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Murad IV was one of the Ottoman Empire’s most powerful Sultans, known for his dictatorial and authoritative reign, which included the use of ruthless measures to restore the state’s law and order. Sultan Ahmed I and Kösem Sultan’s son succeeded his uncle, Mustafa I, to the throne by palace intrigue while he was just 11 years old. Although Murad IV’s early reign was overseen by Kösem Sultan and a number of grand viziers, the real authority was wielded by rebellious quasi-feudal cavalry known as spahis, as well as the Janissaries. During this time, government officials were corrupted, numerous high officials were executed, the treasury was drained, and there was general lawlessness and rebelliousness. Murad IV’s effective administration saw him use ferocity and ruthlessness to defeat the mutineers and reclaim control of his empire. He imposed stringent laws that included prohibitions on wine, coffee, and cigarettes, among other things, and he would execute offenders or even suspect those who disobeyed them. He was the first Ottoman Sultan to assassinate the empire’s highest Muslim dignitary, the Shaykh al-Islam. The retaking of Baghdad and the Ottoman victory during the Ottoman-Safavid War (1623–39) were the crowning achievements of his reign.

Table of Contents

Childhood and Adolescence

Murad IV was born in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, on July 26, 1612, as Murad bin Ahmed to Sultan Ahmed I and his favorite consort, Kösem Sultan, who eventually became his legal wife.

Sultan Ahmed, I controlled the Ottoman Empire from 1603 to 1617, when he died. His reign was marked by the construction of the ‘Blue Mosque,’ one of Turkey’s most popular mosques, and the cessation of the Ottoman Empire’s royal fratricide custom, in which kings slaughtered their brothers after rising to the throne.

Due to Sultan Ahmed, I’s untimely death and the fact that there were numerous princes who were eligible for the throne, it was difficult to choose a successor. Instead of a son, a brother of a deceased Ottoman Sultan succeeded to the throne for the first time in Ottoman history.

Mustafa I, Sultan Ahmed I’s younger and mentally troubled brother, was enthroned in 1617 when Murad IV’s brother Osman II was deemed too immature to rule.

However, Osman II’s ascension to the throne in 1618 was aided by the assistance of a palace party. His reign came to an end on May 20, 1622, when he was deposed through regicide, allowing eccentric Mustafa I to reclaim the throne.

Rule & Accession

While Mustafa I’s mental state remained unchanged, a palace plot amidst political instability and battles amongst various factions led to Murad IV’s accession. At the age of 11, he succeeded Mustafa I as the next Ottoman Sultan on September 10, 1623.

His mother’s regency dominated the early years of his reign. During this time, he was ruled by his kin, and there was widespread anarchy and instability, fueling public resentment of the central authority.

The tumultuous spahis and the Janissaries wielded a great deal of power, plotting the execution of prominent officials while the government was crippled by corrupt bureaucrats.

The Safavid Empire attacked Iraq in 1623, shortly after Murad IV assumed the throne. The Ottomans were defeated and Baghdad was recaptured. It was previously seized in 1534 by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

Meanwhile, in 1626, Mughal Emperor Jahangir pondered forming an alliance between the Mughals, Ottomans, and Uzbeks to oppose the Safavids, but he died in 1627 before the plan could be implemented. His son, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, was successful in forming an alliance with the Ottoman Empire later on.

Murad IV is said to have met Shah Jahan when the latter was encamped in Baghdad, and the two monarchs exchanged presents and weaponry.

Northern Anatolia was rocked by uprisings. In November 1631, the Janissaries (the empire’s elite infantry corps) rioted and burst into the palace, killing numerous people, including the Grand Vezir, the Grand Mufti, and thirteen prominent officials. Murad IV was forced to appoint a Grand Vezir according to the Janissaries’ preferences.

Fearing that he might suffer the same fate as his brother Osman II, Murad IV grabbed control of the Sultan’s authority and asserted power to re-establish the Sultan’s dominion. He acted swiftly and ruthlessly, defeating the tyrants who were executing the Grand Vezir he was obliged to appoint.

Over 500 leaders who were behind the revolts were ordered to be strangled. His spies proceeded on a search across Istanbul for traitors and their commanders, and they were all executed on the spot. Murad IV ordered the execution of approximately 20,000 soldiers in Anatolia.

He endeavored to rein in the burgeoning corruption that had crept up since his predecessors’ administration. During his absolute control, which began in 1632, he instituted a number of draconian imperial policies and regulations, including the death penalty for lawbreakers and even suspects.

In Istanbul, he outlawed coffee, wine, and cigarettes. He would stay vigil at night, dressed in civilian clothes, and behead offenders on the spot to ensure that his regulations were followed. Murad IV was a regular drinker, according to many sources, including historians such as Halil back, but he was a staunch supporter of its prohibition.

His ruthlessness become legendary as he killed people on the spur of the moment, particularly women. He had two sentiments for women, lust, and hatred, thanks to his mother, who tried to instill in him a dislike for women.

The most remarkable accomplishment of his rule was the Ottomans’ victorious triumph over Persia in the legendary Ottoman-Safavid War (1623–39). Apart from conquering Azerbaijan and seizing Hamadan and Tabriz, the Ottomans were able to recapture Baghdad.

He was an accomplished military commander commanding the Ottoman army on the battlefield in the last years of the war.

During the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia, he remained the leader of the Ottoman army, which was irreversibly lost by the Persians to the Ottomans, who, on the other hand, lost it as a result of the First World War.

The Ottoman-Safavid War ended on May 17, 1639, when the ‘Treaty of Zuhab’ was signed, roughly defining the borders of the two empires in accordance with the ‘Peace of Amasya’ (1555), with Western Georgia and Western Armenia, including all of Mesopotamia, remaining with the Ottomans and Eastern Georgia, Eastern Armenia, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan remaining with the Persians.

The lines essentially provided the groundwork for the current borders between Iran, Turkey, and Iraq.
The Baghdad Kiosk, the Kavak Saray pavilion, the Revan Kiosk in Yerevan, the Erafettin Mosque in Konya, the Bayram Pasha Dervish Lodge, and the Meydan Mosque were among the structures built under his rule.

As part of his exchange of ambassadors, he welcomed two Turkish architects, Ismail Effendi and Isa Muhammad Effendi, who were part of the team that designed and built the Taj Mahal for Shah Jahan.

Personal History and Legacy

Except for his consort, Ayşe Sultan, and a concubine named Sanavber Hatun, little is known about his concubines. Hatun’s name was discovered on a fake inscription from 1628.

He had a large family, but all of his boys died as babies. On February 8, 1640, he died of cirrhosis in Istanbul, and his mad brother Ibrahim ascended to the throne.

Estimated Net worth

Murad IV was a powerful Sultan during the Ottoman Empire’s history. His net worth is believed to be $1 million.