The dynasty was founded by Ahmed ibn Tulun, an able and witted
Turkish who had been raised in the Abbasid
Ibn Tulun maintained his control over the government of Egypt until
he gradually separated the province from the Abbasid Caliphate.
Ibn Tulun Mosque,
one of the oldest
& largest mosques in Cairo
One of his early actions was to found a great army composed of foreign
slaves. With this army he conquered Syria in 878.
Ibn Tulun built the city of Al-Qatae' (the wards) to the north of
the Arab capital of Al-Fustat.
Each of the ethnic groups of his army settled in a separate quarter
in the new capital city.
Ibn Tulun built his great mosque
in 879. The mosque is one of the biggest and oldest Islamic monuments
Ibn Tulun's rule was benevolent and Egypt became a rich state under
his wise dominion. Money began to flow to the treasury. Tax collectors
were strictly controlled. Thus the populaces were satisfied with
the authority and the most important thing is that Egypt became
a prosperous land.
Ibn Tulun sadly died in 884 and was succeeded by his son Khumaraweih.
Khumaraweih expanded the Egyptian rule to as far as the Euphrates.
The Abbasids had to recognize him as a ruler. Moreover, relations
improved between Khumaraweih and the Abbasid caliph.
Khumaraweih sent his daughter, Qatr Al-Nada (dewdrop) to marry the
Abbasid caliph. The ceremony was legendary.
from the Tulunid era
Photo by Raymon Kondos ©
Khumaraweih was killed in 896. He was succeeded by weak rulers
who had no task but to plunder the empire's treasure and weaken
In 905, the Abbasids recaptured Egypt. They raised Al-Qatae' to
the ground. The whole city was wholly devastated except the mosque
of ibn Tulun.
The caliphate seated in Iraq appointed unable Turkish governors
in Egypt, and once again their 30-year rule was associated with
corruption and skirmishes launched by the Fatimids,
a rising Arab power in Tunisia.