Islam and Judaism were comparable religions both before and after the early modern era. Jews and Muslims believed in the same God and recognized each other’s prophets. Both even denied the resurrection of Jesus, which was a strong bonding factor in a time of impending Christian dominance. During the early modern period, it was not uncommon for Jews and Muslims to interact with one another. Jews even lived in Muslim lands to flee from Christian prosecution and forced conversion. Jews and Muslims, along with Christians, are also all “Peoples of the Book,” meaning that they both have written holy relics that incorporate some of the same characters. While Islam and Judaism teach different methods of ultimately reaching salvation, they are connected through similar beliefs and practices. During the early modern era, both Islam and Judaism underwent religious schism as well as the introduction of mysticism.
Islam was founded by a man named Muhammad who received visions of the angel Gabriel and believed himself a prophet of God. The written religious relic for Islam – the Qur’an – was written by Muhammad himself, and it outlined all the instructions God gave him in order to reach salvation in the afterlife. Islam was pretty well-received and inclusive of at least the other religions of the book until the death of Muhammad in 632. At the time of his death, Muhammad had not instructed his followers on who was supposed to rule after his death, and he only had daughters. This started some inter-religion unrest, leading to many transformations and eventually the major split of the religion. However, the Islamic world continued to grow after Muhammad’s death despite the troubles it was having.
The religion of Islam was eventually forced to split into two different subsections: the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. The Shi’ites believed Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, should have been the immediate successor of Muhammad because of his blood ties with the prophet. In reality, Ali was the fourth successor elected. A larger amount of Muslims became Sunnis, characterized by their acceptance of the original successor choice. One of the biggest expansions of Islam came from the Ottoman Empire after they adopted Sunni Islam. The Ottomans conquered much of Egypt, Northern Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, spreading the Islamic faith as they went. Though the Sunnis and the Shi’ites disagreed and argued their side, they were never violent with each other. After all, they were all members of the Islamic faith. During their conquest, however, the Ottomans had invaded land directly neighboring a Shi’ite Muslim empire in Persia called Safavid.
The Ottomans watched on as the Safavids grew dramatically in size and power, converting many members of their empire into Shi’ites. As many of the Sunni Muslims fled from the Safavid Empire into the Ottoman Empire, Selim, the Emperor of the Ottomans, started writing letters to the leader of the Safavid Empire, Ismail. In one of...