Friday, July 19, 2013

Mawlay Isma'il ibn al-Sharif - Mir

Mawlay Isma‘il ibn al-Sharif
Mawlay Isma‘il ibn al-Sharif (b. 1666).  Second ruler of the Sharifian dynasty of the Filalis in Morocco (1672-1727).  He vigorously repressed Berber revolts, and raised a professional army, the famous “Black Guard,” and the “volunteers of the faith,” who waged an unceasing irregular warfare against the Spaniards and the English.  Mawlay Isma‘il concluded an entente with Louis XIV and the Bey of Tunis against the Turks, which secured to France great commercial benefits.  He was also very active as a builder, especially at Mawlay Idris and Meknes.

Mawlay Muhammad al-Shaykh
Mawlay Muhammad al-Shaykh.  Name of three Moroccan sultans belonging to the dynasty of the Sa‘dids, the most important of them being Abu ‘Abd Allah (al-Mahdi/al-Imam) (b. 1490) who ruled from 1517 to 1557.  He put an end to the dynasty of the Marinids by capturing Fez in 1549 and thus can be considered the true founder of the Sa‘did dynasty.

Mawza‘i, Shams al-Din al-
Mawza‘i, Shams al-Din al- (Shams al-Din al-Mawsa‘i) (d. after 1621) was the author of an independent chronicle of early Ottoman Yemen to 1621, particularly of the south and of the city of Ta‘izz.
Shams al-Din al-Mawsa‘i see Mawza‘i, Shams al-Din al-

Maydani, Abu’l-Fadl al-
Maydani, Abu’l-Fadl al- (Abu’l-Fadl al-Maydani) (d. 1124).  Arab philologist of Nishapur.  He compiled the most comprehensive and most popular collection of classical Arab proverbs, the only one to be translated into a European language (Latin) under the title Arabum Proverbia.  He also composed an Arabic-Persian dictionary of common terms and words, and a syntax with Persian notes.
Abu’l-Fadl al-Maydani see Maydani, Abu’l-Fadl al-

Maymuna bint al-Harith
Maymuna bint al-Harith (Maimunah bint al-Harith) (Meymune Binti Hâris) (Burrah bint al-Harith) (c. 594 - 674/681).  Last wife that the Prophet married (in 629).

Maymuna bint al-Harith was a wife of Muhammad and, therefore, a Mother of the Believers. Her original name was Burrah, but Muhammad changed it to Maymuna. Her half-sisters, Asma bint Umais and Salma bint Umays, later married Abu Bakr and Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib. Her full sisters were Lubaba and Izza.

Maymuna married Muhammad when he was 60 years old and she was 36, placing the marriage in 630. Zaynab bint Khuzayma, the previous wife of Muhammad who had died earlier, was her half-sister.

Maymuna dedicated herself to Muhammad and followed the Qur'an. She lived with Muhammad until his death.
Maimunah bint al-Harith see Maymuna bint al-Harith
Meymune Binti Hâris see Maymuna bint al-Harith
Burrah bint al-Harith see Maymuna bint al-Harith

Maymun ibn Mihran, Abu Ayyub
Maymun ibn Mihran, Abu Ayyub (Abu Ayyub Maymun ibn Mihran) (660-735).  Early Islamic jurist and Umayyad administrator.  He is remembered in numerous accounts for his religious and ethical maxims.
Abu Ayyub Maymun ibn Mihran see Maymun ibn Mihran, Abu Ayyub

Mayy Ziyada
Mayy Ziyada (Mari Ilyas Ziyada) (May Ziade) (Marie Ziade) (May Ziyada)) (Marie Ziyada) (<I.May Ziadeh) (Marie Ziadeh) (February 11, 1886-1941).  Pioneer essayist, orator and journalist.  She wrote in Arabic, French and English, translated from several European languages, and was a zealous feminist who defended the right of education and freedom for Arab women.

May Ziade was a prolific Lebanese-Palestinian poet, essayist and translator. A writer for Arab newspapers and periodicals, Ziade also wrote a number of poems and books. She was a key figure of the Nahda in the early 20th century Arab literary scene, and is known for being an "early Palestinian feminist" and "pioneer of Oriental feminism".

Ziade was born in Nazareth in Palestine to a Lebanese Maronite father (from the Chahtoul family) and a Palestinian mother. Her father, Elias Ziade, was editor of al-Mahrūsah.

Ziade attended primary school in Nazareth. As her father came to the Kesrouan region of Lebanon, at 14 years of age she was sent to Aintoura to pursue her secondary studies at a French convent school for girls. Her studies in Aintoura had exposed her to French literature, and Romantic literature, to which she took a particular liking. She attended several Roman Catholic schools in Lebanon and in 1904, returned to Nazareth to be with her parents. She is reported to have published her first articles at age 16.

In 1908, she and her family emigrated to Egypt. Her father founded "Al Mahroussah" newspaper while the family was in Egypt, to which Ziade contributed a number of articles.

Ziade was particularly interested in learning languages, studying privately at home and then at local university for a Modern Languages degree while in Egypt. As a result, Ziade had practical knowledge of Arabic, French, English, Italian, German, Spanish, Latin and Modern Greek. She graduated in 1917.

Ziade was well known in Arab literary circles, receiving many male and female writers and intellectuals at a literary salon she established in 1912. Among those that frequented the salon were Taha Hussein, Khalil Moutrane, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Antoun Gemayel, Walieddine Yakan, Abbas el-Akkad and Yacoub Sarrouf.

Though she had never married, from 1912 onward, she maintained an extensive written correspondence with Khalil Gibran. While they never met in person as he was living in New York City, the correspondence lasted 19 years until his death in 1931, and Ziade is credited with introducing his work to the Egyptian public.

Between 1928 and 1931, Ziade suffered a series of personal losses, beginning with the death of her parents, her friends, and above all Khalil Gibran. She fell into a deep depression and returned to Lebanon where her relatives tried to place her in psychiatric hospital to gain control over her estate. It has been suggested that Ziade was sent to the hospital for expressing feminist sentiments. Ziade eventually recovered her lucidity and returned to Cairo where she died on October 17, 1941.

Ziade was deeply concerned with the emancipation of Arab woman, a task to be effected first by tackling ignorance, and then anachronistic traditions. She considered women to be the basic elements of every human society and wrote that a woman enslaved could not breastfeed her children with her own milk when that milk smelled strongly of servitude.

She specified that female evolution towards equality need not be enacted at the expense of femininity, but rather that it was a parallel process. In 1921, she convened a conference under the heading, "La but de la vie" ("The goal of life"), where she called upon Arab women to aspire toward freedom, and to be open to the Occident without forgetting their Oriental identity.

Bearing a romantic streak from childhood, Ziade was successively influenced by Lamartine, Byron, Shelley, and finally Gibran. These influences are evident in the majority of her works. She often reflected on her nostalgia for Lebanon and her fertile, vibrant, sensitive imagination is as evident as her mystery, melancholy and despair.

Ziade's first published work, Fleurs de rêve (1911), was a volume of poetry, written in French, using the pen name of Isis Copia. She would occasionally write in French, English or Italian, though she increasingly found her literary voice in Arabic. She published works of criticism and biography, volumes of free-verse poetry and essays, and novels. She translated several European authors into Arabic, including Arthur Conan Doyle from English, 'Brada' (the Italian Contessa Henriette Consuelo di Puliga) from French, and Max Müller from German. She ran the most famous literary salon of the Arab world during the twenties and thirties in Cairo.

The titles of her works in Arabic (with English translation in brackets) include:

- Al Bâhithat el-Bâdiyat (Beginning Female Researchers)
- Sawâneh fatât (Platters of Crumbs)
- Zulumât wa Ichâ'ât (Humiliation and Rumors…)
- Kalimât wa Ichârât (Words and Signs)
- Al Saha'ef (The Newspapers)
- Ghayat Al-Hayât (The Meaning of Life)
- Al-Mûsawât (Equality)
- Bayna l-Jazri wa l-Madd (Between the Ebb and Flow)

In 1999, May Ziade was named by the Lebanese Minister of Culture as the personage of the year around which the annual celebration of "Beirut, cultural capital of the Arab world" would be held.

Mari Ilyas Ziyada see Mayy Ziyada
Mari Ilyas Ziyada see Mayy Ziyada
Ziyada, Mayy see Mayy Ziyada
Ziade, May see Mayy Ziyada
Ziade, Marie see Mayy Ziyada
Ziadeh, May see Mayy Ziyada

Mazari, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-
Mazari, Abu ‘Abd Allah al- (Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Mazari) (1061-1141).   Jurist of Ifriqiya, surnamed “al-Imam” on account of his learning and renown.
Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Mazari see Mazari, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-

Mazata. Ancient and powerful Berber people which belonged to the great tribal family of the Lawata.  They lived in Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Tunisia and Algeria.

Mazati, Abu’l-Rabi’ Sulayman al-
Mazati, Abu’l-Rabi’ Sulayman al- (Abu’l-Rabi’ Sulayman al-Mazati) (d. 1070).  Ibadi historian, theologian and jurisconsult.  His collection of biographies of distinguished Ibadis is of particular interest for the history of the sect in North Africa.
Abu’l-Rabi’ Sulayman al-Mazati see Mazati, Abu’l-Rabi’ Sulayman al-

Mazin.  Name of several Arab tribes who are represented in all the great ethnic groupings of the Arabian Peninsula.

Mazini, Abu ‘Uthman al-
Mazini, Abu ‘Uthman al- (Abu ‘Uthman al-Mazini) (d. 861).   Arab philologist and Qur’an “reader” from Basra.  He left a very significant treatise on morphology, which has been transmitted in the form of lecture notes.
Abu ‘Uthman al-Mazini see Mazini, Abu ‘Uthman al-

Mazini, Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir al-
Mazini, Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir al- (Ibrahim “Abd al-Qadir al-Mazini) (1890-1949).  Egyptian writer, translator, poet and journalist.  He was a remarkable storyteller with a great sense of humor.
Ibrahim “Abd al-Qadir al-Mazini see Mazini, Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir al-

Mazru‘i (in plural form, Mazari’).   Arab tribe found in the Gulf States and in East Africa.  The most celebrated lineage, which migrated from Oman around 1698 and 1800, provided rulers of Mombasa from 1698 until 1837.

Mazari' see Mazru‘i

Mazrui, Ali 
Ali al-Amin Mazrui (b. February 24, 1933, Mombasa, Kenya — d. October 12, 2014, Vestal {Binghamton}, New York, United States) was a Kenyan American political scientist who was widely regarded as one of East Africa’s foremost political scholars.

Mazrui, the son of a prominent Islamic judge, received a scholarship to study in England at Manchester University (B.A., 1960). He continued his education at Columbia University (M.A., 1961), New York City, and Nuffield College, Oxford (D.Phil., 1966). He returned to Africa to teach at Uganda’s Makerere University (1963–73), but his opposition to Ugandan President Idi Amin and his often controversial views on African development obliged him to leave the region. From 1974 to 1991 Mazrui taught political science at the University of Michigan.  He then moved to the State University of New York at Binghamton (now Binghamton University, SUNY), where he founded (in 1991) and directed the Institute of Global Cultural Studies.

Mazrui also held faculty positions at other universities worldwide, was a consultant to international organizations, and wrote more than 30 books on African politics and society as well as post-colonial patterns of development and underdevelopment. Among his best-known works were Towards a Pax Africana (1967), The African Condition: A Political Diagnosis (1980), Black Reparations in the Era of Globalization (2002), and The African Predicament and the American Experience: A Tale of Two Edens (2003). He also wrote and presented the nine-hour BBC-PBS TV co-production The Africans (1986) and was featured in the documentary Motherland (2009). Mazrui’s honors included the Association of Muslim Social Scientists UK (AMSS UK) Lifetime Academic Achievement Award (2000).

Mazyadids (Banu Al-Mazeedi). Arab dynasty of central Iraq, which flourished in the tenth through twelfth centuries.  They were fervent Shi‘is and may thus have furthered the expansion of Shi‘ism in central Iraq.

The Banu Al-Mazeedi refers to an Arab family originating from the descendants of Adnan. Before developing into a separate entity the Al-Mazeedi's were part of the Banu Asad tribe which was present during the lifetime of Muhammad. In 998, Ali ibn Mazyad, leader of the Al-Mazeedi sub-section of the Banu Asad, established a virtually independent Mazyadid state in the Kufa area of Iraq. Backed by a powerful tribal army, the Mazyadids enjoyed great influence in the area for a century and a half. They acquired titles and subsidies from the Buyids in return for military services. Their most lasting achievement was the founding of Hilla in 1012, which became their capital. The originator of the Al Mazeedi name was a scholar, hadith narrator and chemist called Mazyed bin Mikhled al Sadaqa.

Mansour Moosa Al-Mazeedi played an important role in developing a Kuwaiti constitution issued on January 29, 1963 as part of Al Majles Al Ta'sesy or Founding Parliament.

Recently it was discovered that some Al-Mazeedi family members migrated to Yemen a few hundred years ago and settled in the region of Hadhramaut where there are still Sunni families who belong to the original Mazeedi's of Iraq. Their tribal name is Al-Mazyad.

Banu Al-Mazeedi see Mazyadids

Mbaruk bin Rashid
Mbaruk bin Rashid (Mbaruk bin Rashid bin Salim al-Mazrui) (c. 1820-1910).  Leader of a coastal Arab community, a vigorous opponent of the Busaidi dynasty, and a key figure in a rebellion against the British (1895-1896).

Mbaruk bin Rashid bin Salim al-Mazrui was the son of Rashid bin Salim, the last Mazrui governor of Mombasa.  Mbaruk’s father was overthrown by Sayyid Said, the Busaidi ruler of Zanzibar, in 1837.   

Under the leadership of his father’s cousin, Mbaruk and part of his family fled south to Gazi.  Another branch of the family fled north.  When he succeeded to leadership of the Gazi Mazrui in the mid-1860s, Mbaruk received a subsidy from the Zanzibari regime.  However, Mbaruk never reconciled himself to Busaidi rule.  He resisted the Zanzibari sultans at every opportunity.  

During Sultan Barghash’s reign (1870-1888), Mbaruk clashed repeatedly with Busaidi forces.  He distrusted Barghash’s offers of accommodation and spent most of these years as an outlaw, counting upon several thousand African slaves and freemen for military support.

In 1888, the chartered Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) established an administration over the Kenya coast.  Under its aegis, Mbaruk returned peacefully to settle at Gazi.  Over the next seven years, Mbaruk co-operated with the IBEAC and occasionally lent it material support against his neighbors.  This arrangement ended in 1895 when the company prepared to turn over its administration to the British crown.  

Around this same time, the northern Mazrui community entered into a succession dispute.  The IBEAC intervened, causing the northern Mazrui to revolt.  Some of the Mazrui sought refuge with Mbaruk.  Through his refusal to betray his kinsmen, Mbaruk was reluctantly drawn into the rebellion.

Mbaruk conducted a successful guerrilla campaign until early 1896, when he fled across the border into German administered territory (present day Tanzania).  In the German territory, Mbaruk surrendered to Governor von Wissmann and was granted asylum.

Mbaruk’s retirement to Dar es Salaam on a German pension brought Mazrui political influence in colonial East Africa to an end.  

In 1907, the British government officially pardoned Mbaruk.  However, Mbaruk declined the invitation to return to Kenya.  He died in Dar es Salaam in 1910.

Mbaruk bin Rashid bin Salim al-Mazrui< see Mbaruk bin Rashid

Medhi.  Pen-name used by a number of Ottoman poets, among them Mahmud Efendi of Gallipoli, known as Qara Mahmud (d. 1597), and Nuh-zade Seyyid Mustafa Celebi of Bursa (d. 1680).

Megawati Sukarnoputri
Megawati Sukarnoputri (Diah Permata Megawati Setiawati Sukarnoputri) (b. January 23, 1947).  First female vice president and president of Indonesia.  She was born in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to Sukarno (Indonesia’s first president) and his first wife, Fatmawti.  A life of privilege in the presidential palace ended when Sukarno was ousted by Suharto in 1966.  Megawati later became a mother and homemaker, remaining out of the public spotlight until she entered politics in 1987, when she won a seat in parliament.  In 1993, she was named leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI).

Although untested as a leader, Megawati enjoyed immense popularity in the year 2000.  She gained the respect of many Indonesians for her defiance of former president Suharto, when he attempted in June 1996 to have her party leadership removed from her.  The incident provoked violent riots.  Megawati responded by launching lawsuits against Suharto in every Indonesian court that would take her case -- 230 in all.

In 2000, Megawati became the first female vice president of Indonesia and received new duties in a power sharing arrangement announced by then President Abdurrahman Wahid in August of that year.  The arrangement, termed a “dual presidency” by some observers, was expected to continue through the end of Wahid’s term in 2004.  The president reserved for himself foreign affairs and humanitarian duties but delegated the day to day running of the government to Megawati.

She ran for re-election in the 2004 presidential election, but was defeated by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the second round. She famously refused to congratulate the new president in public.

Megawati's first husband, First Lieutenant Surendro Supjarso, was killed in a plane crash in Irian Jaya in 1970. In 1972, she married Hassan Gamal Ahmad Hassan, an Egyptian diplomat. The marriage was annulled shortly after. She married Taufiq Kiemas in 1973. They had three children, Mohammad Rizki Pramata, Mohammad Prananda and Puan Maharani.

Sukarnoputri, Megawati see Megawati Sukarnoputri

Mehemmed. One of the Turkish forms of the name Muhammad which, having been borne by the Prophet of Islam, is by far the commonest used name in the Islamic world.  In this publication, the name Muhammad is used to refer to the relevant Ottoman rulers.

Meher Baba
Meher Baba (Merwan Sheriar Irani) (February 25, 1894 - January 31, 1969).  Born in Poona as Merwan Irani, to parents from Iran and of the Zoroastrian religion.  Assuming the name Meher Baba (“Father of Love”), Meher Baba had disciples from among India’s religious communities, but he received his first initiation from a Muslim woman saint called Hazrat Babajan.  

Today the followers of Meher Baba refer to him as a Sufi master although he is also called an avatar -- a diety who had assumed the identity of a human being.

Meher Baba traveled frequently to America and Europe, where his disciples included film stars and titled nobility.  Meher Baba exercised a deep fascination for those with whom he came in contact, although the content of his behavior seemed irrational and erratic on the surface.  

Meher Baba took a vow of silence in 1925 and never spoke again until his death in 1969.  He communicated with his followers by hand signs and by pointing to letters on a letter board.

As an example of the divine love that was taught by Meher Baba, Meher Baba and his disciples cared for insane holy men called mast.  As he traveled about India, Meher Baba would seek out such individuals, feed and bathe them, and spend time in their company.  But like much else about Meher Baba the purpose behind this activity remained obscure.

Merwan Sheriar Irani see Meher Baba
Irani, Merwan Sheriar see Meher Baba

Mehmed (Mehmet).  Turkish form of the name Muhammad.
Mehmet see Mehmed

Mehmed I
Mehmed I (Mehmed I Celebi) (Mehmet I) (Muhammad I) (Celebi Sultan Mehmed) (Çelebi Mehmet) (1382/1386, Bursa – May 26, 1421, Edirne, Ottoman Empire).  Sultan of Anatolia (1403-1413) and the Ottoman sultan (1413-1421).  

Mehmed I was the Ottoman sultan who reunified the dismembered Ottoman territories following the defeat of Ankara (1402). He ruled in Anatolia and, after 1413, in the Balkans as well.

Timur (Tamerlane), victorious over the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I at the Battle of Ankara, restored to the Turkmen their principalities that had been annexed by the Ottomans and divided the remaining Ottoman territory among three of Bayezid’s sons. Thus, Mehmed ruled in Amasya, İsa in Bursa, and Süleyman in Rumelia (Balkan lands under Ottoman control). Mehmed defeated İsa and seized Bursa (1404–05) and then sent another brother, Mûsa, against Süleyman. Mûsa was victorious over Süleyman (1410) but then declared himself sultan in Edirne and undertook the reconquest of the Ottoman territories in Rumelia. Mehmed, assisted by the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, defeated Mûsa in 1413 at Camurlu (in Serbia) and declared himself sultan in both Anatolia and Rumelia, with his capital at Edirne.

During his reign Mehmed pursued a policy of relative restraint in the Balkans, although he reduced Walachia to vassal status (1416), made territorial gains in Albania (1417), and conducted raids into Hungary. In Anatolia, he re-established Ottoman control over much of the western provinces and reduced the Karaman principality (in Konya) to submission. He was successful in crushing a socio-religious revolt (1416) inspired by Bedreddin, who had been chief judge under Mûsa. Mehmed also overcame a threat from a pretender, who claimed to be his brother, Mustafa.

On May 26, 1421, Mehmed died in Edirne.

The reign of Mehmed I, as Sultan of the re-united empire, had lasted only eight years. But he had been an independent prince for nearly the whole preceding period of eleven years that passed between his father's captivity at Ankara and his own final victory over his brother Musa at Chamurli.

Mehmed I was buried in Bursa, in a mausoleum erected by himself near the celebrated mosque which he built there, and which, from its decorations of green porcelain, is called the Green Mosque. This edifice is said to be the most beautiful specimen of Ottoman architecture and carving that is in existence. Mehmed I also completed the vast and magnificent mosque at Bursa, which his grandfather Murad I. had commenced, but which had been neglected during in reign of Bayezid. It is deserving of mention that Mehmed founded in the vicinity of his own mosque and mausoleum two characteristic institutions, one a school, and one a refectory for the poor both of which he endowed with royal munificence.

Mehmed I Celebi see Mehmed I
Mehmet I see Mehmed I
Muhammad I see Mehmed I
Celebi Sultan Mehmed see Mehmed I
Celebi Mehmet see Mehmed I

Mehmed II
Mehmed II (Mehmed II Fatih) (Mehmet II) (Muhammad II) (Meḥmed-i s̠ānī) (el-Fātiḥ -- "the Conqueror") (Fatih Sultan Mehmet) (Mahomet II) (March 30, 1432, Edirne – May 3, 1481, Hünkârçayırı, near Gebze).  Ottoman sultan (1444-1446 and 1451-1481).  His byname (Fatih) means, in Turkish, “the Conqueror.”

Mehmed II was born on March 30, 1432, in Edirne as son of sultan Murad II and a slave girl.  In 1444, according to the tradition of the sultan’s sons, he was sent to Manisa (near Izmir) for training.  His father abdicated, and gave the throne to Mehmed when he was only 12 years old.  The task proved to be very difficult for the boy, as there were many tensions inside the empire as well as serious threats along the border.

In May 1446, against Mehmed’s will, Murad returned to power, in order to bring stability to the empire.

On February 18, 1451, following his father’s death earlier in the month, Mehmed ascended the throne for the second time.  His authority in the empire was, at this point, far from established.  The first group he had to take control over were the Janissaries – a group that had been strong enough to play a crucial part in getting him removed from power five years earlier.  

In 1452, Mehmed began the preparations for the conquering of Constantinople.  He managed to sign favorable peace treaties with Venice and Hungary, in order to make them neutral.   He started several important projects to prepare for war, like building the fortress of Bagazkesen in order to control the Strait of Bosphorus, and constructing thirty-one galleys and building canons and cast guns of a caliber yet unknown in Europe.

On April 6, 1453, the siege of Constantinople began, despite the heavy opposition of the grand vizier Candarli.  On May 29, 1453, Constantinople gave in, and was sacked by the Ottoman troops.  On May 30, 1453, Mehmed stopped the looting of Constantinople; converted the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and began planning for the new city, which would be known as Istanbul.  This day he also had his grand vizier Candarli arrested and later executed.

Later in 1453, a big effort was begun to repopulate Constantinople by encouraging Greek and Genoese traders to return, deporting Muslims and Christians to Istanbul, and promoting religious institutions for Jews, Armenians, and other Christian groups.

On August 11, 1473, Mehmed achieved what was arguably his most strategic victory when he defeated the Turmen leader Uzun Hasan at Bashkent.   With this victory, Mehmed achieved full control over Anatolia.

Mehmed died on May 3, 1481, in Hunkarcayiri near Maltepe near Istanbul.

Mehmed was sultan twice.   The first time was a very problematic period, as his court was weakened by the conflict between his grand vizier Candarli hall and the 2 viziers Zaganos and Sihabeddin.  Along the borders, Christian Crusaders were attacking from the north (near Varna, in today’s Romania).   It was his father, the abdicated sultan Murad I who first defeated the Crusaders, and later returned to office in order to bring stability back to the empire.

While Mehmed’s first period as sultan was a flop, his return was a great one.  He is deemed to be one of the greatest of the Ottoman sultans.  In addition to conquering Constantinople, Mehmed put great emphasis on culture, science and law.  He brought some of the greatest European minds to his court, built libraries, colleges, and invited peoples of different races and religions to move to Istanbul (as Constantinople was named) – thereby creating the foundations for the greatness for this city in centuries to follow.   His success and fame was for a time so strong that he assumed the title Kayser-i Rum (Roman Caesar).

Mehmed II Fatih see Mehmed II
Mehmed the Conqueror see Mehmed II
Mehmet II see Mehmed II
Muhammad II see Mehmed II
Mehmed-i sani see Mehmed II
Fatih Sultan Mehmet see Mehmed II

Mehmed III
Mehmed III (b. 1566, Manisa, Ottoman Empire — d. December 22, 1603, Constantinople).  Ottoman sultan (r.1595-1603).  He was born in Manisa.  In 1595, he became sultan after Murad III and inherited a difficult war against Austria that had been started two years earlier.  In 1596, Mehmed became directly active in the war, securing victories at Erlau and Hachova.  In 1601, the Ottomans seized control over the fortress of Kaniza (today’s Croatia).  In 1603, war broke with Persia.  However, Mehmed died on December 22 in Istanbul before the war reached a conclusion.

Mehmed’s few years in power did not produce much that would last.  Most of his powers went into years of war against Austria – where the Ottomans saw more victories than losses, but little of substance.  Tensions inside the empire, especially in Anatolia, did not make things easier for Mehmed.  Ottoman institutions declined, and there were many revolts among the many, both peasants and land owners, who were affected by the weakened land tenure system.  The sultan was never able to suppress these widespread revolts before his death in 1603.

At the outset of Mehmed’s reign, the war against Austria, already in progress for two years, was accelerated by an alliance between Austria and the Danubian principalities of Moldavia, Transylvania, and Walachia. Following the Ottoman loss of Gran (Esztergom, Hungary) in 1595 to the Christian allies, Mehmed himself participated in the campaign of 1596, which saw the Ottoman conquest of Erlau (Eger) and victory at Hachova (Mező-Kersztes). In 1601, following a continuous war of sieges, the Ottomans took the fortress of Kanizsa.

Meanwhile, in Anatolia, the decline of Ottoman institutions, particularly the land-tenure system, resulted in extensive revolts by the sipahiyan (cavalry based on quasi-feudal land units) and by the peasants, who were oppressed by taxes. While the Ottoman government struggled to suppress these revolts, war with Iran broke out in 1603.

Mehmed ‘Akif
Mehmed ‘Akif (Mehmet Akif Ersoy) (1873, Constantinople - December 27, 1936, Istanbul).  Turkish poet, patriot and proponent of Pan-Islamism.

Mehmet Âkif Ersoy (1873, Constantinople - 27 December 1936, Istanbul) was a Turkish poet of Albanian origin from Peć, Kosovo, author, academic, member of parliament, and the poet of the Turkish National Anthem.

Widely regarded as one of the premiere literary minds of his time, Ersoy was further noted for his command of the Turkish language, as well as his patriotism and piousness and his support for the Turkish War of Independence.

As a gesture of gratitude, a framed version of the national anthem typically occupies the wall above the blackboard in the classrooms of every public, as well as most private, schools around Turkey, along with a Turkish flag, a photograph of the country's founding father Atatürk, and a copy of Atatürk's famous inspirational speech to the nation's youth.

Ersoy was born as Mehmet Ragif in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire in 1873 to a conservative family, the son of İpekli Tahir Efendi, an Albanian tutor at Fatih Madrasah, at a time when all institutions of the state were in terminal decline, and major crises and regime changes were underway. His mother, Emine Şerife Hanım, was of mixed Uzbek and Turkish descent. As he was about to complete his education at the Fatih Merkez Rüştiyesi, his father’s death and a fire that destroyed his home, forced Ersoy to interrupt his education and to start working to support his family. He wanted to start a professional career as soon as possible, and he entered the Mülkiye Baytar Mektebi (Veterinary School), and graduated with honors in 1893.

In the same year, Mehmet Akif Ersoy joined the civil service and conducted research on contagious diseases in various locations in Anatolia. During these assignments, in line with his religious inclination, he gave sermons in mosques, and tried to educate the people and to raise their awareness. Along with fellow men-of-letters Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem, Abdülhak Hamit Tarhan and Cenap Şahabettin, which he had met in 1913, he worked for the publication branch of the Müdafaa-i Milliye Heyeti. He soon resigned from his government position and other occupations, and wrote poems and articles for the publication Sırat-ı Müstakim.

During the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmet Akif Ersoy was a fervent patriot. He made important contributions to the struggle for the declaration of the Turkish Republic, and advocated patriotism though speeches that he delivered in many mosques in Anatolia. On November 19, 1920, during a famous speech he gave in Kastamonu’s Nasrullah Mosque, he condemned the Treaty of Sevres, and invited the people to use their faith and guns to fight against Western colonialists. When the publication Sebilürreşat, which was then operating out of Ankara, published this speech, it spread all over the country and was even made into a pamphlet distributed to Turkish soldiers.

However, Mehmet Akif Ersoy earned himself a significant place in the history of the Republic of Turkey as the composer of the lyrics of the Turkish National Anthem. During the session of March 12, 1921, the Turkish Grand National Assembly officially designated his ten-quatrain poem as the lyrics of the national anthem.

During the republican period, Mehmet Akif Ersoy taught history and literature at various universities.

Ersoy temporarily relocated to Cairo due to a family-related matter in 1925, and taught the Turkish language at the University there during his 11-year stay. He caught malaria during a visit to Lebanon and returned to Turkey shortly before his death in 1936.

He was interred in the Edirnekapı Martyr's Cemetery in Istanbul. Mehmet Akif Ersoy is the first person in the history of the Republic of Turkey to have the national anthem performed at his funeral ceremony.

Mehmet Akif Ersoy had abundant knowledge concerning traditional eastern literature. In addition, during the years he was studying at Veterinary school, he enjoyed reading the works of authors such as Victor Hugo, Alphonse de Lamartine, Emile Zola, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Ersoy is best known for his 1911 work entitled Safahat. This volume is a collection of 44 poems of various lengths. The earliest work that appears in this book is dated 1904, but this is unattested, and it is highly likely that the poet, who was 32 on that particular date, composed poems prior to that date.

Ersoy is further noted for writing the lyrics of the Turkish National Anthem, İstiklâl Marşı (The March of Independence in English) – which was adopted in 1921, and is accepted by many Turks as their "National Poet". The lyrics were originally written as a poem in a collection of his writings. Paradoxically, one of his most famous works, a book called Safahat, was not widely read or published until recently. He studied veterinary science at the university.

In addition to his literary merits and his patriotic personality, Ersoy was a deeply pious man who was known on occasion to engage in Tafsir and for the few but particularly well-written poetic translations from the Qur'an that he penned. Ataturk, who admired Ersoy and was deeply impressed with the samples of Tafsir Ersoy provided, asked the poet if he could translate the entire Qur'an into Turkish, as well as provide a commentary on its contents. Although he first accepted the offer, Ersoy soon realized that his command of Islamic theology and his knowledge of classical Arabic was insufficient to provide a thorough, proper and deserving translation of the exquisite Arabic in The Qur'an. To avoid the possible public circulation of a transliteration which might be faulty, he burned the few pages that he worked on, and the job of creating the Turkish Tafsir of the Qur'an was given to one of the greatest theologians and academics of the day, Elmalılı Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, whose work is still regarded as the Tafsir of record in Turkey.

Other works of Ersoy are Süleymaniye Kürsüsünde (At the Chair of Süleymaniye, 1912), Hakkın Sesleri (Voices of God, 1913), Fatih Kürsüsünde (At the Chair of Fatih, 1914), Hatıralar (Memoirs, 1917), Asım (Asım, 1924), Gölgeler (Shadow, 1933), Kastamonu Nasrullah Kürsüsü'nde (At the Kastamonu Nasrullah Chair, 1921), Kur'an'dan Ayet ve Hadisler (Ayat and Hadith from the Koran, 1944).

'Akif, Mehmed see Mehmed ‘Akif
Mehmet Akif Ersoy see Mehmed ‘Akif
Ersoy, Mehmet Akif see Mehmed ‘Akif

Mehmed Emin
Mehmed Emin (Yurdakul) (Mehmet Emin Yurdakul) (1869, Istanbul – January 14, 1944, Istanbul).  Turkish poet and patriot.  He was the pioneer of modern Turkish poetry in spoken Turkish and syllabic metre.

The notable works of Mehmet Emin Yurdakul are:

    * Türkçe Şiirler (1889)
    * Fazilet ve Adalet (1890)
    * Türk Sazı (Turkish Instrument, 1914)
    * Ey Türk Uyan (O Turk Wake Up, 1914)
    * Tan Sesleri (Voices of the Dawn, 1915)
    * Ordunun Destanı (The Legend of the Army, 1915)
    * Dicle Önünde (In Front of Tigris, 1916)
    * İsyan ve Dua (The Uprising and the Prayers, 1918)
    * Zafer Yolunda (On the Way of Victory, 1918)
    * Turan'a Doğru (Towards Turan, 1918)
    * Aydın Kızları (Girls of Aydın, 1919)
    * Türk'ün Hukuku (The Law of Turk, 1919)
    * Dante'ye (To Dante, 1928)
    * Kıral Corc'a (To King George, 1928)
    * Mustafa Kemal (Mustafa Kemal, 1928)
    * Ankara (Ankara, 1939)

Yurdakul see Mehmed Emin
Mehmet Emin Yurdakul see Mehmed Emin
Yurdakul, Mehmet Emin see Mehmed Emin

Mehmed Giray, Derwish
Mehmed Giray, Derwish (Derwish Mehmed Giray).  Member of the Crimean Giray dynasty and historian of the seventeenth century.  His chronicle deals with Ottoman and Crimean history from 1682 to 1703.
Derwish Mehmed Giray see Mehmed Giray, Derwish
Giray, Derwish Mehmed see Mehmed Giray, Derwish

Mehmed Hakim Efendi
Mehmed Hakim Efendi (d. 1770).  Ottoman literary personality, statesman and official court chronicler.

Mehmed IV
Mehmed IV (Mehmed IV Avci) (Mehmed the Hunter) (January 2, 1642, Istanbul - January 6, 1693, Edirne, Ottoman Empire).  Ottoman sultan (r.1648-1687), however, for much of this period Murad was a minor.  

Mehmed IV, byname Avcı (“The Hunter”),  was the Ottoman sultan whose reign (1648–87) was marked first by administrative and financial decay and later by a period of revival under the able Köprülü viziers. Mehmed IV, however, devoted himself to hunting rather than to affairs of state.

Mehmed succeeded his mentally ill father, İbrahim, at the age of six. Power was exercised by factions led by his grandmother and mother while the chiefs of the Janissary corps dominated the state administration. During this period revolts broke out in Constantinople and Anatolia, and a series of grand viziers sought in vain to solve the empire’s financial crisis. The emergence of the Köprülüs as grand viziers offered temporary domestic relief and ushered in a period of victories against Venice in the Mediterranean and against Austria and Poland in the Balkans.

Mehmed IV participated in the military campaigns against Austria (1663) and Poland (1672). His primary interest, however, remained the pursuit of new hunting grounds. He opposed his grand vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Paşa’s grandiose scheme to conquer Vienna but was unable to prevent him from entering into a disastrous war with Austria. The subsequent Ottoman defeats led to Mehmed’s deposition (on November 7, 1687). He spent the last three years of his life in retirement in Edirne.

Mehmed's reign is notable for a brief revival of Ottoman fortunes led by the infamous Grand Vizier, Mehmed Köprülü and his son Fazıl Ahmet . They regained the Aegean islands from Venice and fought successful campaigns against Transylvania (1664) and Poland (1670–1674). At one point, when Mehmed IV allied himself with Petro Doroshenko, Ottoman rule was close to extending into Podolia and Ukraine.

A later vizier, Kara Mustafa was less able. Supporting the 1683 Hungarian uprising of Imre Thököly against Austrian rule, Kara Mustafa marched a vast army through Hungary and besieged Vienna at the Battle of Vienna. On the Kahlenberg Heights, the Ottomans were utterly routed by the vengeful Poles led by their King, John III Sobieski and the Imperial army.

Mehmed's favorite harem girl was Emetullah Rabia Gülnûş Sultan, who was a slave girl taken prisoner at Rethymnon (Turkish Resmo) in the island of Crete. Their two sons, Mustafa II (r. 1695-1703) and Ahmed III (r.1703-1730), became Ottoman Sultans.

Mehmed IV Avci see Mehmed IV
Mehmed the Hunter see Mehmed IV

Mehmed Pasha
Mehmed Pasha.  Name carried by many Ottoman Great Viziers.  They are distinguished by their surname, e. g. Cerkes “the Circassian,” Gurju “the Georgian,” etc. 

Mehmed Pasha, Qaramani Nishanji
Mehmed Pasha, Qaramani Nishanji (Qaramani Nishanji Mehmed Pasha) (d. 1481).  Ottoman Grand Vizier and historian from Konya.  He became the main author of Sultan Muhammad II’s legislative policy.
Qaramani Nishanji Mehmed Pasha see Mehmed Pasha, Qaramani Nishanji

Mehmed Re’is, Ibn Menemenli
Mehmed Re’is, Ibn Menemenli (Ibn Menemenli Mehmed Re’is). Turkish ship’s captain and cartographer from the sixteenth century.  He is the author of a chart of the Aegean Sea.
Ibn Menemenli Mehmed Re’is see Mehmed Re’is, Ibn Menemenli
Re'is, Ibn Menemenli Mehmed see Mehmed Re’is, Ibn Menemenli

Mehmed Yirmisekiz Celebi Efendi
Mehmed Yirmisekiz Celebi Efendi (Mehmed Efendi) (Mehemet Effendi) (Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi Efendi) (c. 1670-1732).  Ottoman statesman.  He is renowned for his diplomatic mission to France in 1720 and for the account of the mission which he left behind.  It is a major contribution to the westernizing movement in the Ottoman Empire in its early manifestations.

Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi Efendi was an Ottoman statesman who was delegated as ambassador by the Sultan Ahmed III to Louis XV's France in 1720. He is remembered for his account of his embassy mission ("Sefaretname").

Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi was born in Edirne. His date of birth is unknown. He is the son of an officer in the Janissary corps, Süleyman Ağa, who died during a campaign to Pécs. Mehmed Çelebi himself was enrolled in the Janissary corps, and since he had served in the 28th battalion ("orta" in Janissary terminology) of the corps, he came to be known with the nickname "Yirmisekiz" ("twenty-eight" in Turkish) for his entire life. His descendants, including a son who became a grand vizier, also carried the name in the form of "Yirmisekizzade" (son of twenty-eight).

Mehmed Celebi rose through the military hierarchy and then oriented his career to the service of the finances of the state, as superintendent for the Ottoman mint first, and as chief imperial accountant by the reign of Ahmed III. In 1720, while in that position, he was assigned as Ottoman ambassador to Louis XV's France and sent to Paris. His embassy of eleven months was notable for being the first ever foreign representation of a permanent nature for the Ottoman Empire. On his return to the Ottoman capital, Mehmed Çelebi presented his contacts, experiences and observations to the Sultan in the form of a book.

Mehmed Celebi's sefaretname is one of the most important examples of the homonymous genre, both for its literary merits and in terms of the insights it provides on his time and environment. He describes his journey to France, the 40-days quarantine in Toulon for fear of plague, his journey through Bordeaux towards Paris, his reception by Louis XV, the ceremonies and the social events to which he participated, notably a night at the theater, places of interest in Paris, the curiosity with which he examined the Western culture and the curiosity he aroused among his Western interlocutors, for instance his days of fasting during Ramadan becoming a reason for a public gathering for curious Parisian women.

Aside from setting the pace and nature of the long-term trend of Westernization in the Ottoman Empire, his embassy also had immediate repercussions in the Ottoman Empire, notably in the form of the first printing house managed by İbrahim Müteferrika, a Hungarian convert, which published books in Turkish, having been opened in the same year of 1720 as a direct consequence of Mehmed Çelebi's mission in Paris, and under the personal protection and auspices of his son Yirmisekizzade Mehmed Said Pasha, later grand vizier. İstanbul's renowned Sadabad Gardens, one of the symbols of the Tulip Era were also largely inspired by the gardening techniques used in Tuileries Palace, described in length by the author/ambassador. His book was translated into French in 1757 and also into other Western languages afterwards.

After another embassy mission this time in Egypt, Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi who was deeply associated with the Tulip Era, was exiled to Cyprus after the Patrona Halil uprising which put an end to that era and to Ahmed III's reign. He died in Magosa in 1732 and was buried in the courtyard of Buğday Mosque in that city.

His son Yirmisekizzade Mehmed Said Paşa regained imperial favor shortly afterwards and was dispatched himself for an embassy in Paris in 1742, as well as another more historically significant one in Sweden and Poland, which led to his writing another sefaretname.
Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi Efendi see Mehmed Yirmisekiz Celebi Efendi
Mehmed Efendi see Mehmed Yirmisekiz Celebi Efendi
Mehemet Effendi see Mehmed Yirmisekiz Celebi Efendi

Mehmed Za‘im
Mehmed Za‘im (b.1532).  Ottoman Turkish historian.  His only known historical book is valuable for the period, for he describes from his own experience events from 1543 to 1578, in which year the work was completed.
Za'im, Mehmed see Mehmed Za‘im

Meidob.  Five hundred miles west of the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, across a monotonous landscape, broken only by random granite outcrops, rise the Meidob hills of western Sudan in Darfur Province.  Comprising an area of 240,000 square miles, including the surrounding plains to the south and east, these volcanic peaks and the pleasant upland plateaus between them is Dar Meidob, the home of the Meidob people.   They are spread evenly with a concentration in the administrative center of Malha.  They call themselves Tiddi in their own language.

Islam first effectively entered Darfur with the conversion of the Fur Sultan Suleiman Solong (1660-1680).  Traditions state that the Meidob malik was one of 20 chiefs subordinate to the Fur.   While several prominent Meidobi individuals held important posts at court, it seems that Meidob isolation allowed them to retain a great measure of independence.  They do not appear to have become effectively Islamized until well into the nineteenth century.  The Mahdiyya was not welcomed among the Meidob, though various temporary alliances were made with Mahdist forces, largely to further local rivalries.  Active conversion to Islam spread when the last Fur sultan, Ali Dinar (1898-1916), incorporated the Meidob effectively under his political control.  The incorporation of Darfur into the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium in 1916 was followed by the British administrators recognizing the Shalkota malik as overall leader.  The Urrti malikdom was abolished in 1923, that of the Torti in 1944, and that of the Shalkota technically in 1971, when the Sudan government abolished the vestiges of the “native administration” with the Peoples Local Government Act.  In reality, the power of the maliks had been considerably reduced since the time of Ali Dinar, and the territorial sections which became tax-collecting areas had an omda appointed as their head.  These omdas formed a group of political leaders who exercised effective power, and a similar situation persists at the present time, when political and moral leadership rests more on individual prestige and wealth than on hereditary status.

Melanau.  The coastal area of northwestern Sarawak in Borneo is a low lying swampy plain extending from 3 to 20 miles inland, often below sea level.  Its poor peat soil, covered with dense rain forest, does not easily allow the inhabitants to grow rice by shifting cultivation, the characteristic mode of farming in the interior districts.  The area is transversed by meandering rivers, all flowing roughly northwest into the South China Sea.  These rivers are tidal for long distances upstream; and during the monsoon, from November to March, they are likely to overflow their banks and flood the surrounding land.  Swamp rice, a strain of hill rice that tolerates wet soil but not flooding, can be grown on the raised river banks.  Rice grown in such conditions is an uncertain crop and is frequently ruined before it can be harvested.  

For at least four centuries, the Melanau have been under the influence and, at one time, nominal jurisdiction of the Muslim sultans of Brunei.  Representatives of the sultans lived at the mouths of the more important sago-producing rivers to control trade revenues.  These representatives and their families were assimilated by the local population and came to speak Melanau instead of Malay as their first language.  They lived as hereditary elders in longhouse fortresses; and though the one selected as the sultan’s representative at any one time carried prestige and could sometimes successfully claim to be ruler of the river, he was, as much as were the elders in the wholly pagan villages upriver, merely primus inter pares.

The Muslim settlers from Brunei almost completely adopted Melanau values, especially those concerning rank.  They imposed themselves on local society as a superior rank and regarded the pagan upper ranks as second class aristocrats.  Even more than religion, it was rank in all sections of society that counted most.  At birth, a Melanau acquired not only a place in a village and a circle of kinsmen; he was also placed in his rank category.  Muslims from Brunei brought with them the titles pengiren, awing and dayang.  In many respects these titles marked them off more significantly than their religion, since the preferred Melanau marriage, among pagans as much as Muslims, was with a second cousin of any kind, provided marriage was not across any of the three main rank barriers – aristocrats, middle ranks and slaves.  

The establishment of Singapore as an international market in 1819 introduced fundamental changes in the trade of the whole region of the Indonesian archipelago and in particular in the trade of the Melanau sago.  Until then, most sago had been exported as a high starch food in the form of a baked biscuit prepared in the villages.  When European textile industries demanded industrial starch, the market for sago flour biscuits decreased in favor of sago flour.  Malay traders from Kuching in Sarawak began competing with the established merchants from Brunei in supplying the new flour in Singapore.  Piracy was part of the game.  

In 1839, James Brooke, an Englishman, arrived in Kuching on the river Sarawak, where a section of the local Malay aristocracy was in revolt against the representative of the Sultan of Brunei.  Brooke helped suppress the revolt and in 1841 had himself appointed Raja of Sarawak on the understanding that the state would remain Muslim in perpetuity and that the Muslim Malay-speaking inhabitants were to provide most of the civil service.  For the next 20 years,  Brooke and his successor, his nephew, were engaged in war.  By the late 1850s, the Raja found himself short of money and still at war.  To save himself and the solvency of Sarawak,  Brooke annexed the sago-producing districts and in 1861 forced the sultan to grant him title to the whole area.  Brooke’s family ruled Sarawak until World War II.  In 1946, Sarawak was ceded to Great Britain, and in 1963, Sarawak joined the Republic of Malaysia.

As the coastal district settled down after Brooke’s conquest, production increased, as did trade with Singapore.  The reasons for living in longhouses disappeared with the advent of peace and security, and Melanau began moving to villages with separate houses.  Under Brooke, the Malay community was privileged and the Muslim religion protected, if not actively pushed.  For the Melanau, many of whom could speak Malay, to become Muslim was masok melayu – to become Malay, with all its privileges.

After the turn of the century, the situation changed.  It had been the policy of the Raja never to allow Christian missionaries to threaten the interests of his Muslim subjects.  But around 1900, he permitted the Roman Catholics to set up schools and churches.  One particular aristocrat in Brooke’s administration, on returning home from the pilgrimage to Mecca, was disturbed to find a Roman Catholic mission on his river.  His father, one of the Raja’s most influential administrators, joined with his son, and for the next 40 years they and other Muslims recruited by them conducted a steady and covert campaign of proselytization, supported by the governmental benefits accruing to Muslims.  The results were dramatic.  In 1900, it is estimated that only one-third of the Melanau were Muslims.  In 1964, three-fourths of them were.  

Like most Muslims in the Indonesian area, the Melanau are Sunni and follow Shafi law, although rather loosely.  When Sarawak acceded to the Malaysian federation in 1963, Islam did not, as in other parts of Malaysia, become the official religion, although it was allotted a highly privileged position with a state department and official funds to manage its interests.  Money was supplied for building mosques and salaries of religious officials.  Less money was contributed to other religions, and many inducements were made to persuade pagans and others to become Muslim.

Melkite Greek Catholics
Melkite Greek Catholics (Melkites) (Melchites).  Members of the Melkite Church which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church through the regime of Eastern Rite Churches, allowing it a great deal of autonomy and the right to preserve its original character.  The Melkite Church is centered in Syria and has about 1.5 million adherents worldwide.  The patriarch of the church is in Damascus, and there is only one above him in the hierarchy: the pope in the Vatican State.  Below are 7 archdioceses:  In Syria, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia; in Lebanon, Beirut and Tyre; in Iraq, Basra; and in Jordan, Amman.  There are also six dioceses: In Israel, Acre; and in Lebanon, Baalbek, Banyias, Sayda, Tripoli and Zahle.    

In the name “melkite” quite a bit of the church’s history is found.  The word comes from the Semitic word for king, pointing at the fact that Melkites took the position of the emperor (which is a powerful king) of Byzantine in the fifth century on the greatest theological issue of early Christianity: the nature of Jesus.  The term “melkite” was at first used by the non-Melkites, but was soon adapted, as it was and is a fairly positive term.  

The Melkite Church of Southwest Asia grew from Greek immigrants.  The brought with them the Byzantine rite.  The liturgy of the church is performed in vernacular Arabic.  The priests of the Melkite Church are allowed to marry.

Melkites, also spelled Melchites, are any of the Christians of Syria and Egypt who accepted the ruling of the Council of Chalcedon (451) affirming the two natures—divine and human—of Christ. Because they shared the theological position of the Byzantine emperor, they were derisively termed Melchites—that is, Royalists or Emperor’s Men (from Syriac malkā: “king”)—by those who rejected the Chalcedonian definition and believed in only one nature in Christ (the Monophysite belief). While the term originally referred only to Egyptian Christians, it came to be used for all Chalcedonians in the Middle East and finally, losing its pejorative tone, came to designate the faithful of the patriarchates of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and especially Antioch.

The Melchite community generally consisted of Greek colonists and the Arabicized populations of Egypt and Syria. They adopted the Byzantine rite and thus followed Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, into schism with Rome in 1054. For several centuries afterward, the patriarch of Antioch attempted reunification with Rome, and a small number of Melchite Catholics emerged. Final union came in 1724, when Cyril VI, a Catholic, was elected patriarch of Antioch.  He was followed by several bishops and a third of the faithful. The Orthodox who opposed union elected their own patriarch, Silvester, and obtained the legal recognition from the Ottoman government that assured them autonomy. About 100 years later, after much persecution and religious difficulties with Jesuits and Lebanese Maronites, the Catholics also received autonomous status from the Ottoman Turks, which allowed for normal activity and growth.

While there had been some few conversions to Catholicism in the patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem, there is only one Catholic Melchite “patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and all the East.” In each patriarchate he has his own diocese (Damascus, Jerusalem, Alexandria) and is helped by a patriarchal vicar. There are seven archdioceses—Aleppo, Homs, and Latakia (all in Syria), Beirut and Tyre (both in Lebanon), Basra (in Iraq), and Petra-Philadelphia (Jordan). There are six dioceses, in Acre (Israel) and Baalbek, Baniyas, Saïda, Tripolis, and Zahleh-Furzol (all in Lebanon). The number of Catholic Melchites, who observe the Byzantine liturgy in their vernacular Arabic, totals about 250,000 with an additional 150,000 abroad, mainly in Brazil, Argentina, the United States, and Canada.

Melkites see Melkite Greek Catholics
Melchites see Melkite Greek Catholics

Mende.  One of the two largest ethnic groups in Sierra Leone is the Mende, who comprise some 31 percent of the population.  The other is the Temne, who are perhaps 35 percent.  Less than one-third of the Mende are Muslim.  Mende inhabit roughly 12,000 square miles of coastal bush and central forest country in southern Sierra Leone, where they are grouped into more than sixty chiefdoms.  A few thousand live in Liberia, most in Guma Mendi chiefdom.

The Mende, like most Sierra Leone peoples, welcomed itinerant Muslims, often traders, who settled among them.  Known as mori men, they provided a valued service such as in making charms and divining for the Mende, especially chiefs and warriors.  These traders were Sunni Muslims of the Maliki rite, but prior to the twentieth century there seem to have been few converts.  In this century, the spread of Islam among the Mende and other Sierra Leone peoples is probably related to anti-colonial feelings.

The Ahmadiya sect of Islam was introduced to Sierra Leone in 1937 and into the Mende area in 1939 at Baomabun, then a gold-mining center.  By 1945, the Ahmadis moved to Bo, which remains their base.  A 1960 estimate indicated about 3,000 Ahmadis in Sierra Leone, the majority being Mende.

Mende are the people of Sierra Leone, including also a small group in Liberia. They speak a language of the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo family. The Mende grow rice as their staple crop, as well as yams and cassava. Cash crops include cocoa, ginger, peanuts (groundnuts), and palm oil and kernels. They practice shifting agriculture, with the heads of kin groups allocating land to individual households, which perform most of the work. Men fell trees and clear the fields, and women weed.

The Mende occupy small towns and villages. Groups of towns and villages form sections, and several sections make up the modern chiefdom. Each section is headed by a subchief, who is the eldest suitable descendant in the male line of the founder of the area. The chiefdom is headed by a paramount chief chosen on the same basis.

The chief is a secular leader only; ritual power is in the hands of the secret poro society. Membership in the poro is necessary for anyone in a position of authority. In addition to enforcing Mende law, the poro and other secret societies educate boys and girls, regulate sexual conduct, and concern themselves with agricultural fertility and military training. Men masked as spirits are prominent in these activities. The women’s secret society is the sande.

The traditional religion of the Mende includes belief in a supreme creator god, ancestral spirits, and nature deities. Diviners are consulted in times of illness or ominous experience, and the Mende believe in the power of witches. Many Mende are now Muslims or Christians, however.

Menderes, Adnan
Menderes, Adnan (Adnan Menderes) (b. 1899, Aydın, Ottoman Empire — d. September 17, 1961, İmralı). Turkish statesman from Izmir who was the prime minister of Turkey from 1950 to 1960.  He joined Ali Fethi Okyar’s Freedom Party in 1930 and, when this was closed down, the People’s Party, later called Republican People’s Party.  Ousted with others from the party in 1945, he founded the Democratic Party in 1946, which won the elections in 1950, 1954 and 1957, Menderes being Prime Minister from 1950 until 1960.  On May 27, 1960, a military coup was staged and the government of Menderes was overthrown.  On October 17, 1960, Menderes was arrested by the military on charges of embezzling state funds, extravagance and corruption.  He was sentenced to death and executed, by hanging, in 1961.  His name was rehabilitated in the late 1980s.  

Menderes was more tolerant towards traditional lifestyles and the different forms of practice of Islam than Ataturk and his party had been.  While remaining pro-Western, he was more active than his predecessors in building relations with Muslim states.  Menderes had a more liberal economic policy than earlier prime ministers, and allowed more private enterprise.  In general, Menderes’ economic politics made him popular among the poor half of the population, but it also brought the country insolvency due to an enormous increase in imports of goods and technology.  

Menderes was most intolerant towards criticism, and instituted press censorship and had journalists arrested.  Menderes became increasingly unpopular among both the intellectuals and the military, which feared that the ideals of Ataturk were in danger.  This eventually led to Menderes’ fall.

Adnan Menderes was the son of a wealthy landowner. He was educated at the American College in İzmir and the Faculty of Law at Ankara. Later in life he sold or distributed most of his estates to small shareholders, maintaining only one farm, which became a model of modern agricultural methods. In 1930, he entered parliament as a member of Kemal Atatürk’s Republican People’s Party (RPP). The RPP was at that time the only legal party in Turkey and was firmly pro-Western. It had broken drastically with many social and cultural traditions of the past and had introduced a rigidly controlled state economy.

In 1945, Menderes was expelled from the RPP, and he and three others founded (in 1946) the Democrat Party (DP), which became Turkey’s first opposition party. The 1950 elections, which were the first free elections held in Turkey in more than 25 years, resulted in a landslide victory for Menderes and his party. Menderes was more tolerant than the RPP of traditional ways of life. While still pro-Western in foreign policy, he tried to establish closer ties with Muslim states. Recognizing the deep-seated religious fervor of the populace, Menderes relaxed much of the official antipathy of Atatürk and the RPP towards some of the more conservative manifestations of Islāmic religious feeling.

The DP encouraged private enterprise as opposed to a planned economy, but it eventually brought the country to insolvency by a policy of heedless importation of foreign goods and technology. While the lot of the average villager did improve, it was done at the sacrifice of national economic integrity.

In spite of Turkey’s crushing economic problems, Menderes maintained his popularity with the peasantry, and in the 1954 elections the DP again won by a substantial majority, returning Menderes to office. Always intolerant of criticism, Menderes then set out to silence his opposition. Press censorship was instituted, journalists were jailed at whim, and local elections were rigged. These policies not only angered the intellectuals but alienated the military, a group that saw itself as the guardians of Kemalist ideals and felt that the Atatürk reforms were being directly challenged.

Although the national economy continued to decline, Menderes still had popular support and won the 1957 elections. But the opposition to him was intensifying, and on May 27, 1960, a military coup overthrew his government. Menderes and hundreds of Democrat Party leaders were arrested. During a trial lasting 11 months, Menderes was accused of embezzling state funds, extravagance, and corruption, among other charges. He was sentenced to death and, following a suicide attempt, was hanged.

Adnan Menderes see Menderes, Adnan

Mengli Giray I
Mengli Giray I (Menli I Giray) (I Menli Geray) (Mengli I Giray) (1445-1515). Khan of Crimea (1466; 1469-1475; 1478-1515).  Founder of the Crimean state and a patron of the arts.  No longer an Ottoman vassal, he generally sought to stay on good terms with Muscovy.

Meñli I Giray was a khan of the Crimean Khanate and the sixth son of the khanate founder Haci I Giray.

He ascended the throne in 1466 for some months, then was deposed by his brother Nur Devlet. He was restored to the throne in January 1469, but lost power again in March 1475 as a result of a rebellion of rival brothers and nobility. In 1475, he was captured by the Ottomans in Caffa and delivered to Istanbul. After being forced to recognize Ottoman suzerainty over the Crimean Khanate, he was returned to the throne of Crimea in 1478. He made a great contribution to the development of Crimean Tatar statehood. He founded the fortress of Özü. In 1502, Meñli I defeated the last khan of the Golden Horde and took control over its capital Saray. He proclaimed himself Khagan (Emperor), claiming to be the successor of the Golden Horde's authority over the Turkic khanates of Caspian-Volga region.

Meñli I Giray was buried in the Dürbe.
Menli I Giray see Mengli Giray I
Giray, Mengli see Mengli Giray I
Giray, Menli I see Mengli Giray I
Menli Geray see Mengli Giray I
Geray, Menli see Mengli Giray I
Mengli I

Giray see Mengli Giray I

Menteshe-oghullari.  Turkish dynasty in southwestern Anatolia, founded by the Turkmen in the thirteenth century.  It lasted until 1421 when the Ottoman Sultan Murad II captured the territory.

Meos (Mayos) (Mewatis) .  Muslims of the north Indian state of Rajasthan are concentrated with one exception in urban centers.  They can be divided into four major categories: traders, the service class, the Rajputs and the rural community of the Meos.  Each is distinct in regard to its origin, occupation, social position and relationship with the wider Muslim culture.  Nearly one-half are immigrants who came to Rajasthan at different times and for different reasons.

The Meos were originally Hindus.  When and how they were converted is still unclear.  It seems probable on the basis of popular belief that they were converted in stages:  fiirst by Salar Masud in the eleventh century, by Balban in the thirteenth century and again during Aurangzeb’s reign in the seventeenth century.  Being close to Delhi, the Meos apparently took an active interest in politics, sometimes by giving refuge to dissidents, occasionally by raiding the capital for material gain and at other times by getting involved in intrigues for succession.  More often than not they backed the wrong group and as a consequence suffered severe reprisals.  At times conversion to Islam was part of the settlement after defeat.  One clearly recorded incident of conversion occurred about the turn of the fifteenth century when Bahadur Nahar, a Hindu Rajput ruler of Mewat, embraced Islam.  Other Rajput families followed his lead, and the clan of the Khanzadas was established.  This probably stimulated conversion of other Hindu castes in Mewat.

Until 1947, the Meos were even more dominant in Mewat than they are today.  About that time they suffered the trauma of dislocation, forced conversion and violence.  A number of Meos migrated to Pakistan, but by the early 1950s the ones who remained were resettled, and their land and property were restored to them.

After 1947, a strong move towards Islamization was begun in Mewat.  A religious revival movement initiated in Delhi a few years prior to independence suddenly became popular, and under its influence many of the Hindu rituals, ceremonies and festivals were abandoned by the Meos and substitutes from Muslim tradition adopted in their place.

There appear to be three reasons for Islamic revival in Mewat.  First, when India was partitioned in 1947 to give the Muslims a separate state, antipathy between the Hindus and the Muslims was heightened to the point of violence.  In Mewat, this led to attempts on the part of the Hindus to reconvert the Meos.  For the Meos, this produced an identity crisis, and they felt that the very existence of the community was threatened.  As soon as normal conditions returned, the Meos began to reassert their identity as Muslims.

Second, under the old system the Meos were the dominant caste and enjoyed high social prestige as well as economic and political power.  In other words, the prevailing system of stratification favored the Meos so much that they did not like to disturb it even after conversion to Islam.  The local Hindu casts, in their own interest, overlooked the change in religion of the Meos as long as their own economic and social life remained undisturbed.   They continued to serve the Meos as a high caste in exchange for their fixed due in agricultural produce and gifts of various kinds.  Even the Brahman continued to serve the Meos as priest.  But following Independence, a variety of social, political and economic changes began to take place in India.  The traditional caste system began to weaken as a result.  Due to certain circumstances, such as emigration of some Meos to Pakistan, the impact of social change was more intense in Mewat.  The untouchable castes were given representation in the village council as well as land abandoned by the Meos, which of course raised their status and changed their attitude towards the high castes.  Furthermore, as agriculture became more market oriented, the traditional relationship among various castes and their independence broke down.  These and many other changes eroded the caste system to such an extent that the privileges of the Meos as the dominant caste were severely curtailed.  

Third, with the improvement of communication and other developments, the Meos began to feel that they could no longer remain isolated from the outside world.  They were drawn into the emerging nation through the electoral process, participation in the newly formed village panchayats, increased links with the wider market, higher education of their children, etc.  The Meos discovered that the first natural step for them in this process of widening integration was to forge links with the Muslim community outside Mewat.  To do this, it was essential for them to adopt the culture of the Muslims on the one hand and abandon Hindu customs on the other.  Hence, the Meos began to Islamize rapidly.

Mayos see Meos Mewatis see Meos

Merah-Benida, Nouria
Merah-Benida, Nouria (Nouria Merah-Benida (b. October 19, 1970, Algiers).  Algerian runner who won the 1500 meters at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.  

At the 1999 All-Africa Games in Johannesburg, Mérah-Benida won silver medals in both 800 meters and 1500 meters. At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney she won a somewhat surprising gold medal ahead of Romanians Violeta Szekely (silver) and Gabriela Szabo (bronze). The same year she won a silver medal in the 800 meters and a gold medal in the 1500 meters at the African Championships.

Nouria Merah-Benida see Merah-Benida, Nouria

Merinids. See Marinids.

Merjumek, Ahmed ibn Ilyas
Merjumek, Ahmed ibn Ilyas (Ahmed ibn Ilyas Merjumek) (Mercimek Ahmed).  Author of a translation into Old Ottoman of a “Mirror for Princes” composed in Persian prose and occasional verse by Kay Ka’us ibn Iskandar (of the eleventh century).
Ahmed ibn Ilyas Merjumek see Merjumek, Ahmed ibn Ilyas Mercimek Ahmed see Merjumek, Ahmed ibn Ilyas Ahmed, Mercimek see Merjumek, Ahmed ibn Ilyas

Mernissi, Fatima
Mernissi, Fatima (Fatima Mernissi) (Fatema Mernissi) (b. 1940). Moroccan sociologist and writer.  Born in Fez to a middle class family, Mernissi studied at the Mohammed V University in Rabat and later went to Paris, where she worked briefly as a journalist.  She pursued her graduate education in the United States and in 1973 obtained a doctorate in sociology from Brandeis University.  Returning to Morocco, she joined the sociology department at Mohammed V University. Mernissi currently holds a research appointment at the Moroccan Institut Universitaire de Recherche Scientifique.

As one of the best known Arab-Muslim femininsts, Mernissi’s influence extended beyond a narrow circle of intellectuals.  She was a recognized public figue in her own country and abroad, especially in France, where she is well known in feminist circles.  Her major books have been translated into several languages, including English, German, Dutch, and Japanese.  She wrote regularly on women’s issues in the popular press, participated in public debates promoting the cause of Muslim women internationally, and had supervised the publication of a series of books on the legal status of women in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Mernissi’s work explores the relationship between sexual ideology, gender identity, sociopolitical organization, and the status of women in Islam.  Her special focus, however, was Moroccan society and culture.  As a feminist, her work represents an attempt to undermine the ideological and political systems that silence and oppress Muslim women.  She did this in two ways, first, by challenging the dominant Muslim male discourse concerning women and their sexuality, and second, by providing the “silent” woman with a “voice” to tell her own story.  Her book Doing Daily Battle (1989) is a collection of annotated interviews with Moroccan women who present a lucid account of the painful reality of their lives as they struggle agains poverty, illiteracy, and sexual oppression.  

From the writing of her first book, Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society (1975) Mernissi had sought to reclaim the ideological discourse on women and sexuality from the strangehold of patriarchy.  She critically examined the classical corpus of religious-juristic texts, including the hadith, and reinterprets them from a feminist perspective.  In her view, the Muslim ideal of the “silent, passive, obedient woman” had nothing to do with the authentic message of Islam.  Rather, it is a construction of the ‘ulama’, the male jurists-theologians who manipulated and distorted the religious texts in order to preserve the patriarchal system.

For Mernissi, Islamic sexual ideology was predicated on a belief in women’s inherent sexual power which, if left uncontrolled, would wreak havoc on the male-defined social order, thus, the necessity to control women’s sexuality and to safeguard Muslim society through veiling, segregation, and the legal subordination of women.  Mernissi’s work explores the impact of this historically constituted ideological system on the construction of gender and the organization of domestic and political life in Muslim society today.

Mernissi’s recent work continued to challenge the traditional Muslim discourse on gender and the status of women.  In her book The Veil and the Male Elite (first published in French in 1987), she critically examined the historical context of Muslim law and tradition and argued that the original message of the Prophet Muhammad, which called for equality between the sexes, had been misrepresented by later political leaders and religious scholars.  Turning her attention to the Arab world today, Mernissi situated the “woman question” within a more inclusive framework that linked it to problems of political legitimacy, social stagnation, and the absence of democracy.  Her most recent book, Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World (1992), is an impassioned plea for Muslims to reclaim the best of their tradition and to cast off their fear of the West.  This could only be accomplished, she maintained, through a radical overhaul of the political, ideological, and social structures that had for generations conspired to deny the majority of Muslims, men and women alike, the modern benefits of equality, democracy, literacy, and economic security.

Other works of Mernissi include

    * Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World (1992)
    * Forgotten Queens of Islam
    * Scheherazade Goes West
    * Islam, Gender and Social Change
    * Women's rebellion & Islamic memory (1996)

Fatima Mernissi see Mernissi, Fatima Fetima Mernissi see Mernissi, Fatima

Mesihi (Mesihi of Prishtina) (Pristineli Mesihi) (c. 1470-1512).  Ottoman poet from Pristina, Kosovo.  His most original work is a humorous description of the handsome youths of Edirne.

Mesihi of Prishtina was one of the most original among the early Ottoman poets. He stemmed from Prishtina and, although we do not know for certain whether he was an Albanian or a Turk, we assume he must have lived in Turkey proper from an early age. Mesihi, or Messiah in English, was not only an exceptionally gifted poet but also a talented calligrapher and held a position as secretary to Khadim Ali Pasha during the reign of Sultan Bayazid II (r. 1481-1512). A pleasure-loving sehr oglani (city boy), as the biographer Ashik Çelebi called him, Mesihi could more readily be found in the taverns and pleasure gardens with his friends and lovers than at work. Though his hedonistic lifestyle may have impeded a career advancement, it produced what is generally regarded as some of the best Ottoman verse of the period. Much quoted is his Murabba'-i bahâr (Ode to Spring) which, after publication with a Latin translation in 1774 by William Jones (1746-1794), was to become the best known Turkish poem in Europe for a long time.

Less known than the 'Ode to Spring' was Messiah's Sehr-engîz (roughly: The Terror of the Town), which soon became a prototype for a new literary genre in Ottoman verse. In 186 witty couplets he pays tribute to the charms and beauty of forty-six young men of Edirne (Adrianople). With its puns and ironic humor, it is considered a masterpiece of early sixteenth-century Turkish verse. Messiah confesses light-heartedly that the poem itself is a sin but he is confident that God will pardon him: "My wandering heart has broken into so many pieces, each of which is attached to one of those handsome lads."
Mesihi of Prishtina see Mesihi Pristineli Mesihi see Mesihi Mesihi, Pristineli see Mesihi

Mesih Pasha
Mesih Pasha (d. 1501).  Ottoman Grand Vizier.  He was a nephew of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaeologus (d. 1453), apparently captured during the conquest of Constantinople.

Messali al-Hajj
Messali al-Hajj (Ahmed Messali al-Hajj) (Messali Hadj) (1898-1974).  First Algerian nationalist leader in the twentieth century to call for the complete independence of Algeria from France.  Born in Tlemcen, to a lower middle class Turkish Algerian family, Messali attended a Qur’anic school before being sent to a French school where he earned an elementary school diploma.  After joining the French army and serving three years in the Bordeaux region, Messali decided, in 1923, to live in France.  He married a French woman, joined the French Communist Party, and became a leading member of the Etoile Nord Africaine (founded in 1926).  In 1927, he set the agenda for the Etoile that included demands for Algeria’s complete independence from France and the withdrawal of French troops of occupation; freedom of association and the press; and the election of an Algerian parliament and municipal councils through universal suffrage.

In the mid-1930s, Messali al-Hajj left the French Communist Party, which had condemned the demands of the Etoile Nord Africaine, and returned to Algeria to mobilize peasants and workers to create new chapters of Etoile Nord Africaine.  In March 1937, two months after the French government dissolved the Etoile, he formed the Party of the Algerian People (PPA).  When three thousand of his PPA supporters demonstrated in Algiers in July 1937, he was arrested and imprisoned for two years, until the outbreak of World War II.  Messali al-Hajj was arrested again, however, and he spent most of the war in prison, and in 1945 his PPA was outlawed.

When released in 1946, he immediately created the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Freedoms (MTLD) to replace the banned PPA.  The MTLD’s members won electoral seats in the Algerian National Assembly in 1946, but when they tried again in 1948 and in 1951, the elections were rigged by the colonial administration.  By 1950, the MTLD had an estimated twenty thousand members and had become the largest opposition party in Algeria.

In 1947, Hocine Ait Ahmed, a member of the MTLD, built a paramilitary group, the Organization Speciale (OS), within the MTLD.  In 1950, when the MTLD leaders and many OS members were arrested by the French, Messali al-Hajj’s fortunes within the MTLD began to decline.  He and his supporters were ousted from the MTLD in 1954 for personal and ideological reasons, and the nationalist movement was permanently split.  Attempts by a newly created Revolutionary Committee for Unity and Action (CRUA) of ex-OS members to mediate the conflict failed.  On October 31, 1954, the CRUA announced the formation of the Front for National Liberation (FLN) and launched the war of independence the very next day.  Messali al-Hajj, however, did not support the FLN.  He renamed the branch of the MTLD still under his control the National Algerian Movement (MNA) and created a militia that fought the FLN in France until 1957.  The movement was finally wrecked by deaths and defections, and although it continued to exist until independence it was no longer a political force.

Messali al-Hajj, who had fought so hard for Algeria’s independence, found himself out in the cold politically when his dream was realized.  He spent the last years of his life in Lamorlaye, France, writing his memoirs, surrounded by his family and a few loyal supporters.  He died of cancer in 1974, and his body was carried back to Algeria for burial in Tlemcen, the city of his birth.

Ahmed Messali al-Hajj see Messali al-Hajj Messali Hadj see Messali al-Hajj Hajj, Ahmed Messali al- see Messali al-Hajj Hadj, Messali see Messali al-Hajj

Messiah (in Arabic, al-Masih).  According to the Bible, the expected deliverer of the Jewish people and, according to Christians, Jesus Christ.  One can assume with reasonable certainty that al-Masih in the Qur’an is a title of Jesus, but not a messianic one.  

Messiah, (from Hebrew mashiaḥ, “anointed”), in Judaism, was the expected king of the Davidic line who would deliver Israel from foreign bondage and restore the glories of its golden age. The Greek New Testament’s translation of the term, christos, became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth, indicative of the principal character and function of his ministry. More loosely, the term messiah denotes any redeemer figure; and the adjective messianic is used in a broad sense to refer to beliefs or theories about an eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world.

The biblical Old Testament never speaks of an eschatological messiah, and even the “messianic” passages that contain prophecies of a future golden age under an ideal king never use the term messiah. Nevertheless, many modern scholars believe that Israelite messianism grew out of beliefs that were connected with their nation’s kingship. When actual reality and the careers of particular historical Israelite kings proved more and more disappointing, the “messianic” kingship ideology was projected on the future.

After the Babylonian Exile, Jews’ prophetic vision of a future national restoration and the universal establishment of God’s kingdom became firmly associated with their return to Israel under a scion of David’s house who would be “the Lord’s anointed.” In the period of Roman rule and oppression, the Jews’ expectation of a personal messiah acquired increasing prominence and became the center of other eschatological concepts held by various Jewish sects in different combinations and with varying emphases. In some sects, the “son of David” messianism, with its political implications, was overshadowed by apocalyptic notions of a more mystical character. Thus some believed that a heavenly being called the “Son of Man” (the term is derived from the Book of Daniel) would descend to save his people. The messianic ferment of this period, attested by contemporary Jewish-Hellenistic literature, is also vividly reflected in the New Testament. With the adoption of the Greek word Christ by the church of the Gentiles, the Jewish nationalist implications of the term messiah (implications that Jesus had explicitly rejected) vanished altogether, and the “Son of David” and “Son of Man” motifs could merge in a politically neutral and religiously highly original messianic conception that is central to Christianity.

The Roman destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple and the Jews’ subsequent exile, persecution, and suffering, however, only intensified their messianism, which continued to develop theologically and to express itself in messianic movements. Almost every generation had its messianic precursors and pretenders—the best-known case being that of the 17th-century pseudo-messiah Shabbetai Tzevi. Belief in and fervent expectation of the messiah became firmly established tenets of Judaism and are included among Maimonides’ 13 Articles of Faith. Modernist movements in Judaism have attempted to maintain the traditional faith in an ultimately redeemed world and a messianic future without insisting on a personal messiah figure.

Islām, too, though it has no room for a saviour-messiah, developed the idea of an eschatological restorer of the faith, usually called the Mahdi (Arabic: “Rightly Guided One”). The doctrine of the Mahdi is an essential part of the Shīʾite creed.

Eschatological figures of a messianic character are known also in religions that are uninfluenced by biblical traditions. Even as unmessianic a religion as Buddhism has produced a belief, among Mahāyāna groups, in the future Buddha Maitreya, who would descend from his heavenly abode and bring the faithful to paradise. In Zoroastrianism, with its thoroughly eschatological orientation, a posthumous son of Zoroaster is expected to effect the final rehabilitation of the world and the resurrection of the dead.

Many modern movements of a millenarian character, particularly among primitive peoples (e.g., the cargo cults of Melanesia), have been called messianic; but as the expectation of a personal saviour sent or “anointed” by a god is not always central to them, other designations (millenarian, prophetic, nativistic, etc.) may be more appropriate.

The ideology of the mahdi in Islam has many similarities with the Jewish/Christian Messiah.  The ideology is central in Shi‘a Islam but has a certain presence in Sunni Islam as well.

While Christian and Jewish thinkers would say that this ideology is strongly influenced by their two religions, Muslim thinkers would say that Mahdi represent the true form of savior figure, and that Messiah in Judaism and Christ in Christianity represent deviations from the original doctrines.

Mahdi is a character that belongs to the last period of mankind, and his purpose is to restore the faith, and bring Islam back to its pure origins and provide for the believers a society where they can perform their religious duties in a correct manner.

The Mahdi is not mentioned in the Qur’an, but belongs to theological developments starting from the ninth and tenth centuries of the Christian calendar.

In the sense of divine intervention in human history -- through the appointment of a mahdi (rightly guided person) to deliver the people from tyranny and oppression at the End of Time -- messianism is a salient feature of Islamic soteriology.  Messianic expectations were part of the early Muslim belief in the prophet Muhammad as the akhir al-zaman (“apostle of the End of Time”).  In that eschatological position the Prophet was expected to usher humanity toward an ideal community with a universal mission.  Such expectations were also part of the reformist and revivalist tendencies among the Judeo-Christian communities of Arabia in the sixth and seventh centuries.  The Qur’anic preoccupation with the impending Day of Judgment and the Signs of the Hour, which announced cosmic disorder and a period of terror and fear preceding the Final Days, can be understood within the cultural and ideological setting of the messianic prophecy in Abrahamic soteriology and eschatology.

The major this-worldly expression of Islam was its self-implementation in a religio-political community, the ummah, with a worldwide membership of all those who believe in God and the divine revelation through Muhammad.  Consequently, Muslim belief in the divinely guided messianic leader, the Mahdi, is rooted in the acknowledgment that Muhammad’s position and function as the divinely guided prophet was to create the ideal ummah. Islamic revelation sees itself actively engaged in assessing human conditions that obstruct the fulfillment of the ultimate divine purposes for humanity.  Human civilization, as the Qur’an maintains, is the record of the perpetual jihad (struggle) against human self-centeredness and self-cultivated pettiness, the two main sources of conflict and the attendant destruction of humanity.  It is the enemy within that needs to be conquered, through jihad akbar (“greater struggle”) before one can truly undertake to overcome the external enemy through jihad asghar (“lesser struggle”) that impedes the creation of the just and peaceful human society.  Islamic soteriology is an expression of the desperate human situation, and it provides the critically needed sense of common human destiny -- the human saga of the search for justice and peace.  This is the essence of Islamic messianism.

At different times in history God intervenes and provides living examples, the prophets, who can remind humanity of its true nature and its perfectibility through faith in God.  Toward the End of Time, after having failed time and again, when humanity finds itself in need of spiritual-moral revival to assume its historical responsibility of creating the divine order on earth, God will send Jesus and the Mahdi to restore the pure faith and redress the wrongs committed against the righteous servants of God.  In the meantime, human beings must continue to strive in order to recognize their primordial nature through islam (“submission”).  This is the spiritual-moral expression of Islamic messianism.  

The responsibility to create an independent political community, the ummah, which carried within itself the revolutionary challenge to any inimical order which might hamper its realization, was historically assumed by the Prophet himself when he established the first Muslim policy in Medina in 622 C.C.  The decisive connection between the divine investiture to the prophetic mission and the creation of an Islamic world order is the integral facet of Islamic messianism.  Hence, the Mahdi, through his investiture as the Prophet’s successor and God’s caliph, is awaited to implement the transcendental ideal on earth.

Historical and sociological factors in the first century, following the Prophet’s death in 632, were instrumental in heightening the messianic expectations in the Muslim community, especially among those who were persecuted as Shi‘a -- partisans of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and sympathizers of his claim to the caliphate.  The hopes of Banu Hashim, the Prophet’s clan, who had supported the claims of the descendants of ‘Ali, and who looked forward to the return of the prophetic “golden age,” were greatly frustrated when the caliphate slipped out of their hands in 661.  Thereafter, the idea of a perfect leader, the divinely appointed imam, continued to be emphasized more specifically among the religiously oriented Muslims in general, and among Shi‘as in particular.  Although both ‘Ali and his son Husayn were regarded as mahdi, perhaps in a non-eschatological sense, it was ‘Ali’s son Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyah, who was declared to be the promised Mahdi.  He was believed to have possessed the esoteric knowledge necessary to deliver his followers from oppression and to establish a just society.

The outbreak of the civil wars and the perturbed condition that followed greatly contributed to the notion of messianic savior whose function, in the first place, was to redress the wrongs committed against the downtrodden and establish justice, by which the Shi‘as meant abolition of the caliphate of the oppressors and the return to a pure Islam; and, in the second place, to achieve the conversion of the world to Islam.  Among the various factions of the Shi‘as disagreement on the identification of the Mahdi was one of the chief factors separating sect from sect.  Shi‘a hope for justice, in their oft-quoted phrase, “the world would be filled with justice as it is now filled with injustice” when the Mahdi emerges from the divinely imposed occultation, expressed radical social protest.  The expectation meant not merely a hope for the future, but a revaluation of present social and historical life.  Every generation found reason to believe that it was likely that the Mahdi would appear in their own time and test the faithful by summoning them to launch the great social transformation themselves under his command, with the promise of divine help when it would be needed.  Hence, messianic tendencies became the source of heretical and even combative attitudes among the Shi‘a.  These revolutionary insurrections were feared and severely crushed by the ruling authorities for their potential destructive and choatic repercussions.

Several adventurous individuals, of Shi‘a sympathies, organized and led revolutions from the last decades of the Umayyad rule.  The most important of which was the ‘Abbasid revolution, which carried on a very effective propaganda against the Umayyads on a largely Shi‘a basis, keyed to the messianic expectation.  The ‘Abbasids were able to overthrow the Umayyads and establish their own dynasty in the eighth century.  The Fatimid revolution in the tenth century was another uprising with considerable popular support.  It won a large number of adherents to its cause and established a Shi‘a state in North Africa.  In this case also the emphasis was on the messianic anticipation for an ideal social order, and in it too the leader manipulated the Shi‘a ideology and even adopted the Shi‘a messianic title of al-mansur (the victorious) and al-mahdi.

However, all Shi‘a attempts were not successful, and once its adherents met with repeated failures and persecutions, they ceased to attempt revolutionary transformation.  With this change in fortunes, the Shi‘a ideology became the chief vehicle for any Muslim who entertained radical change, and it was perpetuated in terms of esoteric messianic teaching.  The title Mahdi ceased to connote immediate and direct political action.  The frustration of the adherents of messianic prophecies gradually caused the shift in the emphasis of the Mahdi from political power to religious reform, which also touched the social and communal life of Muslims.  It continued to express the idealism of the ummah, the hope that one day Islam, with all its political and social implications, will return to its pristine purity.  The original historical mission of Islam, namely, the establishment of the ideal society under divine guidance, was believed to attain fulfillment under the Mahdi in the future.  In indepedent books of esoteric erudition about future events (al-balayah wa-al-mandyah), in which narratives reported on the authority of the Prophet and the Imams were related, dark events to come were foretold in such a way that every new generation of Muslims could see its trials and hopes mirrored in them.

By the end of the eighth century, a majority of Muslims regarded the historical caliphate as the continuation of the Prophet’s temporal position divested of any eschatological anticipation.  The eschatological function was transferred to the future “caliph of God,” the Mahdi.  This formed the main thrust of the Sunni conviction about the Prophet’s messianic legacy.  However, different subdivisions of the Shi‘as maintained the necessity for the continuation of the Prophet’s temporal and spiritual authority in the person of a divinely appointed imam to guide the community to its ultimate deliverance.  This was the cardinal doctrine of the Shi‘a who rejected the historical caliphate as a human interference in the procurement of the divine plan, and awaited the appearance of the Mahdi, as the restorer of ideal Muslim order.

In the fifteenth century, owing to the approach of the first millennium after the advent of the Prophet, various groups began to revive their hopes for a better future.  In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina a number of religious scholars wrote their opinions confirming the popular belief in the appearance of a mujaddid (reformer) at the turn of the century.  A prominent Sunni jurist, Ibn al-Hajar al-Makki, declared that the advent of the Mahdi was to be expected in the millennium, and that such a messianic person would be a descendant of Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet, and that his name would conform to the Prophet’s name and the names of his parents to those of his parents.  The recognition of the true Mahdi was not going to be an easy task because of the manner in which the traditions predicting the emergence of the eschatological personage were multiplying.  The problem of the identity of the Mahdi was too intricate for any religious authority or political ruler to solve.

The idea of the Mahdi was popular among the Sunnis in India in the fifteenth century where the rise of the idea that Sayyid Muhammad of Jaunpur was the Mahdi opens an entirely new chapter in the history of Islamic messianism.  The sayyid opened his mission with the claim to be the Mahdi in 1495 at Mecca while performing the circumambulation of the Ka‘bah.  On his return to India he reasserted his claim in the major mosque of Taj Khan Salar at Ahmedabad, followed by a reiteration of the claim with renewed vigor and force in 1499 in a village called Barhli in Gujarat.  In the hagiographical sources on him the names of his parents have been given as thoseof the parents of the Prophet, ‘Abd Allah and Aminah, in order to justify his claim to be Mahdi.  The Hanafi jurists of Gujarat challenged him to prove his claim and took effective steps to put a stop in his growing popularity.  A fatwa was consequently drawn up in which he was denounced as a heretic and condemned to death.  The reason for this extreme denunciation was due to the fact that his revolutionary socialistic-moral interpretation of Islam, which redressed the corruption in Indian Muslim society, was contrary to the orthodox Sunni understanding of the faith.

A further example of the intensity and impact of the messianic ideology among the Sunnis is found in the Mahdiyah movement of the Mahdi of Sudan, Muhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abd Allah, during the last two decades of the nineteenth century.  The Mahdiyah have been regared as the last eruption in the series of religiously inspired movements in the Sunni world that led to the establishment of the shari‘a based states of the Wahhabiyah in Arabia, the Fulbe of Usman dan Fodio in Sokoto, and the Sanusiyah in Cyrenaica.  The Mahdi of Sudan consciously tried to establish the ideal rule of God on earth based on the paradigm of the Prophet’s ideal community, engaging in jihad against the British and Ottoman-Egyptian forces.  The movement was also inspired by the Sufi philosophy of moral life and was based on Shi‘a messianic lore.

In Twelver Shi‘ism, where the twelfth imam is believed to be the awaited Mahdi and to live in occultation, belief in messianism has served a complex, seemingly paradoxical function.  It has been the guiding doctrine behind both an activist political posture, calling on believers to remain alert and prepared at all times to launch the revolution with the Mahdi who might appear at any time, and behind a quietist waiting for God’s decree, in almost fatalistic resignation, in the matter of return of this imam at the End of Time.  In both cases the main problem was to determine the right course of action at a given social and political setting.  The adoption of the activist or quietist solution depended on the interpretation of conflicting traditions attributed to the Shi‘a imams about circumstances that justified radical action.  Resolution of the contradiction in these traditions in turn was contingent on acknowledgment of and the existence of an authority who could undertake to make the imam’s will known to the community. Without such a learned authority among the Shi ‘a, it was practically impossible to acquire knowledge about whether a radical solution was an appropriate form of struggle against an unjust government.  

It was in this Shi‘a messianic context that in Iran ‘Ali Muhammad of Shiraz who called himself the Bab (“gateway”), at the turn of the millennium since the disappearnce of the twelfth Imam in 874, proclaimed himself to be the “gateway” to esoteric knowledge and a reformer in 1844.  He preached a new and quite unconventional shari ‘a and promised a new prophetic dispensation of social justice.  His followers, the Babis, came into open conflict with the Shi‘a religious establishment and then with the Qajar government.  ‘Ali Muhammad was arrested and imprisoned.  There followed riots and finally extensive revolt.  ‘Ali Muhammad was executed and the Babi movement was suppressed with much bloodshed in 1852.

The Baha’i faith proclaimed by Baha’ Allah in 1863 retained the social mission of the Babis and the cultural symbols of Shi‘a Iran, but abandoned it chiliastic overtones in favor of a more general conversion of the people around the globe by the followers of the new order.  Late in the nineteenth century, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, who claimed to be the Mahdi, undertook to reform traditional Sunni Islam and succeeded in building an effective social organization, with economic cooperatives and other exemplary establishments, restricted to benefit his followers.  Whereas the Babis and the Baha’is were seen as heretical movements by the Twelver Shi‘a religious establishment, the Ahmadiyah sect represented a breach in the sense of unity among the Sunni Muslims and their activities, with claims of a sort of prophethood for its founder, were regarded by the Sunni religious establishment as divisive and sectarian.  Thus, as evinced in both the Baha’i and Ahmadiyah movements, heretical ideas were ostensibly and inherently part of the esoteric nature of messianic lore.  Moreover, this esoteric lore tended to be potentially catastrophic as foretold in numerous traditions about the Signs of the Hour.

Both during the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979 and the Gulf Crisis of 1990-1991, messianic traditions foretelling the apocalyptic events and describing the cataclysmic outcome of the world were in wide circulation in the Middle East, feeing on the hopes and fears of Muslims.  Several attempts were made to fit Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return from Paris on February 1, 1979, to the chiliastic tradition that foretold the “rise of a sayyid from Qom, as a precursor to the Mahdi, among the descendants of Musa al-Kazim (the seventh Shi‘a imam to whom Khomeini is lineally related) and will summon people to the right path” at the time of political and social turmoil in Iran.  On November 20, 1979, the holiest shrine of Islam in Mecca experience the rise of the Saudi Mahdi, Jahaymin al-‘Utaybi, fulfilling the prophecy foretold in many traditions about the rise of the messianic leader in the grand mosque of Mecca.  The insurrection that was crushed mercilessly by the authorities posed the most formidable challenge to the worldly and corrupt rulers of the Saudi royal family.  Similarly, a tradition predicting the rise of a man as strong as a sadim (rock) in the month of Rajab (February 1991), was mysteriously circulating among the Muslim masses in Jordan and the Occupied West Bank in support of Saddam Hussein as a promised victor of that month.

A book that was published symbolically in 1979, and which found eager readers in Lebanon, Iraq, and many other places in the Muslim world, deals with the relevance of the Islamic messianism as preserved in the Shi‘a tradition.  Its title Yawm al-khalas fi zill al-Qa’im al-Mahdi (The Day of Deliverance under the Protection of the Twelfth Imam) serves as a reminder to many Muslim governments in the world today that the Muslim public still awaits the ideal Islamic order to be established where oppression and tyranny will be replaced, through apocalyptic divine intervention, by justice and equity.  In other words, chiliastic hope in the return of the Mahdi among Muslim masses reflects their heightened sense of expectation and remains a latent source of challenge to moral complacency and political tyranny in Muslim governments.

Masih, al- see Messiah

Metsu, Bruno
Bruno Metsu (January 28, 1954 – October 14, 2013) was a French footballer (soccer player) and football (soccer team) manager. In his senior career from 1973 to 1987, he played for seven different clubs in his native France. From 1988 onwards, he was the manager of a total of nine French and Gulf Arab state clubs, the United Arab Emirates national football (soccer) team and the Qatar national football (soccer) team. He was perhaps most famous for coaching Senegal to the quarter-finals of 2002 FIFA World Cup, including a surprise victory over defending champions France in the opening match of the tournament. Metsu converted to Islam when he was the manager of the Senegal national football (soccer) team, taking the name Abdou Karim Metsu.

Mevlevi.  See Mawlawiyah.

Michael (in Arabic, Mikal) (Mikha'el) (Meka'il).  Archangel mentioned in Sura 2:92.  According to Muslim tradition, Gabriel and Michael “opened the breast of the Prophet,” i. e., purified his heart before his night journey to Jerusalem (in Arabic, mi‘raj).  Michael is also said to have come to the aid of the Muslims in the battle of Badr.

Michael is an archangel in Hebrew, Christian and Islamic tradition. He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelation. In the book of Daniel, Michael appears as "one of the chief princes" who in Daniel's vision comes to the Archangel Gabriel's aid in his contest with the angel of Persia (Dobiel). Michael is also described there as the advocate of Israel and "great prince who stands up for the children of your [Daniel's] people".

In Hebrew, the name Michael means "who is like El (God)", which in Talmudic tradition is posed as a rhetorical question: "Who is like God?" to imply that no one is like God.

Much of the late Midrashic detail about Michael was transmitted to Christianity through the Book of Enoch, whence it was taken up and further elaborated. In late medieval Christianity, Michael, together with Saint George, became the patron saint of chivalry, and of the first chivalric order of France, the Order of Saint Michael of 1469. In the British honours system, a chivalric order founded in 1818 is also named for these two saints, the Order of St Michael and St George. St Michael is also considered in many Christian circles as the patron saint of the warrior. Police officers and soldiers, particularly paratroopers and fighter pilots, regard him as their patron. He is also a patron of Germany, the City of Brussels and Kiev.

Roman Catholics refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael. Orthodox Christians refer to him as the Taxiarch Archangel Michael or simply Archangel Michael.

In Arabic literature, Michael is called Meka'il. In the Qur'an, Michael is mentioned once only, in Sura 2:98. Angel Michael is mentioned in the Prophet's Haddiths numerous times. It says in the haddith of ibn Abbas in at-Tabarani that the Prophet said to Jibril (Gabriel) "What is Mika'il in charge of?" He replied, "The plants and the rain." Imam Ahmed transmitted in his Musnad from Anas b. Malik that the Prophet asked Gabriel "Why do I never see Mika'il Laugh?" He replied, "Mika'il has not laughed since the fire was created." The Prophet Muhammed often in his supplication would ask God to bless Jibril, Mika'il and Israfil Muslim commentators state with reference to Sura 11:69 that Michael was one of the three angels who visited Abraham.

Mikal see Michael Mikha'el see Michael Meka'il see Michael

Midhat Pasha
Midhat Pasha (Ahmet Şefik Mithat Pasha) (October 1822, Istanbul – May 8, 1884, At-Ta'if, Arabia).  Ottoman Grand Vizier and the father of the 1876 constitution.  He was a Turkish liberal reformer who embarked on a collision course with Sultan Abdulhamid II.

Ahmet Şefik Mithat Pasha was a dynamic, pro-Western, reformer and statesman. The son of a civil judge, he was born at Der Saadet (Istanbul) in 1822. His father, a declared partisan of reform, trained him for an administrative career, and at the age of twenty-two he was attached as secretary to Faik Effendi, whom he accompanied in Syria for three years.

On his return to Istanbul, Mithat was appointed chief director of confidential reports, and after a new financial mission in Syria was made second secretary of the grand council. His enemies, however, succeeded in ousting him from this post, and caused him to be entrusted with the apparently impossible task of settling the revolt and brigandage rampant in Rumelia.

His measures were drastic and their success startling, so the government made him an official of the first rank and restored him to his place in the grand council. In similar vigorous fashion he restored order in Bulgaria in 1857. In 1860, he was made vizier and pasha, and entrusted with the government of Nis, where his reforms were so beneficial that the sultan charged him, in conjunction with Fuad Pasha and Ali Pasha, with preparing the scheme for adapting them to the empire which was afterwards known as the law of the vilayets.

After further administrative work in his province, he was ordered to organize the council of state in 1866, and was then made governor of Baghdad, where his success was as decisive as at Nis, but attended with much greater difficulties. In 1871, the anti-reform influence of the grand vizier, Mahmud Nedim Pasha, seemed to Mithat a danger to the country, and in a personal interview he boldly stated his views to the sultan, who was so struck with their force and complete disinterestedness that he appointed Mithat grand vizier in place of Mahmoud. However, proving himself too independent for the court, Mithat remained in power for only three months, and after a short governorship of Salonica he lived apart from affairs at Constantinople until 1875.

From this time forward, however, Mithat Pasha's career resolved itself into a series of strange and almost romantic adventures. While sympathizing with the ideas and aims of the Young Ottomans, he was anxious to restrain their impatience, but the sultan's obduracy led to a coalition between the grand vizier, the war minister and Mithat Pasha, which deposed him in May 1876. The sultan was murdered in the following month.

His nephew Murad V was in turn deposed in the following August and replaced by his brother, Abdul Hamid II. Mithat Pasha now became grand vizier, reforms were freely promised, and the Ottoman parliament was inaugurated with a great flourish. In the following February, however, Mithat was dismissed and banished for supposed complicity in the murder of Abdul Aziz. He then visited various European capitals, and remained for some time in London, where he carefully studied the procedure in the House of Commons.

Again recalled in 1878, he was appointed governor of Syria, and in August exchanged offices with the governor of Smyrna. But in the following May the sultan again ordered him to be arrested, and although he effected his escape and appealed to the powers, he shortly afterwards saw fit to surrender, demanding only a fair hearing. The trial was held in the garden of the sultan Abdul Hamid II's Yildiz Palace and took place over three days in June 1881. Mithat and the others were sentenced to death. The trial was, however, generally regarded as a mockery, and on the intercession of the British government, the sentence was commuted to banishment.

The remaining three years of his life were consequently spent in exile at Taif in Arabia, where he died, probably as a result of violence, on May 8, 1884. To great ability, wide sympathies, and undoubted patriotism he added absolute honesty, that rare quality in a vizier, for he left office as poor as when he entered it. In 1953 his body was brought back to Turkey for burial in Istanbul.

Ahmet Sefik Mithat Pasha see Midhat Pasha

Midrarids. Minor Berber dynasty which was established in Sijilmasa and which enjoyed relative independence from aroun 784 until 976.

Midyuna.  Berber tribe, belonging to the major branch of the Butr.  A significant portion of this tribe moved into Spain in 711.  In the Middle Ages, they were found in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Spain and Sicily.

Mikalis.  Iranian family of Khurasan, prominent in the cultural and social worlds there during the tenth century.  They were also active as local administrators and town officials under the Samanids and early Ghaznavids.

Mima-Mimi.  The Mima of Sudan and the Mimi of Chad once constituted a unified ethnic group inhabiting the present territory of the Mima southeast of Darfur’s provincial capital of El Fasher.  Today, the Mima and Mimi live scattered in Sudan’s Darfur and Kordofan provinces and in Chad’s Wadai Province, in urban and market centers, as pastoral nomads or in rural sedentary colonies on a territory of their own.  The main Mima centers in Darfur are Woda’a and Fafa.  In Kordofan, Magrur in the center and the Abu Daza District in the west of the province.  In Wadai, their main territory encompasses about 60 villages to the north and northeast of the northern district capital of Biltine.  Agan is one of the main centers for the sedentary Mimi.

The Mima of Sudan and the pastoralist part of the Chadian Mimi have been Arabophone for a long time.  The sedentary, cultivating Mimi of Chad speak a language related to the extensive Fur language spoken hundreds of miles to the east.  Evidence points to a migration westwards of part of the original group in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at the latest.  The Mima who stayed behind lived between the Nile Valley, the source of Islamization and Arabization from the seventeenth century onwards, and the Fur.  The majority of the migrated Mimi engaged in animal husbandry and frequent migration, and contacts with Arab pastoral nomads, led to their adopting Arabic as their mother tongue.  

As immigrants who converted to Islam around 1665 upon the overthrow of the then ruling pagan Tunjur dynasty, the Mimi have since been associated with the Zaghawa, a neighboring group with whom they exchanged women and who were held in contempt by the new Maba dynasty for their religious ignorance.


Mimoun, Alain
Alain Mimoun (January 1, 1921 – June 27, 2013) was a French runner and Olympic marathon champion.
Born in the arrondissement of Maïder in the town of Telagh, then in French Algeria (his birth name was Ali Mimoun Ould Kacha), Mimoun lost several years of competition to World War II. After the war (in which he was a combatant), he was French champion in the 5000 meters and 10000 meters. 
Mimoun's path to an Olympic gold medal was blocked in both 1948 and 1952 by Czech runner Emil Zatopek. Mimoun won silver medals in the 10000 meters in 1948 and 1952 as well as another silver medal in the 5000 meters in 1952. His second place finishes behind Zatopek gave him the nickname "Zatopek's Shadow." He finally won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Zatopek finished sixth.
Mimoun made the French team for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He won his final national championship in 1966, twenty years after his debut.
Mimoun died at age 92 on June 27, 2013. The athletics stadium in Bugeat, France is named in Mimoun's honor.


Minangkabau. The Minangkabau (also “Menangkabau”) are closely related in culture and language to the Malays, from whom they differ in certain important characteristics of social organization.  Unlike Malays and unlike most other Islamic peoples, the Minangkabau are matrilineal, organized into kinship groups according to the principle of descent through women.  Folk explanations of their name refer symbolically to this fact.  For example, one such folk etymology of the term minangkabau is based upon its resemblance to the words menang (winning) and kerbau (water buffalo).  This similarity has been elaborated into a story about an ancient time in which an unweaned and starving female calf owned by the Minangkabau unwittingly castrated and thereby defeated a champion Javanese bull.  The incident is supposed to have given the Minangkabau their name (“buffalo victory”).  Another folk etymology notes that minang refers to the harness that prevents a calf from nursing, and yet another notes that minang refers to the ceremony before marriage in which engagement gifts are offered, both noting the importance of water buffalo for milk, capital and labor in the settled agriculture of the Minangkabau.  All Minangkabau are Sunni, adhering to the Shafi school of Muslim law.

Minangkabau are a people who make up approximately ninety percent (90%) of the inhabitants of the Indonesian province of West Sumatra.  The Minangkabau are one of the largest matrilineal societies in the world and at the same time a devoutly Islamic people.  Their original settlements were in the upland valleys of the region, particularly around the volcano of Mount Merapi in the three districts (lubak) of Agam, Tanan Datar, and Limapuluh Kota.  

The first historical record of the Minangkabau appears in 1347 when inscriptions indicate that Adityavarman, a prince of mixed Javanese-Sumatran parentage, threw off allegiance to the East Java kingdom of Majapahit and ruled the gold-rich regions of Tanah Datar until at least 1375.  Oral tradition traces the two systems of social organization that characterize the independent Minangkabau villages (nagari) from this period.  Essentially federations of kinship groups governed by lineage headmen and with no effective supravillage authority, the nagari adopted either an autocratic or more democratic system of governance.

The Padri War (1803-1837) enabled the Dutch to gain control of the region, and much of their administration in the late nineteenth century was directed to controlling and monopolizing coffee production and export.  When these controls were relaxed in the early twentieth century, Minangkabau traders and farmers became more active in a highly monetized economy based on coffee, rubber, and copra exports.  Anti-colonial feelings were strong among the Minangkabau, with sporadic uprisings against the Dutch (notably in 1908 and 1927) and with many Minangkabau assuming prominent leadership roles in the Indonesian nationalist movement.  During the revolution (1945-1949), the Dutch eventually occupied most towns, but they never extended their control to the villages and rural areas, which remained loyal to the republican government.  The Minangkabau region was the principal center of the regional rebellion against the Sukarno government in 1958.  Suppression of that revolt accelerated traditional Minangkabau migration (merantau) -- in 1930, according to the census, eleven percent of the Minangkabau lived outside their province -- and in recent years there have been large-scale population movements to the large urban centers of Sumatra and Java, particularly to Jakarta.

In February 1958, dissatisfaction with the centralist and communist-leaning policies of the Sukarno administration triggered a revolt which was centered in the Minangkabau region of Sumatra, with rebels proclaiming the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) in Bukittinggi. The Indonesian military invaded West Sumatra in April 1958 and had recaptured major towns within the next month. A period of guerrilla warfare ensued, but most rebels had surrendered by August 1961. In the years following, West Sumatra was like an occupied territory with Javanese officials occupying most senior civilian, military and police positions. The policies of centralization continued under the Suharto regime. The national government legislated to apply the Javanese desa village system throughout Indonesia, and in 1983 the traditional Minangkabau nagari village units were split into smaller jorong units, thereby destroying the traditional village social and cultural institutions. In the years following the downfall of the Suharto regime decentralization policies were implemented, giving more autonomy to provinces, thereby allowing West Sumatra to re-institute the nagari system.

Menangkabau see Minangkabau.

Mina slaves
Mina slaves.  Slaves exported to Brazil from the Gold Coast through the famous slave trading post of Elmina.  They were considered to be both stronger and more vigorous than the Bantus and to have almost magical powers with regards to finding gold.  These Sudanese blacks were famous for their physique, their proud, dignified bearing, and their culinary skill.  Most of them were Muslim and literate.  They were able to organize small ethnic communities on the plantations and in the mining district.  When a delegation of the Society of Friends (Quakers) arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1852, it was received by a commission of Mina freedmen, seventy of whom were to be repatriated to Benin.  They presented the English visitors with documents written in Arabic.

Minorities in Muslim Societies
Minorities in Muslim Societies. The status and treatment of minorities in Muslim societies (or, more generally, under Islam) has always been of special concern to outside powers seeking to establish themselves as their protectors.  It has also been a favorite subject of Western Orientalists.  Non-Muslim neighbors and observers in the modern age no longer content themselves with traditional notions of tolerance and the absence of persecution, but expect full social, political, and legal equality of Muslims and non-Muslims.  Their critical regard has not failed to call forth strong reactions from many Muslims who try to show that on this score, too, Islam has in fact a much better record than other civilizations, particularly the West.  The subject therefore continues to be sensitive, raising considerable controversy.

The status and treatment of non-Muslims in Muslim societies (or in the dar al-Islam) have varied greatly over time and space.  Legal theory has never been uniform throughout the Muslim world and has often been rather far removed from practice.  Traditional rules and regulations clearly show the impact of history, particularly the experience of the Prophet and the conditions of Muslim conquest.  Whereas relations between Muhammad, his followers, and their pagan neighbors had almost from the outset been tense, if not openly hostile, relations with the Jews and Christians of the Arabian Peninsula passed through phases of understanding and cooperation to growing distrust, animosity, and finally confrontation.

Muhammad had originally hoped to be acknowledged as Prophet by the guardians of the monotheist traditions.  After his move (the Hijra) to Medina in 622, the Muslims entered into a formal alliance with the local Jewish and heathen trives, which was documented in the so-called Constitution (sahifah) of Medina, granting all allies internal autonomy with Muhammad acting as supreme head and arbiter of the newly established community.  When recognition of his prophethood was denied and when, under pressure, the political loyalty of the Jewish tribes appeared to be in doubt, Muhammad turned against them until they had been either expelled or killed.  By the time of the Battle of Badr (624), the brief spell of political collaboration and unity had ended.  Yet in spite of its limited historical relevance and validity, the Constitution of Medina has come to be widely regarded by contemporary Muslims as the blueprint or model of a political community (ummah) that is based on the Qur’an and includes as its citizens both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Mirroring the concerns of the young and vulnerable community, the Qur’an touches repeatedly on the question of whether it is lawful for Muslims to entertain friendly relations (muwalat) with unbelievers.  The guiding principle (see Suras 3:28, 5:51, 29:46, and 60:8-9) is that the believers should treat the unbelievers decently and equitably as long as the latter do not act aggressively toward them.  A reactive principle linking the treatment of non-Muslims to their behavior toward the Muslims, this clearly reflects the conditions of the early period, when the Muslims were still a small minority facing large and partly hostile non-Muslim majorities.

The reactive principle appears less prominently in the provisions of Islamic law (fiqh).  Underneath the rigid divide between dar al-Islam and dar al-harb (non-Muslim lands) concerning territory, and between Muslims and non-Muslims concerning people, one finds the fine distinctions characteristic of Islamic legal reasoning.  The basic distinction was between the pagans, idolaters, or polytheists (kafir) on the one hand, with whom there was to be no social intercourse, ranging from shared food to intermarriage, and who were to be fought until they either converted or were killed or enslaved; and the ‘people of the book’ (ahl al-kitab) on the other, whose faith was founded on revelation, who were to be granted protection, and with whom social intercourse was allowed.  In the course of Muslim conquestand expansion, their numbers were enlarged beyond the Jews, Sabaeans, and Christians mentioned in the Qur’an to include the Zoroastrians (Majus) and eventually the Buddhists and others.

The Hanafi law school extended protection to non-Arab pagans, and Malik ibn Anas (d. 796), founder of the Maliki school, even included Arab polytheists provided that they did not belong to the clan of the Prophet, the Quraysh.  As a result, the category of polytheists was steadily reduced until, in the modern era, it had lost all practical relevance.  At the same time, the state of those monotheist groups (e.g., the Baha’is in Iran or the Ahmadiyah/Qadianis in India and Pakistan) that developed after Islam and were regarded by the respective Muslim majorities as renegades or apostates (sg., murtadd) remained precarious.  In legal theory, they had to be fought until they either repented and reconverted or were killed.

The status of the “people of the book” was secured by a contract of protection (dhimmah), which in principle was unlimited and which, in accordance with the Qur’anic injunction, “No compulsion in religion” (Sura 2:256), guaranteed their life, body, property, freedom of movement, and religious practice (if carried on discreetly).  Protection was granted against the payment of tribtue, dues, and taxes of various kinds.  Out of these dues and taxes two main categories evolved, without, however, being consistently defined: a land tax (kharaj) often to be paid in kind, which soon came to be imposed on all owners of land thus categorized irrespective of their religious affiliation; and a poll tax (jizyah) levied on all able-bodied free adult dhimmi males of sufficient means.  The various law schools varied considerably as to the precise definition of the legal rights and obligations of the protected people (dhimmis).  The most liberal among the Sunni schools was the Hanafi one (dominant in the Ottoman Empire among other places), which granted dhimmis equal rights with regard to property and parts of criminal law (notably diyah, or blood money), but not in the domains of family law, inheritance, or testimony.

The primary aim of all practical measures and legal provisions seems originally to have been to mark unmistakably the boundary between Muslims and non-Muslims.  Basing themselves on the notoriously unclear text of Sura 9:29 (“... and fight the infidels until they pay the jizyah our of their hands while they are small/humble”), Muslim jurists tended to translate the submission of non-Muslims to Muslim rule into the requirement of humbleness and humiliation.  Prevailing norms and and expectations were mirrored in the so-called Pact of ‘Umar (al-shurut al- ‘umariyah), attributed to the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (r. 634-644), but probably not formulated before the eighth century.  This laid down a number of restrictions regarding dress and hairstyle, worship, the construction and repairing of churches and synagogues, the height of houses, the use of animals, and so forth, which served not only to identify the dhimmis, but also to discriminate against them.  Shi‘a thought and law went further in that it considered non-Muslims to be ritually impure (najis), thereby banning (at least theoretically) social intercourse and intermarriage altogether.

Practice, however, frequently did not conform to the restrictive notions of the ‘ulama’ (religious scholars).  The actual situation of the dhimmis was more closely conditioned by the economic and political circumstances prevailing within the various Islamic territories and by their relations with the major non-Muslim powers of the day, a correlation with the major non-Muslim powers of the day, a correlation still largely valid in the modern age.  Yet until well into the twentieth century, the legal norms essentially retained their normative force, and if at any specific moment the dhimmis or individual members of their elites did in fact enjoy better conditions than those prescribed by the jurists, it was condemned as a deviation from how things ought to be.  Umayyad Spain and Fatimid Egypt are widely seen as the golden age of harmonious coexistence among Muslims, Christians, and Jews, which mutually enriched their cultures and heritage.  If from the thirteenth century onward, intercommunal relations deteriorated, it has been attributed to the impact of the Mongol invasion rather than the Christian crusades.  By that time, the gradual spread of Islam had reduced the dhimmi populations of the Middle East from majorities to minorities.  Still, community structures were left basically intact.  

In return for submission to Muslim rule, non-Muslims enjoyed considerable autonomy in the fields of personal-status law, worship, and education, forming largely self-contained units with their separate religious, legal, social, educational, and charitable institutions.  Although there was in most parts no forced segregation in terms of residence or occupation (Morocco and Iran at certain periods excepted), there was often professional specialization, which has been characterized by modern scholars as “ethnoreligious division of labor.”  Non-Muslims fulfilled complementary economic roles and functions, some of which were regarded as undesirable, lowly, or unclean by Muslims.  Most important, non-Muslims were incorporated into Muslim society not as individuals, but as members of their religious communities.  The principle found its clearest expression in the Ottoman millet system (derived from the Turkish term for ethnoreligious group or community) as it had evolved by the nineteenth century.  It exerted administrative control through a number of legally recognized religious communities (notably the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Christians as well as the Rabbanite Jews) headed by their clergy with autonomy compensating for the absence of equal status and the denial of political rights.

In the nineteenth century, European influence and expansion, internal, migration, social differentiation, and cultural change began to affect the dhimmis’ legal status, communal organization, and place in society.  The Ottoman reform edicts of the Tanzimat period (issued in 1839 and 1856) proclaimed the principle of legal equality between Muslims and non-Muslims and replaced the jizyah by general conscription or the payment of an exemption tax (bedel-i asker).  Religious personal-status law as a powerful marker of communal separateness, however, was retained.  Within the Ottoman and Persian empires, European powers assumed the role of protector of specific religious communities.  Individual Christians and Jews managed to benefit from increased educational and economic opportunities, gaining access to legal protection (foreign passports) and privilege (under the system of capitulations).  Within the various communities, a rising commercial and professional middle class began to challenge the rule of the clergy and notables.  The communities as a whole broke out of the place assigned to them under the old order.  But socio-cultural change and closer contact also resulted in growing friction and competition, occasionally exploding in intercommunal violence.  Even among the cosmopolitan elites, the vertical element of religious and ethnic identification became increasingly superseded but never fully supplanted by the horizontal element of social class.

The role of non-Muslims as intermediaries facilitated their economic advancement, but it also exposed them as dependents -- not any longer on the Muslim ruler, but on the colonial system.  The rise of nationalism made their position difficult, if not untenable.  When religious and ethnic affiliation tended to merge, religious communities could be transformed into nations, and millets turned into minorities.  Although certain nationalsit movements, such as the Wafd in Egypt or Congress in India, attempted to overcome religious divisions and to unite Muslims, Christians, Jews, or Hindus under the banner of national unity, the tie between nationalism and religion was never entirely dissolved.  It became more marked in the course of wht has been widely termed the assertion, or surge, of political Islam that since the 1970s made itself felt in the entire Muslim world.

Most written constitutions of Muslim states now confirm the principle of equality of all citizens irrespective of religion, sex, and race.  At the same time, however, they usually declare Islam to be the state religion and the shari‘a (the divine law) the principal (or even exclusive) source of legislation.  In most cases, the head of state must be a (male) Muslim.  In some countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, or the Islamic Republic of Iran, non-Muslim and other minority groups are guaranteed a fixed share of seats in representative political bodies.

Given the fact that at least as far as constitutional theory is concerned, the principle of equality has been generally accepted, much of the contemporary debate about the status of non-Muslims in the ideal islamic order has a certain ring of unreality.  Individual thinkers, groups, and activists have adopted widely divergent views.  Certain militant Islamic groups, such as al-Jihad in Egypt, advocate hostile suspicion toward non-Muslims and the re-imposition of the dhimmah regulations.  They refer themselves to the medieval scholar Ibn Taymiyah (d. 1328), who conditioned the toleration of non-Muslims on their utility to the Muslim community, and to the Indo-Pakistani activist Abu al-A‘la Mawdudi (1903-1979) and the Egyptian Muslim Brother Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966).  They also engage in physical violence that is aimed at the regimes in power as much as at the minorities attacked.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are Muslim intellectuals seeking ways to legitimize full legal political equality of Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic terms.  They clearly perceive the need for radical ijtihad (individual inquiry in legal matters) that takes into account the spirit of maqasid (intentions) of shari‘a rather than the details of fiqh, looking at the public good (al-maslahah al-‘ammah) rather than the letter of the law.  Their primary concern is to preserve the unity of the national or territorial community and to avoid fitnah (disorder) in its modern guise of sectarian violence (fitnah ta’ifiyah).  The dilemma rests in the fact that on this particular issue, shari‘a, in order to allow for equality, would have to be literally purged of the provisions of fiqh, whose primary function is to demarcate between Muslims and non-Muslims and to ensure the superiority of the former in this world as well as the hereafter.

Between the two extremes there is what might be called a mainstream position that proclaims the principle of “same rights, same duties” (lahum ma lana wa-‘alayhim ma ‘alayna), but limits legal equality to the “non-religious domain.”  The decisive questions are, of course, how the religious sphere proper is defined and whether non-Muslims can hold public office in an Islamic state, which has as its primary raison d’etre realization of the rule of Islam, particularly when the presidency (still frequently termed imamate), judicature, and military command are viewed as religious functions.  Faced with the double challenge of traditional restrictive norms and modern egalitarian demands, Muslim reformists resort to a historical-functional approach: the jizyah is interpreted as the functional equivalent of a military tax (and here they have historical evidence on their side), and national liberation as the modern equivalent of jihad (war against non-believers).  If and when non-Muslims participate in national defense or liberation, the jizyah is no longer incumbent on them; nor do they require any specific kind of protection.  They can therefore be granted citizenship of the Islamic state (al-jinsiyah al-islamiyah), including the right to vote and to participate in political decision making.  But they continue to be debarred from the highest political, military, and judicial functions.

The commonly used term muwatin, therefore, is understood in its linteral sense, describing non-Muslims as compatriots sharing the same watan (homeland), not as citizens sharing the same legal and political status.  The emphasis is on justice that gives to everyone his or her due, rather than on equality which, so it is argued, attempts to make level or equal what should be kept apart.

Mir.  Persian title applied to princes, but also borne by poets and other men of letters.

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