Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Turkish: pasa

Ismail Pasha

Ismail Pasha, ruler of Egypt 1863-1879.
The highest title for a person or an office in the Ottoman Empire. The title, when used for a person, was always together with his proper name, like the case for the person on the illustration: Ismail Pasha.
The title was used for military and officials in the administration, but never for any of the religiously learned. The title was also not hereditary, except in Egypt in the 19th century. In some rare cases, the title had been used even for women.
The title first occurred among the Seljuqs and came early in use under the Ottomans. The brother and son of the first bey (later sultan) Orhan, were called pasha.
The use of the title "pasha" continued for some time even after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, but was abandoned in 1934. In Egypt it survived until 1952.
In everyday conversation, Turks today use the title to mark their respect for a person they consider of very high status in the society.

By Tore Kjeilen