(c. 1138 – March 4, 1193), better known in the Western world as Saladin, was a Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria,Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, Hejaz, and Yemen. Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi, the hero of hundreds of battles, was the person who for twenty years braved the storm of the Crusaders and ultimately pushed back the combined forces of Europe which had come to swarm the Holy Land. The world has hardly witnessed a more chivalrous and humane conqueror. The Crusades represent the maddest and the longest war in the history of mankind, in which the storm of savage fanaticism of the Christian West burst in all its fury over western Asia. `The Crusades form', says a Western writer, `one of the maddest episodes in history. Under his personal leadership, his forces defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin, leading the way to his re-capture of Palestine, which had been seized from the Fatimid Egyptians by the Crusaders 88 years earlier. Though the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem would continue to exist for a period, its defeat at Hattin marked a turning point in its conflict with the Muslims and Arabs. As such, Saladin is a prominent figure in Kurdish, Arab, and Muslim culture. Saladin was a strict adherent of Sunni Islam His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the Siege of Kerak, and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders, he won the respect of many of them, including Richard the Lionheart; rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry. Saladin's military career began under the tutelage of his uncle Asad al-Din Shirkuh, an importantmilitary commander under Nur ad-Din. In 1163, the vizier to the Fatimid caliph...
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