In Istanbul, Drinking Coffee in Public Was Once Punishable by Death

"failure of 17th-century coffeehouse bans in Europe (documented by coffee historian Markman Ellis"


"Cairo (multiple times), and Istanbul and other Ottoman areas"

"Coffeehouses, though, were considered acceptable for Muslims. They were cheap and lacked social restrictions, so they were accessible to everyone"

"Crackdowns were likely considered successful, she notes, as long as they made it harder for the janissaries or other dissidents to mobilize, and unnecessary if a ruler felt secure in his power."

"Between the early 16th and late 18th centuries, a host of religious influencers and secular leaders, many but hardly all in the Ottoman Empire, took a crack at suppressing the black brew."

"More often, secular authorities opposed coffee for political reasons. Before coffeehouses, Zilfi points out, there weren’t many spaces in the Ottoman Empire for people to gather, especially across social lines, and talk secular matter"

"response, reactionaries cited religious reasons to outlaw coffee. “There’s always an undercurrent of” conservative Muslims “who think that any innovation … that is distinct from the time of the prophet Muhammad should be quashed,” says Ottoman social historian Madeline"

"Instead most, including Murad IV, seemed to believe that coffee shops could erode social norms, encourage dangerous thoughts or speech, and even directly foment seditious plots"

"Ottoman sultans sporadically issued and abandoned new bans well into the 18th century"

"There, local Sufi Muslim orders used the brew in mystical ceremonies, whether as a social act to foster brotherhood, a narcotic to produce spiritual intoxication, or a pragmatic concentration booster"


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