Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Salahuddeen - the vanquisher of the Crusaders

He was one of the Muslim heroes who lived in the sixth Hijri century (the twelfth Gregorian century).
He managed to unite the Islamic nation and put Egypt, Levant, and Iraq under his reign in one of the greatest Islamic eras.
This hero impressed his enemies, more than this supporters, with his tolerance and excellent manners. History testifies that his tolerance emerged from a victorious, strong character; and not from a weak defeated person.He was a noble horseman, a decent hero, and a kind commander. He used to adhere to the morals and principles of Islam which advocate forgiving others and treating them well.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, was born in the castle of Tikrit, Iraq in 532 A.H., 1138 A.C. On the same night he was born, his family moved to Mosul. A year later, they moved to Baalbek where his father became a ruler.
In this city, which is now situated in Lebanon, Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, spent his childhood and received his first education. He memorized the Quran and studied Prophetic narrations, Islamic Jurisprudence, the Arabic language and history. He also learnt the skills of horsemanship and combat.
When he became a young man, he went to Aleppo and joined his uncle Asaduddeen Shirkooh who was an excellent hero and one of the most distinguished men of Nooruddeen Mahmood, the Sultan of Aleppo and Damascus.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, As A Minister:
During this period, the Fatimid Dynasty in Egypt was very weak under the reign of Al-'Aadid who did not have full control of the country. The Fatimid Dynasty witnessed a struggle between two high ranking princes, Shaawar and Durghaam, concerning a ministerial position. Neither of them managed to defeat the other. Each of them sought the help of foreign forces in order to achieve his goal. So Durghaam sought the help and support of the Crusaders who were occupying the coast of Levant and Jerusalem. Shaawar sought the help of Nooruddeen Mahmood who was commanding the Jihaad movement and resisting the Crusaders.
Nooruddeen Mahmood sent a military expedition commanded by Asaduddeen Shirkooh accompanied by his nephew Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, who was only twenty-seven years old at that time.
After many attempts, they managed to take over Egypt (564 A.H., 1168 A.C.). The commander of the expedition, Asaduddeen Shirkooh, became the minister of the last Fatimid ruler, Al-`Aadid. Two months later, Asaduddeen Shirkooh died and his nephew Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, became a minister.
Egypt: Back to the 'Abbasid Caliphate:
At that time, Egypt was under the control of the Fatimid Dynasty who adopted the deviant Isma'eelite doctrine, while Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, was a Sunni Muslim loyal to Nooruddeen Mahmood, the Sultan of Aleppo, who himself was loyal to the Sunni 'Abbasid caliphate.
Salaahudeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, eventually put an end to the Fatimid Dynasty which was really in its last days. He restored Egypt back to the 'Abbasid caliphate.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, could have used force, but he preferred peaceful means. He fired the Shiite judges and appointed Sunnis in their place. He also established a series of schools which taught the Hanafi, Shaafi'ee, and Maliki Islamic jurisprudence.
Three years later, everything was ready for a change especially after the Sunni school became predominant.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, and the Islamic Unity:
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, was very sad because of the Crusade occupation of Levant. He was especially grieved over Jerusalem being occupied. But the question was: How could he expel these occupiers? Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, knew the answer. It was, in short, through Islamic Unity.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, started his reign by fostering justice among people. He trained and prepared his soldiers in the best way. He also established the concept of Jihaad and trust in Allaah's victory in his soldiers so that he could achieve Islamic Unity. He started with Damascus which sought his help. So, he conquered it and annexed it to Egypt. He also managed to annex Hamah, Baalbek, and Aleppo. Islamic Unity took ten years of hard work, from (570 A.H., 1174) to (582 A.H., 1186). During this period, he did not engage in any wars with the Crusaders so that he could complete his plan and fight them at a later time.
From Hitteen to the conquest of Jerusalem:
After Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, managed to establish a strong united country which adhered to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, he moved to the next step: fighting and expelling the Crusaders. He launched a series of wars in which he achieved victory. Then he crowned his achievements by defeating the Crusaders in the battle of Hitteen in 583 A.H., 1187 A.C. In this battle, the enemy lost most of their soldiers and the King of Jerusalem and the top Crusade commanders fell as prisoners of war. Following this great victory, the Crusade cities and fortresses fell into the hands of Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, such as Tiberias, Akko, Qaisaryyah, Nabulus, Jafa and Beirut.
As a result, the road became paved for Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, to conquer Jerusalem after the Crusaders had controlled it for over ninety years. Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, marched to Jerusalem, and besieged it until it surrendered and its rulers asked for reconciliation. Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, entered Jerusalem in one of the greatest moments in Islamic history. The Muslims all over the world rejoiced at this victory that restored Jerusalem to them: the first of the two Qiblahs, the third sacred mosque and it is the place from which the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, started his ascension to the heavens during the Israa' and Mi`raaj. Jerusalem was restored on 27th Rajab, 583 A.H., 2nd October, 1187 A.C.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, Forgives the Crusaders and Allows them to Leave:
The tolerance of Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, was manifested when he entered Jerusalem. He did not avenge the massacres they committed when they occupied the city. He allowed every Crusader to ransom himself, exempted more than two thousand prisoners of war from paying the ransom because they did not have money, released the elderly men and women, and even gave money to the widows, the orphans, and the needy each according to their need.
Europe Calls for Retaliation and Revenge
Europe was taken by surprise when the Muslims managed to restore their holy city. There were many calls to retaliate and avenge the Muslims. Europe sent one of the most powerful Crusade expeditions as far as troops and weaponry are concerned. The expedition included three European armies: the German, the French, and the British. Two armies succeeded in reaching the Middle East as the King of Germany and his army drowned while crossing a river in Asia Minor.
The French army, commanded by Philip Augustus, managed to capture Akko from the Muslims. The British army - commanded by Richard, the Lion-Hearted – also succeeded in seizing some coastal cities between Soor and Haifa. Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, fiercely resisted these armies which aimed at reoccupying Jerusalem. This resistance obliged Richard, the Lion-Hearted to ask for conciliation with Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, and returned to his country, then the French King followed Richard and left.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, as a Supporter of Civilization and Reform:
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, was an excellent politician and supporter of civilization and reform. He attached special attention to social institutions that helped people and relieved the burdens of life. He undertook to support the poor and the strangers who took residence in mosques.  He made the Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tooloon in Cairo a refuge place for the wayfarers who came to Egypt from Morocco.
One of his most famous architectural works is the Mount Castle in Cairo which he took as the headquarters of his government and a fortified fortress that enabled him to defend Cairo. He also built a 15 km long wall around Fustaat, 'Askar, and Cairo. This wall was three meters wide and watch towers were spread all over it. There are still some parts of this wall remaining in different areas.
The Death of Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him:
During the negotiations of Ar-Ramlah peace treaty between the Muslims and the Crusaders, Sultan Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, fell ill and he stayed in bed. He died on 27th Safar, 589 A.H.,  4th March, 1193. When he died, he left neither money nor real estates. Only one Deenaar and forty seven dirhams were found in his safe. This indicated his asceticism and integrity.
The Character of Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him:
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, had the morals of a noble horseman and the talents of a statesman. He was courageous and never feared his enemies. Despite this, he took the utmost care in the preparations before engaging in wars with the Crusaders. He realized that victory would never be achieved except through unity and that his enemy did not win, except through the disunity of the Muslims. That is why he worked hard to unite Egypt, Levant and Iraq under his command.
He was famous for his tolerance and love for peace and he set a good example in this. After the surrender of Jerusalem, he treated the Crusaders in a good manner, accepted ransom from the prisoners of war and released their women and children.
Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, In Brief:
· He was born in the castle of Tikrit, Iraq in 532 A.H., 1138 A.C.
· He spent his childhood and received his first education in the Lebanese city of Baalbek.
· When he became a young man, he went to Aleppo and joined his uncle, Asaduddeen Shirkooh, may Allaah have mercy on him.
· He accompanied his uncle on the expedition to repossess Egypt and protect it from the Crusaders.
· Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, became a minister in Egypt and he put an end to the Fatimid Dynasty
· Salaahuddeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, handily worked for more than ten years from (570 A.H., 1174) to (582 A.H., 1186) preparing to fight the Crusade occupation.
· He launched a series of wars against the Crusaders and crowned his achievements by defeating them in the battle of Hitteen and restoring Jerusalem.
· He fiercely resisted the Crusade armies which aimed at reoccupying Jerusalem.
· He made a peace treaty with this expedition. It was known as Ar-Ramlah peace treaty.
· He had many cultural achievements such as building mosques, schools, castles, and his most famous architectural work is Mount Castle in Cairo
· After a life full of Jihaad and struggle in the path of Allaah, he died on 27th Safar, 589 A.H., 4th March, 1193.