Last article tackled Al-AdidBillah, the last Fatimid caliph of Egypt, as well as Shawar, the governor of Upper Egypt, who defeated and killed Ruzaik bin Tala’i, and he became the Minister of Al-Adid. However, he misruled the country causing its affairs to deteriorate.Abu Al-AshbalDurgham bin Amerrevolted against Shawar; both fought until Durghamconquered and Shawar’s eldest son was killed. Shawar fled to the Levant, seeking the help of the sultan, Al-Malek Al-Adel Nur al-Din Mahmoud bin Zanki who responded by sending soldiers to Egypt led by Prince Asad al-Din Shirkuh bin Shadi al-Turki, and his nephew Salah al-Din bin Ayyub, they killed Durgham, restoring control over Cairo to Shawar. However, he sent to the Franks calling them to Egypt to fight Shirkuh in exchange for money! Ferocious wars were raged between the two sides, ending in reconciliation, Asad al-Din Shirkuh returned to the Levant. Shawarthough continued to misrule the country, so Al-Adid sought the help of King Nur al-Din against Shawar, he sent Asad al-Din Shirkuh again to Egypt accompanied by Salah al-Din bin Ayyub, they fought Shawarand the Franks, but their wars ended with reconciliation and the return of Shirkuh and Salah al-Din to the Levant, offering Franks and abundant money to King Nur Al-Din as an apology!
Things went worse in Egypt; The Franks demanded Shawar to allow their knights to be settled in Cairo and to control its gates, in addition to paying one hundred thousand dinars annually, so he responded to what they asked without informing Al-Adid of the treaties he had concluded with them. In 564 AH (1169 AD), the Franks returned to Egypt in an attempt to seize it. They came from the coast until they reached the city of Belbeis. Ibn al-Atheer states: “The Franks seriously walked to Egypt, they arrived there and fought the city of Belbeis, seizing it forcefully, at the beginning of Safar month, theyplundered it, killed and captured its residents…” Then they headed to Egypt and besieged it, but the people resisted them, lest they should attain the same fate as of Belbeis’ people. Ibn Al-Atheer continues, referring to burning Egypt: “On the ninth of Safar, Shawar ordered the burning and looting of Egypt, ordered its people to move to Cairo.They moved and stayed on the roads, the city was looted, its people became impoverished, and their money and grace went away one day before the Franks descended upon them, fearing that the Franks would seize it.The fire went ablaze;burning the city for fifty-four days urging Caliph Al-Adid to seek the help of Nur al-Din…”Nur al-Din sent armies led by Asad al-Din; IbnTaghri mentions: “Whenthe Franks reached Egypt the first two times, they studied its faults and lusted for them, being informed about that, Nur al-Din prepared the soldiers to protect Egypt, then he received letters from Shawar and Al-Adid, so Nur al-Din ordered Asadal-Din Shirkuh to take the soldiers and go to them, and he told Salah al-Din: “Go out with your uncle Asad al-Din”, but he refused saying: “Master, we have had enough troubles last time”. But Nur al-Din insisted that he would go out, Salah al-Din finally obeyed Nur al-Din…”
As for the Franks, upon receiving news of the armies’ arrival, they left Egypt and headed to the coast. Asad al-Din encamped with his armies at the gate of Cairo, he was called by Caliph Al-Adid, was appointedas a minister of the country and was called Al-Mansour. Some historians mentioned that Al-Adid did not summon him, but rather sent him the appointment order with money and other things. As for Shawar, he sought the help of the Franksand asked them to come to Damietta by land and sea. The nobles of the country heard about this and they reported it to Asad al-Din. IbnTaghri resumes: “Shawar was worried because of the late arrival of the Franks, so he thought about sending an invitation to the aforementioned Asad al-Din and his princes to arrest them. However, his son Al-Kamil forbade him…Shawar had assigned a third of the country’s money for Asad al-DinShirkuh. So, Asad al-Din sent asking him for the money, but Shawar kept delaying and procrastinating, waiting for the Franks to arrive; but Asad al-Din proactively killed him.”Thus, Asad al-Din took over the rule of the country for a two-month- period then he died. On his deathbed, he was reported to recommend his nephew Salah al-Din YussufibnAyyub (Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi) to assume the ministry. Indeed, he took over the ministry and was called Al-Malek Al-Naser and… Stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center