Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-136)



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Cancelling the Friday khutbah in al-Azhar Mosque and abolishing the teaching of Fatimid thought there
In 567 AH/1171 CE, Salah ad-Deen dealt a lethal blow to the Fatimid madh-hab in Egypt, which undoubtedly finished it off. That was when he stopped the Jumu'ah khutbah in the Mosque of al-Azhar, which the Fatimids used as a means of spreading Ismaili Shiite beliefs.719 That took place after Sadr ad-Deen 'Abd al-Malik ibn Darbas was appointed as qadi. He acted in accordance with his madh-hab, which says that it is not allowed to have two Jumu'ah sermons and prayers in one city, as is the view of Imam ash-Shafa'i. So he cancelled the khutbah in al-Azhar Mosque, and approved of the khutbah in al-Jami' al-Hakimi, because it was bigger. Al-Azhar Mosque remained idle, with no Jumu'ah prayers held there, for a hundred years after that, until the khutbah was restored at the time of al-Malik adh-Dhahir Baybars.720 Salah ad-Deen followed this courageous step by eliminating the Shiite rituals that had been introduced to Egypt by the Fatimids and which had continued throughout their era, with regard to the adhan and the iqamah for prayer. He abolished from the adhan the words Hayyd 'aid khayr il- 'amal, and the adhan continued to be given in Egypt in accordance with the Sunni way.721 Salah ad-Deen also abolished the custom that the muezzins were used to during the Fatimid era, of sending blessings upon the Fatimid caliph in the adhan.722 The main Jumu'ah prayer was established in Jami' al- Hakim according to the Sunni way, which included saying supplications for the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), the students of the Companions and others, and for the Mothers of the Believers, the wives of the (Messenger (Sm), and for his two paternal uncles Hamzah and al- 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both). The khateeb would come to the khutbah wearing black in accordance with Abbasid tradition.723 There can be no doubt that stopping the Jumu'ah khutbah in Jami' al-Azhar, along with stopping the teaching of Shiite madh-habs in al-Azhar, which throughout the Fatimid era had been the greatest centre of Ismailism in Egypt and the world724 led to the propagation of Sunni knowledge. Turning al-Azhar into a Sunni university to teach Sunni knowledge -” as it has continued to do until the present -” as well as bringing in Sunni scholars to teach there, likewise played a part in the propagation of Sunni knowledge in Egypt and in most regions of the Muslim world.725

Destruction and burning of Shiite Ismaili books
Salah ad-Deen turned his attention to the royal symbols of the Fatimids and the treasures of the Fatimid palace. He destroyed some, and gave some to Noor ad-Deen Zangi, and gave others to the Abbasid caliph, then he put the rest up for sale, and they continued to be sold for ten years.726 They were transferred to other countries by travellers who were coming and going.727 He seized the books of Ismaili teachings which were contained in the library of the Fatimid palace, then he burned them and threw them in Jabal al-Muqattam; and he distributed the non-sectarian books that had been confiscated from the palace library among the senior scholars and supporters of his state, such as al-Imad al-Isfahani, al-Qadi al-Fadil and Abu Shamah al- Isfahani, which confirms that Salah ad-Deen's aim was to burn the books of Rafidi Shiite teachings only.728 In fact the books of Ismaili Shiite teachings were the most important means of influence used by the Fatimid preachers to propagate their message. The Ayoobid sultans burned the books of the Ismailis until there was nothing left of the Ismaili books except a few books that were kept by the supporters of the Fatimids in Yemen and India after the fall of their state in Egypt.729

Abolishing all sectarian festivals of the Fatimids
Salah ad-Deen was not unaware of the serious effect that the sectarian Shiite mourning festivals and Husayniydt had in propagating their madh-hab and instilling their beliefs in the Egyptians' hearts. So he abolished all the sectarian festivals of the Fatimids, which led to them becoming extinct in Egypt from that time. With political acumen based on sound belief, which dictated fighting Rafidi Shiite innovation, he put an end to sectarian festivals that went against the Qur'an and Sunnah, and in order to complete this step,

the Ayubids gave a Sunni character to Eids and festivals in Egypt, which remains to this day.730

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