Cairo during Ramadan has a special flavor that no one can taste but those who take permission from its sultans who were rulers or sultans of the divine love from the Sufis who lay Cairo in the arms of a thousand minarets that pierce the sky, standing as strong guards giving entry permission to friends and subduing its enemies. In order to understand the story of shrines, minarets, and fountains, we had to gently knock on the sultans’ doors, especially since they still control Cairo, at least geographically, even if they lost their temporal authority whether after dying sometimes or being killed often. With the death of Sultan As-Salih Ayyub, a new phase of Egypt rule began. After the rule of the families that effectively became independent from the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, which had nothing left of the caliphate except for the name, the caliph’s reign did not extend beyond his room in the wing of the harem.
The Tulunid dynasty ruled Egypt, then the Ikhshidid. For nearly three centuries, the Ubaids ruled whose family name was the Fatimids until God prepared Egypt for Saladin to remove the traces of the Ubaidites, the supporters of Qarmatians, the innovators of esoteric heresies in the Islamic religion, who only focused on the religious superficial manifestations and grandiose architecture. They built Al-Azhar to compete with Kufa as a stronghold of the Shiite sect. During their reign, Egypt suffered from Al-Mustansiriya hardship when the Nile narrowed, and food grew scarce, and people started eating each other. This is not a figure of speech; this actually took place! When the distress subsided and the Nile flow returned to normal, people started regaining their normal life. They did not exchange blame, and buried deep in history the famine period and the disgraceful behavior of the people during that time. Although Saladin had fourteen sons, he did not feel that his state which he established while he was on his horse, was safe. He lived striving to support God's religion, so he cleansed Jerusalem from the defilement of the Crusaders, and he did not have enough time to enjoy even a warrior's rest. Indeed, when Saladin died, his children failed to run the state, so the reign moved to his brother, Al-Adil I, and after him his children, the last of whom was al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub, the hero of the Battle of Mansoura, during which Louis IX, King of France, was captured in the house of Ibn Luqman.
The Sultan died during this period, and his wife Shajar al-Durr kept the news a secret so that the army would not be affected. The orders continued to be coming out with the seal of the Sultan. Shajar al-Durr was rewarded for her good management of the battle, and she was sworn as Queen of Egypt. She was called several names, including “The infallibility of religion and the world”, “The mother of Khalīl, al-Mustaʻsimīyya”, and “The companion of the righteous king”. However, she gave up titles and returned to the wing of the harem after marrying Izz al-Din Aybak after the Abbasid Caliph sent a message to the people of Egypt that if they did not find a man to rule, he would send one of his.
Shajar al-Durr killed Aybak in one of the most intricate palace plots. Qutuz then became the ruler over Egypt and inaugurated the ruling of the Mamluks dynasty and their creed, which is treachery and killing each other. They may swear and pledge allegiance to the sultan at noon and then kill him for dinner, so the law of blood was the one rule among them. The Mamluks were captured or bought from the steppes of the Turkmen, the Caucasus, Circas, and Armenia when they were children. They had neither the time nor the ability to learn the true Islamic religion, and they lacked its spirituality, so they replaced it with the manifestations of Islamic architecture. When the Abbasid caliphate moved to Cairo at the hands of Al-Zahir Baybars, most of the sultans were building a mosque, a mausoleum, and a school for memorizing the Qur’an and the teaching of the sciences of jurisprudence and the principles of religion. Their women or their sisters would build fountains, shrines, takayas, and gorges for the Sufis in order to draw closer to God and make up for the shortcomings in their religious duties. Few of them were fluent in the Arabic language, some novelties occurred during Ramadan. The Sultan used to sit on his chair in the castle at the beginning of each Ramadan to watch the Minister and Al-Muhtasib, and behind them was an army of porters carrying sugar, rice, flour, oils, nuts, almonds, spices and legumes. After the storage process is over, the Sultan withdraws and leaves the task of seeing the crescent to the elders of Al-Azhar. The biggest problem was that they insisted on seeing the crescent with the naked eye, and most of them were visually impaired due to old age. There was also the probability of sandy winds that made vision impossible. In the era of Sultan Barquq, the appearance of the crescent was confirmed at about midday, and the judge of the intercession would call for abstaining from food and drinks after lunch had been placed on the tables. The Sultan would quickly expel his invitees and order the food to be removed to declare fasting, only a few hours before sunset.
Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu al-Ma’ali astonished the scholars and sheikhs. On the morning of the first day of Ramadan, he used to summon them in a hurry and they would respond to the call in fear. The sheikhs did not trust any sultan, and the sultan despised all scholars. When the silence in the royal court persisted for a while, the minister (Mangak) spoke and asked for a fatwa to break the sultan’s breakfast. The scholars were surprised. Does he who breaks his fast need a fatwa? Silence filled the place and the Sultan's face grew congested and he snarled until one of the sheikhs found a deviant solution, and that is traveling, because it is one of the reasons for breaking the fast. The sultan was all smiles and he announced his intention to travel to inspect the castles of Alexandria, Damietta and the Levant.
During the reign of Sultan Abu Al-Saadat, he kept shouting that there is no Eid on Friday and he insisted that the end of Ramadan was on 29 Ramadan. He distributed his men on all the minarets of Cairo, so that they might see the crescent, but the crescent did not appear. People fasted on Thursday and celebrated Eid on Friday. They prayed for the Caliph twice during the Eid prayer and in the Friday prayer. This marked the end of Sultan Abu al-Saadat, as he believed in what is written in the stars. Ramadan, nonetheless, remained the subject of respect and reverence for all, for the mesaharaty to chant his call, “O! those who are asleep, wake up and pray to Allah.”