The Arab and Islamic world lived long chapters of the tidal relationship with the other on the other bank of the Mediterranean, including the chapters of the Crusades that targeted Palestine and the neighboring Muslim countries, the Islamic conquests that reached Constantinople and the Balkans in the east and Andalusia in the west, and the orientalism through which the Christian West tried To penetrate the Arab-Islamic mind and control it.
But one character was unique within this context full of characters and events, in order to combine the political and cultural aspect, and between proximity, distance, friendliness and hostility, in its relationship with the Arab-Islamic component in the Mediterranean lake that mediates the “old world.” It is the character of the famous French emperor “Napoleon Bonaparte”.
“Napoleon”, his personal qualities of intelligence, acumen and a sense of adventure, enabled him to rise very quickly from a simple military grade descended from the island of “Corsica” located on the margins of French geography, to become the emperor of the country after achieving military successes abroad and leading the coups against the power that took place after the revolution. The French in 1789, he was defeated for the first time against France’s foreign opponents and was exiled, but he returned and ruled again before being defeated in the famous Battle of Waterloo in Belgium, to be exiled for the rest of his life on the island of Saint Helena, located in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean amid total isolation.
He is a man who transformed the moments of his downfall into opportunities to re-ascend more quickly. He changed his allegiance several times between one state and another, creed and its opposite, and he terrorized Europe and its kings to the point where he almost took full control of the continent, then ended up exiled on a small island in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean. He reconciled the authority in France after the revolution with the Church and returned to the Church some of its interests, after he was in the land of Kinana, giving the impression that he had become a believer from the followers of Muhammad
Loving the Prophet in the heart of Cairo..the legitimacy of the occupation
This apparent man spent about a year and about two months in the heart of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, as ruler of these Arab countries with exceptional history and geography. His political cunning and cunning enabled him to convince many to embrace Islam or to come close to it, in an attempt to obtain the legitimacy of the rule of Islamic peoples and push them to submit to it. As the first caliph of his kind came to the land of Islam from the land of the Franks.
In addition to the chapters of his violent entry into the Egyptian country and his bloody suppression of the popular revolutions that erupted against him, Napoleon Bonaparte sat with Al-Azhar scholars and addressed the Egyptians with a religious speech, expressing his love for the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad, peace be upon him, and was keen to establish some religious rites and celebrations, especially those related to the birthday. An-Nabawi, or Ramadan fasting, as he is credited with creating the “meridian ball”, that is, using artillery shots to tell the hour of sunset.
The idea of occupying Egypt was the subject of several discussions and studies by the French, and in addition to the profit and loss equation that they calculated, there was the justification that was presented for launching a military campaign, as the pashas of the land of Kinana had borrowed a lot of money from the French without returning it, and this seemed a convincing justification for the invasion of Egypt. Egypt, especially since the Ottoman Sublime Porte used to apologize for its inability to impose its authority on its regions in response to any foreign demands. 
From a strange student at a military school in Paris to the captain of the French army
The first emperor of France was born in 1769 into a family of nobles in the city of Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, which was affiliated to Italy before it was annexed by France. Coming from Genoa about three centuries before Napoleon was born, the family remained influential and permanently held local office. 
After France’s occupation of the island, his family transferred their loyalty to the occupying country to guarantee its interests. This enabled “Napoleon” to enter a military school located in the far north of France, which constituted a social and cultural shock for him, without preventing him from embarking on an endless journey of ascent. . 
Napoleon Bonaparte first discovered Paris in 1784 when he was 15 years old, when he became a student in a military school from which he graduated as an officer in the army of King Louis XVI, and this coincided with the death of his father in Ajaccio, thus becoming the leader of the family, and after his Italian origins Limiting his ambitions in the face of the original French nobility, the French Revolution of 1789 came to overthrow the previous privileges of his opponents, and the path opened for him to achieve an exceptional rise in the pyramid of power. 
After a failed attempt to withdraw his loyalty from France and fight it on the island of Corsica, which he once again dreamed of liberating, “Napoleon Bonaparte” returned to indulge with full force in the lust for power and self-realization under the French flag, and the first opportunity was when he was pushed, like his fellow young officers towards the wars raging on the outskirts of France against its neighbors, terrified of the spread of its revolutionary model, and “Napoleon” showed great military skill against the English at the Toulon front.
After a period of Parisian extravagance, he moved again towards the war front in Italy, and there he showed great military cunning when he managed to enter between the Sardinian and Austrian armies, and each fought separately until he overcame him, and his genius developed unprecedented military ideas, as he divided his army into Small scattered teams, which confused the opponents’ armies, distracted their minds, and made them retreat. 
In July 1797, Napoleon entered the Mamluk capital, Cairo, and imposed his control over it
There are different interpretations of Bonaparte’s decision to launch a campaign against Egypt, between linking it to his sweeping political ambition, and saying that it was just a ploy by his opponents in France to remove him from the center of power, but it is certain that until the late 18th century, the name “Napoleon Bonaparte” did not mean much.
The transformation began in March 1796, when this unknown general headed to Italy at the head of an army to divert the attention of the enemies, as the French revolution was about to end its conflict with its stubborn enemies England and Austria, then this military leader surprised the world with a great victory in May 1797, and ended with the signing of the “Campo Formio” agreement recognizing his victory over the Austrian army. 
Enraptured by his sudden military victories, Napoleon wrote to the French revolutionary government, “Le Directoire”, to tell it of his great project to cross the Mediterranean and conquer Egypt, presenting it as a strategic location that would anticipate the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and ensure the breaking of its English counterpart.
Napoleon immersed himself in reading everything he could reach in the Italian city of Milan about Egypt, and asked the Ministry of the Navy to provide him with all its archives about this Islamic country, and then the development of internal political events in France helped him achieve this dream, where he rose after his return He was transferred to Paris to the rank of Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, paving the way for him to obtain comprehensive approval and support from the “managers” government for the idea of invading Egypt, while placing all military and scientific capabilities at his disposal. 
The military fleet of “Napoleon Bonaparte” launched in his campaign in June 1798, and due to its largeness, he was able to easily control the island of Malta on his way to Alexandria, and the month of July did not end until he entered the capital of the Mamluks, Cairo, and imposed his control over it, but his response The action of the English was quick, they destroyed the French fleet in Abu Qir, and thus became “Bonaparte” and his army compelled to stay in Egypt and coexist with its people.
Bonaparte’s relationship with Islam, according to some accounts, dates back to his early adolescence, where he may have studied the Qur’an. He wrote a novel inspired by the biography of Muhammad, peace be upon him, entitled “The Mask of the Prophet”, and its hero is a man who lived in the era of the Abbasid state, and accordingly, “Bonaparte” arrived in Egypt In 1798, he was deeply acquainted with the teachings of Islam, which led him to respect the religion of the Egyptians, even as he invaded their country with the power of iron and fire. 
The French historian “Francois Charles Roux” adds that Islam captured Bonaparte’s imagination before his campaign on Egypt, and “increased intensity during and after it, and how much he remembered during his arrest to the Islamic world, and among those hadiths he dictated in Saint Helens (his exile), there are A few pages are the most objective and sympathetic of all that has been written about Islam in one of the languages of the West. 
While the writer of the memoirs of “Napoleon” and his contemporary French diplomat, “Louis Antoine Fauvellet de Burian”, asserts that “Napoleon” did not learn the Qur’an or perform any Islamic prayer, and did not defend the doctrines of the Qur’an. This diplomat asserts that what prompted him to attend religious ceremonies in Egypt was nothing but politics, and that he was ready to announce the conversion of any other religion to achieve a political victory.
In front of one of the Egyptian pyramids, where Napoleon became acting like Alexander the Great in Egypt
One of the books documenting the history of Napoleon in Egypt
Based on all the accounts about Bonaparte’s view of Islam, some go on to mention the details of the orders that he supposedly gave his soldiers at the moment of his arrival at the coasts of Alexandria, where he is attributed to him saying, addressing his soldiers: The people we will live with are a Muslim people who appreciate their imams as you respect To your monks, while he said addressing the residents of the city: They told you that I came to destroy your religion, do not believe them, but I came to restore your rights and punish the rapists, as I respect God and appreciate the Messenger and the Qur’an. 
The prior planning for the use of the religious paper in courtship with the Egyptians emerges, when we know that the first letter addressed to them by “Bonaparte” was written by senior orientalists specializing in the study of Islamic religious culture. Islam from the land of Egypt, then expressing respect for the Noble Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, then addressed the notables of Egypt saying:
O sheikhs and judges, tell your nation that the French are also sincere Muslims, and the proof of this is that they camped in Great Rome and destroyed the seat of the Pope, who always urges Christians to fight Islam. Also for those who sit in their homes not inclined to any of the two warring parties, but woe to all those who rely on the Mamluks to fight us, they do not find after that a way to salvation, and no trace of them remains. 
“Ali Bonaparte”… The face of blond gas and the meal of the Eastern Sultan
Historian “Dmitri Kazali” confirms that “Bonaparte” after entering Egypt and overthrowing the rule of the Mamluks, continued to wear the oriental dress, especially during his participation in the Great Nile Party during the month of August 1798, which appealed to the chief of staff of his army and his generals, while the people called him the Great Sultan, Some called him “Ali Bonaparte”. 
What prompted some to paint the rule of “Napoleon” with the Sultan, was the way he managed the country, as he established a bureau that included nine personalities from Egypt’s notables, including sheikhs, scholars and a syndicate of supervision, and reproduced this style of ruling by creating a similar bureau in each directorate, along with an official For levies and a French observer.
A pattern inspired by the local culture of government, which Bonaparte completed in July 1799 by declaring that he fully followed the teachings of Islam and that he pronounced the two testimonies, a step that imbues a great deal of legitimacy on his rule in the eyes of the Egyptians, and here we find the beginnings of the counter-narrative that considers the behavior of the emperor The French towards Islam is opportunistic and pragmatic.
“If I govern the Jewish people, I will rebuild Solomon’s temple.”
French historian Dimitri Kazali confirms Bonaparte’s need for the Egyptians to support him in his great battle against the Ottomans, who launched an attack to expel the French invaders from Egypt, especially since after his return to France he carried out a similar behavior, where he expressed his appreciation and affection for the Christian religion, and signed a pact with Pope Pius seventh in 1801.
Bonaparte was installed in the Notre Dame cathedral in the presence of the Pope, and when the Pope wanted to expel him from the church, he was imprisoned for five years by the Emperor, which indicates that he used all available means for political interest.
Bonaparte is credited with saying, with an extremely pragmatic political background: I ended the Fondier War (the civil war that took place in western France between republicans and monarchists during the French Revolution) after claiming to be a Catholic, and invaded Egypt after showing my Islam, and if I rule the Jewish people I will rebuild Solomon’s Temple. 
Bonaparte’s dreams were shattered on the walls of Acre, and he came back disappointed
The Battle of Acre.. the winds of defeat extinguished the flame of converting to Islam
Some historical sources talk about two main obstacles that faced “Napoleon Bonaparte” when I proposed to him the idea of declaring his conversion to Islam to solve the problem of the Egyptians’ loyalty to him, namely circumcision and the prohibition of drinking alcohol, in addition to the need to prepare for this declaration by informing his army of Islam and liking them in it.
But the flame of this enthusiasm for converting to Islam will fade with the defeat of the French army in Acre and its return unsuccessfully, as some sources say that “Bonaparte” was ready to dress his army in eastern uniforms and formally embrace Islam if that would guarantee him the establishment of an eastern state. 
The stage of the French protection, extending between 1798 and 1801, is considered a pivotal stage in the modern history of Egypt, as it is the first time that Egypt has been ruled by a non-Islamic country since it was entered by the Muslim Arabs, and this is an exceptional situation that Napoleon realized with his strategic ingenuity, which means the great obstacles he will face in the land of Kenana. Which led to his solution by wearing the robe of the protector of Islam and the lover of its rituals, in contrast to the approach followed by the previous Crusades, which exposed the clear hostility to Islam and Muslims. 
Napoleon entered Egypt on horseback, invading and occupying, and stayed there for a whole year
The problem of the doctrinal difficulty represented in the strength and importance of Islam was present in the minds of the French as they plan to occupy Egypt, as the French General “Bertrand” – one of the most prominent leaders of the French campaign – said in his historical testimony entitled “The Campaigns of Egypt and Syria” published in Paris in 1847 quoting “Bonaparte” “:
The most difficult policies were those that considered religion a fundamental obstacle to the stability of the French authorities. Volnay (French orientalist) wrote in 1788, saying: In order for it to settle in Egypt, three wars must be waged: the first against England, and the second against the Porte (the ruling authority of the state). Ottoman), and the third – which is the most difficult of them all – against the Muslims who make up the majority of the people of this country. 
This was the first time that a European Christian invader chose the method of “tolerance” as a central weapon in its attack on Muslim land. This choice was not arbitrary, but rather shows the historical legacy of the vast amount of literature that tried to weave the image of the Islam-loving leader around “Napoleon Bonaparte.” And even marketing that idea as the motive that made him invade Egypt.
French sources employ some of the antiquities that were found of books and literature related to Islam in the library of “Napoleon Bonaparte” when he was a young man, and the French historian “François Charles Roux” says in a study entitled “The Islamic Politics of Bonaparte” published by the “Napoleonian Studies” magazine in issue 24 dated 1925 that “Muhammad impresses him as a religious founder, leader of peoples, and legislator. History and the doctrine of the Prophet had intrigued him a long time ago, and before he even knew that his destiny would lead him to Egypt, he began to study the history of the Arabs, read the Qur’an and kept a copy of it in his office during the days of the campaign along with a number of Religious books. 
The Islamization of politics.. Principles of penetration into Islamic peoples
“Napoleon Bonaparte” was laying the first foundations for what would later bear the name of the Islamic policy of France in some of its colonies (such as Morocco), as a soft and effective way to control the people and subject them to colonial rule, through the use of the window of those who open their hearts, and researchers find the foundations of this Islamic policy in a Bonaparte referred to his military commander, when he was about to leave Egypt, and assigned him to take command in his place.
This policy is based on a number of elements, including the “policy of observance”, that is, being careful not to provoke the religious feelings of Muslims, and then the element of “the French of the elites” by opening the door to a selected sample of dignitaries and sheikhs, to visit France and see its progress and fall under its influence and attractiveness , then the element of “cultural action” and the use of artistic and intellectual tools to change the colonized country, then the element of the major stakes that France aims to achieve in its colonies commercially and civilly, which constitutes an element of motivation for French military and civilian leaders.
This Islamic policy pursued by “Bonaparte” and his keenness to win over the Egyptians and gain their sympathy, included, in addition to the celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday, the celebrations of the month of Ramadan. He issued orders to his soldiers and members of his campaign, not to eat or drink out loud in the markets, and not to drink smoke or the like. He also assigned an artillery battery in Alexandria to drop a ball at sunset, marking the time of breakfast, which was termed as “the meridian ball.” 
In a meeting he gathered with the sheikhs of the Cairo Court in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte said: “Is it not true that it has been mentioned in your books that a superior being will arrive from the West in charge of continuing the work of the Prophet? Is it not really that it is also mentioned in them that this man who is the representative of Muhammad is me?” Phrases that clearly indicate the strategy of getting closer to the Egyptians through the paper of Islam and its Prophet Muhammad
The height of the hump of bringing “Napoleon Bonaparte” closer to Islam was when he tried to present himself as a friend of Muslims, and led him to lead the celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday, and supervised the installation of the Emir of Hajj, and corresponded with the Emir of Mecca.
When he learned of the intention of the Al-Azhar sheikhs not to organize the celebrations of the first anniversary of the Prophet’s birthday after the arrival of his campaign in Egypt, “Bonaparte” took the initiative to invite them to organize the celebrations, providing them with sufficient financial support. The Emperor of France, these ceremonies are an opportunity to install Sheikh Al-Bakri as captain of the supervision 
After the outbreak of the first revolution against his rule in December 1798, “Napoleon” entered Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and sat with its sheikhs and installed some of them as members of his court. Then he addressed a speech full of religious tone to the Egyptians, speaking of the lost and the signatories of sedition, just as if he was an Islamic leader. to the land of Egypt.
Napoleon says: In Egypt, I found myself freed from the inhibitions of a disturbing civilization. I could dream about everything, and see means of realization whenever I dreamed of it. I will establish a religion, and I will find myself on the road to Asia, riding an elephant and on my head a turban, and in my hands a new Qur’an. I compose it at my own pleasure, and in my projects I will combine the experiences and expertise of the two worlds, excavating for my account the kingdom of all histories and stories, attacking the English might in India, and restoring with this conquest my links with old Europe. That time in Egypt was the most beautiful time of my life, because it was the most perfect time. 
“A society without religion is like a boat without a compass”
In fact, Bonaparte’s behavior involved an indirect restoration of the idea of Caliphate rule, and a new introduction of Islam into the arena of political conflict, especially in the field of international relations. It is necessary to search for a religious reference that gives legitimacy to this new authority.
From here, Bonaparte’s motives become clearer, especially as he came to Egypt bearing the card of the French military victory over the Catholic Brotherhood of the Knights of Malta, which helped him present himself as a supporter of the Muslims against their enemies. 
Napoleon fled Egypt in the summer of 1799, leaving a letter addressed to his military commander recommending him to be keen on getting closer to the sheikhs of Al-Azhar and ensuring their loyalty, and contrary to what he said in that letter, Bonaparte did not return to Egypt after this departure, and the period of his stay there was a year one.
During his stay in political exile on the island of Saint Helens, “Bonaparte” made many confessions and details about his life, including his relationship with Islam and his experience in Egypt, and what these documented confessions confirm is that religion was for him a political tool, and he used it in Egypt when his name was Islam, as it was used in France under the name of Christianity, everything in its view was permissible to achieve political ends.
One of his writings reveals an attempt to delve into the depth of the intellectual background of religion and religiosity, comparing the three heavenly messages, where he said: “A society without religion is like a boat without a compass.” This is to conclude that Islam is the best of them, and that God is one and not multiple, as is the case in Christianity.