Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the Khalwati-Gulshani Order

Power Brokers in Ottoman Egypt


In Power Brokers in Ottoman Egypt, Side Emre documents the biography of Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the history of the Khalwati-Gulshani order of dervishes (c. 1440-1600). Set mainly in Mamluk-Egypt, and in the century following the region’s conquest by the Ottomans, this book analyzes sociopolitical dialogues at the geographic peripheries of an empire through the actions of and official responses to the Gulshaniyya network.

Emre argues that the members of this Sufi order exerted social and political leverage and contributed significantly to the political culture of the empire and Egypt. The Gulshanis are uncovered as unexpected figures among the roster of influential players, in contrast with empire-centered historiographies that depict Ottoman ruling and learned elites as the primary shapers and narrators of the fates of conquered provinces and peoples. The Gulshanis’ political and cultural legacy is situated within an analysis of perceptions of Sufism in the early modern Ottoman world.
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Biographical Note

Side Emre, Ph.D. (2009, University of Chicago), is Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University. She has published numerous articles on the history of the Khalwati-Gulshani Order and on the socio-political and religio-cultural history of the Ottoman Empire.

Review Quotes

Honorable Mention award in the 2018 OTSA Köprülü book prize competition

“Side Emre’s deeply researched and carefully argued study of one important figure, Ibrāhīm-i Gulshanī (c. 1442–1534), examines the political role of Sufism in the period of transition, and even up to the beginning of the seventeenth century.” Adam Sabra in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, published online 23 Februari 2018. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0041977X18000368

Table of contents

Notes on Transliteration and Dating

Chapter 1: Gülşenī’s Biography in the Hagiographical Imagination (ca. 846–916/1442–1510)
Chapter 2: Arrival in a Safe Haven: Gülşenī’s Early Years in Mamluk Egypt (913 or 916–923/1507 or 1510–17)
Chapter 3: Gülşenī’s Relationships with the Last Two Mamluk Rulers
Chapter 4: After the Ottoman Conquest: A New Life Begins (923–31/1517–25)
Chapter 5 :The Establishment of the Gülşeniye Lodge Complex (925–31/1519–25)
Chapter 6 :Heresy, Religious Innovation, and Law in Egypt (928–31/1522–25)
Chapter 7: Who is an Ideal Sufi? A Reconsideration of the “Heretical” Gülşenīs in the Context of the “Ottoman Way”
Chapter 8 :Later Egypt Years (930–31/1524–25) and the conflict between Gülşenī and Aḥmed Pasha
Chapter 9: Gülşenī’s Final Years and the Gülşeniye legacy (931–1019/1525–1610)
Chapter 10: Gülşenī’s Heirs and the Founder’s Legacy in the Eleventh/Seventeenth Century



The book has an interdisciplinary approach, addressing scholars and students in the field of Islamic studies, Sufism, the history of the Middle East, early modern Ottoman Empire, and Egypt.