This is an extract from the early XVI century Turkish chronicle written by Idris Bitlisi about the Kosovo Battle. This text is one of the most important historical sources on the Kosovo battle from the Ottoman perspective. Although the text is written more as a praise of the Sultan and his victory it is nevertheless interesting to notice that the motives of the Turkish expansion and the conquest of the Christian Balkans was propagation of the Holy War - Jihadd. Today we witness many attempts to dismiss the idea of jihadd as something alien to the original Islam. In fact this idea has remained the core of the entire islamic civilization, especially on the territory of Europe where the Ottoman Sultans saw themselves as enlighteners of the infidel West. Contemporary communiques and texts by Osama bin Laden and his followers are directly an offspring of the centuries old Islamic tradition of the holy war against "infidel" Christians.

God-pleasing work of Jihadd

Idris BITLISI
Turkish chronicler of the early XVI century

/.../ Compared with the devotion of the fighters on the battlefield of jihad, all earthly gain proves to be trivial. According to the clear meaning of the word, the holy war for the religion against the infidels and caitiffs is somewhat like a struggle against one's own desires. Perseverance in danger and in combat with the enemies of the chosen religion is a proof of the fact that the fighters make a voluntary sacrifice. There is no doubt that heroism /shahadat/, which is an obvious sign that the God-pleasing enterprise of jihad has been accepted, and the sacrifice of one's life and fortune on the path of the truth, which is a custom of the fortunate ones, have always been greatly respected and appreciated .by the Lord of the world, who can see all human errors and who knows the secrets of very heart and soul. Such a service and God-pleasing deeds, God assigns to the true believers. Such acts are highly valued among people who love God /truth/, and whose love is sincere.

In the gloom of the dark night, the enlightened sultan sought salvation from the darkness of anguish. From the wave that emerged out of the flood of thoughts, his spirit found salvation in the vessel of prayer and addressing God. But one night, out of the cold winds of perplexity and the myriads of the dust of Space and Time, emerged signs of darkness and sorrow. Owing to his anxiety about the numerous enemy, the sultan's heart became completely covered with dust. The gates of colloquy were locked with the padlock of a lonely silence. Therefore, he was absent-minded. For, on the morrow of the day of combat, would call for the mujahid flag of victory and bliss to flutter, above the whirlwind that that night had started blowing out of the murk of the clouds and was sprawling across the field of hatred and vengeance, and this would be the reason for the flag of Islam to be unfurled before the eyes of friends. Thus tormented, he headed for the mosque, the divine refuge of sultans, and with his face full of humility against the ground, he prayed sincerely to escape defeat and collapse, and prayed for advice on how to achieve his ultimate goal and desire - the victory of the soldiers of the true faith -and to leave the infidels in defeat, humbled in their enmity and vengeance. In the dark of that night, he was alone in his tent; with his own hand, he had closed the doors to his fleshly needs and royal luxury. Now he adorned the secret parts of his body with purity as great as was the purity of the lustrous core of his faith. Having completed the obligatory prayers, and also some more of his own choice, he raised his extended hands, and pleaded with divine graciousness, saying: "Oh, God, you are the Lord in whom all slaves, infidels and Muslims, place their trust; you are the salvation for men in happiness and grief, in misery and prosperity. Do not deny your mercy to your friends, and, as you always have, cast your grace upon these troubled believers. Let the flags of the true Islam be hoisted high above the fields of victory, take the discouraged and exhausted troops under your wing, and protect them from the evil of the ruthless enemy. Your knowledge of all things includes this poor servant whom you have entrusted with the duty to serve you, whom you have made the commander of the Islamic warriors to perform his duty at all times and places, to enlarge your territory in each campaign, and to humiliate the infidel and the stubborn. My ultimate goal and wish has been to achieve your satisfaction and, sitting on this throne, I have always thought how to fulfill and follow Mohammed's path. The only aim of this enterprise is to increase the reputation of Islam and to confront these idolaters. It has been a long time since so many enemies of your religion have stood up to fight; and never and nowhere, not even in the times of the great Muslim emperors, have the bright eyes of the immemorial heaven seen such a dash of truth and falsehood. Not only did the number of enemy soldiers surpass the number of the warriors of Islam many times, as thousands surpass hundreds, but, the ground around the military camp and the battlefield was not stony but dusty, so that one could hardly distinguish the warriors of Islam from the infidels in that dust. Therefore, the dust of this turmoil covered the sultan and he was deeply frightened, since it is easy, when the winds blow in the wrong direction and are not friendly to the enemy. And the experience of old warriors tells us that the superiority and final victory of an army depends on favorable winds. Such a wind meant perfect-strength and confidence for the Christian army. Because of these unfortunate circumstances, the Sultan raises his hands and addresses his God in prayer, crying and begging him to take away this and not to be blind to his wishes and needs: "Oh, God, for the sake of the worship of your noble being, for the sake of the bliss of our true religion that lies upon that favorite friend of yours, do not allow the faces of these soldiers who follow the path of faith, to be anxious on this battlefield, do not tarnish the splendor of these armed fighters for the true religion, or their bright brows on this battlefield. And if you look on them with respect and attention, dignify them in victory. Although divine independence is greater than the power of infidels over the believers, where independence and glory lie, can one expect a glance of respect to be cast at the believers. And this impotent and miserable slave, who is regarded as the ruler over many people, who is always dejected and brokenhearted, whom you have chosen to perform the duty of the commander of such numerous armies, this cadet of your mercy that has been known for years among muslins and infidels as a ghasi and a fighter, now, in this crucial hour, make him a victim to atone for the muslims /fidayi muslimin saz/. Following the well-established order and law, do not deny him your everlasting mercy, grant him the honor of becoming a martyr. Do not on this occasion throw the Muslim flag to the ground with disdain."

As the sultan ghasi was addressing the Creator in his plea that gloomy night, he suddenly, after utter despair and helplessness, lowered his head to his knee and went to sleep. Because of the great purity of his heart and his sincere belief, the gates of the mystery opened for him. Because of his honesty, good nature and the loving clarity of his heart, his eye penetrated into the spiritual world and he saw an angel descending from the heavens. It must have been the angel of water and rainfall or, perhaps, an angel of other important fidings - and he said to the sultan: 'Your prayers have been heard by the Divine Creator; your requests have penetrated all the gates." The sultan woke up from this dream of revelation (this spiritual experience) so full of Good's bliss and joy because he had achieved what he sought for, and then, he devoted himself to gratitude. When he awoke and opened his eyes, he saw that some of his wishes had already been granted: the sky of God's grace and mercy had already opened with rain that washed away all the dust of anxiety and fear that had covered hearts and souls.


This text is an English translation of the Firman of Bayezid in which the successor of Sultan Murad, who died in the Battle of Kosovo, describes the events of the battle.

The Firman of Bayezid

To you, oh Qadi ofBursa, you who are the most just among the Moslem judges, you who are the most kind among the Nobles, you who are a believer in the one and only God, you who are the fountain of wisdom and goodness, the heir to the Prophet's knowledge, you who are the object of my imperial goodwill, let your good deeds multiply, and also to you, my good Suleiman bay, the Vice Ruler of the Ottoman Empire, you who are the most faithful of those faithful to me, you who arc the flower of the Moslems and the ornament of the holiest Mecca and Medina, I send my blessing. May you spend eternity in honor. By the time this high firman of mine reaches you, let it be known that, after the battle took place, the battle which, as was God's will, took place at the Field of the Blackbird Kosovo, my father, Sultan Murad - whose life was fortunate and who died the death of a martyr, although he, after a dream he had dreamed, to the almighty Allah prayed, to let him die the death of a martyr, alive and without a wound - to his tent which reached the sky, returned.

And then, at the time of our greatest pleasure and joy, when we watched the severed heads of the Serbian nobles rolling under the hoofs of our horses, and some of them standing, with their hands tied, and still some others standing with their arms broken, suddenly, one of them by the name of Milos Kopilic, who had arrived cunningly and under pretext, spoke out and said he wanted to become a soldier of the victorious army. And when, upon his plea, he was allowed to approach our most illustrious emperor in order to kiss his feet, he, instead of doing it, pulled out a poisoned knife which he had been hiding in his sleeve, and directed it fearlessly at the body of the most illustrious emperor, and wounding him seriously, quaffed his thirst with sherbet, the sweet water of martyrs.
By now, he has already been accepted among those who the almighty creator for his martyrs, prophets, the faithful and immaculate ones had decreed. His soul, like a bird, is flying now over the fields planted with rose flowers. (Let God pour mercy upon him!) After the said Milos had carried out this deed, he tried to escape the soldiers who shone like the stars in the sky, but they caught him and cut him to pieces.

Upon hearing of these events, I repaired toward the bed of the martyr, but only to find him - the emperor - dead; and at about the same time, it came to pass that my brother, Jacub bay, too, passed away into eternity. - I am dispatching the light emitting coffin with the body of my father with some trusting men so it could be buried over there. So then, when the body has reached there, you will bury it, without giving explanations of these events, but offering to his body, in front of all people, all the signs befitting a victorious leader, so as not to give our enemies any opportunity to suspect anything. All this is for you to know and in this my holy sign to believe.

Written in the middle of the month of Shaaban in the year 791.

(1389)