Was the relationship between Murat IV and his mother Kosem Sultan really bad? Did Kosem Sultan intervene a lot when her son assumed absolute power?

  • 5
    Welcome to HistorySE, What has your research shown you so far? Where have you already searched? What did you find? Please help us to help you. You might find it helpful to review the site tour and help center, and in particular, How to Ask. May 2, 2019 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


Murad IV and his mother Kosem Sultan maintained a working relationship throughout his reign. Even after he started to exert his authority from around 1628 (when he was 16 years old), he still sought her advice and she was trusted enough to effectively act as regent during his frequent absences while campaigning.

At the same time, she was frustrated at her diminished influence and was only sometimes able to successfully intervene in her son's decision-making.

Kösem Sultan, mother of Murad IV (reigned 1623-40) ruled as his regent for nine years during his minority until he sidelined her in 1632, forcing her into the background. Despite this, she retained some influence over her son and did continue to advise him. For example, Murad

ordered the execution of Kara Celebi zade Abdul Aziz Efendi, one of the greatest scholars of the time, because as kadi of Istanbul he was held responsible for a shortage of butter in the city. Only the last-minute intercession of the queen mother saved him.

Source: History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Volume 1, Empire of the Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire 1280-1808

Murad IV also wanted to execute his younger brother Ibrahim, who later succeeded him as Sultan, but the intervention of the sons' mother saved him. He also took her advice to execute the Chief Mufti, Ahizade, in 1634.

Murad was an active and energetic sultan who was frequently away campaigning. During these times, he

trusted her to look after his interests during his absences from the capital

Source: Leslie Pierce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire

Nonetheless, her influence was limited and Murad

was vigilant in monitoring the boundaries of his mother's authority.

Source: Pierce

For Kosem Sultan, her reduced influence as her son grew older and exercised more control was a source of frustration, but she was resigned to it. Pierce notes that

In one letter to the grand vezir, Kosem indicates that she is very troubled about Murad's health. we can sense her frustration at her inability to exercise direct influence on important decisions:

How much her concern for Murad's health was due to the feelings of a mother for her son as opposed to her fear as to what might happen to her should her son die is open to debate (especially given her role in her other son's death - see below). In short,

The few indications of the relationship between Murad and his mother suggest a modus vivendi in which each respected the other's formal role.

Source: Pierce

Kösem Sultan was a survivor (until she overplayed her hand in 1651 when trying to depose her grandson Mehmed IV) and a pragmatist who, despite being ambitious and manipulative, knew when to stay in the background. She also evidently possessed great persuasive skills, having previously saved the life of a brother-in-law during the reign of her husband Ahmed I (reigned 1603-17). When Murad IV died, she regained her former position of influence as her younger son Ibrahim was mentally unstable - until, that is, she plotted to remove him (1647), whereupon she was banished only to later agree to the execution of Ibrahim when he was finally overthrown (1648).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.