Islam In Hungary

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Islam in Hungary has a long history that dates back to at least the twelfth century, predating the Ottoman Empire. The influence of Muslims was especially pronounced in the 16th century during the time of Ottoman Hungary.


Early history

Main article: Böszörmény

Islam was first brought to Hungary parts of the Turkish Folk of Chevalison and of the Volga Bulgarians who had emigrated during the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th centuries and formed an important political, military, financial and commercial factor.[citation needed]. In old Hungarian language the Muslim were called Böszörmény, the term preserved as a family name and in the name of the town Hajdúböszörmény.[1].

The first Islamic author to speak of this Muslim community was Yaqut al-Hamawi (575-626 AH/1179-1229 CE)." [2]

Yaqut writes in his famous geographical dictionary, "Mu'ajam al-Buldan," [3] about his meeting with Ismaili youth in Syria who was studying Islam there and brought some details of the history and life of their people in Hungary.

According to Gesta Hungarorum, the first Hungarian chronicler from the 12th century, the town Pest (today part of the capital Budapest) was established by Muslim/Shiite/Ismaili people.

" arrived from the country of Bular the excellent men Billa and Baksh with numerous Muslims. The duke (Geza, father of Stephen I) gave them property in the various parts of the country and furthermore a castle called Pest.."[4]

The Muslim traveler Abu Hamid al Garnati wrote of two types of Muslims in Hungary.

In the 11th century, St. Ladislaus and later Coloman passed laws against the non-Christians (Synod of Szabolcs). These laws subdued Islam by coercing Muslims to eat pork, go to Church and intermarry and to forbid them from celebrating Friday.

Some of Coloman's laws include:[5]

§ 46 If someone catches Ismaelites in fasting or eating or on keeping away from pork or in ritual washing or in other false practices these Ismaelites have to be sent to the king and whoever sued them shall receive a share from their properties.

§ 47 We command all Ismaelite villages to build a church and finance it. After the church is built the half village should move and settle elsewhere in order to became similar to us in living together and also in Christ and in Church (i.e. become similar in faith).

§ 48 Ismaelites should not marry their daughters to their nation but only to our nation

$ 49 If an Ismaelite has guest, or he invites someone to his house to eat, he and his guests should all eat only pork.

László (Saint Ladislaus) passed the following law[6]

§ 9 on the merchants called Ismaelites, if becomes evident from them then after their baptism they return their old laws based on circumcision they should leave their homes but if they prove innocent they should stay

Turkish Rule of mid-Hungary


Old mosque in Pécs.

The Turks entered Hungary after the Battle of Mohács in 1526. From 1541 they started to control the middle part directly.And organized three vilayets: Buda, Várad (Oradea) and Temesvár.

In 16th century, during the time of the Ottoman Rule of Hungary, numerous Muslim personalities were born in Hungary. Among them,the most important were the Ottoman Grand Vizier came from Hungary, Kanijeli Siyavuş Pasha (from Nagykanizsa) who held the function three times between 1582 and 1593, and the famous Mevlevian dervish Pecsevi Árifi Ahmed Dede, a Turk native of Pécs.

Modern era

In the 19th century, after the collapse of the revolution 1849, more than 6.000 emigrated Poles and Hungarians followed General Josef Bem in Turkish exile. For example the Hungarian officers such as Richard Guyon (Kurshid Pasha), György Kmety (Ismail Pasha) and Maximilian Stein (Ferhad Pasha) followed Josef Bem .These mentioned personalities were raised to the post of General,afterwards.

  • Guyon is described in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as "the first Christian to obtain the rank of pasha and a Turkish military command without being obliged to change his religion", a sign of modernizing meritocracy under the 19th-century Ottomans.

According to the 2002 official Hungarian census, there were 3,201 Muslims living in Hungary at the time, making up 0.03% of the population.[7] Another source says that there are over 20,000 muslims in Hungary.[8]

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