“I am Saladin. When I’m not King, I quake for Islam.”
“Ask anyone in the Eastern Mediterranean to name their greatest hero of all time, the answer is without a pause is certainly Saladin.” – John Man, The Life of Legend
Salahaddin Eyyubi, popularly known in the West as Saladin, was a courageous and brilliant Muslim leader during the 12th century. His firm foundation in the religion and its prime values, leading to his commitment to the Islamic cause, enabled him to accomplish great things.
His Eyyubid Empire united dynasty of Egypt and Syria. Above all, he played an instrumental role in turning the tide against the Crusaders by successfully reclaiming Jerusalem and earned a name for himself in the annals of both Muslim and Western history.
Known as Saladin in the West, Salah al Din al Ayubi was born in 1138 in Tikrit. Saladin, a Kurdish warrior, became the Sultan of Egypt and known as a champion of Islam. Salah al Din became a legend in the East and West for his role in clearing the Crusaders from Jerusalem. His capture of Jerusalem, and the Muslim triumph that followed, gave him a remarkable place in the pages of history. The rise of a new, unified Islamic state centered in Egypt was accomplished by the skilled leadership of Saladin.
The First Crusade captured Jerusalem in June 1099, amid a horrible massacre of the inhabitants. In 1174, Saladin began his expansion of his territory. In just twelve years he conquered Damascus, Alleppo, and Iraq. Saladin united the efforts of Egypt and Baghdad, and preached to the Muslim world to rise in a Jihad, a Holy War, a counter crusade, of all the Muslims against the Christians. Gathering a large force of Muslims of various groups, called Saracens by the Christians, Saladin set out to attack the Christians. Saladin attacked the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187, and after three months of fighting he gained control of the city.
When Jerusalem fell to Saladin, all of Christendom called for a new crusade. In 1189, the nations of western Europe launched the Third Crusade to win back the holy city. During the Third Crusade, led by King Richard the Lionhearted, the King arranged for supplies to be accumulated and ships used to deliver them to his troops as they marched along the coast; however, when the King finally marched inland to besiege Jerusalem, he found that Saladin had stripped the countryside of food and fodder. The wells had been poisoned and Richard realized that his army would fall apart from starvation if he tried to besiege Jerusalem. The crusaders had to settle for a treaty with Saladin that guaranteed Christian pilgrims access to the Holy Places.
The death of Saladin in 1193 led Pope Innocent III to inaugurate the Fourth Crusade, but they could not defeat the empire that Saladin had established. The Ayyubid dynasty, founded by Salah al-Din ibn Ayyub, ruled Egypt and Syria from 1169 to 1250 CE. In some regions of upper Mesopotamia and Yemen, their rule continued until the end of the 15th century.
Historical sources indicate that Hazrat Moses died on a mountain in Jerusalem by the city of Jericho. Eyyubi ruler Salahaddin Ayyubi (1138-1193) is located in the historical sources of Jerusalem, where he saw the burial place of the tomb in 1187 and then built a tomb together with the complex.
Sources: Saudi Aramco World, (January-February 2002); “Tikrit.” Global Security