A great strategist, Saladin, the great defender of Islam

2023-10-21 16:57:55Histori SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

Born in Tikrit, Mesopotamia, Saladin was of Kurdish origin. He grew up near Damascus during the time of the Second Crusade. Saladin's formative years occurred during the chaos between the two main religious groups, the Sunnis and the Shiites, and where Christian leaders often made alliances with Muslim groups to fight the Muslims.

Influential relatives

Shirkuh, Saladin's uncle, was the military commander of the powerful Turkish warlord Nur ad-Din, who fought the Franks (Germanic tribes) and European Christian crusaders. Shirkuh became the ruler of Egypt in 1169 and gradually paved the way for Saladin as the first Sultan of Egypt.

Saladin united the Muslim world

After becoming Sultan of Egypt, after conquering Damascus in 1174, Saladin aimed to defeat the Muslim Oghuz dynasty of Turkic origin, known as the Zengids, who ruled Upper Mesopotamia. Their army was routed at the Battle of Hama by Saladin's personal guard. After the victory, Saladin was declared the protector of the Sunnis and gained power thanks to the Caliph of Baghdad, who recognized him as the governor of Yemen, Egypt and Syria.

Unique leadership in medieval times

Saladin gained a reputation for civil and fair conduct. He focused on doing justice, showing generosity in thought and deed. Saladin's reputation as a defender of Islam against Christian invaders is largely attributed to defeating the 3rd Crusade, led by Richard the Lionheart of England and two other European kings. Saladin recaptured Jerusalem without brutal sadism or acts of revenge.

Diplomacy and generosity

One of Saladin's strengths throughout his career was that he was a good administrator. He surrounded himself with a strong group of people, who were skilled in propaganda and conveying his message. Saladin kept the family together, unlike many who often fought among themselves for power. Saladin was generous and rewarded others for loyalty, which enabled him to trust the relatives he placed in power.

Saladin and Richard the Lionheart: Admired Enemies

It was Saladin who destroyed Richard's Christian power at the Battle of Hattin in 1187. The English king was forced to abandon his crusade without taking Jerusalem. Even while fighting King Richard, Saladin is said to have sent his captains cold wine, pears, and grapes from Damascus, as well as a physician to relieve their hardships in the camp. Saladin is even said to have sent King Richard a horse when Richard's horse was killed in battle.

Battles of Jerusalem and Hattin

On July 4, 1187, Saladin brought about 20,000 troops to the Battle of Hattin (near Tiberias in present-day Israel) and faced the Franks commanded by Guy of Lusignan, one of the Knights Templar and King of Jerusalem. The Templars had 1,300 cavalry and 1,500 infantry. Saladin captured Jerusalem for Islam in September 1187. Some knights were rewarded, while others were executed. Christians on the east side of the city were allowed to stay although most churches were converted into mosques.

Last Days: Legacy and Mythology

In the last six years of his life, Saladin suffered from diseases such as infections and boils on his body. Like King Richard, an equally ill man who returned to England after losing Jerusalem, the exhausted Saladin gave up the fight against his archenemy. After his death, the cohesion that had existed during his rule broke down, prompting a resumption of fighting among Saladin's many sons. Saladin's reputation survived the centuries and by the 16th century, he was seen as a great Muslim leader. / bota.al