For four long centuries the Ottoman Empire ruled most of the Arab space where the Spring is taking place today; therefore it is essential to examine the heritage of that rule as it plays out in contemporary events. This is especially true given that the Ottoman government from Istanbul has become fixated in Middle Eastern minds as the last imperial system under which the entire area was one—divided into various districts (vilayet) to be sure, not necessarily overlapping the present-day geographical and political boundaries. At the same time, like the preceding Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties that ruled the core of the same space, the Ottomans had entertained the ambition of extending their dominion over all Muslims, in order to bring under their umbrella the entire umma. Under Muslim empires the ambition was also cultivated among Muslims, which developed into a precept, that Muslims should endeavor to live in a Muslim state, because only there can the ambition of realizing the will of Allah in everyday life come to full fruition. But it became evident that the more expansive the territory under Islam, and the larger the volume of peoples, cultures, religions, and languages it came to dominate, the more difficult it became to maintain one central rule in those vast areas.