Open main menu

Isma'il (1736–1776) was the ruler of the Kingdom of Sennar (1768–1776). He was the son of king Badi IV, and brother of his predecessor Nasir.[1]

The Scottish traveller James Bruce was his unwilling guest from 1 May to 5 September 1772, and acted as a physician to Isma'il's three wives.[2] Bruce left this portrait of Isma'il:

His head was uncovered; he wore his own short black hair, and was as white in colour as an Arab. He seemed to be a man about thirty-four, his feet were bare but covered by his shirt. He had a very plebeian countenance, on which was stamped no decided character; I should rather have guessed him to be a soft, timid, irresolute man.[3]

Bruce summarized Isma'il's political position at the time of his visit as follows, based on conversations with the Royal Executioner, Ahmed Sid el-Koum:

Ismain, the present king, stood upon very precarious ground; that both brothers, Adelan and Abou Kalec, were at the head of armies in the field; that Kittou [brother of Adelan and Abou Kalec] had at his disposal all the forces that were in Sennar; and that the king was little esteemed, and had neither experience, courage, friends, money, nor troops.[4]


  1. ^ J.M. Reid, Traveller Extraordinary: The Life of James Bruce of Kinnaird (New York: Norton, 1968), p. 246
  2. ^ James Bruce, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, selected and edited with an introduction by C.F. Beckingham (Edinburgh: University Press, 1964), pp. 229-236.
  3. ^ Bruce, Travels, p. 229
  4. ^ Bruce, Travels, p. 238
Preceded by
King of Sennar Succeeded by
Adlan II