The Conquests of Saladin ibn Ayyub
Islam is full of heroes and heroines who lived their lives for the benefit of humanity and worship of the Almighty Allah (SWT), the Creator of Earth and the Lord of all the Worlds. Yet unique was the unforgettable Saladin ibn Ayyub. Born as An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub in the city of Tikrit in what is now Iraq, Saladin ibn Ayyub (better known simply as Saladin), was a legendary Muslim leader and military strategist.
The first Muslim sultan of Syria and Egypt, he spent much of his life fighting for the sake of Islam. At the peak of his power and authority, he was regarded as the leader of all the Muslims with his control over Yemen, Syria, Egypt, the Hijaz, Upper Mesopotamia, and even parts of North Africa.
His name means the righteousness of faith, Joseph the son of Job. Of all the Muslims in history, Saladin remains one of the most famous heroes in Islam. He is known for a number of conquests, however, what remains most memorable of all his feats was his series of wars against the Crusaders. Almighty Allah (SWT) granted him outstanding success against them when he was able to capture Jerusalem in 1187 after it had been occupied by non-Muslims for almost 90 years.
Saladin was introduced into warfare early in life. By the age of 31, he was already the commander of Syrian troops based in Egypt and he was also the vizier of the caliph. An ambitious man, Saladin did not stop at this role and with time, he accumulated power and united the Muslims of Palestine, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, and Egypt.
With time he became even more powerful but like a true Muslim, Saladin never forgot that real power and absolute authority belonged to Almighty Allah (SWT) alone. Hence, he worked on his character, and soon enough, Saladin was known all over the world to be a kind, decisive, generous, truthful, honest, and most importantly, merciful leader.
Saladin was a different military leader and Muslim ruler in the sense that everything he did, he did for Islam. For him, the wars were not just battles of personal glory but jihad for the sake of Allah (SWT) and Islam. For him, it was a serious and holy duty to spread the sacred message of Islam. He worked with Muslim scholars and clerics, established colleges, and built mosques for all and encouraged the scholars to do works on jihad.
He displayed his mercy when he showed kindness to the Christians instead of revenge when he retook Jerusalem. Allah (SWT) rewarded Saladin’s efforts with a series of conquests. In the Battle of the Horns of Hama, he was victorious, he also conquered Syria, launched the conquest of Yemen, conquered Upper Mesopotamia, and expanded all these areas under the banner of Islam.
In all Saladin did, he never failed to thank and acknowledge Allah (SWT) for all his incredible successes. The story of Saladin is one that illustrates to Muslims that whoever stands with Allah (SWT) will get nothing but the gains of this world and the Hereafter. May Allah (SWT) grant us all the highest levels in Jannah, aameen.