Beautiful Egypt 298 – “The Islamic Cairo” – 29/5/2019

Beautiful Egypt 298 – “The Islamic Cairo” – 29/5/2019

In the last article we talked about coming of the leader Jawhar Al-Siqilli to Egypt. Whereas he ruled it and gave a speech on its platform as well as he invoked God to support Al-Muizz and ceased to invoke God to support Ibn Al-Abbas. Then Jawhar Al-Siqilli started to build Cairo.

Building Cairo

As soon as things were stabilized in Egypt, Jawhar Al-Siqilli started to build Cairo outside Old Cairo, in the North of Fustat. Moreover he laid the basis for the great palace of Al-Muizz Li- Din Allah the Fatimid.

It was mentioned that Jawhar named the City “Al-Mansourya” at first to be named after Al- Mansourya city, which was established outside Kairouan City or in memory of Al-Mansur Billah the father of Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah.

Where the name continued to be used until Al-Muizz came to Egypt in (362 AH- 972 AD). Then the name Al-Mansourya was replaced by Cairo; which was already into the mind of Al-Muizz.

It was said that when he addressed the armies before heading to Egypt he said: “If Jawhar went alone to conquer Egypt, he will be able to take hold of it and alone indeed (Jawhar) you will enter ruins of lbn Tulun and found such a city which could overpower (taqhar) all the cities of the world.”

Al-Muizz wanted that city to conquer the Abbasid Caliphate and the whole world!

Cairo was the Capital of the Fatimid Caliphs and a main headquarter instead of Kairouan which was located far from other governing provinces.

Cairo was built on an approximate area of 340 Acres surrounded by a wall with several doors.

As historians mentioned the names of those doors were as follows;

Bab al-Nasr, Bab al-Futuh, Bab al-Barakiyyah (the Gate of Blessedness), Bab al-Qaratin (the Burnt), Bab Zuwayla (Bawabbat al-Mitwali), Bab al-Faraj (no sign of it today), Bab al-Saadah and Bab al-Qantarah.

At first Cairo was a military city where princes’ houses, the cabinet offices and the funds vaults used to be until it became the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate when Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah came to from Morocco and named it Islamic Cairo.

Al-Azhar Mosque

A year later after the foundation for Cairo City was laid in (359 AH-970 AD), Jawhar Al-Siqilli started to build Al-Azhar Mosque. He finished its’ construction after approximately twenty eight months in (361 AH-972 AD).

Al-Azhar Mosque was considered to be one of the most famous and ancient Fatimid antiquities in Egypt. It was mentioned that the name of the mosque was not called Al-Azhar at first. But it was named Cairo mosque, although the diversity between historians around the origin of the name “Azhar”, but most of the opinions were attributed to Fatimah Az-Zahria the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the mother of Al-Husayn, to whom all the Fatimids were attributed to.


After Egypt was taken over, Jawhar Al-Siqilli sent a military campaign under the leadership of Jaafar bin Falah to Ramla in Palestine to where Al-Hussan Ibn Ebid had escaped.

Ibn Taghribirdi mentioned: “When Jawhar ruled Egypt, Al Hasan Ibn Abid Allah Ibn Al-Ikhshid who was mentioned before in Shaam was in Ramla and Jawhar sent him Jaafar bin Falah the leader. Bin Falah fought Al Hasan in Ramla and conquered him. Then, Jawhar sent him to Egypt, and later on to Morocco.”

Then Jaafar bin Falah headed to Tiberias then to Hauran and to Damascus where fierce battles broke out and ended by the triumph of the Fatimids. Palestine and Al-Shaam were conquered to be under the rule of the Fatimid.

Jawhar Al-Siqilli remained the ruler of Egypt for almost four years until Al-Muizz Li Din Allah the Fatimid came to it to be the ruler of the country and Jawhar was one of his leaders.

It was mentioned that Jawhar Al-Siqilli was being loved by all Egyptians for his justice; as it was mentioned that “Jawhar was a man of good character and conduct with his people as well as being Just, reasonable, courageous and deliberate.”

Stories about Beautiful Egypt never end!

General Bishop,

Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center