By S. Franklin
The three major empires in Islamic history were the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empire, and the Mughal Empire. The Mughals claimed legitimacy by their ancestor, Tamer-the-Lame. Mughals were fairly tolerant of non-Muslims, as the majority of the common people in their empire were Hindus. This empire occupied most of modern day India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The Safavids controlled most of modern day Afghanistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan. Their claim to legitimacy was because of their descent from the seventh Imam (Tucker chapter 1). The Ottomans ruled the territories of what today are Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan; parts of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen; as well as the cities of Mecca and Medina. These people were ruled by Muslims who were mostly tolerant of other religions. Christians and Jews were allowed to worship as they pleased, provided that they stayed subordinate. The Ottomans claimed their right to rule because of their great military victories. The Ottomans were able to defeat Christianity in most of the Islamic world in addition to controlling Mecca and Medina (the two most important cities in Islamic history). While all these empires were successful for a time, the Ottoman Empire was by far the greatest of these. One explanation for this is that the rulers of this empire were more tolerant of people of other faiths, causing fewer rebellions within the empire. For this reason, they could focus more on expanding their territory.
The different empires ruled over different types of people. For example, even though the Mughal government was Sunni Muslim, their subjects were predominantly Hindu. According to the Qur’an, the Hindus, as polytheists, should be put to death. (Qur’an: 9:5 And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit...