ESʿAD EFENDİ, MEHMED (Moḥammad Asʿad Efendi; b. Istanbul, 10 Moḥarram 978/14 June 1570, d. Istanbul, 14 Šaʿbān 1034/21 June 1625), Ottoman religious figure and author of both Persian and Turkish poetry. He was the second son of the famous historian Saʿd-al-Dīn Efendi (d. 1008/1599), who came from a Persian family. After completing his elementary education with his father, Esʿad Efendi studied with the well-known scholar Mollā Tawfīq Gīlānī and then taught in various madrasas in Istanbul before embarking on a judicial career. In 1024/1615, after the death of his older brother, who was Šayḵ al-Eslām (head of the Ottoman religious hierarchy), he was appointed to succeed him. His first tenure in this position lasted seven years. His daughter was married to the Ottoman sultan Genç Osman (ʿOṯmān II; 1027-31/1618-22); after Osman’s assassination Esad Efendi resigned as Šayḵ al-Eslām, but he was reappointed by Murad IV (Morād IV; 1032-49/1623-40).
Esad Efendi was fluent in both Persian and Arabic. He left a Persian Dīvān, which survives in four manuscripts (MSS. Istanbul, Marmara University Library, Arabic no. 554; Ethics no. 1138; Oktür no. 799; Üsküdarlı no. 145). In addition, he translated most of Saʿdī’s Golestān into Turkish verse (Gol-e ḵandān, ed. S. Şevketbeyzade, Istanbul, 1292/1875) and wrote enough Turkish poetry to constitute a second Dīvān. He also wrote Feżāʾel al-jomʿa, on the virtues of Friday prayer, and translated Abū ʿĪsā Moḥammad Termeḏī’s (d. 279/892) Ketāb al-šamāʾel into Turkish. In Arabic he left a maṯnawī, and a taḵmīs (adding four hemistichs to each hemistich in the original) of Qaṣīdat al-borda.
M. M. Aktepe, “Es’ad Efendi,” İA IV, pp. 358-59.
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Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: January 19, 2012
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Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6, pp. 562-563