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Salah El deen: Continued Part of Islams Greatest Warriors

Posted March 6th, 2011 at 11:45 AM by SudaniMujahid

Saladin was born in Tikrit, Iraq. His personal name was Yusuf, the Arabic form of Joseph; Salah ad-Din is a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laqab"]laqab[/ame], a descriptive epithet, meaning "Righteousness of the Faith".[6] His family was of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish_people"]Kurdish[/ame] background and ancestry,[3][4] and had originated from the city of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvin"]Dvin[/ame], in [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Armenia"]medieval Armenia[/ame].[7][8] His father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, was banished from Tikrit and in 1139, he and his uncle Asad al-Din Shirkuh, moved to [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosul"]Mosul[/ame]. He later joined the service of Imad ad-Din Zengi who made him commander of his fortress in [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baalbek"]Baalbek[/ame]. After the death of Zengi in 1146, his son, Nur ad-Din, became the regent of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleppo"]Aleppo[/ame] and the leader of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zengid"]Zengids[/ame].[9]
Saladin, who now lived in [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascus"]Damascus[/ame], was reported to have a particular fondness of the city, but information on his early childhood is scarce. About education, Saladin wrote "children are brought up in the way in which their elders were brought up." According to one of his biographers, al-Wahrani, Saladin was able to answer questions on [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclid"]Euclid[/ame], the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almagest"]Almagest[/ame], arithmetic, and law, but this was an academic ideal and it was study of the Qur'an and the "sciences of religion" that linked him to his contemporaries.[9] Several sources claim that during his studies he was more interested in religion than joining the military.[10] Another factor which may have affected his interest in religion was that during the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade"]First Crusade[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem"]Jerusalem[/ame] was taken in a surprise attack by the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christians"]Christians[/ame].[10] In addition to Islam, Saladin had a knowledge of the genealogies, biographies, and histories of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab"]Arabs[/ame], as well as the bloodlines of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_horse"]Arabian horses[/ame]. More significantly, he knew the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamasah"]Hamasah[/ame] of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Tammam"]Abu Tammam[/ame] by heart.[9]
Early expeditions

Saladin's military career began under the tutelage of his uncle [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirkuh"]Asad al-Din Shirkuh[/ame], an important [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_commander"]military commander[/ame] under Nur ad-Din. In 1163, the vizier to the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatimid"]Fatimid[/ame] caliph al-Adid, [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawar"]Shawar[/ame], had been driven out of Egypt by rival Dirgham, a member of the powerful Banu Ruzzaik tribe. He asked for military backing from Nur ad-Din, who complied and in 1164, sent Shirkuh to aid Shawar in his expedition against Dirgham. Saladin, at age 26, went along with them.[11] After Shawar was successfully reinstated as vizier, he demanded that Shirkuh withdraw his army from Egypt for a sum of 30,000 [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinar"]dinars[/ame], but he refused insisting it was Nur ad-Din's will that he remain. Saladin's role in this expedition was minor, and it is known that he was ordered by Shirkuh to collect stores from [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilbais"]Bilbais[/ame] prior to its siege by a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusader_invasions_of_Egypt"]combined force of Crusaders[/ame] and Shawar's troops.[12]
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[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusaders"]Crusaders[/ame] hurling the heads of slain [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslims"]Muslims[/ame] over ramparts during a siege

After the sacking of Bilbais, the Crusader-Egyptian force and Shirkuh's army were to engage in a battle on the desert border of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile_River"]Nile River[/ame], just west of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza"]Giza[/ame]. Saladin played a major role, commanding the right wing of the Zengid army, while a force of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurd"]Kurds[/ame] commanded the left, and Shirkuh stationed in the center. Muslim sources at the time, however, put Saladin in the "baggage of the center" with orders to lure the enemy into a trap by staging a false retreat. The Crusader force enjoyed early success against Shirkuh's troops, but the terrain was too steep and sandy for their horses, and commander Hugh of Caesarea was captured while attacking Saladin's unit. After scattered fighting in little valleys to the south of the main position, the Zengid central force returned to the offensive; Saladin joined in from the rear.[13]
The battle ended in a Zengid victory, and Saladin is credited to have helped Shirkuh in one of the "most remarkable victories in recorded history", according to Ibn al-Athir, although more of Shirkuh's men were killed and the battle is considered by most sources as not a total victory. Saladin and Shirkuh moved towards [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria"]Alexandria[/ame] where they were welcomed, given money, arms, and provided a base.[14] Faced by a superior Crusader-Egyptian force who attempted to besiege the city, Shirkuh split his army. He and the bulk of his force withdrew from Alexandria, while Saladin was left with the task of guarding the city.[15]
In Egypt

Main article: [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saladin_in_Egypt"]Saladin in Egypt[/ame]
Vizier of Egypt

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Saladin's battles in [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt"]Egypt[/ame]

Shirkuh engaged in a power struggle over Egypt with [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawar"]Shawar[/ame] and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalric_I_of_Jerusalem"]Amalric I[/ame] of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Jerusalem"]Kingdom of Jerusalem[/ame], in which Shawar requested Amalric's assistance. In 1169, Shawar was reportedly assassinated by Saladin, and Shirkuh died later that year.[16] Nur ad-Din chose a successor for Shirkuh, but al-Adid appointed Saladin to replace Shawar as vizier.[17]
The reasoning behind the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia"]Shia[/ame] al-Adid's selection of Saladin, a Sunni, varies. Ibn al-Athir claims that the caliph chose him after being told by his advisers that "there is no one weaker or younger" than Saladin, and "not one of the emirs obeyed him or served him." However, according to this version, after some bargaining, he was eventually accepted by the majority of emirs. Al-Adid's advisers were also suspected of attempting to split the Syria-based Zengid ranks. Al-Wahrani wrote that Saladin was selected because of the reputation of his family in their "generosity and military prowess." Imad ad-Din wrote that after the brief mourning period of Shirkuh, during which "opinions differed", the Zengid [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emir"]emirs[/ame] decided upon Saladin and forced the caliph to "invest him as vizier." Although positions were complicated by rival Muslim leaders, the bulk of the Syrian rulers supported Saladin due to his role in the Egyptian expedition, in which he gained a record of impeccable military qualifications.[18]
Inaugurated as vizier on March 26, Saladin repented "wine-drinking and turned from frivolity to assume the dress of religion." Having gained more power and independence than ever before in his career, he still faced the issue of ultimate loyalty between al-Adid and Nur ad-Din. The latter was rumored to be clandestinely hostile towards Saladin's appointment and was quoted as saying, "how dare he [Saladin] do anything without my orders?" He wrote several letters to Saladin, who dismissed them without abandoning his allegiance to Nur ad-Din.[19]
Later in the year, a group of Egyptian soldiers and emirs attempted to assassinate Saladin, but having already known of their intentions, he had the chief conspirator, Mu'tamin al-Khilafa—the civilian controller of the Fatimid Palace—killed. The day after, 50,000 black African soldiers from the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regiment"]regiments[/ame] of the Fatimid army opposed to Saladin's rule along with a number of Egyptian emirs and commoners staged a revolt. By August 23, Saladin had decisively quelled the uprising, and never again had to face a military challenge from [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo"]Cairo[/ame].[20]
Towards the end of 1169, Saladin—with reinforcements from Nur ad-Din—defeated a massive Crusader-[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Empire"]Byzantine[/ame] force near [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damietta"]Damietta[/ame]. Afterward, in the spring of 1170, Nur ad-Din sent Saladin's father to Egypt in compliance with Saladin's request, as well as encouragement from the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdad"]Baghdad[/ame]-based [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbasid"]Abbasid[/ame] caliph, al-Mustanjid, who aimed to pressure Saladin in deposing his rival caliph, al-Adid.[21] Saladin himself had been strengthening his hold on Egypt and widening his support base there. He began granting his family members high-ranking positions in the region and increased Sunni influence in Cairo; he ordered the construction of a college for the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maliki"]Maliki[/ame] branch of Sunni Islam in the city, as well as one for the Shafi'i denomination to which he belonged in al-Fustat.[22]
After establishing himself in Egypt, Saladin launched a campaign against the Crusaders, besieging Darum in 1170.[23] Amalric withdrew his [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templars"]Templar[/ame] garrison from [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza"]Gaza[/ame] to assist him in defending Darum, but Saladin evaded their force and fell on Gaza instead. He destroyed the town built outside the city's castle and killed most of its inhabitants after they were refused entry into the castle.[24] It is unclear exactly when, but during that same year, he attacked and captured the Crusader castle of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilat"]Eilat[/ame], built on an island off the head of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Aqaba"]Gulf of Aqaba[/ame]. It did not pose a threat to the passage of the Muslim navy, but could harass smaller parties of Muslim ships and Saladin decided to clear it from his path.[23]
Sultan of Egypt

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Saladin as depicted on a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirham"]Dirham[/ame] coin, Circa. 1190.

According to Imad ad-Din, Nur ad-Din wrote to Saladin in June 1171, telling him to reestablish the Abbasid caliphate in Egypt, which Saladin coordinated two months later after additional encouragement by Najm ad-Din al-Khabushani, the Shafi'i [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faqih"]faqih[/ame], who vehemently opposed Shia rule in the country. Several Egyptian emirs were thus killed, but al-Adid was told that they were killed for rebelling against him. He then fell ill, or was poisoned according to one account. While ill, he asked Saladin to pay him a visit to request that he take care of his young children, but Saladin refused, fearing treachery against the Abbasids, and is said to have regretted his action after realizing what al-Adid had wanted.[25] He died on September 13 and five days later, the Abbasid [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khutba"]khutba[/ame] was pronounced in Cairo and al-Fustat, proclaiming al-Mustadi as caliph.[26]
On September 25, Saladin left Cairo to take part in a joint attack on [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerak"]Kerak[/ame] and Montreal, the desert castles of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Jerusalem"]Kingdom of Jerusalem[/ame], with Nur ad-Din who would attack from Syria. Prior to arriving at Montreal, Saladin withdrew, realizing that if he met Nur ad-Din at Shaubak, he would be refused return to Egypt because of Nur ad-Din's reluctance to consolidate such massive territorial control to Saladin. Also, there was a chance that the Crusader kingdom—which acted as a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffer_state"]buffer state[/ame] between Syria and Egypt—could have collapsed had the two leaders attacked it from the east and the coast. This would have given Nur ad-Din the opportunity to annex Egypt. Saladin claimed he withdrew amid Fatimid plots against him, but Nur ad-Din did not accept "the excuse."[26]
During the summer of 1172, a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nubia"]Nubian[/ame] army along with a contingent of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenia"]Armenian[/ame] refugees were reported on the Egyptian border, preparing for a siege against [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aswan"]Aswan[/ame]. The emir of the city had requested Saladin's assistance and was given reinforcements under Turan-Shah—Saladin's brother. Consequently, the Nubians departed, but returned in 1173 and were again driven off. This time Egyptian forces advanced from Aswan and captured the Nubian town of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qasr_Ibrim"]Ibrim[/ame]. Seventeen months after al-Adid's death, Nur ad-Din had not taken any action regarding Egypt, but expected some return for the 200,000 dinars he had allocated to Shirkuh's army which seized the country. Saladin paid this debt with 60,000 dinars, "wonderful manufactured goods", some jewels, an ass of the finest breed, and an elephant. While transporting these goods to Damascus, Saladin took the opportunity to ravage the Crusader countryside. He did not press an attack against the desert castles, but attempted to drive out the Muslim Bedouins who lived in Crusader territory with the aim of depriving the Franks of guides.[27]
On July 31, 1173, Saladin's father Ayyub was wounded in a horse-riding accident, ultimately causing his death on August 9.[28] In 1174, Saladin sent Turan-Shah to conquer [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemen"]Yemen[/ame] to allocate it and its port [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aden"]Aden[/ame] to the territories of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayyubid_Dynasty"]Ayyubid Dynasty[/ame]. Yemen also served as an emergency territory, to which Saladin could flee in the event of an invasion by Nur ad-Din
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