Unlike some poetry characters, the Morić brothers were real men who lived in the mid-18th century in Sarajevo. Historical documents and tales confirm their existence.
Mehmed and Ibrahim Morić were the sons of Mustaf-aga Morić. At the time, their family was respected and powerful. They were merchants, and a historical document from 1750 mentions Ibrahim and Mehmed as tanners. Shortly after, the Morić brothers were executed. In March 1757, they were captured in the old town, taken to the White Fortress, and hanged, with the sound of a cannon echoing in the background.
The reason for their execution was their persistent opposition to many decisions from Istanbul, which they thought would economically endanger them. That was a period of major reforms, and the people remember this historical moment as “The Morić Riot”.
There are many tales about the family Morić and the brothers. In that period, the famous writer Mula Mustafa Bašeskija was staying in Sarajevo and writing his travelogue. He, who was prone to the Ottoman authority, wrote about the Morić brothers in accordance with the imperial reports, meaning he wrote about them as criminals. Seventeen years later, in the time of the death of their mother, Bašeskija wrote entirely different things.
There are even national tales about the improper behavior of these prominent brothers. Why had they died in such a terrible way? Some people claim that they did not obey the orders of the authority, but they did what they wanted to do. Sometimes they would even go that far that they competed for the heads of the city. Others say that they were spitfires and drunks. The historical document that came too late for the Morić brothers was the “imperial decree on the amnesty for the Morić Haji Mehmed and seven unnamed men from Sarajevo” from March 1757.
The ballads about the Morić brothers “remembered” them differently, in a way which was natural for the time and for the needs of the ballad and the singers.
It was the mother of the Morić brothers, Amina, who was paid the most attention in the ballads because she lost adult men from her family. Although the versions may differ in details, in general, they all tell the same story about the capturing of the Morić brothers and the scene when their mother finds out that her sons have been captured. In that scene, she speaks nothing, but her reaction is described. In one version, she was making a pita and was holding a rolling pin in her hand and a golden ewer in the other. When she heard the news, she broke the rolling pin in half, threw the ewer to the ground, and went barefoot, undressed, without a scarf, out to the street.
There are also differences in the way in which Mehmed and Ibrahim Morić were captured. Although the majority of the ballads begin either with the information about the decree from Istanbul or with the words “When the Morić brothers were captured”, the predominant version is the one in which the Morić brothers were captured in a mosque.
When their mother left the house after hearing the news, in almost all versions she goes through the town and curses people who let them take her sons, or she asks for their help in the liberation of her sons. In the latter versions, she either makes the people cry or the people go to their stores and ignore the mother of the Morić brothers, while only one version speaks about how all the people from the town supported their mother.
After the death of her sons, Amina lived for another 17 years. Only one day before her death (which was apparently expected), she was appointed the Waqf, one sort of a governor.
In almost all ballads about the Morić brothers, the mother Amina dies on the same day as them, in the moment when she climbs up to the White Fortress and sees the desecrated bodies of her sons.
One thing is for sure – the story about the Morić brothers remained remembered because of the injustice that they and their mother have suffered. People remember the story through tales, and probably even more through ballads which sing about them and complement the image of the Morić brothers. The historical documents found and analyzed later confirm this story.