Spiritual Subjects
Central Asian Pilgrims and the Ottoman Hajj at the End of Empire
Lâle Can




IF YOU WALK UP one of the steep paths leading from the waterfront through the hills of Üsküdar, you will soon approach a restored Sufi lodge—referred to in Turkish as a tekke or dergah—that was historically a destination for Central Asians traveling to Istanbul. Known as the Sultantepe Özbekler Tekkesi, the lodge is perched high above the Bosphorus on the Asian side of the city. Its wood and stone architecture are now something of an anomaly amid the concrete and steel that dominate the urban landscape. A little more than a hundred years ago, it was surrounded on all sides by verdant neighborhoods named after streams and nightingales and was in close proximity to the many mosques and tekkes that informed the rhythms of religious and social life.1 This was a time when Sultantepe overlooked quays where imperial ships still departed for Mecca, transporting the faithful on the annual pilgrimage established by the Prophet Muhammad before his death in 632 CE. By the turn of the twentieth century, the lodge had become a major node in the city’s Central Asian pilgrimage networks, which grew alongside the rise of hajj traffic through imperial Russia. Men and women from Bukhara, the Ferghana Valley, and East Turkestan in China took Russian rail and steam lines to Istanbul, where they might—the men at least—see the sultan-caliph at Friday prayers. After receiving his ceremonial blessing, they would continue their journey to visit the House of God in Mecca. In doing so, they followed customs established in the early modern period by the expansionist Naqsh-bandi order, the dominant mystical brotherhood of Central Asia.2

Marked by a sign that only hints at its storied past, the lodge has big wooden doors that open onto a welcoming courtyard surrounded by small-scale buildings that were home to Sufi shaykhs of Central Asian extraction, their families, and the pilgrims they served. A veranda to the left of the main entrance connects the family quarters to a room where shaykhs presided over visitors and recorded their names and details in ledgers kept for the central government. Just beyond is a small mosque and a room for weekly religious gatherings. Across these spaces of devotion and prayer, a separate structure houses a kitchen where resident cooks prepared meals, using grains and meat provided by the Ottoman government and various sources that funded the lodge’s Islamic endowment. Adjacent to the lodge is a cemetery, with the graves of luminaries from Ottoman and Turkish history sharing space with pilgrims and migrants.

If, like me, you have spent years poring over the lodge’s archives, it is not difficult to imagine scenes of everyday life in the times when Istanbul was a crossroads of transimperial pilgrimage. There, just over by the small mosque, is the Bukharan dervish Hacı Baba, recently arrived from a Sufi lodge associated with Kashgaris, because he needed a “change of air.”3 He is getting ready for the weekly congregational dhikr, the remembrance of God. By the fountain are Ahmed Efendi and members of his family. In a few days, they will leave for Bursa, only to return to Sultantepe a month later.4 Men are sitting in the back, drinking tea and exchanging pleasantries. They have just returned from long days of work, doing odd jobs here and there to earn money before going to Mecca or departing for home. In the women’s section of the kitchen, the wives, mothers, and daughters of male pilgrims—whom the shaykh described in only this way in his records—are busy preparing for the evening gathering. After a day spent going through accounting ledgers and writing petitions on behalf of guests for travel arrangements, the shaykh is chatting with the latest group of arrivals about when they can expect to depart. Men of all ages are gathered underneath trees that still grace the courtyard. One of these trees is an old magnolia. If it could speak, it might share the stories this book seeks to tell: how the hajj connected Central Asians to the Ottoman Empire, what forms these connections took, and how the roads to Mecca paved paths to becoming Ottoman.

Rooted in Asia and overlooking the straits that connected pilgrims from Russia’s Black Sea ports to Ottoman Istanbul, the magnolia might begin its story in 1869. This was the year that marked the opening of the Suez Canal, an event that symbolized an age of expanded Muslim mobility and European power in the Middle East and Indian Ocean world. It was also the year that the Ottoman government, in its ongoing battle against European legal imperialism, promulgated the Law on Ottoman Nationality (Tabiiyet-i Osmaniye Kanunnamesi), which defined who was an Ottoman and who was a foreigner (ecnebi; plural, ecanib) and effectively included all non-Ottoman Muslims in the latter category. Or maybe it would begin in the 1880s, when the lodge began to host increasing numbers of guests who had recently become subjects of Tsarist Russia, Qing China, and, to a lesser extent, the British Empire. Spurred by major advances in technology and colonial infrastructure that made long-distance travel more accessible, thousands of Central Asians combined pilgrimage with labor migration, trade, and religious study. Russian investment in railroad and steamship lines, in particular, enabled unprecedented mobility, and by the beginning of the twentieth century, as many as twenty-five thousand pilgrims traveled via Black Sea ports to Istanbul each pilgrimage season.5 They set out from the oasis cities of Xinjiang, the Ferghana Valley, Bukhara, and Afghanistan, and included single male artisans, merchants, farmers, laborers, and scholars, as well as families who would settle in the empire after completing the hajj, and people headed to Mecca and Medina to devote themselves to lives of piety and prayer. While some pilgrims fulfilled their religious duties and quickly departed, for others the hajj became a conduit to various forms of short- and long-term migration.6

Long before its time, the magnolia would tell you, the Ottomans had assumed custodianship of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina (the Haremeyn, or two sacred precincts) and become patrons of the hajj. When Sultan Selim (r. 1512–20) conquered Mamluk Egypt and extended his sovereignty into the region of Arabia known as the Hijaz, he had added “Caliph” and “Servitor of the Holy Cities” (hadimü’l-Haremeyn) to a long list of titles acquired by his predecessors. Assuming the title of caliph—the religious and political leader of the worldwide Muslim community (umma)—brought the Ottomans religious legitimacy and prestige. It also brought new responsibilities, as sultans became charged with provisioning the Haremeyn and ensuring the safe passage of pilgrims traveling across dangerous terrain. Although the caliphate was integrated into the structure of Ottoman power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was only in the eighteenth that sultans actively began to use it to assert authority over people beyond their domains. The first iteration of this was with the signing of the 1774 Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, concluded with Russia after the loss of the Crimean Khanate. According to the treaty, the Ottomans recognized Catherine II (“the Great”; r. 1762–96) as the protector of Orthodox Christians in Ottoman lands and established the sultan as the religious authority of Muslims in the former khanate.7 Such claims would expand under Sultan Abdülhamid II, even as they remained nebulous. By 1903, an Ottoman statesman contemplating the rights of foreign Muslims in the Hijaz province would invoke the sultan’s religious leadership as a matter of course, writing that Abdülhamid II “possesses spiritual leadership (riyaset-i ruhaniye) over all of Islam owing to the Caliphate” and that “according to the requirements of this illustrious title, he is the great leader and esteemed sovereign of all of the people of Islam, regardless of which nation they are subjects of, not only Muslims found in his own country.”8

Yet as the “people of Islam” came into closer contact with the sultan, they did so as subjects of colonial powers, many of whom actively challenged the sultan’s sovereignty through their engagements with a changing legal order. Throughout the 1860s and 1870s, formerly independent Muslim states were conquered and annexed to major world empires: the Khiva Khanate and Bukhara Emirate became Russian protectorates; the Khoqand Khanate became a Russian colony ruled by a military governor-general; and, after the rise and fall of the short-lived Emirate of Kashgar during the so-called Muslim uprisings (1864–77), the Qing reconquered the region and created the province of Xinjiang.9 This “new frontier” province (later part of Republican China) would become an Anglo-British “buffer zone of ambiguous sovereignty.”10 Just to the south, the British took control of Kabul’s foreign affairs after the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80) and established a protectorate where the emir retained nominal independence but the British controlled foreign policy.11 As Ottoman Foreign Ministry officials monitored developments in this growing arena of imperial competition, they started using calques derived from Russian and English, such as “Asya-yı Vusta” (Middle Asia) and “Türkistan-ı Çini” (Chinese Turkestan, also referred to widely as East Turkestan). The Foreign Ministry also began to address issues relating to the legal status and rights of Bukharans, Afghans, and Kashgaris (sometimes referred to as Chinese Muslims) together, grouping them as people from informally colonized lands. At times, they used Bukhara to refer to Russian Central Asia more generally, hinting at their unfamiliarity with “distant lands” (mahall-i baide) that were historically outside the Ottoman sphere of interest.12 As with the contemporary usage of Central Asia and Central Asians, there was no term that fully captured where these Muslim migrants were from or how they identified. Only later would they refer to themselves and identify as “Türkistanlı” (from Turkestan), Uzbek, Tajik, and Uyghur. At the fin de siècle, they were usually defined in official correspondence by the states from which they originated: Bukhara, Russian Turkestan, Chinese Turkestan, and Afghanistan. The tekke shaykh often referred to them collectively as hemşeri (countrymen, compatriots), invoking alternative understandings of belonging that persisted alongside imperial legal categories.

After long stories about the years when pilgrims flowed into the tekke like a stream and sometimes a tide, the magnolia’s tale would continue into the First World War, when the Ottoman dynasty lost control of Islam’s holiest cities and the routes to Mecca ceased to wind through Istanbul. These were difficult days, and the Mudros Armistice that ended the war for the Ottomans was followed by an Allied occupation of Istanbul that shook the community at Sultantepe. The shaykh in those years, Atâ Efendi (1883–1936), helped the resistance by smuggling weapons to fighters in Anatolia—an act that would link Sultantepe to the national struggle and inadvertently overshadow a long history of service to pious pilgrims. After the dislocations of the war and the collapse of empires, pilgrims were replaced in the 1930s through 1950s by émigrés fleeing communism in the Soviet Union and then China. Many of them settled in and around Central Asian lodges in Istanbul and other cities on the old overland hajj routes to Mecca. When Atatürk closed the nation’s Sufi lodges in his aggressive secularization campaigns in the 1920s and 1930s, many of the Central Asian tekkes continued to operate informally. Thus, even though Sultantepe’s days as a way station between Istanbul and Mecca had come to a close, it continued to connect people from East Turkestan, the Ferghana Valley, Bukhara, and Samarqand as they started new lives in the old Ottoman capital.13

What the magnolia would likely not tell you is how the intersection of mass pilgrimage and European pressures informed Ottoman relations with these “foreign Muslims.” At the end of the Crimean War (1853–56)—a conflict spurred by European competition in Ottoman lands, particularly Russian demands to exercise protection over the sultan’s Orthodox Christian subjects in Palestine—the Great Powers welcomed the empire to the Concert of Europe. The Paris Peace Treaty of 1856 gave the Ottoman Empire the same legitimacy and rights to territorial integrity and sovereignty as other member nations.14 But in the context of the “Eastern Question”—the issue of how European empires could pursue their ambitions in Ottoman domains without upsetting the balance of power between them (and inaugurating another war like the one fought in the Crimean Peninsula)—these guarantees did not materialize. Specifically, the treaty formalized and further entrenched capitulatory agreements granting European nationals and protégés extraterritorial rights and privileges (imtiyazat), such as immunities from Ottoman law, that undermined jurisdictional sovereignty.15 These treaties—collectively referred to as the Capitulations—led to a system of extraterritoriality where European powers were able to extend their legal authority into the sultan’s domains and exert their jurisdiction in a range of matters that affected the legal and financial interests of their subjects and protégés.

As the British and Russians became active in the politics and regulation of the hajj, they quickly availed themselves of opportunities to project their power into the Hijaz, Greater Syria, and Iraq via Muslim subjects. By the late nineteenth century, foreign Muslims could count on their consular representatives for various forms of financial, logistical, and legal support. Hajjis, like non-Muslim European protégés, nationals, and citizens, were becoming a population covered by the capitulatory regime that had plagued the Ottomans. When foreign Muslims sought to benefit from imtiyazat that were originally meant to “protect” Christians from the perceived injustices of Islamic law, the Sublime Porte (the central government in Istanbul) responded with legislation that curtailed their rights to landholding and property. It also sought to more consistently classify Muslims from abroad as foreigners. In the case of Central Asians, this designation proved difficult to enforce, since they had deep roots in communities that did not view them as foreigners or outsiders. Nevertheless, by the 1880s, the rising incidence of Bukharans seeking to circumvent Ottoman jurisdiction led the Porte to adopt a radically new position. Drawing on contemporary norms in international law, the Foreign Ministry claimed that subjects of informally colonized lands such as the emirates of Afghanistan and Bukhara were not “real” (asıl, sahih) European subjects and that they were therefore ineligible for capitulatory privileges.16 While they were in Ottoman lands, these “protected persons” (mahmi) were under the exclusive protection of their spiritual sovereign, the caliph.

For the Central Asian pilgrims resting in the shade beneath the magnolia’s branches, these legal distinctions would change their experience of being hajjis in Ottoman lands. What would it mean to be a foreign Muslim who was protected by the caliph? And, if being a foreigner meant having one set of rights and privileges—and restrictions—and being an Ottoman promised another, where did Central Asians fit in?

Many Ottoman statesmen would grapple with these questions between 1869 and the First World War, as they tried to situate Central Asian pilgrims and migrants in the categories of “Ottoman” (Osmanlı) and “foreigner” (ecnebi) and to determine how to accord or deny them rights and privileges based on nationality. Likewise, Central Asians charting a course through empires where obtaining some form of imperial protection had become crucial would pose these questions to different branches of the Ottoman government. This book reconstructs their efforts—and the points where Ottoman statesmen and hajjis overlapped and conflicted—and argues that Central Asians effectively transcended the Porte’s legal categories of subjecthood, as well as those that historians have used to analyze membership in the late Ottoman Empire. As the empire sought to simultaneously promote a universal Islamic caliphate and to narrowly define Ottoman subjecthood, Central Asians tested both imperial projects and became what I term the sultan’s “spiritual subjects.”17 These subjects were Muslim migrants who asserted a type of membership in the empire that derived from Islamic networks like the one that took shape at Sultantepe, as well as the state’s pronouncement of spiritual authority over the umma by dint of the caliphate—specifically, its claim of being the exclusive protector of Bukharans, Afghans, and Kashgaris in its domains. Spiritual subjects were not legal nationals but subjects of the caliph, pulled into the Ottoman orbit through pilgrimage and the politics of protection. In this book’s telling, they were also subjects of history, whose interactions with Ottoman state and society prompted continual engagement with the questions of what it meant to be an Ottoman or a foreigner. Their experiences shed new light on Ottoman nationality reform and reveal a fuller picture of the hajj in Ottoman and global Islamic history during the age of high imperialism.

The Sufi lodge at Sultantepe offers an ideal starting point for an investigation into the ways that hajj created enduring transregional connections and allows us to see how Islamic spaces shaped Central Asians’ experiences and trajectories in Ottoman lands—despite sometimes contentious interactions with the state stemming from disputes over nationality and capitulatory privileges, and the manifold hardships that characterized the journey. Like similar nodes in vast Sufi networks that extended from Istanbul to Medina, the lodge was crucial to integrating Muslims from abroad and facilitating their travels. It was the community within its walls—presided over by a shaykh who vouched for those who needed guarantors, found jobs for those who needed employment, arranged for medical care for those who needed treatment, and buried those who died thousands of miles from their native lands—that helps us to grasp the elusive idea of transimperial connection. In an empire in the midst of large-scale transitions, Sultantepe provides a unique perspective for understanding how Central Asians’ experiences in spiritual communities—many of which preceded and, in some cases, survived the Ottomans—opened up paths to integration and naturalization.

In the chapters that follow, we meet a range of Central Asian “hajjis”—not just pilgrims on a journey with a beginning and end but also people who traveled back and forth, migrated, studied, and worked before, during, and after the hajj. From literate men of religion urging others to see Istanbul, to savvy merchants trying to obtain foreign nationality for material benefit, down-on-their-luck artisans and farmers petitioning the sultan while stuck in transit, and deceased migrants whose legal nationality was contested only in death, these individuals demonstrate that hajj connections were wide-ranging—and, often, tense. They also show how these foreign Muslims both challenged the Ottoman subjecthood and nationality boundary and reified the spiritual power of the caliph.18 If these seem like somewhat dissonant developments, that is because they were. In investigating the transimperial hajj in Ottoman history, I have chosen to dwell on seeming paradoxes to reveal a fuller picture of tensions of empire and to elucidate how this rite intersected with legal and political developments occurring throughout the Eurasian, Mediterranean, and Indian Ocean worlds. While “spiritual subjecthood” is arguably an elusive concept, the juxtaposition of religious and political belonging is meant to conjure broader questions about the centrality of Islam and the caliphate in the late Ottoman Empire. Rather than focusing on pan-Islam—the politics of Muslim political and religious unity—or the instrumentalization of religion, this book investigates the burdens and limits of the Ottoman caliphate, as well as its integration into the structure of power in the late nineteenth century.

By connecting the fragmented histories of Islamic patronage, imperial reform, and international law, I seek to answer the following questions: How did the hajj as a form of migration converge with extraterritoriality? How did ordinary people understand the sultan’s “spiritual” (ruhani, manevi) authority? What kinds of new connections and tensions did the hajj produce within the umma? And, ultimately, what lessons can be drawn from engaging with the idea of spiritual subjecthood? What does it tell us about imperial subjecthood and nationality? A rich body of published and unpublished, official and private archival sources from Uzbekistan and Turkey help us answer these questions. In mapping the changing religious, social, and legal terrain of the hajj, our guides are none other than Central Asian hajjis. Before we join them, however, the remainder of this introduction takes us through a number of questions in Ottoman, transimperial, and global history that help us understand the roads ahead.

When Hajjis Became Protégés

When Ottoman sultans of the early modern period first issued charters and formal pledges (ahdname) to European states granting their subjects extraterritorial privileges—including immunities from Ottoman law, tax exemptions and low customs duties, and guarantees of safe residence and passage—they likely never imagined a world in which Muslims, let alone hajjis, would benefit from these agreements. Yet this is exactly what began to happen in the nineteenth century, as mass pilgrimage brought more Muslim colonial subjects and European protégés (protected persons who were not necessarily subjects or citizens) into contact with the Ottoman state and society. What were meant in the early modern era to be revocable grants to foster political and commercial links with Europeans had morphed into a wide-ranging system of extraterritorial concessions. In the nineteenth century, ahdname were enshrined in bi- and multilateral treaties and granted to an ever-growing class of protected persons who were able to register with foreign consuls and obtain certificates of protection (berat). A system to “protect” Christian merchants from Islamic law had become a widely (ab)used mechanism that undermined the sultan’s sovereignty, since berat holders—even those who maintained their Ottoman nationality—were not subject to the sultan’s justice.19

As the Porte became quickly aware, Russian and British conquests and rivalry in Asia facilitated the emergence of protégés among Central Asians, including people from lands in East Turkestan that were ruled by the Qing and then Republican China, neither of which had diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire. Like the boundary-crossers and “legal chameleons” of Alexandria, Shanghai, or Tunis who “used the capitulatory system to manipulate their official identities, juggling at times two or three ‘nationalities,’ ”20 Central Asians began to assert rights to European nationality, with the goal of obtaining the most advantageous legal affiliation in a particular setting. In practice, this meant that Bukharans and others began to claim European nationality to benefit from preferential tariffs and customs duties or to evade Ottoman taxation, conscription, and prosecution. In other instances, foreign Muslims would become naturalized as Ottomans in order to purchase land, without formally renouncing their foreign nationality (leading to problems when they died and foreign consuls did not recognize their Ottoman nationality, or when they tried to revert to their previous nationality to avoid Ottoman jurisdiction). These developments were spurred in part by a growing network of European consuls in the bustling Red Sea port of Jeddah, which offered pilgrims services that included everything from storing valuables and buying steamer tickets, to helping people escape Ottoman prosecution. For hajjis whose journeys extended beyond the rites at Mecca and involved longer residence in cities like Basra, Damascus, and Istanbul, European consuls were likewise willing to provide protection to cultivate protégés among Muslims who would expand their economic interests in the empire.21 For the Porte, the most pressing problems were driven not by pilgrims but by hajjis who settled in the empire.

Ottoman statesmen struggled to understand why subjects of the Bukharan emir or people subject to sharia law in Russian Turkestan should be “protected” from Islamic law by colonial European powers. This not only subverted the logic of the Capitulations but also threatened to open the empire—particularly the Hijaz—to foreign intervention.22 Yet, in reality, Central Asians’ engagements with the law were not exceptional. Throughout the Mediterranean world, Moroccans and Tunisians tried to pass as Algerians to benefit from French nationality, and Maltese protégés in Alexandria insisted that they were British subjects in order to benefit from the attendant rights. In the treaty ports of China, Andijani and Bukharan émigrés to Xinjiang sought Russian identity papers to profit from the advantageous terms of economic treaties, while Baghdadi Jews in Shanghai frequently registered with British consuls to obtain the status of protected persons. From Kashgar to Casablanca, the world in the long nineteenth century was shaped by forms of imperialism that went beyond direct conquest and relied on legal and “diplomatic” instruments of power legitimized by the “international” state system.23 Both protector and protected benefited in different ways: the former by establishing jurisdiction through consular courts and the presence of particular groups in strategic economic and political arenas, the latter by obtaining preferential status.

Whereas citizenship represented the fullest form of state membership and was accompanied by political enfranchisement, nationality was primarily a form of legal affiliation and a tool of international law that defined rights and protections of subjects. For individuals in settings of overlapping, divided, and contested sovereignty, it was not a tool of identity but of advantage. As Will Hanley convincingly argues, it was “first and foremost to assume civil rights and legal advantages, rather than as an expression of an upsurge of political, cultural, or national identity.”24 Native Bukharans who claimed to be Ottomans in Medina, but Russians when arrested in Istanbul, or British when they wanted to avoid taxes in Baghdad—and who may have petitioned the tsar and the sultan for financial aid or support—did not evince loyalty or allegiance to any particular state through their actions. Conquered peoples actively participated in colonial legal orders regardless of whether they viewed their rulers as just or legitimate—even when they were engaged in revolts against the imperial order. Rather than signs of allegiance or legitimacy, the use of law to personal advantage through a variety of strategies was indicative of “sophisticated understandings of the jurisdictional complexity [legal pluralism] and politics.”25

For the Porte, the problem was that these sophisticated engagements with the law were occurring on its terrain and at its expense: hajjis were becoming unlikely agents of expanding European jurisdiction. The Porte’s responses were consistent with strategies employed by authorities in polities as varied as China, Japan, Tunisia, and Morocco, who worked within the parameters of the international legal order to limit the power of foreign consular courts and to rein in the privileges of European protégés.26 That said, the Ottoman Foreign Ministry’s utilization of the caliphate—a vaunted Muslim institution representing leadership of the worldwide Islamic community—to deprive rights to Muslims seeking European nationality (many of them on a journey symbolizing the unity of the umma) adds a unique spin to a global story of legal pluralism and imperialism. These dynamics also challenge long-held assumptions about the role of religio-political ideology and ethnic identity that impede our understandings of Central Asian connections to the empire.


1. Mustafa Kara’s work on religion in the late Ottoman Empire highlights how pervasive Sufism and its institutional structures were in Ottoman social and cultural life. See Kara, Din Hayat Sanat Açısından Tekkeler ve Zaviyeler. On the mosques, tekkes, and other Islamic institutions of Üsküdar, see Haskan, Yüzyıllar Boyunca Üsküdar.

2. On the Naqshbandiyya in Ottoman history see LeGall, A Culture of Sufism; Algar, “Tarîqat and Tarîq”; and Abu-Manneh, “The Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya.”

3. The sources on the lodge are primarily from a private collection I was allowed to access in 2007, which I refer to throughout as the Sultantepe Özbekler Tekkesi Arşivi (SÖTA). The collection is not archived or catalogued, and I refer to sources by the date of the document or the date of the register. This letter is addressed from the Eyüp Dergahı to Sultantepe postnişin, dated 10 Eylül 1315 (22 Sept. 1899). In addition to miscellaneous documents such as this letter, the SÖTA includes three guest registers. The registers are labeled as “Nüfus ve Kayıt Defteri” (identity and registration register), “Künye Defteri” (register of names), and “Resmi Misafirin Defteri” (official guest register) and they cover the years 1899–1906, 1907–23, and 1919–25, respectively. There are inconsistences in the register entries in each.

4. SÖTA Register 1, “Üsküdar Sultantepesi’nde Kain Özbekler Dergahı’nın Nüfus ve Kayıt Defteri, fi 1 Zilkade 1316/fi 1 Mart 1315” [The Identity and Registration Register of the Uzbek Dergah located in Üsküdar, Sultantepe, 13 March 1899 through 9 January 1906]. Henceforth, “SÖTA Register 1.” Entry no. 12.

5. I have not been able to find consistent statistical data on Central Asians traveling via Istanbul in the BOA. Kane estimates that twenty-five thousand Russian Muslims were traveling through Black Sea ports by the early twentieth century. See Kane, “Odessa,” 2. It is not clear if this includes all Muslims from Russian-ruled territories. According to Reichmuth, “the number of pilgrims from all of Russia reached 184,000 in 1911, the number from Turkestan alone 50,000 in 1912, quoted as an increase by a factor of two within ten years.” The figures he provides are based on Russian railway authorities and newspapers and seem very high. See Reichmuth, “Semantic Modeling,” 216.

6. On nineteenth-century Muslim migrations and refugees, see Blumi, Ottoman Refugees, 18781939; Frantantuono, “Migration Administration”; Hamed-Troyansky, “Refugees and Empires”; and Gün, “Flight and Refuge.” James H. Meyer also investigates return migration between the Russian and Ottoman Empires in “Immigration, Return.”

7. On the treaty see Smiley, “The Burdens of Subjecthood”; and Davison, “‘Russian Skill.’ ”

8. BOA, Y.PRK.ŞD 3/34, 1320 Z 29 (29 March 1903).

9. For classic studies on Russian conquest and rule see Becker, Russia’s Protectorates; and Pierce, Russian Central Asia. More recent works include Sahadeo, Russian Colonial Society; and Morrison, Russian Rule in Samarkand. On Chinese Turkestan see Kim, Holy War in China; and Brophy, Uyghur Nation.

10. Brophy, Uyghur Nation, 7. Brophy quotes Muhammad Imin Bughra, a leader in Republican-era politics in Xinjiang, as saying that Qing and Republican-era rule was a period of “‘two-and-a-half governments’—Russia and Britain counting for one each, and the Qing only half—a pithy description of what scholars refer to as semi-colonialism” (7). Brophy draws out the significance of extraterritoriality in Xinjiang and explains that it “increasingly resembled the spheres of influence spreading throughout coastal China and Manchuria, dotted by treaty ports where foreigners enjoyed special privileges” (7). While I often refer to the Qing and Republican period as “Chinese,” this follows the Ottoman archival sources; Xinjiang was under Qing rule (a Manchu dynasty) from the late 1750s to 1911–12, followed by the Republic of China (through 1949). My use of “Chinese Turkestan” also follows Ottoman designations and distinguishes Kashgar and its environs from Russian Turkestan. On the Qing and post-Qing periods, see Millward, Eurasian Crossroads.

11. Ahmed, Afghanistan Rising.

12. For an example of this common usage see BOA DH.İD 61/77, 13 R 1330 (1 April 1912). “Her sene mevsim-i hacda Rusya ve Buhara gibi mahall-i baideden Dersaadet’e gelerek . . .”

13. For example, through the 1950s, the Buhara Dergahı hosted émigrés from the Soviet Union and China, who lived in and/or communed at the lodge. The lodge’s last shaykh, Abdurrahman Efendi (d. 1953), was involved in the activities of an organization that met there called Türkistan Gençler Birliği. See Yeşilot et al., İstanbul’daki Türkistan Tekkeleri.

14. On the treaty and the expansion of international law—which emerged as a Eurocentric framework for the practice of international relations by diplomats, based on treaty and customary law and, increasingly, the Capitulations—see Özsu, “Ottoman Empire”; Palabıyık, “Emergence of the Idea”; Genell, “Autonomous Provinces”; Smiley, From Slaves to Prisoners; and Rodogno, Against Massacre. Samera Esmeir elucidates how “international” law became a new branch of law regulating interstate relations. See Esmeir, “On Becoming Less.”

15. Özsu, “The Ottoman Empire,” 129; and Ahmad, “Ottoman Perceptions.”

16. On the usage of sahih, see BOA, HR.HMŞ.İŞO 176/29, 4 L 1308 (13 May 1891).

17. I want to credit Ariel Salzmann for her use of the term “spiritual citizenship” in an early work on Ottoman citizenship and political participation. Her argument that pan-Islam “offered Muslims a type of spiritual ‘citizenship’ within an imaginary ‘umma’ superimposed over the modern political map” was important in shaping my thinking at the outset of this project. See Salzmann, “Citizens in Search,” 51.

18. Although I use the term subjecthood and focus on nationality in this book, much of the literature uses “imperial citizenship” and “citizenship” to describe similar forms of imperial belonging. This is true of Eric Lohr’s excellent history of Russian citizenship from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1930s. Writing in the context of naturalization, migration, and border policies aimed at Russian and Soviet citizens, he defines the citizenship boundary as “the line between members and nonmembers, on the rules and practices that define the boundary, and on the various ways citizenship was acquired, lost, ascribed, or removed.” Lohr, Russian Citizenship, 3. For a study that explores foreigners’ roles in the construction of nationality and citizenship in early nineteenth-century Central America, see Dym, “Citizens of Which Republic?”

19. On the protracted problem of European protégés see Hanley, Identifying with Nationality; Lewis, Divided Rule; and Sonyel, “The Protégé System.” A recent and insightful work on the reach of extraterritoriality that informs my analysis is Stein, Extraterritorial Dreams. On the Capitulations see Özsu, “Ottoman Empire”; Ahmad, “Ottoman Perceptions”; Van den Boogert, The Capitulations; and Spagnolo, “Portents of Empire.”

20. Fahmy, “Jurisdictional Borderlands,” 315.

21. On the Jeddah consular system see Freitag, “Helpless Representatives?” On British consular courts in Iraq see Stephens, “An Uncertain Inheritance”; and Çetinsaya, “The Ottoman View.”

22. For an exploration of similar developments focusing on British subjects, see Low, “Unfurling the Flag.”

23. Mary Dewhurst Lewis’s work on French North Africa is indispensable for understanding the complexity of overlapping and divided sovereignty and the kinds of legal practices it gave rise to among people from informally colonized lands such as Tunisia (which was similar to Afghanistan and Bukhara in the context of international law). See Lewis, Divided Rule. Other important studies that reveal rich insights into legal pluralism include Marglin, “The Two Lives of Mas‘ud Amoyal”; Stein, Extraterritorial Dreams; and Clancy-Smith, Mediterraneans. On the Indian context see Beverly, Hyderabad. James Meyer shows how Muslims held on to Russian nationality through various ruses while also passing as Ottomans. See Meyer, Turks across Empires. For comparative insight on these practices in Xinjiang see Brophy, Uyghur Nation.

24. Will Hanley’s innovative approach to nationality is particularly useful for thinking about how people understood legal personhood and for grasping how it differed from citizenship. See Hanley, Identifying with Nationality. For groundbreaking works on legal pluralism see Benton, Law and Colonial Cultures; and Benton and Ross, Legal Pluralism and Empires. For an important study in the Central Asian context see Sartori and Shahar, “Legal Pluralism.”

25. Benton discusses this within the context of how conquered peoples in the Americas engaged with the Spanish legal order. See Benton, “Historical Perspectives,” 61.

26. Early studies by historians of China and Japan help us to understand these issues in global perspective. See, e.g., Stern, The Japanese Interpretation; Scully, Bargaining with the State; Scully, “Taking the Low Road”; and Dudden, Japan’s Colonization of Korea. More recent literature that sheds important comparative light on the Ottoman context includes Cassel, Grounds of Judgement; and McKeown, Melancholy Order.