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Conquest of Nubia
At that time, Nubia was a Christian kingdom; its capital was the city of Danqalah which was located at the headwaters of the Nile. It had had a strong connection to Egypt since the Islamic conquest. When the Ayubid state was established in Egypt, Salah ad-Deen wanted to conquer Nubia in order to protect Egypt from any aggression coming from the south. He sent his brother Turanshah, in Jumada II 568 AH/January 1173 CE to Nubia. He conquered Ibreem, capturing prisoners and booty, then he went back to Qaws, and Islam entered regions where the Muslim army had never been before. He appointed Ibraheem al-Kurdi as its governor.759 This conquest removed the barriers that had been preventing the spread of Islam in that region.760
The real story behind the alienation between Salah ad-Deen and Noor ad-Deen
Historians have discussed the relationship between Noor ad-Deen and Salah ad-Deen. Ibn al-Atheer narrated the reasons for the alienation between Noor ad-Deen and Salah ad-Deen, as did Abu Shamah, quoting from Ibn Abi Tay\ It started in 567 AH, when they agreed to besiege Kerak, but Salah ad- Deen went back to Egypt before meeting Noor ad-Deen.761 A number of other historians762 narrated from Ibn al-Atheer and Ibn Abi Tay', and they were followed in turn by some modern historians, without checking the facts, who went to extremes in explaining the reasons for this alienation and its consequences. They described the relationship between Noor ad-Deen and Salah ad-Deen as if it were a hostile relationship in which each feared the other, so Salah ad-Deen started trying to get rid of Noor ad-Deen's authority and he preferred to leave Kerak as a buffer zone between him and Noor ad Deen; Noor ad-Deen also thought that he had made a mistake by sending Asad ad-Deen and Salah ad-Deen to Egypt. Noor ad-Deen is described as a serious opponent to Salah ad-Deen, and so on.763 This false analysis has no basis except the reports of Ibn Abi Tay' and Ibn al-Atheer:
As for Ibn Abi Tay he tried, using the skills of fabrication and lying in which he was proficient, to discredit the relationship between the two men. He is to be regarded with suspicion when it comes to what he attributed to Noor ad-Deen of unbecoming attitudes and deeds. Noor ad-Deen had humiliated the Shiites in Aleppo, abolished their symbols and made Ahl al- Sunnah stronger. The father of Abu Tay' was one of the Shiite leaders who had been banished from Aleppo. Hence we see that Ibn Abi Tay' was very biased against Noor ad-Deen and he tried to distort the relationship between these two great men with his lies.764 As for Ibn al-Atheer, he is to be regarded with suspicion when it comes to what he wrote about Salah ad-Deen. He sometimes looked for opportunities to criticize Salah ad-Deen and undermine his reputation, especially when comparing him with Noor ad-Deen.765 In his books Al-Kamil fit-Tareekh and Al-Bahirfee Tdreekh ad-Dawlah al-Atabekiyah, the historian of the Zangid dynasty mentions his views concerning this issue, and this was quoted from him by a number of historians. He concluded that Salah ad-Deen was not sincere to his master Noor ad-Deen; rather, from the time he established his authority in Egypt, he was striving to become independent of him, and he was competing with him for political dominance in Syria. All of these opinions766 were written by Ibn al-Atheer after the death of Salah ad- Deen. Salah ad-Deen had to go out to Syria at the head of his troops and annex the possessions of his master Noor ad-Deen to his own possessions in Egypt, because Salah ad-Deen's going out to Syria was aimed at reuniting the Islamic front, which was the aim which Imad ad-Deen Zangi and his son Noor ad-Deen had themselves striven to achieve for a long time. After the death of Noor ad-Deen, the Islamic front was about to split and the situation would have gone back to the way it was before, namely division and weakness, after the division of the Zangids into two factions, one in Damascus and the other in Aleppo. His son, at-Tifl as-Salih Isma'eel, was not able to reunite the kingdom of his father.767 Salah ad-Deen wrote to the Abbasid caliph and to the son of Noor ad-Deen, telling them that he was setting out for Syria in order to unite the Muslims against the Franks. It is most likely that the comments narrated by Ibn al-Atheer, which were transmitted from him by some historians, speaking of Salah ad-Deen's disloyalty to the Zangid dynasty, and other reports on this matter, were made up by historians, foremost among whom was Ibn al-Atheer, to explain Salah ad-Deen's actions after the death of Noor ad-Deen. This was due to Ibn al- Atheer's loyalty to the Zangid dynasty, and his lack of sympathy towards Salah ad-Deen, who put an end to this dynasty and its possessions, especially since modern historians have noted that Ibn al-Atheer was biased against Salah ad-Deen in his books Al-Kdmil and Al-Bahir, and he actively sought out his errors and mistakes.768 In fact Salah ad-Deen was the best soldier in terms of hearing and obeying his leader Noor ad-Deen Zangi. There follows the evidence which proves this:
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