Osama Bin Laden and Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn

A shameless theft of an idea from the time travel post in the Naafi bar; I was wondering what Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn (Saladin) would make of Osama Bin Laden.

As a young man, I was facinated by the Crusades and Saladin in particular. The version I was taught at the time (late 1970s/ early eighties grammar school) was that Saladin was a great warrior/ leader but a peaceful (in the context of the day) and honourable man. I have read a few boks on the subject more recently and haven't seen anything to seriously undermine that opinion and am facinated by the fact that the Christians, Jews and Muslims etc in the Middle East at that time were living pretty harmoniously together until greedy powermongers decided to interfere and create problems for everyone.

I'm no scholar, but I would be interested to know how people on here believe Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn would view Osama Bin Laden and the modern day muslim 'extremeists'. From the little I know, I think he would probably have him executed for bringing shame on the name of Islam. Discuss...
I don't know much about this, so I'm really quoting (or misquoting) Terry Jones, who did a series on the Crusades in 1995; he's also famous from Monty Python and for his achievement in having directed 3 of the 4 films that have been banned in Ireland).

Saladin is revered in the Christian world (Jones said), but the Muslim leader from the era of the crusades who is most admired by Muslims is Baibars. Baibars' best know victory was the seige of Antioch in 1268, in which he assured the Christian defenders and civilians of safe passage and then slaughtered or enslaved all of them. Maybe bin Laden modelled himself on Baibars.

If they'd ever met, I'd guess bin Laden would send an emissary to agree a meeting; the emissary poisons Saladin (or blows him up), allowing bin Laden to take control and impose his hard-line intolerant policies. In reality, the Sultan was usually suceeded by his killer, so it isn't that implausible.
For some obscure reason the name of King Richard came up one night in the Mess bar, Detmold, mid 80's.
Our barman, Lebanese by birth, told us that he was known as Amalik Rick and that his name was used to scare Muslim kids.
Richard the Lionheart was a bogyman for they still told the tale of how he had massacred prisoners after one battle.
Saladin would kick Osama's face off.
I doubt they would have got on at all. Saladin does not give much evidence of having been a great believer in restoring the universal caliphate, but rather was an opportunistic empire builder in his own right.

He was also very careful in observing Islamic niceties - giving up alcohol once he rose to a leadership role, going out of his way not to be the aggressor against his former master Nur ad-Din, and generally being chivalrous even to Franks unless they had caused the offence first - thus most of his killings of Frankish prisoners were either reprisals for Crusader massacres, or targeted on those who had by their previous actions put themselves beyond the pale such as Reynald and the Military Orders.

Not much evidence of him using underhand methods unless one suspects him of poisoning the caliph al-Adid, and asymmetric warfare from the Assassins quickly put him off his conventional assault on their strongholds.

Certainly over-rated in the West as the "perfect knight" by the likes of Sir Walter Scott and Kaiser Willy, and only resurrected as a Muslim hero by dictators such as Saddam and Nasser for their own selfish reasons - Saddam came from Tikrit like Saladin, conveniently forgetting the latter's Kurdish blood, whilst for Nasser he was the one imperialist Muslim who had successfully used Egypt as the powerbase for unifying under a common leader the Near East.

But in my view, the bottom line is that he was very much the pragmatist, prepared to cut deals with anyone, including both Richard and the Old Man of the Mountains, who was similarly versed in realpolitik. Someone like UBL would scare him (just as did the zealots of the crusading Military Orders) by his sheer implacable hatred for anyone not made in his image.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
N The NAAFI Bar 0
E The Intelligence Cell 36

Similar threads

Latest Threads