Saladin By Abdul Rahman Azzam
But who was the real Saladin?
To answer this question, A. R. Azzam argues, it is essential to appreciate the age Saladin lived in.
The Islamic world had been completely transformed by the Sunni Revival in the 10th and 11th centuries, the great intellectual renaissance, which integrated the different strands of Islamic thought under one orthodox umbrella.
Saladin was a child of the Sunni Revival and the movement was key to his extraordinary success – as it is to any consideration of the background of today’s Middle East.
In that sense, Saladin’s true greatness, Azzam contends, lay not on the battlefield, as has commonly been accepted, but in his spiritual and political vision.
An honest and guileless leader, Saladin baffled his enemies by refusing to play their political games and succeeded in uniting an army from all parts of the Muslim world.
Although he was an outsider he managed – almost seamlessly – to become the most powerful man in Islam.
The first major biography of Saladin for twenty years, A. R. Azzam’s timely and fascinating account is essential reading for anyone interested in the medieval Crusades, Islamic history and the origins of the modern Middle East.