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Murad IV

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Murad IV

Murad IV
Caliph of Islam
Ottoman Sultan
Reign 1623–40
Predecessor Mustafa I
Successor Ibrahim
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Consort Ayşe Hatun
Safiye Hatun
Issue Şehzade Süleyman
Şehzade Ahmed
Şehzade Mehmed
Şehzade Alaaddin
Kaya Sultan
Safiye Sultan
Gevherhan Sultan
İsmihan Sultan
Sahra Sultan
Zeynep Sultan
Rukiye Sultan
Royal house House of Osman
Father Ahmed I
Mother Kösem Sultan
Born (1612-07-26)July 26, 1612
Died February 9, 1640(1640-02-09) (aged 27)
Religion Sunni Islam
Ottoman miniature painting depicting Murad IV during dinner

Murad IV (Ottoman Turkish: مراد رابع Murād-ı Rābi‘; July 26/27, 1612 – February 9, 1640) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, known both for restoring the authority of the state and for the brutality of his methods. Murad IV was born in Constantinople, the son of Sultan Ahmed I (1603–17) and the ethnic Greek[1][2][3] Valide Kösem Sultan. Brought to power by a palace conspiracy in 1623, he succeeded his uncle Mustafa I (r. 1617–18, 1622–23). He was only 11 when he took the throne.


In the early years of Murad's reign, he was under the control of his relatives. During this period, peace and harmony in the Ottoman lands were completely lost, and tyrants took control of the cities. His absolute rule started around 1632, when he took the authority and repressed all the tyrants, and he re-established the supremacy of Sultan.

Early reign (1623–32)

Murad IV was for a long time under the control of his relatives and during his early years as Sultan, his mother, Kösem Sultan, essentially ruled through him. The Empire fell into anarchy; the Safavid Empire invaded Iraq almost immediately, Northern Anatolia erupted in revolts, and in 1631 the Janissaries stormed the palace and killed the Grand Vizier, among others. Murad IV feared suffering the fate of his elder brother, Osman II (1618–22), and decided to assert his power.

At the age of 16 in 1628, he had his brother-in-law (his sister Fatma Sultan's husband) and the former governor of Egypt Kara Mustafa Pasha executed for a claimed action "against the law of God".[4]

Absolute rule and imperial policies (1632–40)

Murad IV tried to quell the corruption that had grown during the reigns of previous Sultans, and that had not been checked while his mother was ruling through proxy.

Murad IV also banned alcohol, tobacco, and coffee in Constantinople.[5] He ordered execution for breaking this ban. He would reportedly patrol the streets and taverns of Constantinople in civilian clothes at night, policing the enforcement of his command by summarily killing civilians for breaking this decree. He restored the judicial regulations by very strict punishments, including execution. Historians including Halil İnalcık as well as primary sources report that even though he was a ruthless supporter of alcohol prohibition, Murad IV was a habitual drinker himself.[6][7]

In a poem by the sultan under a nom de plume, he says "Even if the rivers became wine, they wouldn't fill my glass." In another poem he says "The wine is such a devil that I have to protect my people from it by drinking all of it".

Relations with the Mughal Empire

In the year 1626, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir began to contemplate an alliance between the Ottomans, Mughals and Uzbeks against the Safavids, who had defeated the Mughals at Kandahar. He even wrote a letter to the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, Jahangir's ambition however did not materialize due to his death in 1627. However, Jahangir's son and successor Shah Jahan pursued the goal of alliance with the Ottoman Empire.

While he was encamped in Baghdad, Murad IV is known to have met the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's ambassadors: Mir Zarif and Mir Baraka, who presented 1000 pieces of finely embroidered cloth and even armor. Murad IV gave them the finest weapons, saddles and Kaftans and ordered his forces to accompany the Mughals to the port of Basra, where they set sail to Thatta and finally Surat.[8]

Military campaigns

Militarily, Murad IV's reign is most notable for the war against Safavids in which Ottoman forces invaded Azerbaijan, occupied Revan, Tabriz and Hamadan, and recaptured Baghdad in 1638. The city withstood the siege for forty days, but was compelled to surrender, and the bulk of the population were butchered by the conquerors, in spite of the promises which they had made to spare them. It is said that the officers of Murad arranged a sort of tableau, in which the heads were struck off one thousand captives by one thousand headsmen at the same moment, and that Murad IV enjoyed the sight. The sultan had a famous quote about the fall of Baghdad: ("Trying to conquer Baghdad, was almost more beautiful than Baghdad itself.").[9]

Murad IV himself commanded the Ottoman army in the last years of the war, and proved to be an outstanding field commander. He was the second Ottoman Sultan to command an army on the battlefield since death of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566. During his campaign to Persia, he annihilated all rebels in Anatolia and restored order in the Empire.

The war was concluded by the Treaty of Kasrı Şirin in May 1639, which restored Mesopotamia to the Ottomans. After his return to Constantinople, he ordered respected statesmen of the Empire to prepare a new economic and political project to return to the Empire the old successful days.

Physical power

Murad IV was the last Warrior Sultan who led campaigns in front of his army and fought on the battlefield. His physical strength was phenomenal, which is described in detail on the books of Evliya Çelebi. He was especially known for his exceptional strength in wrestling - capable of fighting several opponents at the same time. His favorite weapon was a huge mace, weighing 60 kilograms (132 lbs), which he wielded effortlessly with a single hand.[10] Among his other favourite weapons are a longbow and a large two-handed broadsword weighing more than 50 kilograms (110 lbs). His weapons are today displayed at the Topkapı Palace Museum in Fatih, intact and well preserved.


Sultan Murad IV put emphasis on architecture and in his period many monuments were erected. Some of them are Meydanı Mosque, Bayram Pasha Dervish Lodge, Tomb, Fountain, Primary School, Konya Serefeddin Mosque.

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had exchanged ambassadors with the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, it was through these exchanges that he received Isa Muhammad Effendi and Ismail Effendi, two Turkish architects and students of the famous Koca Mimar Sinan Agha. Both of them later comprised among the Mughal team that would design and build the Taj Mahal.


Murad IV died from cirrhosis in İstanbul at the age of 27 in 1640.[11]

Rumours had circulated that on his deathbed, Murad IV ordered the execution of his mentally disabled brother, Ibrahim I (reigned 1640–48), which would have meant the end of the Ottoman line. However, the order was not carried out.[12]


  1. ^ E. van Donzel, Islamic Desk Reference: Compiled from the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Academic Publishers, p 219
  2. ^ Robert Bator, Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Istanbul, Runestone Press, p 42
  3. ^ Douglas Arthur Howard, The History of Turkey, Greenwood Press, p 195
  4. ^ Accounts and Extracts of the Manuscripts in the Library of the King of France 2. R. Faulder. 1789. p. 51. The sultan Morad put him to death in the year 1037 [AH], for some action which was contrary to the law of God. 
  5. ^ Hopkins, Kate (2006-03-24). "Food Stories: The Sultan's Coffee Prohibition". Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  6. ^ İnalcık, Halil; Imber, Colin (1989). The Ottoman Empire : the classical age, 1300-1600. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Aristide D. Caratzas. p. 99.  
  7. ^ Traian Stoianovich (1 January 1994). Balkan Worlds: The First and Last Europe. M.E. Sharpe. p. 57.  
  8. ^
  9. ^ Akın Alıcı, Hayata Yön Veren Sözler, 2004
  10. ^ Tarih-i Na'imâ Vol 3 p 454
  11. ^ Selcuk Aksin Somel, Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire, 2003, p.201
  12. ^ Barber, Noel (1973). The Sultans. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 87. 

See also

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

Murad IV
Born: June 16, 1612 Died: February 9, 1640
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mustafa I
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Sep 10, 1623 – Feb 9, 1640
Succeeded by
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Mustafa I
Caliph of Islam
Sep 10, 1623 – Feb 9, 1640
Succeeded by
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