The chief of the ecclesiastical order, or primate of the Mussulman religion. The authority of the Mufti is very great in the Ottoman empire; for even the sultan himself, if he will preserve any appearance of religion, cannot, without first hearing his opinion, put any person to death, or so much as inflict any corporal punishment. In all actions, and especially criminal ones, his opinion is required by giving him a writing in which the case is stated under feigned names, which he subscribes with the words Olur, or Olmaz, 1: e. he shall or shall not be punished. Such outward honour is paid to the Mufti, that the grand seignior himself rises up to him, and advances seven steps towards him when he comes into his presence. He alone has the honour of kissing the sultan's left shoulder, whilst the prime vizier kisses only the hem of his garment. When the grand seignior addresses any writing to the Mufti, he gives him the following titles; "
To the esad, the wisest of the wise; instructed in all knowledge; the most excellent of excellents; abstaining from things unlawful; the spring of virtue and true science; heir of the prophetic doctrines; resolver of the problems of faith; revealer of the orthodox articles; key of the treasures of truth; the light to doubtful allegories; strengthened with the grace of the Supreme Legislator of Mankind, May the Most High God perpetuate thy favours." The election of the Mufti is solely in the grand seignior, who presents him with a vest of rich sables, and allows him a salary of a thousand aspers a day, which is about five pounds sterling. Besides this, he has the disposal of certain benifices belonging to the royal mosques, which he makes no scruple of selling to the best advantage; and, on his admission to his office, he is complimented by the agents of the bashaws, who make him the usual presents, which generally amount to a very considerable sum. Whatever regard was formerly paid to the Mufti, it is now become very little more than form. If he interprets the law, or gives sentence contrary to the sultan's pleasure, he is immediately displaced, and a more pliant person put in his room. If he is convicted of treason, or any very great crime, he is put into a mortar kept for that purpose in the seven towers of Constantinople, and pounded to death.