Mughal vs. Ottoman

The Mughal and the Ottoman Empires were two of the greatest and most powerful civilizations of the ancient period. Their fame and glory in the sixteenth century represented the zenith of art, architecture, and human creativity.

These eminent empires were the largest and the most influential civilizations of the Muslim world, and their splendor reached as far as Europe. The two most important rulers of these empires were Akbar the Great and Suleiman the Magnificent, under whose reign the empire reached its triumphant moments.Just as the reign of Akbar and Suleiman marked the Golden age, their deaths resulted in the slow downfall of the empires. Both the Ottoman and Mughal empires were distinctive civilizations of their time due to the local culture forces and the Islamic culture that impacted them in the areas of art, government, and social structure. However, out of the two, the Mughal Empire was more successful than the Ottoman Empire, because of its consolidated rule, its hierarchy of power, and its tolerance for women.The Mughal and the Ottoman Empires were almost contemporary to each other. The Mughal Empire ruled over almost the entire subcontinent of India, from 1530-1707.

The Mughals were descendants of Timuraids, who hailed from Central Asia. The Mughal dynasty was founded by Babur, the grandson of Timur and Genghiz Khan. He was succeeded by Humayun, Akbar the great, Shah Jahan, and many other rulers. Far from the Mughal Empire in India was the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire ruled over the Middle East from 1453-1908.The Ottomans were nomadic Turks, who established a capital in the Balkan Peninsula. They even captured Constantinople.

The Ottoman dynasty also had great rulers such as Suleiman the magnificent, and many others. The first aspect that helped the Mughal Empire to succeed was the idea of giving women more rights. In the Mughal Empire, women were able to fight in the wars, participate in business activities, voice their opinions, inherit land, and obtain salaries. The women were respected, educated and were often asked to give their opinions for important matters.For example, Nur Jahan was the virtual ruler during the reign of Jahangir. Unlike the Mughal Empire, the Ottomans educated only the boys. Women remained at home, and did household chores such as cleaning, sewing, weaving, praying, and taking care of the children.

Non-Muslim girls were taken as slaves. As women were given more rights and privileges, the Mughals could take better decisions, establish a better family life, and govern the society more effectively than the Ottomans. The second aspect that helped the Mughal Empire to succeed was their system of government.The government structure of both the civilizations was a combination of Islamic and local cultures. Nevertheless Islam had a greater influence on the kings, who controlled the government and religion. Both the empires adopted the Quranic interpretations of the law as their system of justice. However, the major difference between the governments of these two empires was their division of power.

The Mughal Empire was divided in provinces; each province ruled by a landlord, who collected taxes from the people.Unlike the Mughal Empire, the Ottoman Sultan exercised absolute control over the people. He regarded himself as the “Protector of the Sacred Places,” because he ruled over Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. As the Mughals divided their empire into various provinces, it created a formal division of powers, a hierarchy among offices, and a well-defined administrative system, compared to the Ottomans. The third aspect that helped the Mughal Empire to succeed was their consolidation of the empire.The Mughal Empire extended as far to the west of Afghanistan, and as far south as the Godavari river. It covered almost the entire Indian subcontinent.

Like the Mughals, The Ottomans also ruled over a huge empire. It covered much of South east Europe, west Asia, and North Africa. As the Mughal Empire covered the subcontinent, it was easier to travel in case of an enemy attack, or provide supplies in case of a flood or famine. However unlike the Mughal Empire; the Ottoman Empire was separated by the Black, and Mediterranean seas.Compared to the Mughals, the Ottomans had difficulty in ruling the empire, and trouble travelling from one place to another in case of an attack, famine or flood, because it was separated by water. One aspect that was common to both the civilization was their flourishing trade, and their glorious art and architecture. The Mughal architecture was a combination of Islamic, Persian, and Hindu architecture.

These Persian and Hindu architectural ideas were brought forth in the Taj Mahal, a monument of breathtaking wonder. In Ottoman society, these ideas were also present.Some of their famous monuments are Istanbul mosque, Muhammad mosque, and Suleymaniye mosque. Both the civilizations had a flourishing trade. The Mughal Empire was famous for its diamonds, jewels, spices, cotton, and silk all over the world. They traded these commodities with empires in Europe and Asia. Likewise, the Ottoman Empire was famous for its pottery, rugs, and jewelry.

Due to its location, it was the center of all trades. It was often referred to as the “middle man” due to access to water routes between Asia and Europe.Both the Mughal and Ottoman empires were products of local and Islamic influence in the areas of military, government, arts, and architecture. But because of Mughal Empire’s consolidated rule, its hierarchy of power, and its tolerance for women, the Mughal Empire was more successful than the Ottoman Empire. Although these empires are non-existent today, their legacies have still survived. Their majestic monuments and praiseworthy paintings are still admired by millions of people every day. These empires proved their supremacy to the rest of the world, and advanced their conquests to areas unknown.

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