Youssef Zulficar Pasha

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Sahib us-Sa'ada[1]
Youssef Zulficar
Youssef Zulficar Pasha.jpg
1st Egyptian Ambassador to Iran
In office
Monarch Farouk I
Succeeded by Abdel Latif Pasha Talaat
Personal details
Born (1866-06-06)6 June 1866
Died ?
Nationality Egyptian
Spouse(s) Zeinab
Children Queen Farida (née Safinaz)
Muhammad Sa'id
Alma mater Khedivial School
Profession Judge

Youssef Zulficar Pasha (Arabic: يوسف باشا ذو الفقار‎‎) (6 June 1866 – after 1952) was an Egyptian judge. He was the father of Queen Farida of Egypt and thus father-in-law of King Farouk I.[2]

Youssef Zulficar belonged to a prominent family of Turko-Circassian origin whose ancestors came to Egypt with viceroy Muhammad Ali Pasha at the beginning of the 19th century, and who went on to become part of the country's aristocracy.[3] He was the grandson of Youssef Bey Rasmi, commander of the Egyptian armies in the Abyssinian and Russian Wars. His father was Ali Zulficar, a former Governor of Cairo.[4] Youssef Zulficar obtained a law degree from the Khedivial School in Cairo and entered the judiciary. He became vice-president of the Alexandria Mixed Court of Appeal.[3]

Zulficar married Zeinab Sa'id, the daughter of former Prime Minister Muhammad Sa'id Pasha[4] and sister of renowned artist Mahmoud Sa'id.[5][6] Zeinab served as lady-in-waiting to Queen Nazli. Zulficar and Zeinab had a daughter, Safinaz (born in 1921), as well as two sons, Muhammad Sa'id (born c. 1926) and Sherif (born c. 1931).[7] After her son Farouk ascended the throne as King of Egypt, Queen Nazli urged him to take Zulficar's daughter Safinaz as his wife. Although Zulficar was wary at the prospect of his daughter becoming part of the royal family and feared the outcome of the marriage, the wedding eventually took place.[8] Safinaz became Queen of Egypt and changed her name to Farida when she married King Farouk I on 20 February 1938.[9] Farouk conferred upon Zulficar the nobiliary title of Pasha on 25 August 1937, six months before the wedding ceremony.[10][11] Upon his daughter's marriage, Zulficar received from the Royal Chamberlain an envelope containing a cheque for 10,000,000 Egyptian piastres (US$257,000), half of the royal dowry.[12]

Zulficar was appointed the first Egyptian ambassador to Iran on 13 March 1939.[13] His appointment came after diplomatic relations between the two countries were upgraded to ambassadorial level.[4] He was initially sent to Iran to prepare for the arrival of King Farouk's sister Princess Fawzia, who married Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the then crown prince (later shah) of Iran on 16 March 1939.[14] Following the outbreak of World War II, Zulficar secretly communicated with representatives of the Axis powers in Tehran.[15] King Farouk and many Egyptians at the time sympathized with Nazi Germany in the hope that an Axis victory would put an end to the decades-old British occupation of Egypt. Zulficar informed the German minister plenipotentiary in Tehran of Egypt's goodwill towards Germany and of the king's respect for Adolf Hitler. The most dangerous mission of Zulficar's ambassadorship took place in 1941, when he forwarded to the Germans a letter by King Farouk containing details of the forthcoming Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.[16] In 1942, Zulficar was replaced as Egypt's ambassador to Iran by Abdel Latif Pasha Talaat.[4] He returned to Egypt where he was nominated as a senator in July of the same year. He was renominated as a senator in May 1946.[13]

Farouk and Farida's marriage was not successful, and the two divorced in 1948. Four years later, the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 toppled King Farouk. Following Farouk's abdication and his departure from Egypt, Zulficar granted interviews to the press in which he talked about his daughter's divorce from the ex-king. This angered Farouk, who stated that "the aged, garrulous father of my first wife [...] in his dotage is apparently now ready to gossip upon intimate family matters with any wandering reporter who cares to rap upon his front door." Farouk believed the reason Zulficar was talking publicly about the divorce was because he was "no doubt anxious to ingratiate himself with [Egypt's] dangerous new regime."[17]


Zulficar was a recipient of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Nile.[13]


  1. ^ Buyers, Christopher. "The Muhammad 'Ali Dynasty: Genealogy". The Royal Ark. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  2. ^ Preston, Paul; Woodward, Peter; Partridge, Michael (1998). British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print (snippet view). Volume 4: From 1940 through 1945. Africa, 1944. University Publications of America. p. 379. ISBN 978-1-55655-676-0. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  3. ^ a b Preston, Paul; Woodward, Peter; Partridge, Michael (1999). British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print (snippet view). Volume 1: From 1945 through 1950. Africa, 1946. University Publications of America. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-55655-770-5. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  4. ^ a b c d التمثيل السياسي المصري بين معاهدة 1936 والحرب العالمية الثانية [Egyptian political representation between the Treaty of 1936 and World War II]. Memory of Modern Egypt Digital Archive (in Arabic). Bibliotheca Alexandrina. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  5. ^ Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. American University in Cairo Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-977-424-579-4. OCLC 237384904. He was also the maternal uncle of Queen Farida... 
  6. ^ Raafat, Samir (March 2005). "Egypt's First Ladies". Archived from the original on January 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-19. Queen Nazli and Queen Farida belonged to the elitist turco-circassian ruling class. Besides being daughters and granddaughters of senior officials, they each had a prime minister for a maternal grandfather—Mohammed Cherif Pasha and Mohammed Saiid Pasha respectively. Moreover, Queen Farida was the niece of renowned artist-painter, Mahmoud Saiid. 
  7. ^ Woodward, Peter, ed. (1995). British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Part 2. From the First to the Second World War. Series G. Africa, 1914–1939. Egypt and the Sudan, September 1938 – December 1939 (snippet view). Volume 20. University Publications of America. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-89093-617-7. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  8. ^ Rizk, Yunan Labib (13–19 April 2006). "A palace wedding". Al-Ahram Weekly (790). Archived from the original on May 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  9. ^ Brice, William Charles (1981). An Historical Atlas of Islam. Leiden: BRILL. p. 299. ISBN 978-90-04-06116-3. OCLC 9194288. 
  10. ^ "Farouk Honors Girl's Parents" (fee required). The New York Times. 26 August 1937. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-02-19. Egypt's young King Farouk conferred today the title of Pasha on Youssef Bey Zulfikar, father of his fiancee... 
  11. ^ "List of Pashas 1915–52". Archived from the original on May 5, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  12. ^ "EGYPT: Queen Unique". Time. 31 January 1938. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  13. ^ a b c Preston, Paul; Woodward, Peter; Partridge, Michael (1999). British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print (snippet view). Volume 1: From 1945 through 1950. Africa, 1946. University Publications of America. p. 435. ISBN 978-1-55655-770-5. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  14. ^ "FARIDA'S FATHER IS ENVOY; Egypt to Send Him to Iran to Arrange Princess's Reception" (fee required). The New York Times. 8 March 1939. p. 10. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  15. ^ Osborne, Richard E. (2001). World War II in Colonial Africa: the Death Knell of Colonialism. Indianapolis: Riebel-Roque. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-9628324-5-1. OCLC 48070744. Retrieved 2010-02-20. Zulficar-pasha had met with German representatives in the past and was well known in Berlin to be a spokesman for Farouk. 
  16. ^ الحرب العالمية الثانية وأثرها في علاقات مصر الخارجية [World War II and its impact on Egypt's foreign relations]. Memory of Modern Egypt Digital Archive (in Arabic). Bibliotheca Alexandrina. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  17. ^ "Farouk Talks of Morals and Religion". The Sunday Herald (197). Sydney. 2 November 1952. p. 8. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 

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