Who is Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi?


The son of a well-known family, Salahuddin Ayyubi, was born in 1138 in Tikrit. Salahuddin Ayyubi’s family originates from Yemeni Arabs. This family later migrated from Basra, where they lived then, to Azerbaijan and became Kurdish under the influence of the Kurdish tribes in the region.

Later, his father, who followed the call of the Turkish sultan Nureddin Zengi, the Seljuk ancestor in Syria, migrated to Syria. This Kurdish family of Arab origin became Turkic among the Turks after settling in Damascus.

In other words, Salahuddin Ayyubi’s lineage and family are based on the Yemeni Arabs, who first became Kurdish and then Turkish. The environment in which his family lived, and the society he lived in was effective. The fact that the names of Salahuddin Ayyubi brothers are Turanşah, Tuğtekin, Böri, Şahinşah, and Adil Ebu Bekir is also an indication that the family has become Turkish.

Childhood of Salahuddin Ayyubi

Salahuddin Ayyubi, who grew up in Baalbek and Damascus, where İmadeddin Zengi appointed his father Najm al-Din Ayyub as governor, did not have a privileged childhood. He received a good education. He was more interested in religious lessons than military training. He was engaged in art and science. He learned logic, philosophy, sociology, jurisprudence, and history and graduated from Dar’ul-Hadis (Hadis University) in Damascus. He knew Arabic, Persian, Kurdish and Turkish languages.

Early Life of Salahuddin Ayyubi

At the age of twenty-six, he was taken into service to be trained by his uncle. He fought alongside the Fatimid caliph in the capture of the Banu Ruzzaiks, one of Egypt’s powerful tribes. Later, he captured the city of Bilbeis in Egypt, which was in the hands of the Crusader army.

After the capture of Bilbeis, he showed himself thanks to his successes with the cavalry units that formed the left wing of his uncle’s army against the Crusader army they encountered. At the war’s end, the crusader commander “Hugh of Caesarea” (Hugh of Caesarea) was taken prisoner while attacking Saladin’s unit.

Salahuddin Ayyubi and his uncle Shirkuh went to Alexandria at the war’s end. Here the caliph gave them money, soldiers, and a castle. The Egyptian crusaders attacking the castle managed to disperse Shirkuh’s troops, but Salahuddin Ayyubi’s troops prevented the castle from falling.

Egypt War

The Kingdom of Jerusalem, established as a result of the First Crusade, set its sights on Egypt. At that time, it was very convenient for Egypt to be taken. The internal politics of the Fatimid state in Egypt were in turmoil. When the Egyptian vizier Şaver was defeated by his rival, the other vizier Dırgam, as a result of a palace coup and became the vizier, he secretly went to Damascus to Nureddin Mahmud Zengi and asked for help (1164). Nureddin Zengi, taking this incident as an opportunity, gave a positive answer to Şaver, calculating that he could solve the duality problem in the Islamic world and unite the Muslims under one roof and become stronger in the fight against the Crusaders.

First Egypt War

Sultan Nureddin gave the task of helping Şaver in Egypt to Esedüddin Şirkuh. This task of Shirkuh; He accepted in exchange for taking his brother’s son, Salahuddin Ayyubi, with him. Salahuddin Ayyubi, on the other hand, took great pleasure in seclusion and attending scientific assemblies.

That’s why he accepted their offer to go to war with a thousand and one requests. Salahuddin Ayyubi’s military life began at this point when he entered the service of his uncle, Eseduddin Shirkuh. In the meantime, things were getting mixed up in Egypt. Şaver had succeeded in defeating his rival Dırgam, and he no longer needed support from Sultan Nureddin.

Saver, who was afraid of the intervention of the soldiers of Nureddin, asked for help from the Kingdom of Jerusalem in return for the jizya, and a Crusader army was sent to help him by sea. The Crusaders and the Egyptian army met at the junction of Africa and Asia and went on the defensive. Salahuddin Ayyubi and Shirkuh, who were very surprised by this situation, did not know what to do with their little force.

Later, Salahuddin Ayyubi took command of the army and declared the idea of ​​waiting for help from Sultan Nureddin. Behind him, he captured Belbis castle with a masterful maneuver. Sultan Nureddin, on the other hand, instead of helping Salahuddin Ayyubi and Shirkuh directly, marched to the Crusader lands and forced them to retreat.

Şaver, who despaired of his allies, was forced to make peace with the army of Şirkuh, fearing that Sultan Nureddin would attack. Salahuddin Ayyubi himself determined the terms of peace. Returning to Damascus after the peace was made, Salahuddin Ayyubi began participating in the science and wisdom conversations he regarded as his dear friend. With this expedition, Salahuddin Ayyubi showed his first skill in the military field. Previously, Salahuddin Ayyubi wanted to be a scientist; he had no intention of being a manager. Despite all the opposition of Salahuddin Ayyubi, Nureddin Mahmud wanted to take advantage of Salahuddin Ayyubi in the military field.

Second Egypt War

Sultan Nureddin understood that the conquest of Egypt would be easy from Shirkuh’s statements, so he sent Shirkuh to Egypt again. Shirkuh agreed on the condition that Salahuddin Ayyubi would come with him again. Salahuddin, who refused the request of many people, could not stand the request of Sultan Nureddin and went on a campaign.

Şaver, who heard that an army loyal to Sultan Nureddin was coming against him, asked the Crusaders for help with the promise of jizya. The Crusader army, departing from Jerusalem, met with Şaver and his army at the junction of Asia and Africa. Their total number was 30,000 fish.

There were 2,000 soldiers with Shirkuh and Salahuddin Ayyubi. Salahuddin Ayyubi took command of the army, and they crossed the Sinai Desert in a short time. They defeated their enemies, who were 15 times their own, and came to Alexandria and captured this castle. Salahuddin Ayyubi won the respect of the people of the castle in a short time.

Having received the news that Alexandria had fallen, the Egyptians and the Crusaders came out of the effect of the previous defeat and marched on Alexandria. Alexandria was a very important location and the East and West commercial center.

Shirkuh and some soldiers, holding an important position outside the city, began to wait for the help of Sultan Nureddin. Salahuddin Ayyubi and those with him set out to defend the city. Salahuddin Ayyubi successfully defended the fort for three months. However, Shirkuh, who could not find the help he hoped for because a Greek navy that came to support the Crusaders cut off the sea route, did not see it possible to save the castle, which was already suffering from a shortage of supplies, and left his position with the thought of at least bringing the soldiers of his entourage to safety and began to withdraw.

After the departure of Salahuddin Ayyubi, Shirkuh, and his soldiers, he could not find any other choice but to ask for peace. He wanted to return to Syria with his soldiers and weapons as a condition of peace. After peace, Salahuddin Ayyubi and his soldiers left the castle. The king of Jerusalem was astonished to see about 100 wounded soldiers leaving the castle while a large army awaited.

The king of Jerusalem, who was already fascinated by such heroism, hosted Salahuddin Ayyubi and his soldiers in his camp for three days. In these three days, Salahuddin Ayyubi became aware of the Christian army and the conflicts between the Christian commanders. This information would be very useful in future battles. Returning to Syria after being a guest, Salahuddin Ayyubi again devoted himself to science and wisdom conversations.

Third Egypt War

Seeing the helplessness of the Fatimid government, the king of Jerusalem, who saw the need for a declaration of war, crossed the border and came to the vicinity of Cairo. Thereupon, the Fatimid caliph, who sent letters to Sultan Nureddin, was asking for help. Sultan Nureddin accepted this demand and sent Shirkuh back to Egypt. Salahuddin Ayyubi agreed to go on the third expedition with a thousand and one requests. As was the custom, Salahuddin Ayyubi quickly destroyed all the enemy units that came across him with the vanguard forces under his command and ensured that Shirkuh and the main army would come to the vicinity of Cairo without the need for them even to draw their swords. The Crusader army, which Şaver had distracted with the jizya promise and word of mouth, broke up and fled as soon as they heard of this attack.

After the return of the king of Jerusalem, Şaver, who was dissatisfied with the presence of the commanders loyal to Sultan Nureddin, decided to organize a feast and destroy them all. Şirkuh, who learned about Şaver’s attempt, fell into great anguish. Salahuddin Ayyubi, on the other hand, preceded Şaver, organized a banquet in the desert, and invited Şaver to the banquet. Salahuddin, who went to meet Şaver, who was approaching the venue of the banquet, without hesitation from the guards beside him, grabbed Şaver by the arm and dropped him from his horse. The minions who saw the incident immediately dispersed. Fatimid caliph, already tired of Shaver’s power struggles, was waiting for an opportunity to eliminate Shaver. Hearing about this event, he had Şaver executed and brought Şirkuh to the vacant vizier office because he was afraid of Sultan Nureddin.

The Establishment of the Ayyubi Empire

In 1171, the Fatimid caliphate was ended in Egypt. Salahuddin Ayyubi, who declared his loyalty to the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, became the sole ruler of Egypt. Thus, the dualism in the Islamic world came to an end.

This event was one of the historical turning points in the unification of Muslims against the Crusaders.

Salahuddin Ayyubi remained loyal to Nureddin Mahmud Zengi throughout his life. But the situation changed when Nureddin died in 1174. Salahuddin Ayyubi married Nureddin’s widow İsmedüddin Hatun. His son İsmail, who later replaced Nureddin, did not recognize Salahuddin Ayyubi and did not cooperate. Using the rich agricultural lands in Egypt as a financial base, Salahuddin Ayyubi set out to Syria with a small but multi-disciplinary army to demand the regency on behalf of Nureddin’s child son. However, he soon gave up on this request.

In the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, Salahuddin Ayyubi, King of Jerusalem IV. Defeated by Baudouin. Until 1186, he tried to unite all Muslim lands in Syria, Northern Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt under his own banner.

Salahuddin Ayyubi, who restored the unity of Islam, made a great contribution to the material and spiritual strengthening of the Muslims.

Battle of Hattin

Salahuddin Ayyubi united the irregular forces and disciplined them, and turned the balance of military power in his favor. In 1187, he turned to the Latin Crusader kingdoms with all his might. Meanwhile, the King of Jerusalem had died, and Guy of Lusignan had taken his place.

Salahuddin Ayyubidin succeeded in bringing the king of Jerusalem and his army to Hittin near Tiberia in Northern Palestine. Hattin was a place famous for its wells. Salahuddin Ayyubi had kept the wells long before. Thus, the Crusader army was left without water.

After walking for days, the Crusader army encountered Salahuddin Ayyubi’s army, exhausted and exhausted from thirst, on July 4, 1187. In the Battle of Hattin, Salahuddin Ayyubi defeated the Crusader army under the command of Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem.

The magnitude of the losses suffered by the Crusaders enabled the Muslims to capture almost all of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Akka, Betrun, Beirut, Sidon, Nazareth, Gaman, Caesarea, Nablus, Jaffa and Ashkelon fell within three months.

Salahuddin Ayyubi dealt the greatest blow to the Crusaders by taking Jerusalem, which had been in the hands of the Franks for 88 years, on October 2, 1187.

THIRD Crusade

The only shadow that fell on Salahuddin Ayyubi’s success was that Sur was not captured. Only three cities remained under the Crusader occupation in 1189, but the scattered Christians who had survived gathered at the formidable coastal fortress of Sur, forming the starting point of the Latin counterattack.

Deeply shaken by the fall of Jerusalem, Westerners called for a new Crusade. III. The Crusade drew the kings of the three countries to the battlefield, as well as a large number of great nobles and famous knights.

The expedition was long and consuming. King Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) came to no conclusion. The Crusaders could only hold on to an insecure piece of land in the Eastern Mediterranean. The war was over when King Richard sailed for his return in October 1192.

Death of Salahuddin Ayyubi 

Salahuddin Ayyubi died in Damascus on March 4, 1193. After his death, the country’s lands were divided among his relatives.

Salahuddin Ayyubi Children’s

Salahuddin Ayyubi had 17 sons and a daughter. According to the information given in the work of Ibn Kathir, the historian of the Ayyubids, the names of his children who have survived are as follows.

– Efdal Nureddin Abu Hasan Ali

Born: 1170 Egypt / Died: June 1225 Ayyubids Emir of Damascus (1193-1196)

– Aziz İmadeddin Ebu’l Feth Osman

Born: January 1172 Egypt / Died: November 1198 Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt (1193-1198)

– Zafir Muzaffereddin Ebu’l Abbas Khidr

Born: April 1173 Egypt 

– Zahir Gıyaseddin Ebu Mansur Gazi

Born: April 1173 Egypt / Died: October 1216 Ayyubid Emir of Aleppo (1193-1216)

– Aziz Fetheddin Abu Yakub Ishak

Born: 1174 Damascus

– Necmeddin Ebu’l Feth Mesud

Born: 1175 Damascus

– Ağar Şerefeddin Ebu Yusuf Yakub

Born: 1176 Egypt

– Zahir Mucireddin Abu Suleiman David

Born: 1177 Egypt

– Muzaffer Kutbeddin Ebu’l Fadl Musa

Born: 1177 Egypt

– Ashraf Muizzeddin Abu Abdullah Mohammed

Born: 1179 Damascus

– Muhsin Zahireddin Abul Abbas Ahmed

Born: 1181 Egypt

– The mighty Fahreddin Ebu Mansur Turanshah

Born: July 1181 Egypt / Died: 1260

– Galib Nusayreddin Ebu’l Feth Melikşah

Born: 1182 Damascus

– Rükneddin Ebu Said Eyyub

Born: 1182 Damascus

– Mansur Abu Bakr

Born: 1193 Harran

– Nusayreddin Mervan

Born: 1193 Damascus

– Shadi

Born: 1193 Damascus

– Munise:

He married his uncle’s son, Melik Kamil bin Adil.

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