Husayn Pasha

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Husayn ibn Hasan
حسين باشا بن حسن

Pasha
Sanjak-bey of Gaza
In office
1644–1660
Monarch Mehmed IV
Preceded by 'Arab Hasan Pasha ibn Ahmad
Succeeded by Ibrahim Pasha ibn Husayn
In office
1661–1662
Preceded by Ibrahim Pasha ibn Husayn
Succeeded by Musa Pasha ibn Hasan
Personal details
Born Gaza
Died 1663
Istanbul
Children Ibrahim Pasha ibn Husayn
Shaqra Khatun (daughter)
Religion Sunni Islam
Military service
Allegiance Ottoman Empire
Commands Amir al-hajj

Husayn Pasha ibn Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn Ridwan ibn Mustafa ibn Abd al-Mu'in (Arabic: حسين باشا بن حسن رضوان‎‎) (died 1662/63) was the Ottoman governor of Gaza Sanjak, which extended from Jaffa and Ramla in the north to Bayt Jibrin in the east and Rafah in the south, with Gaza as its capital. His governorship began in 1644, when he succeeded his father 'Arab Hasan Pasha, until his imprisonment in 1662. He served intermittent terms as governor of Nablus and Jerusalem and as amir al-hajj. Husayn Pasha's rule was marked by a period of prosperity that temporarily established Gaza as the virtual capital of Palestine. He maintained amiable relations with the Bedouin tribes of the Negev, the local Christian communities and the French consul in Jerusalem. In 1662, Husayn Pasha was imprisoned by the Ottoman imperial authorities and was executed in his Istanbul prison cell later that year, or in 1663.

Biography[edit]

In the mid-17th century Husayn Pasha served as governor of Jerusalem and Nablus.[1] From 1524, his family, the Ridwan dynasty, had administered much of Palestine and parts of the Lebanon and Syria on behalf of their Ottoman superiors based in Istanbul and Damascus.[2] Husayn Pasha was also appointed amir al-hajj (commander of the Hajj caravan). This position entrusted him with provisioning and protecting the annual Hajj pilgrim caravan from Bedouin raids while the pilgrims traversed the desert route to Mecca in the Hejaz.[1]

Governor of Gaza[edit]

Husayn inherited the governorship of Gaza from his father 'Arab Hasan Pasha following the latter's removal from the post in 1644. Prior to the assumption of this post, Gaza was in an impoverished economic state and the Ridwan family was greatly indebted.[1] In 1656, the Ottoman central authorities, wary of Husayn Pasha's overarching influence in Palestine, attempted to implicate Husayn Pasha in a corruption scandal regarding unclear cash and property transactions in a Nablus-based meeting between himself, his brother-in-law Assaf Pasha, a group of notables from Jabal Nablus and an Ottoman official from Istanbul, Ismail Pasha. According to testimonies from that time, a group of village headmen from Jabaliya apparently harmed by the Nablus deal went to Damascus to lodge a complaint to the authorities against Ismail Pasha, but were then advised by the Ottoman authorities in Damascus to file the complaint against Husayn Pasha, in an effort to undermine the latter's credibility.[3]

To restore Gaza's failing commerce sector, Husayn Pasha obtained a large loan from the French consul in Jerusalem, Chevalier d'Arvieux.[4] When pressed to pay in 1659, Husayn made strenuous efforts to produce the funds and promptly paid back d'Arvieux in a meeting in the town of Ramla. D'Arvieux then proceeded to lavish fine robes and cloth to show his gratitude to Husayn Pasha.[5] Husayn Pasha maintained a positive reputation among the Bedouin tribes who largely dominated the desert areas surrounding Gaza. This relationship resulted in a drastic fall in the previously routine armed conflict between the nomadic Bedouin and the settled population of Gaza and the nearby towns.[1] According to his contemporary biographer, Muhammad Muhibbi, Husayn Pasha was able to subdue the Bedouin tribes and gain their cooperation.[6] The Bedouin tribal chiefs reportedly visited his court in Gaza to pay their respects. According to historian Martin Abraham Meyer, Husayn's influence over the Bedouin was "marked" and they ended their plundering campaigns against the city, allowing its economy to grow unhindered.[5]

A more able governor than his predecessor, Husayn Pasha was able to restore the Ridwan family's wealth, and Gaza entered into a period of prosperity. The status of the city was elevated to the point that d'Arvieux described it as the capital of Palestine.[2][5] Husayn Pasha's rule over Gaza was considered beneficent,[7] and according to Meyer "all things prospered under his rule."[5] Economic activity at the time was principally agricultural and centered on the cultivation of grain. While industry was primitive, Gaza became a principal manufacturer of soap and wine.[7] Husayn was well known throughout Palestine for his many charities and hospitality.[5]

In addition to the majority Muslim population, there existed large communities of Jews and Christians who thrived under Husayn's administration.[5][7] Husayn maintained friendly relations with the various Christian communities in Palestine as well as the French missionaries. Unusual at the time for a Muslim ruler, he allowed local Christians to build a church near the Great Mosque of Gaza, repair already existing churches throughout the province and construct hospices.[5]

He appointed his son Ibrahim as governor of Jerusalem and later on handed over to him his post as governor of Gaza, the Ridwan dynasty's stronghold. He retained the office of governor of Nablus and continued to command the annual Hajj pilgrimage from Damascus to Mecca. Husayn Pasha restored himself as governor of Gaza in 1661 when Ibrahim was killed in an Ottoman-ordered punitive expedition against Druze rebels in Mount Lebanon.[1]

Imprisonment and death[edit]

Anonymous petitions were sent to the Ottoman capital Istanbul decrying his leadership of the Hajj caravan, which was enough to serve as an excuse for the Ottoman authorities to have him deposed. While stopping at the Muzayrib fortress en route to Mecca, Husayn Pasha was arrested and sent to a Damascus prison. Shortly after, Husayn Pasha was transferred to Istanbul where he was killed while incarcerated in 1662-63.[1] Historian Jean-Pierre Filiu asserts that Husayn Pasha was executed in the Damascus citadel in 1662.[8] Mourning Husayn Pasha's death, the Damascene poet Abd as-Samman al-Dimashqi wrote:

"He committed no crime, but these are days of envy's rule. Chained inside a dungeon cell, they feared him as one would fear a sword in its scabbard."[3]

Husayn Pasha was succeeded by his brother Musa Pasha.[1] According to historian Dror Ze'evi, "the Ottomans must have assumed that by killing Husayn Pasha, they ... would eventually be able to destroy the remnants of the extended dynasty."[3] Members of the Ridwan family continued to govern Gaza consecutively, but from a weakened position and with considerably less political influence.[8] The last Ridwan governor was Musa Pasha's son Ahmad Pasha who ruled until 1690.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Traits[edit]

While Muhibbi describes Arab Hasan Pasha as a reckless "spendthrift and hedonist", Husayn Pasha was described as a "paragon of perfection". Muhibbi claimed Husayn Pasha was handsome, noble and cultured and "a man of deeds whose reputation preceded him". Although Husayn Pasha was illiterate, he memorized several books of Arabic poetry and prose. He was further described as a "resolute leader" in war and politics.[6]

Family[edit]

Husayn Pasha had a number of children, including adopted children who were related to him. His son Ibrahim was killed in combat in 1661. He adopted his late sister's son Farrukh whose deceased father, Ali ibn Muhammad Farrukh, had been a leading amir himself.[10] Husayn Pasha's daughter Shaqra Khatun was married to the amir Assaf Pasha.[11] Husayn Pasha had 85 siblings, most notable among them was Husayn's successor, Musa Pasha.[12]

According to historian Theodore Dowling, Husayn's serai, today known as Qasr al-Basha, was lavishly furnished and stood in the middle of a garden. One of the servant families were the Frangi who were of Greek Catholic origin, but converted to Islam. Assalan Frangi was Husayn Pasha's office secretary.[2][5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ze'evi 1996, p. 41.
  2. ^ a b c Dowling 1913, pp. 70-71
  3. ^ a b c Ze'evi 1996, pp. 58-59.
  4. ^ Meyer 1907, p. 97.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Meyer 1907, p. 98.
  6. ^ a b Ze'evi 1996, p. 53.
  7. ^ a b c Mattar 2005, p. 171.
  8. ^ a b Filiu 2014, p. 27.
  9. ^ Filiu 2014, p. 28.
  10. ^ Ze'evi 1996, p. 46.
  11. ^ Ze'evi 1996, p. 47.
  12. ^ Ze'evi 1996, p. 48.

Bibliography[edit]