Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-75)

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It is important to note that it is no secret to researchers of Muslim relations with the Christian forces during the Crusades that a number of Orientalists sought to deny Muslim achievements and cast doubts on the bright stages of their history. A sense of vengeance is always discernible among this group, especially when it comes to Jihad, which is the pinnacle of Islam. Hence they strove very hard to deny this idea and cast aspersions upon it, and to speak ill of all past experiences of Jihad so that Muslims would not adopt this idea in the present and in the future. Thus it is possible to state -”objectively and without jumping to conclusions -” that the era of the Crusades witnessed a quantum leap in the development of the idea of Jihad in Islam, because this time the Jihad was against an enemy that had settled in the Muslim lands as a result of Muslim weakness that was caused by internal conflicts. If we realize that their religious identity was at risk due to the Christianization project on which the papacy was pinning its greatest hopes, we will understand the great importance of the idea of Jihad during the Crusadeera.372Consequently, western sources, both classical and modern, have tried to distort the image of this great Mujahid. One of the most well known contemporary books is Holy War: The Crusades and their Impact on Today's World. The author of this book, Karen Armstrong, says of Imad adDeen Zangi, "(This man) was no paragon: he was often dead drunk and was as cruel and ruthless as most men of war at this time."373The biography of this man proves false what they say; our (Muslim) historians describe him as a martyr, which is the highest title that is bestowed only on those who deserve it. They have stated that he was one of the best kings in attitude, with the greatest resolve in dealing with matters; his subjects were safe and secure, and the strong were unable to transgress against the weak.374He venerated Islamic law, established it in his state, and appointed judges to implement it. The aims of some Orientalists include the following:

a) Distorting the meaning of Jihad so that our generation will remain without examples to strengthen their resolve and motivate them.

b) Weakening the spirit of sacrifice, martyrdom and Jihad in the Ummah so that they can drive the Muslims like cattle.

c) Attempting to separate the Ummah from its history by means of fabrications and distortions so that Muslims will not refer to their history and learn lessons from it.

d) Their writings stem from a hateful Crusader spirit which resents the heroes who contributed to the failure of the Crusader venture. It is for this reason that the Orientalists have tried to distort the image of Imadad-Deen Zangi.

The biography of Imad ad-Deen Zangi and his dedicated supporters such as al-Qadi ash-Shahrazoori definitely expose, beyond any doubt, the lies of those Orientalists who have tried to erase the facts and make false accusations against that great man. His experience of Jihad deserves to be studied and analyzed in depth, and the conclusions drawn should be applied to our contemporary situation, so that we may benefit from them in a sincere effort to revive the Ummah.

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