The previous article continued tackling Al-Musta’li Billah and the Franks’ march towards the East during his reign, then Al-Amer Bi ahkam Allah (495-425 AH) (1101-1130 AD) took over the affairs of state after the death of his father, Al-Musta’li Billah, whose days witnessed the Franks increasingly seizing a large number of cities in the East, followed by them heading towards Egypt. They entered Al-Farama, but they did not reach Al-Arish. It was mentioned about Al-Amer that he did not resist the Franks at all, so it was said about him: “He was negligent in the matter of conquest and battling until the Franks seized most of the coasts and fortresses during his days. Although his father Al-Musta’li faced the same too, as Al-Quds (Bayt Al-Maqdis) was captured during his days, yet Al-Musta’li cared about fighting the Franks and sent Al-Afdal bin Badr Al-Jamali, the Commander of Armies leading soldiers, yet they arrived a day after the seizure… On the contrary, Al-Amer did not even rise to fight the Franks, although he had sent soldiers with the fleet, but it is like nothing.”!
Several incidents took place during the days of Al-Amer, including: a great earthquake occurred in Baghdad in 511 AH (1117 AD), as a result of which houses collapsed over their occupants and many people died. Then the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutazhir Billah died in 512 AH (1118 AD), after ruling for twenty-five years, and was succeeded by his son, Al-Mustarshid. In 513 AH (1119 AD), a severe dispute erupted between Al-Amer and his minister Al-Afdal, the son of the Commander of Armies. Ibn al-Taghri mentions: “…Al-Amer hid himself from Al-Afdal on the pretext of an illness. Al-Afdal sought to poison him but he could not, as he put poison in food several times but it did not reach him. Al-Amer had a housekeeper; a virtuous writer, who had knowledge of the types of sciences: medicine, stars and music, that she used to make transformations: (maybe it means transformations of the earth: so she plants in a year and takes a rest for another year), and she judges incidents (having wisdom, foresight, and good act), so she protected Al-Amer from Al-Afdal while still plotting against Al-Afdal, the son of the Commander of Armies, until he was killed…” Al-Afdal was killed in 515 AH (112 AD), after Al-Amer plotted with a group of men to kill him during walking without a procession. Al-Ma’moun Aba Abdullah bin Al-Bata’ehi was appointed a minister afterwards, but he was oppressive and abuser, so Al-Amer arrested him in 519 AH (1125 AD), confiscated his money and killed him in 522 AH (1128 AD).
In 524 AH (1130 AD), Al-Amer bi Allah was assassinated; Historians mention that he was killed one day after leaving Cairo, heading to the Island of Al-Rawda: Al-Dahabi mentions: “He left Cairo one day in Dhu al-Qadah, crossed the bridge to the island; where a group of armed men ambushed him. Upon crossing, he was attacked with their swords, but a small group managed to bring him back to the palace enfeebled with wounds, but he died…”,Abu Al-Mudhaffar also mentions: “He left Cairo and came to the island and crossed a part of the bridge when some people jumped on him and attacked him with swords… So he was carried in a boat to his palace and died that night.” Some historians mentioned that it was Al-Afdal’s servants who killed Al-Amer, while others think that they were a group of Nizarians: Ibn Al-Taghri mentions that Al-Amer was wanted by a group of Nizar’s associates (uncle of Al-Amer), who was killed by his father Al-Musta’li after the battles of Alexandria – which were mentioned previously – because of Al-Musta’li- and then Al-Amer’s seizing the caliphate. News reached Al-Amer that there is a group of Nizarians arrived at Cairo, seeking to kill him; so they ambushed him while he was crossing the bridge accompanied by a small group of his private guards due to the narrowness of the bridge, so they met him and stabbed him several times that killed him, while those who stabbed him were killed.
As for the biography of Al-Amer, according to Abu Al-Muzaffar, it “was worsened by oppression, arbitrariness (violence and usurpation) and confiscation (seizure) … that people rejoiced at his killing.” Shams Al-Din bin Khalkan mentioned: “Al-Amer was of bad opinion, unjust and unfair, reckless, pretentious and haughty with amusement and games… He was of bad conduct, oppressed people and seized their money, shed blood, committed taboos, and approved the ugly things, that people rejoiced at his killing.” He was succeeded by Al-Hafiz Li-Din Allah. And … Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center27 October 2021