In the late 1800’s, it became known to Sultan Abdülhamid II that a comedy play about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was being performed at a theater in Paris, France. As the Caliph of all Muslims, this was an intolerable affront to Islam that Sultan Abdülhamid II wanted to put an end to. He wrote an ultimatum letter to the French government informing them that he was intent on stopping the play. After deliberating the matter, not only did the French government put an end to the play, they also exiled many of the actors to the United Kingdom to appease the Sultan.
After some time, the Sultan learned that the same derogatory play was going to start being performed in London. Sultan Abdülhamid II reacted to this news and wrote a letter to the British government with a similar ultimatum, and informed them that the play had recently been prohibited in France. The British government responded to the Sultan’s letter by stating “This is not France. We have freedom in our borders.”
Upon receiving this letter, Sultan Abdülhamid II wrote a fairly aggressive response to the British and stated: “My ancestors gave their lives without hesitation for the sake and success of Islam. In this vein, I will decisively prepare an order to the entire worldwide Muslim nation (Ummah) and inform them of your continued haughty attitude and persistence in allowing this disrespectful play to continue. YOU MUST NOW CONSIDER WHAT WILL BE THE OUTCOME OF THIS ORDER!”
The British, having had extensive diplomatic ties with Sultan Abdülhamid II had an in-depth insight into his personality. They realized that his words were not an empty threat, and immediately put an end to the theatrical play.
From the book “Osmanlı’dan Torunlarına Yol Rehberi”.
Via : Ottoman Imperial Archives