A previous article tackled King Al-Kamel who annexed many countries to his rule: including Damascus, the Eastern countries, Mecca, the countries of Hijaz and Yemen. It came to happen that he fell ill after taking over Damascus, he died and was buried there. In his era, Jerusalem was destructed, the Franks were defeated in Al-Burullus battle, the Tatars emerged and destructed cities, killed and captive people, then they came to the Peninsula and Harran in 629 AH (1231 AD), and they spread killing and capturing people. King Al-Kamel and his brother Al-Ashraf met to ward off their danger.
In 631 AH (1233 AD), King Al-Kamel, his brothers, and Asad al-Din Shirkuh, the ruler of Homs, tried to enter Rome and seize it, so Al-Kamel advanced and fought the Romans, but he was defeated and returned to Amed. However, the Roman army headed towards Amed and besieged it for several days, then headed to Al-Suwaydaa and took possession of it in 632 AH (1234 AD); In the same year, a great epidemic swept across Egypt, killing more than thirty thousand people in one month!
In 633 AH (1235 AD), Al-Kamel managed, with his brother Al-Ashraf, to restore a number of countries from the Romans, including Harran, Edessa and others, and destroyed the castles of Edessa and Denisir, at that time they received a message telling them that the Tatars had crossed Tigris River and reached Sinjar. Likewise, that year witnessed an outbreak of the plague in Egypt, and it was said: “In this year, the great plague spread in Egypt and its villages; many of its people died to an excessive limit!”
In 634 AH (1236/1237 AD) the Tatars came to Irbil (an Iraqi city, the center of the Erbil governorate, and the capital of the Kurdistan region), and they managed to seize it and conquered it by force, its people were of no better fate than the rest of the cities, as it was said: “They killed everyone there, they insulted and disgraced the girls, and the wells and houses became graves for people.” In that year, a dispute began to emerge between the two brothers; Al-Kamel and Al-Ashraf, as Al-Ashraf demanded the city of Raqqa but Al-Kamel refused his request.
In 635 AH (1238 AD) King Al-Ashraf died, and was followed by King Al-Kamel, who was succeeded by his son Al-Adel in ruling Egypt. It was said about King Al-Kamel that he was: “virtuous, knowledgeable, magnanimous, majestic, loving for scholars, composer of good poetry, and preoccupied himself with knowledge… and the roads were safe in his time…” Also, it was said: “He was a great firm king, well-considered, well-managing for his kingdoms, chaste, forbearing, during his days the Egyptian lands were greatly constructed, he used to bring strange issues of jurisprudence and grammar, and would praise whoever answered him.” He built Al-Kameliya School (in Bein Al-Qasrin Street, next to the Sultan Barquq Mosque), and it is known as Al-Kameliya Mosque or Al-Kamel Mosque, and that was in 621 AH (1224 AD), and he also built the dome of Imam Al-Shafe’i.
A number of historians of ecclesiastical history mention that King Al-Kamel had great love for the Copts of Egypt, he allowed those who forcibly left their religion to return to it. The Copts of Egypt suffered when the Franks came to it, as they killed, expelled, and took many captives. Archpriest Manasseh Youhanna mentions that when the Franks were defeated: “The Copts rejoiced when they found the Muslims more sympathetic to them than the Franks had been to them, when King Al-Kamel saw that, he leaned towards them, drew them closer to him, elevated their position, and worked on what would comfort them”. It is mentioned that some of the princes arrested a number of monks and robbed their money, claiming that they were late in paying the annual tribute, and that money was all the monks had, so the monks submitted their complaint to King al-Kamel who considered their case and ordered the money to be returned to them. It was also said that: “He exempted the monks from the personal tribute, visited the monastery of Wadi al-Natrun himself, and inspected the conditions of the monks… In general, King Al-Kamel prevented the Copts from being harassed in any matter of their religion, and allowed them to build their churches… He permitted the opening of the churches that had been closed, and allowed them to perform their religious rites openly without hindrance.” King Al-Kamel rejected any bribe in order to nominate Dawoud bin Luqluq as patriarch to succeed Pope Youhanna VI (the seventy-fourth Patriarch of Alexandria), who departed in 1216 AD after a 27-year-papacy. But later, Dawoud bin Luqluq was the reason of the love of King Al-Kamel for the Copts being changed, and … stories about beautiful Egypt never ends!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center