Nur al-Din, reputation, crusades, Muslim resistance


Though Saladin typically dominates discussion on Muslim resistance to the European Crusades, historian Carole Hillenbrand has noted that it was not Saladin but Nur al-Din Abu al-Qasim Mahmud Ibn 'lmad al-Din Zangi, hereafter Nur al-Din, who had a "reputation ... most glorious in the succeeding centuries in the Islamic world" Writing in the thirteenth century, Abu Shama noted that Saladin "modeled himself on all Nur al-Din's qualities of piety, chastity, decency, nobility and statecraft." The great Arab historian 'Ali 'izz al-Din lbn alAthir al-Jazari lbn al-Athir, known as lbn al-Athir, stated that his epitaph for Nur al-Din is written "in the hope that men in authority will read it and take him for their model." This paper explores how Nur al-Din gained such a reputation.