Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-135)



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How Salah ad-Deen put an end to the Fatimid madhhab and legacy
It is not easy to uproot a madh-hab or way of thinking merely by changing the political system in some land or other. Such a change takes many years and needs arrangements that are not based on force alone.710 Thus it may be noted that Salah ad-Deen used many means and methods to put an end to the Fatimid cause in Egypt. Some of these means involved the use of force, violence and immediate direct action, and others used subtlety and a gradual approach. Some used military strength whilst others used means of propagation, teaching and conviction, seeking to attract people's hearts by means of charitable, religious and social institutions which were connected to endowments to spend on them.711 Here follows some of the means that were used:

Humiliating the Fatimid caliph al-'Adid
Salah ad-Deen started by humiliating the Fatimid caliph al-'Adid, so as to put an end to the idea of wildyah712 on which all the Ismaili theories and beliefs were based and from which the Fatimid rulers derived their sanctity. He forced the caliph to go out himself to welcome his father Najm ad-Deen Ayyoob when he arrived in Cairo. This was contrary to custom, as the Fatimid ritual was that the caliph should remain aloof and remote from the people and not appear before them frequently; this lent him an aura of holiness and awe. Abu Shamah tells us that al-'Adid did come out to meet him, going all the way to Bab al-Futooh, which was something that had never happened before, so it was the most amazing thing the people had ever witnessed.713 Indeed, al-'Adid was forced to go against all customs, traditions and state protocols, and bestow various titles upon Salah ad-Deen, such as the title of 'al-Malik al-Afdal' ('the preferred monarch'), and to send all kinds of gifts and presents to him from the palace.714 Then Salah ad-Deen continued to humiliate the caliph and undermine his spiritual position among his followers and the supporters of his state. He started to confiscate his personal property and horses, on the grounds that there was a great need for them for Jihad purposes. In the end, the caliph asked Salah ad-Deen to let him keep his own horse, as he did not have anything else, but Salah ad-Deen answered that this was not possible, because the horse was needed.715 It is obvious that this deliberate, repeated humiliation was aimed at keeping the caliph away from the people and preventing him from appearing on public occasions, so that the Egyptians would forget him.716

Degrading the palace of the Fatimid caliphate
Salah ad-Deen strove to disgrace the palace of the Fatimid caliphate by housing the Kurdish officials of his state there. This action was a confirmation of the fall of the Fatimid state, because that state had been known throughout the period when it flourished as "the palace state"717, referring to the fact that its caliphs dwelt in palaces in their capital, Cairo. In 566 AH/1170 CE, Salah ad-Deen seized the Fatimid palaces and handed them over to his Mameluke Qaraqoosh al-Khadim, then he used them to accommodate his troops and his family; he accommodated his father in the Qasr al-Lu'lu'ah (the Pearl Palace) at al-Khaleej. Al-Malik al-'Adil Iban lived in the Fatimid palaces when he stayed behind in Egypt as the deputy of his brother Salah ad-Deen.718

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