Audience in the Diwan-i-Khas granted to the French ambassador, the vicompte d'Andrezel by Sultan Ahmed III, 10 October 1724, in a contemporary painting by Jean-Baptiste van Mour.

A divan (Persian: دیوان, dīwān) was a high governmental body in a number of Islamic states, or its chief official (see dewan).



The winter Diwan of a Mughal Nawab.

The word is recorded in English since 1586, meaning "Oriental council of state," from Turkish divan, from Arabic diwan, is a Middle-Persian loan-word in Arabic and was borrowed also at an earlier date into Armenian[1] dīvān "bundle of written sheets, small book, collection of poems" (as in the Divan-i Hafiz), related to debir "writer." Sense evolved through "book of accounts," to "office of accounts," "custom house," "council chamber," then to "long, cushioned seat," such as are found along the walls in Middle Eastern council chambers. The modern French, Spanish, Italian words douane, aduana, dogana respectively (meaning "customs") also come from diwan.


The word first appears in the ninth-century descriptions of the caliphate of Omar I (A.D. 634-644). Great wealth, gained from the Muslim conquests, was pouring into Medina, and a system of business management and administration became necessary. This was copied from the Persians (whose Sassanid empire was being conquered and islamised under Umar) and given the Persian name divan. Later, as the state became more complicated, the term was extended over all the government bureaus.

The divan of the Sublime Porte was for many years the council of the Ottoman Empire. It consisted of the Grand Vizier, who presided when the Sultan was absent, and other viziers, kazaskers, nisanci, defterdar, and occasionally the Janissary Ağa.

The Assemblies of the Danubian Principalities under Ottoman rule were also called "divan" (see Akkerman Convention, ad hoc Divan).

In Javanese and related languages, the cognate Dewan is the standard word for chamber, as in the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or Chamber of People's Representatives.

Ministerial departments

In the sultanate of Morocco, several portfolio Ministries had a title based on Diwan:

  • Diwan al-Alaf: ministry of War.
  • Diwan al-Bar: 'ministry of the Sea', i.e. (overseas=) Foreign ministry.
  • Diwan al-Shikayat (or - Chikayat): ministry of Complaints.


"Divan" refers to two types of palatial buildings in Indian courts. They tend to occur in pairs in the Mughal imperial capitals; the most famous ones are in Agra Fort, but there are others in Red Fort, Delhi and Fatehpur Sikri and certain other princely capitals such as Amber and also in Lahore Fort Pakistan.


(Persian ديوان عام), also Divan-i-Aam. The court's Hall of Public Audience, where the ruler held mass audience. He would sit on his throne facing petitioners. His minister would assemble the petitions and refer them to the Dīwān-e-Khās for private audience.


(Persian ديوان خاص). A court's Hall of Private Audience, smaller than the Dīwān-e-Ām. Here envoys and other honored guests were granted a personal audience with the ruler. At Agra, the Dīwān-e-Khās was a small red sandstone building near the Dīwān-e-Ām.

Other Uses

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is a youth orchestra consisting of musicians from countries in the Middle East, bringing together young musicians from Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. It was founded in 1999 by the Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian-American academic and author Edward Said.

Sources and references

  1. ^ François de Blois, "Divan", Encyclopaedia Iranica; accessed February 10, 2007

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • divanələnmə — «Divanələnmək»dən f. is …   Azərbaycan dilinin izahlı lüğəti

  • divanələşmə — «Divanələşmək»dən f. is …   Azərbaycan dilinin izahlı lüğəti

  • DIVAN.TV — DIVAN.TV  это мультимедийный сервис интерактивного телевидения, созданный одноимённой компанией на Украине. Автором идеи и главным инвестором создания принципиально нового на рынке телекоммуникаций сервиса стал украинский венчурный… …   Википедия

  • DIVAN — ou D 壟W Mot d’origine persane (dev ) ou arabe (d 稜w n ) qui a désigné, d’une part un recueil de poésie (plus rarement un recueil de prose), d’autre part un registre et de là, peu après l’avènement de l’isl m, un bureau où étaient enregistrés les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • divan — DIVÁN, divane, s.n. I. Canapea fără spătar, pe care se poate şedea sau dormi. II. 1. (În Imperiul Otoman) Consiliu cu atribuţii politice, administrative şi juridice, alcătuit din cei mai înalţi demnitari; (în ţările româneşti) sfat domnesc. ♢… …   Dicționar Român

  • Dîvân — Divan Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Diván — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Este artículo incorpora texto de la Encyclopædia Britannica de 1911 (dominio público). Un diván es un tipo de mueble para sentarse, similar al sofá. Originalmente, en Oriente (especialmente en el Imperio Otomano), un …   Wikipedia Español

  • Divan — Di*van , n. [Per. d[=i]w[=a]n a book of many leaves, an account book, a collection of books, a senate, council: cf. Ar. daiw[=a]n, F. divan.] 1. A book; esp., a collection of poems written by one author; as, the divan of Hafiz. [Persia] [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • divan — 1580s, Oriental council of state, from Turk. divan, from Arabic diwan, from Pers. devan bundle of written sheets, small book, collection of poems (as in the Divan i Hafiz ), related to debir writer. Sense evolved through book of accounts, to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • divan — DIVAN. s. m. On appelle ainsi en Turquie Le Conseil du Grand Seigneur. Cela fut proposé au Divan …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

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