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Ibrahim (/ˌɪbrəˈhm/; Ottoman Turkish: ابراهيم‎; Turkish: İbrahim; 5 November 1615 – 18 August 1648) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1640 until 1648. He was born in Istanbul the son of Ahmed I by Valide Kösem Sultan, an ethnic Greek originally named Anastasia.[1][2][3]

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Kayser-i Rûm
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Ottoman Caliph
Ibrahim I.jpg
18th Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
Reign9 February 1640 – 8 August 1648
PredecessorMurad IV
SuccessorMehmed IV
RegentKösem Sultan
Born5 November 1615
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died18 August 1648(1648-08-18) (aged 32)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
ConsortsValide Turhan Sultan (later Queen mother)
Muazzez Sultan
Aşub Sultan
Ayşe Sultan
Mahienver Sultan
Saçbağı Sultan
Şivekar Sultan
Hümaşah Sultan (Legal wife)
Issuesee below
Full name
Ibrahim bin Ahmed
FatherAhmed I
MotherKösem Sultan
ReligionSunni Islam
TughraIbrahim ابراهيم's signature

He was later called Ibrahim the Mad by 20th-century historians due to his reputed mental condition.[4]


Early lifeEdit

Ibrahim was born on 5 November 1615, the son of Sultan Ahmed I and his favorite concubine who later became his legal wife, Kösem Sultan. When Ibrahim was 2, his father suddenly died, and Ibrahim's uncle Mustafa I became the new sultan. By that time, Kosem Sultan and her children, including young Ibrahim had been sent to the Old Palace. After the succession of his brother Murad IV, Ibrahim was confined in the Kafes, which affected his health. Ibrahim's other brothers Şehzade Bayezid, Şehzade Suleiman and Şehzade Kasım had been executed by the order of Sultan Murad IV, and because of that Ibrahim feared that he was next in the line. However, after his brother's death, Ibrahim became the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.



One of the most notorious Ottoman Sultans, Ibrahim spent all of his early life in the close confinement of the Kafes before succeeding his brother Murad IV (1623–40) in 1640. Three of his brothers had been executed by Murad, and Ibrahim lived in terror of being the next to die. His life was only saved by the intercession of Kösem Sultan, mother of Ibrahim and Murad.[5]

After Murad's death, Ibrahim was left the sole surviving prince of the dynasty. Upon being asked by Grand Vizier Kemankeş Kara Mustafa Pasha to assume the Sultanate, Ibrahim suspected Murad was still alive and plotting to trap him. It took the combined persuasion of Kösem and the Grand Vizier, and personal examination of his brother's dead body, to make Ibrahim accept the throne.

Early years in powerEdit

Kara Mustafa Pasha remained as Grand Vizier during the first four years of Ibrahim’s reign, keeping the Empire stable. With the treaty of Szön (15 March 1642) he renewed peace with Austria and during the same year recovered Azov from the Cossacks. Kara Mustafa also stabilized the currency with coinage reform, sought to stabilize the economy with a new land-survey, reduced the number of Janissaries, removed non-contributing members from the state payrolls, and curbed the power of disobedient provincial governors. During these years, Ibrahim showed concern with properly ruling the empire, as shown in his handwritten communications with the Grand Vizier.[6] Kara Mustafa in turn wrote a memo on public affairs to coach his inexperienced master. Ibrahim’s replies to Kara Mustafa's reports show he had actually received a good education. Ibrahim often traveled in disguise, inspecting the markets of Istanbul and ordering the Grand Vizier to correct any problems he observed.[7]

Decadence and crisisEdit

Ibrahim was often distracted by recurring headaches and attacks of physical weakness, perhaps caused by the trauma of his early years.[8] Since he was the only surviving male member of the Ottoman dynasty, Ibrahim was encouraged by his mother Kösem Sultan to distract himself with harem girls and soon fathered three future sultans: Mehmed IV, Suleyman II and Aḥmed II. The distractions of the harem allowed Kösem Sultan to gain power and rule in his name, yet even she fell victim to the Sultan's disfavor and left the Imperial Palace.[9]

Ibrahim came under the influence of favorite harem ladies such as mistress of the imperial harem Şekerpare Hatun and the charlatan Djindji Khodja, who pretended to cure the Sultan's physical ailments. The latter, along with his allies Silahdar Yusuf Agha and Sultanzade Mehmed Pasha, enriched themselves with bribes and eventually usurped enough power to secure the execution of Grand Vizier Ḳara Muṣṭafā. Djindji Khodja became Kadiasker (High Judge) of Anatolia, Yusuf Agha was made Kapudan Pasha (Grand Admiral) and Sultanzade Mehmed became Grand Vizier.[8]

In 1644, Maltese corsairs seized a ship carrying high-status pilgrims to Mecca. Since the pirates had docked in Crete, Kapudan Yusuf Pasha encouraged Ibrahim to invade the island. This began a long war with Venice that lasted 24 years—Crete would not completely fall under Ottoman domination until 1669. In spite of the decline of La Serenissima, Venetian ships won victories throughout the Aegean, capturing Tenedos (1646) and blockading the Dardanelles. Kapudan Yusuf enjoyed temporary success in conquering Canea, starting a jealous rivalry with the Grand Vizier that led to his execution (January 1646) and the Grand Vizier's deposition (December 1645).

With his cronies in power, Ibrahim's extravagant tendencies went unchecked. He raised eight concubines to the favored position of haseki (royal consort), granting each riches and land.[10] After legally marrying the concubine Telli Haseki, he ordered the palace of Ibrahim Pasha to be carpeted in sable furs and given to her.[8]

Deposition and executionEdit

Mass discontent was caused by the Venetian blockade of the Dardanelles—which created scarcities in the capital—and the imposition of heavy taxes during a war economy to pay for Ibrahim's whims. In 1647 the Grand Vizier Salih Pasha, Kösem Sultan, and the şeyhülislam Abdürrahim Efendi unsuccessfully plotted to depose the sultan and replace him with one of his sons. Salih Pasha was executed and Kösem Sultan was exiled from the harem.[10]

The next year the Janissaries and members of the ulema revolted. On 8 August 1648, corrupt Grand Vizier Aḥmed Pasha was strangled and torn to shreds by an angry mob, gaining the posthumous nickname "Hezarpare" ("thousand pieces").[8] On the same day, Ibrahim was seized and imprisoned in Topkapı Palace.[9] Kösem gave consent to her son's fall, saying "In the end he will leave neither you nor me alive. We will lose control of the government. The whole society is in ruins. Have him removed from the throne immediately."[11]

Ibrahim's six-year-old son Meḥmed was made Sultan. The new Grand Vizier, Ṣofu Meḥmed Pasha, petitioned the Sheikh ul-Islam for a fatwā sanctioning Ibrahim's execution. It was granted, with the message "if there are two Caliphs, kill one of them." Kösem also gave her consent. Two executioners were sent for; one being the chief executioner who served under Ibrahim.[12] As officials watched from a palace window, Ibrahim was strangled on 18 August 1648. His became the second regicide in the history of the Ottoman Empire.

Personal lifeEdit


All of Ibrahim's Hasekis received 1,000 aspers a day except for Aşub Sultan who received 1,300 aspers a day.[13] Ibrahim gifted the incomes of Bolu, Hamid, Nicopolis Sanjaks, and Syria Eyalet to Aşub, Mahienver, Saçbağı, and Şivekar Sultans respectively.[14] He also lavished the treasury of Egypt upon Saçbağı and Hümaşah Sultans,[15] and presented the Ibrahim Pasha Palace to Hümaşah. His consorts were:


  • Mehmed IV (2 January 1642 – 6 January 1693) – with Turhan Sultan;
  • Suleiman II (15 April 1642 – 22/23 June 1691) – with Aşub Sultan;
  • Ahmed II (25 February 1643 – 6 February 1695) – with Muazzez Sultan;
  • Şehzade Murad (22 March 1643 – 16 January 1645) – with Ayşe Sultan
  • Şehzade Selim (19 March 1644 – October 1669) – with Saçbağı Sultan;
  • Şehzade Osman (August 1644 – 1646) – with Mahienver Sultan
  • Şehzade Bayezid (1 May 1646 – August 1647) – with Şivekar Sultan;
  • Şehzade Cihangir (14 December 1646 – 1 December 1648) – with Şivekar Sultan;
  • Şehzade Orhan (October 1648 – January 1650) – with Hümaşah Sultan.


Ibrahim had six daughters,[17] including the following :

  • Fatma Sultan (born 1642, Constantinople), married firstly, January 1645, Musahip Silahdar Yusuf Pasha (executed 22 January 1646), Admiral of the Fleet and Vizier, married secondly, 23 February 1646, Fazlı Pasha (died 1657), Admiral of the Fleet;[17][18]
  • Gevherhan Sultan (1642, Constantinople – 21 September 1694, Edirne, buried in Şehzade Mosque),[19] married firstly, 23 November 1646, Cafer Pasha, married secondly, Çavușzade Mehmed Pasha (died 1681), Admiral of the Fleet and Vizier, married thirdly on 13 January 1692, Helvacı Yusuf Pasha (died 1714);[17][18][19]
  • Beyhan Sultan (1645 – 5 March 1701, Istanbul, buried in Süleyman I Mausoleum, Süleymaniye Mosque),[20] married firstly, 1647, Hezarpare Ahmed Pasha (murdered 1648), Grand Vizier 1647-1648, married secondly, Uzun Ibrahim Pasha (died 1683), married thirdly on 13 March 1691, Bıyıklı Mustafa Pasha (died 1699);[17][18][19]
  • Atike Sultan[21] (died 1688, Constantinople, buried in Ibrahim I Mausoleum, Hagia Sophia Mosque), married firstly, 1648, Damad Sarı Kenan Pasha (executed 1659), Admiral of the Fleet, married secondly, 1659, Damad Mostarlı Ismail Pasha (died 1666, Erzurum), Beylerbey of Anatolia;[22]
  • Ayşe Sultan[23] (died Constantinople, buried in Ibrahim I Mausoleum, Hagia Sophia Mosque)[24] married in 1652, Damad Ermeni Süleyman Pasha (died 1687)
  • Ümmügülsüm Sultan[25](died Edirne, buried in Selimiye Mosque), married, 1653, Damad Abaza Mirahur Ahmed Pasha (executed 1656);[26]

At one point Ibrahim took a great liking to the infant son of a slave woman, to the extent of preferring the unrelated child to his son Mehmed. Turhan, Mehmed's mother, grew extremely jealous and vented her anger to Ibrahim, who flew into a rage and grabbed Mehmed from Turhan's arms and threw him into a pool. Mehmed would have drowned if a servant had not rescued him. He was left with a permanent scar on his forehead.[27]

In popular cultureEdit

In the Turkish series, Muhteşem Yüzyıl: Kösem he is portrayed by actor Ridvan Aybars Duzey as a prince and by Tugay Mercan as a Sultan.[28]


  1. ^ Singh, Nagendra Kr (2000). International encyclopaedia of Islamic dynasties. Anmol Publications PVT. pp. 423–424. ISBN 81-261-0403-1. Kosem Walide or Kosem Sultan, called Mahpaykar (ca. 1589-1651), wife of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmad I and mother of the sultans Murad IV and Ibrahim [q.vv.]. She was Greek by birth, and achieved power in the first place through the harem, exercising a decisive influence in the state
  2. ^ Sonyel, Salâhi Ramadan (1993). Minorities and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish Historical Society Printing House. p. 61. ISBN 975-16-0544-X. Many of these ladies of the harem were non-Muslim, for example Sultana Kosem (Anastasia), of Greek origin, who was the wife of Ahmet I (1603-17), and the mother of Murat IV (1623-40), and of Ibrahim (1640-8)
  3. ^ al-Ayvansarayî, Hafiz Hüseyin; Crane, Howard (2000). The garden of the mosques : Hafiz Hüseyin al-Ayvansarayî's guide to the Muslim monuments of Ottoman Istanbul. Brill. p. 21. ISBN 90-04-11242-1. Kosem Valide Mahpeyker, known also simply as Kosem Sultan (c. 1589-1651), consort of Sultan Ahmed I and mother of Murad IV and Ibrahim. Greek by birth, she exercised a decisive influence in the Ottoman state
  4. ^ Lucienne Thys-Senocak, Ottoman Women Builders. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006. Page 24
  5. ^ Baysun, M. Cavid (2012). Kösem Wālide or Kösem Sulṭān. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  6. ^ Gökbilgin, M. Tayyib (2012). Ibrāhīm. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  7. ^ Börekçi, Günhan. "Ibrahim I." Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Ed. Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Masters. New York: Facts on File, 2009. p.263.
  8. ^ a b c d Gökbilgin, "Ibrāhīm."
  9. ^ a b Baysun, "Kösem Wālide or Kösem Sulṭān"
  10. ^ a b Börekçi, p.263.
  11. ^ Quioted in Thys-Senocak, p.26.
  12. ^ Kohen, p. 142.
  13. ^ Thys-Şenocak, Lucienne (2006). Ottoman Women Builders: The Architectural Patronage of Hadice Turhan Sultan. Ashgate. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-754-63310-5.
  14. ^ Resimli tarih mecmuasi. Iskit Yayinevi. 1956. p. 229.
  15. ^ a b Çelebi, Evliya; Erkılıç, Süleyman Cafer (1954). Turk Klasikleri, Issue 34. p. 62.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Mustafa Çağatay Uluçay (2011). Padişahların kadınları ve kızları. Ankara, Ötüken. pp. 56–61.
  17. ^ a b c d Mustafa Çağatay Uluçay (2011). Padişahların kadınları ve kızları. Ankara, Ötüken. pp. 63–65.
  18. ^ a b c Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu mülkün kadın sultanları: Vâlide sultanlar, hâtunlar, hasekiler, kadınefendiler, sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. pp. 260–262.
  19. ^ a b c Silahdar Findiklili Mehmed Agha (2012). ZEYL-İ FEZLEKE (1065-22 Ca.1106 / 1654-7 Şubat 1695). pp. 1290, 1400, 1580.
  20. ^ Silahdar Findiklili Mehmed Agha (2001). Nusretnâme: Tahlil ve Metin (1106-1133/1695-1721). p. 461.
  21. ^ Cite error: The named reference Mustafa Uluçay2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  22. ^ Cite error: The named reference Necdet Sakaoğlu2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  23. ^ Cite error: The named reference Mustafa Uluçay4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  24. ^ Cite error: The named reference Necdet Sakaoğlu4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  25. ^ Cite error: The named reference Mustafa Uluçay3 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  26. ^ Cite error: The named reference Necdet Sakaoğlu3 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  27. ^ Thys-Senocak, p.25.
  28. ^ Muhtesem Yüzyil: Kösem (TV Series 2015– ), retrieved 13 October 2017

External linksEdit

Born: November 5, 1615 Died: August 12, 1648
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Murad IV
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Feb 9, 1640 – Aug 12, 1648
Succeeded by
Mehmed IV
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Murad IV
Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate
Feb 9, 1640 – Aug 12, 1648
Succeeded by
Mehmed IV