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Fakhri Pasha or Umar Fakhr ud-Din Pasha(Ömer Fahrettin Paşa)(1868 Roussemarker -1948 Istanbulmarker) was the commander of Ottoman army and governor of Medinamarker from 1916 to 1919.

Early life

His father's name was Mehmed Nahid Bey and mother's Fatma Adile Hanım. Due to the Turco-Russian War his family moved to Istanbul in 1878. He joined the War Academy and in 1888 graduated from it. His first posting was on the eastern border with Armenia in the Fourth Army. In 1908 he came to Istanbul and joined the First Regular Army. In 1911-12 he was sent to Libya and when the Balkan War broke out, he was the commander of 31st division stationed at Gallipoli. His unit snatched Edirne from Bulgaria and he entered into the city along with Enver Paşa. In 1914, first he was appointed to Mosul, and later to Aleppo.

Defender of Medina

Fakhri Pasha on the orders of Cemal Paşa on May 23, 1916 moved toward Medina in Hejaz to defend it.

During World War I, he was besieged by Arab forces but tenaciously he defended the holy city. With the resignation of the Ottoman Empire from the war with the Armistice of Mudros between Turkeymarker and Entente on October 30, 1918, it was expected that Fakhri would also surrender. But he refused to do so and simply refused to accept the armistice.

According to a Turkishmarker author , who quotes an eye-witness account, one Friday in the spring of 1918, after prayers in Masjid al-Nabawimarker (also known as the Prophet's Mosque), Pasha ascended the steps of the pulpit, stopped halfway, and turned his face to the Prophet's tomb and said loud and clear:

"Prophet of God!
I will never abandon you!"

He then addressed the men:

I appeal to you in the name of the Prophet, my witness.
I command you to defend him and his city to the last cartridge and the last breath, irrespective of the strength of the enemy.
May Allah help us, and may the spirit of Muhammad be with us.

"Officers of the heroic Turkish army!
O little Muhammads, come forward and promise me, before our Lord and the Prophet, to honor your faith with the supreme sacrifice of your lives."'

Fakhri Pasha had said that he had a vision in a dream that Prophet Muhammad had ordered him not to submit. In August 1918, he received a call to surrender from Sharif Husain of Mecca. Fakhri Pasha replied him in these words:

"Fakhr-ud-Din, General, Defender of the Most Sacred City of Medinamarker.
Servant of the Prophet.

"In the name of Allah, the Omnipotent.
To him who broke the power of Islam, caused bloodshed among Muslims, jeopardized the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful, and exposed it to the domination of the Britishmarker.

"On Thursday night the fourteenth of Dhu'l-Hijja, I was walking, tired and worn out, thinking of the protection and defense of Medina, when I found myself among unknown men working in a small square.
Then I saw standing before me a man with a sublime countenance.
He was the Prophet, may Allah's blessing be upon him!
His left arm rested on his hip under his robe, and he said to me in a protective manner, 'Follow me.'
I followed him two or three paces and woke up.
I immediately proceeded to his sacred mosque and prostrated myself in prayer and thanks [near his tomb].

"I am now under the protection of the Prophet, my Supreme Commander.
I am busying myself with strengthening the defenses, building roads and squares in Medina.
Trouble me not with useless offers."

He refused to hand over his sword even upon the receipt of a direct order from the Ottoman minister of war. The Ottoman government was upset upon his behavior and the Sultan Mehmed VI dismissed him from his post. He refused to do so and kept the flag of Ottoman Sultan high until 70 days after the end of the war.

Fakhri was arrested by his own men and brought to Abdullah on January 9, 1919 at Bir Darwish. Abdullah entered Medina shortly after the surrender, followed by Ali who entered the city on February 2, 1919.

Life after siege

Fakhri Pasha lived as a prisoner of war in Maltamarker until 1921. After his release in 1921, he joined the Turkish forces under the command of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and fought against the Greekmarker and Frenchmarker armies occupying Anatoliamarker. After the Turkish War of Independence, he became Turkeymarker's ambassador to Kabulmarker, Afghanistanmarker. In 1936, he was promoted to major general and retired from the army. He died in 1948.

See also



  • Picture of Fakhri Pasha
  • Public Record Office, London. F. O./371
  • Emel Esin, Mecca The Blessed, Medinah The Radiant (London, 1963), p. 190

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