Muslim conquest of Egypt

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The Muslim conquest of Egypt, also known as the Rashidun conquest of Egypt, led by the army of 'Amr ibn al-'As, took place between 639 and 646 AD and was overseen by the Rashidun Caliphate. It ended the seven-century-long period of Roman reign over Egypt that began in 30 BC. Byzantine rule in the country had been shaken, as Egypt had been conquered and occupied for a decade by the Sassanid Iran in 618–629, before being recovered by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. The caliphate took advantage of Byzantines' exhaustion and captured Egypt ten years after its reconquest by Heraclius.


  • John of Nikiou, a seventh-century Coptic Christian bishop, recounted in the 690s about what happened when Umar’s army arrived in Egypt some fifty years before:
    Amr oppressed Egypt. He sent its inhabitants to fight the inhabitants of the Pentapolis [Tripolitania] and, after gaining a victory, he did not allow them to stay there. He took considerable booty from this country and a large number of prisoners.… The Muslims returned to their country with booty and captives. The patriarch Cyrus felt deep grief at the calamities in Egypt, because Amr, who was of barbarian origin, showed no mercy in his treatment of the Egyptians and did not fulfill the covenants which had been agreed with him.
    When they arrived in John’s native town of Nikiou, they were no more merciful: Then the Muslims arrived in Nikiou. There was not one single soldier to resist them. They seized the town and slaughtered everyone they met in the street and in the churches—men, women and children, sparing nobody. Then they went to other places, pillaged and killed all the inhabitants they found.… But let us now say no more, for it is impossible to describe the horrors the Muslims committed when they occupied the island of Nikiou…
    • John of Nikiû as quoted in The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS (2018), Robert Spencer

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