Baha’ Al-Din Bin Shaddad – The Biography of Salah Al-Din Al-Ayubi

Bibliographic Information


Medieval Title:

The Biography of Salah Al-Din Al-Ayubi



Baha’ Al-Din Bin Shaddad



Late twelfth to early thirteenth century


Short Biography of Author: Baha’ al-Din Abu’l-Mahasin Yusuf ibn Rafi‘ ibn Tamim (Ibn Shaddad) was born in Mosul in 539 [1145 C.E.]. He studied Koran, Prophetic Tradition (Hadith) and Muslim law. He was a student and later an assistant professor in Nizamiyya Madrasa before returning to Mosul to become a professor there. He became a confidant of the Sultan Saladin and was appointed as the qadi al-‘askar (the judge of the army) in Jerusalem. He also held other powerful positions. He is well known for his biography of Saladin, al-Nawādir al-Sultaniyya wa’l-Maḥāsin al-Yūsufiyya (The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin). After Saladin’s death he continued to serve the Ayyūbid rulers in Aleppo until 1232. Ibn Shaddad died at the age of 89 in 632 [1234 C.E.].


Textual Information

Brief Summary:

In section 36, the narrative tells how the Cross worshippers were defeated by Salah al-Din, and how the True Cross was degraded.

In section 94, the narrative describes the negotiation between the Franks and the Muslims over the True Cross and the country, and the tension between these two parties.

In section 98, the narrative continues to tell about the tension between the Sultan and the Franks. It discusses how the Franks submitted to the Cross and praised it once it was revealed to them. The passage also tells that the Sultan refused to give the True Cross back to the Franks and kept it in his possession.

In section 109, the narrative references the intervention of a third party, the Just King Enctar, who negotiated on behalf of the Franks. Letters and messengers were sent by the Enctar, urging the Sultan to return the True Cross and Jerusalem. The passage reveals that Jerusalem and the True Cross are also valuable to the Muslims.

The section focused on the Battle of Hattin tracks, step by step, most of the Sultan’s accomplishments in the battle of Hattin. Toward the end of the passage, there is a paragraph that tells how the True Cross was removed from its place.


Relics Appearing in Text: 

True Cross


Manuscripts, Editions, and Translations



List of Editions of the Medieval Text: 

Baha’ Al-Din Bin Shaddad, Abu Al-Mahasin ed. The Biography of Sarah Al-Din Al-Ayubi: Named the Rare Sultanate and the Excellent Yusifia. Hindawi Foundation for Education and Culture, 2015.


List of Translations of the Medieval Text:

Ibn Shaddād, Bahāʼ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Rāfiʻ, and D. S. Richards. The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, or, Al-Nawādir Al-Sulṭāniyya Wa’l-Maḥāsin Al-Yūsufiyya. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002.


Original Editions/Translations We Have Produced: 

(36) The Conquest of Holy Jerusalem (May God Almighty Protect it) – Translated by Hisham Al Khatib (click here)

(94) Mention of Books Arrived from the Country – Translated by Hisham Al Khatib (click here)

(98) Ibn Bareek’s Departure – Translated by Hisham Al Khatib (click here)

(109) Mention of the Messenger of the Just King Enctar – Translated by Hisham Al Khatib (click here)

Mention of the Battle of Hattin, which is the Great Place in which God Conquered the Coast and Jerusalem – Translated by Hisham Al Khatib (click here)



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