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Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub

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    Posted: 04 March 2005 at 3:34pm

Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (1 of 7), Read 20 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  Rami 
Date:  Monday, February 21, 2005 08:59 PM 

Aouthu Billahi Mina shaytanir rajeem

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

Ibn Jubair (Ibn Jubayr) was born in Valencia. He travelled widely,offering good accounts of the life of Muslims and their surroundings through the known world. A secretary for the ruler of Granada in 1182, he was forced by such ruler, under threat, to drink seven cups of wine. Seized by remorse, the ruler then filled seven cups of gold which he gave him. To expiate his godless act, although forced upon him, Ibn Jubayr decided to perform the duty of Hajj to Mecca. He left Granada on 1183 accompanied by a physician from the city.

The following is Ibn Jubayr's Account Of the rule of Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub as he encountered on his travels. His journal covers "eight months spent in Mecca and gives one of the fullest early descriptions of the sacred city and of the ritual activity connected with it, culminating in the performance of the Hajj. Egypt, under Saladin, of whom Ibn Jubayr greatly approved, had been observed on the outward journey. Leaving Arabia via Iraq, the traveller passed through Baghdad, the seat of the Caliph al-Nasir, then went north to reach Syria, and embarked for the West again on a Genoese ship at the Crusader town of Acre. Although, as a pious Muslim, he deplored the Christian presence, his experiences provide significant evidence for peaceful interaction between the two communities. Shipwrecked at Messina, Ibn Jubayr was once again in a land under Christian rule; his account of Norman Sicily under William II is of particular importance for information on the state of the Muslim community of the island, and for showing the extent to which Muslim influence and Muslim practices still survived at court and elsewhere. From Sicily, Ibn Jubayr took ship for Spain, arriving home in Granada after an absence of a little over two years."

The Month of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah (578)
28th Mar-25th Apr 1183

After landing in Alexandria The officials forced the passengers of the vessel to pay a fee for there goods to which Ibn Jubayr wrote:

[Ibn Jubayr’s account Begins Here]
There is no doubt that this is one of the matters concealed from the great sultan Known as Salah al-Din [saladin]. If he heard of it from what is related of his Justice and leanings to pity he would end it…In the lands of the this man [Saladin] We found nothing bad that merits mentions save this affair, Which was provoked by the officials of the customs.

Among the glories of this city, and owing in truth to sultan, are the colleges and hostels erected there for the students and pious men from other lands. There each may find lodging where he might retreat, and a tutor which will teach him the branch of learning he desires, and an allowance to cover all his needs. The care of the sultan for these strangers from afar extends to the assigning of baths in which they may cleanse themselves when they need, to the setting of hospitals for them who are sick, and to the appointment of doctors to attend to them. At their disposal are servants charged with ministering to them in the manner prescribed both as regards treatment and sustenance. Persons have also been appointed to it who may visit those of the strangers who are to modest to come to hospital, and who can thus describe there condition to the doctors, who would then be answerable to the doctor.

One of the sultans most generous acts was the allotting of two loafs daily for each of the ibn al sabi [sons of the road], what ever there number; and for the daily distribution he appointed a person he trusted. Every day two thousand loafs or more, according to the lesser or greater number (of beneficiaries), were regularly distribute. ( To meet this) there was his own personnel awqaf [charitable endowments], apart from what he allotted from the zakat al ain [zakat on gold and silver]. He was insistent with those in charge of this that when the fixed sums were inadequate, they should draw upon his private purse.

As for his people in this city they live in the hight of ease and comfort. No tax is exacted from them and no revenues accure to the sultan himself in this city save the awqaf, which are tied and devoted by his order to these purposes, and the tribute of the Jews and Christians. Of the revenues of the zakat al ain in particular he receives but three eighths, the other five eights being for abject described. The sultan who established these praiseworthy laws and prescribed these generous- although not wholly applied – decrees is Salah al-Din [saladin] Abu l-Muzaffar Yusuf Ibn Ayyub. May God bless him with his peace and succour.

One of the strangest things that befell the strangers was that some persons who sought to draw near to the sultan with advice had declared that the greater number of them received a ration of bread which they did not need as means of sustenance, since they would not have come save with provisions enough. This counsel almost had its effect, But one day, when the sultan had gone out from the city to make an inspection, he met a group of men who had been cast up from the desert adjoining Tripoli and who were disfigured by hunger and thirst. He asked them about their journey, and enquired what they had with them, and they answered that they were on their way to the sacred house of God [The Ka’abah in Mecca]. They had come overland (they said) and had suffered the tribulations of the desert. Saladin replied, ‘Even if these men, after enduring the pathless desert and sustaining the hardships they encountered, had arrived bringing each his own weight in gold and silver, they should still partake of and not be denied the usage we have adopted for them. I Marvel at those who traduce such as these, and who seek to gain our favour by trying to prevent what, in faithfulness to Great and Glorious God, we feel to be our Duty.’ The memorial acts of the sultan his efforts for justice and his stands in defence of Islamic lands are too numerous to count.

Another of the remarkable features of this city is that people are as active in their affairs at night as they are by day. It has more mosques than any other city of Islam, so much so that men’s estimates of their number vary. Some count more some less, the former reckoning up to twelve thousand, the later a smaller figure without being precise, although some say eight thousand. There are others who give different figures, but in short they are most numerous, there being four or five in one place and sometimes they adjoin each other. Each has its own Imam with a stipend from the Sultan and some of them receive monthly five Egyptian Dinars which is ten mu’mini (4.75g of gold ? ) others receive more and some less. This is but one of the great merits of the sultan amongst others it would take to long to describe, and one of the benefactions too many to count. (Pg 35)

(Pg 40)
The tomb of the shafii imam-may God hold him in his favour-a shrine superb in beauty and size. Over against it was built a school the like of which has no been made in this country, there being nothing more spacious or more finely built. He who walks around it will conceive it to be itself a separate town. Beside it is a bath and other conveniences, and building continues to this day. The measureless expenditure on it is controlled by the sheik, imam, ascetic, and man of learning called Najm al-Din al-Khabushani. The Sultan of these lands, Saladin, bounteously pays all for this purpose saying: ‘Be lavish in splendour and elegance; ours it will be to provide all.’ Glory to Him who made him Salah Dinihi [‘the well being of his religion’] like his name.

We also looked upon the building of the citadel, an impregnable fortress adjoining Cairo which the sultan thinks to take as his residence, extending the walls until it enfolds the two cities of Misr and Cairo. The forced labourers on this construction, and those executing all the skilled services and vast preparations such as sawing the marble, cutting the huge stones, and digging the fosse that girdles the walls noted above-a fosse hallowed out with pick-axes from the rock to be a wonder amongst wonders of which trace may remain- were Rumi prisoners whose numbers were beyond computation. There was no cause for any but them to labour on this construction. The sultan has constructions in progress in other places and on these to foreigners are engaged so that those of the Muslims who might have been used in this public work are relieved of it all, no work of that nature falling on any of them.

Another of the things we saw doing honour to the sultan, was the maristan [hospital] in the city of Cairo. It is a palace goodly for its beauty and spaciousness. This benefaction he made so that he might deserve a heavenly reward, and to acquire merit. He appointed as intendant a man of science with whom he placed a store of drugs and whom he empowered to use the potions and apply them in their various forms. In the rooms of this palace were placed beds, fully appointed, for lying patients. At the disposal of the intendant are servants whose duty it is, morning and evening, to examine the conditions of the sick, and to bring them food and potions that befit them.
Facing this establishment is another for women, and they also have persons to attend them. A third which adjoins them, a large place, has rooms with iron windows, and it has been taken as a place of confinement for the insane. They also have persons who daily examine their condition and give them what is fitting for them. All these matters the Sultan oversees, examining and questioning, and demanding the greatest care and attention to them. In Misr there is another hospital of precisely the same model.

Between Misr and Cairo is the great mosque which takes its name from Abu ‘l’-Abbas Ahmad Ibn Tulun. It is one of the old congressional mosques, of elegant architecture, and of large proportions. The Sultan made it a retreat for the strangers from the maghrib [Western part of Barbary and Spain], where they might live and receive lectures; and for there support he granted a monthly allowance. A curious thing, told us by one of there prominent men, was the Sultan had entrusted to them their own management, and allows no other hand over them. They themselves produce their own leader, whose orders they obey and to whom they appeal in sudden contingency. They live in peace and satisfaction, devoted exclusively to worship of their lord, and finding, in the favour of the Sultan, the greatest help to good on whose path they are set.

There is no congressional or ordinary mosque, no mausoleum built over a grave, nor hospital, nor theological college, where the bounty of the sultan does not extend to all who seek shelter or live in them. He is helped in this by grants from the public treasury.
Amongst the beneficent acts that proclaim his care for all the affairs of the Muslims was his ordering the building of a school which he assigned to those preachers of the Book of Great and Glorious God who teach exclusively the children of the poor and orphans. For their needs he grants an adequate allowance.

Another of the Sultan's benefactions, and a monument of enduring usefulness to Muslims, are the bridges he has begun to construct seven miles west of Misr at the end of a causeway that begins at high-Nile beside Misr. This causeway is like a mountain stretched along the ground, over which it runs for a distance of six miles until it reaches the aforesaid bridges. These have about forty arches of the biggest type used in bridges, and reach the desert which extends from them to Alexandria. It is one of the most excellent measure taken by a prudent king in readiness against any sudden onslaught by an an enemy coming through the breach of Alexandria at a time of the Nile’s overflow, when the countryside is in flood and the passage of soldiers thereby prevented. He prepared this as a passageway for any time it may be needed. May God by his favour avert from the lands of the Muslims all apprehension and danger. To the Egyptians, the construction of these bridges is a warning of a coming event. For they see in it an augury that the Almohades will conquer it and the eastern regions. But God is the Knower of his hidden affairs. There is no god but he. (pg45)

Another of the generous deeds of the Sultan close to God Most High, and the memorials he has left in Happy remembrance of him both in religion and in the world, was his annulling of the customs duty imposed as a tax on pilgrims during the Ubaydin [Fatamid] dynasty. The pilgrims had suffered distress from its harsh exactment and were much wasted by it, and felt wronged by this humbling and crushing device. At times there came some who had with them no more than the bare cost of the journey, or had not even the provision, but they were compelled to pay the fixed tax, which was seven and a half Egyptian dinar's, or fifteen mu’mini dinar’s, a head. Those who could not suffered the most painful punishment at Aydhab, which city is like its name without the ‘y’ [Dropping the y in Aydhab gives adhab, meaning punishment.] Among the various inflictions devised was hanging by the testicles. Or such foul acts. May God protect us from the abuse of his decrees.

At Jiddah there were many similar tortures and worse for him who had not paid the dues at Aydhab, and whose name had not arrived without bearing a mark as having paid. But this Sultan abolished the accursed impost, and to fill its place, provided foods and other things, allotting to this purpose the tribute of a certain place and making certain that it all arrived in the hejaz, since the dues in question had been taken in the name of provisions for Mecca and Medina – may God render them prosperous. Thus did he make a most happy reform, lightening the way of the pilgrim, who had been abandoned, with no one to whom he could turn. God, at the hands of this just Sultan, was sufficient to deliver the Muslims from grievous case and a most painful state. Thanks should follow to him from all who believe that the pilgrimage to the sacred mosque (in Mecca) is one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam; until (his name) shall be spread throughout all land; and in all countries and all regions prayers should be offered up for him. God who rewards all who do good, and whose power is great, will not fail to reward one who wrought so worthily.

Such was the impost in the lands of Egypt, besides the other taxes on everything bought and sold, great or small, to the point of paying tax for drinking the Nile water, and other things besides. This infamous exaction the Sultan abolished, and spread justice and enlarged security. Indeed such is his justice, and the safety he has brought to his high roads that men in his lands can go about their affairs by night and from its darkness apprehend no awe that should deter them. Such were the affairs of men that we saw in Misr and Alexandria as described above.(pg 49)


Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (2 of 7), Read 18 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  Rami 
Date:  Monday, February 21, 2005 09:02 PM 

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

The month of Rabi al-Akhir [579]
24 july-21st Aug 1183.
(Ubdhur, Jiddah, al-Qurayn, Mecca.)

The greater number of the people of these Hejaz and other lands are sectaries and schimatics who have no religion, and who have separated in various doctrines (speaking of other than Sunni Islam). They treat the pilgrims in a manner in which they do not treat the Christians and Jews under tribute, seizing most of the provisions they have collected, robbing them and finding cause to divest them of all they have. The pilgrim in their lands does not cease to pay dues and provide foods until God helps him to return to his native land. Indeed, but for what God has done to mend the affairs of Muslims in these parts by means of Saladin, they would suffer the most grievous oppression, with no remission of its rigours. For Saladin lifted from the pilgrim the customs duty, and in it’s stead provided money and vituals with orders that they should be sent to Mukhtir, Emir of Mecca. But when this consignment allotted to them was somewhat delayed, this Emir returned to intimidating the pilgrims and made show to imprison them for the dues.

In this regard, it happened that when we arrived at Jiddah the matter was under discussion with Mukhtir, this Emir, and we had been arrested. His order came that the pilgrims should guarantee each other (for payment) and might then enter the Haram [Holy Mosque] of God. Should the money and vituals due for him from Saladin arrive it would be well; otherwise he would not forego his dues from the pilgrims. Such was his speech, as if God’s Haram were an heirloom in his hands and lawfully his to let to the pilgrims. Glory to God who alerts and changes laws.

That which Saladin had substituted for the pilgrim’s customs dues was two thousand Dinar’s and two thousand irdabb of wheat, which is about eight hundred qafiz in our Seville measure, and this was exclusive of the land-rents granted to them by this ordinance in Upper Egypt and in Yemen. And but for the absence of this just Sultan, Saladin, at the wars against the Franks in Syria, These actions of the Emir against the pilgrims would never have occurred.

The land of God [ie Islamic Lands] that most deserve to be purified by the sword, and cleansed of their sins and impurities by blood shed in holy war are these Hejaz lands, for what they are about loosening the ties of Islam, and dispossessing the pilgrims of their property and shedding their blood. Those of the Andalusian jurisprudents who believe that the pilgrims should be absolved from this religion obligation believe rightly for that reason, and for the way, unpleasing to Great and Glorious God, in which the pilgrims are used. The traveller by this way faces danger and oppression. Far otherwise has God Decreed the sharing in that place of his indulgence.

How can it be that the House of God should now be in the hands of people who use it as an unlawful source of livelihood, making it a means of illicitly claiming and seizing property, and detaining the pilgrims on its account, thus brining them humbleness and abject poverty. May God soon correct and purify this place by relieving the Muslims of these Destructive schismatics with the swords of the Almohades, the defenders of the Faith, God’s confederates, possessing righteousness and truth, the protectors of the Haram of Great and Glorious God, the abstainers from what is unlawful, the zealous raisers of His name, the proclaimers of his message and the upholders of his creed. Truly he can do as he wishes. He is the best of Protectors, the best of Helpers.

Let it be absolutely certain and beyond doubt established that there is no Islam save in the Maghrib Lands. There they follow the clear path that has no separation and the like, such as there are in these eastern land of sects and heretical groups and schisms, save those of whom them whom Great and Glorious God has preserved from this. There is no justice, right, or religion in his sight except with the Almohades- may God render them powerful. They are the last just imams of this time, all the other Kings of the day follow another path, taking tithes from the Muslim merchants as if they were the community of the dhimmah, seizing their goods by every trick and pretext, and following a course of oppression the like of which, oh my God, has never been heard of. All of them, that is, except this just Sultan, Saladin, whom we have mentioned for his conduct and virtues. If he had but a helper in the cause of righteousness of what I desire. May Great and Glorious God mend the affairs of the Muslims with his beneficent attention and kind works.

The month of Jumada ‘l-Ula [579]
22nd Aug-20th Sep 1183.
[at a khutbah in Mecca]

After the Khatib finished his khutbah he sends prayer on the prophet (sallahllahu alaihi wa sallam] and his family,(ibn Jubayr’s account continues here) then for the Abbasid Caliph Abu ‘l’-Abbas Ahmad al-Nasir, then for the Emir of Mecca, Mukhtir Ibn Isa…Ibn Abi Hashim al Hasani, then for Salah al-Din [Saladin] Aby ‘l-Muzaffar Yssuf ibn Ayyub and his heir and brother Abu Bakr ibn Ayyub. At the mention in the prayers of Saladin, from sides tongues quivered (in emotion) as they cried ‘Amen’ to that.
‘If God to his servant one day gives love, He gives it him in love of all mankind’ [in other words mankind loves him]

[The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said : "If Allah has loved a servant [of His] He calls Gabriel (on whom be peace) and says: I love So-and-so, therefore love him. He (the Prophet peace be upon him) said: So Gabriel loves him. Then he (Gabriel) calls out in heaven, saying: Allah loves So-and-so, therefore love him. And the inhabitants of heaven love him. He (the Prophet peace be upon him) said: Then acceptance is established for him on earth (muslim) ]

And right it is they should, for goodly care and Kind attention he has lavished on them, and for his raising of the customs tax from off them.
We learnt at this time a letter had come from him to the Emir Mukhtir, the most important chapter of which was the commendation regarding the care of the pilgrims, with the insistence on beneficence and kindness being shown towards them, and the raising of the hand which bore upon them, and giving of orders to this effect to the servants, the men of the following, and officers of the army. ‘We and you’ said the Sultan, ‘are charged with the well-being of the pilgrims. Reflect upon this noble task and generous aim. The benefits of God are two-fold for him who benefits his servants, and his bounteous care reaches him who exerts his care for them,’ Great and Glorious God is the guarantor for the reward of those who do good. For he directs all these things. There is no lord but him.

The Month of Safar [580]
14th May-11th June 1184
Leaving Baghdad.

(pg 240)
Our departure from Baghdad to Mosul took place after the afternoon prayers of Monday 28th of May. Our stay in Baghdad had been thirteen days. We were in the company of two princesses, the princess daughter of Mas’ud [Sultan of Iconium] and the princess mother of Muizz al Din, lord of Mosul. With them were the pilgrims of Syria, of Mosul, and of the Persian lands adjoining Darb which are subject to Emir Mas’ud, farther of one of the two princesses….The kingdom of her farther extends about four months journey. The ruler of Constantinople pays him tribute. He rules his subjects with admirable equity, and (against the Christians) wages Holy war unceasingly and in a manner most Laudable. One of the pilgrims from our country told us that in this present year of 580 he had conquered about twenty five Byzantine cities. His name is Izz al-Din, but his fathers name was Mas’ud, and he himself is more commonly known by this name, which is hereditary in that dynasty, going from farther to son. One of the glories of this princess, who is named Saljuqah, is that Saladin conquered Amid, the city of her husband Nur al-Din and one of the Biggest in the world, but left the city to her in honour of her father and gave her the keys. Because of this, her husband remained King.

The month of Jumada ‘l-Ula (580)
[10th Aug-8th Sep 1184]

One of the astonishing things that is Talked of is That Though the fires of discord burn between the two parties, Muslims and Christians, Two armies of them may meet and dispose themselves in battle array, and yet Muslim and Christian travellers will come and go between them without interference. In this connection we saw at this time, that is the month of Jumada ‘l-Ula, the departure of Saladin with all the Muslims troops to lay siege to the fortress of Kerak, one of the greatest of the Christian strongholds lying astride the Hejaz road and hindering the overland passage of the Muslims. Between it and Jerusalem lies a days journey or a little more. It occupies the choicest part of the land in Palestine, and has a very wide dominion with continuous settlements, it being said that the number of villages reaches four hundred. This Sultan invested it and put it to sore straits, and long the siege lasted, but still the caravans passed successively from Egypt to Damascus, going through the lands of the Franks without impediment from them. In the same way the Muslims continuously journeyed from Damascus to Acre (through Frankish territory), and likewise not one of the Christian merchants was stopped or himdered (in Muslim Territories).

The Christians Impose a tax on the Muslims in their land which gives them full security; and likewise the Christian merchants pay a tax upon their goods in Muslim lands. Agreement exists between them, and there is equal treatment in all cases. The soldiers engage themselves in their war , while the people are at peace and the world goes to him who conquers. Such is the usage in war of the people of these lands; and in the dispute existing between Muslim Emir and their Kings it is the same, the subjects and the merchants interfering not. The state of these countries in this regard is truly more astonishing than our story can fully convey. May God by His favour exalt the word of Islam.

[A side note, the expedition against Kerak was unsuccessful, the burning of Nablus on Saladin’s way back was the last engagement in Palestine for some years. His next campaign led, in AD 1187, to the capture of Jerusalem.]

(pg 311) We have also spoken, in another place in this journal, of the righteous path of the sultan of these lands, Salah al-Din [Saladin] Abu ‘l-Muzaffar Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, of his memorable deeds in affairs of the world and religion, and of his zeal in waging holy war against the enemies of God. Because north of this land there is none belonging to Islam, most of Syria Being in the hands of the franks, God in his mercy gave the Muslims here this Sultan, who never retires to a place of rest, not long abides at ease, nor ceases to make his saddle his council-chamber. We have been staying in this city for two months, yet when we alighted at it he had already gone forth to the siege of the fortress of kerak, of which also we have made mention, and he still invests it-may God most high assist him to conquer it.

We listened to one of the jurisprudents and leading men of Damascus, who acknowledged the righteousness of this Sultan and who attended his audiences. He spoke of him in the presence of a gathering of learned men and jurisprudents, describing three acts of virtue in three stories, and we have seen fit to record them here. One concerns the magnanimity of his disposition. He had just forgiven the crime of someone who had offended against him and said, ‘For my part, I would rather miss the mark in being merciful than strike home in (deserved) punishment’. Here is the forbearance that was the aim of Ahnaf.

Again at a symposium of poetry held in his presence, where the bounty and excellencies of ancient kings were talked of, he declared: ‘By Allah, did I give the world to him who came to me in hope, I would not deem it too much; and if I emptied to him all that is in my treasure, it would not console him for the hot blush on his cheeck as he asked of me.’ Here indeed was the way of al-Rashid or of Ja’far in generosity. In another instance, a favourite and much-liked slave appealed to him against a cameleer, complaining that the man had sold him an unsound camel, or had restored to him a camel with an unsoundness that had not been there before. The Sultan answered, “What can I do for you? The Muslims have a qadi who decides between the; over both the chief men and the people the justice of our laws extends, and its injunctions and interdicts we must alike obey. I am but the servant of the law and its Shihnah’, which is the word for the chief of police, ‘and justice will decide for you or against you.’ In this settlement we see the manner that was Umar’s. these stories are enough to shed glory on the Sultan. May God, by His favour, grant that Islam and the Muslims May long enjoy his preservation to them.

Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (3 of 7), Read 18 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  Rami 
Date:  Monday, February 21, 2005 09:04 PM 

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

Saladin (Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub) and his Cairo
by Ismail Abaza

Saladin (1138-1193) was born into a prominent Kurdish family, and it is said that on the night of his birth, his father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, gathered his family and moved to Aleppo. There, his father entering the service of 'Imad ad-Din Zangi ibn Aq Sonqur, the powerful Turkish governor in northern Syria. Growing up in Ba'lbek and Damascus, Saladin was apparently an undistinguished youth, with a greater taste for religious studies than military training. There appears to have been few if any depictions of Saladin, but apparently tradition holds that he was a short man with a neat beard and even somewhat frail.

His formal career began when he joined the staff of his uncle Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, an important military commander under Nur al-Din. Nur al-Din, the ruler of Damascus and Aleppo, succeeded his father, Zengi, after that ruler's death, engaged in a race with the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem to take over Egypt. During three military expeditions led by Shirkuh into Egypt to prevent its falling to the Latin-Christian (Frankish) rulers of the states established by the First Crusade, a complex, three-way struggle developed between Amalric I, the Latin king of Jerusalem, Shawar, the powerful vizier of the Egyptian Fatimid caliph, and Shirkuh.

In the last of these military expeditions, together with his uncle, Saladin approached the walls of Cairo on January 2, 1169 at which point the Franks, who had the city of Cairo under siege, retreated. Six days later, after allowing the Franks to evacuate unopposed, his troops reached the walls themselves. Thereafter, Saladin lured the rather untrustworthy Shawar into an ambush on January 18th, killing him. His uncle, Shirkuh then became vizier. However, he also died unexpectedly on the 23rd of March.

Subsequently, Saladin became vizier to the last Fatimid caliph (who died in 1171), earning him the title al-Malik al-Nasir ('the prince defender'), and therefore his relations and successors were all given this title. It took Saladin, or more properly, Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (meaning Righteousness of Faith, Joseph, Son of Job), only a few more years to became the sole master of Cairo and the first Ayyubid sultan of Egypt in 1174. The Fatimid caliph's death on September 12th of 1171 left the reins of power in Saladin's hands, under the suzerainty of Nur al-Din. The situation could not have lasted indefinitely, but the death of Nur al-Din on May 15, 1174 allowed Saladin, as the sole ruler of Egypt, to assert his right to the throne. Saladin soon moved out of Egypt and occupied Damascus and other Syrian towns, though Egypt continued to be a base of his operations.

Saladin claimed legitimacy not from his lineage, but from his upholding of Sunni orthodoxy. The Fatimids had failed, despite their long rule, to impart their faith to the mass of the Egyptian population, and Saladin and his successors addressed the task of making Egypt once more a center of orthodox belief.

Saladin, like the great Amr Ibn el 'As, is a romantic historical figure in whom it is difficult to find much fault. In fact, some of his most ardent admirers have often been his Christian biographers. They, as much as the Arabs, have made a myth of him, and what always attracted Europeans to Saladin was his almost perfect sense of cultured chivalry. It is said that the crusader knights learned a great deal about chivalry from him. For example, when the Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099 they murdered virtually all of its inhabitants, boasting that parts of the city were knee-high in blood. When Saladin re-took the city in 1187, he spared his victims, giving them time to leave and safe passage. It was, after all, a holy city, and it was captured by the Muslims in a 'just war'.

In fact, despite his fierce opposition to the Christian powers, Saladin achieved a great reputation in Europe as a chivalrous knight, so much so that there existed by the 14th century an epic poem about his exploits, and Dante included him among the virtuous pagan souls in Limbo. His relationship with King Richard I of England, who managed to repel him in battle in 1191, was one of mutual respect as well as military rivalry. When Richard was wounded, Saladin even offered the services of his personal physician.

Trade and commerce was essentially built into the Muslim faith and Mohammed himself had laid down the religious rules for honorable behavior because caravan trade and business demanded a particular kind of trust in the words of others. Thus, it is said that Largesse was an essential part of Saladin's faith.

Saladin brought an entirely different concept of a city to Cairo after the Fatimids, because he wanted a unified, thriving, fortified place, protected by strong walls and impregnable defenses, but functioning internally with a great deal of commercial and cultural freedom, and with no private or royal enclaves and no fabulous palaces. He wanted a city that belonged to it's inhabitants even though he would be it's absolute ruler.

Many historians have attributed Saladin's plan for Cairo to purely local or military considerations, but Saladin had what would now be called a world view. He was, in fact, trying to defend a whole culture as well as it's territory, an ideology as well as a religion. He looked on Egypt as a source of revenue for his wars against Christian and European encroachments, and against the dissident Muslim sects who divided Islam at this time. Apparently, he wanted Cairo to be the organizing center for an orthodox cultural and ideological revival, as well as a collecting house for the vast wealth he needed for his defense against the crusades.

Though he began his career in Egypt under the Fatimids, he sought to re-educate Egypt in orthodoxy (Sunni faith) rather than simply crush his rival Muslims with the sword, which he did only when necessary (though he did lock up or execute the entire Fatimid court). In fact, while his most famous creation in Cairo today may be the military fortress known as the Citadel, his greatest architectural contribution to Cairo was probably the madrasa, a college-mosque where the interpretive ideology of the religion and Islamic law could be taught once more instead of Shi'a dogma. To this end, he imported Sunni professors from the East to staff his new schools. In eleven years, he built five such colleges as well as a mosque. However, they taught more than religion, with studies in administration, mathematics, geodesy, physics and medicine.

One of the schools that he built was near the grave of the Imam el Shafi'i, the founder of one of the four main rites of the orthodox Sunni sect, and the school to which many Egyptians still belong and to which Saladin himself was a member. This was in the southern cemetery known as Khalifa.

But, of course, Saladin did think of the city's defenses. Even though he opened up the royal city, he still had to have a genuine fortress that would be invulnerable to any kind of military attack. Thus, between 1176 and 1177, he began to build the Citadel, today, one of Cairo's most famous monuments. He also needed a center of absolute authority within the city, and this need would also be met.

Saladin's imprint on Cairo is still very visible today. Above all, he wanted to enclose the whole of it, including the ruins of Fustat-Misr with a formidable wall, and he began with Badr's wall to the north and extended it west to the Nile and the port of al Maks. On the east, under the Mukattam Hills, he carried Badr's walls south to his Citadel, which was built two hundred and fifty feet above the city on its own hill.

Regrettably, however, though he may have shaped Cairo, little of his building work remains. None of his religious monuments have survived, and little of Saladin's Citadel or his city walls are left. Perhaps the most impressive work that does still remain is the original perimeter of the Citadel, especially when viewed from the rear, which makes its medieval character absolutely real. However, most of today's Citadel was not built by Saladin, and in fact most every conqueror including the British added something to it.

Perhaps one of the most regrettable losses within the Citadel that Saladin built was a hospital, who his secretary, Ibn Gubayr, described almost in terms of any good modern clinic today. He said it was a "palace goodly for its beauty and spaciousness". Saladin staffed it with doctors and druggists, and it had special rooms, beds, bedclothes, servants to look after the sick, free food and medicine, and a special ward for sick women. Nearby, he also built a separate building with barred windows for the insane, who were treated humanely and looked after by experts who tried to find out what had happened to their minds.

Saladin opened the palaces of al-Qahira (Cairo) and sold off the fabled treasure of the Fatimids, including a 2,400 carat ruby, and an emerald four fingers in length and the caliph's splendid library, to pay his Turkish troops. He replaced the Fatimid's elaborate bureaucracy with a feudal system that gave his military officers direct control over all Egypt's rich agricultural lands, an act that has been blamed for a very sever famine which occurred during his successor's reign.

Such wealth enabled Saldin to stride from success to success in Palestine. At the Battle of Hattin (where he captured Jerusalem) in 1187, he dealt the Crusader kingdoms a blow from which they never recovered. Thousands of Christian prisoners were marched the 400 miles back to Cairo, where they were forced to work extending the city's fortifications and building the Citadel.

Saladin left Cairo in 1182 to fight the crusaders in Syria, and he never returned. By the time he died in Damascus in 1193, he had liberated almost all of Palestine from the armies of England, France, Burgandy, Flanders, Sicily, Austria and, in effect, from the world power of the Pope, as well as establishing his own family in Cairo. In his battles against these European crusaders, he often had the aid of eastern Christians, who were as much the victims of the western armies as anybody else in the eastern lands. The Proud Georgians, for instance, preferred Saladin to the Pope, and so did the Copts of Egypt.

In the end, Saladin was succeeded by his brother al Adil, but the groundwork of the city of Cairo was now developed and it would struggle on often through the reigns of cruel, arbitrary, intelligent, cultured, brutal, artistic rulers with a populace who lived a very full and risky life of hard work, trade, gaiety, terrible suffering, calamity, patience and extraordinary passions who somehow managed to break the confines of the religion and the harsh authority which governed their lives in future years.

A timeline of Saladin's Life:

* 1138: Born in Tikrit in Iraq as the son of the Kurdish chief Najm ad-Din Ayyub.
* 1152: Starts to work in the service of the Syrian ruler, Nur al-Din.
* 1164: He starts to show his military abilities in three campaigns against the Crusaders who were established in Palestine.
* 1169: Serves as second to the commander in chief of the Syrian army, his uncle Shirkuh.
* 1171: Saladin suppresses the Fatimid rulers of Egypt in 1171, whereupon he unites Egypt with the Abbasid Caliphate.
* 1174: Nur al-Din. dies, and Saladin uses the opportunity to extend his power base, conquering Damascus.
* 1175: The Syrian Assassin leader Rashideddin's men make two attempts on the life of Saladin. The second time, the Assassin came so close that wounds were inflicted upon Saladin.
* 1176: Saladin besieges the fortress of Masyaf, the stronghold of Rashideddin. After some weeks, Saladin suddenly withdraws, and leaves the Assassins in peace for the rest of his life. It is believed that he was exposed to a threat of having his entire family murdered.
* 1183: Conquers the important north-Syrian city of Aleppo.
* 1186: Conquers Mosul in northern Iraq.
* 1187: With his new strength he attacks the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and after three months of fighting gains control over the city.
* 1189: A third Crusade manages to enlarge the coastal area of Palestine, while Jerusalem remains under Saladin's control.
* 1192: With The Peace of Ramla armistice agreement with King Richard 1 of England, the whole coast was defined as Christian land, while the city of Jerusalem remained under Muslim control.
* 1193 March 4: Dies in Damascus after a short illness.



Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (4 of 7), Read 18 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  Rami 
Date:  Monday, February 21, 2005 09:04 PM 

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum:
The Capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, 1187

[Adapted from Brundage] The Battle of Hattin decimated the knights and soldiers of the Latin states. The remnants of the fighting forces of the Kingdom sought refuge in the fortified coastal cities and especially at Tyre. Through the months of July and August, Saladin successively occupied the remaining towns, cities, and castles of the Holy Land. His initial attack upon Tyre failed, however, and the city was by­passed. Late in September Saladin's armies camped before the Holy City itself.

The Holy City of Jerusalem was besieged on September 20. It was surrounded on every side by unbelievers, who shot arrows everywhere into the air. They were accompanied by frightening armaments and, with a great clamor of trumpets, they shrieked and wailed, "Hai, hai." The city was aroused by the noise and tumult of the barbarians and, for a time, they all cried out: "True and Holy Cross! Sepulchre of Jesus Christ's resurrection! Save the city of Jerusalem and its dwellers!"

The battle was then joined and both sides began courageously to fight. But since so much unhappiness was produced through sorrow and sadness, we shall not enumerate all the Turkish attacks and assemblies, by which, for two weeks, the Christians were worn down.... During this time it seemed that God had charge over the city, for who can say why one man who was hit died, while another wounded man escaped? Arrows fell like raindrops, so that one could not show a finger above the ramparts without being hit. There were so many wounded that all the hospitals and physicians in the city were hard put to it just to extract the missiles from their bodies. I myself was wounded in the face by an arrow which struck the bridge of my nose. The wooden shaft has been taken out, but the metal tip has remained there to this day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem fought courageously enough for a week, while the enemy settled down opposite the tower of David.

Saladin saw that he was making no progress and that as things were going he could do no damage to the city. Accordingly, he and his aides began to circle around the city and to examine the city's weak points, in search of a place where he could set up his engines without fear of the Christians and where he could more easily attack the town.... At dawn on a certain day [Sept 26] the King of Egypt (that is, Saladin) ordered the camp to be moved without any tumult or commotion. He ordered the tents to be pitched in the Vale of Jehosephat, on the Mount of Olives, and on Mount joy, and throughout the hills in that region. When morning had come the men of Jerusalem lifted up their eyes and, when the darkness of the clouds had gone, they saw that the Saracens were pulling up their tents as if they were going to leave. The inhabitants of Jerusalem rejoiced greatly and said: "The King of Syria has fled, because he could not destroy the city as be had planned." When the turn of the matter was known, however, this rejoicing was quickly turned into grief and lamentation.

The tyrant[Saladin] at once ordered the engines to be constructed and balistas to be put up. He likewise ordered olive branches and branches of other trees to be collected and piled between the city and the engines. That evening he ordered the army to take up arms and the engineers to proceed with their iron tools, so that before the Christians could do anything about it, they would all be prepared at the foot of the walls. The cruelest of tyrants also arrayed up to ten thousand armed knights with bows and lances on horseback, so that if the men of the city attempted a foray they would be blocked. He stationed another ten thousand or more men armed to the teeth with bows for shooting arrows, under cover of shields and targets. He kept the rest with himself and his lieutenants around the engines.

When everything was arranged in this fashion, at daybreak they began to break down the comer of the tower and to attack all around the walls. The archers began shooting arrows and those who were at the engines began to fire rocks in earnest.

The men of the city expected nothing of the sort and left the city walls without guard. Tired and worn out, they slept until morning, for unless the Lord watch the city, he labors in vain who guards it. When the sun had risen, those who were sleep ing in the towers were startled by the noise of the barbarians. When they saw these things they were terrified and overcome with fear. Like madmen they yelled out through the city: "Hurry, men of Jerusalem! Hasten! Help! The walls have already been breached! The foreigners are entering!" Aroused, they hastened through the city as bravely as they could, but they were power less to repulse the Damascenes from the walls, either with spears, lances, arrows, stones, or with molten lead and bronze.

The Turks unceasingly hurled rocks forcefully against the ramparts. Between the walls and the outer defenses they threw rocks and the so­called Greek fire, which bums wood, stone, and whatever it touches. Everywhere the archers shot arrows without measure and without ceasing, while the others were boldly smashing the walls.

The men of Jerusalem, meanwhile, were taking counsel. They decided that everyone, with such horses and arms as could be mustered, should leave the city and march steadily through the gate which leads to Jehosephat. Thus, if God allowed it, they would push the enemy back a bit from the walls. They were foiled, however, by the Turkish horsemen and were woefully defeated….

The Chaldeans [Saladin and his army] fought the battle fiercely for a few days and triumphed. The Christians were failing so by this time that scarcely twenty or thirty men appeared to defend the city walls. No man could be found in the whole city who was brave enough to dare keep watch at the defences for a night, even for a fee of a hundred besants .With my own ears I heard the voice of a public crier between the great wall and the outer works proclaiming (on behalf of the lord Patriarch and the other great men of the city) that if fifty strong and brave sergeants could be found who would take up arms voluntarily and keep guard during the night over the comer which had already been destroyed, they would receive five thousand besants. They were not found....

Meanwhile, they sent legates to the King of Syria, begging him to temper his anger toward them and accept them as allies, as he had done for others. He refused and is reported to have given this reply: "I have frequently heard from our wise men, the fakih,[from al-Fakih - a wise man] that Jerusalem cannot be cleansed, save by Christian blood, and I wish to take counsel with them on this point." Thus, uncertain, they returned. They sent others, Balian and Ranier of Naples"' and Thomas Patrick, offering a hundred thousand besants. Saladin would not receive them and, their hopes shattered, they returned. They sent them back again with others, demanding that Saladin himself say what kind of agreement he wanted. If possible they would comply; if not, they would hold out to the death.

Saladin had taken counsel and laid down these ransom terms for the inhabitants of Jerusalem: each male, ten years old and over, was to pay ten besants for his ransom; females, five besants; boys, seven years old and under, one. Those who wished would be freed on these terms and could leave securely with their possessions. The inhabitants of Jerusalem who would not accept these terms, or those who did not have ten besants, were to become booty, to be slain by the army's swords. This agreement pleased the lord Patriarch and the others who had money ....

On Friday, October 2, this agreement was read out through the streets of Jerusalem, so that everyone might within forty days provide for himself and pay to Saladin the tribute as aforesaid for his freedom. When they heard these arrangements, the crowds throughout the city wailed in sorrowful tones: "Woe, woe to us miserable people! We have no gold! What are we to do? . . ." Who would ever have thought that such wickedness would be perpetrated by Christians? .

But, alas, by the hands of wicked Christians Jerusalem was turned over to the wicked. The gates were closed and guards were posted. The fakihs and kadis, [judges] the ministers of the wicked error, who are considered bishops and priests by the Saracens came for prayer and religious purposes first to the Temple of the Lord, which they call Beithhalla and in which they have great faith for salvation. They believed they were cleansing it and with unclean and horrible bellows they defiled the Temple by shouting with polluted lips the Muslim precept: "Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar! . . ." [God is Great]

Our people held the city of Jerusalem for some eighty-nine years. . . . Within a short time, Saladin had conquered almost the whole Kingdom of Jerusalem. He exalted the grandeur of Mohammed's law and showed that, in the event, its might exceeded that of the Christian religion.

Source: De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum, [The Capture of the Holy Land by Saladin], ed. Joseph Stevenson, Rolls Series, (London: Longmans, 1875), translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 159-63


Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (5 of 7), Read 18 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  Rami 
Date:  Monday, February 21, 2005 09:05 PM 

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

The Magnanimity of Salah al Din by Saira W. Soufan

Upon the capture of Jerusalem from the Crusaders descendants, the Latins, who
were in control of Jerusalem, Salah al Din al Ayyubi treated the citizens of Jerusalem with respect and dignity greater than was expected for in those times.

When the Crusaders had advanced upon the walled city in 1099, rape, pillage, and
murder were commonplace. Richard the Lionhearted, the head of the Crusaders army, received his nickname for the wholehearted aggressive tactics he employed during the capture of the Islamic held areas during the infamous Crusades. Jews & Muslims were not able to live within Jerusalem at that time. Men and old people were executed, women raped or dispelled from the city.

On the contrary, Salah al Din al Ayyubi displayed great magnanimity.
During the first few days of Salah al Din’s capture of Jerusalem an account by Ernoul the squire of Balian of Ibelin, the Latin leader who negotiated the surrender of Jerusalem to Salah al Din. The leaders of Jerusalem, including the Patriarch Heraclius and Balian of Ibelin, discussed their military options after realizing they could no longer hold the city against Salah al Din’s attack in 1187 a.D. The citizens and army sergeants of Jerusalem put forth a proposal to launch a massive attack on the opposing forces thereby ‘dying honorably in defense of the city.’ The patriarch rejected this proposal claiming that if all the men died, the women and children would be left and most certainly converted to Islam by the Muslim forces. Patriarch Heraclius advised that the city should be surrendered then the Latins would later seek help from Europe in order to dispel the Muslims. They then dispatched Balian to negotiate with Salah al Din. During the talks, Salah al Din’s army had already managed to raise a their flag on the main wall of the city. “Why are you surrendering? We have already captured it,” asked Salah al Din of Balian. However, the Latin forces regrouped and succeeded in driving the Muslim forces away from the sector they had just occupied. Salah al Din was so angered by this that he refused to settle with Balian and instead asked him to return the following day. Fear gripped the population of the city when Balian returned without a truce. The citizens, then crowded into churches to pray and confess their sins, beating themselves with stones, begging for God’s mercy.

Balian again approached Salah al Din and asked for a general amnesty in return for the surrender, but was again refused. Balian then threatened that the Latins would fight to the death, burn their houses, destroy the Dome of the Rock, uproot the Rock, and kill all of the thousands of Muslim religious prisoners, (also killing the women and children of the prisoners). Salah al Din then met with his commanders and told them that this was the moment to capture the city without further bloodshed. An agreement was reached between Salah al Din and the Latins according to which they were granted safe conduct to leave the city, provided that each paid a departure tax. All those who paid their tax within forty days were allowed to leave the city.

The city was finally surrendered on Friday October 1187 a.d. which was also the
anniversary of al-Mi’raj the 27th of Rajab. Salah al Din immediately released all of the religious prisoners who numbered close to 3,000. The Latins meanwhile began to prepare for their departure and sell property and possessions to native Christians and merchants in Salah al Din’s army. The church elders, led by the Patriarch Heraclius, proceeded to strip the gold, silver, and treasures from their churches. Imad al Din reported to Salah al Din that the amount of treasure carried away by the departing Latins valued at 200,000 dinars and that the safe conduct agreement was for themselves and their own property, not that of the churches. Salah al Din replied, ”If we interpret the treaty (now) against their interest, they will accuse us of treachery, as though they are unaware of the real meaning of the treaty. Let us deal with them according to the wording of the treaty so they may not accuse the believers of breaking the covenant. Instead, they will talk of the favors that we have
bestowed upon them.” Some of the grand masters of the sects, Templar and Hospitaller, refused to contribute towards the taxes of some of their older and poorer parishioners.

Salah al Din sent his guard throughout the city to announce that all old people who could not afford to pay the tax would be able to leave without incident. He then proceeded to release thousands of slaves at the requests of the patriarch, Balian and his own brother, Al Malik al Adil. Salah al Din also allowed many common and noble women to leave without payment; amongst them were Queen Sibyl & her entourage, the widow of Renaud of Chatillon, a Byzantine princess living a monastic life in Jerusalem. Salah al Din then proceeded to release 1,500 Armenians, also without paying tax.

During the departure of the refugees, Salah al Din assigned each group 50 of his
officers to ensure their safe arrival in territories held by Christians. One eye witness gave the officers credit for their humane treatment of the refugees, noting that these officers, “who could not endure the suffering of the refugees, ordered their squires to dismount and set older Christians upon their steeds. Some of the officers even carried Christian children in their arms (during the journey).”

During the whole takeover of the holy city, rape, pillage, torture, and unjust treatments were outlawed and not allowed by Salah al Din as he claimed this was un-Islamic and not seemly behavior from Muslims, war or not. Religious freedom was tolerated, enabling Christians, Muslims, and Jews to live side by side under the rule of Salah al Din, until the British incited revolt in 1916.


Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (6 of 7), Read 18 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  Rami 
Date:  Monday, February 21, 2005 09:07 PM 

Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

more information can be found at the following ality
/Islam/History/Dynasties_and_Empires/Ayyubid/Ibn_Ayyub,_Sala h_al_Din_Yusuf/

Post the above URL as one url with no spaces.


Topic:  Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (7 of 7), Read 17 times 
Conf:  Islam: Qur'an and Sunnah 
From:  DavidC 
Date:  Tuesday, February 22, 2005 01:53 AM 

Thanks Rami. That was fascinating.


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