The Names of Seljuk's Sons as Evidence for the Pre-Islamic Religion of the Seljuks

Dietrich R.

TURKISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, vol.9, pp.54-70, 2018 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/18775462-00901002
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.54-70
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Although early sources for Seljuk history do not give specific information on the Seljuks' religious beliefs and practices before their conversion to Islam, the names of the sons of the dynasty's namesake - Mikail, Israil, Musa, Yunus, Yusuf - have long been a source of speculation on this subject. By comparing the names of Seljuk's sons with the naming practices of regional Muslim, Jewish and Christian elites in light of the religious context of Transoxiana up to the late tenth century, it is possible to reach a plausible conclusion regarding the Seljuks' religion before their conversion to Islam.