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Islamic History: Mamluk Dynasty (1250-1517 AD)

History Mamluk Dynasty (1250-1517 AD)


History Mamluk Dynasty (1250-1517 AD)


If we talk about the Mamluk dynasty, in the perspective of Islamic history, two names are known the same. First, the Mamluk dynasty was based in Egypt. This dynasty existed from 1250 AD to 1517 AD Second, the Mamluk dynasty in India. The dynasty in India appeared from 1206 AD to 1290 AD.


These two dynasties can be said to have existed contemporaneously and were both founded by slaves. However, the Mamluk dynasty in Egypt existed much longer, with more than two and a half centuries, than the Mamluk dynasty in India which only existed for about eight decades. In this discussion, we will discuss further the Mamluk Dynasty in Egypt or Daulat al-Atrak, the dynasty that stood at the beginning of the fall of Muslims.


The Founding of the Mamluk Dynasty

The Mamluk dynasty was founded in the mid-13th century AD. Its presence has a relationship with the previous dynasty, namely the Ayyubid dynasty. This happened because the people involved in the process of establishing the Mamluk dynasty were slaves who worked for the Ayyubid dynasty. The word Mamluk itself means slave. They were initially prisoners of the Ayyubid dynasty rulers who were used as slaves, then the slaves were given military and religious education, and then served as soldiers.


The Mamluk army, in general, came from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea regions. In Egypt, they were stationed on the island of Raudhah on the Nile to undergo military and religious training. Because of that, they are known by the nickname Mamluk Bahri (Sea). Their rivals in the army at that time were soldiers who came from the Kurds.


The ruler of the Ayyubid dynasty issued a policy by placing the slaves as a separate group separate from society. During the time of Al-Malik Ash-Shaleh, he implemented a symbiotic relationship of mutualism by making these slave-soldiers bodyguards to ensure the continuity of his power. In return, they received special privileges, both in material honors and in military careers.


Al-Malik Ash-Shaleh saw the Mamluk army as a loyal army and demonstrated its capabilities during the war against the Crusaders and when competing with political rivals. For this reason, the loyalty of the Mamluk army was then centered on the person of Al-Malik Ash-Shaleh, not on the dynasty as an institution. We can see the Mamluk army as more of a private army than a military army of a dynasty.


If traced further, the founding of the Mamluk dynasty began with political turmoil after the death of Al-Malik Ash-Shaleh, the last ruler of the Ayyubid dynasty in 1249 AD. Then he was replaced by his son Turansyah, who came from his wife who incidentally came from the Kurdish tribe. . Turansyah is considered a threat to their future, this is because Turansyah is closer to the Kurdish army than to them.


In 1250 AD, the Mamluk army under the command of Aybak and Baybars attempted to carry out a political coup through a series of power struggles, eventually, they succeeded in killing Turansyah. Al-Malik's wife, Syajarah Al-Dur, who was also from among the Slavic Turks or Armenians, tried to take control of the government, by making himself the first sultanas, by the agreement with the Mamluks.


Al-Dur's leadership lasted three months. When the emirs elected his relative, who was also the chief commander of the kingdom of Izzudin Aybak as sultan, he then decided to marry the Mamluk leader and hand over the reins of power to him hoping to continue in power behind the scenes.


Furthermore, to gain the sympathy of the Ayyubid family, Aybak appointed an Ayyubid descendant named Musa as ruler. However, in the end, Moses was also killed by Aybak. With the death of Musa at the hands of Aybak, the existence of the Ayyubid dynasty ended and marked the beginning of the emergence of the Mamluk dynasty.


Mamluk Bahri and Burji

Before we discuss further the development of the Mamluk dynasty, it would be better if we know the categorization of the rulers of the Mamluk dynasty. We divide it into two major dynasties: the Bahri (1250-1390) and the Burji (1382-1517). First, the Mamluk Bahri were originally slaves purchased by sultan al-Salih from the Ayyubid dynasty, who placed his slaves on the small island of Rawdah in the Nile River. On this island, the slaves were educated in religious and military education, because they were prepared to be the sultan's guards. Most of them come from the Turkic and Mongol races.


Second, the Burji Mamluks consisted of slaves who were imported later. Initially, they also held duties such as bodyguards, but this group was formed by Qallawun, the Mamluk king of Bahri. Most of them come from Circasius, then placed in the towers of the castle. The total number of kings of the Mamluk dynasty was 47, 24 from the Bahri Mamluks, and 23 from the Burji Mamluks.


Early Development of the Mamluk Dynasty

Aybak established the rule of the Mamluks in Egypt for seven years (1250-1257). During his reign, he was not accompanied by his comrade in arms, Baybar. Because there was no common vision, Baybar left Egypt and settled in Syria. According to some historians, Baybars' departure to Syria was the result of his failure to occupy the position of the sultan. In his first years in power, Aybak was busy eroding Ayyubid legitimacy in Syria, sacking the little king al-Ashraf, and overcoming the influence of a general who rivaled his popularity with his success against Louis IX.


At the same time, the queen not only shares power but dominates the government. Finally, hearing rumors that the sultan was planning to remarry, he decided to kill Aybek while bathing. After that incident, it is said that al-Dur was beaten with wooden shoes by some of the slave girls of Aybak's first wife, and her body was then thrown from the top of the tower.


Aybak died in 1257 and was succeeded by his young son, Ali. However, Ali only ruled for about 2 years because, in 1259, he resigned. Subsequently, he was succeeded by his deputy Qutuz.


Qutuz claims that he was the grandson of Shah Khwarizm's nephew, who was later captured by the Mongols and sold to Damascus, where he was bought by Aybak. After Qutuz ascended the throne, Baybar, who had fled to Syria, returned to Egypt. The appearance of Qutuz as Sultan to replace Ali has allowed returning to Egypt.


The arrival of Baybars who brought several Mamluks was welcomed by Qutuz. He welcomed the arrival of Baybar because if he remained in Syria, Baybar was expected to threaten his position in Egypt. He thought it would be more profitable because there were no more senior rivals among the Mamluk leadership.


War 'Ain Jalut

As early as 1260 AD, the Mongol army from Baghdad had entered Syria by crossing the Euphrates river to invade Egypt. They have occupied Nablus and Gaza without encountering any resistance. Furthermore, the Mongol troops led by Kitbuga, a representative from Hulagu, sent envoys to Egypt asking Sultan Qutuz to surrender to Hulagu in Baghdad.


Sultan Qutuz was not willing to give up, he killed the Mongol envoy. because of this, the spirit of the Mongol army to conquer Egypt increased. Therefore, Kitbuga and his army continued to advance across Jordan towards Galile. Meanwhile, the Mamluk army moved north along the Palestinian coast and formed camps near Acre.


While the Mongols were on their way to Galilee, the Mamluks set out to prevent the Mongols from entering. The Mamluk army under the leadership of Quthuz and Baybar as warlords succeeded in destroying the Mongol troops led by Kitbuga, on September 3, 1260 AD, this event is known as the war of 'Ain Jalut.


It should be noted that this war was a major event in the history of Islam and was the first victory that the Muslims had won against the Mongolians. They succeeded in destroying the myth that they would never be defeated. After this victory, the Muslims chased the Mongolians to the north.


After the victory at the Battle of 'Ain Jalut, Baybar expected the city of Aleppo as a gift, and a sign of acknowledgment of his military movements, but the sultan refused his request. On 24 October 1260, on his way back through Syria, while hunting with Quthuz, an agent of Quthuz approached the sultan and kissed his hand, and Baybars slashed his sword against the sultan's neck. The slain sultan was then replaced by his assassin.


The pinnacle of the Mamluk dynasty

Baybar Government

The most victorious Mamluk sultan was al-Malik al-Zhahir Rukn al-Din Baybar al-Bunduq (1260-1277). At first, he was a slave from Turkey just like Aybek, when he was young he was sold to Damascus for 800 dirhams, but was later returned because he had a defect in one of his blue eyes.


Al-Salih then appointed him as the leader of the guard troops. After that, his military career progressed smoothly and quickly, thus earning him the highest military command in the country. With a tall, sturdy body, rather dark skin, brave and energetic, he has leadership qualities compared to other men.


According to Philip. K. Hitti, Barbara became the first great Mamluk, ruler, and true founder of Mamluk rule. His first victory was in the battle against the Mongols in the war of 'Ain Jalut, but the peak of his fame was obtained thanks to his struggle against the Crusaders. This resistance destroys the core of the defense of the Franks and made possible the victories achieved by his successors, namely Qallawun and al-Ashraf.


During one of his expeditions to northern Syria, Baybar destroyed the remaining Assassin forces once and for all. While his generals managed to expand their territory to the west into the Berber tribal area, and to the south to reach the Nubia region, which was finally under the control of the Sultan of Egypt.


Baybar's capacity is more than just a military leader. He not only managed to organize his army, but he also dug several canals, repaired ports, and connected Cairo and Damascus with a postal bird service, which only took 4 days, this postal bird was originally developed in the Fatimid period. Horse terminals are set up at every stopping point ready to transport them at any time.


Baybar built many public places, beautified mosques, imposed taxes for the state, zakat, and alms. Among Baybar's architectural monuments are the Great mosques in Cairo and Damascus, as well as the school that bears his name that still survives today. The Zahiriyah Library in Damascus was built over the temple that houses his tomb.


Baybar is known as the first sultan in Egypt to appoint four judges, represent the four orthodox schools of jurisprudence, and organize a special mahmil for the Egyptians, with permanent and systematic foundations. One of the most important events known during the reign of Baybar was the coronation of a new series of the Abbasid caliphate which bears the name Abbasid but only has pseudo power.


The sultan did that to give legitimacy to his throne, giving a feeling of grandeur to his palace in the view of Muslims. To this end, he invited the uncle of the last Abbasid caliph, and the son of the caliphal-Zhahir who had escaped the massacre in Baghdad, from Damascus in June 1261.


Baybar then crowned him, in a grand and majestic ceremony, as caliph al-Mustanshir. The caliph was escorted by greatness from Syria, even the Jews and Christians accompanied him with the Torah and the Bible. In addition, the majesty of his genealogy continues to be chanted by members of the panel of judges. Subsequently, the sultan received from his puppet caliph the certificate of the sultan's coronation which gave him complete control over Egypt, Syria, Diarbekir, Hejaz, Yemen, and the mainland of the Euphrates.


Three months later Baybar departed from Cairo to usher in and establish the caliphate in Baghdad, but upon arriving in Damascus leaving al-Muntashir to determine his destiny, al-Munthashir was attacked in the desert by the Mongol governor of Baghdad.


One year later, another descendant of the Abbasid caliphate left for Cairo, the same as the previous caliph, he was immediately crowned by Baybar as caliph with the title al-Hakim. The descendants of al-Hakim for two and a half centuries earned the title of this puppet caliph. These Caliphs were satisfied with having his name engraved on the currency and his name being mentioned at every Friday prayer in Egypt.


Baybar's policy of appointing a caliph for the legitimacy of power attracted the attention of several other Islamic rulers such as Abu Numay, a Meccan Sharif who previously submitted to the Hafsun dynasty in Tunis, who declared his loyalty to the Mamluks. Likewise, Sultan Bayazid I of the Ottoman dynasty and Muhammad Taghlab of Syria sought to establish relations with the Mamluks in Egypt and hoped for legitimacy from the caliph for their power.


The next policy that Baybar made to attract the sympathy of the people was to revive the existence of the Sunni school of thought in Egypt. This is done by Baybar with the consideration that the majority of the population of Egypt is a Sunni sect, while the government must get the support of its people.


Qallawun's reign

After Baybar died, the most famous leader of the Mamluk dynasty was al-Malik al-Mansur Sayf al-Din Qallawun (1279-1290). Like his predecessors, he was a slave from Turkey, to be precise from Qipcaq. The young Qallawun was then taken to Egypt, and sold to al-Salih. He secured the throne by eliminating his rival, Salamisy (1279) the seven-year-old son of Baybar, who succeeded his brother Barakah (1277-1279), an avid nineteen-year-old. Qallawun was the only Mamluk ruler whose descendants continued into the fourth generation. The last Bahri, al-Salih Hajji was his great-grandson.


Shortly after Qallawun established himself as ruler of Egypt, Il-Khan the Mongol of Persia began to threaten his territory in Syria. Among the Mongol rulers, Abaqa (1265-1281) son of Hulagu and his successors, as well as his son Arghun (1284-1291), sided with the Christians and engaged in negotiations with the Pope, and several other European aristocrats who urged a new crusade intending to remove Egypt from Syria.


Qallawun defeated Abawa at the Battle of Emessa in 1280, although Abawa was supported by a large army and additional troops from Armenians, Franks, and Georgians. Not long after that, the Mongols converted to Islam. The sultan strengthened bilateral relations with the Golden Horde, the Byzantine Emperor, the Republic of Genoa, the king of France, Castile, and Sicily.


Qallawun's policies were, among other things, when they attacked Minor Armenia because they helped the Mongols, and the Crusaders' castles were destroyed. Tripoli, once burned down, was rebuilt a few years later. At the end of his reign, Qallawun issued an order to fire Christians from all his government offices.


In his time of rapid development, he renovated fortifications. In Cairo, he built a hospital, which is connected to a mosque school, as well as a large royal grave complex with beautiful Arabesque art. Qallawun also built several hospitals, including a Muslim hospital that still exists today. The Sultan got the inspiration to build it while lying down with a stomach ache at the Nuri Hospital in Damascus. It was then that he determined to establish a hospital in Cairo.


The Decline and Fall of the Mamluk Dynasty

After the Baybar and Qallawun eras, there were no more sultan figures like them, so the condition of the Mamluk dynasty became worse and peaked when Egypt became an Ottoman territory, after the Ottoman sultan Salim succeeded in defeating Tuman Bay (the last sultan of the Mamluks) in the battle of 22 June 1517 AD. In this section, we will discuss the factors that caused the decline and collapse of the Mamluk dynasty, here the author divides the factors of the collapse into four.


Power struggle

The internal political conflict that previously occurred in the Ayyubid family, re-occurred in the reign of the Mamluk dynasty. We can see the conflict in two different periods. First, the conflict during the early formation of the sultanate led to the deaths of Aybak, Syajarah al-Durr, and Qutuz. This conflict was only at the level of the Mamluk leadership, it did not affect the bottom line. It is precisely the conflict at this time as an introduction to the integration process.


Second, the conflict over the power struggle during the Mamluk Burji era, the competition for the position of the sultan in the Mamluk Burji circles was tougher and crueler than during the Mamluk Bahri era. The killing of the sultan terahadao to replace his position became a common thing so that at that time many sultans died unnaturally. It was this second conflict that led the Mamluk sultanate to its demise.


The emergence of a culture of luxury and hedonistic living.

In 1390 AD, the rule of the Bahri Mamluks ended. Since this period, the position of the sultan no longer represents an institution that guarantees the continuity of government, but a place of pleasure and luxury up for grabs. The use of state money for the luxury of the sultan that An-Nasir started with was much worse at the hands of the Burji Mamluks. To fulfill the wishes of the sultan, taxes to the people and merchants were increased. This attitude of the sultan diminished the authority of the sultan in the eyes of the emirs, thus eliminating his ability to control the region.


Corrupt Morality of Rulers and Weak Control of Religious Education

The education that the Ayyubid dynasty gave to the Bahri Mamluks was different from what the Bahri Mamluks did to the Burji Mamluks. When Mamluk Bahri was educated in Rawdah, in addition to physical military training, religious education was not left behind, it was even basic. The Burji Mamluks received little religious education. Therefore, it is not surprising that the rulers of the Mamluk Burji were demoralized. For example, Barsbay does not know Arabic letters, Muayyad Shah is drunk, Inal cannot read and write, and Yalbay is insane.


The emergence of the Ottoman Turks

External threats further endangered the Mamluk dynasty. This threat was not from the Mongols under the leadership of Timur Lenk. But this threat came from the Ottoman Turks, the extraordinary progress of the Ottomans made them the biggest threat to the Mamluk dynasty.


The conflict between the two dynasties began to heat up during the reign of Qait Bay and Bayazid II. The discovery of firearms in Europe helped the Ottomans in their battle against the Mamluks. The Mamluks considered the use of such weapons to reduce self-esteem. The old style of war skills was still their pride. Therefore, firearms were only given to the lowest military class consisting of Negroes whose loyalty was doubtful.


The peak of the conflict between the two dynasties took place on June 22, 1517 AD, namely the war between Tuman Bay and Sultan Salim which took place outside the city of Cairo. Mamluk d defeat This world of war at the same time ended the history of the dynasty.

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