Allama Iqbal has rightly said, ‘Ye Gazi, Ye Tere Pur Asraar Bandhe Jinhe Tune Bakhsha Hai Zauq-e-Khudai.’ In these profound words, Allama Iqbal captures the essence of individuals blessed with divine purpose and a profound connection to the divine. These words resonate deeply with the life and legacy of Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi…
Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi, widely recognized as Saladin, stands as an illustrious figure in Islamic history, renowned for his valor and leadership during the 12th century. Born in 1137 into a Kurdish family, he emerged as the founder of the Ayyubid Sultanate and became the first Sultan to rule both Egypt and Syria. His legacy is indelibly linked with the liberation of Al-Quds, Jerusalem—the cherished city and the first Islamic Qiblah.
The Military Genius and Unifier Saladin assumed a pivotal role in the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. His tactical brilliance and unwavering commitment to justice marked him as an exceptional leader. At the zenith of his power, the Ayyubid domain extended from Egypt and Syria to Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen, the Maghreb, and Nubia. Despite his Kurdish roots, Saladin transcended ethnic boundaries, exemplifying unity over division.
Spiritual Connection and Compassion A devout Orthodox Sunni Muslim, Saladin was also a disciple of Shaykh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jillani, a prominent leader of Sunni Orthodoxy and a direct descendant of the Fifth Rightly Guided Caliph, Imam Hassan ibn Ali. This unique spiritual connection traced back to the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Yet, what truly set Saladin apart was his magnanimity. After the gruesome massacre of Muslims by the Crusaders during the initial capture of Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin’s compassion shone brightly. He granted amnesty not only to common Catholics but also to the defeated Christian army, provided they could pay a ransom. Greek Orthodox Christians, who often opposed the Western Crusaders, received even more favorable treatment.
Legacy and Enduring Reputation Saladin’s reputation transcended time and borders. French author Albert Champdor dubbed him “The purest Hero of Islam.” His benevolence and empathy were legendary, exemplified by his personal intervention to reunite a distraught Frankish woman with her stolen infant.
A Modest Life and Welfare Initiatives On 4th March 1193, Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi succumbed to a fever in Damascus, shortly after the departure of King Richard. His possessions at the time included just one piece of gold and forty silver pieces, as he had selflessly distributed his wealth to his impoverished subjects. He found his final resting place in a mausoleum situated in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.
The Call for Unity and a Modern-Day Saladin Saladin’s enduring legacy embodies not only military brilliance but also dedication to justice, compassion, and adherence to Islamic values. He remains an emblem of courage, unity, and chivalry, epitomizing the highest standards of leadership in the face of adversity.
In the words of English historian Lane-Poole, “Sultan Saladin and his contemporaneous monarchs were a remarkable contrast. While other monarchs reveled in their own glory, Sultan Saladin cherished the love of his people, taking a keen interest in their welfare, and amassing wealth only to distribute it to those in need.”
Sultan Saladin led a modest life, preferring simple dwellings over opulent palaces. He dressed humbly, eschewing extravagant attire. The observations of Arab traveler Ibn Zubair shed light on this aspect, stating, “Sultan Saladin established numerous hospitals and schools. Each hospital stocked a vast supply of medicines, and the government ensured the welfare and sustenance of the students.”
In this pivotal moment, Muslim leaders can draw boundless inspiration from the enduring legacy of Sultan Saladin Ayyubi. Just as Saladin skillfully united diverse forces to safeguard Muslim lands, today’s leaders stand at the threshold of a unique opportunity to unite in pursuit of a shared vision. By pooling their resources and forging a resolute alliance, they can champion the ideals of economic independence and harmonious cooperation, free from discord and division. The question that lingers in our hearts is whether, in the tapestry of our contemporary world, there exists a Muslim leader who possesses the unwavering spirit and wisdom of Sultan Saladin Ayyubi?
Amidst these shifting sands of change and the ever-present challenges, let us wholeheartedly embrace the profound wisdom woven into the verses of the esteemed poet, Allama Iqbal:
“Millat ke saath rabtah istiwaar rakh Peywasta rahe shajar se umeed-e-bahar rakh”
These verses stand as an eternal beacon, reminding us that unity, akin to an unbreakable bond with our nation, and the hope that flourishes like a perennial tree, are the foundational stones upon which we collectively build our future. In preserving this deep connection and nurturing the unwavering flame of hope, we unearth the inner strength to confront and conquer the uncertainties that lie ahead. These values are not merely our guiding stars; they are the very cornerstones upon which we can build a future that is brighter, more harmonious, and shared by all, illuminating the path toward a world of unity and prosperity.
About the Author:
Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon is a renowned Columnist & Motivational Speaker and an Associate Editor of the Weekly Publication ‘Education Quill.’ He currently serves as the Senior EDP Head at DD Target PMT Kashmir, a reputable institute renowned for its coaching classes in the medical/JEE/Foundation Classes.akhoon.aubaid@gmail.