You could say that Salah al-Din Yusuf or Saladin as he is popularly known, he was for the Muslims a great medieval hero, in the same way that for the West he could be “El Cid”, Roldán or Charlemagne himself.
The importance of Saladino in History it was to be one of the few, if not the only, medieval Muslim leader who was respected not only among the followers of Allah, but among his potential enemies in the West.
The reason for this is that Saladin was for his people a great leader, capable of unify the different peoples of Syria and Egypt in a single governmentsomething that seemed practically impossible) at the same time that he set himself up as a champion of Islam against the crusader invaders and the oppression of their wars of faith.
It was Saladin who fought fire with fire summoning his own Jihad, their own holy war, giving the armed conflict with the Crusaders a new look, a true religious war beyond the simple conquest of territories. Further, Saladino brought together certain values that made him one of those monarchs of antiquity: cultured, honest, fair, inflexible in battle and forgiving in victory. And it was precisely those virtues that earned him the respect of the West, since they embodied in those times the ideal of the perfect gentleman.
The enemy of Christendom.
At first, however, things were quite different. Saladin had defeated the great Crusader army that had maintained control of Jerusalem since his arrival in that arid land, at the Battle of Hattin. Hundreds of christian knights, a severe setback for the European forces that caused a tide of hatred and contempt towards that enemy of the "true faith”.
Saladin, oblivious to such a situation, although it had not mattered little to him to know such vicissitudes, he continued his military campaign in order to expel Christian foreigners from the lands of Islam. Thus, his second great step was to reconquer Jerusalem, the linchpin of that war. And behold, the image of the great Muslim knight silenced the West.
The Sultan of Syria conquered Jerusalem, but unlike what the Christians did in their conquest, it spared the lives of its civil inhabitants if they left the city, a noble fact that did not go unnoticed by European chroniclers.
The Third Crusade: Saladin an honorable enemy.
Upon hearing such tragic news, the Pope Urban III again summoned hundreds of knights to reclaim the Holy Sepulcher in the hands now of Saladin. The answer was immediate and a great alliance of European monarchs headed for Jerusalem. Among those men, three stood out above the rest, Frederick I of the Holy Roman Empire, the French King Philip II and the English monarch Richard I «Heart of the Lion».
Fortunately for Saladin, things got complicated for him crusader army since Frederick I He died drowned in a river in Anatolia and his army was disintegrated returning to his country, and later the disputes between the French and English monarchs were settled with the abandonment of the former, the Crusader army being drastically reduced.
The "Lion heart" He was far from being an honorable monarch, despite some English historians, having more of a hooligan than a true statesman, committing one and a thousand outrages such as the summary execution of more than 3000 Muslim prisoners before the gates of Acre, for what had soon been forgotten the gesture of the Sultan with the Christian prisoners in the reconquest of Jerusalem.
Yet Richard I and his army achieved a great victory over Saladin in the battle of Arsuf, ending the Muslim leader's streak of invincibility and eventually, though Saladin never forgive the serious fault of Ricardo with the prisoners of AcreBoth monarchs reached a point of understanding, respect, and diplomacy.
At this point it is noteworthy that when the English monarch fell ill, SaladinFar from expecting him to get sick and die, he sent his own medical team to the aid of his respected enemy. Undoubtedly, this was another of the great gestures of the Islamist leader that contributed to his favor in the chronicles of History.
Some time later, when Ricardo's pressing need to return to his old now usurped throne could have meant Saladin's unconditional victory, he again surprised with a new gesture, sitting down before his enemy and signing an armistice that would be advantageous for both. : Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control, but Christians were given the right to pilgrimage and pray freely in Jerusalem.