Murad IV (Ottoman Turkish: مراد رابع, Murād-ı Rābiʿ; July 26/27, 1612 – February 8, 1640) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, known both for restoring the authority of the state and for the brutality of his methods. Murad IV was born in Istanbul, the son of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–17) and the ethnic Greek Kösem Sultan. Brought to power by a palace conspiracy in 1623, he succeeded his uncle Mustafa I (r. 1617–18, 1622–23). He was only 11 when he took the throne. His reign is most notable for the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–39), of which the outcome would permanently part the Caucasus between the two Imperial powers for around two centuries, while it also roughly laid the foundation for the current Turkey - Iran - Iraq borders.
In the early years of Murad's reign, he was under the control of his relatives. His absolute rule started around 1632, when he took the authority and repressed all the tyrants, and he re-etablished the supremacy of Sultan.
Early reign (1623–32)
Murad IV was for a long time under the control of his relatives and during his early years as Sultan, his mother, Kösem Sultan, essentially ruled through him. The Empire fell into anarchy; the Safavid Empire invaded Iraq almost immediately, Northern Anatolia erupted in revolts, and in 1631 the Janissaries stormed the palace and killed the Grand Vizier, among others. Murad IV feared suffering the fate of his elder brother, Osman II (1618–22), and decided to assert his power.
At the age of 16 in 1628, he had his brother-in-law (his sister Fatma Sultan's husband) and the former governor of Egypt Kara Mustafa Pasha executed for a claimed action "against the law of God".
Absolute rule and imperial policies (1632–40)
Murad IV tried to quell the corruption that had grown during the reigns of previous Sultans, and that had not been checked while his mother was ruling through proxy.
Murad IV also banned alcohol, tobacco, and coffee in Istanbul. He ordered execution for breaking this ban. He would reportedly patrol the streets and the lowest taverns of Istanbul in civilian clothes at night, policing the enforcement of his command by casting off his disguise on the spot and beheading the offender with his own hands. Rivaling the exploits of Selim the Grim, he would sit in a kiosk by the water near his Seraglio Palace and shoot arrows at any boat man who rowed too close to his imperial compound. He restored the judicial regulations by very strict punishments, including execution, he once strangled a grand vizier for the reason that the official had beaten his mother-in-law. Historians including Halil İnalcık as well as primary sources report that even though he was a ruthless supporter of alcohol prohibition, Murad IV was a habitual drinker himself.
War against Safavid Iran
Murad IV's reign is most notable for the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–39) against Persia in which Ottoman forces managed to conquer Azerbaijan, occupying Tabriz, Hamadan, and capturing Baghdad in 1638. Murad IV himself commanded the invasion of Mesopotamia and proved to be an outstanding field commander. By the Treaty of Zuhab which followed after the war, it roughly comprised and confirmed the borders as per the Peace of Amasya, with Eastern Armenia, Eastern Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan staying Persian, while Western Armenia, and Western Georgia staying Ottoman. Mesopotamia was irrevocably lost for the Persians. The borders per the outcome of the war is more or less the present border line between Turkey - Iraq and Iran.
During the siege of Baghdad, the city withstood the siege for forty days, but was compelled to surrender, and the bulk of the population were butchered by the conquerors, in spite of the promises which they had made to spare them. It is said that the officers of Murad arranged a sort of tableau, in which the heads were struck off one thousand captives by one thousand headsmen at the same moment, and that Murad IV enjoyed the sight.
Murad IV himself commanded the Ottoman army in the last years of the war, and proved to be an outstanding field commander. He was the third Ottoman Sultan to command an army on the battlefield since the death of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566.
Dervish Lodge, Tomb, Fountain, Primary School, Konya Serefeddin Mosque.
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had exchanged ambassadors with the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, it was through these exchanges that he received Isa Muhammad Effendi and Ismail Effendi, two Turkish architects and students of the famous Koca Mimar Sinan Agha. Both of them later comprised among the Mughal team that would design and build the Taj Mahal.
Relations with the Mughal Empire
In the year 1626, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir began to contemplate an alliance between the Ottomans, Mughals and Uzbeks against the Safavids, who had defeated the Mughals at Kandahar. He even wrote a letter to the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, Jahangir's ambition however did not materialize due to his death in 1627. However, Jahangir's son and successor Shah Jahan pursued the goal of alliance with the Ottoman Empire.
While he was encamped in Baghdad, Murad IV is known to have met the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's ambassadors: Mir Zarif and Mir Baraka, who presented 1000 pieces of finely embroidered cloth and even armor. Murad IV gave them the finest weapons, saddles and Kaftans and ordered his forces to accompany the Mughals to the port of Basra, where they set sail to Thatta and finally Surat.
Marriages and progeny
Very little is known about the concubines of Murad IV, principally because he did not leave sons who survived his death to reach the throne but, privy purse registers record the presence of a one haseki, Ayşe Sultan, until the very end of Murad's seventeen-year reign, when a second haseki appears. It is possible that Murad had only a single concubine until the advent of the second, or that he had a number of concubines but singled out only one as haseki. If Ayse was his only concubine, it is possible that it was fear of lack of male issue that prompted the sultan to take another, for his sons all died in infancy.
• Şehzade Ahmed (21 December 1627–1628)
• Şehzade Numan (1628–1629)
• Şehzade Orhan (1629–1629)
• Şehzade Hasan (March 1631 – 1632)
• Şehzade Suleiman (2 February 1632 – 1635)
• Şehzade Mehmed (8 August 1633 – 1637)
• Şehzade Osman (9 February 1634 – February 1634)
• Şehzade Alaeddin (26 August 1635 – 1637)
• Şehzade Selim (1637–1640)
• Şehzade Abdul Hamid (15 May 1638 – 1638)
• İsmihan Sultan (1630–1630)
• Gevherhan Sultan (1630 – ?), married 1645, Damat Haseki Mehmed Pasha, sometime Fifth Vizier;
• Hanzade Sultan (1630–1675);
• Kaya Sultan (1633 – 28 February 1659), married August 1644, Damat Abaza Melek Ahmed Pasha, Vizier 1638 and 1650–1651;
• Safiye Sultan, married 1659, Damat Abaza Husein Pasha, Vizier 1674–1675, son of Abaza Siyavuş Pasha;
• Fatma Sultan (1636–1640)
• Rabia Sultan (1636–1639/1690)
• Rukiye Sultan (1640 – January 1690), married January 1663, Şeytan Divrikli Ibrahim Pasha, Vizier.
• Gülbahar Sultan (1634–1652) Poisoned.
Murad IV died from cirrhosis in Istanbul at the age of 27 in 1640.
Rumours had circulated that on his deathbed, Murad IV ordered the execution of his mentally disabled brother, Ibrahim I (reigned 1640–48), which would have meant the end of the Ottoman line. However, the order was not carried out.
In popular culture
In the TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl: Kösem, Murad IV is portrayed by Cağan Efe Ak as a child, and Metin Akdülger as a sultan.
Murad IV of Turkey (1612-1640) was both strong-willed and physically strong. His dominant mother had tried to make him abhor women, and all his life they induced both lust and hate in Murad. His cruelty became legendary, and, in his later years, he killed people, especially females, just because off ill humour or a whim.
Murad, born on July 27, 1612, was 5 years old, when his father, Sultan Ahmed I (1590-1617), died. Six years later, he ascended the throne after the second dethronement of his insane uncle, Mad Mustafa I (1591-1639). Over the next years his mother, Sultana Kösem, ruled with ability from the harem, but much power was also held by the civil aristocracy and the military, who where mainly interested in their own advancement. In 1623, the Persians invaded Iraq. Revolts broke out in Anatolia, and in November 1631 the Janissaries, the Sultan's standing infantry corps, rioted and broke into the Palace, killing the Grand Vezir, the Grand Mufti, Murad's favourite page and 13 other high officials.
Fearing the fate of his half-brother Osman II, Young Murad was forced to appoint a Grand Vezir of their choice, but within half a year he took command of the government, and had the unwanted Grand Vezir executed. He took revenge on the military that had humiliated him by ordering the strangulation of more than 500 of their leaders. He had spies scouring Istanbul, tracking down the leaders of the revolt and other traitors, executing them on the spot. In Anatolia Murad had 20.000 men executed. In 1635 Murad intended to execute the Armanian immigrants of Constantinople too, but his Grand Vezir managed to talk this idea out of his mind.
Murad was an uncultivated, strong-willed, dark-eyed giant and he was immensely cruel. Boastful of his muscular strength, he excelled in wrestling and javelin throwing. His popular brother Bayezid was highly skilled in jousting and in 1635 he threw Murad off in a joust. Shortly thereafter, Bayezid was killed by Murad's order. Murad had another brother killed in 1638. Kösem prevented him from murdering his only surviving brother, Mad Ibrahim (1615-1648), by arguing that Ibrahim was too mad to be a threat.
Murad attempted to re-establish Royal authority and is known as one of the more able Sultans of Turkey. He showed ability as a military commander in the Caucasus and Mesopotamia and gained respect by sharing the hardships with his men. Nevertheless, after the siege of Bagdad in 1638 he slaughtered some 30,000 soldiers and another 30,000 civilians. After this conquest he proceeded in triumph through Istanbul, followed by captive Persian chiefs in chains.
Sometimes Murad disguised himself and, accompanied by his executioner, he wandered the streets incognito, personally carrying out inspections. When he came across some "troublemaker", Murad would turn to the executioner and select the tool he thought most suited to the job. Thus Murad had many people mercilessly executed and corpses hung at every street corner. In the early years of his reign, his executions had been justified by unquestionable guilt, but later he was killing out off ill humour or a whim. Once, he forced one of his doctors to swallow an overdose of his own opium. He impaled a courier for informing him mistakenly that he had become father of a boy, whereas in fact it was a daughter. Murad's cruelty became legendary and his approach created a terrified silence everywhere.
He cut off the head of every man who came under the slightest suspicion; in 5 years time he executed some 25,000 subjects. His musician, for example, was beheaded for playing a Persian melody. In 1633, coffee houses, wine shops and taverns were closed, because they were meeting places where people could spend their time criticising the government. Murad passed a law prohibiting smoking and the consumption of alcohol or coffee throughout the Ottoman Empire on pain of death. When he caught anyone with a pipe or a cup of coffee, Murad had the offender executed on the spot, although he himself indulged in both habits - often in the company of some favoured Persians.
Knowing the strife among the harem women, Sultana Kösem had tried to encourage her son to homosexual love, showing him only beautiful boys and keeping him away from girls. During the rest of his life Murad was to show both feelings of lust and hate for women. Once Murad encountered a group of women singing in a meadow and ordered all of them to be drowned for disturbing his peace. When a boat with ladies came too close to the harem walls, Murad ordered his gunners to open fire, sinking the boat and drowning them all. At other times, he forced his harem women to jump naked into a pool. He liked to fire harmless pellets at their bodies or fill the pool with so much water that they had to jump up and down to take a breath. Murad was also intensely jealous. A man who added a room to the top of his house was hanged, because Murad thought he had done it to peer over the palace walls into his harem.
During the last years of his life Murad became addicted to alcohol. It turned him into a homicidal maniac. Dimitrie Cantemir of Moldavia (1678-1723) wrote: "Very often at midnight he stole out of the women's quarters through the private gate of the palace with his drawn sword, and running through the streets barefooted with only a loose gown around him, like a madman, killed whoever came his way." He took particular pleasure in beheading men with fat necks. Murad practised his powers with the arquebus from the palace walls on passers by - in case they were intending to look into the harem. While riding out, armed with his bow, he used to practise his aim on any passing woman.
On February 9, 1640, this Sultan, who had prohibited drinking, died from cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 27. Since Murad's sons had all died young, his insane brother Ibrahim became the new Sultan.