"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Damascus -- Saladin

One of the most revered men in Middle Eastern history is a Kurdish Muslim born in Tikrit, Iraq around 1138 -- Saladin. In fact, from what I understand, many in the Arab world are awaiting a modern-day Saladin to rescue them from their corrupt governments and the oppression and occupation they are experiencing from other nations.

Here we are with Basheer and Ahmad from Gaza at the statue of Saladin

"Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb (Arabic: صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب‎, Persian: صلاح الدین ایوبی) (c. 1138 - March 4, 1193), better known in the Western world as Saladin, was a Kurdish[2][3] Muslim who became the Sultan of Egypt and Syria. He led Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Palestine from the Kingdom of Jerusalem after his victory in the Battle of Hattin. As such, he is a notable figure in Kurdish, Arab,Turkish, Persian, and Muslim culture. Saladin was a strict practitioner of Sunni Islam. His generally chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the siege of Kerak in Moab." Source

We visited his shrine

"Saladin died of a fever on March 4, 1193, at Damascus, not long after Richard's departure. Since Saladin had given most of his money away for charity when they opened his treasury, they found there was not enough money to pay for his funeral.[91] And so Saladin was buried in a magnificent mausoleum in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. Seven centuries later, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany donated a new marble sarcophagus to the mausoleum. Saladin was, however, not placed in it. Instead the mausoleum, which is open to visitors, now has two sarcophagi: one empty in marble and the original in which Saladin is placed, made of wood. The reason why he was not placed in the tomb would most likely to have been as a result of respect, and not to disturb Saladin's body." Source

"His fierce struggle against the crusaders was where Saladin achieved a great reputation in Europe as a chivalrous knight, so much so that there existed by the fourteenth century an epic poem about his exploits. Saladin appears in a sympathetic light in Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman (1825). Despite the Crusaders' slaughter when they originally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free passage to all common Catholics and even to the defeated Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the aforementioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox Christians were treated even better, because they often opposed the western Crusaders)." Source

"Notwithstanding the differences in beliefs, the Muslim Saladin was respected by Christian lords, Richard especially. Richard once praised Saladin as a great prince, saying that he was without doubt the greatest and most powerful leader in the Islamic world.[94] Saladin in turn stated that there was not a more honorable Christian lord than Richard. After the treaty, Saladin and Richard sent each other many gifts as tokens of respect, but never met face to face again." Source

Pictures from Damascus, Syria
January 2009


Nocturnal Queen said...

I first heard of Saladin in the movie Kingdom of Heaven (starring Orlando Bloom). The story takes place during the Crusades and the fight over Jerusalem. Saladin is a respected figure in the movie. He offers his physicians to help the king of Jerusalem, who is suffering from leprosy. (I love his character - the king of Jerusalem, whose name slips my mind - in the movie. He's played by Edward Norton and he wears a mask to cover his face because of the damage leprosy has done.)

Saladin also is fair towards the inhabitants of Jerusalem when he negotiates with Balin (Orlando Bloom) after a long battle.

It's a long movie and if you decide to watch it (which would surprise me lol), be prepared for some intense violence. I've seen worse, but it's not for the faint of heart. lol

Louai said...

and dont forget when you watching hte movie to notice that he refuse to accept leaving the cross (simpol of christian in the ground).

This great guy is not a coincident ,its the outcome of great men before him ...!

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Yours is one of the blogs that makes me wish I could talk to you in person about your travels.

Heading over here takes me away from my clothes needing folding and my kitchen floors needing mopping. Thank you for that!

Carmen said...

I LOVE the movie "Kingdom of Heaven" but the director's cut is the only way to watch.

I agree in the movie, Saladin is portrayed as a very fair and kind person, even from the eyes of an opponent. I especially liked the theme of the movie, having people live in peace together, even if they have opposing views.

In the movie, the King of Jerusalem also is kind and compassionate as he allows both Christians and Muslims to worship in the city.

Nocturnal Queen said...

Yes, I really like that Christians and Muslims (and Jews? I can't remember) lived in peace together. It was one of my favorite things about it as well.