Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-140)



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Incorporation of the eastern Maghreb
Salah ad-Deen strove to consolidate the achievements he had made in Egypt by securing the borders of his country so that he would not be caught unawares. His efforts resulted in the incorporation of the eastern Maghreb. North Africa had been geographically connected to Egypt since the early Islamic conquests, so it was natural that Salah ad-Deen should turn his attention to incorporating this region in order to benefit from its resources, and to benefit from its good location for defending the western border of Egypt. In 568 AH/1173 CE, Salah ad-Deen sent a military force to the eastern Maghreb, led by Sharaf ad-Deen Qaraqoosh, the slave of al-Muzaffar Taqi ad-Deen 'Umar ibn Shahinshah ibn Ayub. He entered Tripoli, Barqah and some other areas of the eastern Maghreb, as far as Qabis, with the exception of al-Mahdiyah, Safaqas, Qafsah and Tunis.753

Incorporation of Yemen
i. Increased pressure on the supporters of the Fatimids, especially since the governor of Yemen,'Abdan-Nabiibn Mahdi was a Rafidi who had connections to the Fatimid caliph of Egypt.

ii. Salahad-Deen managed to secure the southern border of Egypt. Incorporating Yemen, which was regarded as the key to the Red Sea in the south, guaranteed him military and commercial control of the southern region and reduced the possibility of any alliance between the Crusaders, who wanted to dominate the Red Sea ,and the Abyssinians, who were also Christians, so that he would not end up trapped between the Crusaders on the Mediterranean coast to the north and the Abyssinians on the coast of the Red Sea to the south.

iii. At that time Yemen was going through a period of instability, caught between various political, religious and sectarian inclinations, especially between Zubayd and Sanaa. There emerged an impostor, 'Abd an-Nabi ibn Mahdi, who claimed that he was the awaited Mahdi. He gained control over Yemen and sermons were delivered in his name once he stopped the sermons in the name of the Abbasids. He gave himself the title of imam, and built a huge dome over his father's grave; he ordered the Yemenis to perform pilgrimage to this grave and forbade them to go on Hajj to Makkah.

iv. Salah ad-Deen wanted to put an end to these transgressions and negative actions that posed a threat to Muslim unity, especially after the people of Yemen sent a message to him seeking his help to save them.755 Whatever the case, Salah ad-Deen sent an expedition, led by his older brother, Shams ad-Dawlah Turan Shah, who went to Makkah and performed 'Umrah, then moved on to Zubayd and seized control of it, then he went to Aden and seized control of it, and forbade the army from plundering it, saying: We have not come to destroy the land; rather we have come to bring prosperity to it and take control of it. Then he went to the other fortresses and citadels and took control of them, so he gained control of the entire region of Yemen, and gave sermons in the name of the Abbasid caliph.756 He killed the impostor who was called 'Abd an-Nabi, and all turmoil ceased in Yemen, and the country went back to the way it used to be.757 Shams ad- Dawlah wrote to his brother al-Malik an-Nasir Salah ad-Deen, telling him of the conquests that Allah had granted him and the favour that He had bestowed upon him. Salah ad-Deen wrote to Noor ad-Deen telling him the news, and Noor ad-Deen wrote in turn to the caliph, telling him the good news that Yemen had been conquered and sermons were now being delivered in his name there.758

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