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Egyptian and Syrian Sufis Viewing Ottoman Turkish Sufism: Similarities, Differences, and Interactions

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Chapter Summary

In August 1516 the Ottoman Sultan Selim I defeated the Mamluks on the plain of Marj Dabiq, near Aleppo, and quickly conquered Syria. In January of the next year, the Ottomans conquered Egypt, thus completing the destruction of the Mamluk Sultanate, and annexed Egypt and Syria as provinces. This chapter focuses on the religious aspects, Sufism in particular. Both the Mamluks and the Ottomans were committed to live by the Shariʿa, and developed systems of religious colleges, madrasas, aimed primarily at training ulema. Egypt and Syria had the oldest and most prestigious institutes of higher learning, principally in Cairo, Damascus and Aleppo. The Ottoman system was more centralized and hierarchical than anything known in Islam until then, and was geared for preparing students to serve as madrasa professors, judges, and jurisconsults.

Keywords: Cairo; Egypt; Mamluks; Ottoman Sultan Selim I; Sufism; Syria



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