Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

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Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-din popularly known as Al-Afdal was one of seventeen sons of Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

. He succeeded his father as the second emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

. He was the leader of the Ayyubids in the Battle of Cresson
Battle of Cresson
The Battle of Cresson was a small battle fought on May 1, 1187, at the springs of Cresson, or 'Ain Gozeh, near Nazareth. It was a prelude to the decisive defeat of the Kingdom of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin two months later.-Background:...

.

Biography


When Saladin died in 1193, al-Afdal inherited Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, but not the rest of his father's territories; Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 was inherited by al-Aziz
Al-Aziz Uthman
Al-Malik Al-Aziz Osman bin Salahadin Yusuf was the second Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt. He was the second son of Saladin.Before his death, Saladin had divided his dominions amongst his kin: Al-Afdal received Palestine and Syria, Al-Aziz was made ruler of Egypt, Al-Zahir received Aleppo, Al-Adil...

 and Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 by az-Zahir
Malik az-Zahir
Az-Zahir Ghazi was governor and then ruler of Aleppo from 1186 to 1216. He was the third son of Saladin and his lands included northern Syria and a small part of Mesopotamia....

. He was very attached to his uncle al-Adil
Al-Adil I
Al-Adil I was an Ayyubid-Egyptian general and ruler of Kurdish descent. From his honorific "Sayf al-Din" he was sometimes known to the Frankish crusaders as "Saphadin".- Life :...

, and sought his aid at various points when he was attacked by his own brother al-Aziz. In 1196, al-Aziz lost his patience as a result of al-Afdal's incompetent reign
Reign
A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation or of a people . In most hereditary monarchies and some elective monarchies A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office...

. He allied with their brother az-Zahir, who was also al-Afdal's enemy, and they both raided Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

. Al-Afdal was later exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

d to Salkhad
Salkhad
Salkhad a Syrian city in the As Suwayda governorate, southern Syria.It is the capital of Salkhad District, one of the governorate's three districts. It has a population of 15,000 inhabitants....

, Hauran
Hauran
Hauran, , also spelled Hawran or Houran, is a volcanic plateau, a geographic area and a people located in southwestern Syria and extending into the northwestern corner of Jordan. It gets its name from the Aramaic Hawran, meaning "cave land." In geographic and geomorphic terms, its boundaries...

. There are no records of his death but it is supposed that he died there in exile in 1225.

Battle of Cresson



In 1187, al-Afdal led Saladin's forces against Gerard of Ridefort, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, at the Battle of Cresson
Battle of Cresson
The Battle of Cresson was a small battle fought on May 1, 1187, at the springs of Cresson, or 'Ain Gozeh, near Nazareth. It was a prelude to the decisive defeat of the Kingdom of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin two months later.-Background:...

. Al-Afdal's troops consisted of about 7000 men. Gerard unexpectedly ran into al-Afdal's army on May 1, and in the subsequent battle, the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s feigned a retreat, a common tactic which should not have fooled Gerard; nevertheless, he ordered a charge, against the advice of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, Roger des Moulins, and the knights were separated from the foot-soldiers. The Muslims easily repulsed a direct Christian attack, killing both the exhausted knights, and, later, the foot-soldiers.

Gerard survived but almost all the others were killed. However, according to the Itinerarium Peregrinorum, a history of the Third Crusade
Third Crusade
The Third Crusade , also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin...

 which followed the battle
Battle of Cresson
The Battle of Cresson was a small battle fought on May 1, 1187, at the springs of Cresson, or 'Ain Gozeh, near Nazareth. It was a prelude to the decisive defeat of the Kingdom of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin two months later.-Background:...

, Gerard did not rashly engage the enemy, but was actually caught unaware and was the victim of an attack himself.