Europe and Islamic empire. Trading is like Columbian Exchange, because trading could make each of them fill up their world with something that they don’t have before. Now, if we look at bad effect, first we should see the gunpower. As what I said above, Islamic empire’s technology of weapon was out of date; and Europe was the leader of this category. If Islamic empire had too many communications with Europe, Islamic would be gradually permeated by Europe. So Europe could easily destroy Islamic Empire, and establish its colony. Even though Europe didn’t want to make Islamic Empire to become its colony, but Islamic Empire still would be Europe’s appendage, because Europe was more powerful than Islamic empire. So everything would depend on Europe such as trading.

  3. Tabia Chu says:

    Although Akbar did not impose Islam on his subjects and was overall pretty religiously tolerant, the system he put in place of divine faith put the emperor as the ruler to all religion had quite a few drawbacks. In addition to those shortfalls, Akbar did not seem too tolerant in other aspects. Throwing someone out of a window TWICE is not indicative of a lenient leader. It seems as this brutality had been passed down. As a result of the steppe traditions, a lot of sons and mothers were killed as a means of securing the spot as emperor. 

  4. Abdul Awal says:

    I believe that Islamic empire should kept better communications with Europe. By keeping better communications, Islamic empire could have learned the way of making arms. That time Islamic empire had gun power but it was out of date because it was created by using old technology, because of lack of communication Islamic empire didn’t have same gun power as Europe. If Islamic empire kept better communications with Europe, than they would gain in business way too, because they would have business deal, which would allow them to do export and import. Also, by having trading deal both Islamic empire and Europe could do exchange like Columbus did. This is the way both Islamic empire and Europe would gain benefits, and be more powerful and stronger

  5. Jemima Georges says:

    The steppe traditions allowed rulers to be dictatorial. They had control over it all from laws (kanun laws administered by Suleyman) to making up their own religious doctrines (Shiite religion enforced by Shah Ismail). They (steppe traditions) served as a gateway for Islamic emperors to run their kingdoms with total control and manipulation. As emperors began realizing their “greatness” and supreme authority, their sense of paranoia also grew. These individuals exhibited a power hunger complex, and in a state where one man wants to be “the one and only” there was no room for competition. Family rebellions and even murders took place making succession extremely difficult. Therefore just the simple fact of being a successor was a threat to family members because not only their potential power, but their lives were literally on the line. Sadly, this inevitable reality to being a successor came too soon for many, one sultan murdered nineteen of his brothers, infants, and expecting mothers. The steppe traditions not only made it legal to rule an empire with an iron fist, but also made it appropriate to kill off any rival in the way of an emperor’s position.

  6. Samantha Bryant says:

    Response to question # 2

    All the Dynastic States, Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires are all military created states, and regarded by their rulers as their personal possessions.The emperors owned all land, and the peasants depend on emperors to cultivate the land for their means of subsistence. Apart from owning the land, the emperors exercised personal command of the armies, thus the emperors appointed officials, and disposed the officials as the emperors wished. One can say that Steppe traditions embodied and supported Islamic rulers to exercise their powers as they pleased. Steppe traditions created chaos in the empires due to the competitions among the members of the ruler’s relatives. Since the members of the ruler’s family enjoyed the components of the status, there were power struggles over who would be next to occupy the throne or next to heir. For example, Shah Abbas confined his sons to the palace and killed or blinded relatives he suspected, thus wiping out all his family in the process. (p.603) These problems arose with the successors of the empires rather than earlier rulers because “The early Ottomans assigned provinces for the sultan’s sons to administer but kept the empire as a whole tightly unified. But after the fifteenth century, the successors of the rulers, the sultans’ sons protected their positions by eliminating family rivals.

  7. Gulnaz Aglyamova says:

    1) The steppe traditions allowed the emperor to impose their own view on politics besides the religion’s beliefs. Thus, Akbar in his “divine faith” praised himself along with Islamic canons. Another example is Shah Ismail, who did not reject the idea that he is saint person himself. These speculations on religion base helped them to increase their power in their empires. On the other hand, steppe traditions assume that throne of the emperor inherited by his successor, and this practice, so common in other countries, did not bring the success and peace to Islamic empires. I suggest all these conflicts and murders in the royal families happened because the empires were in constant war and it produced very militant people. Also, having unlimited power over Islamic nation was very desirable to successors, and the emperor understood it very well, and that is why he tried to limit the possibility to be replaced by various methods, up to the murder of his own relatives. The emperor was afraid only his successors because the previous rulers were already killed. The fear of losing power had so enormous size that some crazy laws were established. For instance, Mehmed the Conqueror created the law, which allowed the ruler to kill his relatives after taking the throne so he could save and protect his authority.

  8. Anita Persaud says:

    Ques. 1

    The early emperors did as they pleased, irrespective of religious and social norms (text). They even issued laws which gave them spiritual authority over their people. The steppe traditions also gave rulers of the Islamic empires authority over their people which brought problems to the empire. Their relatives often manage the states and problems for the throne is often an issue among family members, which sometimes caused rebellions.
    I think they all tried to follow the earlier traditions of the previous rulers. They wanted to maintain the different religious and ethnic groups and provide for public welfare but failed drastically because they tried to impose their own laws of religion on their people who did not want to change.

    source – text, Tradition

  9. Tabia Chu says:

    Question #2
    I think something important to keep in mind about the Islamic empire is the high regards in which they hold religion. I believe that if contact with the Europeans were not limited, they would have faced attempts at conversion to Christianity. This would have caused even bigger problems for them, especially when one considers the conflicts within Islam sparked by religious differences. Throughout their earlier history of emperors, only one was religiously tolerant. I do not think Islam was wrong in limiting their interactions with Europe because it seems they were already facing a lot of internal problems, if you add imperialistic Europe to their problems it would create problems on a larger scale.

  10. Dinghua Zeng says:

    Q2
    I think it could more beneficial for the Islamic empire to keep stronger ties with the Europeans from society perspective. Like other people mentioned, Europeans had the new technology and gun power. Islamic empire would own much stronger military power to protect themselves or resistant the invasion if they keep good communication. But from personal (ruler) perspective, it is better to shut down the communication with Europeans. One reason is they were afraid their religions could convert to Catholic or Christian by Europeans. They tried to keep their people with their traditional culture tightly. Second, they are afraid the any social or political revolution to take away their ruler power by keeping good communication with Europeans. They did not want to face more challenges from the society if their limited the communication with Europeans.


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