|Spouse||Suleiman the Magnificent|
|Mahidevran Sultan or Gülbahar|
|House||House of Osman|
|Died||3 February 1581 (aged 80-83)
Bursa, Ottoman Empire
|Burial||Muradiye Complex, Bursa|
Mahidevran Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: ماه دوران سلطان, c. 1498 – 3 February 1581) was a consort to Suleiman the Magnificent and the mother of Şehzade Mustafa, Şehzade Ahmed and Raziye Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Mahidevran’s name (Turkish pronunciation: [ˌmaːhidevˈɾan ɟylbaˈhaɾ], Ottoman Turkish: ماه دوران) means "one who is always beautiful", "one whose beauty never fades" or "beauty of the times. Another meaning of her name is "Moon of Fortune." It was Suleiman who named her Gülbahar, with gül meaning 'rose' and bahar meaning 'spring' in Turkish and Persian.
Little is known of Mahidevran’s early life. Her ethnical background is a matter of controversy. She was either from Caucasus or from Albania. According to an interview with Saide Perizat Temrukoğlu, a descendant of Mahidevran, Mahidevran was the daughter of Temruk, a 16th-century Kabarday prince.  This interview supports the Caucasus-origin theory. It also puports that she had never been a slave girl.
Suleiman was still a şehzade ("Ottoman prince") and the governor of Manisa sanjak (then known as Saruhan) when she gave birth to Mustafa in 1515. When Selim I died in 1520, Suleiman moved to Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, along with his family to ascend the throne.
In the Istanbul harem, Mahidevran Sultan had a very influential rival, Hürrem Sultan, who soon proved to be Suleiman’s favorite consort as well as his legal wife. Hürrem gave birth to her first son Mehmed in 1521 (who died in 1543) and then Selim (future sultan Selim II) in 1524, destroying Mahidevran’s status of being the mother of the sultan’s only son. The rivalry between the two women was partially suppressed by Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman’s mother, but after her death in 1534, as a result of the bitter rivalry a fight between the two women broke out, with Mahidevran beating Hürrem. This angered Suleiman, who subsequently sent Mahidevran to live with her son.
Towards the end of Suleiman’s long reign, the rivalry between his sons became evident. Furthermore, both Hürrem Sultan and the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha turned him against Mustafa and Mustafa was accused of causing unrest. During the campaign against Safavid Persia in 1553, Suleiman ordered the execution of Mustafa.
For several years after her son’s execution, Mahidevran lived a troubled life. She moved to Bursa where her son’s tomb lay, but lived in poverty for she had almost no income of her own. The only person who helped her was her brother who was a pasha serving in Malatya. Her last years, however, were not in poverty, for Selim II, the new sultan after 1566 as well as her stepson, put her on a salary. She died in 1581.
Depictions in literature and popular culture
- "Ailesinin ağzından Mahidevran’ın hikâyesi". Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Suleyman the Magnificent 1495-1560
- Leslie P., Peirce (1993). "Wives and Concubines: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries". The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016-4314: Oxford University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-19-508677-5.
- An interview with Saide Perizat (Turkish)
- Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire
- Selçuk Aksin Somel: Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire, Oxford, 2003, ISBN 0-8108-4332-3, p. 123
- Lord Kinross: The Ottoman Centuries, (Trans. by Nilifer Epçeli) Altın Kitaplar, İstanbul, 2008, ISBN 978-975-21-0955-1 p. 233.