Poet, benefactor and member of dynasty (B. 1 June 1826, Istanbul - D. 12 February 1899, Istanbul). She is the only woman poet to be raised among members of Ottoman dynasty. She is the daughter of Sultan Mahmut II and Kadın Efendi Zernigâr Hanım II. Her mother passed away a short time after her birth. Mahmut II gave his daughter the name “Adile” which reminds of his pen name “Adli”. Since Adile Sultan’s father passed away when she was thirteen years old, her brother Sultan Abdülmecit took care of her education. She had a decent education and learnt Arabic, Persian, literature, Sufism, music and calligraphy.
At the age of nineteen she married Mehmet Ali Pasha who was first Field Marshall of Tophane, later a Chief Admiral, a Seraskier and a Grand Vizier (Prime Minister). They were officially married to each other on the 28th of April 1845. In February of the next year they performed a magnificent wedding ceremony, which lasted one week. Âdile Sultan’s wedding ceremony passed to history as one of the most interesting events in Ottoman Palace in the 19th century. After marrying, Neşetabad Palace which was located at Fındıklı where today Mimar Sinan University stands was granted to Adile Sultan. She lived from time to time in the seaside residence in Kuruçeşme which remained of Esma Sultan and in other palaces in Kâğıthane, Çırağan, Validebağı and Kandilli.
Adile Sultan, who had her daughter Hayriye Sultan marry İşkodrah İşkodrah Mustafa Şerifî Paşazâde Rızâ Bey in 1865, became a widow in 1869, i.e. twenty-three years after her marriage. A short time after her husband Mehmet Ali Pasha, she also lost her daughter. Aside from her daughter she had another son and daughter called Hayriye Hanım Sultan. Adile Sultan’s son-in-law Müşîr Mahmut Ethem Pasha from the first marriage of Mehmet Ali Pasha was a famous musician to collect Turkish music repertoire and married Adile Sultan’s niece Rehâ Sultan.
Adile Sultan who belonged to the Nakşibendî order was spiritually attached to the Shaykh of Bala Lodge Ali Efendi (Death 1877), one of the spiritual guides of the order. She was known with her devotedness and beneficence. Her palace in Fındıklı became a place where scholars and spiritual figures often gathered and had conversations and people in need and poor people always asked for help. She passed away in this palace at the age of 73.She was inhumed in Hüsrev Pasha Tomb in Eyüp aside her husband Mehmet Ali Pasha. The foundation documents (a document to prove that the founder funded the foundation and decision of the judge) of fourteen foundations she established between 1851-92are present in Istanbul University Library.
A major part of Âdile Sultan’s poems are of religious and Sufi quality. These poems consisted of münâcât (poem containing prayers), na’t (poem to remember and praise the Holy Prophet Muhammad), mersiye (poem of praise about someone who passed away), and praise of Ehl-ibeyt (people of the house of the Holy Prophet Muhammad), ashab (people of conversation) and founders of Sufi orders. She also wrote poems about her father, husband, daughter and siblings, which are to be found in her divan. She reflected her feelings about her children and husband and her sadness to her poetry in an intensive way. Aside from prosody she also wrote poetry with syllabic meter. Even if there are some beautiful pieces among her poems such as “Tahassürname” and “İftirakname” she wrote for members of the dynasty who passed away before her, it cannot be said that she was a successful poet when compared with other Ottoman woman poets such as Mihri Hatun (?-1506), Fıtnat Hanım (1842-1911) and Leylâ Saz Hanım (1845-1936). There are rhyme errors and even metric errors in her poems.
Although Adile Sultan is less successful in terms of skills and technique she is important especially because of the light she set to Ottoman history. Another important characteristic of Adile Sultan is that she was the only woman poet in the Ottoman Dynasty to write a divan. She wrote parallels to Fuzuli and Şeyh Galib and poems with syllabic meters in the style of Yunus Emre. She also set light to the assassination of her brother Sultan Abdülaziz.
Adile Sultan collected poems of her grandfather of 10th generation Kanuni Sultan Süleyman and published it as a book titled “Divân-I Muhibbi”, but she did not publish “Divân-I Âdile” in which she collected her own poems. The best sample among various manuscripts of her divan, which is present in libraries such as Topkapı Palace Museum Library, Treasury Library, Millet Library, is in Istanbul University Library. Her divan later was published as “Adile Sultan Dîvânı”. Adile Sultan who also has compositions has a famous work titled “Gizlice şaha buyur, hâne-yi tenhâya buyur” in sofyan style and hicaz hümâyun maqam.
Adile Sultan was attached to her family, a religious and modest Ottoman woman. She pioneered women to open out of harem and was appreciated by people of Istanbul thanks to her beneficence and philanthropy. Sultan Abdülmecit purchased in Kandilli the estate and garden of Halil Rıfat Pasha, Field Marshall of Tophane, in order to build a palace for her sister Adile Sultan. However the palace could be built later by Sultan Abdülaziz in 1876. This palace (Adile Sultan Palace), was donated to Ministry of National Education by Adile Sultan personally before her death, in 1899, in order to build a girls school. Adile Sultan was also remembered with appreciation and praise by people because of her repairing schools and houses of poor people, efforts to educate children, bringing water to dry fountains and preparing marriage portions for young girls.