Salah El Deen El Ayoubi
Known in the West as Saladin Al Ayoubi, Salah-adeen Yusif ibn Ayoubi ibn Marwan was born in the year 1137 in the region of Iraq. Famous in the Western history books for his challenge against Richard the Lion heart, he is very seldom portrayed in his true light.
He was a man of good build, with a bright face, sharp eyes and a dark thick beard. He was known for his courage, strength of Iman and love of reading the Holy Qur’an. He was also famous for his eloquent speech and the kindness and mercy he had for his people. Although tough with the non believers he respected their creeds and allowed them to worship without facing any harm. Many of them holding good positions during his era.
Salah El Deen died and was, buried in Damascus on the 4th February 1197, leaving behind nothing more than 47 silver pieces and one gold coin.
During Salah El Deen‘s lifetime the Muslims suffered being disunited and subject to humiliation from anti-Muslim powers.
In the coming line we will shed light on how Salah El Deen set about liberating Palestine from the Christian crusaders after he had united the Muslim Nation under his leadership.
In 1169 Salah El Deen took rule of Egypt, and started to make a lot of changes to improve its situation and uniting the State. After establishing his army in Egypt he proceeded to unite the various smaller Arab States that had become semi-independent states. In particular he annexed these States surrounding Palestine. Salah El Deen considered it first necessary to unite Muslims before he facing the Christian kingdoms in the Holy lands.
In 1187 the Christian King of Karak, who was called Arnat, launched an attack against a number of pilgrims travelling to make the hajj. The attackers, showing no mercy, plundered, tortured men, humiliated women. Whilst killing the pilgrims Arnat said: “Go tell Mohammad and ask him if he can save you.” This event ended a period of temporary peace that had ensued between Salah El Deen and the Christians who were occupying Palestine. Salah El Deen who was always keen on setting free Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Al-Aqsa Mosque, was now given the opportunity to face the Christians.
When the news of this event reached Salah El Deen tried to overcome his outrage and sent a polite message to King Arnat. In the letter he asked him to respect the peace agreement, to free all the hostages and to return whatever he had stolen. But the King refused Salah El Deen‘s request, leaving him no other choice but to teach him a good lesson.
After preparing his army in Damascus, in March 1187. Salah El Deen proceeded to Karak. After seizing Karak Salah El Deen’s next step was to move north towards Tabarieh to assess the reaction of the Christian armies.
The Christian army collected at Nazarate under the leadership of the King of Jerusalem. The battle commenced in May 1187 and ended in complete defeat for the Christians. The Christian army, now strengthened with reinforcements – including Richard, known as the Lion heart – were bent on seeking revenge. It appeared as if the whole Christian army collected at Safarid.
Salah El Deen, however, was always one step ahead of them. He decided to avoid Safarid and attack Tabarieh first. Salah El Deen’s plan was to push the Christian to leave their positions in Safarid so that they would be tired and exhausted by the difficult journey. In July 1187 Salah El Deen destroyed Tabarieh.
Forced into leaving their positions Salah El Deen’s plan proved its success. The Christians wore bulky armour and heavy weapons, the intense heat and shortage of water combined with the difficult terrain, weakened the Christian soldiers. And what was awaiting them? Courageous Muslim fighters were awaiting them, willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of Allah.
On the 4th July 1187, the Muslim army had surrounded the Christians and when the heat was unbearable and the fighting reached its climax, Salah El Deen ordered his soldiers to set fire to the grass and shrubs surrounding the enemy’s army. Their suffering complete, Salah El Deen inflicted on them a resounding defeat.
After this defeat the Christians amassed a strength of 50,000 fighters to do battle at Hiteen. The Christians lead by the Kings of Jerusalem, Karak and Tripoli were again defeated. Many of their princes and knights were taken as prisoners. It was Allah’s will that Salah El Deen should meet face to face with King Arnat of Karak, the butcher of innocent pilgrims. Before killing him with his own hands Salah El Deen told him he was killing him for defaming the honor and dignity of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and for murdering innocent Muslims.
From Hiteen Salah El Deen opened the Castle at Tabarieh. He then moved on to Akka and on a Friday he opened it peacefully. After performing the first Friday prayer he left the city to his son Al-Abdal. Salah El Deen then went to north to Sida and Beirut. All this occurred in one month.
At the outset Salah El Deen ‘s aim was setting free Al-Quds, the eradication of the Christian Kingdom and the uniting of the Muslim Ummah. With Jerusalem his target he moved to Askalan. This enabled him to cut off Jerusalem from the Mediterranean sea and by so doing isolating Jerusalem. He accomplished this on the 5th September 1187.
Before moving on Jerusalem he arranged with the well known Egyptian sailor, Hussain Uddeen El Hajeb, to move the Egyptian navy close to Palestine so as to prevent the Christian navy from approaching the coastline.
On the 19th September 1187 Salah-a-deen approached Jerusalem and proceeded to lay siege on the City. He bombarded the City with fire and projectiles until the Christians surrendered. The Muslim army led by Salah El Deen entered the City peacefully on Friday the 2nd October 1187. He put the Islamic flag and took down the large cross from the Dome of the Rock.
Salah El Deen expressed in the most practical way the kindness, and mercy of Islam when, at the peak of his victory and power he gave freedom for all inhabitants of Jerusalem to leave the City unharmed. When the Crusaders defeated Jerusalem in 1099 the streets of the City flowed with the blood of 70,000 slaughtered Muslims.
After Jerusalem, Salah El Deen opened negotiated with the Christians to leave the Islamic lands. The last stronghold of the Christians, Akka, was removed by the hand of Salah El Deen’s successor Zahir Babers.
Indeed Salah El Deen was both a kind merciful man and a great warrior.