Abaza family

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Abaza family
FounderWali Pasha Muhammed
TitlesPasha, Bek or Bey, Hanim
Estate(s)Kafr Muhammed, Sharqia
Aziz Pasha Abaza

The Abaza family (Arabic: الأسرة الأباظية) is an Egyptian family of maternal[1] Abkhazian origin. Abaza is the Arabic name for people from Abkhazia. They have had an influence in the late 18th century to modern times. They are believed to have a net worth of over US$800 million.[2][3][4]

It is known for having produced a large number of politicians under the Muhammad Ali dynasty from the 19th to the mid-20th century. While no individual Abaza has been the ruler or president of Egypt, some Egyptian media have referred to them as one of the "families that rule the country", and as "Egypt's oldest parliamentary dynasty".[3][4][5][6]

The Abaza family has also contributed to modern Arabic literature and art through the works of journalist and political activist Fekry Pasha Abaza, author Desouky Bek Abaza, poet Aziz Pasha Abaza, novelist Tharwat Abaza, actor Rushdy Abaza, among others.[7]

They are thought to number around 50,000 members.[4][6][8]


Sources indicate that the Abaza family were already well established in the Nile Delta by the late 18th century, they took – or were given – the last name "Abaza".[2] A belief among the Abaza family is that they were named after "a beloved grandmother ... or her place of birth". This maternal ancestor is thought to have married the head of the powerful El Ayed family prior to the reign of Muhammad Ali of Egypt.[2] Many elders of the family sat on the Majlis created by Ibrahim Pasha. The monarchy had also endowed the family with villages and lands allowing the Abazas to flourish.[2]

Hassan Pasha Abaza is widely considered to be the modern founding father of the family, also titled Sheikh of the Arabs, a title given to the heads of sufficiently influential families at the time.[4] Other Abazas received variations on the title, such as Shiekh Boghdady Pasha Abaza who, along with Hassan Pasha, served in Ibrahim Pasha's Majlis making the Abazas the only family to hold two seats at the same time.[2]

Fekry Pasha Abaza

On one occasion, during the accession of the young King Farouk, the Abaza family solicited palace authorities to permit the royal train to stop briefly, at their village, so that the king could partake in refreshments which were offered in a large, ornate tent they had erected at the train station.[9]

In 2014, the family sued Sada Elbalad TV for the creation of a children's cartoon named Abaza and the program was forced off the air.[10] In the same year Egyptian satellite channel CBC Two aired a one-hour documentary about the family.[11]

A lentil dish attributed to the family is known in the country as "'ads abazy" (Arabic: عدس أباظي).[12][better source needed]

Notable members[edit]

Notable family members include Wagih Abaza, who served as governor in several Egyptian governorates including Sharqia, Cairo, Beheira and Gharbia. Wagih Abaza was an active member of the Free Officers Movement that toppled the Egyptian monarchy and forced King Farouk to abdicate in 1952.[4] Mohammad Abdel Rahman Hussein Abaza Councilor and author of a series of publications on the struggle of the Egyptians against the British occupation and was personally involved in the liberation campaign and struggle against the British.

Rushdy Abaza

The family is known for their contributions to modern Arabic literature through the works of Aziz Pasha Abaza and Tharwat Abaza, as well as the journalism and political activism of Fekry Pasha Abaza.[13] Tharwat was a journalist and novelist who opposed the nationalization of the Suez Canal. His best-known novel, A Man Escaping from Time, was televised in the late 1960s.[14]

Rushdy Abaza, an actor with no less than 150 movies to his name, was not chosen to star in Lawrence of Arabia but acted "like a star" during the audition.[6]

Amina Tharwat Abaza

Tharwat Abaza's daughter, Amina Tharwat Abaza, is an active member of Egypt's animal rights community, having founded the country's first and largest animal rights organization, the Society for Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt.[15][16]

Other notable members of the family include the longest-serving minister in Egyptian history, Maher Abaza. He was the Minister of Electricity and Energy and is credited with connecting the vast majority of the country's rural areas to the electric grid.[4]

Their main stronghold was the governorate of Sharqia.[2] Several villages in the Nile Delta are named after members of the family, mainly concentrated around the town of Kafr Abaza. For decades, the family had a political monopoly over several districts.[3]

In the 2015 parliamentary elections, three members of the Abaza family won seats in the House of Representatives and this was criticized by some in the media referring to their win as "dynastic heredity".[17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ حصلنا على لقب أباظة من خلال سيدة شركسية
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sayyid-Marsot, Afaf Lutfi (January 12, 1984). Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali. Cambridge University Press. p. 123. ISBN 9780521289689. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Timor, Ahmed (January 10, 2016). "Month for Families in History of Egyptian Parliament" (in Arabic). Egyptian families. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f الكاتب, الكاتب (September 28, 1998). "Arabs or Circassians, or a combination of both? Alobazah families in Egypt" (in Arabic). Al Hayat News. Archived from the original on 2016-12-27. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  5. ^ "عائلات تحكم مصر.. 1 ـ "الأباظية" عائلة الباشوات". 26 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Rushdi Abaza". AlexCinema. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  7. ^ "«الأباظية».. الأسرة التي قدمت نجوماً في الأدب والفن".
  8. ^ Hesham Yehia, "أسرار «الأباظية» فى جريدة شهرية؟! - الكتاب الذهبي جريدة زوراليوسف", golden book.rosaelyoussef, retrieved 9 September 2022
  9. ^ Yunan Labib Rizk, "The making of a king", Archived 2008-08-14 at the Wayback Machine, Al-Ahram Weekly 762, 29 September – 5 October 2005.
  10. ^ Shakir, Mustafa (June 7, 2014). "Adli Abaza suing the 'echo of the country' due to the series using his family name" (in Arabic). Albawabh News. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  11. ^ "cbc Sofra chef – Chinese sausage with vegetables and other recipes". Youtube (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  12. ^ Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 9781555872298. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Tharwat Abaza, 75; Egyptian Newspaper Columnist, Writer". L.A. Times. March 19, 2002. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  14. ^ Worth, Robert F. (November 21, 2010). "Activist Relies on Islam to Fight for Animal Rights". The New York Times. NY Times. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Society for Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt". SPARE. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  16. ^ Jamal, Mohammed (October 18, 2015). "Vote for the "Family" The major features of the first day of elections" (in Arabic). Huffington Post Arabic. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  17. ^ Diab, Goni (September 29, 2015). "عائلات بارزة تدفع بأبنائها في الانتخابات لحفظ الميراث النيابي" (in Arabic). Masral Arabia. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2016.

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