In the previous article, we talked about Al-Aziz Othman, the king of Egypt, and the disputes that occurred with his brother Al-Afdal because of the mismanagement of the minister of Al-Jazari and his irresponsible deeds. Al-Afdal moved from the rule of Damascus to Sarkhad, then, after a while, Al-Aziz returned to Egypt and ruled it until his death in 595 AH (1198 AD) in a hunting accident in Fayoum.
Al-Aziz had previously bequeathed the matter of rule Egypt to his son, Nasser Al-Din Muhammad, who was ten years old at the time, but the historian Ibn Taghri mentioned: “Historians disagreed upon who would rule Egypt after the death of King Al-Aziz Othman, the son of Sultan Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi); Some recommended his bother Al-Afdal Nur al-Din Ali bin Salah al-Din Yusuf bin Ayyub, while others went for his son, King Al-Mansur Muhammad, and the latter was the overweighing choice as he was appointed by his father, Al-Aziz to succeed him in ruling”. Historian Shams Al-Din Yusuf mentioned that the state leads agreed upon appointing the son of Al-Aziz, Nasser Al-Din Muhammad, but Saif Al-Din Azkush, the lead of Al-Asadiyah (followers of Asad al-Din Shirkuh) suggested summoning al-Afdal from Sarkhad to manage the affairs of the country, and they could not oppose him. So, Saif Al-Din Azkush summoned Al-Afdal, while the Salahiya (or Nasiriyah followers of Al-Nasser Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi) princes, who supported King Al-Adel in his movements and battles sent to their friends asking to prevent Al-Afdal from coming to Egypt, but they were unable to do so and Al-Afdal came to Egypt. Al-Asadiya advised Al-Afdal to go out to Damascus and restore it under his rule, since his uncle Al-Adel was busy besieging the castle of Mardin.
Al-Afdal marched, leading the Egyptian soldiers towards the Levant, and delegated Saif al-Din Azkush to govern Egypt. Upon the arrival of Al-Afdal in Damascus, his uncle, Al-Adel, left the castle, leaving its siege to his son Al-Kamel, heading to the Levant. Many quarrels occurred between Al-Afdal and Al-Adel, which ended with both of them departing to Egypt; they fought and Al-Afdal was defeated. Ibn Taghri mentions: “Saif al-Din Azkush mediated between Al-Adel and Al-Afdal, and they agreed that Al-Adel would give him Meyafarikin, Jabal Jur and Diyar Bakr, and take Egypt. So they agreed upon that”. Al-Afdal left Egypt, and Al-Adel entered Cairo, then he summoned his son Al-Kamel to Egypt and he arrived there in 595 AH (1195 AD). Afterwards, Al-Adel gathered the jurists and asked them about the validity of the guardianship of the young Al-Mansur Muhammad, but they invalidated it. He interrupted invocation for Al-Mansur and ordered invocation to be raised for him and his son Al-Kamel after him in 596 AH (1200 AD); From that time on, Al-Adel was considered ruler of Egypt, so that the period of Al-Mansur Muhammad’s rule over Egypt was one year and nine months, since the day of his father’s death until he was deposed and Al-Adel and his son Al-Kamel took over the rule. In that year, Egypt went through calamities due to the decreased waters of the Nile, the drought of the lands, and the high prices. Anba Sawiris Ibn Al-Muqaffa tells us about that era, saying: “And he (King Al-Adel) appointed as a minister a man from the tribal Damira people called Abdullah bin Ali…, called him Al-Qadi Safi Al-Din, Al-Saheb and handed him Egypt and the Levant, he took independent rule of them both, began to use, spend, order and prohibit, that King Al-Adel became unauthorized to do anything except after having Al-Qadi’s permission…” Then he tells us what happened in 597 AH (1200-1201 AD): the caliphs of Egypt used to disburse alms to the needy in Egypt and salaries to relatives and foreigners, their bounties reached all people, so the poor and the rich, the strong and the weak were equal. However, Minister Safi Al-Din ordered this money to be cut off, driving the country into bad conditions, and …. stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center