Saad Zaghloul Pasha (July 1859 – 23 August 1927) was an Egyptian revolutionary and statesman. He was the leader of Egypt’s nationalist Wafd Party.

He led a Civil disobedience campaign with the goal of achieving independence for Egypt (and Sudan) from British rule. Also he played a key role in the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, as well as played a role in prompting the British Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence in 1922. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt from 26 January 1924 to 24 November 1924.

17th Prime Minister of Egypt

Education, activism and exile

Zaghloul was born in Ibyana village in the Kafr el Sheikh Governorate of Egypt’s Nile Delta. For his post-secondary education, he attended Al Azhar University and a French law school in Cairo. By working as a Europeanized lawyer, Zaghloul gained both wealth and status in a traditional framework of upward mobility. Despite this, Zaghloul’s success can equally be attributed to his familiarity with the Egyptian countryside and its many idioms. He was part of the Egyptian freemason lodge. In 1918, he became politically active, as the founding leader of the Wafd Party, for which he was later arrested.

Rise in the bureaucracy

Upon his release from prison, he practiced law and distinguished himself; amassed some independent means, which enabled him to participate in Egyptian politics, then dominated by the struggle of moderate and extremist against British occupation; and effected useful, permanent links with different factions of Egyptian nationalists. He became close to Princess Nazli Fazil, and his contacts with the Egyptian upper class led to his marriage to the daughter of the Egyptian Prime minister Mustafa Fahmi Pasha, whose friendship with Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, then the effective British ruler of Egypt, accounts in part for the eventual acceptability of Zaghloul to the British occupation. In succession, Zaghloul was a judge, minister of education (1906–1908), minister of justice (1910–1912); and in 1913 he became vice-president of the Legislative Assembly.

In all his ministerial positions, Zaghloul undertook certain measures of reform that were acceptable to both Egyptian nationalists and the British occupation. Throughout this period, he kept himself outside extreme Egyptian nationalist factions. And although acceptable to the British occupation, he was not thereby compromised in the eyes of his Egyptian compatriots. The relationship between Britain and Egypt continued to deteriorate during and after the Great War.