A Muslim of Kurdish origin, Saladin led the Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen and other parts of North Africa.
His father, who worked for the Seljuk governor, decided to raise him in Syria where he received his education. Another influential figure in his life was his uncle Shirkuh who was a military leader and later commanded for Saladin during the wars. The Muslim world consider him a hero for defeating the Crusaders over 20 years of battles and capturing their capital, Jerusalem. The Crusades were a series of battles between Christian Europe and Islamic Middle East over holy land in what is now known as Palestine. Saladin’s army protected Egypt from the Crusaders in 1168.
The ruler of the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt made him Vizier, meaning prime minister, even though he was not a Shia. Just before the Caliph died, Saladin was crowned Sultan of Egypt and Syria. His greatest victory was at the Horns of Hattin in July 1187 AD, after which Jerusalem fell to the Muslim army (October 1187) and was never again recovered by the Crusaders. He is also remembered for his series of battles and wins and losses against King Richard I of England. These were inconclusive and in the end resulted in a moral victory for Sultan Salah ad-Din, when Richard's Crusade failed and returned to Europe.
He founded the Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt, Syria, Yemen (except for the Northern Mountains), Iraq, Mecca Hejaz and Diyarbakır. Salah ad-Din is a title which translates to The Righteousness of the Faith from Arabic.
Many books were written about Saladin, the things he did and the battles he won. Daastaan Imaan Farooshoon Ki is one book in Urdu written by Althamash that says very good things about Saladin and compares and contrasts him to other kings and princes, in a favourable light.
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- Sultan is an Arabic word from old Assyrian means power, rule, government, later as a kings title.
- A number of contemporary sources make note of this. The biographer Ibn Khallikan writes, "Historians agree in stating that [Saladin's] father and family belonged to Duwin [Dvin]. ... They were Kurds and belonged to the Rawādiya (sic), which is a branch of the great tribe al-Hadāniya": Minorsky (1953), p. 124. The medieval historian Ibn Athir, who is a Kurd and therefore his credibility is questionable, relates a passage from another commander: "... both you and Saladin are Kurds and you will not let power pass into the hands of the Turks": Minorsky (1953), p. 138.
- Humphreys, R. Stephen (1977). From Saladin to the Mongols: The Ayyubids of Damascus, 1193–1260. State University of New York Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-87395-263-4.
Among the free-born amirs the Kurds would seem the most dependent on Saladin's success for the progress of their own fortunes. He too was a Kurd, after all ...
- Encyclopedia of World Biography on Saladin. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
- "Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
- Giacumakis, George , Jr. "Saladin." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013
- Philip K Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1949 ed, pp.650-651