Who was Sultan Abdulhamid II (Last Caliph of the Ottoman Empire)
Abdul Hamid II was the last Caliph of the Ottoman Empire who ruled over the fracturing state. He was 34th in the list of Ottoman Sultans and 26th in Caliphs. He was born on 21st September 1842 CE in Istanbul, Turkey. During his reign, he has to face decline, rebellions especially from Balkans, and an unsuccessful campaign against Russia followed by a successful one against Greece in 1897 CE. He ruled the Ottoman Empire for 33 years ranging from 1876 to 1909 CE. He is famous for stimulating and encouraging the Muslims at that time when the Caliphate was facing European impingement and nationalism. He filled their hearts with the love of Islam. He succeeded in gathering the people of all the ranks and repelling any potential division.
Sultan Abdul Hamid II was the son of Sultan Abdulmejid and Tirimujgan Kadinefendi, originally named Virjinia. After the death of his mother, he was adopted by his father’s second wife, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu Kadin. In contrast with other Sultans, Abdulhamid II traveled distant countries. Nine years before taking the throne, he with his uncle Sultan Abdulaziz visited Paris (30th June t0 10th July 1867 CE), London (12-14th July 1867 CE), and Vienna (28-30 July 1867 CE) and many other cities and capitals of Europe and returned on 7th August 1867 CE. Abdulhamid II ascended to the throne after the deposition of his brother Murad V on 31st August 1876 CE. Like other Sultans, he was given the sword of Sultan Osman Ghazi at Eyup Sultan Mosque.
Accession and Reign
Sultan Abdulhamid II took the throne in a very crucial period when even the existence of the Ottoman Empire was threatened. But he dealt with all these difficulties and succeeded in creating an autocratic regime. He paid almost 90 % debt of the Caliphate and built a lot of universities, schools, and libraries. He is also renowned for refurbishing the Holy cities Makkah and Madinah. He went beyond all limits to sustain the sacredness of these Holy cities. He established a lot of barracks, hospitals, and infrastructure in these cities and made sure that they were safe. He also introduced the modern water system in Makkah to protect it from the flood. Regarding transport system, he started Hijaz Railway having tracks from Istanbul, Palestine, Syria and till Madinah. He also ensured that these tracks were fully irreconcilable with the European trains to safeguard the Holy Cities from any European invasion.
His skills in leadership and politics were renowned by his rivals, one of them a German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II said that “I have learned the game of Politics from Abdulhamid”. Sultan Abdulhamid II had to face much criticism because of the lies being spread by France and Britain. The reason behind this was his approach to Muslim’s unity which was fatal for the British interests in the Muslim World. Moreover, his strong opposition to Zionism and the establishment of Jews in Palestine developed fear in Zionists in the Western media. British Empire and Jewish capitalists with the interference of Europe decided to bring down Abdulhamid II which was the only source to secure their interests. Because of this reason, propaganda started in Europe against Sultan Abdulhamid II. Continuing this opposition, Sultan Abdulhamid II was attempted to kill on 20th July 1905 CE while he was exiting Hamidiye Mosque.
Abdulhamid II was also called a skillful and quick thinking diplomat in all the Europe by John Fisher, an English Admiral Lord. He repelled all the efforts of European Imperialism to safeguard Palestine lands. He was offered 150 million pounds of gold in exchange of some land in Palestine by the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, but the response of the Great Caliph, Sultan Abdulhamid II was:
He kept on safeguarding Palestine until he was banished and resisted by the secular Young Turks in 1909 CE, he said:
He was compelled to house arrest, he lived to see the dominion once he ruled, suffering hugely in the hands of European Capitalists. He once uttered famous words:
On 10th February 1918 CE, he washed himself and offered the Fajr prayer, and then he kissed his wife on her hands and supplicated for her and passed away while saying “ALLAH! ALLAH! ALLAH!” in a loud voice. He was buried in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, with his grandfather Mahmud II and his uncle Abdulaziz. May ALLAH has mercy on the great Sultan Abdul hamid II and grant him the highest ranks in Paradise for his servings to the Muslim Ummah.
A Season has been made on this great personality, named Payitahit Abdulhamid. Sultan Abdulhamid II is portrayed by Mehmet Bulent Inal in this season. You may watch on Multipoint Tv with English Subtitles for free.