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saladinSalahudin Ayyubi was a fighter who freed Jerusalem of the Crusaders, he was a living example of the tolerant, progressive, and inclusive faith which was so dear to his heart. By showing restraint and peaceful treatment, Salahuddin was upholding the central tenets of Islam such as freedom of religion and protection of non-Muslims.

As a soldier, a ruler, and a human being, Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi was a person of phenomenal attributes.

The hero of hundreds of battles was the person who for 20 years braved the storm of the Crusaders and ultimately pushed them back. The world has hardly witnessed a more chivalrous and humane conqueror. His unmatchable battle tactics and gallantry as a soldier, heroic statesmanship and his strength of character won him the respect of even his foes. known for liberating the holy city of Jerusalem from the Crusaders. His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the siege of Kerak in Moab, and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders he won the respect of many of them, including Richard the Lionheart; rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry. The Crusades represent the maddest and the longest war in the history of mankind, in which the storm of savage fanaticism of the Christian West burst in all its fury over western Asia. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hijaz, and Yemen. History is full of his greatest achievements, but here, we are highlighting his two major achievements that are recognized not only by Muslim world but his enemies. One was the Wars against Crusaders and second was, the Capture of Jerusalem.

Early life

Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi was born in the year 532 AH/1137 CE in Tekrit on the West Bank of the Tigris between Mosul and Baghdad, loved dearly by his father, Ayyub. His family was of Kurdish background and ancestry. His father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, was banished from Tikrit and in 1139, he and his brother Asad al-Din Shirkuh, moved to Mosul. He later joined the service of Imad ad-Din Zangi who made him commander of his fortress in Baalbek. After the death of Zangi in 1146, his son, Nur ad-Din, became the regent of Aleppo and the leader of the Zengids.

The Wars against Crusaders and the Capture of Jerusalem

Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi, the hero of hundreds of battles, was the person who for twenty years braved the storm of the Crusaders and ultimately pushed back the combined forces of Europe which had come to swarm the Holy Land. The world has hardly witnessed a more chivalrous and humane conqueror. The Crusades represent the maddest and the longest war in the history of mankind, in which the storm of savage fanaticism of the Christian West burst in all its fury over western Asia.

Christianity hurled itself against Muslims in expedition after expedition for nearly three centuries, until failure brought lassitude, and superstition itself was undermined by its own labour. Europe was drained off men and money, and threatened with social bankruptcy, if not with annihilation. Millions perished in battle, hunger or disease and every atrocity imagination can conceive disgraced the warrior of the Cross'. The Christian West was excited to a mad religious frenzy by Peter the Hermit, and his followers to liberate the Holy Land from the hands of the Muslims. `Every means', says Hallam, `was used to excite an epidemical frenzy'. During the time that a Crusader bore the Cross, he was under the protection of the Church and exempted from all taxes as well as frees to commit all sins.

On September 29, Salahuddin crossed the Jordan River to intercepted Crusader reinforcements from Karak and Shaubak along the Nablus road and took a number of prisoners. Meanwhile, the main Crusader force under Guy of Lusignan moved from Sepphoris to al-Fula. Salahuddin sent out 500 skirmishers to harass their forces and he himself marched to Ain Jalut. When the Crusader force—reckoned to be the largest the kingdom ever produced from its own resources, but still outmatched by the Muslims—advanced, the Ayyubids unexpectedly moved down the stream of Ain Jalut. After a few Ayyubid raids—including attacks on Zir'in, Forbelet, and Mount Tabor—However, Raynald of Châtillon, harassed Muslim trading and pilgrimage routes with a fleet on the Red Sea, a water route that Salahuddin needed to keep open. In response, Salahuddin built a fleet of 30 galleys to attack Beirut in 1182. Raynald threatened to attack the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and responded by looting a caravan of pilgrims on the Hajj in 1185.

Capture of Jerusalem

In July 1187 Salahuddin captured most of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. On July 4, 1187, at the Battle of Hattin, he faced the combined forces of Guy of Lusignan, King Consort of Jerusalem and Raymond III of Tripoli. In this battle alone the Crusader army was largely annihilated by the motivated army of Salahuddin. It was a major disaster for the Crusaders and a turning point in the history of the Crusades. Salahuddin captured Raynald de Châtillon and was personally responsible for his execution in retaliation for his attacking Muslim caravans. The members of these caravans had, in vain, besought his mercy by reciting the truce between the Muslims and the Crusaders, but he ignored this and insulted their prophet Muhammad before murdering and torturing a number of them. Upon hearing this, Salahuddin swore an oath to personally execute Raynald.

Mannerism & Legacy of Salahuddin Ayubi

Salah-ud-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub known as Saladin in the Western World, this great Muslim sultan is widely revered as the ideal of a warrior who is fierce in battle and generous to his enemies.

Saladin used to perform the five obligatory prayers on time, along with the supererogatory prayers. He never prayed except in congregation, and he never delayed a prayer. He used to always have an imam with him, but if the imam was not present, he would pray behind any pious scholar who might be sitting with him. He never quit a prayer except when he slipped into a come for three days before his death.

He would spend most of his money on sadaqah (optional charity), and he never possessed enough wealth that would have required him to pay Zakah (obligatory alms). Although he always wanted to perform Hajj, he was occupied in jihad, so he did not have enough money to perform Hajj, and he died without performing it.

To be a great Sultan, one should be courageous, strict, and strong-willed, yet merciful, fair, and kind. On Mondays and Thursdays, Saladin used to sit and listen to his people’s petitions in a general assembly attended by jurisprudents, judges, and scholars. He would then spend an hour during the day or the night writing his comments and opinions concerning every petition. He never let down anyone who called on him for help.

He never spoke badly about anyone and never allowed anyone to do so in his presence. He never uttered a rude word and never used his pen to humiliate a Muslim.

Ibn Shaddad also relates

When English King Richard the Lionheart, Saladin’s archenemy, fell ill, Saladin asked about his health and sent fruits and ice to him. The Crusaders, who were hungry and poverty-stricken, were astonished at that noble chivalry and mercy from their enemy.

Saladin died at the age of 57. His estate was only 47 dirhems and one dinar. He left no real estate or any other hereditaments. May Allah honor him in the hereafter, lighten his grave, and raise his rank in Paradise. Amen.