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MUHAMMAD `ALI DYNASTY. A dynasty of Albanian-Ottoman origin that reigned in Egypt from 1805 until Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers deposed King Faruq in 1952 and his infant son Ahmad Fu’ad II the following year and established a republic. The rulers bore the titles pasha and wali (governor) until 1867; they were called khedive (viceroy) until 1914, sultan until 1922, and finally king until 1953 Figure I shows their simplified genealogy and the order and dates of their reigns.

Muhammad `Ali and Ibrahim (who ruled only a few months and predeceased his mentally incapacitated father) are usually depicted as able rulers, and Isma`il and Fu’ad I as energetic if not unflawed ones. `Abbas I, Tawfiq, `Abbas II, Husayn Kamil, and Faruq are generally seen as capricious, weak, or subservient to Western interests.

Arriving with an Ottoman force sent to expel Napoleon Bonaparte’s French expedition (1798-1801), Muhammad `Ali maneuvered until the sultan recognized a fait accompli by naming him governor of Egypt. The `ulama’ of al-Azhar mosque helped him to power, but he soon curbed their political influence and economic autonomy. The hard-driving “founder of modern Egypt” dug irrigation canals, promoted cotton as a cash crop for export, centralized taxes, and established monopolies in industry and foreign trade. Western advisers helped him build a modern army and schools to train officers, administrators, and technicians. Muhammad `Ali conquered parts of Arabia, the Sudan, and Greece in the name of the sultan, then rebelled in the 1830s and seized Palestine and Syria. The European powers forced him back to his Egyptian base and made him pare down his army, but he obtained the hereditary governorship of Egypt for his line.

A recent revisionist study (Toledano, 1990), has challenged the prevailing view of `Abbas I as a xenophobic and reactionary despot. The weak-willed Sa’id went along with the Suez Canal project and opened wide the

Genealogy of the Muhammad ‘Ali Dynasty

Muhammad Ali Pasha
Wāli 1805-48(1)
Tusun Pasha Ibrahim Pasha
Wāli 1848(2)
Sa’id Pasha
Wāli 1854-63(4)
Abbas Hilmi I
Wāli 1848-54(3)
Isma’il Pasha
Wāli 1863-67(5)
Khedive 1867-79
Ibrahim Ilhamy
Emina Ilhamy Tewfik Pasha
Khedive 1879-92(6)
Hussein Kamel
Sultan 1914-17(8)
Fuad I
Sultan 1917-22(9)
King 1922-36
Abbas Hilmi II
Khedive 1892-1914(7)
Muhammad Ali Tewfik
(Regent 1936-37)
Farouk I
King 1936-52(10)
Muhammad Abdel Moneim
(Regent 1952-53)
Fuad II
King 1952-53(11)

I. Muhammad ‘Ali (1805-1848)

2-Tusun pasha

3.Abbas Hilmi I    (1848-1854)

4. Said Pasha (1854-1863)

5.Isma’il pasha  (1863-1879)

6. Tawfiq pasha(1879-1892)

7. `Abbas Hilmi II (1892-1914)

8. Husayn Kamil (1914-1917)

9.Ahmad Fu’ad I (1917-1936)

10. Faruq (1936-1952)

II. Ahmad Fu’ad II (1952-1953)


door to European exploitation. Isma’il formally opened the Canal, promoted education and public works, and conquered a new African empire. But bankruptcy led to his deposition in 1879, followed by the `Urabi revolt, and the British occupation of 1882. Tawfiq was somewhat a tool of the British, and `Abbas II was an ineffectual rebel against the powerful British consul general, Lord Cromer.

Young `Abbas II and Faruq squandered their initial popularity, and the dynasty’s failure to come to terms with Egyptian nationalism in the twentieth century proved fatal. Farfiq was the first of the line to feel fully at home speaking Arabic. Fu’ad I cultivated al-Azhar (he harbored ambitions of becoming caliph) and founded Cairo University and other cultural institutions, but he is remembered best for his autocracy and his enmity toward the popular nationalist Wafd Party. By continuing his father’s feud with the Wafd, Farfiq forfeited the possibility of becoming a nationalist rallying point like Sultan Muhammad V of Morocco. Faruq’s private life became a national embarrassment and contributed to his overthrow. Because of the dynasty’s alien origins, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s claim to be the first

indigenous ruler of Egypt since the pharaohs was not entirely fanciful.

[See also Egypt.]


Colombe, M. “`Abbas Hilmi I” and “`Abbas Hilmi II.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 1, p. 13. Leiden, 1960-.

Jomier, Jacques. “Fu’ad al-Awwal.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 2, p. 934. Leiden, 1960-.

Kahle, Paul E. “Ibrahim Pasha.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 3, PP. 999-iooo. Leiden, 1960-.

Marsot, `Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid. Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali. Cambridge, 1984. Discusses individual reigns.

McLeave, Hugh. The Last Pharaoh: Farouk of Egypt. New York, 1970. One of several popular biographies of Farfiq.

Toledano, Ehud R. “Muhammad `Ali Pasha.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 7, pp. 423-431. Leiden, 1960-.

Toledano, Ehud R. State and Society in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Egypt. Cambridge, 1990. Covers individual reigns.

Vatikiotis, P. J. “Faruk.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., supp., PP. 299-302. Leiden, 1960-.

Vatikiotis, P. J. “Husayn Kamil.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 3, pp. 624-625. Leiden, 1960-.

Vatikiotis, P. J. “Isma’il Pasha.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 4, PP. 192-193. Leiden, 1960-.

Vatikiotis, P. J. The History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to Mubarak. 4th ed. Baltimore, 1991. Discusses the rulers of the dynasty.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/muhammad-ali-dynasty/

  • writerPosted On: August 22, 2014
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