Sociology Index

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Ibrahim Müteferrika

Ibrahim Müteferrika (1674–1745 CE) was an ethnic Hungarian Unitarian who converted to Islam. A Hungarian-born Ottoman diplomat, publisher, economist, historian, Islamic theologian, sociologist, and the first Muslim to run a printing press with movable Arabic type. "Why do the Christian nations, which were so weak in the past compared with Muslim nations begin to dominate so many lands in modern times and even defeat the once victorious Ottoman armies?"..."Because they have laws and rules invented by reason." - Ibrahim Muteferrika, Rational basis for the Politics of Nations.

At a young age, Ibrahim Muteferrika entered the Ottoman diplomatic services. He took an active part in the negotiations with Austria and Russia. Ibrahim Muteferrika was an active figure in promoting the Ottoman-French alliance (1737–1739) against Austria and Russia. Ibrahim Muteferrika was also acclaimed for his role in the Ottoman-Swedish action against Russia. During his services as a diplomat he is known to have befriended many influential personalities including Osman Aga of Temesvar, a fellow diplomat of Transylvanian origins and former prisoner of war imprisoned in Austria.

It was during his years as a diplomat that he took a keen interest in collecting books that helped him understand the ongoing Renaissance, the emergence of Protestant movements in Europe, and the rise of powerful colonial empires in Europe.

Among the works published by Müteferrika were historical and generically scientific works, as well as Katip Çelebi's world atlas Cihannüma (The Mirror of the World or the World Seer). In a digression that he added to his printing, Ibrahim Müteferrika discussed the heliocentrism of astronomy in detail, with references to relatively up-to-date scientific arguments for and against it. In this regard, he is considered one of the first people to properly introduce heliocentrism to the Ottoman readers.