An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub
An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub was born on 1137, An-Nasir Saladin was the first sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty.
He was a Sunni Muslim of Kurdish origin; Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen and other parts of North Africa.
Originally sent to Fatimid Egypt in 1163 by his Zengid lord, Nur ad-Din, Saladin climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government by virtue of his military successes against Crusader assaults against its territory and his personal closeness to Fatimid caliph al-Adid. When Saladin’s uncle Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important position in the Shia Muslim-led caliphate. During his term as vizier, Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid establishment, and following al-Adid’s death in 1171 he assumed control over the government and realigned the country’s allegiance with the Sunni Muslim, Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate. In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, commissioned the successful conquest of Yemen, and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt.
Saladin has become a prominent figure in Muslim, Arab, Turkish and Kurdish culture, and he has often been described as being the most famous Kurd in history. According to Imad al-Din, Saladin had fathered five sons before he left Egypt in 1174. Saladin’s oldest son, al-Afdal, was born in 1170, and Uthman was born in 1172 to Shamsa who accompanied Saladin to Syria. Saladin had a third son named, Az-Zahir Ghazi, who later became Lord of Aleppo. Al-Afdal’s mother bore Saladin another child in 1177. A letter preserved by Qalqashandi records that a twelfth son was born in May 1178, while on Imad al-Din’s list, he appears as Saladin’s seventh son. Mas’ud was born in 1175 and Yaq’ub in 1176, the latter to Shamsa.
Saladin died of a fever on 4 March 1193, at Damascus, not long after King Richard’s departure. In Saladin’s possession at the time of his death, there were one piece of gold and forty pieces of silver. He had given away his great wealth to his poor subjects, leaving nothing to pay for his funeral. He was buried in a mausoleum in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.