Saladin the Magnificent !!

We all have our heroes.  Some we all agree are heroes and others we disagree.  Some we love and some we love to hate but heroes they are nevertheless.  One of these heroes to Muslims is Saladin.  And he is also a hero to some Christians as well.  However you perceive of him Saladin exhibited proper virtues of the Muslim man.  He was benevolent and he was respected by both Muslims and Christians in his time.

Salahuddin Ayyubi is the man we know in the West today as Saladin.  He defeated the Christian Crusaders and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem in 1187 A.D.  Jerusalem had fallen to the Crusaders in 1099 A.D.  When the Crusaders took Jerusalem they slaughtered the inhabitants including fellow Christians living in the holy city and also Muslims and Jews!  They did this even after the Crusaders promised them safe refuge.  In contrast, when Saladin recaptured Jerusalem he did not slaughter Muslims, Christians, or Jews but indeed gave them refuge and safety.

Saladin was a devout Muslim who adhered to the teachings of true Islam.  His noble act of not slaughtering the people of Jerusalem when he retook the city won him respect and even admiration from Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike.  The Crusader King Richard the Lion Heart admired Saladin who was his opponent on the battlefield for Saladin’s generosity and sense of honor and chivalry.

Saladin was of Kurdish blood as was Persia’s Cyrus the Great.  Saladin was born in the city of Tikrite in what is today Iraq near the Tigris River in 1137 AD.  His father, Ayyub, had been appointed by the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, al Mustarshid, as the Governor of the town.  Ayyub was skilled in administration and diplomacy and he passed those skills on to his son Saladin.  His father was named to several other government and military posts so Saladin grew up in circles in which political and military decisions were made.  He learned Arabic and poetry and memorized the Qur’an and the Hadith.

Saladin became a man early in life.  Sultan Nur al Din named Saladin an Emir (prince) and became Saladin’s mentor.  Saladin learned to appreciate wisdom and justice along with beauty and diversity.  He learned of the Sultan’s desire to unite the Ummah (Muslim believers) into one Muslim state and came to share the Sultan’s desire.

Serving in the Muslim military, Saladin learned quickly the military lessons.  He learned to employ diplomacy and administrative skills to unite people the Sultan had given him charge over.  He gave each situation his full attention and he never burned his bridges diplomatically.  He acquired great wealth but remained humble and lived simply.  Power and position did not explode his ego for he knew himself to fully be a servant of Allah (God) and that everything belonged to Allah including his wealth and power.  He gave away much of his wealth helping his people and when Saladin died he only had a few Dinars!

When Saladin recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem and drove out the Christian Crusaders he did not loot the city nor did he murder the people there nor seek to exact revenge.  He spared the lives of 100,000 Christians and allowed the Christian pilgrims into the city after he recaptured it and put it back under Muslim control.  By doing so Saladin emulated the example set for all Muslims by the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) when he reentered Mecca with 10,000 Muslim followers and there was no bloodshed, revenge, or looting.  For Saladin, the Prophet was his example and ideal in his own life as he should be for every Muslim especially males.

In the Peace Treaty agreed upon by Saladin and Richard the Lion Heart, Saladin showed great mercy and generosity to the defeated Crusaders.  He did not kill the surviving Crusaders but gave them safe passage out of Jerusalem and sent them on their way home back to Europe.  Thus he forbid a bloodbath and he demanded no ransom from Europe’s Christian Kingdoms either.  It was during this time that Saladin echoed some wise and powerful words to the world for all ages.  He said this:

“Victory is changing the hearts of your opponents by gentleness and kindness.”

Saladin was wise and compassionate.  There is a story involving a toothless old man at the siege of Acre in which several Crusader soldiers were captured by Muslim armies.  The man was so old that he could hardly walk.  Saladin asked the old man why he was there and the old man told him he wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem.  Saladin gave the old man a horse and had some of the Muslim soldiers escort him all the way to Jerusalem so the old man could fulfill his pilgrmiage!

Saladin was a man of HONOR.  His word was his bond.  He knew that a man was only as good as his word.  That if a man’s word was no good, the man was no good.  In his days a man’s honor was everything and people had no respect or tolerance for men of dishonor.  Muslims, Jews, and Christians admired Saladin in his time because he was an honorable leader and man.  The Crusaders soon discovered that true Muslims have values similar to Christians and Jews and Saladin’s chivalry soon became popular and legendary throughout Europe being acted out in various plays and written about in European literature.

For more detail on Saladin and his virtues see:

Today Saladin provides an excellent example and ideal for Muslim men.  He is a hero that we should emulate in his virtues as we should the Prophet (pbuh).  Muslims are not boogey men nor barbarians.  We are men and women of honor and we should act like such!


The Truly Muslim Man !!

Selfishness and egotism are NOT traits of a truly Muslim man!  Playing the role of gangsta or terrorist are NOT traits of a truly Muslim man either!  True Muslims know that things such as egotism and selfishness are spiritual sicknesses and they want nothing to do with them.

Imran Abbas
Imran Abbas

The truly Muslim man lives the values of the Koran.  He just doesn’t think about them, talk about them,  or believe them.  He practices them daily in his own life.  Such a man is a man who strives to tame his earthly desires as he is one who works towards self discipline in body, in his thoughts, and in his emotions.  He is not selfish but self-LESS as he thinks of others and not only of himself.  He is a wise man and a man with dignity.  He is a man who acts with compassion and understanding not out of ignorance and unbridled emotion.  The truly Muslim man is the man who worships God without fear and in humbleness.  He seeks to teach and educate others in righteousness.  He takes care of himself and others as best he can within his means.  He is clean and dignified and respectful of others.  He is not materialistic.  His values include truth, justice, beauty, love, affection, compassion, and respect.  He seeks to liberate people who are oppressed and to raise up the spirits of those who are in despair.  He has a great love for God.

The truly Muslim man does NOT seek to impose himself or his will on others!  The idea of dominating others and disrespecting them is alien to him.  He responds to people’s needs and treats them with kindness and dignity.  He empathizes with others and treats the needy and less fortunate with respect and love not contempt and hate.  He is giving, merciful, and forgiving.  He does NOT seek to treat others with cruelty or selfishness.  He is good to his parents, relatives, and others.  He is not a man who sits around complaining and gossiping but is a man of action who gets things done the RIGHT way.  He is not vain or boastful about himself or his achievements in life.

The true Muslim man is one who is unafraid to talk to people.  He is trustful and trustworthy as his word is his bond, literally.  He does not use empty words but thinks before he speaks and every word he speaks is with intention.  He is one who KNOWS that Faith Perfects One’s Behavior!  He is a man of conscience and seeks to always behave his best being most considerate, trust inspiring, and tolerant.  His own personal example inspires others to be like him.  He is a man of merit and integrity and he works to free not enslave others.  He is altruistic, loving, and kind.  He is strong in body, mind, and spirit.  He knows he has the potential to be ruthless but he normally chooses to be firm and disciplined avoiding outrage and rage.  He knows himself to be a servant of the Lord.  He knows himself to be a Khalifa (Caliph) meaning a “representative of God Himself.”  He takes responsibility for himself, his actions, his words, and his feelings and avoids engaging in the “blame game.”

The true Muslim man honors life.  He does not go to and fro killing nor does he go to and fro berating others or putting them down for the sake of building himself up.  He knows his own strengths and weaknesses.  He is a man of honor not dishonor.  He has faith in God and seeks to do what is right in al things.  He does not associate with those that are not like him because he knows well the poison such people have and spread in the world today.  He is a man of common sense and does not argue endlessly with others.  He is a man who truly IS his brothers keeper!  He is a man who is extremely thankful to God even if he has but only a little.  He doesn’t hoard possessions but most often gives them away.  He is a man of conscience and one who shares freely and without conditions.

This is the truly Muslim man.  This is also the truly Muslim woman.  And this is also the true Christian and Jewish man or woman!  This is how God wants us to be.  He does NOT want us to be selfish, arrogant, or egotistical.  Those things are not only moral sickness but they are also spiritual sickness that destroys a society and the individual.  The TRUE BELIEVER whatever his or her faith has no use for egotism, arrogance, or selfishness!


Traits of the Truly Muslim Man—-

Lives the values of the Quran (love, compassion, mercy)
Self disciplined in body, mind, and spirit
Teaches others
Cares for self and others
Respectful of God and other people as well as self
Values truth, justice, beauty, love, affection, compassion, and respect
Seeks to liberate and not enslave people
Greatly loves God before all else
Does not seek to impose himself or his will on others unjustly
Responds to peoples needs
Treats others with dignity
Has compassion for the needy and weak
He is giving, forgiving, merciful
He is a good father and son
Doesn’t complain or engage in gossip
A man of action
Does not boast about himself
Unafraid to talk to people
His word is his bond
Strong in body, mind, and spirit
Firm and disciplined in his thoughts and actions
Knows he is a servant of God
Takes responsibility for his actions and himself
Avoids engaging in the blame game
Uses common sense
A man of conscience
Does the right thing
Has no tolerance for arrogance