Al-Malik Az-Zahir Sayf ad-Din Barquq (Circassian: Бэркъукъу аз-Захьир Сэфудин) (Arabic: الملك الظاهر سيف الدين برقوق) (ruled 1382–1389 and 1390–1399) was born in Circassia. He was the first Sultan of the Mamluk Burji dynasty of Egypt.

Barqouqy mosque - Moez street.jpg
Sultan of Egypt and Syria
PredecessorAs-Salih Hajji
SuccessorAs-Salih Hajji
Sultan of Egypt and Syria
PredecessorAs-Salih Hajji
SuccessorAn-Nasir Faraj
Bornc. 1336
Died20 June 1399 (aged c. 63)
  • Khawand Fatima
  • Sitti Hajar
  • Tandu Khatun
  • Khawand Shirin
  • Qunnuq-Bey
  • Khawand Baraka
  • Sul

The name Barquq means "plum" in Arabic, and was taken by Barquq on his arrival in Egypt.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Barquq was of Circassian origin,[2] and was acquired as a slave and became a mamluk in the household of Yalbugha al-Umari in approximately 1363–64 (or 764 on the Islamic calendar).[3] During the reign of Sultan al-Mansur Ali, when Barquq held considerable influence in the Mamluk state, he brought his father Anas to Egypt in March 1381. Anas converted to Islam and became the first father of a first-generation mamluk to be mentioned by the Mamluk era sources because of his Muslim faith; the fathers of first generation mamluks were typically non-Muslims. Anas was promoted to the rank of emir of one hundred (the highest Mamluk military rank) and was known for his piety, kindness and charitable acts. He died ten months after his arrival to Egypt.[4]

Rise to powerEdit

Since 1341, the Mamluk empire had been ruled by the descendants of al-Nasir Muhammad. However, none of them were strong enough to exert effective control. Many of the rulers were minors at the time of their accession, and would act as puppets for one or another competing Mamluk faction.

This happened in 1377, when the sultan al-Ashraf Sha'ban, who had ruled in his own stead since 1366, was overthrown and killed. The rebelling Mamluks replaced him on the throne with his seven-year-old son. When that puppet sultan died, he was replaced by the younger brother.

Barquq was a member of the faction behind the throne, serving in various powerful capacities in the court of the boy sultans. He consolidated his power until in November 1382 he was able to depose sultan al-Salih Hajji and claim the sultanate for himself. He took the reign name al-Zahir, perhaps in imitation of the sultan al-Zahir Baybars.[5]

First reign (1382–1389)Edit

Mamluk Barquq copper fals Damascus 1382 1389, in the British Museum. Note the Fleur-de-lis motif[6]

Barquq placed many of his own family in positions of power to the detriment of fellow Mamluks, attempting to solidify his position. He sponsored the construction of the Madrasa-Khanqa of Sultan Barquq in the center of Cairo. Completed in 1386, it was a pious foundation designed to serve as both a khanqah and a madrasa. It is one of the three dominant Islamic monuments clustered on the street Bayn al-Qasrayn in Fatimid Cairo. Although often called the Mausoleum of Barquq, only his daughter is buried there.[7]

Barquq ended the public holiday in Egypt celebrating the Coptic New Year Nayrouz.[1]

The central caravanserai of the famous Cairo souk Khan El-Khalili was founded in the first year of his first reign, though it was founded by his emir, Djaharks el-Khalili.


Early on, the Zahiri Revolt threatened to overthrow Barquq, though the conspiracy was discovered before any agitators could mobilize. The year 1389 saw the revolt of two Mamluk governors from the northern end of the empire, Mintash, governor of Malatya, and Yalbogha al-Nasiri, governor of Aleppo (not to be confused with Yalbogha al-`Umari). After securing Syria they marched toward Cairo. Barquq attempted to escape, but was captured and sent to al-Karak. Meanwhile, the two governors restored Hajji to the throne, who now took the reign name al-Mansur. Fighting developed among the Mamluk factions in Cairo, and Barquq's supporters overcame the rebels. Barquq returned to Cairo in February 1390.[5]

Second reign (1390–1399)Edit

Illuminated frontispiece from the Qur'an commissioned by Barquq for his Complex. This manuscript is part of the National Library of Egypt's Collection of Mamluk Qur'an Manuscripts inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register

During Barquq's second reign he succeeded in replacing almost all governors and senior officials with members of his own household. Barquq became an enemy of the Mongol warlord Timur after Timur's invasion of Baghdad in 1393, and his intention to invade Syria. Hence, he joined an alliance with the Ottoman Empire after 1393.[8]

Barquq died in June 1399 (Shawwal 801H in the Islamic Calendar) and was succeeded by his son Nasir-ad-Din Faraj. He was buried in a mausoleum built by Faraj in Cairo's Northern Cemetery.


Barquq's first wife was the daughter of Amir Tashtimur. They married on 17 April 1380, before his accession to the throne.[9] In 1384, he married Khawand Fatima, the daughter of Amir Manjak al-Yusufi.[9][10] On 12 February 1386,[11] he married Sitti Hajar, the daughter of Amir Menglibogha as-Shamsi and Khwand Fatima, daughter of Sultan Al-Ashraf Sha'ban.[11] With her, he had a daughter, Khawand Bairam.[12] She died on 2 April 1430.[11] In 1391, he married the daughter of Amir Ali bin Esendemir, the naib of Syria,[9] and the same year he married the daughter of Ash-Shahabi Ahmad bin at-Tuluni.[9]

Another wife was Tandu Khatun, the daughter of Shaykh Uways Jalayir, ruler of the Jalayirid Sultanate. They married on 11 February 1394.[13] One of Barquq's concubines was Khawand Shirin.[14] She was a Greek, and gave birth to Barquq's eldest son, An-Nasir Faraj.[15] She died in 1399–1400, and was buried in the madrasa of Barquq at Bayn al-Qasrayn.[16] Another concubine was Qunnuq-Bey. She was a Turkish, and gave birth to Barquq's second son, Izz ad-Din Abd al-Aziz.[9] She died in 1432.[15] One of Barquq's wives was Khawand Baraka. She was a free born Syrian, and gave birth to Barquq's third son, Ibrahim.[17] Another concubine was Sul, a songstress.[18]

One of his daughters, Khawand Sara, born of a concubine,[19] married Nawruz al-Hafizi, the amir kabir on 1 September 1401,[20] and later Muqbil ar-Rumi. She died in 1409–10 on the road to Damascus.[19] Another daughter, Khawand Bairam[19] married Amir Inal Bay ibn Qijmas on 15 September 1401,[20] then Baighut, and then Asanbugha Zarkadash.[12] She died of plague in 1416.[19] Another daughter, Khawand Zaynab, born of a Greek concubine, married Sultan Al-Mu'ayyad Shaykh.[21] She died in 1423.[22]


Sultan Barquq's reign was also marked by trade with other contemporaneous polities. Excavations in the late 1800s and early 1900s in modern-day northwestern Somalia unearthed, among other things, coins identified as having been derived from Barquq. All of the pieces had been struck in either Cairo or Damascus.[23] Most of these finds are associated with the medieval Sultanate of Adal.[24] They were sent to the British Museum in London for preservation shortly after their discovery.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Margoliouth, 1907, pp. 171−172
  2. ^ [1], p. 290, at Google Books
  3. ^ Holt, 2014, p. 127
  4. ^ Sharon, 2013, p. 163
  5. ^ a b Holt, 2014, p. 128
  6. ^ Mayer, 1933, pp. 2 n 2, 22, 24
  7. ^ Williams, 2002, pp. 170-172
  8. ^ The Mamluks, Ivan Hrbek, The Cambridge history of Africa: From c. 1600 to c. 1790, Vol. III, Ed. Roland Oliver, (Cambridge University Press, 2001), 54.
  9. ^ a b c d e Yiğit 2016, p. 559.
  10. ^ Yiğit 2015, p. 338.
  11. ^ a b c Bauden, Frédéric. "The Qalawunids: A Pedigree" (PDF). University of Chicago. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  12. ^ a b Taghrībirdī, A.M.Y.I.; Popper, W. (1960). History of Egypt, 1382-1469 A.D. History of Egypt, 1382-1469 A.D. University of California Press. p. 11.
  13. ^ Bauden, F.; Dekkiche, M. (2019). Mamluk Cairo, a Crossroads for Embassies: Studies on Diplomacy and Diplomatics. Islamic History and Civilization. Brill. p. 366. ISBN 978-90-04-38463-7.
  14. ^ Yiğit 2015, p. 334.
  15. ^ a b Ben-Bassat, Y. (2017). Developing Perspectives in Mamluk History: Essays in Honor of Amalia Levanoni. Islamic History and Civilization. Brill. p. 165. ISBN 978-90-04-34505-8. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  16. ^ Karam, Amina (2019-05-22). "Women, Architecture and Representation in Mamluk Cairo". AUC DAR Home. p. 85. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  17. ^ Morgenstern, M.; Tietz, C.; Boudignon, C.; Anteby-Yemini, L.; Balog, P.Y.; Chaumont, É.; Frenkel, Y.; Frenkel, M.; Giorda, M.C.C.; Großhans, H.P. (2011). männlich und weiblich schuf Er sie: Studien zur Genderkonstruktion und zum Eherecht in den Mittelmeerreligionen (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 244. ISBN 978-3-647-54009-2. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  18. ^ Ekinci, Abdullah; Yavuz, Esra (2021-06-29). "Burcî Memlükleri Döneminde Cariyeler ve Aile Hayatında Etkileri". Atatürk Üniversitesi Kadın Araştırmaları Dergisi (in Turkish). 3 (1): 33–45. doi:10.51621/atakad.807533. S2CID 234429319. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  19. ^ a b c d Taġrībirdī, A.M.Y.I.; Popper, W. (1976). History of Egypt, 1382-1469 A.D. History of Egypt, 1382-1469 A.D. AMS Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-404-58813-7.
  20. ^ a b Massoud, S. (2007). The Chronicles and Annalistic Sources of the Early Mamluk Circassian Period. Islamic History and Civilization. Brill. p. 424–25. ISBN 978-90-474-1979-2.
  21. ^ Yiğit 2016, p. 560.
  22. ^ D'hulster, Kristof; Steenbergen, Jo Van. "Family Matters: The Family-In-Law Impulse in Mamluk Marriage Policy". Annales Islamologiques. 47: 61–82. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  23. ^ University of Ghana, Institute of African Studies (1966). Research review, Volumes 3-4. The Institute. p. 67. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  24. ^ Bernard Samuel Myers, ed., Encyclopedia of World Art, Volume 13, (McGraw-Hill: 1959), p.xcii.
  25. ^ Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain), The Geographical Journal, Volume 87, (Royal Geographical Society: 1936), p.301.


Regnal titles
Preceded by Mamluk Sultan of Egypt
Succeeded by
Preceded by Mamluk Sultan of Egypt
Succeeded by