How did Turks Become Muslim?
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Do you ever wonder how the Turks became Muslim? In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating history of Turkey and its conversion to Islam.
From the first introduction in the 8th century to modern times, here’s an overview of how this ancient culture incorporated one of the world’s largest religions.
Welcome to our blog exploring the rich history of how the Turks embraced Islam! This fascinating narrative spans centuries and has left a significant impact on the entire region. The roots of Islam in modern-day Turkey date back to the late 9th century when the state was under the rule of the Kharansids and embraced Islam as its official religion.
However, the story of Muslims and Turks goes back even further. For centuries, Arab and Turkic traders engaged in commerce along the Silk Road and exchanged ideas and customs, including their respective religious beliefs. Even prior to the advent of Islam, many Turkic tribes had their own unique religious practices that they followed.
Did Muslims and Turks Know Each Other Before Islam?
Before Islam came along, Turks and Muslims knew and interacted with each other for a long time. A lot of Turks served in the armies of the Abbasid Empire, and because of the Silk Road, Arabs and Turks traded goods and talked to each other about their lives and cultures. Despite their cultural and regional distinctions, they were able to coexist amicably.
The First Muslim Convert in Middle Asia
Khan Satuk Bughra Khan of the Kara-Khanids is recognized as the pioneer Muslim convert in Central Asia, marking a significant milestone in the spread of Islam to the Turkic people and paving the way for the future expansion of the Seljuk Empire.
Although the exact details surrounding Khan Bughra’s conversion remain unclear, it is widely accepted that it was a result of his exposure to Islamic culture.
Influential Factors in the Conversion of Turks
The gradual conversion of the Turks from the Goktanri (Göktürks) to Islam was a complex process that occurred over several centuries and was influenced by a variety of factors. Here are some of the most significant factors that played a vital role in the Turkic people’s acceptance of Islam:
- Trade: The Silk Road, a significant trading network that linked Central Asia with the Middle East, played a vital role in the spread of Islam to the Turkic peoples, including the Goktanri. Arab and Persian merchants, who traversed the Silk Road, introduced Islam, and as they interacted with the Turkic people, they began to propagate the faith.
- Political Factors: Many Turkic communities, including the Goktanri, were governed by Muslim dynasties such as the Abbasids and the Samanids. These dynasties actively promoted Islam to the Turkic people, and their impact was vital in the propagation of the religion.
- Cultural Factors: The Tengrism were affected by the culture of the neighboring peoples, especially the Persians and the Arabs, who had already embraced Islam. The Goktanri adopted several elements of Persian and Arab culture, such as their language and writing system, and in turn, they were exposed to Islam.
- Spiritual factors: It is crucial to note that the Turkic people’s conversion to Islam was not solely due to external factors. Many individuals among the Goktanri were attracted to Islam because of its spiritual appeal.
The Seljuk Empire Expansion
The Seljuk Empire experienced tremendous expansion during the 11th century. The Oghuz Turks, led by Toghrul Bey, took over Persia and Baghdad and made their own kingdom. This expansion went on until 1092, when the Seljuks had taken over several smaller Muslim kingdoms and ruled all the way from Yemen in the south to Afghanistan in the east.
This growth was enabled by a new military corps that enabled the Seljuks to extend their control to a much larger area. During this time, the Seljuks also left a strong mark on Islam by spreading Islamic law across Central Asia and the Middle East.