Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi Letters to the Abbasid Caliphate: A Creative Reading

Fawzi Khalid Ali Al-Twahya


This article aims to analyze Saladin Ayyubi's letters to the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad through creative reading to explore embedded ideas reflected within the lines and highlight fragmented ideas and hidden agendas the lexical choices hold within. A historical and analytical approach was used to read, characterize and analyze the letters and examine evidence to come to an understanding of the past. The results revealed that the most prominent historical resources that recorded Saladin's life and letters rely primarily on Abū Shāma's The Book of the Two Gardens on the History of the Two Reigns. Moreover, the ensuing impacts of Saladin's letters had contributed to the establishment of Saladin's state and the expansion of the Abbasid Caliphate on the west side. Maintaining good relations with the Abbasid Caliphate greatly benefited Saladin in his conflict with Muslim princes who opposed him and vowed for power, including the Zengids. Saladin wanted his legitimacy claimed by the Abbasid Caliphate, though he knew its weakness. Saladin's letters to the Caliphate are found scattered in Islamic Heritage books such as Ibn Wasil's Mufarrij al-kurūb fī akhbār banī Ayyub and al-Qalqashandi's Subh al-A'sha by al-Qalqashandi. The Arabic and Islamic worlds were at their cultural peak during the High Middle Ages, they exchanged information and creations via Al-Andalus, Sicily, and the Crusader kingdoms in the Levant. A lot of literature has been dedicated to study and analyzing Saladin Ayyubi. Such studies have provided information about the Abbasid Era in general and the Ayyubi Era in particular. Nevertheless, no particular study was dedicated to the unique relations between Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyubi, commonly known as Saladin, and the Abbasid Caliphate, significantly that the relations had been consolidated through formal correspondences through al-Ḳāḍī al-Fāḍil, the Excellent Judge, who was the vizier of Sultan Saladin.


Keywords: Saladin, Abbasid Caliphate, Al-Nāṣir Li-Dīn Allāh.



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