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Islamic History In Egypt

When Islam entered Egypt after the defeat of the Romans on the hands of the Arabs, most Egyptians converted to the new  religion while some Egyptians remained Christians. The conversion came as a normal result of the Arabs' virtues seen by Egyptians as the touch of  Islam on them, in fact conversion happened gradually throughout years of Islamic rule. When Amr Ibn El Aas, the Arabian army leader, conquered the Romans he assured people that  their lives and belongings will not be touched, they will be safe in their homes. The Egyptian patriarch was hiding in fear of the Roman suppression because of his beliefs, since the Islamic conquer, he got out of his hiding to practice his authority fearlessly.

Actually, Egypt welcomed Arabs as religion callers, peace and good patrons. Amr Ibn El-A'as and his soldiers entered Egypt and struggled with the Romans, who occupied Egypt and Syria and caused their people all sorts of misfortune. That is why, so many of the Egyptians back then, joined the Islamic troops against the Romans, since they found in Islam, the freedom and dignity that they have missed during the Byzantine ages that someone of them said: "The history did not realize more merciful invaders than the Arabs".

The commitment of the Egyptians in early ages with Islam, and the engagement of their history with the Islamic ideology, have strengthen the most powerful tie, and strongest relations between them and their faith. The thing that helped them a lot in their struggle against all the hard challenges, and the invaders campaign from Tatar and crusades and the escape of the invaders throughout the history. Also, this helped them to maintain their Islamic ideology and the great Islamic culture, heritage and tradition.

Amr had chosen Al Fustat as the capital of Islamic Egypt because a canal connected the city to the Red Sea, which provided easy access to the Muslim heartland in the Arabian Peninsula. He initiated construction of Cairo's oldest extant mosque, the Amr ibn al As Mosque, which was completed in 711. On the orders of the Khalif Omar, a town was built beside the fortress of Babylon called Fustat. It was from Fustat, instead of Alexandria, that Egypt was administrated as a province of the Khalif, first the Khalifs in Medina, then the Ummayyads in Damascus followed by the Abbasids in Baghdad. From the conquest 642 A.D. until 868, Egypt was a province ruled either from Medina, Damascus or Baghdad, but from that time, 868, Egypt gained a sort of an autonomy when two dynasties the Tulunids followed by the Ikhshids ruled Egypt as a separate country until the Fatimids.

Egyptian history was intimately involved with the general political development of Islam, whether unified or divided into warring states. Under the Umayyad caliphate many of the people continued their adherence to Coptic Christianity despite the special tax exacted from infidels. Eventually, the settling of colonists from Arabia and the increased conversion of peoples to Islam reduced the Christian population to a small minority. The Greek and Coptic languages went out of use, and Arabic became the predominant language. In 750 AD, Marawan II, the last Umayyad caliph was killed and the city of Al-Fustat was seized by Abbasid general Saleh.

The Abbasid are descendents of Al-Abbas, uncle of Prophet Mohamed. They asserted themselves as rulers of the Muslim world in 750 AD and they conducted their rule from Iraq. Driven by their hatred for the Umayyad dynasty on the belief that they represent the legitimacy in ruling Muslims, the Abbasids vigorously fought over the Umayyads. Winning battle after another, they finally seized Al-Fustat, the then Arab capital of Egypt. To disengage themselves from the past they don't recognize, the Abbasids found a new capital to the north of Al-Fustat. The new capital was called Al-Askar. By time the new capital became nothing but a normal extension of Al-Fustat.

Abbasids started to lose control over Egypt also because of skirmishes erupted with the Byzantines and inside the army. They attempted to make some reforms by introducing new taxation policies and new administration system. Abbasids began using Turkic war slaves who were very loyal. They used those slaves to tighten grip on territories. However those slaves were preparing to actually rule rather than to be ruled. The emerging power of the Turkic generals led practically to the independence of Egypt under Ahmed Ibn Tulun who established the semi-independent Tulunid dynasty in Egypt.

Tulunid dynasty
The dynasty was founded by Ahmed Ibn Tulun, an able and witted Turkish who had been raised in the Abbasid court. Ibn Tulun maintained his control over the government of Egypt until he gradually separated the province from the Abbasid Caliphate .

One of his early actions was to found a great army composed of foreign slaves. With this army he conquered Syria in 878. Ibn Tulun built the city of Al-Qatae' (the wards) to the north of the Arab capital of Al-Fustat. Each of the ethnic groups of his army settled in a separate quarter in the new capital city. Ibn Tulun maintained his control over the government of Egypt until he gradually separated the province from the Abbasid Caliphate. One of his early actions was to found a great army composed of foreign slaves. With this army he conquered Syria in 878. Ibn Tulun built the city of Al-Qatae' (the wards) to the north of the Arab capital of Al-Fustat. Each of the ethnic groups of his army settled in a separate quarter in the new capital city. Ibn Tulun's rule was benevolent and Egypt became a rich state under his wise dominion. Money began to flow to the treasury. Tax collectors were strictly controlled. Thus the populaces were satisfied with the authority and the most important thing is that Egypt became a prosperous land. Ibn Tulun sadly died in 884 and was succeeded by his son Khumaraweih.

Khumaraweih expanded the Egyptian rule to as far as the Euphrates. The Abbasids had to recognize him as a ruler. Moreover, relations improved between Khumaraweih and the Abbasid caliph . Khumaraweih sent his daughter, Qatr Al-Nada (dewdrop) to marry the Abbasid caliph. The ceremony was legendary. Khumaraweih was killed in 896. He was succeeded by weak rulers who had no task but to plunder the empire's treasure and weaken its army.

In 905, the Abbasids recaptured Egypt. They raised Al-Qatae' to the ground. The whole city was wholly devastated except the mosque of Ibn Tulun. The caliphate seated in Iraq appointed unable Turkish governors in Egypt, and once again their 30-year rule was associated with corruption and skirmishes launched by the Fatimids, a rising Arab power in Tunisia.

Al – Ikhshid dynasty
The dynasty was founded by Mohamed ibn Toghj Al-Ikhshid, who was appointed governor by the Abbasids in Iraq. Al-Ikhshid's first concern was to protect Egypt against the attacks of the Fatimids, the emerging Moslem power in Tunisia. He managed to achieve not only this goal but also annexed territories in Syria and the Arabian Peninsula. After the death of Al-Ikhshid in 945, his sons succeeded him consecutively. They had no actual power as practically the empire was controlled by Kafur, a black slave who was a tutor of Al-Ikhshid's sons. Kafur had to face natural disasters including a major earthquake then a famine. Despite that, he was a strong ruler who succeeded to hold together the state. However, his death in 968 triggered the collapse of the state.

Al-Ikhshid's grandson, Abul Fawares, was chosen to govern the state, but because of his weakness, the country's power faded away. This gave the Fatimids an opportunity to invade Egypt in 969 AD.

Fatimids dynasty
The Fatimids (969-1171) were the only Shietes who ever ruled Egypt. They were called as such since they claimed descent from Fatimah (the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed) and Ali the fourth Khalif. The Ikhshidid dynasty began to weaken after Kafur's death. This incited the Fatimids to invade Egypt. Fatimids claim their descent from Prophet Mohamed through his daughter, Fatima. The Fatimids followed the Shi'ite  belief in 909 in present-day Tunisia.

In 968 under the caliphate  of Al-Muezz, A Fatimid army headed by General Gawhar Al-Sekelli (the Sicilian) commanded the invasion of Egypt. Symbolizing the change of the rule, Gawhar managed to build a new capital called "Al-Qahera," after planet "mars." The name also means "vanquisher" in Arabic language. It was corrupted by European merchants to the name "Cairo," the same capital of our present-day.

In 970, the Fatimids built the great mosque of Al-Azhar, which is also named after the Prophet's daughter, Fatima Al-Zahra'. Fatimids gained control, in short time, over holy cities of Mecca and Medina. They also annexed Palestine but had to confront the Byzantine forces there. Realizing the strategic importance of Egypt, the Fatimid caliph  decided to shift the caliphate seat from Tunisia to the new Arab capital of Cairo.The Fatimids were not concerned with converting the population to the Shi'ite sect. They were also tolerant enough to employ Sunnis , Christians and Jews in the government.

In 975 Al-Muezz died and was succeeded by Al-Aziz Billah. Al-Aziz's rule was characterized by an excellent administration that ran Egypt so effectively. This gave him a good opportunity to prosper Cairo with foundations, thanks to his witted vizier , ibn Killis. The kingdom continued despite the existence of other strong rival kingdoms. To strengthen the army, the Fatimids continued to import Turkish and Sudanese mercenaries.

Al-Aziz died in 996 AD and was succeeded by his 11-year old son, Al-Hakim. Al-Hakim was an enigma. He had an extraordinary eccentric character. He was renown by issuance of very strange laws. He had all dogs of Cairo killed in 1004. He had a special passion to the dark so he ordered shops to open at night and close in daylight. Al-Hakim also forbade the selling of grapes, wine, beer, meloukhia (Jew's mallow) and even ordered the pouring of honey in the Nile. For some reason, he disliked women and consequently barred them from being seen in public and forbade shoemakers from making them shoes. Despite these all, Al-Hakim had positive sides. In 1005, he founded The Wisdom House (Beit  Al-Hekma), as a center for learning science and theology. The center expanded and became a good place for scholars to meet and discuss their subjects. In his reign, a peace treaty was also forged with the Byzantine Empire in 1001 AD. He also managed to survive a severe famine that hit Egypt in 1007 AD.

In 1017 AD, a vizier of Al-Hakim called Darazi claimed that Al-Hakim is an incarnation of God. To Egyptians, that was the last straw. They were shocked by the theory and started to make fun of their sort-of-a-mad caliph. The dispute between Al-Hakim and the populaces resulted in a breakout of a rebellion in 1020. As a result, Al-Hakim sent black troops to put down the unrest and to even burn the city of Al-Fustat. In 1021, Al-Hakim, who used to wander alone on his donkey in the Muqattam hills, disappeared during one of his rides. His body was never found and he is presumed to have been murdered by his sister, Set El-Molk, and other conspirators.

The Fatimids began to lose their territories due to the internal crisis. Furthermore, a severe power struggle took place between the Turkish and Sudanese regiments of the army. Turkish troops plundered the treasury and the caliph's huge library of 100'000 books was dispersed. In an attempt to restore order, the caliph sent for Badr El-Gamali, a Fatimid ruler of Acre in Palestine to come to Cairo. Upon his arrive in 1074, Badr Al-Gamali aggressively crushed the army dissidents. He then united Egypt successfully under his control. After cleaning up the state, Egypt began to prosper again. Badr called for his architects and builders to thicken the walls of Cairo and build new gates, like Bab El-Fetouh, Bab El-Nasr and Bab Zuweila. Many of these constructions are still visible in Cairo nowadays.

In 1094, both the caliph and his able general died. Following their death, six Fatimid caliphs ruled to the end of the dynasty in 1171 AD. Their rule was characterized by power struggles with viziers. The weak caliphs allowed many of the court members to control the government. The vacuum in the reign facilitated victories of the first crusade in 1099 that targeted the Holy Land in Palestine. Crusaders seized Jerusalem and continued to expand their empire and in 1118 they launched their first unsuccessful attack on Egypt.

At the end of the Fatimid rule, a vizier called Shawar, sought help from ruler of Damascus, Nour El-Din, in order to regain the reign after being displaced by a rival. The Damascus ruler sent several campaigns headed by commander Sherkouh. Eventually, Shawar succeeded to seize back his seat but when he turned against Damascus, he began to contact the crusaders in Jerusalem seeking help from them. Sherkouh, who became an enemy to Shawar, launched a successful campaign in 1169 ousting Shawar and placing himself in rule only short time before his own death in the same year.

The Fatimid caliph appointed Salah El-Din Al-Ayyubi, who was a general from Damascus and Sherkouh's nephew, as his vizier. Salah El-Din was a Sunni Moslem so he began founding schools to teach the Sunni doctrine to Egyptians. The pace was welcomed of Moslem Egyptians because the majority of them remained Sunnis during the reign of Fatimids. Salah El-Din, known as Saladin to the West, went far beyond this by dropping the name of the caliph from mosque prayers. The caliph was too weak and ill to realize what was happening as Saladin was actually deposing him.

In 1171, the last Fatimid caliph died, ending the only Shi'ite dynasty that ever ruled Egypt. During the Fatimids' Period, the Crusaders came to in the Middle East and started occupying a great part of the Arab lands. The two ruling dynasties that followed the Fatimids as rulers of Egypt were the Ayyubids and the Mamluks. They were the rulers who carried the responsibility of fighting the Crusaders.

Ayyubid dynasty
After the death of the last Fatimid caliph , Saladin Al-Ayyubi strengthened his grip over Egypt. He was very ambitious. He undertook moves to restore to Egypt the Sunni  faith, after the Shi'ite  rule of Fatimids, by founding religious schools to promote the Islamic teaching based on the Sunni faith. Theoretically, Egypt as part of reign of the Damascus ruler, Nour El-Din, since Saladin was his general. However, when Nour El-Din died in 1174, he left his young son in the throne. This caused a struggle of power, which was an appropriate moment for Saladin to interfere.

Saladin left his brother in charge in Egypt and marched to Syria, restored order and annexed it to his emerging empire. He was dreaming of forming a strong united front to face the crusaders. The Saladin initiated building of the citadel on a strategic hill in a place that overlooks Cairo. He also expanded the walls of Cairo to link between the citadel and the old city of Al-Fustat. He then embarked upon launching campaigns against the crusaders, winning a number of battles and losing others. He also clinched some truces with his foes. In 1186, the crusaders breached a truce with the Ayyubids which provoked Saladin. The great battle of Hittin took place between the two sides in Palestine in 1187. This battle was just a prelude to further gains for the Ayyubids. Saladin began to seize a city after another until he finally liberated Jerusalem.

Friendly negotiations took place between Saladin's brother, Al-Adel, and Richard the Lion-Hearted of the crusaders in 1192. The talks were concluded by a peace treaty that recognized Saladin's gains but left the crusaders a narrow strip on the coast in Palestine. In 1193, Saladin died of fever at 55-years old. After Saladin's death, tension grew between his sons over the succession. In 1200, Al-Adel, Saladin's brother displaced the competing brothers and reunited Egypt and Syria under his rule.

Al-Adel had to face a severe famine that hit Egypt and new attacks by the crusaders. In his reign, his son, Al-Kamel, defeated the crusaders in 1221. In 1218 Al-Adel died and was succeeded by his son, Al-Kamel. Al-Kamel had cordial negotiations with Crusader King Fredrick II. The two sides reached an agreement that ceded Jerusalem to the crusaders in 1229. The treaty was very much unpopular among radicals and thus was dropped soon after.

In 1238, Al-Kamel died and was succeeded by his son, Al-Adel II. Al-Saleh Negm El-Din, the other son of Al-Kamel, ruled after his brother in 1240. To reinforce his army, Al-Saleh began to build a new army of Turkic slaves. Those were called the "Mamluks" or (the owned). Those later played a very important role in the Egyptian history. Al-Saleh married Shagaret Al-Dorr (the tree of pearls), a sharp-witted Mamluk lady. On the other hand, Al-Saleh sent his son Toran Shah  on campaigns in Iraq.

In 1249, Saint-Louis IX, king of France, landed his troops in Damietta in the Egyptian delta in a new crusade. Nevertheless, Al-Saleh was gearing up for the battle died abruptly. Shagaret Al-Dorr found herself in an ordeal; her husband died and his son is outside Egypt. So she concealed the news of Al-Saleh's death to give Toran shah some time in order to return back and claim the throne. The crusader army was defeated and Louis IX was captured but was later ransomed.

Toran shah wanted to substitute the Mamluks in his court with his own men and because of that they killed him in 1250. He was succeeded by his stepmother, Shagaret El-Dorr. This marked the end of the Ayyubid dynasty and a start of a new Mamluk dynasty ushered in by a woman.

Bahari Mamluks ( 1250 – 1382 AD )
After the assassination of Toran Shah, the last sultan of the Ayyubids, by the Mamluks -with the encouragement of his stepmother Shagaret El-Dorr-, the rule of Egypt turned to the Bahari Mamluks (a.k.a. Mamelukes) who were slaves of Turkic origin. They were brought to Egypt as young boys. They resided in the barracks in a Nile island. Those were called 'Bahari Mamluks' because of their residence by the Nile River (Bahar El-Nile). Other Mamluks of Circassian origin resided in quarters in the citadel towers (Burg), thus called 'Burgi Mamluks.' The latter will also rule Egypt. Shagaret El-Dorr ruled for 80 days, to be the only woman who ruled Egypt in Islamic eras. She was granted the title of sultana. Under pressures from the Abbasid Caliphate  in Baghdad, that couldn't imagine Egypt to be ruled by a woman, Shagaret El-Dorr took Aybak, a Mamluk general, as her husband and conceded the power to him. Aybak ruled for 7 years but when his relation with his wife deteriorated, she had him killed but his loyal Mamluks killed her for that. Aybak's son, Ali, succeeded him as the next Sultan in 1257. Meanwhile, Mongol hordes where advancing from central Asia, sweeping and brutally crushing all cities they encounter.

In 1258, Mongol hordes led by Hulegu (a.k.a Hulagu) destroyed Baghdad, killed the Caliph  and ended the Abbasid caliphate. The following year they entered Syria, while in Egypt Qutuz, a Mamluk general, disposed Sultan Ali and reinstated himself in throne. In 1260, Qutuz commanded a big Mamluk army towards the Mongols and seized Gaza on his way. Qutuz defeated the Mongols in thegreat battle of Ain Galout. Mamluks were regarded as the saviors of Islam for they were the only force that stopped the advance of the Mongols.

Qutuz was assassinated in the same year by his commander, Baybars, who declared himself the Sultan and annexed Syria to the Mamluk Empire. Baybars was an active warrior. He embarked upon series of military campaigns in Palestine, annexing several cities. He defeated the crusaders at Acre in Palestine but finally clinched a peace treaty with them in 1272. Baybars also directed some of his campaigns towards the strongholds of Mongols in Asia Minor. These were all successful.

After his death in 1279, Baybars was succeeded by his son. However, power struggles on the throne erupted until Qalawun finally seized the throne and declared himself a sultan. Qalawun carried on successful campaigns against Mongols in the east until he completely drove them away off the region. Qalawun was succeeded by his son, Al-Ashraf Khalil, in 1291. Khalil attacked Acre, besieged it and after a fierce battle with the crusaders, he eventually succeeded to expel the last of them from the region. Khalil was killed in 1293 and was succeeded by his 9-year-old brother, Al-Nasser Mohamed, the next year. Al-Nasser ruled for 30 years but eliminated the emirs  of his fathers from court after he suffered their influences in his youth. He then adopted a peaceful stance that later came at the expense of the military power of the Mamluks, something they excelled in for a long time. Egypt saw prosperity during his reign and many trade tied were forged between Egypt and Europe. He was also a devoted builder who built mosques and palaces. To fulfill these accomplishments, he used to levy taxes on everything, which caused money to flow to the treasury.

After the death of Al-Nasser in 1340, a series of weak and incompetent Mamluks followed. In 1347, Sultan Hassan came to power and one year later the Black Death  struck the country. The plague was responsible for the d ecimation of the Egyptian population and the Mamluks with no distinction. By inheriting properties of the plagued victims, Sultan Hassan gathered enough money to build an impressive mosque in Cairo that highly reflects the art features of the Mamluk architecture.

Al-Hassan was killed in 1361 and power struggle erupted as usual following his death. This was until a Burgi Mamluk (Circassian) called Barquq came to the throne, after deposed the last Bahari Mamluk, Hajji, in 1382. Thenceforth, the throne was shifted to Barquq's faction, the Burgi Mamluks.

Burgi Mamluk ( 1382 – 1517 AD )
In 1382, Barquq displaced the last Bahari Mamluk and installed himself in the throne to be the first of Burgi Mamluks to rule Egypt. Sultan Barquq began to distribute the important posts in the court to the Circassian Mamluks. Those were residing in the citadel towers (Burgi). They had different attributes than the Bahari Mamluks. They didn't adopt any form for hereditary succession. The only qualification in the contest to rule was to be stronger than other rivals. During their reign, Egypt felt in turmoil, and power struggles became regular after a death or a murder of a sultan. The incompetence of sultans caused hardships to the country. Of course power abuse and harsh taxation policies worsened situations.

On the other hand, Ottomans in Europe were expanding their rule by annexing many territories. On the other hand, a new dangerous force emerged in the east; Tamerlane (a.k.a. Timur Lenk or Timur), a Tartar conqueror, was leading an invasion to the region. Tamerlane entered the Mamluk territories in the east in 1400 seizing Malatya, Baghdad and Aleppo. He finally seized Damascus and carried out a large-scale devastation and slaughtered many.

The Mamluks watched the fall of Syria, which was part of their empire, helplessly. The worse, Tamerlane defeated the Ottomans in 1402. This brought fear to the heart of Mamluks. Nevertheless, Tamerlane's death in 1405 ended the threat of Tartars for both Mamluks and Ottomans.

Burgi Mamluks continued to carry on shortsighted economic policies, imposed severe taxes and monopolized several commodities to their own benefit. On the other hand in 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottomans to mark the end of the Byzantine Empire in the region. In Egypt, Qaitbay (ruled 1468 - 1496) had passion for building. He built roads, bridges and wonderful mosques. During his reign Egypt saw relative prosperity.

In 1488, a Portuguese navigator discovered the route of Cape of Good Hope. This offered an alternative route for the one that used to path through the Egyptian lands. Consequently, Egypt, which used to levy tolls on European trade convoys passing through its lands, suffered an economic lapse. Qaitbay had to impose a capital tax to flow some money to the treasury. Tragically, another plague swept over Egypt in 1492 that also claimed lives many Mamluks. After the death of Qaitbay in 1496, a new wave of power struggle erupted.

In 1501, Qunsowah Al-Ghouri assumed the throne at the age of 60. In his reign, the power of the Mamluks began declining, while that of the Ottomans was strengthening. Ottomans advanced and seized the Euphrates area and Syria. Al-Ghouri stopped short at reacting with the events, as he believed it's better not to provoke Ottomans. In 1512, Selim the Grim became the Ottoman sultan. He led the Ottomans to a victory over the Persians at Chaldiran in 1514. This time, Al-Ghouri commanded a Mamluk army to Syria to fight Ottomans. In 1516, the two armies met and the Mamluks were badly defeated at the battle of Marj Dabek to the north of Aleppo. Al-Ghouri died in the battle.

In Egypt, Tuman Bey  II was chosen as a sultan. He soon led the defense of Egypt before the Ottomans but he failed. In 1517, Egypt finally felt to the Ottomans. Selim the Grim captured Tuman Bey and had him hanged from one of the gates of Cairo. Thenceforth, Egypt practically became an Ottoman province. The reason of the Ottomans' superiority over the Mamluks was because of their use for advanced weapons in comparison to the Mamluks who regarded the gunpowder as unmanly. Mamluks were good chivalries, which make them no good in facing cannons. Having suffered from taxation and hardships, the Egyptians simply welcomed the Ottomans.

Ottomans ( 1517 – 1798 AD )
Egypt felt to the Ottomans in 1517 after an unsuccessful defense effort led by the Mamluk sultan, Tuman Bey II who was later hanged by Ottoman sultan, Selim the Grim. The defection of some Mamluks and the collaboration of others decreased the hostility felt by Ottomans towards them upon invading Egypt. Moreover, they set about employing Mamluks in the administration. They even gave them control of several provinces in Egypt, based on the belief that they are more experienced to manage them. This policy was miscalculated by the Ottomans as it proved to be inefficient and drove the country to three centuries of instability.

Ottomans chose a Mamluk traitor, Khair Bey , as the first governor of Egypt in 1522, but after his death the governor or the pasha  (Turkish title) was sent from the Ottoman Porte, or the government in Turkey. The country was stricken in the seventh century by plagues and famine, which was compounded by factional feuds among the Mamluks. The Ottoman governor's post was often limited to 3 years, something that tempted them to plunder as much as they can before leaving the governorship. This privilege justified the selling of the governorship post for the highest bidder in some periods. Mamluks were collecting huge taxes, giving their dues to the Ottomans and take the rest to their own interests, which was actually the bigger portion of the levied amount. The real victim amid all this was the ordinary Egyptians who were completely exploited and trapped between the Ottoman pasha and the Mamluk beys (bey is an Ottoman rank which means lord). The instability among the Mamluks resulted in the formation of different factions. The same thing happened to the Ottoman garrison. Continued alliances and conflicts led to the Great Insurrection in 1711, in which various factions fought for supremacy.

After the incident, things began to get out of Ottomans' control when several Mamluk beys assumed the position of Sheikh El-Balad (the master of the country) which granted them power vis-à-vis the Ottoman governor. In 1757, Ali Bey the Elder became Sheikh El-Balad. Ali Bey expelled the Ottoman governor to replace him as the de facto ruler of Egypt in 1768. Dreaming of reestablishing a Mamluk empire, Ali Bey began expanding his territories in the Arabian Peninsula (in present-day Saudi Arabia), and suppressing uprisings in upper Egypt. Ali Bey's commander, who was on a campaign in Syria, betrayed him after being tempted from the Ottoman Sublime Porte.

In 1772, Ali Bey was displaced by Abul Dahab and died the next year while attempting to regain his position. 3 years later Abul Dahab died and a Mamluk duumvir  of Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey held authority. They were displaced before getting back their power in 1790. Once again a plague hit the country and the population revolted against the rulers demanding the easiness of the unbearable taxes.

Ottomans attempted to restore control from Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey but at no avail. Nevertheless, they both failed to defend Egypt against the French invasion led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. A fierce battle took place between the two sides near Imbaba in Cairo. The Mamluks were defeated, while those who survived from the battle defected the country including both Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey who carried their treasures and hastily left Egypt.