Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gentle Hearted Warrior: Saladin al-Din aka Salahuddin Ayyubi

Gentle hearted Saladin Ayyubi became one of the world's greatest warriors by defeating crusaders and capturing the holy city of Jerusalem.

Born in Tikrit, Iraq, Saladin, his Arabic name is Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub. At the age of 14 he joined other members of his family (the Ayyubids) in the service of the Syrian ruler Nur ad-Din. . He was brought up by his noble father and talented uncle, Asad-ud-din Shirkhu. Saladin was a very intelligent and noble person. He loved peace and never enjoyed fighting battles but he and his uncle were ordered to travel and fight in three expeditions. And when the young boy who didn’t like fighting in battles fought, he fought with great bravery and strength.

Between 1164 and 1169 he distinguished himself in the three expeditions sent by Nur ad-Din to aid the decadent Fatimid rulers of Egypt against attacks by the Christian Crusaders based in Palestine. In 1169 he was made commander in chief of the Syrian army and vizier of Egypt. Having revitalized Egypt's economy and reorganized its land and naval forces, Saladin repelled the Crusaders and took the offensive against them.

After Nur ad-Din's death in 1174, Saladin became head of state, Saladin expanded his power in Syria and northern Mesopotamia.Following the submission of Damascus (1174), Halab (Aleppo) (1183), and Mosul (1186), numerous Muslim armies, allied under Saladin's command were looking immortal, The Crusaders were not happy by Saladin’s increasing power and success. Uniting their forces, they planned a decisive attack on Muslim area. Battle of Hittin took place. Muslims won under the leadership of Saladin. Thousands of Crusaders were arrested. Saladin treated the prisoners with tolerance.

In 1187 CE, Saladin conquered Jerusalem. Thousands of Crusaders were arrested. However, when their mothers, sisters, and wives appealed to Saladin, he released them. Many crusaders were ransomed. However, he paid for many of them. In addition, he provided them transport, etc. He allowed neither massacre nor looting. He gave free pardon to all citizens. He even arranged for their traveling. He granted freedom to Christians to leave the city if they paid a small tribute. Saladin paid it, himself, for about ten thousand poor people. His brother paid it for seven thousand people. Saladin also allocated one of the gates of the city for people who were too poor to pay anything that they leave from there.

On Friday 27th Rajab 583 AH, Saladin entered Jerusalem. After entering the city they went straight to the Mosque and cleaned it. Then for the first time in more then 80 years, the people of Jerusalem heard the Azan (call of prayer) from Al Aqsa Mosque.

In 1189 the nations of western Europe launched the Third Crusade to win back the holy city. But they failed. On March 4, 1193, Saladin died in Damascus. He died with no possession of Gold coins, Palaces, Slaves, but The Holy Land Of Jerusalem.

He is remembered by Muslims as well as Non-Muslims as a kind hearted un-selfish Warrior. He was a religious person and followed the teachings of Quran (Book of God) and Prophet Muhammad’s teachings regarding War, he treated all of his Prisoners with Respect and dignity, no torture, massacre, mass killing, took place during his time. And unlike all other Sultan’s he did not build a single Palace or any building for himself yet he erected mosques, palaces, hospitals, and universities in for his Muslim brothers in Cairo.This is why he is a favourite topic to write on by even Westerners.


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