In keeping with Mamluk custom, al-Mu’ayyad Shaykh was purchased by Sultan Al-Malik Az-Zahir Sayf ad-Din Barquq when he was ten or twelve years old.

The historian Al-Maqrizi relates the future Sultan al-Muayyad was imprisoned in the same prison which the mosque replaced as while an emir under Sultan Faraj. Shaykh suffered so terribly from fleas and lice during his imprisonment, he vowed that he would transform the prison into "a saintly place for the education of scholars" if he ever came to power. True to his word, when he became Sultan he commissioned the mosque.

Sultan al-Muayyad spend some 40,000 dinars on its construction. "Marble was taken from everywhere", relates the 15th century historian al-Taghribirdi, "even from (private) houses and palaces ...
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