Saad Zaghloul

The Honourable
Saad Zaghloul
سعد زغلول
Prime Minister of Egypt
In office
26 January 1924  24 November 1924
Monarch Fuad I
Preceded by Abdel Fattah Yahya Ibrahim Pasha
Succeeded by Ahmad Ziwar Pasha
Minister of Education
In office
28 October 1906  23 February 1910
Monarch Abbas II
Minister of Justice
In office
Monarch Abbas II
Personal details
Born 1859
Ibyana, Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate, Eyalet of Egypt
Died 23 August 1927(1927-08-23) (aged 68)
Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt
Political party Wafd Party
Religion Sunni Islam

Saad Zaghloul (Arabic: سعد زغلول; also: Saad Zaghlûl, Sa'd Zaghloul Pasha ibn Ibrahim) (1859 23 August 1927) was an Egyptian revolutionary, and statesman. Zaghloul was the leader of Egypt's nationalist Wafd Party. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt from 26 January 1924 to 24 November 1924.

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, 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 successful can equally be attributed to his familiarity with the Egyptian countryside and its many idioms. In the 1918, he became politically active, as the founding leader of the Wafd Party, for which he was later arrested.[1]

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 and 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 the 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); in 1913 he became vice president of the Legislative Assembly.

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 though he was 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 World 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. Though Egypt and Sudan had its own Sultan, parliament and armed forces, it had effectively been under British rule for the duration of the occupation.

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 nationalist leader 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 Somali Warsangali Sultanate, with whom Zaghloul would soon develop a rapport.[2]

Political history

The Saad Zaghloul Pasha statue in Alexandria.

Zaghloul's absence caused disturbances in Egypt, ultimately leading to the Egyptian Revolution of 1919.[3] 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 Sirdar and 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.[4] A feminist and revolutionary, she was also active in politics.


Young years: Is educated at the Muslim University of Al-Azhar in Cairo, as well as at the Egyptian School of Law.

— 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.

— Zaghloul returns to Egypt, and is welcomed as a national hero.

— 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.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saad Zaghloul.


  1. Cleveland, William L.; Bunton, Martin (2013). A history of the modern Middle East (Fifth edition. ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. p. 180. ISBN 9780813348339.
  2. Mohamoud Ali Shire.htm A Touching Glimpse of History and the Reunion of a Somali Royalty
  3. Eugene Rogan, The Arabs (Basic Books: New York, 2009), p. 165.
  4. 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.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Yehya Ibrahim Pasha
Prime Minister of Egypt
Succeeded by
Ahmad Ziwar Pasha
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