This is how the Ethiopians tried to cut the Nile from Egypt in the past

The country of Abyssinia was therefore a mixture of Muslims and Christians alike, and since the seventh century AH / thirteenth century AD, Egypt has become a destination for the Christians of Abyssinia and their sights, and at the same time it was a kiss for the Muslims of Zaila (Muslims in the Horn of Africa and Somalia), turning towards it seeking knowledge and victory from it. And that was after the fall of Baghdad in the hands of the Tatars in 656 AH, and the transfer of the Islamic center of gravity to Cairo, in which the return of the Abbasid caliphate was announced, under the strong Mamluk state, that the Christians were the rulers of Abyssinia, and the presence of Muslims in it was subordinate to the Christian Abyssinian kingdom, which was following from Examine the situation of Christians in Egypt who belong to their sect of “the Jacobites”. (5)

The kings of Abyssinia used to send messages to the Mamluk sultans in Cairo asking them to treat Christians in Egypt well, and not to restrict them, or to oppose their churches, otherwise Ethiopian Muslims would be subjected to torture and abuse, and the Ethiopians believed in their threats when Egypt did not listen to their messages or recommendations regarding Christians. in Egypt.

However, it is striking that since the eighth century AH / fourteenth century AD, the kings of Abyssinia began to sound a new tone in their threatening messages to Egypt. For the first time, we explicitly read about building a dam that prevents the Nile from reaching Egypt. Egypt, in which the strength of its affairs and the well-being of its inhabitants is the course of my country, and I am protecting it. ” On the other hand, the Mamluk Sultans received these messages with mockery and ridicule because of the big difference between the two powers at the time, as the Mamluk Sultanate was a global state that was only matched by the Mughal state in its power, and the Ethiopians did not dare to contend with them or to extend their territories. (6)

For example, the king of Abyssinia “Jabra Musakil” (712-744 AH / 1312-1344AD) sent a letter to this effect to Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun in Egypt threatening him to cut off the waters of the Nile and harm Muslims in Abyssinia if Cairo did not deal with the Orthodox in a decent manner. And when his reparation was not able to prevent the Nile from its flow, he carried out his threat to persecute the Muslims of Abyssinia, which made Al-Nasser issue a decree to the Patriarch in Egypt to send to the king of Abyssinia a letter ordering him to stop harming the Muslims of Abyssinia, which he complied with, and the king of Abyssinia forced him in Corresponding; Because “the orders of the patriarch have the inviolability of his law,” as the contemporary historian mentions of those events al-Qalqashandi. (7)

The Abyssinian king Zarra Yaqoub bin Dawood (1434-1468 AD / 837-872 AH) was known for his extreme cruelty in persecuting Muslims in his country, and he was more hateful to Egypt than his predecessors, and this hatred led him to think about separating the Abyssinian Church from the Egyptian Church and linking it to the Church of Rome. In order to guarantee the spiritual help of the Pope and the support of European countries, it is likely that Zarra Ya`qub actually issued a decision to link the Abyssinia Church with the Roman Church; For this reason, the Pope allowed him to establish an Ethiopian monastery in Rome. (9)

After Zara` Ya`qub was satisfied with the completion of the European Abyssinian alliance, he sent a letter to the Sultan of Egypt at the time, Al-Zahir Ja`maq, and arrived in Cairo in Rajab in the year 847 AH / November 1443 AD. And we have the power to prevent the excess that is narrated in your country from walking to you, because we have countries for which we open superstitious places in which to dispose of them to other places before they come to you, and nothing prevents us from that except the piety of God Almighty and the hardship of the servants of God, and we have offered to your hearing what is necessary Inform him, so know what you need and what God puts in your hearts, and there is no excuse left for you to show. (10)

This message was a repetition of the letters of the kings of Abyssinia sent to Egypt, which had long taken from the Nile a paper to pressure Egypt’s policy towards minorities, and it was natural, with the difference of military and political power between the two countries, for Sultan Al-Zahir Jaqmaq to reject the allegations, accusations and threats that came. He saw a person of good politics not to be led by the emotion of anger and neglect, as a safeguard and a guarantee for the security of the persecuted Muslims of Abyssinia, so he sent a letter to Zaraa Yaqoub, accompanied by his ambassador, Yahya bin Ahmed bin Shadbek, and with him a gift. (11)

The Egyptian diplomatic message included the reasons for Cairo restricting the building of churches at that time, justifying the matter that “Christians of the Egyptian lands had increased their transgression and inability to build and create churches (without permission from the state).” Zarraa Yaqoub did not accept the justifications of Sultan Jaqmaq, and decided to prevent Ambassador Yahya bin Ahmed from returning to Cairo, and on top of that, he ordered the killing of one of the Ethiopian Muslim kings who had been captured by him. He is Shihab al-Din Ahmad Bidlai in front of the Mamluk ambassador Yahya bin Shadbek, we continued to insult the Mamluks, but after a tug of war, the Mamluk ambassador returned to Cairo after being detained for four full years. (12), (13)

Political relations remained tense between the two countries, and in the year 852 AH / 1448AD the Sultan decided to cut religious relations between the two sides, as Jaqmaq summoned the Patriarch of the Christians in Egypt to his council in the presence of the four judges, and the historian Ibn Iyas mentions the reason behind this summon and says: He does not write to the king of Abyssinia by himself or by his proxy, neither outwardly nor inwardly, nor does anyone in Abyssinia be appointed as a priest, nor above him, or inferior, except with the permission of the Sultan, and that when he violates that his covenant is void, and his neck is struck (14)

At that time, Zarra ‘was preparing to invade Mamluk lands, including the Hijaz, and in Rabi` al-Akhir 854 AH / 1450 CE a judge of Suakin (on the coast of the Red Sea in present-day Sudan) arrived, and Sultan Jaqmaq was informed that the king of Abyssinia had prepared a fleet of two hundred ships to invade the country’s coasts. Hijazi women, in addition to what I intend to cut and obstruct the Nile so that it does not reach Egypt, and this news was repeated again in Shawwal of the same year; Ultimately, however, none of these threats occurred. (15th)

It seems then, that the idea of ​​building a dam that prevents the Nile waters from reaching Cairo is not a product of modern and contemporary history, rather it had its ancient historical roots, to the point that some historians have suggested that the Mustansiriya hardship that occurred in the Fatimid era and killed tens of thousands of Egyptians was from The Ethiopians who prevented the arrival of the waters of the Nile did during that period. Although the threats of Abyssinia to cut off water to Egypt did not stop during the following centuries, the power of the Egyptian state deterred it from carrying out its threats, and today with Ethiopia’s construction of a dam that threatens to reduce Egypt’s share of water, Egyptians face a repeated chapter of their long struggle to maintain the flow of the Nile, which was It will remain the lifeblood of this ancient country.
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