The previous article tackled the sixth Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, Al-Musta’liBillah (487-495 AH) (1094-1101 AD), who assumed power after the death of his father, Al-MustansirBillah. The article presented the disputes and wars erupted between Nizar, the eldest son of Caliph Al-Mustansir, and the Minister Al-AfdalShahinsah, ended with Nizar’s death; then a schism occurred between Al-Musta’lis who followed Al-Musta’li and the Nizarians who supported Nizar.
The days of Al-Musta’li’s rule witnessed the Franks moving to seize the East until they reached Bayt Al-Maqdis; the armies went out to counter them. While in Egypt, historians mentioned thatin 489 AH (1096 AD), Al-Afdal organized the armies to reachBayt al-Maqdis which was under the rule of the Seljuks then, besieged it and fought them, it was said that its people helped him and opened their doors for him after being reassured security, while the Seljuks fled. In 492 AH (1099 AD), Al-AfdalShahinsah came to Bayt al-Maqdisonce again and besieged it, after he was informed that the Frankshad besieged it, he quickly led a large army of twenty thousand soldiers and arrived there on the following day of the Franks’ siege. He was not aware that the city had been already captured, fierce battles took place, in which Al-Afdal was about to be killed, and a great number of his soldiers were killed, as Ibn al-Taghri mentions: “The Franks chased and fought him, but he did not hold on, so he moved to Ashkelon after a large number of his companions were killed, so the Franks burned the area around Ashkelon and cut down its trees, and returned afterwards to Bayt Al-Maqdis.Al-Afdal returned to Egypt after issues occurred to him with the Franks.” Some historians also mentioned that Al-Afdal returned to Egypt via sea, leaving Ashkelon, and he did not fight the Franks himself again, but sent successive campaigns; In 493 AH (1099/1100 AD), and others mentioned: 494 AH (1100-1101 AD), Al-Afdal sent a great army to fight the Franks led by Saad al-Dawla al-Qawasi, and was engaged in ferocious battles in Ashkelon. A number of historians mentioned that it ended with the defeat of the Franks and the killing of a large number of them, while on the Egyptian side, only Saad al-Dawla al-Qawasi and a few soldiers were killed. It was said that Al-Afdal tried to unite the efforts of Egypt and Damascusto fight the Franks, but he passed away before fulfilling his purpose.
In 495 AH (1101 AD), Al-Musta’liBillah died, ending a period of seven years, two months and few days as Egypt’s ruler, Minister Al-AfdalShahinsah, the son of the Commander of Armies, was in charge of the state affairs, it was mentioned: “Al-Musta’li was of good temper in tending people, of good conduct on all levels, always residing in his palace as was the custom of his father, content with the best in what he wanted….” He was succeeded by his son, Mansour.
Al-Amer Bi AhkamEllah(495-524 A.H.) (1101-1130 A.D.)
The seventh Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, his name is Mansour, and was nicknamed Abu Ali, he is the son of Al-Musta’liBillah. He took over the rule at the age of five, and ruled for nearly twenty-nine years and nine months, being contemporary to the Abbasid Caliph Al-MustazhirBillah. Al-Hafiz Abu Abdullah Shams Al-Din Muhammad Al-Dahabiwrote about him: “He was a Rafidi like his fathers…of pride and mightiness, Al-AfdalShahinsash, the son of the Commander of the Armies, was the mastermind of the state affairs. He assumed power while a young boy, but when he grew up, he killed Al-Afdal and appointed Al-Mamoun Aba Abdullah instead, who was oppressive and of bad conduct, so Al-Amerarrested him in 519 AH (1125 AD), confiscated him, and then killed him.”
The days of Al-Amer Bi AhkamEllah witnessed the seizure of a number of cities at the hand of the Frank. Al-Dahabi mentions that they captured Acre in 497 AH (1103 AD), Tripoli in 502 AH (1108 AD), then Arqah in Lebanon and Baniyas. In 503 AH (1109 AD), they forcibly took the city of Beirut, followed by the seizure of Sidon in 504 AH (1110 AD). Then the Franks headed to Egypt, where they entered Al-Farma, but they did not reach Al-Arish. And … Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
20 October 2021