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a. a Muslim law court, council chamber, or counting house
b. a Muslim council of state
2. a collection of poems
3. (in Muslim law) an account book



(1) During the rule of the caliph Omar (634-644), divan appeared as a register of the state income that was to be distributed among groups of the ruling class and used to pay soldiers, as well as the place where these registers were kept.

(2) Under the Ommiad and the Abbasid caliphs and in a number of other medieval Muslim states divan came to denote the department of taxation and finance; the term was also applied to other government institutions.

(3) The council of the Turkish sultan consisting of the grand vizier, the head of the Muslim priesthood, and several other high officials.

(4) The state council of the rulers of Moldavia and Wallachia that existed prior to the unification of these principalities in 1859.

(5) In some modern countries of the Muslim East, divans are government institutions for administrative and judicial affairs.


“Diwan.” Encyclopedic de I’slam, 2nd ed., vol. 2. Leiden-Paris, 1965. Pages 332-47.



in the classical literatures of the Middle East, a collection of the poetry of one author. The poems in the divan are usually arranged in alphabetical order by rhyme (according to the last letter of the rhyme). The works are not dated and, as a rule, do not have titles. Also, the first line of each poem often does not identify the work since in classical poetry each bayt (distch) is a complete idea, and, in rewriting, bayts can easily be transposed.


Krymskii, A. E. Istoriia Persii, ee literatury i dervishskoi teosofii. Moscow, 1900-07.
Krymskii, A. E. Istoriia arabov i arabskoi literatury. Moscow, 1912.


1. In Muslim countries, a council room or hall for a court of justice.
2. A smoking room.
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