Ahmad ibn Ridwan

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Ahmad ibn Ridwan (Arabic: أحمد بن رضوان‎) (died 1607) better known as Ahmad Pasha was the governor of the Vilayet of Damascus in the early 17th century. Before that, he was governor of the Sanjak of Gaza, a subprovince of Damascus under the Ottoman Empire.

Governorship of Gaza[edit]

Ahmad Pasha was the son of Ridwan ibn Mustafa Pasha who founded the Ridwan dynasty which governed southern Palestine for nearly two centuries. Ahmad acquired the governorship of Sanjak Gaza in 1585 following the death of Ridwan Pasha in Anatolia. Ahmad chose Gaza to be the center of his Ridwan dynasty. He continued his relatively autonomous rule of the district—which at times included Jerusalem and Nablus in central Palestine—until 1605. During this period, he was also given the honorary role of amir al-hajj by the Ottoman state.[1]

Arab biographer Muhammad Muhibbi described Ahmad Pasha as a "courageous" and "brilliant" man with a great understanding of history and science. Poets of the time wrote songs praising his knowledge. During his rule as Gaza's governor, the city became a cultural center. Its religious significance was boosted by the governor's scholarly attitude and by the influence of his close friend and adviser Khayr al-Din al-Ramli, an important Islamic jurist in the region who he befriended in 1603.[2][3]

Governorship of Damascus[edit]

Unlike his father, Ahmad Pasha had to lobby for the position of beylerbey ("provincial governor") of the Vilayet of Damscus. According to Arab historian Rifaat Abu al-Haj, Ahmad had to send to gifts and large sums of money to "countless vezirs and bureaucrates in the Ottoman capital Istanbul before being awarded the province in 1601.[1] During his rule, Ahmad Pasha became a patron of Muslim jurists and is known to have regularly consulted the 'ulema, high-ranking Muslim scholars, on provincial affairs.[2][4] Abu al-Haj wrote by the time he had gained the governorship of Damascus, Ahmad had grown old. He died, while still in power, in 1607.[1] Following his death, Ahmad's son Hasan "'Arab" Pasha inherited the governorship of Gaza and took part in putting down the revolt of Fakhr-al-Din II in modern-day Lebanon.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ze'evi, 1996, p.40
  2. ^ a b c Ze'evi, 1996, p.53
  3. ^ Fay, 2006, p.13.
  4. ^ Ze'evi, 1996, p.71


  • Fay, Mary Ann (2002). "Biography as History: The Exemplary Life of Khayr al-Din al-Ramli". In Mary Ann Fay. Autobiography and the construction of identity and community in the Middle East. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 9–18. ISBN 978-0-312-21966-6. 
  • Ze'evi, Dror (1996). An Ottoman century: the district of Jerusalem in the 1600s. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-2915-6.