In the previous article we talked about Az-Zahir the Caliph, son of Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah (411-427 AH) (1021-1036 AD), who was the fourth Fatimid Caliph to rule Egypt while his age didn’t exceed the 16th, his aunt “Sitt Al-Mulk” was the actual ruler since he took over the rule until her death in (414 AH- 1023 AD) or in (415 AH-1024 AD).
The second phase of the governance of Az-Zahir the Caliph was after the death of his aunt; whereas he assigned the ministry to Najib Ad-Dawlah Ali Bin Ahmed Al-Gergaai- who according to what some historians mentioned- his hands were cut off due to the orders of Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah (404 AH-1013 AD).
Some historians mentioned that Az-Zahir was characterized by reason, generosity, forgiveness, with lots of friendships, insight and modesty. Moreover, “He removed all taxes that his father Al-Hakim renewed; he was just between his people, of good reputation, he was generous with the soldiers and the leaders…”
He also ordered to renew the church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem that Al-Hakim demolished; as Hassan Calipha mentioned: “Az-Zahir was a forgiving person, reasonable, and tractable, he also was able to acquire the compassion and love of the Dhimmi with his good policy, so they enjoyed religious freedom during his reign…
In addition, he concluded a treaty with the Byzantine Empire to strengthen the relations between the two countries. That treaty stated the renewal of the Resurrection church that his father Al-Hakim demolished in Jerusalem, in return for providing him with seeds.”
Az-Zahir cared for promoting the affairs of the country and refinement of agriculture, it was mentioned that in (417 AH- 1026 AD), an epidemic spread and infected some animals that were used in agriculture, so he issued a decree to prevent the slaughter of the healthy cows used to till the land in order to keep the work and agriculture.
Some of what he wrote to his people: “Allah, the Almighty-with all his grace and great wisdom- created cattle paths and made utilities to all the creation; so it’s a must to protect the cows specified for the cultivation of the land, utilized for the benefit of people, its slaughtering is the most corrupted act and a huge damage to the people and the country.”
The people responded to the Caliph and banned slaughtering of cows and the situation improved. Az-Zahir the Caliph also built Kasr Al Loloa that was considered one of the most beautiful palaces built in the Fatimid era. It was located besides the small western palace at Bab Al-Qantarah (the Gate of the Bridge); and it remained with its beauty and style until a wave of a high cost of living spread throughout the country during the reign of his son Al-Mustansir- discussing that era will come later. However some historians believe that many people had strong influence on the governance during the reign of Az-Zahir.
Ibn Taghribirdi mentioned: “Those who interfered in the governance during the reign of Az-Zahir were too many, and that was due to his young age and his weak physical appearance”
In (420 AH-1029 AD) Salih Ibn Mirdas Al-Kilabi rebelled against Az-Zahir and besieged Aleppo until he was able to take it over.
Ibn Taghribirdi quoted from Al-Muzaffar: “Things were better for him for a while (he meant Az-Zahir), so he assigned his deputies in Al-Sham until Salih Ibn Mirdas Al-Kilabi rebelled against him and seized Aleppo where Mortada Al-Dawla Abo (Nasr Bin) Lualua Al-Hamadani on the behalf of Az-Zahir was, Salih the mentioned above seized it until he took over.”
Moreover another person named Hassan Bin Mufrej the ruler of Ramle took over most of Al-Sham, Az-Zahir prepared an army and went to fight them until those battles were over in favor of Az-Zahir, Hassan was defeated and Salih was killed.
In (422 AH-1031 AD) Al-Kadir Bi- Allah the Abbasid Caliph died and Al-Qaim Bi-Amri llah was his successor.
In (427 AH-1035 AD) Az-Zahir sent money to fix Kufa River and connecting it with Euphrates River.
Abdel-Aziz Gamal El-Din mentioned that: “It was the 16th year of Az-Zahir Li-Azaz Din Illah the Fatimid Caliph rule in Egypt, in which Az-Zahir sent five thousand dinars to build a canal in Kufa in Iraq. The Abbasid Caliph didn’t give his permission till he consulted Sunni clergymen.”
At the same year Az-Zahir died of Ascites, his son Maad was his successor and he was nicknamed Al-Mustansir Bi-Llah to become the 5th Fatimid Caliph in Egypt…
Stories about Beautiful Egypt never end!
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center