Updated: How the Muslims Killed Dracula


Vlad Țepeș (Dracula) Source: Wikipedia

Author’s Note 10-10-2014: I wrote “How the Muslims Killed Dracula” in 2010 in hopes of telling the little known story of an unsung hero, Radu cel Frumos the Voivod and warrior of Wallachia who led the battle against the genocidal mania of his own brother, Vlad Ţepeş, known in infamy as Dracula. Since then, the article has been shared thousands of times, translated into multiple languages and built upon by other talented authors with greater detail than presented in my article. Unfortunately, it has also been copied not so discretely or elegantly without any credit to me. In one instance it was even plagiarized by an infamous sympathizer of terrorism twisting the information in the article for his nefarious ends. Simply put —mostly good, but occasionally bad— it got around. I thank you for that and I am sure Radu and his dear friend Sultan Mehmet II thank you as well.

Who would have thought that 117 years after Dracula was introduced to the western world by Bram Stoker he would ever be seen as a hero. But, sadly, in today’s geopolitical climate and all its medieval saber rattling it seems that anyone who ever brutally massacred Muslims will be reinvented as a hero. But this weekend a seemingly ridiculous sci-fi/quasi-historical film that butchers the historical narrative of Vlad Ţepeş and completely reverses the antagonists with the protagonists will be hitting a theater near you. The film tries to evoke parallels to Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” by painting a picture of an invading army, who happen to be Muslims, being opposed by a local prince who must resort to the most grotesque forms of violence in order to repel them. As many of you may be seeing the film —though I actually hope you don’t— I’d like you to take some points into the theater with you:

The film depicts an invading Muslim army demanding the children of the poor conquered Christians from whom Vlad Ţepeş (whom I will henceforth refer to as Dracula) supposedly rises as a rebel leader. This is pure nonsense.

Dracula’s father Vlad Dracul II and their clan, the House of Drăculești, had been dutiful allies of the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman Turks actually fought John Hunyadi, the bitter enemy of the House of Drăculești, in order to place Vlad Dracul II upon the throne. So, not only were the Ottoman Turks not the enemies of Dracula’s family, they actually fought to put them in power. (As an aside, John Hunyadi is the patriarch of the Corvinus family who are portrayed as vampire royalty in the “Underworld” films.)

Furthermore, the father of Dracula himself offered the Ottoman Turks the military service of Wallachia’s young boys to train in the Ottoman Turkish military which was, by far, the greatest military in the world at that time. Not only that, he even offered his own two sons, Dracula and Radu, to serve in their army and to be raised as Muslims. You can read about their childhood in Ottoman Turkish military service in my article.

So why did Dracula rise up against the Ottomans? The opportunist that he was, the reason is simple: Gold. Even though the Christians had lost nearly every single Crusade against the Muslims, in 1459 at the Council of Mantua, Pope Pius II called for yet another Crusade against the Muslims. At that time, the Muslim world was championed by the Ottoman Empire. Pope Pius II gave Matthias Corvinus, Dracula’s rival and son of John Hunyadi who was Dracula’s father’s rival, an astounding amount of gold. No less than 40,000 gold pieces which was enough, in and of itself, to raise and build a whole new army and navy. Dracula simply wasn’t going to let his rival get all the pie to himself. It was at this point that Dracula took the House of Drăculești from being allies of the Ottomans to being their enemies.

We often bemoan the negative portrayal of Muslims in film and television. We get angry when we see absurd portrayals of our prayers and traditions on shows like “Homeland”. But who is to blame when we have absolutely no presence in popular media? I’m sorry to say, we are ultimately to blame. If we will not get involved in and excel in the media from journalism to producing, acting and directing and the plethora of niches in-between and beyond, then we risk our stories almost certainly being told by those who do not favor us. Case in point, in the 4 years since my article was written, I’ve had multiple hit-and-run queries to join an effort to tell this amazing story of the real historical Dracula in film. But in the end, no Muslim, nor even parties sympathetic to just plain telling the truth, ever took up this project. So guess what happened? “Dracula Untold.” That was an opportunity lost. But this is a story that has been told countless times over. It’s not too late for Radu, the heroic brother of Dracula, to have his day.


Originally Posted November 2010 

Born in the Ottoman Principality of Wallachia, Romania in 1435 AD, he was known as Radu al III-lea cel Frumos to his Romanian countrymen, Yakışıklı Radu Bey to the Turks, Radu al-Wasim to the Arabs, and Radu the Handsome in English. This ally and childhood friend of Sultan Mehmet II was instrumental in the conquest of Constantinople for Islam. Radu’s participation in that conquest ensured that Mehmet II would go down in history as “Fatih,” or “Conqueror.” Radu was the Ottomans’ secret weapon against the Safavids to the East and the Serbs, Romanians and Hungarians to the West. The Muslim world owes much to this hero of Islam, yet they recorded little other than cursory references to him, perhaps for fear of taking away from Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s limelight. The Byzantines recorded Radu as a reviled despot due to their hatred for his conversion to Islam and instrumental role in ending the Byzantine Empire.

Yet, this Ottoman general had a greater war, a war against darkness. He hunted the very progenitor of the vampire legend who impaled his enemies and drank their blood – Vlad al III-lea Ţepeş, also known as Vlad Drăculea, who would go down in infamy as, simply, Dracula. The character of Professor Abraham Van Helsing was no more than a figment of Bram Stoker’s terrifying imagination, but Sultan Mehmet II and Radu cel Frumos were perhaps the first and only true vampire hunters in history.

The Blood Brothers

Looking back, Radu’s devotion to Islam and to Sultan Mehmet II could be traced to the political alliance of their respective fathers before them. Vlad II from the House of Drăculeşti (“House of the Dragon”) was an ally and vassal of Sultan Mehmet’s father, Sultan Murad II. Vlad II had 4 sons: Mircea II, Vlad IV Călugărul (“The Monk”), Vlad III who would come to be known as Dracula, and Radu III cel Frumos (“The Handsome”). As a gesture of unity with the Sultan, Vlad II offered his sons, Dracula and Radu, to serve the Ottoman Sultan. Under the Janissaries they studied the Qur’an, Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Islamic Theology and Jurisprudence, and, coveted above all, Turkish military strategy and tactics of war.

The Ottoman special forces who held a higher status both militarily as well as socially than the rank and file were the Janissaries and the Sipahis. The Janissaries were the elite infantry of the Ottoman military as well as the personal bodyguards of the Sultan and his family. The Sipahis were the elite cavalry who surrounded the Sultan in battle and would be sent to deal with the most stubborn of adversaries. They were the commandos and special forces of their day. Though the Sipahis were almost exclusively Turkic in origin as demanded by Sultan Mehmet II himself in his treatise of law entitled Kanun Nameh-e-Sipahi (“Law Book of the Sipahis”), the Janissaries, within whose ranks Dracula and Radu found themselves, were conversely converts to Islam.

The young Dracula continually abused and rebelled against his hosts earning himself imprisonment and castigation. Due to the heavy handedness of the Turks in response to his insolence, he developed a compounded and complex series of grudges. He hated his father for allying with the Turks, which he saw as a betrayal of the Order of the Dragon to which his father had sworn an oath. The Order of the Dragon was a Christian fraternity whose sole aim was to wipe out Islam from the Balkans forever. Dracula hated Radu for his successes and the favor the Turks bestowed upon him. He was filled with jealousy for the then young Mehmet II who, like him, was a prince, but, very unlike him, lived in splendor. He was also jealous of his brothers Mircea and Vlad the Monk due to what he perceived as his father’s preference for them. His sentiments for Mircea however, would teeter between jealousy and awe. It is from him that the young Dracula learned the terror tactic of impaling thousands to create forests of the dead.

Radu remained faithful to Islam and the Sultan and spent his entire life in battle on the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire, vanquishing the most difficult adversaries of the Empire. His natural knack for battle was unparalleled even amongst the Janissaries and elite Sipahis of the Ottoman military, and he would be called upon frequently to subdue any foe that seemed insurmountable. It is reported that he turned the very course of Near Eastern history when he stopped the mighty Ak Koyunlu from overrunning the Ottomans, an event that, if not stopped, would have definitely changed the faces of both the Middle East and Europe today. For this very reason, he was called upon to face the threat from his homeland of Wallachia that neither the elite Janissaries nor the Sipahis could route.

The Conquest of Constantinople

“On the third day after the fall of our city, the Sultan celebrated his victory with a great, joyful triumph. He issued a proclamation: the citizens of all ages who had managed to escape detection were to leave their hiding places throughout the city and come out into the open, as they were to remain free and no question would be asked. He further declared the restoration of houses and property to those who had abandoned our city before the siege, if they returned home, they would be treated according to their rank and religion, as if nothing had changed.” (George Sphrantzes, 1401-1478, Byzantine Christian chronicler and witness of the fall of Constantinople)

It was a time of relief and rejoicing. It was a relief for the inhabitants of Constantinople who expected a prompt culling following the fall of their city. It was a time of celebration for the entire Muslim world for this historical conquest of a city that has remained, to this very day, the capital of the Turks. Yet as Sultan Mehmet II rode into the city victorious, a glance over to his childhood friend and chief of the Janissaries, Radu cel Frumos, son of Vlad II Duke of Wallachia, may have served as a sobering reminder that to the North, beyond the spoils of Byzantium, their fiercest enemies lay in wait. Among those enemies was the most feared of them all, Dracula, who just so happened to be Radu’s own brother.

The Rise of Dracula

Opportunistic betrayal was the way of Wallachia’s rulers and in one such brief betrayal, Vlad II silently allowed his older sons, Mircea and Vlad IV, to launch an insurrection after which Mircea impaled all his prisoners upon stakes. The young Dracula loved the sight of this and later joined Mircea in further insurrections against the Ottomans as well as the rival Dăneşti clan supported by the Hungarian warlord, John Hunyadi. Ultimately, Hunyadi overran Dracula’s father, slew him in the marshes of Bălteni and blinded and buried Mircea alive at Târgovişte. Hunyadi installed a Dăneşti prince, Vladislav II, over Wallachia. In his ambition and lust for power, Dracula put aside any vengeful sentiments for his slaughtered father and brother and allied with Hunyadi and served him as an adviser. As John Hunyadi went to face the Turks at Belgrade in modern day Serbia, Dracula attacked and slew Vladislav and took the throne for himself. As fortune would have it, a plague broke out amongst Hunyadi’s camp, infecting him which lead to his death. Sultan Mehmet was severely wounded in the battle. These events left Dracula to rule Wallachia uninterrupted for 6 years. It was the only time he ruled his home for so long.

The Impaler

“I have killed men and women, old and young… We killed 23,884 Turks and Bulgarians without counting those whom we burned in their homes or whose heads were not cut by our soldiers.” (Dracula, in a letter to Matthias Corvinus bragging of his tyranny)

As Sultan Mehmet approached what appeared to be a fetid balding forest of rotting trees in the distance he soon realized the horror of what he approached. They were so close to their destination – the Wallachian capital of Târgoviște -that he was in no mood for this puzzling sight. But the figures became more clear as the steeds in the cavalry grew unruly and the infantry felt ill. Before him stood 20,000 impaled bodies of innocent men, women and children, all victims of Dracula in that winter of 1462.

Dracula’s Muslim upbringing, albeit abandoned in deference to opportunity, and fluency in Turkish enabled him to move about the Ottomans’ most secured camps freely as a Turk without being noticed. This had deadly consequences for the Muslims. Dracula had entered Serbia with his men all dressed as Turkish Sipahis and slaughtered all the Muslim villagers, and those non-Muslims friendly to them that they could find. The intent was to leave a horrifying memento for Sultan Mehmet whom they knew to be soon taking their capital city. They erected this unholy monument in a bid to alarm the Sultan and terrorize his troops in hopes that they might turn around and retreat home.

What is remarkable is that there are no records of mass desertion of Ottoman troops after witnessing this. They pressed on unflinchingly. However, some historians have suggested that Sultan Mehmet II lost his taste for hunting down the ‘vampire’ following this invasion of Wallachia and left the task up to the only one who was capable of hunting down Dracula and killing him. After taking the Wallachian capital of Târgoviște, Mehmet returned home, leaving the hunt to Radu. After all, it would take someone who knew the mind of Dracula to defeat him, and none fit this bill better than his own brother.

This event earned Dracula the name of Vlad Ţepeş, the Romanian word “Ţepeş” meaning “Impaler”. Legend has it that if you look closely at the word you can see Dracula’s fangs dangling beneath as a hidden warning to the vampire’s terrible lust for blood.

Radu vs. Dracula: Brothers in Blood

As Târgoviște was taken, Dracula fled towards Transylvania in hopes of finding refuge with John Hunyadi’s son Matthias Corvinus. As was typical of Dracula’s opportunism and lack of reverence for religion, he offered to become Catholic in order to win Corvinus’ favor. He scorched the earth and slaughtered all the living in his path leaving a wake of desolation and writhing impaled bodies. He would not give up his homeland to the Muslims that easily. He began a beleaguering campaign of guerilla warfare that the elite Ottoman Sipahis could not endure. It is said he slaughtered 15,000 of the Ottoman soldiers in one single night. Still, as the mightiest of the Ottomans fled, Radu was undeterred seemingly driven by what can only be interpreted as an austere piety, to end the bloody reign of his haplessly misguided brother. None remained to fight Dracula save Radu and his fellow Romanian Muslim Janissaries.

The brothers fought lingering battles for the throne of Wallachia and Radu’s control of the region increased staggeringly with Dracula receiving less and less support from Matthias Corvinus in Hungary. In a strange twist of fate, Corvinus, the one to whom Dracula retreated, had him imprisoned for 12 years on charges of high treason. The people of Wallachia and their Christian nobles had enough of Dracula’s terror and put their support behind Radu who was pronounced Voivod, Prince and Ruler of Wallachia in 1462. Radu ruled the land prosperously for 11 years until his death while Dracula wasted away in a Budapest prison patiently waiting to rise again from the darkness.

Dracula’s Release and Final Battle

After Radu’s death in 1473, Dracula was released from prison. He immediately assembled an army and invaded Bosnia, slaughtering its Muslim population and impaling 8,000 on stakes in a forest of human bodies. Once again, Dracula had arisen from the darkness with the objective of eliminating Islam from the Balkans forever. He finally acquired the throne of Wallachia after his departed brother, but only for a month. Sultan Mehmet invaded Wallachia to remove this profanity from the throne his dear friend Radu had vacated in death. In 1476 the forces of Sultan Mehmet faced the forces of Dracula in Bucharest, Romania. Dracula’s army was overrun in a blitz and all were killed, including Dracula himself. The vampire had been slain. News of this did not suffice. His head was cut off and preserved in a jar of honey and sent to Constantinople. There, in a fitting end, Dracula’s head was impaled upon a stake in the center of Constantinople for all to see. There was to be no doubt or mystery.

The Muslims had finally, at last, killed Dracula.


References

  • Dracula: Essays on the Life and Times of Vlad Ţepeş, Kurt W. Treptow
  • Vlad III Dracula: The Life and Times of the Historical Dracula, Kurt W. Treptow
  • The Complete Dracula, Radu Florescu, Raymond T. McNally
  • Vlad Ţepeş, Prince of Walachia, Nicolae Stoicescu
  • Tarikh al-Dawlah al-`Uthmaniyyah  fi-l `Usur al-Wusta (Arabic), Dr. Mahmud al-Huwayri
  • Al-`Uthmaniyin fi-l Tarikh wal-Hadharah (Arabic), Dr. Muhammad Harb
  • Tarikh al-Dawlah al-`Uthmaniyyah (Arabic), Dr. Ali Hassoun
  • Al-Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih (Arabic), Dr. Sayyid Ridwan `Ali
Print Friendly

106 Comments

  1. AE says:

    Subhanallah, what a story!

    Jazakallahu khairan for revealing the historical reality of “dracula.”

  2. iMuslim says:

    Amazing read – if not gross and gory.

  3. Al-Pittsburghee says:

    What an article! Ja zak Allahu khairan! I studied Vlad the Impaler in college and their was no mention of the Ottomans, Muslims, or Turks. “Interesting” how some people choose to write history. Your article was really great.

  4. Halal Media says:

    Excellent stuff! Somebody ought to do a movie on this. Or a series of movies based key points in Islamic history. Thank you for this. More please.

  5. Anam says:

    This is awesomeness! The goriness of medieval history is unbelievable.

  6. Anam says:

    There is actually a book called ‘The Historian’ which works around some Muslim involvement concerning Vlad…but being fictional, it takes heinous liberties of course.

  7. Ibrahim says:

    Thanks for the article, but it is interesting to note how Islam and the Muslims are never mentioned in his story in other sources ( we covered him in school). It’s almost like historians are trying to belittle islam’s contributions to the story we call world history.

  8. gomez says:

    Interesting….

    I actually met two of Dracula’s grandsons (father and a son) in the Bay Area. One had a shirt with the above picture and I commented that I knew a little history about Vlad the Impaler and the older gentleman said “he was our great-great grandfather and he was not what you think for he said Romania”

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      Gomez, that is very interesting. Vlad Drăculea has always been a hero to the Eastern Orthodox Christians of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. When one is desperate for heroes, they tend to overlook the crimes of the one they are lionizing. The Serbs, however, rather than ignoring those crimes, sought to emulate them. Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian Arkan’s Tigers frequently invoked Vlad Ţepeş (Dracula) as inspiration in exterminating the Muslims. After all, he also invaded Bosnia and exterminated 8,000 Muslims at one fell swoop. As for Dracula’s descendants, they would be Hungarian, not Romanian, as his children married into Hungarian nobility.

      • nida says:

        What an amazing post! I learned a great deal of my own history here. Being from the Balkans myself, I usually heared the sanitized story of Dracula – that is the Serb/Yugoslav version – and it is so intersting to see it from this perspective of history.

        The Balkans have such a bloody history, and it seemed only natural that Dracula would have originated there!

        Love it!

        • Dodo says:

          Are you sure? I’m from ex-yu too and we learned the Vlad Tepes killed and impaled his own people, he was mentioned as a bloodthirsty genocidal warlord who fought against ottoman empire.

          I have to admit it’s exceptional to hear the take from the other side, much more detailed.

    • jaay says:

      I want more information about the dracola grandsons could you plz tell me that you meet them ever again after that……….PLZ answer me

    • jaay says:

      I just request u that if you know anything else about that so tell me plz I want to see and meet those two gentlemen because I want to know the truth about vampires or Dracula ……….. Does the really exist?

  9. Hamzaaaa says:

    That was action-packed INCREDIBLE!

    Mash’Allah awesome article, I would have never known that Muslims have had so much influence on so many things we know of today.
    Makes one want to further indulge in Islamic history that unfortunately many have shown a blind eye to.

  10. Halil says:

    Thank you very much. MashAllah, very well written

  11. Thank You for an excellent article!

  12. Ahmed says:

    Wow! I will echo others’ comments – totally awesome! I love history and I had never studied this or even come across it before, so really enjoyed reading and learning from this article! Would love to read more like this in the future. :-)

  13. Brother Ramon says:

    subhana’ALLAH!

  14. Asad Habib says:

    Interesting article,

    I am puzzled on the slaughtering 15,000 Muslims in one night account. Clearly in that day and age of physcological warfare (as now) this amount could easily have been used to frighten. To kill 15,000 men in one night you would need to know how many forces Vlad had. The time of the battle then divide the number of troops under vlad by 15,000. Divide this by the time (say 5 hours) then you get the killed per minute account.

    Bearing in mind their were no machine guns et al. It seems they would have had to have gone down like chickens in an abbatoir conveyor belt at that rate.

    Still an otherwise informative article and Allah knows best. May Allah bless Radu (ra) and Sultan Mehmet(ra) and all the righteous lions of the Rasululah salalahu alayhi wasalaam. Ameen.

  15. Asad Habib says:

    Aha.

    Found some more info. Indeed it seems this battle of 15,000 Muslims killed was reffered to as the night battle. I beleive it can be seen briefly in the opening seen for Francis General Motors Coppolas famous Dracula with Gary Oldman (where their is a night battle). Interestingly it seems the sultan in the morning found 20,000 men impaled including his envoy Hamza Pasha who had been sent before. That night Vlad entered and slaughtered the Turkish camp dressed a Turk.

    However the previous impalement were done previously, coupled with his new night attack it certainly seems credible the amount of soldiers killed, but spanned over a period. I still doubt the one night account as european propaganda. Indeed the king of rhodes held a big feast as did other Christian nobles upon hearing of this night battle so it would have served well to bump up Vlads superman status.

    Either way he was a shaytan and Allah bless the final soldier who did slay him in battle years later – Amin!

  16. Elest says:

    Dude, this article rocked. I had some inkling that Dracula had a brush with the Turks at some point but never knew the extent of it, nor that it was Mehmet the Conqueror that was his enemy. Excellent research and excellent writing. And as so many above have already said, us Muslims and Turks (I’m Turkish) have had our history stolen from us. Now it falls on non-fanatical, intellectual Muslim men and women to dig it up and do some correcting.

  17. Rehan Farooq says:

    Shibli –

    Excellent post my brother!!

  18. Jude says:

    Excellent research. Please let me know if you have more about our history.

  19. Maysoun says:

    there is a movie called the Dark Prince ( You Tube) its great viewing on that supject

  20. Abdullah says:

    AMAZING story subhanAllah…jazaks for this

  21. Imran says:

    Well how utterly intriguing :-)

  22. Shibli Zaman says:

    Thanks to all of you for your encouraging words. I’m glad you all enjoyed reading this piece. You definitely have something to discuss at the dinner table (sans drinking blood and impaling, of course). There is definitely more to come on the topic of well known historical narratives that have had their Muslim protagonists erased. Stay tuned, brother, sisters and friends!

  23. Emin says:

    Wow, nice, I have to translate this sometime. Great summery of this wonderful peace of history. Thanks.

  24. Abdul Hafeez Siddiqui says:

    JazakAllahu Khairan for this great article brother. We need more articles dealing with Muslim history outside of just the Khilafah Al-Rashida.

    But SubhanAllah, read this quote from Wikipedia:

    “He was taken back to Wallachia and buried. In the early 1900s Vlad was exhumed for research. The researchers found nothing. Remains were found around his grave, and were thought to be the prince’s. He was buried again and left there until another dig took place years later. His grave was found destroyed and no remains were found.”

    Just imagine what must be happening to him in the grave for his crimes. May Allah save us.

    I know the above quote seems to contradict the part about his head being put on display in Constantinople, but maybe his body was buried in Wallachia without the head. Allah knows best.

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      Antonio Bonfini, an Italian chronicler in Matthias Corvinus’ court writes in his chronicle of Hungarian history entlted Rerum Hungaricum Decades: “…but he was killed in the fight with the Turks and his head was sent to Mohammed (Sultan Mehmet II) as a present.”

      Legends aside, the place of Vlad’s burial is unknown. Those believing the vampire legends use this as evidence to suggest he was truly of the undead. Others would simply say his body was discarded in ignominy and likely consumed by vermin. I vote for the latter.

  25. Many thanks for this, its always good to get a view from the ‘other side’ and we Muslims need to study and be knowledgeable about the human history to debate/dialogue Islam and defend our points of view with these references

  26. Muhammed says:

    Amazing! Really, someone should make a Movie of this story!

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      Muhammad, believe me when I say that this was a “nutshell” of the story. It could make a couple of movies or even a miniseries! Now, its up to the Muslims to start investing in and engaging in projects to bring our rich history to the big screen.

  27. K.A says:

    Well done, Brother:) Really.

  28. Brent says:

    Many other sources claim that Dracula’s army defected and killed him themselves, presenting the head to the sultan. I am trying to do a research paper on Ottoman Janissaries and my sources have to come from an Historian with a doctorate degree. I am very interested in the war between Vlad III and Sultan Mehemed and would like to write about the janissaries of that time. Any references?

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      Brent, as is the case with historical record there are always many sides to every story. I am aware of the records that say that Dracula faced a mutiny of his own soldiers but any historian who looks at those sources critically will understand that this was a way for the Romanians to escape the dishonor of being routed by the Turks. Its much more romantic to say that they held out until the very end and then -themselves- decided to ally with the Turks. The sources I have used are found in the endnote of this article. Thanks.

  29. MoCo says:

    Peace,

    Wow, Muslim Vampire Hunters! Sometimes the truth really is stranger then fiction. Maybe we should make a Bollywood movie out of it.

  30. cupcakesinislam says:

    subhannallah wow what an interesting story.

  31. rost10 says:

    Great post, loving these pieces, keep it up.

  32. salaam says:

    And there making movies of Lincoln as a vampire hunter. I’m sharing this with my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters elsewhere. We are in need of the truth. Salaam and may Allah bless you. Ameen

  33. pt says:

    That’s one way to tell the story. The true story is that Radu and Vlad were sent as tribute to be held hostage of the Turks to ensure that Vlad II would be pro-Turk in his politics going against the King of Hungary and his own oath as member of the Order of the Dragon. The boys were brainwashed by their captors who managed to convert Radu. That is just one reason Vlad III hated the Sultan. The Sultan and Vlad II were not allies. And Radu and Mehmet II were not friends. One was a hostage. The other was a Sultan’s son. The Order of the Dragon was not meant to wipe out Islam, but to protect Christianity from the ever encroaching “head-cutters” who were killing Christians as they advanced throughout that region.

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      “pt”, thank you for your comments. There’s no reason to be upset or threatened by the fact that Radu, Vlad Tepes own brother, was a devout Muslim. If he was brainwashed as a kid, he had his whole life to convert out of Islam…just as Vlad Tepes did. Right? As for the reasons for Vlad Tepes’ grudges against the Sultan, as well as his own brothers and father, these are all found in historical reference. Its not speculation.

      Perhaps, you can write an article on the subject and document some references since you, for whatever reason, decided not to cite them in your comment. As for the facts stated in this article, they are all easily corroborated in the sources cited in the endnote of the article. Thanks.

      • Romanian says:

        Salam Alaykum,

        With all respect to the history, humanity, islam and christian religion.

        We all have to recognize the real fact that history had been distorted all the time during humanity in favor of a certain reason or the winner.

        But, we all have the duty to read between the lines and choose wisely the real facts from different independent sources not only from one distorted source.

        We are all responsible for what we are choosing to believe in. This great story has all the teachings what we will need to learn as kids of Allah or God.

        It is true that Radu Cel Frumos was converted to islam. That at the end, it was his own decision as we all have had made our decisions in life for different reasons.

        He was taken in 1442 as a child along Vlad Dracul to be kept as hostages by Murrad the II-nd as insurance against his dad. Radu lived in the Ottoman Empire until 1462. His brother Vlad Dracul lived in the Otoman empire until 1448.

        Apparently, Vlad Dracul had been sent with Ottoman troops to take over the Vallahia’s throne after his dad Vlad the II-nd had been killed along with his brother. Also, he was de-throned by Vladislav the II-nd after two months.

        This historical facts could be found along other interesting ones in different sources.

        It is true that Vlad Dracul had been fighting the Ottoman Empire and he was a very cruel man.
        His reasons were perhaps to fight for his throne, people, land as all other great people around the world and history did.

        It is true that the turks had been managing to kill Vlad Dracul. His head had been in display in the center of Constantinopole after he killed so many great warriors.

        But, the main question for all of us is only one! When, we as humans we will learn from all the mistakes that had been made along the History!? Are we going to learn or we will repeat it over and over again until we will destroy the civilization as we know it with killings and Nuclear Weapons!?

        Allah may bless you all!

  34. Prince says:

    Wow fantastic article. If one looks at the path ceremonies of many militaristic orders of the day, it’s clear wiping out a rival faith was fair game as they were at war both physically, psychologically and spiritually PT, so there shouldn’t be any tender notes there ie ‘to preserve Christianity’ point that you raised. Proof? I didn’t see the impaled and massacred populations being killed according to any Biblical custom or justification. Genocidal murders have no faith except ‘winning at whatever cost’. Understand that. Had the ‘head cutters’ as you put it, killed every Christian they met through Europe, they wouldn’t have any Christianity left in any area of Eastern Europe lol!

  35. kHAIRUL says:

    Thanks for great researching….

    very pleasure to reading an indeed good story bro!

  36. Mohamed says:

    You forgot the part that dear Radu was Mehmet II homosexual lover.

  37. dana says:

    Wallachia was NEVER an ottoman principality. Wallachia was never a “muslim land”, we were NEVER part of “House of Islam”, we were from the “house of treaty”.

  38. canpolat says:

    Basic clarifications from Ottoman history: Vlad and Radu were “HOSTAGES” according to a common custom of at the time among countries of sending one’s family members to go and live with “the other side” as a guarantee that one would keep a promise. In this case, Vlad II promised to resume paying his tribute to the Ottomans as a vassal state [true, a vassal state is NOT a province of the empire].

    SCHOOLING: They were NOT educated “by Janissaries” but by the teachers in the “Enderum” the elite school within the Palace that prepared the students…mostly enslaved and converted Christian youth…. for the highest posts in the empire, military and civilian. They learned religious schiences, but also the most advanced knowledge on secular studies and foreign languages as existed in the Empire at the time…superior than that in europe.

    VLAD hated the whole thing and couldn’t get home soon enough, which occurred when his father died and he could return.

    RADU, however, love school, loved the palace and court life. He converted and like so many other “renegades” as they were called in Christian Europe, rose in the ranks of the Ottoman government. In contrast to his brother, Radu was close to the sultan’s son, the future Mehmet II. It is believed that Mehmet and the younger, handsome Wallachian became lovers at that time, another source of Vlad’s hatred of the Turks and of Mehmed.

    In a current Turkish TV drama, Radu is portrayed by a transgender Serbian actor/ess and the nature of the character’s own sexuality is only hinted at, though it is obvious that Mehmet cares deeply for him. The serial twists history, though, with Vlad killing Radu and putting HIS head in honey and sending it to Mehmed.

    Mehmed’s own bisexuality is agreed upon by most scholars. One of the Byzantine notables at the time of conquest was given the choice of freedom for his family, if his youngest son would be given over to the sultan for this purpose. The man refused, preferring to be executed along with ALL his sons.

    • soldierofAllaah says:

      Mehmet whas a men of honour and you are a liar.

    • abdullah says:

      mehmet and radu were friends not that sick thing, this is fabricated information by kafirs

      mehmed was prasied by muhammad saw in hadith so he was definitely normal

    • Adam says:

      “Mehmed’s own bisexuality is agreed upon by most scholars.”

      Not at all, actually. These tales come entirely from European, most Greek, sources which at the time constantly embellished the facts in order to make the Ottomans look morally inferior. This isn’t my opinion on Greek sources at the time, it’s the commonly held view on them amongst historians. What is agreed upon by most scholars is that these sources are dubious at best.

      The story of Mehmed & Radu possibly being “lovers” stems from extremely sensationalist works published by the academic Radu Florescu, and as sources of info are even less reliable than the Greek sources I mentioned earlier.

      • RBNSN says:

        From the article above it is very clear the Ottomans were colonialists who arrived in the Balkans uninvited and therefore were unwanted. Vlad Tepes was just one of the rulers, vassals, or what not who rebelled against the Turks.

  39. Md.Khurshid Anwar says:

    awsome article.i use to know some facts but got lot of new stuff over here.sometimes history takes wrong turns by some historians who change the true history for their own point of view.it was first noticed by me when i read about Tipu Sultan.while he was reffered as “Sher-e-mahishore”(Lion of Mahishore) by Indian historians on other hand British historian named him as “the mad king”.we need to spread the right history which was modified in the past.

  40. silf says:

    Hi,
    Always interesting to read an article about Vlad III from a Muslim perspective!
    One question:
    Could you please provide a source for Vlad learning impalement from his brother Mircea? The following paragraph seems rather vague with facts and dates, and does not resonate with any of the sources I have come across myself:


    Vlad II silently allowed his older sons, Mircea and Vlad IV, to launch an insurrection after which Mircea impaled all his prisoners upon stakes. The young Dracula loved the sight of this and later joined Mircea in further insurrections against the Ottomans as well as the rival Dăneşti clan supported by the Hungarian warlord, John Hunyadi.

    According to the articles/books I’ve read so far (admittedly, written by Romanians & other Christians, though they do list a variety of Ottoman sources as well in their bibliography)… Vlad III did not see his brother Mircea or his father again after becoming a hostage at the Ottoman court at ~age 11, in 1442.

    At that time, Mircea himself was only 14, so it’s odd that he would have already launched insurrections and had anyone impaled… adding to that, the mention that Vlad *later* joined Mircea therein would push the chronology of young Mircea’s first impalements even earlier… yep, small children leading an army and impaling grown men.

    In history class in Romania, as well as in all the sources I’ve come across, it is undisputed that Vlad learned the gruesome torture of impalement during his time of captivity at the Ottoman court; he used it both against the invading Turks and his own people. They called him Tepes, aka, the Impaler, precisely because this method was peculiar. There are no other Romanian rulers called the Beheader or the Hanger…

    Also, besides Vlad III and his cousin Stephen the Great, in whose company he spent a few years *after* his (Vlad’s) captivity at the Ottoman court – so, it could be argued that Stephen learned it from Vlad – as well as one or two of Vlad’s own descendants (Alexander the Mean), no ruler of a Romanian province is known to have used impalement prior or again, which further gives credence to the belief that it was an imported and short-lived custom.

    On the other hand, Ottomans still used impalement in Bulgaria and Greece up to the 19th century, while Wikipedia (ok, not the most complete secondary source one can come up with, but here I am, googling the history of impalement at 5am, of all things… ) provides sources for impalement attested in the Middle East dating as far back as Antiquity. Please correct me, if you find contradicting/better evidence. Other Europeans seem to have used it occasionally starting around the 16th century, so they might conceivably have gotten inspired by all those pamphlets that got spread around about Vlad (how much fact and how much sensationalism those put forth is another source of contention amongst historians).

    Of course, that Vlad adopted this horrible practice, and to such infamous extent, remains his own shameful choice and his crime. Willfully ignorant Romanians who still praise this guy should be glad they don’t live in his time…

    I am researching these historical characters for a novel and am very curious as to your sources, especially the learning impalement from his brother Mircea and campaigning at his side part, which I haven’t encountered before. Thanks!

    P.S. A note to all the nay-sayers about Mehmed II’s bisexuality: if in understandable doubt about the intention of Greek chroniclers like Doukas, here’s part of a poem written by Mehmed II himself, under his poet pen-name Avni, referring to the son of Loukas Notaras:


    If your heart is not bound / in the knot of his heathen belt
    You’re no true believer / but a lost soul among lovers
    His lips give life anew / to those whom his glances kill
    Just so, for that giver of life / follows the ways of Jesus
    Avni, have no doubt / that beauty will one day be tame
    For you are ruler of Istanbul / and he lord of Galata

    Walter Andrews, Age of Beloveds, page 3;
    In the Bibliography, Andrews lists as his source a version of the original Ottoman text found in “Sultan sairler”, Isen & Bilkan, eds., pages 75-76.
    (Sorry for the lack of proper Turkish punctuation on my keyboard)

    Isn’t it sad and ironic though, that so many ppl still get inflamed when some overpraised historical character gets suspected of homosexual tendencies (no suffering caused if it’s consensual… ok, maybe not the case with poor Notaras Jr., who allegedly got put to death after refusing Mehmed’s advances), but these same ppl don’t bat an eye, in fact esteem these thugs precisely for their well-documented mass-murder acts for personally and/or through orders killing/torturing ppl, without care for their suffering, or even while righteously delighting in it? What rings more evil?

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      When studying any great empire in history, one can rely on sources written by the embittered whom they conquered, or they can rely upon the record of the conquerors themselves, or they can rely upon independent witness. A true historian takes all of the above and assesses their veracity objectively in order to glean an accurate picture of what events and scenarios occurred. I find it unfortunate that you have relied entirely upon the witness of those who made no attempt to hide their hatred for the Turks and Muslims as a whole, but that is your choice and I won’t criticize you for it. I will just opine that it is a flawed perspective. Thanks.

      • silf says:

        Hi Shilbi,

        Thanks for your reply!

        I agree with you that one must seek out as wide a range of evidence as possible, if one hopes to gain objective insights into the why’s and how’s of any sort of event, whether past or present, and all the more so when dealing with contentious political matters.

        In the case of Vlad, most if not all accounts left to us are written by parties that had legitimate grudges against him, strong motives to seek revenge or besmirch his reputation for their political gain, or even, in the case of the emerging printing press, simply sell more copies by stretching the truth for shock appeal. This does not mean that they did all or any of that, but one must remain aware of potential for distortion.

        Ottoman muslim chroniclers are therefore in good company here, and would be expected to come with their own biases; after all, one could hardly expect the sultans to pay someone to write flattering accounts of their enemies.

        Indeed, in the few muslim sources I encountered myself until now as pertaining to the subject, namely the translations included in Colin Imber’s collection The Crusade of Varna, 1443-45, epithets such as “accursed infidels”, “pig”, “vile” and “ill-omened” abound when Muslims write about Europeans; while they give valuable insight into their then points of view, these points of view can hardly be deemed sober or objective.

        The European chroniclers encountered were biased as well, as expected, but it may be a cultural trait in that, personally anyway, I found the Muslims more colourful in their descriptions… Then again, when you’re going to someone’s land to “conquer,” ie, break down strangers’ doors to murder, rape, enslave, loot and claim their ancestral habitat for yourself, whether in the name of religion or anything else, there’s greater need to justify yourself and even appease your own conscience by dehumanizing the chosen “enemy”.

        The same patterns of behaviour have been adopted, time and again, by all imperialists, so I am not trying to single out the ottoman Muslims, except for their being the particular subject of this conversation. There are quite a few examples where european colonialists have gone to much lower depths of degradation – for instance, when carving up Africa – but, at least, on can dissect their misdeeds with some objective distance today, since they are not absolved as motivated by the eternal commands of an unquestionable and unverifiable supernatural entity.

        It is up to anyone interested in history to read as widely as possible and form their own opinions about what might be the common kernel of truth at the bottom of it all, and yes, interpretation bias in the reader matters as much as in the writers themselves.

        The reason I wrote here, in fact, was precisely to widen my own perspective. I am curious to learn more about the sources that have informed your own account, especially considering that some of the events you relate (specifically, the part about Vlad learning impalement from his brother) don’t match up to any of the accounts I’ve read myself and even contradict what I thought was pretty uncontroversial chronology.

        I’ve read all I could find, and yes, it is unfortunate that little to no material from muslim sources seems to be available to the public in English (or French, or German, or Romanian, I can read those too, if you’ve got references!) I did not deliberately ignore muslim chroniclers out of prejudice, if that is what you fear. On the contrary, I would be grateful if you have some hints.

        I case you wonder about my own interpretation biases, I am aware that I must have plenty that I’m as yet unaware of myself, and if you can point some out, I’d be happy to consider them. After all, it is the person that learns something that has the most to gain.

        Only by striking up conversations and comparing arguments and asking questions, and making a constant effort to remain open-minded, even when that means that one’s core foundational paradigms are vulnerable to get shaken from time to time – though only to rebuild them stronger! – can one hope to progressively improve one’s understanding and fairness of perception and judgment. In case you were curious, since it seems pertinent to the subject at hand: no, I don’t personally make exceptions for any particular religion, though, as with all fair arguments, I would be open to engage you or any other reader that would like to share their reasons for proceeding otherwise.

  41. Leo says:

    Thank you Dana

  42. Ser says:

    How the Muslim killed Dracula?

    “As it was then, so it is now. In spite of the obvious Signs of Allah, people who are blind in their obstinate resistance to Truth accomplish their own destruction, while humble, persecuted men of Faith are transformed by the Light of Allah, and obtain salvation.
    Nothing that the powers of Evil can do, will ever defeat the merciful Purpose of Allah. Evil, in resisting good, will effect its own destruction.”
    — Basic principle in Physical Law of Universe? Well if you don’t agree, we simply ceased to exist. ‘Connecting the dot.’

  43. adzeem(malaysia) says:

    Nowshowing in cinema. Dracula Untold.

  44. annie says:

    Subhanallah…what a great article. let’s rewrite the history and spread the truth widely

  45. lyn says:

    Subhanallah, reveal the true story to believe. May Allah protect us always and muslim will reunited for all of kind threat inside and outside.. ameen

  46. Vlad says:

    From a Romanian point of view he was a hero who defended his homeland. The Turks weren’t some friendly people that happened to come to Europe, they were invaders that besides taking the land they wanted to take the people’s religion as well. Radu was the traitor who gave up his religion, since the article seemed to blame the impalor for not sticking to Islam, which wasn’t his religion to begin with. He set up a system much like your sharia where stealing, adultery and other such actions were severely sanctioned, often by death. Now that I think of it it might have been his Islamic upbringing which gave him those crazy ideas, but I digress. When you have an invader 10 times your size knocking at the door you won’t ask him politely to leave or face him head on… You use every method you have including guerrilla warfare, poisoning wells, burning everything în sight so the horses have no food and also psychological warfare which was the whole forest of impaled bodies business. Also to note that almost no leader back în those days stood up against the Ottoman Empire, so he was a pretty amazing character în many ways and thorn în the turks’s side which makes him a hero în my book.

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      That’s certainly the Hollywood version of the story but it’s not reality. I highly recommend you read this article. In it, you’ll read that Vlad Ţepeş’ father and house had an alliance with the Turks and while Radu honored that, Vlad betrayed it. So the rebel and traitor was Vlad, not just against the Turks, but of his own family and their alliances.

  47. Wahib says:

    Masha’Allah what a great story. I wonder how many untold great stories are there in the glorious past of our ummah. If this happened in the span of just under 100 years, there must be so many other stories and gems to be discovered in the long history or our ummah.

  48. Lily says:

    Waiting for film publisher(Muslim or not) to combat false history and uplifting true one. Hopefully, the brave, the talented one takes this challenge to uplift dignity of self, others and film industry.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

More in History (6 of 49 articles)