This is a description and assessment of the career of al-Ṣāḥib b. Shukr (548–622/1153–1225), the most important vizier of Ayyūbid Egypt. Born in the Delta, and raised in an influential family, he studied to become a jurist. After serving as a judge (qāḍī), he entered the administration of Saladin and subsequently became the vizier of two Ayyūbid sultans, al-ʿĀdil and his son al-Kāmil. His ruthlessness in raising money for them by transforming the Egyptian vizierate into a fund raising institution was a critical factor in their ability to stay in power, and in saving Egypt from the Fifth Crusade. At the same time he patronized the religious class and built the first Mālikī law school (madrasa) in Cairo. His vizierate represented a nexus of administrative and religious authority in Egypt.
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