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.: A Historical Background to Understand the Political Events Recorded by Al-Makrizi about 841 A.H.
The Mameluke Sultan Barsbay and the Judge Ibn Hajar the Big Criminals during the Plague of 841 A.H

The Mameluke Sultan Barsbay and the Judge Ibn Hajar the Big Criminals during the Plague of 841 A.H.: A Historical Background to Understand the Political Events Recorded by Al-Makrizi about 841 A.H.

 

Published in April 2, 2020

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

Introduction:

1- The history of the Mameluke Era asserts the following miraculous Quranic predictions: "And thus We set up in every city its big criminals, to scheme in it, but they scheme only against themselves, and they do not realize it." (6:123); "Priding themselves on earth, and scheming evil. But evil scheming overwhelms none but its authors. Do they expect anything but the precedent of the ancients? You will not find any change in God’s practice, and you will not find any substitute to God’s practice." (35:43).

2- The history of the Mameluke Era can be summarized in one word: (conspiring); we can also use the Quranic term (scheming). The big criminals who were the Mameluke princes and military leaders themselves were the main victims of such scheming or conspiring; its other main victims were the civil wing of the big criminals; i.e., clergymen/sheikhs, fiqh scholars, and judges. The scheming/conspiring of the big criminals overwhelms none but its authors; sadly, the submissive subjects paid a heavy price as well; during the military strife among Mameluke troops and princes, people were robbed and raped. 

3- We provide, in the points below, an outline of the history of Mameluke sultanate through conspiring and scheming.

 

Firstly: the core of the problem:  

1- The key to understand the Mameluke character and regime is that all Mamelukes were equal in their origin (slaves bought from the corners of the Ancient World) and their receiving the same military training; the prominent ones among them distinguished themselves in military prowess and scheming/conspiring. In other words, all Mamelukes were mere slaves brought from different countries to receive military training and join the rank of Mamelukes serving a Mameluke prince/leader; some ambitious, strong, and intelligent Mamelukes got promoted as per their political and military skills; some even ascended the throne as sultans. At the time, meritocracy means the abilities and skills of Mamelukes who deserved to be enthroned as sultans. For instance, the sultan Al-Dhahir Beibars was originally a mere Mameluke soldier bought and trained to serve a Mameluke prince named Al-Bondoqdari; when he was promoted as a military leader, Beibars was known as Beibars Al-Bondoqdari; Beibars as a slave was later on freed by his master Al-Bondoqdari; Beibars had enough skills, abilities, political acumen, and military prowess that enabled him to ascend the throne as a sultan; his former master, Al-Bondoqdari, became merely a minor leader serving the Mameluke sultanate headed by the sultan Al-Dhahir Beibars who reached and maintained power by virtue of his top abilities of scheming/conspiring and his military might and skills.     

2- When any skilled, strong, and intelligent Mameluke ascended the throne as a sultan, he typically had to face conspiracies, intrigues, and schemes of other power-seeking Mamelukes until this Mameluke sultan died or get dethroned/abdicated. This is why the Mameluke State policies revolved around an endless vicious circle of conspiracies, intrigues, and schemes. 

 

Secondly: notes on the Mameluke arts of scheming/conspiring:

1- Before the emergence of the Mameluke sultanate into being officially, the Mamelukes mastered the arts of scheming/conspiring; they learned them from the big criminals who were the Ayyubid rulers (their predecessors since the Mameluke sultanate was established after the collapse of the Ayyubid State and dynasty); in fact, the Ayyubid rulers (who bought and trained many Mameluke soldiers to serve their purposes) excelled at scheming/conspiring against one another; the Mameluke soldiers who served Ayyubid rulers played an active role in executing the schemes and plots hatched by their masters the Ayyubid rulers. For instance, the Al-Bahariyya Mameluke soldiers (i.e., who lived in barracks near the River Nile) played their roles in the schemes planned by their master the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt Al-Saleh Ayoub; when he died, the same Mamelukes conspired against his son Turan Shah and assassinated him. This resulted in the emergence of the Mameluke State whose sultans belonged to the faction/group of Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes. The Mameluke sultan Qalawun bought and trained, and then freed, so many Mamelukes and made them reside in towers near the palace and hence the name of the faction/group of Al-Burji Mamelukes (i.e., those who reside in multiple-story towers) who were rivals of Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes; each faction included other smaller factions with other appellations. Of course, since the sultan Qalawun managed to create a dynasty/lineage of sultans, the Al-Burji Mamelukes conspired and schemed throughout the reign of their master, the sultan Qalawun, and the reign of his sons and descendants who became sultans. Later on, the Mameluke State of the Al-Burji Mamelukes emerged after they mastered the arts of scheming/conspiring during the era of the Mameluke State of the Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes whose State emerged also after they mastered the arts of scheming/conspiring during the Ayyubid Era in Egypt.                

2- Some conspiracies and plots end up by the assassination of sultans; in such cases, the assassin who murdered a sultan got enthroned if deemed fit to rule as per the Mameluke standards. This means that murdering enthroned sultans was a 'legitimate' justification to allow the murderer of this sultan to ascend the throne! This means that Mameluke princes and leaders never submitted to any sultan except for the reason that he was the strongest or mightiest among them! All Mamelukes assumed that they are peers in terms of origin; this is why the Mamelukes hated the idea that when a sultan died, his son would succeed him to the throne; this son was never a Mameluke (i.e., never bought as a slave and never received military training); this means that it was a type of unwritten agreement among all Mamelukes that to allow such sons of sultans to be enthroned ushers only a transitional period until a strong, mighty Mameluke prince/leader would emerge and fought for the throne and the crown and would defeat all other Mamelukes and then dethrone the young sultan (i.e., the son of a dead Mameluke sultan) and imprison/kill him. Strangely, most sultans deceived themselves and disregarded the fact that all Mamelukes were hypocrites even if they swore fealty to the sultan's son as an heir of, or a successor to, the throne of the Mameluke sultanate and even if they signed decrees to that effect within Solomon vows of loyalty. Not surprisingly, after a transitional period of few months, the Mameluke military leader who was a guardian to the young sultan dethrone/remove him to rule instead as the new sultan; this occurred many times during the Mameluke Era. The new sultan would force all Mamelukes to submit to his power and he typically bought and trained new Mamelukes to serve him and he distanced older Mamelukes who helped him in the schemes/plots to ascend to the throne and reach power. The dying sultans assumed wrongly that they controlled fully the Mamelukes and the sultanate; they always sought to make their sons succeed them to the throne by making all Mamelukes 'agree' to that and swear fealty to the crown-prince; the dying sultans typically appointed the high-rank military leaders (who were like today's defense ministers) as guardian to their sons; once sultans died, hose guardians dethrone the young sultans and rule instead as the new sultans; this story was repeated endlessly during the Mameluke Era. This reminds us of this Quranic verse: "Do they not see that they are tested once or twice every year? Yet they do not repent, and they do not remember." (9:126).

 

Thirdly: a brief overview of the Mameluke sultanate and its sultans:

1-During the Ayyubid State, the Ayyubid rulers/sultans bought so many Mamelukes to serve them as warriors, soldiers, and guards; before the emergence of the Mameluke sultanate, the Mameluke military leaders and princes participated actively in the disputes, intrigues, plots, quarrels, and military strife that took place among the Ayyubid dynasty rulers who simultaneously ruled several regions and cities within the Ayyubid State. For instance, the Salahiyya Mamelukes bought by Saladin or Salah-Eddine had risen above the Al-Assadiyya Mamelukes bought by Assad-Eddine Shirkoh; those al-Assadiyya Mamelukes resented this fact but the strength and might of the sultan Saladin prevented them from revolting or initiating a civil strife. Once Saladin died, Saladin's brother Al-Adil who ruled the Levant took advantage of the resentment of Al-Assadiyya Mamelukes to convince them to ally themselves to him and he managed to annex Egypt to his kingdom; hence, Al-Assadiyya Mamelukes had risen above the Salahiyya Mamelukes; the sultan Al-Adil bought new Mamelukes named Al-Adiliyya who played a major role after the death of Al-Adil; they hated his son and successor to the throne, Al-Kamel, who persecuted them and bought his own Mamelukes named Al-Kameliyya. In their turn, the Al-Kameliyya Mameluke hated the son and successor of Al-Kamel to the throne, his son Al-Adil II, and within a plot, they managed to dethrone and imprison Al-Adil II and sent for his elder brother Al-Saleh Ayoub (who was in the Levant) to come to Egypt to be enthroned as the Ayyubid sultan. In his turn, the sultan Al-Saleh Ayoub bought many Mamelukes who came to be known as Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes (i.e., those who resided in barracks near the River Nile). The Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes hated the son and successor of Al-Saleh Ayoub whose name was Turan Shah as he persecuted and marginalized them and decided to buy his own new loyal group of Mamelukes; Turan Shah never rewarded Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes for their defeating the Crusaders, led by Louis IX of France, who attacked Egypt; Turan Shah never showed his gratitude for the Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes who preserved the throne for him after the death of his father. Turan shah showed nothing but animosity towards Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes and a desire to get rid of them soon; they preemptively plotted his assassination; thus, the Ayyubid State ended and the Mameluke sultanate began. These historical facts indicate that since the emergence of the Ayyubid State, the Mamelukes specialized in intrigues, plots, and schemes; their reaching power after the assassination of Turan Shah within a conspiracy showed that their Mameluke sultanate will be filled with intrigues, plots, and schemes.              

2- Within the emergence of the Mameluke sultanate, the intrigues, plots, and schemes of Mamelukes became local and internal; i.e., Mamelukes schemed/conspired against other Mamelukes in order to reach power or to maintain the throne within the fierce competition among power-seeking Mameluke military leaders.

2/1: After the assassination of Turan Shah within a plot hatched by the Queen Shagaret Al-Dor (widow of the late sultan Al-Saleh Ayoub and mother of his son Khalil who died previously at a young age) and executed by Aqtay (the leader of Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes) and his favorite Mameluke Beibars, all Mamelukes agreed on allowing Queen Shagaret Al-Dor to rule Egypt as its sultana. The last Abbasid caliph, Al-Motassim, sent a letter to protest the fact that a woman would rule Egypt; the political embarrassment at the time compelled Queen Shagaret Al-Dor to get married soon if she was to keep the throne; her two suitors were Aqtay the leader of Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes and Aybak the leader of the sultan's Mameluke guards. Queen Shagaret Al-Dor disliked Aqtay who was uncouth and a murderer who would never allow her to share the rule of Egypt with him; she preferred to marry Aybak who loved her and showed no opposition to her authority and power. This marriage caused a division of Mamelukes into two groups who schemed against each other. Aqtay resented his being rejected by Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and decided to fight for the throne to become the sultan of Egypt. Aqtay began his plot by commanding his Mameluke soldiers to spread corruption in the streets of Cairo (looting, sabotaging,...etc.) to prove that the new sultan, Aybak, failed to restore security and was never fit for rule. At the same time, the challenge increased as Aqtay proposed to an Ayyubid princess and demanded from Queen Shagaret Al-Dor to leave the palace (i.e., the Citadel: the center of the Mameluke rule) to make room for his bride. Hence, Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and her husband Aqtay decided to plot the assassination of Aqtay who posed a veritable threat to their power. Within this scheme, Qotoz, the favorite Mameluke of his master Aybak, murdered Aqtay himself; Qotoz was a friend of Beibars; he convinced him to convince his master, Aqtay, to meet with Queen Shagaret Al-Dor in private (as if she had a change of heart regarding her husband); when Aqtay entered into the palace, he was forced to leave his guards outside it; Qotoz murdered him in one of the corridors; when the severed head of Aqtay was thrown to his guards, they were horrified and fled Egypt and settled in the Levant for a while. Beibars joined the Mamelukes of Aqtay who fled to the Levant. 

2/2: Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and Aybak felt that they would live in peace after the assassination of Aqtay – yet a dispute took place between the Queen and her husband because the ambitious Queen ruled Egypt independently and tried to monopolize power and authority; she saw her husband, Aybak, (who was merely a former leader under her among her courtiers and statesmen) as a mere tool to achieve her ends. On his part, Aybak never liked the Queen's interferences in rule; he decided to free himself from her influence and control in order to gradually monopolize power and authority and confine his wife's activities to the seraglio. Hence, scheming and conspiring began between both Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and the sultan Aybak her husband. Aybak declared his intention to propose to an Ayyubid princess (to whom Aqtay proposed before); besides, in order to spite the Queen, Aybak remarried his first wife (Um Ali) who was the mother of his only son, Ali, though before the Queen married him, she made him divorce her. Queen Shagaret Al-Dor employed all her scheming and intelligence until she convinced Aybak (through her envoys to him) that she desired to satisfy him and to make peace with him; when Aybak returned to the palace of the Queen to spend the night in her bed to celebrate their reconciliation, it was the last night of his life; he entered into the Hammam/bath of the palace in order to bathe before he would meet with the Queen; upon her commands, her guards assassinated him inside the Hammam. Once they knew about the murder of the sultan Aybak, angry Mamelukes revolted against Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and imprisoned her in her bed chamber; they appointed the child Ali, the son of Aybak, as the new sultan; Um Ali, the widow of Aybak, took revenge on Shagaret Al-Dor by commanding the female slaves to beat her to death by wooden sandals.             

2/3: Qotoz became the guardian of the sultan-child Ali Ibn Aybak; at the same time, the troops of Mongols began to approach the Levantine region; Qotoz held a meeting for the Mameluke military leaders to discuss how to face this danger; he announced that the newly emerged Mameluke sultanate had to have a real sultan; Qotoz dethroned the sultan-child Ali and ascended the throne in his place; the Mamelukes agreed since they had to be united to face the Mongols. In order to unify all efforts against the threat of the Mongols, the sultan Qotoz sent to his former friend Beibars and the other Al-Bahariyya Mameluke leaders/princes who settled in the Levant a letter urging them to return to Cairo to participate in the military endeavors to ward off the Mongols. Beibars and the others returned to Cairo at once.      

2/4: The Egyptian Mameluke troops, led by the sultan Qotoz, achieved a great victory over the Mongol troops in the Levant; on their way back to Egypt, the Al-Bahariyya Mameluke leaders/princes urged Beibars to kill Qotoz to avenge the murder of their former master, Aqtay, who was killed by Qotoz as per the commands of Aybak. Driven by his desire to reach power and ascend the throne of the Mameluke sultanate, Beibars killed Qotoz before the Egyptian Mameluke troops would reach Cairo; once Beibars reached Cairo along with the other Mamelukes, everyone celebrated his coronation as the new sultan.  

2/5: The powerful sultan Al-Dhahir Beibars established further the Mameluke sultanate and asserted its mighty, authority, and power in the Levant, Iraq, and Hejaz. By the end of his life, Beibars (in a big ceremony and party) made the Mamelukes swear fealty to his son, Saeed Baraka, as the successor to the throne; in order to make sure that the Mamelukes would remain loyal to his son, Beibars made his son marry the daughter of the most powerful Mameluke leader/prince Qalawun. Beibars also made Qalawun as the deputy of the sultan.  

2/6: Of course, such endeavors of Beibars for the sake of his son were of no use; once Beibars died, Qalawun schemed/conspired against Saeed Baraka and forced him to cede power in 678 A.H.; Qalawun became the Mameluke sultan; the dynasty of Qalawun ruled Egypt and the rest of the Mameluke sultanate for more than one century (678 – 784 A.H.).

2/7: The troubles of the sultan Qalawun did not end by his imprisoning the Al-Dhahiriyya Mamelukes of the former sultan Al-Dhahir Beibars and making his allies among the Mamelukes replace them; many Mameluke princes revolted against Qalawun; for instance, the Mameluke prince Sonqur the governor-general of the Levant who tried to rule the Levantine region independently. This drove the sultan Qalawun to buy and train his own private group of Mamelukes; he bought so many Mamelukes and made them settle and live in towers near the Mameluke palace; they were named as Al-Burji Mamelukes (i.e., literally the Mamelukes who live in towers). Yet, in many instances, the Al-Burji Mameluke leaders schemed/conspired to usurp the crown and reach the throne during the reign of the sultans who were the sons and grandsons of the sultan Qalawun; eventually, one of the Al-Burji Mameluke leaders, Barqoq, managed to reach the throne and to establish the State of Al-Burji Mamelukes; i.e., the dynasty of Barqoq and other sultans later on belonged to Al-Burji Mamelukes.      

3- Of course, the Al-Burji Mameluke leaders/princes schemed and conspired a lot and participated in many plots and intrigues during the reign of the Qalawun dynasty sultans (who belonged to Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes); besides, many Al-Bahariyya Mameluke leaders/princes had their own schemes and plots since every one of them coveted to ascend the throne as sultan.   

3/1: Some of the Al-Bahariyya Mameluke leaders conspired to assassinated the sultan Khalil Ibn Qalawun who conquered the Levantine city of Acre and removed the existence of Crusaders forever from the Levant; the Mameluke prince Beidra managed to kill the sultan Khalil Ibn Qalawun and thus earned the 'right' to become the sultan himself; yet, shortly afterwards, the Al-Burji Mamelukes who served the Qalawun dynasty managed to kill Beidra to avenge the murder of their master Khalil Ibn Qalawun.

3/2: The Al-Burji Mamelukes struggled and disputed over who deserved to be appointed as the new sultan; eventually, to void further strife and instability, they agreed to appoint the very young man Mohamed Ibn Qalawun (brother of the murdered sultan Khalil Ibn Qalawun) as the new sultan and gave him the title Al-Nasser.

3/3: The guardian of Al-Nasser was a Mameluke prince named Kitubgha; he controlled Al-Nasser for a while; eventually, he dethroned Al-Nasser and banished him to the Levantine city of Kerak (in today's Jordan); Kitubgha became the sultan in 694 A.H.  

3/4: Kitubgha faced the conspiracy and scheming of his power-seeking ally the Mameluke prince Lasheen (by the way, Lasheen was among the Mameluke princes who conspired to assassinate the sultan Khalil Ibn Qalawun); yet, the scheming of Lasheen failed and he disappeared for a while after the assassination of Khalil Ibn Qalawun; he re-emerged later on after the murder of Beidra and allied himself to Kitubgha and supported him until Kitubgha became the sultan; yet, Lasheen conspired and schemed against the sultan Kitubgha, and eventually, the military revolt of Lasheen resulted in his defeating Kitubgha who, fearing for his life, ran away and hid after he ceded the throne and the crown; Lasheen became the sultan for a while until he was also assassinated by some ambitious and power-seeking but weak Mameluke princes; such princes who killed Lasheen were put to death in retribution. The disputing Mamelukes who desired to avoid a military strife decided to bring back Al-Nasser to Cairo as the Mameluke sultan for the second time (698 – 708 A.H.).         

3/5: In 708 A.H., the sultan Al-Nasser had to flee once more to Kerak; as a young weak sultan, Al-Nasser was controlled by two Mameluke princes; namely, Selar and Beibars Al-Jashankir; when the young sultan felt he could never rule the sultanate alone, he feared for his life and left the throne and banished himself to Kerak. Beibars Al-Jashankir ruled as Beibars II; yet, his short-lived reign (i.e., about one year) ended when the common people as well as Mameluke soldiers in Egypt revolted against him; he was dethroned, arrested, and executed; thus, Al-Nasser returned to restore the throne to himself again; he put to death Selar and the imprisoned Beibars II and any power-seeking conspiring Mameluke princes; more experienced and powerful, Al-Nasser ruled as a tyrant until he died.

3/6: This means that the Al-Burji Mameluke leaders/princes began their scheming/conspiring during the Mameluke State of Al-Bahariyya Mamelukes within the Qalawun dynasty; their interference at first was under the pretext of defending the Qalawun dynasty when they killed Beidra (the assassin of Khalil Ibn Qalawun) and when they controlled the sultan Al-Nasser; this means they had more advantages, authority, and ranks when compared to the Al-Bahariyya Mameluke leaders/princes. They grew too powerful and even Beibars Al-Jashnakir managed to become the first sultan of the Al-Burji Mameluke princes; despite the fact that his reign was short-lived (about a year) and that he was put to death in his prison by Al-Nasser, his ascending the throne was an event that signaled the emergence of the Al-Burji Mameluke State by the Barqoq dynasty of sultans who belonged to Al-Burji Mamelukes.     

3/7: The influence and authority of the Al-Burji Mamelukes were reflected within the fate of sultans of the Qalawun dynasty: they were deposed, appointed, and re-appointed many times within so many schemes and plots by the Al-Burji Mameluke; in the first twenty years (741 – 762 A.H.) after the death of the sultan Al-Nasser, eight of his sons became caliphs and were dethroned. In the second twenty years, only four of his grandsons became sultans; some of them became sultans at the age of one year; some never remained enthroned for more than two months. Such instability and political void paved the way for the Al-Burji Mameluke leaders/princes to reach power and ascend the throne as sultans after they managed to control and manipulate the very young sultans who were sons of Al-Nasser Ibn Qalawun. Even when the Mameluke sultans belonged only to the Al-Burji Mamelukes for a long time, scheming, plotting, and conspiring never ended.  

4- The Mameluke State of the Al-Burji Mamelukes lasted for 134 years (784 – 922 A.H.); it had 23 sultans; nine of them ruled for 103 years and they made the true history of the Mameluke State of the Al-Burji Mamelukes: such sultans were Barqoq (the founder of Mameluke State of the Al-Burji Mamelukes), his son Farag, Al-Moayyad Sheikh, Barsbay Jaqmaq, Einal, Khushqadam, Qaitbay, and Qansuh Al-Ghoury (the last Mameluke sultan before the Ottoman invasion of Egypt). 

5- After a series of plots, intrigues, and schemes, Barqoq managed to become the Mameluke sultan and he thus founded the Mameluke State of the Al-Burji Mameluke; Barqoq managed to surmount and overcome several hardships and troubles; even at one time, he was dethroned by force, but he managed to restore the throne and to vanquish and defeat his enemies. 

5/1: The grandsons of Al-Nasser Ibn Qalawun were playthings in the hands of the Al-Burji Mameluke princes who vied for the position of the deputy of the sultan who was also the defense minister or supreme military leader of all Mamelukes. Such struggle among Mameluke princes evolved into a war between two powerful Mameluke princes: Baraka and Barqoq: both vied for being appointed as the guardian of an enthroned child-sultan named Ali (one of the grandsons of Al-Nasser). The war ended when Barqoq and his troops, allies, and followers achieved victory over Baraka and his troops, allies, and followers; eventually, Baraka had to swear before the four supreme judges (who were clergymen: or the civil wing of the big criminals) that he would never interfere in the policies of the sultanate and would leave Barqoq to control and manage the affairs of the sultanate as the guardian of the enthroned child-sultan Ali.   

5/2: Since Barqoq officially became the guardian of the enthroned child-sultan Ali and the de facto ruler, he coveted being appointed as the sultan himself after dethroning the weak grandson of Al-Nasser. Before he would do so, Barqoq must avoid all intrigues and plots from potentially dangerous rivals; he imprisoned his former rival Baraka in Alexandria; upon the commands of Barqoq, the governor of Alexandria murdered Baraka in his prison cell. When the furious Mameluke soldiers and leaders under Baraka threatened to revolt against Barqoq and to avenge the murder of their leader/prince, Barqoq feigned being innocent and told them solemnly that the murder of Baraka was committed behind his back and he never knew beforehand; he arrested and brought to them the governor of Alexandria and permitted them to kill him in retribution; thus, Barqoq managed to appease their anger and to win them to his side. Thus, Barqoq paved his way to the throne of the Mameluke sultanate. 

5/3: Before he could remove the child-sultan Ali Ibn Al-Nasser Ibn Qalawun from the throne, Barqoq knew that the public opinion favored the Qalawun dynasty and hated heir being officially dethroned. Barqoq knew also that the common people and the soldiers revolted against Beibars Al-Jashnakir or Beibars II when he removed Al-Nasser and banished him to Kerak as they sympathized with him; this allowed Al-Nasser to retrieve his throne as the legitimate sultan and he managed to defeat his rivals and enemies. The ambitious, cunning Mameluke prince Barqoq had to scheme discreetly and wisely; he offered to the public opinion the opium loved by everyone at the time: Sufism. Barqoq hosted in the palace a Sufi sheikh deemed as a 'holy living saint' by most of the common people and by the followers/disciples within his Sufi order; this Sufi sheikh was named Ali Al-Ruby. Days later, the plot was hatched carefully; Al-Ruby announced to the public about his dream predicting that Barqoq will become sultan on the 19th of Ramadan, 784 A.H. and that the child-sultan Ali will die after the plague would disappear from Greater Cairo. Most people believed the predictions of Al-Ruby since it was part of the Sufi-Sunnite religion that living saints have omniscience and could foretell the future. Weeks later, after Barqoq managed to prepare the public opinion at the time to what will happen, he summarily killed the child-sultan Ali (the grandson of Al-Nasser); his 'sudden' death was announced and he was buried on the same day; the newly appointed sultan was another child who was the brother of the murdered child: Amir Haj. Days later, a council was held in the palace in the presence of the Abbasid prince/caliph, the four supreme judges, and all Mameluke princes/leaders and they dethroned Amir Haj and swore fealty to Barqoq as the new sultan on the 19th of Ramadan, 784 A.H. as per the 'prediction' of Al-Ruby. The common people accepted that. This means that the alliance between the big criminals who were the rulers (i.e., the Mameluke princes) and the big criminals who were clergymen/sheikhs resulted into the birth of the Al-Burji Mameluke State which lasted until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt.       

5/4: Once enthroned, the sultan Barqoq decided to get rid of all the big criminals (sheikhs and Mameluke princes) who were his allies who helped him reach power and ascend the throne; Barqoq put to death some Mameluke princes and banished others outside Egypt; some clergymen/sheikhs and judges lost their high-rank posts; the Abbasid prince/caliph was arrested for a long while. In the meantime, the Sufi sheikh Al-Ruby died 'suddenly'; this means that Barqoq murdered him to guarantee his silence; the sultan Barqoq, thus, got rid of all allies and partners involved in his plots and scheming and of all possible rivals.

5/5: Yet, the sultan Barqoq did not expect more troubles from other trusted allies; the governor of the Levant, the prince Yalubgha, revolted against Barqoq and decided to rule the Levantine region independently; when Barqoq sent military troops headed by his 'trusted' ally, the prince Mentash, to fight Yalubgha, Mentash joined Yalubgha and both decided to head their respective troops to Cairo to fight Barqoq and dethrone him by force. Because Barqoq had not enough Mameluke soldiers left in Cairo to face both revolting princes, he fled and settled in Kerak; Yalubgha and Mentash reached Greater Cairo and restored to the throne Amir Haj (one of the grandsons of Al-Nasser Ibn Qalawun). When disputes increased between Yalubgha and Mentash, they fought each other but the troops of Mentash achieve victory. Meanwhile, in Kerak, Barqoq prepared his own troops and many of his allies in Egypt went to join him; Barqoq fought and defeated Mentash in Egypt, and hence, Barqoq became once more the Mameluke sultan in 797 A.H.  

6- Barqoq died in 801 A.H., his son Farag was his successor to the throne; days after his coronation ceremony, the sultan Farag Ibn Barqoq had to hide outside Cairo to avoid being murdered within a plot; later on, he was enthroned once more by the Mameluke prince Yashbak; later on, Farag had to cede power and leave his crown and throne because of the revolt against him led by two powerful Mameluke princes: Al-Moayyad Sheikh and Nayrouz.  

7- Both prince Mamelukes Al-Moayyad Sheikh and Nayrouz fought each other as they vied for the throne; Nayrouz was defeated and killed; Al-Moayyad Sheikh became the sultan.

8- After the death of the sultan Al-Moayyad Sheikh, his son and successor Ahmad became the sultan under the guardianship of the Mameluke leader/prince Tatar; months later, Tatar dethroned the young sultan Ahmad Ibn Al-Moayyad sheikh and became the Mameluke sultan.

9- The sultan Tatar died soon afterwards; shortly before his death, he made all Mameluke leaders and princes (in an official ceremony) swear fealty to his son and successor, Mohamed, who was put under the guardianship of the Mameluke prince Barsbay who later on dethroned the young sultan Mohamed Ibn Tatar and became the Mameluke sultan.

10- In the last month of the year of the plague, 841 A.H., Barsbay died. Shortly before his death, he made all Mameluke leaders and princes (in an official ceremony) swear fealty to his son and successor, Youssef, who was put under the guardianship of the Mameluke prince Jaqmaq. More details about this event will be mentioned to assert the alliance between the big criminals (Mameluke military leaders and rulers + sheikhs/clergymen/judges).

11- As expected, Jaqmaq dethroned Youssef Ibn Barsbay and became the Mameluke sultan. Shortly before his death, the sultan Jaqmaq made all Mameluke leaders and princes (in an official ceremony) swear fealty to his son and successor, Othman, who was put under the guardianship of the Mameluke prince Einal. Of course, Einal dethroned Othman Ibn Jaqmaq and became the Mameluke sultan.

12- A period of weakness dominated the Al-Burji Mameluke State until the Ottoman conquest; many weak sultans were enthroned and dethroned successively and frequently; some of them were enthroned for only one day; this applied to the sultan Kheir Beg who ruled for one day in 872 A.H. Yet, the Mameluke sultanate grew stronger temporarily during the reign of the sultan Qaitbay which lasted for 29 years; shortly before his death, the sultan Qaitbay made all Mameluke leaders and princes (in an official ceremony) swear fealty to his son and successor, Mohamed, as the new sultan; sadly, this son of Qaitbay got killed as he was the victim of the schemes and plots of Mameluke princes who coveted the throne of the decaying sultanate. Many weak sultans were appointed successively until a strong one was enthroned; namely, Qansuh Al-Ghoury in 906 A.H., who revived the sultanate for a while before its eminent collapse as the Ottomans ended the Mameluke sultanate when they killed Al-Ghoury and defeated the Mameluke troops in the battle of Marj Dabiq in 922 A.H. and thus the Ottomans managed to annex Egypt to their caliphate.  

13- Thus, we infer that any Mameluke sultans feared and were anxious because of any rebellious Mameluke princes who would revolt against them. For instance, the sultan Barsbay feared his powerful arch-enemy and rival the Mameluke prince Janbak who was an old prince loyal to Barqoq and helped him establish the Al-Burji Mameluke State. Janbak got promoted ( he became a leader of 1000 Mameluke soldiers) by Barqoq as a reward; when Barsbay feared that Janbak might cause a revolt since he was too powerful, he imprisoned him in Alexandria; yet, Janbak managed to escape and he moved around several cities in the Mameluke sultanate inside and outside Egypt. Barsbay made his men search for the runaway Mameluke prince Janbak; eventually, he was found in a city in northern Iraq and the Mameluke governor there managed to kill him and sent his severed head to Barsbay in the palace in Cairo; Barsbay felt relieved and expressed his joy since he finally got rid of such a fearful rival. More details will be mentioned as we quote the lines by Al-Makrizi about the year of the plague 841 A.H.


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