Murad V: Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Murad V: Sultan of the Ottoman Empire


Murad V, an Ottoman sultan who reigned from May to August 1876, rose to the throne after his dictatorial uncle Abdülaziz was deposed. Murad, a man of great intelligence, had an excellent education and was well-versed in Turkish and European literature. He followed Abdülaziz on his European tour in 1867 and made a good impression. During the journey, he secretly communicated with exiled nationalist-liberal Young Turks, for which Abdülaziz placed him under strict supervision. Following the overthrow of Abdülaziz by a group of ministers.

Murad V

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire


30 May 1876 – 31 August 1876




Abdul Hamid II


21 September 1840


29 August 1904 (aged 63)


30 August 1904 at New Mosque, Istanbul


  • Mevhibe Kadın
  • Reftarıdil Kadın
  • ​Şayan Kadın
  • ​Meyliservet Kadın
  • ​Nevdürr Hanım
  • ​Gevherriz Hanım
  • ​Remzşinas Hanım
  • ​Resan Hanım
  • ​Filizten Hanım




Abdulmejid I


Şevkefza Kadın

Early Life

Murad V was born in Istanbul's Çırağan Palace on September 21, 1840, as Şehzade Mehmed Murad. Şevkefza Kadın, an ethnic Circassian from the Ubykh tribe and the daughter of Mehmed Bey Zaurum and his wife Cemile Hanm, was his mother. He was ceremoniously circumcised with his younger half-brother, Şehzade Abdul Hamid, in September 1847, when he was seven years old. Murad received his education at the palace. Toprik Süleyman Efendi taught him the Quran, Ferrik Efendi taught him Ottoman Turkish, Sheikh Hafz Efendi taught him Hadith (Muhammad's traditions), Monsieur Gardet taught him French, and Callisto Guatelli and Italian Lombardi taught him to play the piano, were among his tutors.

Crown Prince

Murad became the successor to the throne after Abdulaziz assumed the throne upon Sultan Abdulmejid in 1861. He spent most of his time in his Kurbağalıdere farmhouse, which Abdulaziz had assigned to him. His family used to spend their winters at the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Nisbetiye Mansion in the rooms of the crown princes. He was there during Abdulaziz's trips to Egypt in 1863 and Europe in 1867. Although, at the same time, his compassion was praised by European monarchs, his uncle, who was unhappy with this, intended to send him back to Istanbul. Murad piqued the interest of Napoleon III and Queen Victoria more than Abdulaziz. In addition, the crown prince was given unique invitations and trips. He regularly talked with the New Ottomans, who desired a constitutional government. Inasi, whom he saw regularly, discussed constitutionalism, democracy, and freedom with Namık Kemal and Ziya Pasha. He also connected with Midhat Pasha, the senior politician of the Ottoman Tanzimat era and head of the opposition party, displeased with Sultan Abdulaziz's reign, through Ziya Pasha and his private doctor Kapoleon Efendi. Murad was the prime and first member of the Ottoman dynasty to join the Grand Lodge of Turkey's Free and Accepted Masons. Murad was secretly initiated into the lodge on 20 October 1872 by his chamberlain Seyyid Bey. Murad advanced through the lodge's ranks. He suggested establishing an autonomous Ottoman lodge called Envar-ı Şarkiye, or "Eastern Lights," with a Turkish-language ritual, but the idea was never carried through.

Succession Question

Sultan Abdulaziz attempted to alter the succession system to succeed in his son, Şehzade Yusuf Izzeddin. Abdulaziz went out to appease various pressure groups for his son to acquire favour among them. During his 1867 journey to Europe, rumours circulated that Abdulaziz had planned for Izzeddin's welcome in Paris and London before the official successor, Prince Murad, in violation of etiquette. When Mahmud Nedim Pasha, a conservative, was appointed Grand vizier in September 1871, he backed Abdulaziz's intentions. Abdulaziz strategically supported reform in Egypt's Muhammad Ali dynasty's primogeniture system to further legitimise his intentions. By awarding Isma'il Pasha primogeniture in 1866, Abdulaziz attempted to establish a favourable atmosphere for a shift favouring his son.



As a result, Murad collaborated with constitutionalist groups and participated in Abdulaziz's deposition. The commission, directed by the Midhat Pasha and the Minister of War, Hüseyin Avni Pasha, ousted Abdulaziz and installed Murad on the throne during the night of May 29–30, 1876. Despite his victorious accession to the throne, he was unable to hold his position. He struggled to seem normal in his new role, which contrasts his prior peaceful existence of dabbling in music. His shaky nerves mixed with his drinking caused him to have a nervous breakdown. His ousted uncle's death just days after his ascension, however, startled him. The fear that the world would believe he had ordered his uncle's death was the source of his sorrow about the sudden way in which he was brought to the throne and the demands that besieged him as king.

Illness and Deposition

Murad began to exhibit strange behaviour before collapsing completely. Dr Max Leidesdorf, a Viennese specialist in psychiatric problems, was brought in by the government authorities, who decided that the new Sultan might recover completely with three months of therapy at a clinic. This was something that the government's leaders were adamant about not doing. A mentally capable prince on the throne was a necessary component of their strategy to enact changes legitimately. Abdul Hamid, Murad's younger brother and successor to the throne, looked to be in excellent physical and mental condition and was supportive of the leaders' intentions to institute parliamentary governance. Midhat Pasha and the Ottoman government secured the Şeyhülislam's decision approving Murad's dethronement and Abdul Hamid's pledge to declare a constitution. They ousted him because he was mentally ill on 31 August 1876, after reigning for just ninety-three days. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, his younger half-brother, then succeeded to the throne. Murad was imprisoned at the Raan Palace, which Abdul Hamid forbade him from leaving.


In captivity, Murad's concubine Gevherriz Hanım collaborated with Nakşifend Kalfa, the hazinedar Dilberengiz, the eunuch Hüseyin Ağa, and Hüsnü Bey (Murad's Second Secretary) to arrange for a British doctor to examine Murad's mental health. Gevherriz acted as a translator when the doctor arrived. However, it is unclear how real this narrative is, and the doctor may have been sent by freemasons rather than the British. Murad regained his mental abilities after nine months in captivity. Three efforts by supporters to liberate him and restore him to the throne occurred during his first two years in Çırağan. Still, all three resulted in Abdul Hamid strengthening the barrier that separated Çırağan  Palace from the city.

Ali Suavi Incident

On 20 May 1878, an effort was undertaken to free Murad from the Çırağan Palace and return him to the throne. Murad's brothers,Ş ehzade Ahmed Kemaleddin and Şehzade Selim Süleyman, and sisters, Fatma Sultan and Seniha Sultan, were all engaged in the conspiracy, as was her husband, Mahmud Celaleddin Pasha. Everyone was eager to see the former Sultan ascend to the throne. Ali Suavi, a radical political opponent of Abdul Hamid's dictatorial administration, attacked the palace with a group of armed refugees from the recent Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) during the event. The Ottoman warship Mesudiye was moored off the coast of the palace, ready to capture Murad and proclaim his succession. However, Ali Suavi's troops were unable to overcome the severe opposition of the Beşiktaş police prefect, Hacı Hasan Pasha, and could not approach the battleship. Ali Suavi and most of his soldiers were slain when the scheme failed. Security at the Çırağan Palace was strengthened as a result of the incident.

Life in Confinement

With his mental powers restored, Murad led a considerably more pleasant life than what the Western press had assigned to him. According to reports over the years, the former Sultan was imprisoned, escaped, and hid or lectured his brother about the Armenian problem. Murad devoted all of his love and care to his children when his mother died in 1889. Selaheddin became his sorrowful companion, and the two of them spent many hours together reminiscing and wondering about the future. For a while, father and son became interested in the Mesnevi, and they would spend hours reciting lines from it with great delight.

Death and legacy

Murad died on 29 August 1904, in the Çırağan Palace, after succumbing to diabetes. While senior consort Mevhibe Kadn and his son Selahaddin stated that Murad was eager to be buried in Yahya Efendi's tomb, Abdul Hamid was not on board. As a result, Murad's funeral was held the following day without fanfare or ceremony. Instead, his body was cleaned and covered at the Topkapı Palace before being transported to Bahçekapı's Hidayet Mosque. He was buried next to his mother evkefza at Istanbul's New Mosque after the funeral procession. The memoirs of one of his consorts, Filizten Hanım, published in the 1930s, are an essential primary source of his life.

Personality & Honours

  • Murad was fluent in English, French, and Arabic. He was inspired by French culture and ordered and read books and periodicals from France. He created Western-style music and played the piano. He was a liberal as well.
  • 23 February 1867: Order of the Medjidie, Jeweled