Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kondisi Orang-orang Yahudi di Masa Dinsati Turki Utsmani

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orang Yahudi di masa Ottoman
Tulisan yang ditulis P. Allister ini cukup menarik untuk dibaca dan menggambarkan kondisi kaum Yahudi di masa khilafah Utsmaniyah.

Allister menyatakan bahwa ketika Byzantium Romawi runtuh dan dikuasai oleh kaum Muslim, peristiwa ini merupakan keuntungan bagi orang-orang Yahudi di masa itu.

Bahkan sebelum Negara Ottoman lahir, ketika orang Seljuk muslim mendirikan negara mereka di sekitar Anatolia pada abad XII, orang-orang Yahudi Bizantium segera menyambut mereka, sebab orang muslim Seljuk datang dengan toleransi dan kesejahteraan di bawah kekuasaan Islam. Ribuan Yahudi melarikan diri dari penganiayaan Bizantium ke perlindungan Seljuk.

Pada abad berikutnya, Turki Utsmani didirikan kerajaan mereka di utara-barat Anatolia. Dalam dua abad Ottoman telah mengambil alih sebagian besar Anatolia Barat dan menguasai Suriah, Irak dan Mesir di Timur. Di Barat mereka diperluas wilayah melalui Eropa Selatan-Timur sampai ke Wina. Di masa Sultan Suleiman Al-Qanuni, perpanjangan pemerintahan Ottoman melebar hingga dari Afrika Utara hampir ke Atlantik dan menguasai sebagian besar Kaukasia.

Ekspansi Ottoman ini berpengaruh pada perubahan yang sangat besar bagi orang-orang Yahudi dari Timur Tengah dan Eropa. Kontras dengan kondisi mereka di bawah Bizantium Romawi, orang Yahudi diizinkan memasuki wilayah kekuasaan Ottoman dan dibolehkan bekerja dalam profesi apa pun yang mereka inginkan. Mereka juga terlibat dalam perdagangan tanpa batasan dan memiliki properti dan bangunan di kota dan seluruh negeri.

Setelah Sultan Mehmed II menaklukkan Istanbul pada tahun 1453, beliau mengizinkan orang Yahudi untuk menetap di Istanbul dan melakukan perdagangan. Sejak awal, Sultan Mehmed II membenarkan emigrasi Yahudi dari Eropa, hingga orang-orang Yahudi berbondong-bondong masuk ke wilayah Ottoman.

Berbeda dengan kondisi orang-orang Yahudi saat itu yang berada di Inggris, Perancis, Jerman, Spanyol, dan bahkan Polandia dan Lithuania, di mana mereka menjadi sasaran penganiayaan, fitnah darah, pembantaian, dan deportasi, penguasa Ottoman justru memperlakukan mereka sebaliknya, mereka diberi keleluasaan untuk hidup dalam toleransi dan kebebasan.

Mehmed II sendiri telah mengeluarkan maklumat kepada semua orang Yahudi sebagai berikut:
"Siapa di antara kita yang bisa menjaga hubungan baik antara kita, menjaga hubungan baik dengan Tuhanya, maka biarkan dia masuk ke Istanbul, tempat takhta kekaisaran saya. Biarkan dia tinggal di tempat terbaik di negeri itu, masing-masing di bawah pohon anggur dan di bawah pohon aranya, dengan perak dan emas, dengan kekayaan dan ternak. Biarkan dia duduk di tanah, perdagangan, dan mengambil kepemilikan itu''
Sebagai hasil dari hal ini, selama tiga dekade setelah penaklukan Ottoman, menurut sebuah register Turki, penduduk Istanbul meningkat menjadi 16.326 rumah tangga, 1.647 di antaranya merupakan rumah tangga Yahudi.

Pada pertengahan abad ke-l6, menurut sensus yang sama tahun 1535, 8070 rumah tangga Yahudi terdaftar di ibu kota Ottoman adalah sekitar 40.000 - atau sepersepuluh dari populasi. Salonica, yang pada tahun 1478 tidak memiliki populasi Yahudi, kemudian memiliki 2.645 rumah tangga Yahudi pada sensus tahun 1535. (Kedourie, 1992, p. 165).

Kenaikan serupa yang dapat ditemukan di banyak pusat-pusat Ottoman di Balkan dan Asia Kecil, karena Turki mempercayai mereka. Orang-orang yahudi dianggap mahir sebagai bankir, dokter dan penerjemah mendahului Yunani dan Armenia, dan akhirnya sebagian besar perdagangan kekaisaran diatur melalui mereka (thubron, 1978, p.189).

Kutipan berikut memberikan bukti jelas bahwa orang-orang Yahudi waktu itu hidup dengan tenang dan makmur di bawah Kekaisaran Ottoman. Hal itu tergambar dari tulisan Rabbi Isaac Tzarfati mengundang orang-orang Yahudi yang menderita di Jerman untuk negara Turki:
"... Dengarkan saudara-saudaraku, nasihat saya akan memberikan. Aku juga lahir di Jerman dan belajar Taurat dengan rabi Jerman. Aku diusir dari negara asalku dan pergi ke tanah Turki, yang diberkati oleh Allah dan penuh dengan semua hal yang baik. Di sini saya menemukan istirahat dan kebahagiaan. Turki juga bisa menjadi tanah daman untuk Anda. Jika Anda yang tinggal di Jerman tahu bahkan sepersepuluh dari apa yang Allah telah memberkati kita dengan di negeri ini, Anda tidak akan mempertimbangkan kesulitan, Anda akan berangkat untuk datang kepada kita ... Di sini, di tanah Turki, yang kita miliki apa-apa yang kalian keluhkan, Kami memiliki kekayaan besar; banyak emas dan perak berada di tangan kami. Kami tidak tertindas dengan pajak yang berat, dan perdagangan kita bebas dan tanpa hambatan. Kami kaya dari buah-buahan bumi. Semuanya murah, dan setiap orang dari kami hidup dalam damai dan kebebasan. Di sini Yahudi tidak dipaksa untuk memakai topi kuning sebagai lambang rasa malu, seperti yang terjadi di Jerman ... Bangunlah saudara-saudaraku, tinggalkanlah tanah kamu, kumpulkan kekuatan kamu, dan datanglah kepada kami di sini. Di sini Anda akan bebas dari musuh Anda, di sini Anda akan mendapat ketenangan ... (Shaw, 1991, hal.32). "
Contoh yang paling signifikan toleransi Ottoman ditampilkan untuk minoritas, terutama orang-orang Yahudi, adalah bahwa mereka membuka lahan mereka kepada orang-orang Yahudi yang diusir dari Portugal dan Spanyol.

Selama abad ke-15 di Eropa, perbudakan, diskriminasi ras, intoleransi agama dan kekejaman dan kekejaman inkuisisi mengakibatkan pengusiran orang Yahudi dari Spanyol. Kekalahan umat Islam di Spanyol membuat hal-hal sulit bagi orang-orang Yahudi yang telah hidup dalam damai di bawah kekuasaan Muslim Andalusia.

Orang-orang Yahudi pasca kekalahan Muslim tersebut menghadapi pembatasan dan kesulitan. Yahudi Spanyol menjadi sasaran penganiayaan seperti yang terjadi di tempat lain di Eropa Barat. Penganiayaan ini memuncak dalam bentuk keputusan pengusiran mereka dari tanah mereka. Setelah Ferdinand dan Isabella dari Spanyol menerima penyerahan kota Granada, keduanya memutuskan pengusiran penduduk Yahudi dari negeri tersebut.

Karena orang-orang Yahudi di Eropa Barat sudah di bawah tekanan, negara-negara tetangga Spanyol tampaknya tidak bahagia dengan imigrasi besar-besaran orang Yahudi. Sultan Bayezid, penguasa Ottoman pada saat itu, mendengar tentang sifat raja Spanyol dan perlakuan mereka pada orang-orang Yahudi yang sedang mengungsi, ia kasihan pada mereka, menulis surat dan menyatakan bahwa orang-orang Yahudi itu harus diberi pertolongan.

Meskipun lahir dalam konservatisme, Bayezid mengambil keputusan bahwa semua Yahudi yang melarikan diri dari Spanyol dipersilahkan masuk ke Ottoman. Petugas Ottoman diperintahkan untuk melakukan segala yang mereka bisa untuk memfasilitasi masuknya Yahudi Iberia ke wilayah Ottoman, dan diumumkan pula maklumat bahwa semua orang yang menganiaya para imigran akan mendapat hukuman yang keras (ibid., Hal.33).

Diperkirakan 250.000 orang Yahudi berasal dari semenanjung Iberia masuk ke wilayah Ottoman dan menetap di seluruh bagian wilayah Sultan termasuk Hungaria modern, Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Yunani, Mesir, dan di Anatolia di Bursa, Gallipoli, Manisa, Izmir (Smyrna), Tokat dan Amasya.

Tapi yang paling lazim mereka menetap di tempat-tempat yang menjadi pusat dari kehidupan Yahudi di Negara Ottoman di ibukota, Istanbul, di Thrace Timur di Edirne (Adrenapolis), sepanjang pantai Laut Aegea di Salonika. Hal ini membuat komunitas Yahudi Ottoman tidak hanya yang terbesar, tetapi juga komunitas Yahudi paling makmur di dunia, selama berabad-abad XVI dan XVII, di mana periode tersebut merupakan zaman keemasan Yahudi Ottoman.

Orang-orang Yahudi Ottoman memang hidup dalam lega dan kenyamanan. Mereka diizinkan untuk mengikuti persyaratan agama mereka dan membangun rumah-rumah ibadat mereka sendiri serta bebas untuk berurusan dengan perdagangan. Tidak ada bukti yang menunjukkan orang-orang Yahudi dipaksa untuk mengubah agama mereka. Namun, sejumlah besar dari mereka rela masuk Islam.

Kesimpulan
Alasan mengapa penguasa Ottoman menampilkan toleransi tersebut kepada semua minoritas di bawah kekuasaan mereka, dan mengapa mereka membiarkan orang-orang Yahudi untuk memasuki wilayah mereka dan hidup damai meskipun mereka tidak memperoleh manfaat dari itu semua, tak lain dan tak bukan adalah berasal dari ajaran agama Islam yang luhur.

Islam mempertimbangkan bahwa orang Yahudi, seperti Muslim dan Kristen, adalah kaum yang beriman kepada kitab-kitab Suci samawi. Mereka sama-sama mensucikan Nabi-nabi yang disebutkan dalam Al Qur'an. Mereka disebut sebagai Ahl al-kitab dan wajib diperlakukan dengan toleransi

Shaw menyebutkan bahwa kaum Ahl al-Kitab di masa Ottoman benar-benar makmur dan sejahtera, merkea diizinkan untuk melestarikan agama mereka dan diakui sebagai masyarakat sipil dengan hak-hak dan kewajiban mereka, Orang miskin, orang sakit dan para ulama dibebaskan dari pajak. Semua minoritas yang dibebaskan dari dinas militer dan mereka mengakui hak untuk mempertahankan diri dan komunitas mereka. Sementara mereka tinggal penuh kenyamanan dan kemakmuran. (Shaw, 1991, ph).

Baca tulisan Asli P. Allister:
BLISSFUL YEARS OF THE JEWS IN THE OTTOMAN STATE P. Allister
Jews of the Ottoman State
The collapse of Byzantium was a fortunate event for the Jews under its dominion. Even before the Ottoman State was born, as Seljuk Turks established their state around central Anatolia in the twelfth century, Byzantine Jewry sprang rapidly to their assistance welcoming the tolerance and prosperity which the rule of Islam offered them. Thousands of Jews fled from Byzantine persecution to Seljuk protection. In the following century, Ottoman Turks established their principality in north-western Anatolia. Within two centuries Ottomans had taken over most of western Anatolia and gained control of Syria, Iraq and Egypt in the East. In the West they expanded through South-eastern Europe all the way to Vienna. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent extended the Ottoman rule across North Africa almost to the Atlantic and controlled much of Caucasia.
This Ottoman expansion marked a very substantial change for the Jews of the Middle East and Europe. In complete contrast to their situation under the Byzantines, Jews entering the Ottoman dominions were allowed to practice whatever profession they wished, to engage in trade and commerce without restriction and to possess landed property and buildings in town and country (ibid., p.26). After Sultan Mehmed II conquered Istanbul in 1453, he allowed Jews to settle in Istanbul and carry out their commerce. From the start, Sultan Mehmed II encouraged the emigration of Jews from Europe even more than the Jews already living in the expanding Ottoman Empire itself. Just as the Jews of England, France, Germany, Spain, and even Poland and Lithuania were being subjected to increasing persecution, blood libels, massacres, and deportations, the Turkish rulers of the expanding Ottoman state actively encouraged them to come and live under conditions of tolerance and freedom. Mehmed II himself is said to have issued a proclamation to all Jews:
“Who among you of all my people that is with me, may his God he with him, let him ascend to Istanbul, the site of my imperial throne. Let him dwell in the best of the land, each beneath his vine and beneath his fig tree, with silver and with gold, with wealth and with cattle. Let him dwell in the land, trade in it, and take possession of it.’’ As a result of these efforts, during the three decades following the Ottoman conquest, according to a Turkish register, Istanbul’s population increased to 16,326 households including 1,647 Jewish households. By the mid-l6th century, according to a similar census in 1535, 8,070 Jewish households were listed in the capital city. The city’s Jews numbered some 40,000 - a tenth of the population. Salonica, which had no Jewish population represented in the census of 1478, had 2,645 Jewish households by 1535. (Kedourie, 1992, p.165).
Similar increases were to be found in many Ottoman centres in the Balkans and Asia Minor because the Turks trusted them. They preceded the Greeks and Armenians as bankers, physicians and interpreters, and eventually gathered most of the empire’s trade into their hands (Thubron, 1978, p.189).
The following quotes provide clear evidence that Jews of that time were happy with the Ottoman Empire as well. Rabbi Isaac Tzarfati invited the Jews who were suffering in Germany to the Turkish state: “…Listen my brethren, to the counsel I will give you. I, too, was born in Germany and studied Torah with the German rabbis. I was driven out of my native country and came into the Turkish land, which is blessed by God and filled with all good things. Here I found rest and happiness. Turkey can also become for you the land of peace. ..If you who live in Germany knew even a tenth of what God has blessed us with in this land, you would not consider any difficulties, you would set out to come to us...Here in the land of the Turks we have nothing to complain of. We possess great fortunes; much gold and silver are in our hands. We are not oppressed with heavy taxes, and our commerce is free and unhindered. Rich are the fruits of the earth. Everything is cheap, and everyone of us lives in peace and freedom. Here the Jew is not compelled to wear a yellow hat as a badge of shame, as is the case in Germany...Arise my brethren, give up your lands, collect your forces, and come to us. Here you will be free of your enemies, here you will find rest...(Shaw, 1991, p.32).”
The most significant example of tolerance Ottomans displayed for the minorities, especially the Jews, is that they opened their land to those who were expelled from Portugal and Spain.
During the 15th century in Europe, slavery, race discrimination, religious intolerance and the cruelties and atrocities of the inquisition resulted in the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Christians were becoming more powerful and grew confident in the wake of victories over Muslims. The defeat of the Muslims in Spain made things difficult for the Jews who had been living in peace under the rule of Andalusian Muslims. They now faced restrictions and difficulties. As Christian rule solidified, there was less need for Jews, and since they were accused of the death of Jesus, Spanish Jews were subjected to the same persecutions by Christians as had taken place elsewhere in Western Europe. These persecutions and restrictions culminated in a decree of expulsion. After Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had accepted the capitulation of the city of Granada, they decreed the expulsion of the Jewish population from their united realms. Since the Jews in Western Europe were already under pressure, the neighboring states of Spain did not seem to be happy about large-scale immigration of Jews. Sultan Bayezid, the ruler of the Ottomans at that time, heard of the evil nature of the king of Spain and the inflictions on the Jews who were seeking refuge and a resting place. He took pity on them, wrote letters and proclaimed that the Jews were to be given a gracious welcome. Despite considerable religious conservatism of his own, Bayezid went on to decree that all Jews fleeing from Spain should be admitted to his dominions without restriction, and with the same inducements that had been offered during the reign of his predecessor. Ottoman officers were ordered to do everything they could to facilitate the entry of Iberian Jews into Ottoman territory, and strict punishments were provided against all those who mistreated the immigrants or caused them any sort of damage (ibid., p.33).
It is estimated that 250,000 Jews came from the Iberian peninsula to the Ottoman realms and settled in all parts of the Sultans territory including modern Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Egypt, and in Anatolia at Bursa, Gallipoli, Manisa, Izmir (Smyrna), Tokat and Amasya. But most commonly they settled in places that became the centres of Jewish life in the Ottoman State in the capital, Istanbul, in Eastern Thrace at Edirne (Adrenapolis), along the shores of the Aegean at Salonica. This made the Ottoman Jewish community not only the largest but also the most prosperous Jewish community in the world, during the sixteenth and early seventieth centuries, a period which constituted the golden age of Ottoman Jewry. The Ottoman Jews did indeed live in great relief and comfort. They were allowed to follow their religious requirements and build their own synagogues as well as being free to deal in commerce. There is no evidence that shows Jews were forced to change their religion. However, a considerable number of them willingly converted to Islam.
Conclusion
The reason why the Ottomans displayed such tolerance to all minorities under their dominion and why they allowed Jews to enter their territory and live peacefully though they gained no benefit from doing so originates from their religious values. Islam takes into consideration that Jews, like Muslims and Christians, were a people to whom a Divine Book was sent, although they corrupted it in the course of time. Great figures of the old Testament, like Aron, David, Solomon and Job, are all prophets and, like Jesus Christ, are mentioned in the Qur’an. God chose Moses as the Messenger for the Children of Israel. Jews, like Christians, are considered to be a people of the book, ahl al-kitab, and enjoy special religious tolerance and autonomy. All ‘people of the book’ were allowed to preserve their religions and recognized as religiously- based communities. They paid a special ‘poll tax’ called harac or cizye. The poor, the sick and the clergy were exempt. All minorities were exempt from military service and they were admitted the right to maintain their own forms of government within their communities. While they lived in great comfort and prosperity, there were some limitations. For example, they could not marry Muslim women or bear arms. Compared to the active persecution to which Jews were subjected in the Christian lands of Europe, the world of Islam was indeed paradise for them (Shaw, 1991, ph).
The modern world may be depressing with its catalogue of holocausts and massacres which continue up until today. However, we can learn from the tolerant attitude shown by the Ottomans towards their Jewish minority that co-existence in peace is possible through the observation of Divine principles. It should give us hope. Our real hope is that all tyrants will give up their cruelty and treat others as fellow human beings.
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