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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sultana (Queen) Shajar al-Durr First Sultana on Islam in Egypt [ Part one]

Sultana Shajar Al- Dur
Her Names :
Royal name : al-Malikah Ismat ad-Din Umm-Khalil Shajar al-Durr.
Nicknamed : Umm Khalil = mother of Khalil.
Other names : Malikat al-Muslimin (Queen of the Muslims) and Walidat al-Malik al-Mansur Khalil Emir al-Mo'aminin (Mother of al-Malik al-Mansur Khalil Emir of the faithfuls) .
Her origins: 

She was of Turkic or Armenian origin .
She became the Sultana of Egypt on May 2, 1250, marking the end of the Ayyubid reign and the starting of the Mamluk era.

Shajar al-Durr was purchased by sultan -Salih Ayyub.
He chose the name for her .He loved her so much so that she got the right to be sole owner of his heart and mind, and then she became his partner of legitimacy, and the mother of his son.
In the Levant before he became a Sultan and accompanied him at Al Karak during his detention in 1239.

Later when he became a Sultan in 1240 she went with him to Egypt and delivered their son Khalil who was called al-Malik al-Mansour.She was described by the historians as a beautiful, pious and intelligent woman.

Her story with the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Salih Ayyub :
On April 1249, Al-Salih Ayyub, husband of Shajar al-Durr who was gravely sick in Syria, returned to Egypt and stayed in Ashmum-Tanah, near Damietta after he heard that King Louis IX of France had assembled a crusade army in Cyprus and was about to launch an attack against Egypt.

On June 1249, the crusaders landed in the abandoned town of Damietta, at the mouth of the Nile river. as-Salih Ayyub was carried on a stretcher to his palace in the better protected town of Al Mansurah where he died on November 22, 1249 after he ruled Egypt about 10 years and amid one of the most earnest situations in the history of Egypt. Shajar al-Durr informed Emir Fakhr ad-Din Yussuf Ben Shaykh (commander of all the Egyptian army) and Tawashi Jamal ad-Din Muhsin (the chief eunuch who controlled the palace) of the Sultan's death but as the country was under the attack of the crusaders they decided to conceal his death. The coffined body of the Sultan was transported by boat in secret to the castle of al-Rudah island in the Nile and, despite the deceased Sultan did not make testimony concerning who should succeed him after his death, Faris ad-Din Aktai was sent to Hasankeyf to call al-Muazzam Turanshah who was the son of the deceased Sultan.Before he died, the Sultan signed thousands of blank papers which were used by Shajar al-Durr and Emir Fakhr ad-Din in issuing decrees and giving Sultanic orders and they succeeded in convincing the people and the other government officials that the Sultan was only ill—not dead. High officials, Sultanic Mamluks and soldiers were ordered - by the will of the (ill Sultan) - to give oath to the Sultan, his heir Turanshah
 and the Atabeg Fakhr ad-Din Yussuf.

Defeat of the Seventh Crusades :The news of the death of as-Salih Ayyub reached the crusaders in Damietta . Encouraged by the news of the death of the Sultan and by the arrival of reinforcement led by Alfonso, Count of Poitou, the brother of King Louis IX, the crusaders decided to march to Cairo. A crusade force led by Louis IX's brother Robert I of Artois crossed the canal of Ashmum (known today by the name Albahr Alsaghir) and attacked the Egyptian camp in Gideila, two miles (3 km) from Al Mansurah. Emir Fakhr ad-Din was killed during the sudden attack and the crusade force advanced toward the town of Al Mansurah. Shajar al-Durr agreed about Baibars's plan to defend Al Mansurah. The crusade force was trapped inside the town and Robert d'Artois was killed and the crusade force was annihilated by an Egyptian force and town population led by the men who were about to establish the state which would dominate the southern Mediterranean for decades : Baibars al-Bunduqdari, Izz al-Din Aybak, and Qalawun al-Alfi.

In February 1250 the dead Sultan's son Al-Muazzam Turanshah arrived in Egypt and was enthroned at Al Salhiyah as he had no time to go to Cairo. Feeling relieved by the arrival of the new Sultan, Shajar al-Durr announced the death of as-Salih Ayyub. Turanshah went straight to Al Mansurah and on April 6, 1250 the crusaders were entirely defeated at the Battle of Fariskur and king Louis IX was captured.

For the second part.

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