chapter  6
The conquest of Egypt
Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam and beyond
Pages 16

From the center of the Abbasid caliphate in the second half of the eighth century, Egypt must have appeared as a distant territory. Al-Tabari's digressing account claimed to derive from a participant in the conquest and transmitted by an Egyptian source and culled from Ibn Ishaq, appears as political propaganda. It tells that the Umayyad "kings" falsified the historical facts when claiming that Egypt has been conquered by force and therefore, the inhabitants are no more. The Egyptian author compensates for the marginal space that al-Tabari's version, derived from Ibn Ishaq, gives the mission to Egypt. Abd al-Hakam's appears to compete with al-Tabari's account on the missions to Heraclius, the Ethiopian Negos and the Iranian king. Abd al-Hakam's account appears as the sole Egyptian narrative on the conquest for several centuries to come. The allusion here is to the biblical story on the Egyptian origin of Hagar, Abraham's concubine and Ishmael's mother.