From 1882 to 1914, Britain occupied Egypt in order to control the Suez Canal and to stop other countries from occupying it. Despite maintaining the fiction of Ottoman sovereignty and the governorship of Mehmet Ali’s descendants, Britain gradually consolidated its military occupation, domination of civilian government, and influence on the economy. Opposition to the British presence increased and Egyptian nationalism came to have a considerable impact on political and cultural affairs(Fisher N., S. The Midde East: A History . New York : McGraw-Hill).
Egyptian nationalists began to appear early in the nineteenth century. One of the first advocates was Rifaa Rafi al Tahtawi (1801-1873) who had studied at Cairo’s al Azhar University and then in 1826 was sent by Mehmet Ali to Paris as the religious guardian of a group of Egyptian students. He work several works on the love of Egypt and that until Egypt was modernized and the schools offered a better education, Egypt would never be able to see its true potential. Another promiment figure during the Egyptian Nationalism, was not an Egyptian, he was a Shiite from Iran and posed as a Sunnite from Afghanistan and his name was Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. During this time, he argued that the only way there could be regeneration is when the Muslim ummah returned to the truth of Islam. He continued with the belief that Islam was an active way of life as oppossed to a passive way of life. These beliefs were aimed at the Christian westernizers and he did not see how these reforms could not be done without a revolution. His pupil was Muhammad Abduh was against the use of violence and believed that reform would occur gradually. After a trip to France, Muhammad Abduh concluded that a poverty striken Egypt could not get rid off a powerful Western power. Another reformer Ali Yusuf tried to start a reform but failed due to the disagreements between the other parties. Another prominent nationalist supporter was Mustafa Kamil (1874-1908), who believed it did not matter what origin or religion, it could still be possible to unite under a single nationalist movement (Fisher N., S. The Midde East: A History . New York : McGraw-Hill).
Egyptian National Anthem