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Ghazali, Mehemmed (d. 1535)  

Ottoman erotic literature imitates Arabic and Persian. Most of it was composed for sultans and other dignitaries and frequently stresses the therapeutic value of . Most of this literature is tasteless and boring. The one major exception is the work of Mehemmed Ghazali, known as Deli Birader or "Stupid Brother."

Ghazali was a scholar and poet born in the second half of the fifteenth century in Bursa, where he later became professor of Sufism, although soon afterward he joined the court of Crown Prince Qorqud, son of Sultan Bayezid II (d. 1512), in Manisa near the Aegean coast of Turkey.

At the court of Crown Prince Qorqud, Ghazali composed a pornographic allegorical work in seven chapters called "The Repellers of Troubles and the Remover of Anxieties," which he dedicated to Piyale Pasha, who belonged to the Crown Prince's inner circle.

The style of the work is terse prose, punctuated here and there by witty poems composed according to the strictest rules of Muslim poetics. Linguistically, the book is very important because it contains vocabulary not found in ordinary literature. It was coldly received, however.

Nevertheless, Ghazali remained at court until the Crown Prince was executed in 1512 by his brother Selim I. Having returned to Bursa with the intention of settling down to a quiet life, his restlessness caused him to travel. His scholarship and poetry made him popular and he returned to teaching.

At some point, he moved to Istanbul, where he built a compound containing a garden, a mosque, a convent, and a bath house, which he turned into a pleasure house. The heavy traffic of boys made the neighbors uncomfortable, and city officials finally destroyed the compound.

The next time we hear of Ghazali he is in Mecca, where he rebuilt his compound, but no further information about him survives save that he died in 1535.

The main topic of "The Repeller of Troubles and the Remover of Anxieties" is sex. One of the poems extols the therapeutic value of intercourse, especially for gay men, for whom God created the anus to provide immeasurable pleasure. The second chapter contains the description of a contest between boy-lovers and woman-lovers, which at one point turns into a bloody battle.

"When the boy-lovers heard the woman-lovers disparage the asshole they gathered in flocks from near and far," and the conflict rages on, with penises as standards and testicles as maces. Needless to say, the boy-lovers carry the day! At the end of the contest, the leader of the woman-lovers is overcome and converts to the other camp.

The account of the contest ends with a praise of the anus: "Sometimes it opens up like a thousand roses and laughs, sometimes it closes like a rosebud and falls silent . . . ."

Shinasi Tekin


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   Related Entries
arts >> Overview:  Islamic Art

The apparent invisibility of homosexuality in the visual arts of Islam is no indication of its absence in the culture.

literature >> Overview:  Middle Eastern Literature: Arabic

The expression of male homoerotic sentiment is one of the dominant themes in classical Arabic literature from the ninth century to the nineteenth.

literature >> Overview:  Middle Eastern Literature: Persian

Over a period of two millennia, sodomy has been by turns condemned and celebrated in Persian literature.


Alpay, G. "Ghazali, Mehmed." The Encyclopaedia of Islam: New Edition. 4 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1965. 2:1042-1043.


    Citation Information
    Author: Tekin, Shinasi  
    Entry Title: Ghazali, Mehemmed  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 4, 2002  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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