They Cannot Be Left to the Brutality of a Cruel Group: An Ottoman Scholar's Treatise on Dogs


Journal of Islamic Ethics, vol.6, no.1, pp.122-140, 2021 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/24685542-12340075
  • Journal Name: Journal of Islamic Ethics
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.122-140
  • Keywords: 18th century, animal, dog, Mustaqīmzāde, Ottoman society, treatise
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


© Necmettin Kızılkaya, 2022.Several studies have been written on the subject of animals in the Ottoman Empire, with a focus on dogs in particular. Most of these studies cover the subject through various sources, including history books, biographies, travelogues, and diaries. Although studying the issue via these sources is important, several works written in the Ottoman period, especially distinct treatises, provide more concrete information on the subject. These treatises have the unique quality of providing insight into many points, especially with relevance to the concepts on which the scholars and thinkers of the period examined the human-animal relationship, and also the arguments they advanced to establish this relationship. One such treatise was written by Mustaqīmzāde (d. 1202/1788) in the 12th/18th century. This treatise deals with many issues, especially the human-dog relationship, the characteristics dogs have, why people should be compassionate towards dogs, and the problems of having a negative attitude towards dogs. In this article, I give a brief biography of Mustaqīmzāde, summarize the changing attitude of Ottomans towards dogs, discuss the content of Mustaqīmzāde's treatise, and finally translate it into English and present an edition of the text.