At court, the sultan was surrounded by an inner circle of senior retainers, each one with a specific responsibility, such as cup-bearer, treasurer or major-domo. These senior Mamluks were meant to support their sultan loyally in all his religious, political and military objectives, but often partook in factional infighting and power struggles against their ruler.
On a more positive note they vied to emulate the sultan’s activities as a patron of art and architecture. As the children of Mamluks were not allowed to inherit their fathers’ rank and privileges, the endowment (waqf
) of religious foundations was a popular means to provide security and income for their families.