The previous article tackled the caliphs of the Abbasid statel; Al-Zahir bi-Amr Allah, Al-Mustansir Billah, and Al-Musta’sim Billah, the last caliph, whose death marked the end of this state in the capital, Baghdad.
As for Egypt during that epoch, it witnessed many events. In previous articles, narration stopped at Al-Amir Bi Ahkam Allah (495-524 AH) (1101-1130 AD), who was killed by a group of the Nizaris. They ambushed him when he crossed a bridge, accompanied by a small group of his private guards as the bridge was narrow, they attacked him, stabbed him several times till he passed away, then he was succeeded by Al-Hafiz Li Din Allah.
Al-Hafiz Li Din Allah (524- 544 AH) (1130- 1149 AD)
He is the eighth Fatimid caliph in Egypt. His name is Al-Hafiz Li Din Allah Abu Al-Maimoun Abdul-Majid. He assumed the caliphate after the murder of his cousin Al-Amir Billah; Ibn al-Taghri mentions about his caliphacy: “Before Al-Hafiz assumed caliphate, the affairs of the Egyptian lands had been disturbed, because Al-Amir was killed without having a son but left his wife pregnant. The people of Egypt were disturbed, and said: “None of the people of this house dies except after having a son to succeed him. Al-Amir had his wife pregnant before his death, but the pregnant woman gave birth to a daughter, so caliphate converted to Al-Hafiz, as Al-Amir’s offspring was cut off.” Abu Ali Ahmad ibn al-Afdal became a minister for al-Hafiz, and was called the Commander of the Armies. Historians mention that the minister, the Commander of the armies, became more powerful, while the caliph was weakened, until the minister was killed; so Caliph Al-Hafiz regained his power and was given titles, and he was addressed on the pulpits.
When Caliph Al-Amir was killed, Al-Hafiz was imprisoned, until it was said: “They took him out and wasted the time until the pregnant wife of Al-Amir gives birth, if it would be a baby boy, he would assume the caliphate and Al-Hafiz would be ousted.” In that era, the de-facto ruler of the government affairs was Minister Ahmed ibn Al-Afdal, at a time in which Al-Hafiz had no authority other than the title only. And when a girl was born, Al-Hafiz continued to rule, but the real power remained in the hands of the minister, who made restrictions to Al-Hafiz and prevented him from appearance, he was said to be kept in a container to which no body was allowed except after getting permission from the minister. Likewise, Minister Ahmed seized what was in the palace, neglected addressing Bani Ubayd, and set himself in the Friday sermon as the awaited imam at the end of time, and ordered the preachers to invocate for him, he also set for himself titles, driving the princes, preachers and a number of Egyptians to hate him and were determined to kill him, and indeed they ambushed him and he was killed, then they called Al-Hafiz and renewed the pledge of allegiance to him. It was said about the minister, the Commander of the Armies that he was “chivalrous, brave, and high-spirited, like his father Al-Afdal, and his grandfather, Badr al-Gamali.”
After the minister, the Commander of Armies was killed, all the ministers who succeeded him were of bad conduct, including Abu al-Fath Yanis al-Hafizi, also nicknamed the Commander of the Armies, Bahram, then, Al-Hafiz took over the ministry himself until his death. It was also mentioned that Caliph Al-Hafiz was severely ill, and that he entrusted Suleiman, his eldest son, with the duties of the minister, but he died two months after his tenure, then his second son, Hassan, was nominated, but since he was disobedient to his father, Al-Hafiz; Al-Hafiz refused his request; then Al-Hassan turned against his father and was sent to the princes to seize power and arrest him, that it was said: “He made people covet what he would do for them in case he assumed what he desired, so several people fawned him (desiring to gain what he promised with), he corresponded with the princes. But they got back to themselves and thought that this shall not be done in the presence of his alive father who was the caliph then, so they wrote to his father otherwise.”; His father told him about the matter, so Prince Hassan killed a number of princes and seized what they had. Afterwards, he resorted to his father after he was subjected to pressure from the princes and soldiers, but they asked his father to kill him and they all stood against Caliph Al-Hafiz, threatening him to depose him and burn his palace; his father arranged to kill him at the hands of one of his doctors; Thus, they separated from the palace after verifying the death of the prince. And … stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center