Biography Abdul Rahman Azzam Saladin

ISBN 13: 9781405807364

Saladin

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9781405807364: Saladin

Like Alexander or Caesar, the name of Saladin – the greatest figure of Islamic history – has a timeless quality. As famous today as he was when he drove the Crusaders out of Jerusalem, the real Saladin has dissolved into legend with each generation’s retelling of his story. Through the ages he has made many numerous appearances in both classic and popular culture: Dante placed him in the first circle of Hell with the heroes of Troy and Rome while Rex Harrison played him as a cad in the film King Richard and the Crusaders. In Youssef Chahine’s epic film Saladin, he emerged as a hero of Arab socialism, and he has even made an appearance in an episode of Dr Who. Even today, Saladin’s historical influence continues with Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi all claiming to be his military and spiritual heir.

 

To understand the real Saladin, however, A. R. Azzam argues that we must place him within his historical setting amidst the 10th century Sunni Revival - the powerful and sweeping intellectual renaissance which would ultimately transform every field of Islamic thought. Making a compelling case against accepted orthodoxy, this ground-breaking biography contends that Saladin was not the brilliant military commander of popular imagination but that, in fact, his true greatness lay in his spiritual 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 without bloodshed. Yet despite being one of the most powerful men in Islam, Saladin died a pauper in 1193 without even enough money for straw to line his coffin.

 

The first major biography of Saladin for twenty years, and the first by a Muslim historian to appear in English, 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.

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From the Back Cover:

Saladin was an outsider with a life full of paradoxes. Famed for driving the Crusaders out of Jerusalem, he became the most powerful man in the Islamic Empire. Yet he died penniless, without enough money even to line his coffin.

In this ground-breaking new biography, A. R. Azzam uncovers the real Saladin by placing him in historical context amidst the 10th and 11th century Sunni Revival – the powerful and sweeping intellectual renaissance, which would ultimately transform every field of Islamic thought. Azzam contends that Saladin was not the brilliant military commander of popular imagination but that his true greatness lay in his political and spiritual vision.

This book tells his fascinating and complex story.

About the Author:

Dr Abdul Rahman Azzam obtained his doctorate in Islamic Studies from Oxford University and is the author of several books. His background as an Oxford scholar and a Muslim, with access to both original Arabic and western sources, has given him a uniquely authoritative perspective on Saladin and the Islamic world of the period.

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Azzam, Abdul Rahman
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