Saad Zaghloul (Egyptian Arabic: سعد زغلول; also: Saad
Zaghlûl, Sa'd Zaghloul
Pasha ibn Ibrahim) (July 1859 – 23 August
1927) was an Egyptian revolutionary and statesman. He was the leader
of Egypt's nationalist Wafd Party. He served as Prime Minister of
Egypt from 26 January 1924 to 24 November 1924.
1 Education, activism and exile
2 Rise in the bureaucracy
4 Political history
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Education, activism and exile
Zaghloul was born in Ibyana village in the Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate
of Egypt's Nile Delta. For his post-secondary education, he attended
Al-Azhar University and a French law school in Cairo. By working as a
Europeanized lawyer, Zaghloul gained both wealth and status in a
traditional framework of upward mobility. Despite this, Zaghloul
success can equally be attributed to his familiarity with the Egyptian
countryside and its many idioms. In 1918, he became politically
active, as the founding leader of the Wafd Party, for which he was
Rise in the bureaucracy
Upon his release from prison, he practiced law and distinguished
himself; amassed some independent means, which enabled him to
participate in Egyptian politics, then dominated by the
struggle-moderate and extreme—against British occupation; and
effected useful, permanent links with different factions of Egyptian
nationalists. He became close to Princess Nazli Fazl, and his contacts
with the Egyptian upper class led to his marriage to the daughter of
Egyptian prime minister
Egyptian prime minister Mustafa Fahmi Pasha, whose friendship with
Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, then the effective British ruler of
Egypt, accounts in part for the eventual acceptability of Zaghloul to
the British occupation. In succession Zaghloul was appointed judge,
minister of education (1906–1908), minister of justice
(1910–1912); and in 1913 he became vice-president of the Legislative
In all his ministerial positions Zaghloul undertook certain measures
of reform that were acceptable to both Egyptian nationalists and the
British occupation. Throughout this period, he kept himself outside
extreme Egyptian nationalist factions, and although acceptable to the
British occupation, he was not thereby compromised in the eyes of his
Egyptian compatriots. The relationship between Britain and Egypt
continued to deteriorate during and after the Great War.
Zaghloul became increasingly active in nationalist movements, and in
1919 he led an official Egyptian delegation (or wafd, the name of the
political party he would later form) to the Paris Peace Conference
demanding that the United Kingdom formally recognise the independence
and unity of
Egypt and Sudan (which had been united as one country
under Muhammad Ali Pasha). Britain had occupied the country in 1882,
and declared it a protectorate at the outbreak of the First World War.
Egypt and Sudan had its own Sultan, parliament and armed
forces, it had effectively been under British rule for the duration of
The British in turn demanded that Zaghloul end his political
agitation. When he refused, they exiled him to Malta, and later to the
Seychelles. They had employed a similar tactic against Egyptian
Ahmed Orabi in 1882, whom they exiled to Ceylon. At
the time of Zaghloul's arrival in the Seychelles, a number of other
prominent anti-imperialist leaders were also exiled there, including
Mohamoud Ali Shire, the 26th Sultan of the Warsangali, with whom
Zaghloul would soon develop a rapport. In order to avoid
engendering anti-colonial sentiments, the colonial government imposed
edicts which censored letters that exiled individuals sent to their
family and compatriots back home. Zaghloul regularly found a way
around these controls. He and other prominent exiles employed
letter-writing as major non-violent political tools of communication,
through which they were able to describe their time in exile beyond
Pasha statue in Alexandria.
Zaghloul's absence caused disturbances in Egypt, ultimately leading to
the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. Upon his return from exile,
Zaghloul led the Egyptian nationalist forces. The elections of 12
January 1924 gave the
Wafd Party an overwhelming majority, and two
weeks later, Zaghloul formed the first Wafdist government. As P. J.
Vatikiotis writes in The History of Modern
Egypt (4th ed.,
pp. 279 ff.):
The masses considered Zaghloul their national leader, the za'im
al-umma, the uncompromising national hero. His opponents were equally
discredited as compromisers in the eyes of the masses. Yet he also had
finally come to power partly because he had compromised with the
palace group and implicitly accepted the conditions governing the
safeguarding of British interests in Egypt.
Following the assassination on 19 November 1924 of Sir Lee Stack, the
Governor-General of the Sudan, and subsequent British
demands which Zaghloul felt to be unacceptable, Zaghloul resigned. He
returned to government in 1926 until his death in 1927.
Zaghloul's wife, Safiya Khānūm, was the daughter of Mustafa Fahmi
Pasha, the Egyptian cabinet minister and two-time Prime Minister of
Egypt. A feminist and revolutionary, she was also active in
1857 July: Born into a middle-class peasant family in Ibaynah in the
Young years: Is educated at the Muslim University of Al-Azhar in
Cairo, as well as at the Egyptian School of Law.
1892: Appointed judge at the Court of Appeal
1895: Marries the daughter of the Prime minister of Egypt, Mustafa
1906: Becomes head of the Ministry of Education.
— Partakes in the establishment of Hizbu l-Ummah, which was a
moderate group in a time when more and more
Egyptians claimed to
revive their independence from the British.
1910: Zaghloul appointed Minister of justice.
1912: Resigns from the post as Minister of justice after a
disagreement with Khedive Abbas Hilmi II.
1912: Is elected to the Legislative Assembly.
1913: Is appointed Vice-president of the Legislative Assembly, a
position he uses to criticise the government.
1914-18: During World War I, Zaghloul and many members from the old
Legislative Assembly form activist groups all over Egypt. The World
War I leads to much hardship on the Egyptian population, because of
the many British restrictions.
1918 November 13: With the end of World War I, Zaghloul and two other
former members from the Legislative Assembly call upon the British
high commissioner, asking for the abolishment of the protectorate.
They also ask to be representatives of
Egypt in the peace negotiations
after the war. These demands are refused, and Zaghloul's supporters, a
group now known as Wafd, instigate disorder all over the country.
1919 March: Zaghloul and three other members of Wafd are deported to
Malta. Zaghloul is soon released after that General Edmund Allenby
takes over as high commissioner of Egypt. He travels to Paris, France
in an attempt to present his version of Egypt's case to
representatives of the Allied countries, but without much success.
1920: Zaghloul has several meetings with the British colonial
secretary, Lord Milner. They reach an understanding, but Zaghloul is
uncertain of how the
Egyptians will see him if he forges an agreement
with the British, so he withdraws.
— Zaghloul returns to Egypt, and is welcomed as a national hero.
1921: Zaghloul uses his supporters to hinder the establishment of a
British-friendly government. Allenby responds by deporting Zaghloul to
Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
Egypt receives limited independence, according to Lord
Milner's recommendations, as these were designed through the talks
1923: Zaghloul is allowed to return to Egypt.
1924 February: Zaghloul becomes Prime minister after that Wafd wins
90% of the parliament seats in elections.
— Zaghloul experiences that not even he is able to stop
demonstrations and riots among Egyptians. — November: After that the
British commander in chief over the Egyptian army is killed, Zaghloul
is forced to leave office.
1926: Zaghloul becomes president of the parliament, and from this
position he is able to control the actions of extreme nationalists.
1927 August 23: Zaghloul dies in Cairo.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saad Zaghloul.
Mausoleum of Saad Zaghloul
^ Cleveland, William L.; Bunton, Martin (2013). A history of the
modern Middle East (Fifth edition. ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
p. 180. ISBN 9780813348339.
^ McAteer, William (2008). To be a nation: being the third part of The
history of Seychelles, 1920-1976. Pristine Books. p. 37.
ISBN 9993180920. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
^ Kothari, Uma (June 2012). "Contesting colonial rule: Politics of
exile in the Indian Ocean Author links open overlay panel". Geoforum.
43 (4): 704–705. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.07.012. Retrieved 14
^ Eugene Rogan, The Arabs (Basic Books: New York, 2009), p. 165.
^ Steven A. Cook (1 September 2011). The Struggle for Egypt: From
Nasser to Tahrir Square. Oxford University Press. p. 32.
ISBN 978-0-19-979532-1. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
^ "This day in history: Mother of
Egyptians Safeya Zaghloul dies in
Egypt Independent. 2014-01-12. Retrieved
Vatikiotis, P.J. (1991). The History of Modern Egypt. Johns Hopkins
University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4215-8.
Lord Cromer, Modern
Egypt (2 vols., 1908)
Jamal M. Ahmed, The Intellectual Origins of Egyptian Nationalism
Albert H. Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939 (1962)
Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid,
Egypt and Cromer: A Study in Anglo-Egyptian
Al-Ahram: "The bitter harvest" An account of the 1924 assassination in
Cairo of Sir Oliver (Lee) Stack and its consequences for
"High Tea, Low Lunch". Time Magazine. 1926-06-14. Retrieved
2008-08-09. A 1926 story about Zaghloul's attempt to return to
Yehya Ibrahim Pasha
Prime Minister of Egypt
Ahmad Ziwar Pasha
Prime Ministers of
A. F. Mohieddin
A. M. N. Sedky
^3 headed a government in rebellion, July–September 1882, beginning
during Raghib's term
^4 UAR period
ISNI: 0000 0001 1478 2144