ḤOLWI, JAMĀL-AL-DIN MAḤMUD, biographer of the leaders of the Ḵalwati Sufi order and minor poet (b. Istanbul, 982/1574, d. 1064/1654). In 996/1588 at the age of fourteen, he performed the pilgrimage to Mecca with his father, Aḥmad Āqā, who was the head of the court confectioners (ḥalwāči-bāši), and his future Sufi shaikh, Ḥasan Ẓarifi Efendi. He returned to Istanbul after the pilgrimage and followed in his father’s footsteps and became a confectioner. During this time, he was appointed as a halberdier of the Imperial Chancery of State because of his passion for horsemanship. He resigned from this post in 1007/1599 to become the disciple of Shaikh Ḥasan Ẓarifi Efendi, having become attracted to Sufism after experiencing the recital of Rumi’s Maṯnawi and the performance of the Mevlevi whirling musical worship (samāʿ) at their Yenikapı Sufi lodge. Ḥolvi served as a disciple of Ẓarifi Efendi, before eventually becoming a shaikh himself. He then performed the pilgrimage to Mecca for a second time and visited Egypt on his way back, where he became a follower of Najm-al-Din Ḥasan Efendi, the head of the Golšani Sufi lodge and received from him the authorization to initiate others. When he returned to Istanbul, he began to preach at the Davud Pasha Mosque under the auspices of Ẓarifi Efendi. On the latter’s death, he became the shaikh of the Širvāni Sufi lodge (takia), a position which he held until his death in 1064/1654.

Works. Despite various interruptions to his studies, Ḥolvi was well-educated and proficient in Arabic and Persian besides Turkish. (1) His most famous work is Lamaẓāt-e ḥolviya az lamaʿāt-e ʿolwiya, a collection of biographies of the shaikhs of the Ḵalvati order. In addition to the biographies of 140 shaikhs from the past, he provides information on 52 shaikhs who were his own contemporaries. References in this work show that he made use of about fifty different Turkish and Arabic sources. Numerous manuscripts of the Lamaẓāt-e ḥolviya az lamaʿāt-e ʿolwiya can be found at libraries in Istanbul, and it has been translated into Modern Turkish (tr. Mehmed Serhan Tayşi, 1993). (2) Jām-e del-navāz, a translation of Lāhiji’s Persian commentary on Maḥmud Šabes-tari’s Golšan-e rāz. The sole surviving manuscript is held at the Istanbul Municipal Library (no. 2). (3) Divān. The sole surviving manuscript of Ḥolwi’s poetry collection, consisting of his Turkish poems, is held at the Yapı Kredi Bank Library (no. 126). Although sources claim that he also wrote a naẓira (a poem written to resemble another poem in form and subject) of Tašlıcalı Yaḥyā’s Ḵamsa (set of five works in the maṯnawi form), no copy of such a manuscript is extant.



Büyük Larousse Sözlük ve Ansiklopedisi (Grande Larousse dictionary and encyclopedia), Istanbul, 1986, I, p. 5418.

Ḥolwi, Lamaẓāt-e ḥolwiya az Lamaʿāt-e ʿolwiya, tr. Mehmet Serhan Tayşi, Istanbul, 1993, pp. 626-32 (autobiography).

Bursalı M. Tahir, Osmanlı Müellifleri (Ottoman authors) I, Istanbul, 1333/1917, p. 61.

Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Ansiklopedisi (Encyclopedia of Turkish language and literature), Istanbul, 1980, IV, p. 260.

(Tahsin Yazi)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 23, 2012

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