Gül Baba

Budapest, Hungary

Gül Baba

Gül Baba (died 1541), also known as Jafer, was an Ottoman Bektashi dervish poet and companion of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who took part in a number of campaigns in Europe from the reign of Mehmed II onwards.

A native of Merzifon (Marsiwān, in the vilāyet of Sivas, Anatolia), he was the son of Kutb’ül Arifin Veli’üddin İbn Yalınkılıç. In Hungary, Gül Baba is known as the "Father of Roses," a literal translation of the meaning of his names in Turkish; he is said to have introduced the flower to the country. However, this is likely a misunderstanding of the metaphorical meaning of the Turkish name, which referred to the dervish's status derived from his deep mystical knowledge of Allah. Roses, wild and domesticated, were already in Hungary by the time of the Ottoman invasion. The name could also be a corruption of Kel Baba, meaning "Bald Father".

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