July 18th, 2013

Prayer in the Turkish Army in 1896

Googled: Islamic prayer Ottoman army; prayer Ottoman army.

Mostly I get WWI resources, researching 1890s Turkey is tricky.

Simply put I am wondering how often a Turkish unit dispatched to protect an archaeological dig in Mesopotamia might actually pray. So far I am specifically mentioning Friday prayer due to a major plot point occurring around it. I know that five prayers a day is supposed to be mandatory for Muslims, but I also know that actual practise has often been more lax.

But sources are confusing, some mention that after 1908 there was a mutiny when German instructors tried to limit the time devoted to prayer. Others say that after 1909 there was an increased pressure to get prayer leaders into the army, and that a lot of reforms were made to make soldiers into better Muslims.

All of that makes me wonder what the situation would be like in 1896, how much would they pray in actuality?

If it matters the commander of the unit has a western education, and is not particularly religious (though still a believer). Probably one of those fellows who would mostly act as religious as the people surrounding him.

I should also add that though the threat of attack is not terribly great, it is present. They are in an area that is not entirely under Ottoman control.