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On the way, his army took Buza'a, then captured Manbij. From there, they headed west to besiege the fortress of A'zaz on 15 May. Several days later, while Saladin was resting in one of his captain's tents, an assassin rushed forward at him and struck at his head with a knife. The cap of his head armour was not penetrated and he managed to grip the assassin's hand—the dagger only slashing his gambeson —and the assailant was soon killed.
Saladin was unnerved at the attempt on his life, which he accused Gumushtugin and the Assassins of plotting, and so increased his efforts in the siege. His assaults were again resisted, but he managed to secure not only a truce, but a mutual alliance with Aleppo, in which Gumushtigin and as-Salih were allowed to continue their hold on the city and in return, they recognized Saladin as the sovereign over all of the dominions he conquered.
When the treaty was concluded, the younger sister of as-Salih came to Saladin and requested the return of the Fortress of A'zaz; he complied and escorted her back to the gates of Aleppo with numerous presents. Saladin had by now agreed truces with his Zengid rivals and the Kingdom of Jerusalem the latter occurred in the summer of , but faced a threat from the Ismaili sect known as the " Assassins ", led by Rashid ad-Din Sinan.
Based in the an-Nusayriyah Mountains , they commanded nine fortresses , all built on high elevations.
As soon as he dispatched the bulk of his troops to Egypt, Saladin led his army into the an-Nusayriyah range in August He retreated the same month, after laying waste to the countryside, but failing to conquer any of the forts. Most Muslim historians claim that Saladin's uncle, the governor of Hama, mediated a peace agreement between him and Sinan.
Presently, Saladin awoke to find a figure leaving the tent. He saw that the lamps were displaced and beside his bed laid hot scones of the shape peculiar to the Assassins with a note at the top pinned by a poisoned dagger. The note threatened that he would be killed if he didn't withdraw from his assault. Saladin gave a loud cry, exclaiming that Sinan himself was the figure that had left the tent. After leaving the an-Nusayriyah Mountains, Saladin returned to Damascus and had his Syrian soldiers return home.
He left Turan Shah in command of Syria and left for Egypt with only his personal followers, reaching Cairo on 22 September. Having been absent roughly two years, he had much to organize and supervise in Egypt, namely fortifying and reconstructing Cairo. The city walls were repaired and their extensions laid out, while the construction of the Cairo Citadel was commenced.
The chief public work he commissioned outside of Cairo was the large bridge at Giza , which was intended to form an outwork of defense against a potential Moorish invasion. In November , he set out upon a raid into Palestine; the Crusaders had recently forayed into the territory of Damascus, so Saladin saw the truce as no longer worth preserving.
The Christians sent a large portion of their army to besiege the fortress of Harim north of Aleppo, so southern Palestine bore few defenders. This army proceeded to raid the countryside, sack Ramla and Lod , and dispersed themselves as far as the Gates of Jerusalem.
Although the Crusader force consisted of only knights, Saladin hesitated to ambush them because of the presence of highly skilled generals. On 25 November, while the greater part of the Ayyubid army was absent, Saladin and his men were surprised near Ramla in the battle of Montgisard.
Before they could form up, the Templar force hacked the Ayyubid army down. Initially, Saladin attempted to organize his men into battle order, but as his bodyguards were being killed, he saw that defeat was inevitable and so with a small remnant of his troops mounted a swift camel , riding all the way to the territories of Egypt. In the spring of , he was encamped under the walls of Homs, and a few skirmishes occurred between his generals and the Crusader army.
His forces in Hama won a victory over their enemy and brought the spoils, together with many prisoners of war , to Saladin who ordered the captives to be beheaded for "plundering and laying waste the lands of the Faithful".
He spent the rest of the year in Syria without a confrontation with his enemies. He ordered one of his generals, Farrukh-Shah, to guard the Damascus frontier with a thousand of his men to watch for an attack, then to retire, avoiding battle, and to light warning beacons on the hills, after which Saladin would march out. In April , the Crusaders led by King Baldwin expected no resistance and waited to launch a surprise attack on Muslim herders grazing their herds and flocks east of the Golan Heights.
Baldwin advanced too rashly in pursuit of Farrukh-Shah's force, which was concentrated southeast of Quneitra and was subsequently defeated by the Ayyubids. With this victory, Saladin decided to call in more troops from Egypt; he requested al-Adil to dispatch 1, horsemen. Saladin had offered , gold pieces to Baldwin to abandon the project, which was particularly offensive to the Muslims, but to no avail.
He then resolved to destroy the fortress, called Chastellet and manned by the Templars, moving his headquarters to Banias. As the Crusaders hurried down to attack the Muslim forces, they fell into disorder, with the infantry falling behind.
Despite early success, they pursued the Muslims far enough to become scattered, and Saladin took advantage by rallying his troops and charged at the Crusaders.
The engagement ended in a decisive Ayyubid victory, and many high-ranking knights were captured. Saladin then moved to besiege the fortress , which fell on 30 August Because droughts and bad harvests hampered his commissariat , Saladin agreed to a truce.
Raymond of Tripoli denounced the truce but was compelled to accept after an Ayyubid raid on his territory in May and upon the appearance of Saladin's naval fleet off the port of Tartus. This was intended to cement an alliance with the Artuqids and to impress other emirs in Mesopotamia and Anatolia.
The latter demanded that Nur al-Din return the lands given to him as a dowry for marrying his daughter when he received reports that she was being abused and used to gain Seljuk territory. Nur al-Din asked Saladin to mediate the issue, but Arslan refused. Saladin was later enraged when he received a message from Arslan accusing Nur al-Din of more abuses against his daughter. He threatened to attack the city of Malatya , saying, "it is two days march for me and I shall not dismount [my horse] until I am in the city.
Saladin felt that Arslan was correct to care for his daughter, but Nur al-Din had taken refuge with him, and therefore he could not betray his trust. It was finally agreed that Arslan's daughter would be sent away for a year and if Nur al-Din failed to comply, Saladin would move to abandon his support for him. According to Abu Shama , he intended to spend the fast of Ramadan in Egypt and then make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in the summer.
For an unknown reason he apparently changed his plans regarding the pilgrimage and was seen inspecting the Nile River banks in June. He was again embroiled with the Bedouin; he removed two-thirds of their fiefs to use as compensation for the fief-holders at Fayyum.
The Bedouin were also accused of trading with the Crusaders and, consequently, their grain was confiscated and they were forced to migrate westward. Later, Ayyubid warships were waged against Bedouin river pirates, who were plundering the shores of Lake Tanis.
Saladin's intimates accused Majd al-Din of misappropriating the revenues of Zabid, but Saladin himself believed there was no evidence to back the allegations.
He had Majd al-Din released in return for a payment of 80, dinars. The controversial detainment of Majd al-Din was a part of the larger discontent associated with the aftermath of Turan-Shah's departure from Yemen. Although his deputies continued to send him revenues from the province, centralized authority was lacking and internal quarrel arose between Izz al-Din Uthman of Aden and Hittan of Zabid.
Saladin wrote in a letter to al-Adil: "this Yemen is a treasure house We conquered it, but up to this day we have had no return and no advantage from it. There have been only innumerable expenses, the sending out of troops This fortified gate was constructed with interlocking volumes that surrounded the entrant in such a way as to provide greater security and control than typical city wall gates. Prior to his death, he had his chief officers swear an oath of loyalty to Izz al-Din, as he was the only Zengid ruler strong enough to oppose Saladin.
Izz al-Din was welcomed in Aleppo, but possessing it and Mosul put too great of a strain on his abilities.
Millions perished in battle, hunger or disease and every atrocity imagination can conceive disgraced the warrior of the Cross'.
The Christian West was excited to a mad religious frenzy by Peter the Hermit, and his followers to liberate the Holy Land from the hands of the Muslims. During the time that a Crusader bore the Cross, he was under the protection of the Church and exempted from all taxes as well as free to commit all sins.
Peter the Hermit himself led the second host of the Crusaders comprising forty thousand people. The savage hordes called Crusaders converted Hungary and Bulgaria into desolate regions. They mingled with their devotion a brutal licence of rapine, prostitution and drunkenness'. The internal multitude hurried on the south in their usual career of carnage and rapine'. But, at last, they were annihilated by the infuriated Hungarian Army which had a foretaste of the madness of the earlier Crusaders.
Later the Crusaders met with initial success and conquered a major part of Syria and Palestine, including the Holy city of Jerusalem. But their victories were followed by such brutalities and massacres of innocent Muslims which eclipsed the massacres of Changiz and Hulaku.
Mill, a Christian historian, testifies to this massacre of the Muslim population on the fall of the Muslim town of Autioch. Houses were no sanctuaries, and the sign of a mosque added new virulence to cruelty'. The Crusaders laid waste to flourishing towns of Syria, butchered their population in cold blood and burnt to ashes the invaluable treasures of art and learning including the world famous library of Tripolis Syria containing more than three million volumes.
But in the second half of the 12th century, when the Crusaders were in their greatest fury and the emperors of Germany and France and Richard, the lion-hearted king of England, had taken the field in person for the conquest of the Holy Land, the Crusaders were met by Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi, a great warrior who pushed back the surging wave of Christianity out to engulf the Holy Land.
He was not able to clear the gathering storm but in him the Crusaders met a man of indomitable will and dauntless courage who could accept the challenge of the Christian West. Salahuddin was born in He got his early training under his illustrious father Najmuddin Ayub and his chivalrous uncle Asaduddin Sherkoh, who were the trusted lieutenants of Nooruddin Mahmud, the monarch of Syria. Asaduddin Sherkoh, a great warrior general was the commander of the Syrian force, which had defeated the Crusaders both in Syria and Egypt.
Sherkoh entered Egypt in to meet the challenge of the Fatamide Minister Shawer who had allied himself with the French. But Sherokh was not destined to enjoy the fruits of his high office long.
He died two months later in He soon won the hearts of the people by his liberality and justice and on the death of the Egyptian Caliph became the virtual ruler of Egypt. In Syria too, the celebrated Nooruddin Mahmud died in and was succeeded by his eleven year old son, Malik-us-Saleh who became a tool in the hands of his courtiers, specially Gumushtagin. Salahuddin sent a message to Malik-us-Saleh offering his services and devotion.
But all these considerations were of no avail for the young ruler and his ambitious courtiers. This state of affairs once more heartened the Crusaders who were kept down by the advice of Gumushtagin retired to Alippo, leaving Damascus exposed to a Frankish attack.
The Crusaders instantly laid siege to the Capital city and released it only after being paid heavy ransom. This enraged Salahuddin who hurried to Damascus with a small force and took possession of it. After occupying Damascus, he did not enter the palace of his patron, Nooruddin Mahmud, but stayed in his father's house.
The Muslims, on the other hand, were much dismayed by the activities of Malik-us-Saleh and invited him to rule over the area. But Salahuddin continued to rule on behalf of the young Malik-us-Saleh.