Saladin (Salah Al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayub; 1138–1193)

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SALADIN (Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayub; 1138–1193)

Born in Tikrit, in Iraq, in 1138, died in Damascus in 1193. Kurdish in origin, Saladin was a lieutenant of the governor of Aleppo, Nur al-Din, who inspired him by his faith in holy war. Determined to realize the reunification of the Muslim empire, he conquered Egypt, where he founded the Ayyubid dynasty, by abolishing the Fatimid caliphate. The Ayyubids ruled in Syria, the Hijaz, as well as Mesopotamia (1171–1250), where they created many Sunnite schools. During his reign, Saladin, having defeated the crusaders at Hattin, in Palestine, just west of Lake Tiberius, on 4 July 1187, took Jerusalem, which led to the third Christian crusade (1188–1192). Saladin is an emblematic figure in the Arab world, standing for unity and independence.

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