Ottoman Portico Demonstrates Kurşun's Lack of Knowledge of Historical Sources

Talal al-Torifi

Published: Updated:

Following discussion of the Turkish psychological crisis and what Kurşun wrote just to prove this crisis, we will now move to address, by scientific academic approach, the most important historical milestones he dealt with in his articles.

We will move away from his political hints to defame Saudi Arabia, and its Vision 2030, because “The tree is known by its fruits” as the proverb says. Saudi Arabia is taking giant strides to achieve its vision objectives while the “Turkish tree” bear only fruits of interference in other countries’ affairs as it aims to revive the old imperial dream. Ankara’s current policies will lead to more catastrophes to Turkey and its neighbors.

In addition to economic crisis and other internal problems, it could lead to issues similar to the Armenian genocide, and let us not forget the massacres made by Ottomans in the Arab regions were similar to what happened for Armenians and what Ankara is repeating in some Arab countries.

Uthmani Riwaq

Kurşun began his discussion of historical cases by the “Uthmani Riwaq” - in Islamic architecture, Riwaq is a space between interior and outdoor, and quarters dedicated for religious students in mosques were named Riwaq - reflecting how unskillful he is when it comes to dealing with history- this issue was studied in depth by well-known historians, which can’t be dealt by the Turkish synthetical method.

It seems he raised this issue only to use the “social bots” term, which is inappropriate for a scholar. Ironically, he is using it to describe those who discuss and refute the “false history.”

He said that the Saudis claim the Uthmani Riwaq in the Great Mosque of Mecca is named after the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, as Kurşun is trying to prove that Saudis show anti-Ottomans feelings and use it as a tool in regional rivalry with Turkey.

Simply, this reveals that Kurşun needs to study basic lessons in how to read historical sources - the historical records confirm that the Riwaq was named after Uthman bin Affan, nine centuries before Ottomans existed!

The Great Mosque of Mecca witnessed expansions during the second Caliph Omar Ibn Al Khattab and third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, who ordered the purchase of houses around the mosque to expand it and accommodate increasing number of visitors and pilgrims.

During this expansion, which added 2040 sq meters, Uthman ibn Affan requested to establish Riwaq. The mosque space was doubled in 26 AH/647AD. Al-Fakhi in “The news of Mecca” and Ibn Jarir al-Tabari referred to the expansion of Uthman in the events of the year 26AH, saying in that year “Uthman increased the space of the Grand Mosque.”

Thus, the Riwaq of the Grand Mosque in Mecca is attributed to Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, as he was the first to build the Riwaq in the mosque, and many history books mentioned that such as Albalazari who wrote "Uthman was the first to build Riwaqs when he expanded the mosque," and Al Zarkshi who said “then when Uthman became a Caliph, he bought houses (closer to the mosque), expanded it, built riwaqs, and Uthman was the first to build them.”

Ibn Fadlallah al-Amari referred to this and traced it historically, and said: "Then when Uthman became a Caliph, he bought houses and expanded the mosque, and built the Riwaqs."

The Ottoman historian Nahrwani wrote about the expansion saying: "When Uthman became a Caliph, he bought houses and expanded the mosque, built the Grand Mosque and Riwaqs, and Uthman was the first to do so."

Abdullah ibn Zubair made some modifications and doubled the space of the Grand mosque in 64 AH/684 A.D and supported the new roofs with marble columns, and the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan made some architectural amendments in 75AH/694AD. In the reign of Alwaleed Ibn Abdul Malik, he expanded the space around Kaaba from eastern side and built a circular Riwaq.

During the Abbasid era, Abu Jaafar al-Mansour increased a Riwaq on the courtyard of the mosque and built a minaret in its northwest corner in 140 Ah/757 A.D. 20 years later, Muhammad al-Mahdi made major expansions in 160 AH/777 AD and again in 164 AH/781 A.D. He ensured that the mosque be a square and the Kaaba in the middle of it. Al Mahdi’s expansions were comprehensive and he built the large Riwaq and added marble column decorated by crowns, and that is why it is called the great Abbasid Riwaq.

Other expansions were made during Abbasid era till the reign of the Mu'ta'ad Beallah (died: 289 AH/902 AD), which added Dar El Nadwa to the Grand Mosque, and El Muqutdir Bellah (died 306AH/918 AD) increased the space.

Based on the above, the Riwaq was built nine centuries before the establishment of Ottoman Empire, but the Ottomans and Anatolian Turks are trying to take advantage of the name (i.e. Uthman). The official news agency Anadolu claimed the expansions plans which affect the Uthmani Riwaq is because it belongs to Ottomans!

As shown above, the Riwaq is attributed to the third Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan and has nothing to do with Ottomans, and when their attempts to fool people failed, they admitted the fact that it was named after Uthman Ibn Affan, however, they didn’t stop their attacks on Saudis.

Qureshon did not bother to check his claims and make necessary research in historical sources before writing that Saudis claim the Riwaq is named after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan. There is a psychological issue behind efforts to enhance Ottomans image and portraying them as a continuation of Islamic Caliphate and their propaganda is frequently spreading the notion that Ottomans are extension of the Arab caliphs.


Kurşun believes that there is an “Anti-Ottomanism” trend and that it is being utilized by for regional competition with Turkey, and is taking a new, unprecedented dimension.

It seems that the current Turkish policy is pursuing the Ottoman’s style, including mistakes and crimes. EU rejection of Turkey reminds us when Ottomans changed their compass from Europe to the East as Turkey is currently doing a similar thing; after its failure on the European side, it is turning the compass to the Arab world regardless of risks it is taking.

Anti-Ottomans hypothesis is imagined by some history readers, especially those who link it to the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The Turks sensitivity towards any criticism to Ottomans, and some Arabs share these feelings, led them to believe in Anti-Ottomans hypothesis as if the empire and its Sultans are above criticism. This syndrome is not new as the Ottoman Sultan,

Abdul Hamid II, was the one who promoted this idea and established fascist movement “Islamic League.” which is the source of many extremist groups which exist now like Muslim Brotherhood, which is aligned with the Development and Justice Party in Turkey.

The Turks and Arabs who dream to revive the Ottoman empire suffer from a pathological psychological complex, manifested by two syndromes: Contrasts and Stockholm!

The first syndrome came as Turks are still under influence of imperial past when many ethnic groups and culture were ruled and controlled by Ottomans. This created a feeling that other nations should be subordinated to Turkish control.

In the Ottoman era, an unhealthy relationship was created between rulers and ruled ones; many tools were used to sustain it including fraudulent practices, prevention, force, oppression and containment. This delayed Arab separation from the Ottomans till World War I. Some Arabs have become psychologically associated with their Ottomans rulers and didn’t manage to get rid of this until today.

Those influenced by Turkish imperial thought are victims of Stockholm syndrome, as they were byproducts of ancient Ottoman politics and writings. The current Turkish politics revived it and some of those victims sympathize with their foe and feel at ease when they are subordinated by their ex-rulers. The Arab Scholar Ibn Khaldun, in his well-known book, “The Muqaddimah” said that some are overwhelmed by dependency feelings, so they became psychologically defeated, and become affected by the masters’ in all ways of life.

It is very easy to make false judgments and accusations, but it is difficult to prove them, because reality does not change no matter how long some are trying to hide it.

The Turks and their Arabs supporter must realize that history is ruthless. During four centuries of Ottomans rule of Arab countries, the latter were deprived of freedom and power and became under the influence of Turkish-Ottoman culture that made them a dependent ethnic group like other groups ruled by the empire, and oppressed them. The Ottomans era in the Arab world was characterized by deterioration in all sorts of life.

When Selim I defeated the Mamluks and ended their control of Egypt, he forced craftsmen and professionals to migrate from Cairo to Istanbul and dismantled even the marble from palaces and moved it to Istanbul. This is one of the examples to prove Ottomans were deliberately preventing Arab countries from progress.

Arab countries were ruled by non-Arabs governors, who were very active in monopolizing all sources of wealth, hence creating a feudal class similar to dark ages in Europe.

During World War I, the Ottoman army soldiers used to take whatever they need without paying a penny from markets in the Arab countries they ruled, threatening traders and taking (Atawa) royalties especially as Istanbul was not paying soldiers wages regularly.

The Ottoman’s policies towards Arabs were based on cruelty, torture and abuses since the invasion of the Levant and Egypt by Selim I. They used to abduct women, commit atrocities as described by Ibn Ayas in his book “Badaee Al Zohor.” This was the norm in every country they invaded and they used to take young Arabs and send them to war fronts without necessary military training.

The Ottomans oppressive acts against Arabs are recorded in history books. In Hama in the Levant, they sent a campaign in 1106 AH/1685 to discipline its people as they forced the Ottoman unjust governor to flee the city. In 1119 AH/1698 a campaign was sent to burn the Lebanese town of Ghazir.

A year later, the Ottoman governor of Damascus sent an army to Nablus, killing its people and capture nearly 700 women as war prisoners, forcing people to leave their countries and migrate to far away parts of the world to avoid torture and humiliation.

Many methods of torture used by Ottomans to ensure obedience were unknown to Arabs. Historical records tell us about Ottomans sadist practices in torturing people, cutting off some parts of human’s body, and boasting of what they did in public.

The “Turkification policy” was a war against the Arabic language as the Turkish language was imposed as the official language in government and schools in all regions under the Ottoman empire to “Turkefy” all people and weaken Arab identity.

The Arabs felt insulted as Turkish was made the official language in their own countries and they were forced to use it instead of Arabi; the adamant methods adopted by rulers in enforcing Turkification policies worsen the matter as Arabs were not familiar with such cultural assimilation policies.

In an explicit war against Arabic language and culture, Arabs living under control of the Ottoman empire were forced to use Turkish language in all official transactions, and most of the government officials in the Arab states had to communicate with people through translators as they didn’t know Arabic language.

Many of the Khedivate family, which ruled Egypt from 1805 to 1952, did not speak Arabic fluently, as most of them spoke only Turkish.

Kurşun’s complaints about the so-called Anti-Ottomans feelings reflect that some of current Turkish politicians are concerned about conscious historical review as it paves the way for a new phase in demanding for stolen rights.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.