Kadi Burhan al-Din

Kadi Burhan al-Din Ahmed ( _tr. Kadı Burhaneddin) was vizier and atabeg to the Eretnid rulers of Anatolia. In 783 AH (1381-1382) he took over Eretnid lands and claimed the title of sultan for himself. [J. Rypka, “Burhān al-Dīn, kādī ahmad”, "Encyclopaedia of Islam", ed. P. Bearman (Brill, 2007).] He was also a poet who wrote primarily in Persian. [Claude Cahen, "Pre-Ottoman Turkey: A general survey of the material and spiritual culture and history c. 1071-1330" (New York: Taplinger, 1968), p. 363.] He is most often referred to by the title “kadi“, or Islamic judge, his first position under the Eretnids.

Burhan al-Din justified his claim to the throne through descent from the Seljuks: his grandmother was the granddaughter of Kaykaus II. [J. Rypka, “Burhān al-Dīn, kādī ahmad”, "Encyclopaedia of Islam", ed. P. Bearman (Brill, 2007).] The Eretnid sultanate he inherited had a large Turkmen and Mongol population but also contained many of the older, established urban centers of the Seljuks of Rum and Ilkhanid Anatolia. The sultanate with its Persianized court class resembled these older states more than the Turkmen beyliks then ascendant in other parts of Anatolia. [Claude Cahen, "Pre-Ottoman Turkey: A general survey of the material and spiritual culture and history c. 1071-1330" (New York: Taplinger, 1968), pp. 362-3.]

The Kadi’s eighteen-year rule was not peaceful. He challenged the Tukmen Karamanids and twice fought Kötürüm Bayezid, Candaroğlu bey of Kastamonu. In 1387, he was defeated by the Mamluks of Egypt. The Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, accompanied by his vassal the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologos, campaigned unsuccessfully against Burhan al-Din in 1391. [Elizabeth A. Zachariadou, “Manuel II Palaeologos on the Strife between Bāyezīd and Kādī Burhān Al-Dīn Ahmad” "Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London", Vol. 43, No. 3. (1980), p. 471.] He met his end in 1398 at the hands of the Ak Koyunlu and was succeeded by his son Zayn al-‘Abidin, who ruled for a short time between 1398 and 1399. [Stephen Album, "A Checklist of Islamic Coins", 2nd ed. (1998), p. 114.] His türbe, or mausoleum, survives in Sivas. [Bernard McDonagh, "Blue Guide Turkey", 2nd ed. (London: A&C Black, 1995), p. 585.]

‘Aziz ibn Ardashir Astarbadi, a companion of Kadi Burhan al-Din, wrote a Persian language history of his rule called "Bazm-u Razm" which was edited by M. F. Köprülüzade in 1928. An analysis and commentary has been provided by H. H. Giesecke, "Das Werk des ‘Azīz ibn Ardašīr Astarābādi" (Leipzig, 1940).

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