You saved the “Al-Aqsa Mosque, which… is the first of the two qiblahs, the second of the two mosques, and the third of the two sanctuaries…. Blessed are you from an army on whose hands prophetic miracles and early battles appeared, and the righteous moments and age conquests, and the Ottoman armies and the Alawite battles! And the Khalidi attacks, so may God reward you on behalf of his Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the best reward, and thank you for the joy you have made in fighting the enemies!!

These phrases came in the "sermon of conquest" delivered by the judge of judges, Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-Zaki al-Shafi'i (d. 598 AH / 1105 AD) in the presence of Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (d. 589 AH / 1193 AD), on the first Friday held at Al-Aqsa Mosque after its liberation from the Crusaders in the year 583 AH / 1187 AD.

But what is the story of this conquest and the subsequent conquests?

What is the story of the great war of liberation, which spanned two whole centuries, in which the banner was handed over from one generation to the next?

What are the political, military and religious factors that shaped the features of that great civilized resistance?

This article - which comes on the occasion of the 950 AH anniversary of the start of the Crusader occupation of the region and 750 years after its purification - attempts to answer these questions;

The story of the war of liberation was not the story of a single king or the story of a single people. Rather, it is a great epic whose lines and threads gradually coalesced. Its first manifestation was the firing of the trigger of the pockets of resistance at the moment of persecution, declaring that the nation decided not to admit defeat at the time of defeat!

to meet the intrusive Crusader challenge;

Long-term plans were drawn up for a nation that should be liberated in the fields of consciousness first before the battlefields, with a broad understanding of the contents of liberation, the highest of which was monotheism and its fruit was liberation. Zangi in the Levant who developed a "road map" for liberation that begins with the unification of the Islamic forces in Levant and Egypt after the liquidation of the weak political outposts, and is reinforced by the idea of ​​religious, sectarian, and comprehensive developmental reform based on empowering reformed scholars and loyal experts.

Then the Zanki influence extended with the Ayyubids, who planted the roots of this project in Egypt within the most dangerous process of historical transformation.

This means fortifying the issue of Jerusalem in the hearts of Muslims with deep spiritual and religious care.

Despite the setbacks and the renewal of the liberation battle, the battle for liberation witnessed setbacks;

It continued its march with considerable momentum until the Mamluk state took over its banner, so its leaders built on the grand, sequential plan, leading to the total resolution of the conflict.

Thus, the resistance activity of successive generations and actions;

The Arab and Islamic region in Levant and Egypt was purified from the Crusader occupation for nearly five centuries, until the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (d. 1236 AH / 1821 AD) himself begged to renew his country’s habit of fueling the Crusades with his campaign on Egypt and the coasts of the Levant in 1212 AH / 1797 AD.

This was not really strange to the French, as "the First Crusade was for the most part [other than] a French adventure";

As the American historian of civilizations Will Durant (d. 1402 AH / 1981 AD) says in 'The Story of Civilization'.

Likewise, the Israeli occupation of Palestine today is nothing but a “Western adventure”, in which the Zionist cunning took the place of the Crusader plot and imitated it in the ways of extension and the means of supply!!

Therefore, the story of this great war of liberation is an inspiring epic in its indication of the ways of acquiring the elements of victory, the factors of overcoming the paths of defeat, and the statement that the projects of the renaissance of the nation may differ in their details, awareness and endeavor, but they agree in substance and content: unification and liberation!!

A chaotic scene

during the half century that preceded the attack of the Crusader occupation of large areas of the geography of the Arab Islamic Mashreq (440-490 AH/1049-1099 AD);

The political scene in this region was characterized by chaos, rivalry and division.

At the beginning of that era, the Buyid state that controlled Iraq disappeared, and its place was replaced by the Seljuk state, which soon became a sprawling state extending from Central Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean.

As for Egypt, at that time, it was subject to the rule of the Fatimid caliphs, whose fates were destined to be - like their Abbasid counterparts - a puppet in the hands of those who were later known as "the great ministers", which is what the Seljuks aspired to wrest the Levant from them before the powerful Fatimid minister Afzal Al-Jamali, the Armenian (d. 515 AH). / 1121 AD) from the restoration of control over Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif in 491 AH/1098 AD;

That is, one year before the arrival of the First Crusade.

The success of the Seljuks in reviving the power of the Muslims and their expansion at the expense of the Byzantines - after annihilating their army in the Battle of Manzikert in 463 AH / 1071 AD - led to a violent shock in the European world;

This necessitated - among other reasons - declaring a crusade against the Islamic East, benefiting from the state of rupture and weakness that hit the countries of Islam in the sides of its vital triangle: Iraq, the Levant and Egypt.

It was remarkable that this

crusade attack on the East

coincided with the Spanish “Wars of Reconquista” in Andalusia, whose first results were the fall of the city of Toledo in 478 AH/1085 AD, and the Norman Christians completed their control of the island of Sicily in 484 AH/1091 AD after their inauguration of its occupation in 444 AH/1053AD.

Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Sulami al-Dimashqi (d. 500 AH / 1106 AD) - in his book 'Jihad', which he wrote shortly after the Crusaders took control of Jerusalem to awaken the nation to defend its homelands and sanctities - noticed this strange coincidence;

He said: “So a group (= of the Crusaders) settled on the island of Sicily at a time when its people differed and competed, and they owned the same country after country in Andalusia. Their intentions to go out to it, and Jerusalem was the end of their aspirations from it!!

In the context of this atmosphere for the local and regional scene, and on November 27, 1095 AD (= Dhul-Qa’dah 488 AH);

The Pope of the Catholic Church Urban II (d. 492 AH / 1099 AD) gave a religious sermon in Latin at the Clermont Abbey in southern France that resonated throughout the ages, so that historian Will Durant describes it - in the 'Civilization Story' - as "the strongest and most influential sermons in the history of the Middle Ages." !!

Multiple ambitions and

in his sermon;

The Pope called on the people of Europe to launch an armed campaign under the slogan "the cross" to rescue their brothers in Byzantium from the "Turks", and to "liberate" the holy countries from the clutches of the "infidels" Muslims.

The historian and priest who participated in the First Crusade, Foucheh al-Shartri (d. 521 AH / 1127 AD), transmits to us in his history the sermon of Urban;

It was what it said:

"You must hurry to extend a helping hand to your brothers living in the East... The Turks attacked them, as many of you know, and advanced into the Roman lands (= Byzantine in Anatolia) until they reached that part of the Mediterranean.. They snatched little by little from the lands of Christians, as they have defeated them in seven battles so far... So - and with a humble prayer - I, rather, God - and not I - urges you, soldiers of Christ, to exhort men of whatever ranks - knights or infantry, rich or poor - to hurry to crush them. This vile race of our lands!!

When the historian Durant stopped at the most important motives for the Crusades;

He summarized it in three direct reasons: “[The] first..: is the advance of the Seljuk Turks..; the second..: the very dangerous weakness that befell the Byzantine Empire..; [the] third..: is the desire of the Italian cities— Pisa, Genoa, Venice, and Amalfi - in the expansion of their ever-increasing field of commercial power.

Therefore, Durant decides that "the Crusades...were - in one respect - colonial wars seeking conquest and commercial gains"!!

In light of those political and economic motives and the accompanying

emotional charge and massive religious incitement


Pope Urban's call resonated in central and western Europe, so the hordes of the first crusade poured into the Islamic East, and it and the subsequent campaigns succeeded - with remarkable disparity - in consolidating its occupation of the Levant and its coasts for two whole centuries, in which they established four Crusader principalities:

The Emirate of Edessa in the north of the Euphrates Peninsula between Aleppo and Mosul (founded 491 AH/1098 AD);

Then the Emirate of Antioch (491 AH/1098 AD), and the Emirate of Tripoli (503 AH/1109 AD);

And they made these Emirates subordinate to a higher entity, which they called "Kingdom of Bait Al-Maqdis", which they announced its founding on Ramadan 2, 492 AH/July 22, 1099 CE.

Thus began the era of the Crusader occupation, which we do not present here for details of its facts and atrocities as much as we stop at the landmarks and features of what it required of a great resistance project extending through generations to confront it and liberate it, and how the leadership of this resistance - in which princes, scholars and the public joined forces - moved from Mosul in Iraq, to Aleppo and Damascus in the Levant, and then finally to Cairo in Egypt, where the military capacity and political will have the potential to resolve the conflict.

A submerged station

The first thing that draws attention is that the project of the Islamic resistance to the European Crusader occupation was a comprehensive project that came to work and supported by all in Anatolia, Iraq, the Levant and Egypt, the regions that were - through different eras and successive countries - in a continuous and direct confrontation with the Crusaders known historically as "the Franks." ".

It is true that the project of this resistance was not harmonious or in accordance with a specific coordination until the emergence of the powerful governors of Mosul, such as Mawdud bin Altontekin (d. 507 AH / 1113 AD) since the year 503 AH / 1109 AD, then his successor Aqsunqur al-Bursuqi (d. 520 AH / 1126 AD) since the year 507 AH / 1113 AD, then Imad al-Din Zangi (died 569 AH / 1173 AD);

But the reality is that the project of resistance has been burning since the Crusaders landed in the Levant, specifically since the year 493 AH / 1100 AD, as we will see next.

Suleiman bin Qutlamesh the Seljuk - the founding sultan of the Anatolian Seljuks - was killed in the year 479 AH/1087 AD by his cousin Tutsh, the son of Sultan Alp Arslan (d. 487 AH/1094 AD) in a civil battle near Aleppo;

His killing led to entering the country of the Romans (= Anatolia) in an internal conflict that the Crusaders exploited when they entered Anatolia and crushed the Seljuks in the battles of Dorollium (= the city of Eskişehir), Nicaea and others in the years 490-491 AH/1097-1098 AD, then they advanced towards the Levantine coast and occupied it up to Al-Quds Al-Sharif in 492AH/1099AD.

Despite the enormity of these events;

Its results led to the emergence of an emirate for a Turkmen dynasty that originally came with the Seljuk conquest of Anatolia by Sultan Alp Arslan (d. 465 AH/1073 AD) after the Battle of Manzikert in 463 AH/1071AD.

The hero of this dynasty was the Turkmen prince Kumshmand bin Daneshmand Taylo (d. 499 AH / 1106 AD), who is close to Sultan Suleiman bin Qatammash, but “he was told Ibn al-Danishmand because his father [Taylo] was a teacher of the Turkmen and things changed with him until he became king” of areas of eastern and central Anatolia;

According to the historian Ibn al-Atheer (d. 630 AH / 1233 AD) in 'Al-Kamil'.

The most dangerous stronghold of the Crusaders near the Daneshmandi area was the Emirate of Antioch, led by Bohemand I (d. 505 AH / 1111 AD), whom Islamic sources call “Baymand”, and he wished himself to expand his emirate by annexing the northern parts of the Levant, including Aleppo and Azaz, and this plan began in 493 AH / 1100 AD when " Baymand, king of the Franks, owner of Antioch, went out to the fortress of Apamea and encamped there.

According to Ibn al-Qalansi (d. 555 AH / 1160 AD) in 'The History of Damascus'.

Kumushtekin bin Danimchand realized the danger of the Crusaders' seizure of Aleppo and its vicinity;

It will be followed by their annexation of Muslim areas in northern Iraq and Anatolia.

For this reason, Kumshakin developed a clever war plan, which is to besiege the city of Malatya in southern Anatolia, which was ruled by the Armenians under the leadership of Gabriel the Armenian (d. after 493 AH / 1100 AD), allied with Bohemund, the Crusader prince of Antioch;

As a complainant, he was aware that Gabriel would appeal to Bohemund, which was confirmed by Ibn Al-Atheer by saying: "And its owner (= Malatya) had written it (= Bohmendo) and Ford brought him to him in five thousand" fighters.

Encirclement and encirclement

Prepared as complainants for the advent of his enemy Bohemand I, the prince of Antioch in his military faction. Unfortunately for Prince Bohemand, he "fallen because of his sins into the hands of his enemy, so he tied him in chains, and that was a victory for Danshmand";

According to the historian of the Crusaders, William Al-Suri (d. 582 AH / 1186 AD) in his history of the Crusades.

The capture of Bohemand I - one of the great princes of the Crusaders and the leader of their first campaign - was a great disaster that soon reached Europe;

Pope Pascal II (d. 512 AH / 1118 AD) called for the necessity of moving to save him, so the crowds in Italy, France and Germany moved to rescue him and respond to the insult that the Turks had inflicted on them, one year after their occupation of Jerusalem and the most important centers of the Levantine coast!!

And about their movement and the confrontation of the Daneshmandians with it;

Ibn al-Atheer tells us - in al-Kamil - by saying that in Dhul-Qa’dah 493 AH / 1100 AD, “seven Qamaseh (= princes) of the Franks arrived from the sea and wanted to liberate Baymand, so they came to a fortress called Ankore [Ankara], so they took it and killed the Muslims in it.., So Ibn Danshmand gathered a lot and met the Franks (in the area of ​​MERZİFON).. No one escaped from the Franks, and they were three hundred thousand!!

Latin historians confirm the correctness of these numbers, and some historians consider that the defeat of Mercivan - or Mirzefum - in northern Anatolia as a "second" crusade, whose importance historians ignored, and did not pay attention to the strength of the Danish Muslim Turkmen in it.

Ibn al-Atheer adds that as complainants took advantage of the defeat of his enemies, he marched “to Malatya, so he owned it and captured its owner (= Gabriel the Armenian), then the Franks’ soldiers came out to him from Antioch, met them and broke them, and these facts were in recent months!!

He also realized, as complainants, the seriousness of the Crusaders’ campaigns, whose masses followed by tens of thousands, wanted to occupy Anatolia, and that the conflict between the Turkish brothers - the Daneshendians and the Seljuks of Rome - had to end to ensure that the dangers were overcome;

He sent to Sultan Qilj Arslan bin Suleiman bin Qalmmash al-Saljuqi (d. 501 AH/1107 AD) extending to him the hand of cooperation and unity in the face of this enemy, and Qilj agreed to that offer.

Thus, when the Crusaders arrived in Konya - the capital of the Seljuks - they found an Islamic alliance between the Turkish princes who "all stalked the Crusaders near Herakla (east of Konya), and when the Turks pounced on the Crusaders in early September 1101 AD (Dhul-Qa'dah 494 AH) they exterminated the Crusader army first. from another, and only a few were able to escape with difficulty.”

According to what the historian Saeed Ashour (d. 1430 AH / 2009 AD) reported - in his book 'The Crusade Movement' - about the Latin sources.

Thus, the brilliant victories of the Daneshmandi Turks and the Seljuks of Rome against the Crusaders led to the cessation of the Crusades for half a century, and their victories led to the revival of the spirit of Islamic resistance in Iraq and the Levant at an early stage of the Crusader occupation, and made the northern regions of Anatolia a safe environment capable of impeding the flow of the Crusader enemy overland through it to the south;

So Europe was compelled to support and supply its sons in the Levant through seas only.

Failed regimes

The interior of the Levant - after the Crusaders seized most of the coasts from Antioch in the north to Ashkelon in the south, as well as Palestine - was under the rule of the Seljuks of Levant (471-511 AH/1078-1117 AD);

Radwan bin Tuch bin Alp Arslan (d. 507 AH / 1113 AD) ruled Aleppo and its surroundings, and his brother Duqaq bin Tatch (d. 497 AH / 1104 AD) ruled Damascus and its possessions, and they were in a constant struggle for influence and sovereignty between the north and south of the Levant, which alienated the Levant from the arena Resistance action for nearly two decades.

Radwan was known - in general - for adopting a reckless policy and evasive opportunism. Ibn al-Atheer tells us about some aspects of it, saying: "Radwan's affairs were not commendable...and he used esotericism in many of his affairs due to his lack of religion!"

He was also famous for his submissive relationship with the Crusaders, including that he often "wrote to Tankari (d. 506 AH / 1112 AD), the owner of Antioch... and asked him for the victory" to win his conflicts with his neighbors of the Turkish princes.

As for his brother Duqaq, he was weak in politics throughout his rule, and he was afflicted with “a disease that afflicted him and died from it.. So [Zahir al-Din] you were overwhelmed (Al-Buri d. 522 AH / 1128 AD) at that time over Damascus” as the commander of its army, so he took it as an emirate for himself and bequeathed it to his successor;

According to Ibn Asaker (d. 571 AH / 1175 AD) in 'The History of Damascus'.

Thus began the rule of the Buri dynasty in Damascus until the year 549 AH / 1154 AD, and the founder of their emirate Tughatkin contributed to confronting the Crusaders adjacent to them in Palestine and the coasts of the Levant. 1117 AD)" the Crusader;

According to Al-Dhahabi (d. 748 AH / 1347 AD) in 'Sir Al-Alam Al-Nubala'.

He adds that in the following year, "Tughtekin marched in two thousand and met the Franks, and his group was defeated and he was steadfast, then they retreated to him and were victorious" over the Crusader camp.

If the Seljuks and their princes in Anatolia and the Levant had participated in confronting the Crusader tide, and had repelled many of their raids on Islamic villages and cities, trade and pilgrimage caravans;

The Seljuk sultans of Iraq and their senior military leaders had their strong contribution in this field. Indeed, historians consider the "Atabek of Mosul" to be the major starting point that worked to liberate the Levant from the clutches of this occupation, and then based on its efforts in the Levant, the subsequent stages of liberation in which it contributed Egypt and ended with the liquidation of the Crusader presence.

A disruptive struggle

. The truth is that the years following the death of the famous Sultan Malikshah bin Alp Arslan in 485 AH/1092 AD, and until the death of his son Sultan Barkiaruq in 497 AH / 1104 AD;

It was a grinding civil conflict between the sons of Malikshah over the throne of the Sultanate, unfortunate circumstances that the Crusaders exploited to occupy the Levant and Jerusalem and commit atrocities.

The historian Ibn al-Atheer - in his book 'Al-Kamil' - expressed with his usual skill the relationship between the success of the Crusader invasion and the conflict between Muslim kings;

He said: "The sultans disagreed, so the Franks gained control of the country!"

He also said - observing the results of this on

the Islamic public opinion

at the time - that "when the Franks extended their possessions from the lands of Islam, and it was agreed for them to engage the soldiers and kings of Islam by fighting each other, at that time the Muslims' opinions were divided, the desires differed, and the money was torn apart!!"

After years of internal Seljuk fighting, the two parties to the conflict reached an agreement in 496 AH / 1103 AD based on the division of the territories of their sultanate.

Among that is what Sadr al-Din al-Husseini (d. 622 AH / 1225 AD) told us - in the 'Akhbar of the Seljuk State' - that the two parties "termed that Sultan Muhammad (Ben Malikshah, d. 511 AH / 1117 AD) would have beyond the White River (located in northern Iran) with Mosul and Sham.

Sultan Ghayath al-Din Muhammad bin Malikshah - and after him his two rival sons: Mahmoud (d. 525 AH / 1131 AD) and Masoud (d. 547 AH / 1152 AD) - tried to strengthen the power of the Emirates affiliated with them in those areas, especially the Atabiya of Mosul, which remained - starting from the mandate of its leader The strength of the state, Karabagh / Karboka (d. 495 AH / 1102 AD) - has led the efforts that confronted the Crusaders, since their attack on Antioch in 491 AH / 1098 AD.

Ibn al-Adim (d. 660 AH / 1262 AD) says in 'The Butter of Aleppo in the History of Aleppo': "When the Franks came... in Antioch, they made a trench between them and al-Balad (= Medina) due to the raids of the Antioch military on them and the large number of victory over them... Karboka gathered a great army and cut off Euphrates" to fight the Crusaders.

Thus, we find that Karabugha - the emir of Mosul before the Seljuks - was the leading contributor to the defense of Antioch before its fall.

Karabagha was succeeded by Prince Jakarmish the Turk (d. 500 AH / 1106 AD), who was not prevented by his bloody conflict with the Turkmen Artaqa Emirate - in Diyarbakir and the north of the Euphrates Island - led by Suqman bin Artaq (d. 497 AH / 1104 AD) from allying with him to confront the Crusaders in Edessa (= Turkish Urfa). today) and Antioch;

When they wanted to occupy Harran (today's southern Turkey), "each of them sent to his companion inviting him to meet to avoid the matter of Harran, and informing him that he had sacrificed himself to God Almighty and His reward";

According to Ibn al-Athir.

And when the battle took place, the Muslims defeated the Crusaders, “so they killed them as they wanted, and the hands of the Turkmen were filled with spoils.” Baldwin I (d. 512 AH / 1118 AD) - who was the Emir of the Crusader Emirate of Edessa - fell into captivity after he was “defeated in a group of their shirts (= their princes).”

A remarkable transformation

. Thus, Harran escaped from the Crusader occupation thanks to the cooperation and union between the Atabeg of Mosul and the Artaqa Emirate in Diyarbakir, who were politically subordinate to the Sultan of the Seljuks, and thus also the resistance effort shifted from the margins in Anatolia to the center in the Levant and the Euphrates Island.

According to the British historian William Baron Stephenson (d. 1374 AH / 1954 AD) - in his book 'The Crusades in the East' - the Battle of Harran - or Al-Balekh - resulted in "results of a very important level, it stopped the crusaders' advance towards the East, and destroyed their hopes for progress." towards Iraq, and the completion of their control over the territory of the Euphrates Island, and also disappointed the aspirations of Bohemand to control Aleppo and transform the Emirate of Antioch into a large state, and encouraged Radwan [Ben Touch, Prince of Aleppo] to carry out a series of attacks on the sites surrounding Aleppo, during which he was able to expel them from it with the help of Its people are Muslims who attacked their Crusader rulers.”

And the "Atabeg of Mosul" (and its military guardians) - after Jarkamish - continued to confront the Crusaders in the north and south of the Levant, headed by the two leaders, Gauli Saqawa (d. 502 AH / 1108 AD) and Mawdud bin Altontekin.

The latter is considered one of the senior Mujahideen Turkish princes;

Mawdud realized the danger of the Crusader Emirate of Edessa in the north of the Levant, and considered it the most important obstacle to the liberation project, so he besieged it repeatedly.

In the year 503 AH / 1109 AD, Sultan Muhammad bin Malikshah ordered the Emir of Mosul, Mawdud, the Emir of Armenia, Suqman al-Qutbi (d. 504 AH / 1110 AD), and the Emir of Diyarbakir Ilghazi bin Artaq (d. 516 AH / 1122 AD) “to march in the soldiers to the Frankish jihad and to protect the country of Mosul.., And the Muslims gathered in a number that not all the Franks would meet, and the opinions were agreed on the opening of jihad with the intention of seducing and harassing it until God facilitates its opening by virtue of its immunity and prohibition,” according to what Ibn al-Qalanisi mentions in “The History of Damascus.”

And if the Crusaders' union - in the north and south of the Levant - was able to lift this siege on Edessa and its inhabitants, "most of them were Christians," according to al-Dhahabi in "History of Islam";

The mere fact of concluding an alliance between the Islamic forces aimed at “opening the jihad with the intention of escaping” was a great achievement, and gave a strong indication that the Islamic party in the conflict had regained the initiative, and signaled the transition of the military effort of resistance from a state of defense to a position of attack.

A New Star

The Atabegah of Mosul - since Karbuga and Jarmashm - contributed to the upbringing and rehabilitation of Imad al-Din Zangi because he was the only son of their friend Qassem al-Dawla Aqsunqur al-Turkmani (d. 487 AH/1094 AD) "and he was ten years old when his father was killed";

According to Golden in the 'History of Islam'.

And about that relationship between Imad al-Din and the sponsors of his upbringing from his father’s friends;

Ibn al-Atheer tells us - in his book 'The Brilliant History' - saying: "When [Karbugha] owned the country (= Mosul) he brought the Mamluks of Qaseem al-Dawla Aqsunqur and ordered to bring [his son] Imad al-Din Zangi, and he said: He is my nephew, and I am the first people to raise him! So they brought him! With him.., and the king of Mosul [after him], the sun of the state, Jakarmash, and he took the martyr Imad al-Din, brought him close to him, loved him, and took him as a son because of his knowledge of his father’s status.

It is this deep moral and military education that Imad al-Din Zangi received that will make a major breakthrough in the project of Islamic resistance against the Crusaders, starting in the year 522 AH / 1128 AD when the Seljuk Sultan Mahmud bin Muhammad bin Malikshah appointed him governor of Mosul, succeeding these great leaders who preceded him in the field of resistance. They paved its way for two decades.

Zangi’s ascension to the chair of the Wilayat of Mosul was supported by his success in carrying out the tasks of “the mandate of Baghdad and its police” when he assumed it in the year 521 AH / 1127 AD, and also by a recommendation obtained from the senior judges and scholars of Mosul, and from the Seljuk minister in Baghdad Anusharwan bin Khaled al-Qashani (d. 532 AH / 1138 AD) “because of the people’s need for who stands against the Franks”;

According to Golden.

Ibn al-Atheer informs us - in “The Brilliant History” - of the extent of the Crusaders’ dominance at the moment Zangi took over the Wilayat of Mosul;

He says that "the Franks kingdom at that time extended from the area of ​​Mardin and Shabaktan (located in southeastern Turkey today) to the Arish of Egypt, and was not interrupted by the Muslim state except Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Damascus, and their companies reached from Diyarbakir to Amed, and from Diyar Al-Jazeera to Nusaybin ( Southern Turkey) and Ras al-Ain (Northern Syria) .., and the roads to Damascus were cut off except on the hills (= the city of Al-Mayadin today) and the mainland.. Then the matter increased and the evil became so great that they imposed on every neighboring country a tax and a royalty that they take from them to stop their hands” from its residents! !

Imad al-Din Zangi realized the danger of the Crusaders and their extension to Muslims, and that the reason for this extension was the fragmentation of the Islamic resistance into conflicting states, most of the time between the ruling families in the regions of the region: the Atabeg of Mosul, the Artaqa of al-Jazira, the Seljuks of Aleppo, and the Buryians in Damascus;

Therefore, he resolved to unite these fronts in one state and confront the Crusaders at the same time, and the test was difficult in my two missions: unification and liberation.

In a few years, the scope of the Zangi principality expanded in all directions and removed the princes of most of the large cities and included them in his rule;

For the first time, news of the victories, which raised morale and stimulated energies for further unification and liberation, spread across the region, and a new revival spirit spread throughout the region, establishing a liberation project that would be strengthened and cherished by successive generations.

It is the project whose nucleus was the unification of Zangi for Mosul with Aleppo, to which he went in the year 522 AH / 1128 AD, so “the people of Aleppo went out to him, and they met him and rejoiced at his arrival, and he entered the country, seized it, and arranged its affairs.”

According to Ibn al-Athir.

Al-Dhahabi - in 'History of Islam' - summarizes for us the jihadist momentum that Zangi brought about by saying that he "conquered the country and strengthened his command..., and he rose to the position that the king of Mosul, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Baalbek, and many cities whose numbers are long..., and recovered several fortresses from The Franks are like Kfar Tarab, Al-Maarrah, and Edessa..; the country was in ruins due to oppression and the neighborhood of the Franks, so its life was long..; so that a year does not pass on it unless it is conquered from their country (= the Crusaders)!!

As for Ibn al-Atheer, he asserts that, “Were it not for the fact that God Almighty bestowed upon the Muslims a king who would follow you [Zenki] in the Levant, it would have been owned by the Franks.. God was kind to the Muslims in the mandate of Imad al-Din, so he did to the Franks.” Al-Afail!!

Solid ground and

after he controlled the situation in northern Iraq, the Euphrates Island, and the northern Levant, and united its fronts under his leadership for nearly twenty years;

Imad al-Din Zangi - with a lot of cunning, firmness and waiting for favorable opportunities - was able to build a solid ground on which to stand against the Crusader emirates that followed him, after he secured his back lines from his enemies, the reluctant Islamic emirs of the interior;

As these "enemies are staring at his country, and they all go there and want to take it!"

According to the golden expression.

Thus, he set out in the year 539 AH / 1144 AD to overthrow the first Crusader emirate established in the Islamic region in the north of the Levant, when his

intelligence service

brought him news stating that the Crusader Emir of Edessa Jocelyn II (d. 554 AH / 1159 AD) was traveling on it;

Then, "Zenki descended on Ar-Rahda - which is for the Franks - and set up catapults on it, excavated its wall and threw wood and fire in it, and it was destroyed, and he entered it and fought them and helped the Muslims..., and he freed from it five hundred captives" of the Muslims who were being held in it;

According to golden.

With this liberation - which was the jewel of the crown of Zenki's work and the greatest achievement of Muslims since the beginning of the Crusader occupation of the region - Edessa became the first Crusader emirate to fall as it was the first to be established!!

Moreover, this liberation also removed one of the jaws of the Crusader pincers from Aleppo, located between Edessa and Antioch, which is the most important city in the Sultan of Zangi after his capital, Mosul, after Damascus prevented it from falling into his hands despite the siege of it several times.

The historian and writer Imad al-Din al-Isfahani (d. 597 AH / 1201 AD) realized the historical transformation of Edessa in the curve of the conflict, as the countdown to the collapse of the Crusaders began with him.

He said, according to what was reported by the historian Ibn Abi Shama al-Maqdisi (d. 665 AH / 1267 AD) in the 'Kitab al-Rawdatain': "My Zangi took over the Levant... and he was the one who conquered Edessa by force... so he was able to conquer Edessa for the Muslims. To Islam during the era of Ould Zangi Nur al-Din, and since then the Franks contracts were disintegrated and their affairs were cloned and their strongholds branched out (= disintegration)!!

The conquest of Edessa was the end of the glories of Imad Zangi, as he did not live long after him.

Ibn al-Atheer tells us - in 'Al-Kamil' - that on the night of the 16th of Rabi' al-Akhir in the year 541 AH / 1146 AD, while Zangi was preparing to open the castle of Jabar on the Euphrates;

He was attacked, so "a group of his mamluks killed him at night and fled to Ja'bar Castle," which was ruled by his rival, Prince Ali bin Malik Al-Aqili (d. 546 AH / 1151 AD).

Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 654 AH / 1256 AD) mentions a possible relationship of Prince Al-Aqili with the assassination of Zangi, in anticipation of his expected control of Ja'bar;

He says that he was killed by "one of his servants (= Zangi) and someone who loved him and was familiar with him and knew Birnaqsh the Franks, and some servants agreed with him... So they slaughtered him on his bed after strikes that managed to fight him, and the servant [of the Franks] fled to the castle and its owner Izz al-Din Ali bin Malik bin Salem Al-Aqili, so give him good tidings of his doom, so honor him and be pleased with his action!!

A comprehensive plan

The kingdom of Imad Zangi was divided - after his assassination - between his two sons: Saif al-Din Ghazi (d. 544 AH / 1149 AD), who was the only one - until his death - to rule Mosul, northern Iraq and the Euphrates island, and Nur al-Din Mahmoud (d. 569 AH / 1174 AD), who made Aleppo his base for ruling Northern Levant regions.

Nur al-Din Mahmoud followed his father's path of two parallel paths: confronting the Crusaders for twenty-eight years, and striving for the gradual unification of the Islamic regions that did not fall into their grip;

Therefore, after "the matter became established for him, it appeared from him that he exerted diligence in carrying out the order of jihad, suppressing the people of unbelief and stubbornness, and fulfilling the interests of the servants";

According to Ibn Asaker in 'The History of Damascus'.

Nur al-Din Mahmoud never felt comfortable fighting the Crusaders and uniting the north and south of the Levant;

Immediately after assuming power, he "came out invading...and opened many fortresses" and castles for the Franks;

His contemporary, close to him, Imam al-Muhaddith Ibn Asaker narrates in 'The History of Damascus'.

وقد بلغ من نكايته في الصليبيين أنه تكرر وقوع عدد من ملوكهم في أسره لأول مرة منذ بدأ الصراع؛ فقد حدث مرة أنه "غزا حصن إنِّب (قرب أعزاز السورية) فقصده الإبرنس (= الأمير ريموند) متملك أنطاكية وكان من أبطال العدو وشياطينهم، فرحل عنها [نور الدين] ولقيهم دونها، فكسرهم وقتله وثلاثة آلاف فرنجي كانوا معه، وبقي ابنه صغيرا مع أمه بأنطاكية وتزوجت بإبرنس آخر، فخرج نور الدين في بعض غزواته فأسر الإبرنس الثاني، وتملك أنطاكية ابن الإبرنس الأول وهو بيمنت (= بوهيمند الثاني ت 524هـ/1130م)، ووقع في أسره في نوبة (= معركة) حارم (تقع اليوم بإدلب السورية) وباعه نفسَه (= افتداها) بمال عظيم أنفقه [نور الدين] في الجهاد"؛ طبقا لابن عساكر.

وبحلول سنة 549هـ/1155م تمكن نور الدين محمود من توحيد جناحيْ الشام حلب ودمشق وما بينهما؛ فقد استطاع محاصرة دمشق مرتين وفتحها في الثالثة خلال هذه السنة، بعد أن "امتنع الأجنادُ والرعية [فيها] من الممانعة لما هم عليه من المحبة لنور الدين وعدله وحُسن ذكره، وبادر بعضُ قطّاعي الخشب بفأسه إلى الباب الشرقي [لدمشق] فكسر إغلاقه وفتحـ[ـه] فدخل منه العسكر على رَغَب [من أهلها]..؛ ثم دخل الملك نور الدين وخواصُّه، وسُرّ كافة الناس من الأجناد والعسكرية لما هم عليه من الجوع وغلاء الأسعار والخوف من منازلة الإفرنج الكفار"؛ حسب ابن القلانسي.

على أن نور الدين أضاف بُعدا جديدا حيويا إلى خطته الإستراتيجية التحريرية، وهو البعد الإصلاحي الشامل للنواحي الخدمية والعمرانية والمجتمعية والتربوية، وكذلك الإحياء الديني للمجتمع بعد قرنين من الفوضى الفكرية التي ضربت بأطنابها في بلاد الشام، وخاصة منذ سيطرة الفاطميين عليها في ستينيات القرن الرابع الهجري/العاشر الميلادي.

فقد كان نور الدين مدركا لحقيقة أن الصراع -في جوهره- صراع أفكار ومشاريع حضارية؛ ولكي ينتصر فيه المسلمون فإنهم يحتاجون إلى مشروع إصلاحي كبير وشامل وراسخ الإمداد والامتداد، مشروع يركز على الملامح الإصلاحية الكبرى للمجتمعات وليس على معارك الحرب بين المعسكرات، ويدار بدولة مركزية تنطلق قيادتها من الأرضية الصلبة لهذا المشروع إلى معارك التحرير للأوطان.

ويُجْمل لنا ابن عساكر جهود نور الدين في هذا الميدان بقوله إنه لما تولى السلطة "أظهر بحلب السُّنّة.. حتى أقام شعار الدين..، ونشر فيها مذاهب أهل السنة الأربعة.. وبنى بها المدارس، ووقف الأوقاف، وأظهر فيها العدل والإنصاف". وكذا فعل في دمشق حين ضمها "فضبط أمورها وحصّن سورها، وبنى بها المدارس والمساجد وأفاض على أهلها الفوائد، وأصلح طرقها ووسّع أسواقها..، ومنع ما كان يؤخذ منهم من المغارم.. وغير ذلك من المظالم" التي أحدثها نظام البوريين.

ويؤيد ذلك ابن الأثير -في ‘الكامل‘- بقوله: "وأما ما فعله من المصالح؛ فإنه بنى أسوار مدن الشام جميعها وقلاعها..، وبنى المدارس الكثيرة..، وبنى البيمارستانات (= المستشفيات) والخانات (= محطات الراحة) في الطرق، وبنى الخانكاهات للصوفية في جميع البلاد، ووقف على الجميع الوقوف الكثيرة، وكان يكرم العلماء وأهل الدين ويعظمهم".

مرحلة حاسمة
كانت الأسرة الأيوبية قد انخرطت في خدمة عماد الدين زنكي منذ عام 532هـ/1138م، بعد أن نشأت علاقة قوية بينه وبين حاكم قلعة تكريت نجم الدين أيوب (والد صلاح الدين ت 568هـ/1173م) لدور الأخير في إنقاذ عماد زنكي، وفتحه معابر دجلة أمامه ليصل إلى مقر حكمه بالموصل إثر هزيمته -مع السلطان السلجوقي محمود- ببغداد في إحدى جولات صراع السلاجقة الداخلي على السلطنة سنة 526هـ/1132م. فهذا الصنيع من نجم الدين أيوب "كان سببًا لاتصاله به (= عماد زنكي) والمصير في جُملته حتى آل بهم (= الأيوبيين) الأمرُ إلى مُلك مصر والشام وغيرهما"؛ حسب ابن الأثير في ‘الكامل‘.

وبمرور الزمن أصبح نجم الدين أيوب وأخوه أسد الدين شِيْركُوه (ت 564هـ/1169م) وابنه صلاح الدين (ت 589هـ/1193م) من المقربين إلى نور الدين محمود، حتى لاحت الفرصة لضم مصر نهائيا إلى المملكة الزنكية بالشام بالقضاء على حكم الفاطميين ووزيرهم شاور السعدي (ت 564هـ/1169م) المتحالف مع الصليبيين، والذي ينسق معهم لتسليمها إليهم.

لقد أدرك نور الدين أنه لا مفرّ من "دفع الفرنج عن الديار المصرية [لأن] في ملكهم لها بوار الإسلام بالكلية"؛ حسب ابن واصل الحموي (ت 697هـ/1201م) في ‘مفرج الكروب في أخبار بني أيوب‘. ولذلك أرسل صلاحَ الدين مع عمه قائد الجيوش أسد الدين في حملة ثالثة إلى مصر سنة 564هـ/1169م، وكان هدفها هذه المرة إخضاع البلاد لحكم الزنكيين المباشر وقطع الطريق نهائيا على الأطماع الصليبية.

ويبدو أن صلاح الدين كان مترددا بشأن الانخراط في تطبيق الخطة التي رسمها نور الدين لإنقاذ مصر، خاصة أنه جرّب هذا المسعى مرتين من قبلُ؛ ولذلك يروي لنا كاتبه ومؤلف سيرته القاضي ابن شداد الموصلي (ت 632هـ/1235م) -في ‘النوادر السلطانية‘- نقلا عن صلاح الدين شفاهةً: "قال [لي] نور الدين: لا بد من مسيرك مع عمك [أسد الدين]، فشكوتُ الضائقة (= نقص المال)، فأعطاني ما تجهزتُ به، فكأنما أساق إلى الموت"!!

استطاع صلاح الدين السيطرة على مصر التي سرعان ما أصبح وزيرها المطلق التصرف خلفا لعمه شيركوه، فحقق لسيده نور الدين حلمه بتوحيدها مع الشام بإنهائه حكم الفاطميين الذي تواصل 210 سنوات! وهو ما يشرح لنا المقريزي (ت 845هـ/1441م) -في كتابه ‘السلوك‘- كيفية تحقُّقه؛ فيقول: "فوّض العاضد (آخر خليفة فاطمي ت 567هـ/1171م) وزارته إلى صلاح الدين ونعته بالملك الناصر، فمشّى الأحوال وبذل الأموال..، ثم إنه دأب في إزالة الدولة الفاطمية..، ومات العاضد وقد قطع صلاح الدين خطبته [على المنابر]، وأمر الخطباء بالدعاء للمستضيء بنور الله (الخليفة العباسي ببغداد ت 577هـ/1181م)"!!

توفي السلطان نور الدين محمود في عام 569هـ/1174م بعد أن "سهَّلَ [الله] على يديه في فتح الحصون والقِلاع، ومكَّنَ له في البلدان والبقاع"؛ وفقا لتعبير لابن عساكر. وهنا تبرز أمامنا مجددا مشكلة وراثة العرش التي نواجهها إثر غياب كل قائد من قادة مشروع التحرير للأقطار الإسلامية من الاحتلال الصليبي، منذ عهد ولاة الموصل حين اغتيل أميرها آقْسُنْقُر البُرْسُقي (ت 520هـ/1126م) -على أيدي الحشاشين الذين قتلوا عددا وافرا من خيرة أمراء وعلماء المقاومة- وحتى نهاية الدولة الأيوبية.
توطيد للتوحيد
ترك السلطان محمود زنكي ابنا صغيرًا في حلب هو الصالح إسماعيل (ت 577هـ/1181م) الذي كان يتحكم فيه الأمراء والوزراء ويستغلون وجوده في تحقيق مصالحهم الشخصية. وقد أدرك صلاح الدين خطورة هذا الأمر في ظل اشتعال الصراع مع الصليبيين، وجسامة التفريط في المنجزات الضخمة التي تحققت -حتى تلك اللحظة- على صعيد توحيد الجبهة الإسلامية.

وهكذا سعى صلاح الدين لإزاحة سيطرة الصبي الألعوبة عن أكبر قدر ممكن من البلاد التي كانت تحت حكم أبيه نور الدين، وأراد أن يتسلم مباشرة راية مشروع التحرير مرسّخا وجوده باعتباره الوريث الحقيقي لجهود نور الدين الذي كان قدوته في كل شيء؛ فقد "كان صلاح الدين لا يخرج عن أمر نور الدين، ويعمل له عمل القوي الأمين، ويرجع في جميع مصالحه إلى رأيه المتين"؛ وفقا لابن أبي شامة في ‘كتاب الروضتين‘- نقلا عن عماد الدين الأصفهاني الذي كان كاتبا خاصا لصلاح الدين.

باشر صلاح الدين مواصلة إستراتيجية سلفيْه عماد الدين زنكي ونور الدين محمود في ضرورة ترسيخ وتوسيع جبهة التحرير؛ لكنها هذه المرة أصبحت جبهة مصرية شامية يجب توحيدها -في نطاق التماس مع الصليبيين- من الرُّها وحرّان إلى جنوب أسوان. وكان كبار أمراء دمشق مدركين لهذه الحقيقة؛ فأرسلوا -قبل وفاة الصالح إسماعيل بسبع سنوات- سنة 570هـ/1174م إلى "صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب صاحب مصر واستدعوه ليُملكّوه عليهم"؛ طبقا لابن الأثير.

تمكَّن صلاح الدين من توحيد مصر والشام والجزيرة الفراتية والحجاز وحتى اليمن جنوبا وإقليم برقة كاملا بليبيا غربا، وأعانه على ذلك ما كان يتحلى به من سمات القيادة العبقرية والحازمة؛ فقد وصفه الذهبي -في ‘السِّيَر‘- فقال: "كانت له همة في إقامة الجهاد وإبادة الأضداد ما سمع بمثلها لأحد في دهر"!! كما "كان الناصر [صلاح الدين] عظيم الهيبة، عالي الهمة، وافر العقل، حسن السياسة، متيقظا لا يفوته أمر مما يجري في بلاده وغيرها من بلاد الإسلام"؛ طبقا لابن واصل الحموي.

وانطلاقا من موقعه الوحدوي القوي ذاك؛ شرع الناصر منذ عام 575هـ/1179م في مواجهة الصليبيين -محاربةً أو محاصرةً- من حصن حارم في أقصى الشمال السوري إلى الكرك والرملة وعسقلان في أقصى الجنوب، وعبر أساطيل البحرية الإسلامية في البحرين الأحمر والمتوسط. ولذا وصفه ابن الأثير -في ‘الكامل‘- بأنه "ما برحت سراياه تقصد الفرنج: فتارة تواقع طائفة منهم، وتارة تقطع الميرة عنهم"!!

استغرقت جهود التوحيد تلك من الناصر صلاح الدين زهاء عشر سنين، مدّ فيها جهود برنامج نور الدين سلفه للإصلاح المجتمعي الشامل إلى مصر، وحرّر فيها أيضا كثيرا من معاقل الصليبيين؛ ثم توّج ذلك كله بانتصار حطّين العظيم على الصليبيين في رجب سنة 583هـ/1187م، وأتبعه بفتح الفتوح -الذي عمت به الاحتفالات بلاد الإسلام– حين استعاد القدس والمسجد الأقصى في هذه "السنة الغراء التي طهَّر الله فيها الأرض المقدسة من نجاسة الشِّرْك [الصليبي]، بعد أن مكثت مُرتهنة في أيدي الكفّار نيفًا وتسعين سنة"؛ وفقا لابن واصل.

فتح مبين
وإذا كان ابن واصل يجزم بأنه "مُذْ ملَك الفرنجُ البلادَ الساحلية واستولوا عليها لم يقع للمسلمين معهم يومٌ كيومِ حطين"؛ فإن موِّثق نصوص تاريخ الحروب الصليبية سهيل زكّار (ت 1441هـ/2020م) ينقل لنا -في الجزء الـ38 من ‘الموسوعة الشاملة في تاريخ الحروب الصليبية‘- كتاب رحلة الراهب الدمينيكاني فيلكس فابري (ت بعد 888هـ/1483م) الذي يقول فيه:

"لم تكن هناك معركة في جميع زمان وجود المملكة اللاتينية في الشرق قد سُفكت فيها دماء صليبية مثلما سُفك في ذلك اليوم؛ فقد تهاوت في ذلك اليوم قوى الصليبيين كلها في الشرق وانهارت..؛ وهلك في هذه المعركة المحزنة جدا جميعُ النبلاء ورجال الحرب، باستثناء قلة أُخِذوا أسرى كان من بينهم الملك" الصليبي غي دي لوزنيان (ت 590هـ/1194م)"!!

وقد أدرك صلاح الدين أن عصب القوة الصليبية يكمن في فرسان تنظيميْن دينيين عسكرييْن هما: "الداوية" (فرسان المعبد) و"الإسبتارية" (فرسان القديس يوحنا)؛ فهما أشبه بـ"قوات خاصة" أو "قوات نخبة" صليبية طالما أرهقت المسلمين وقتلت وأسرَت منهم على مدار عشرات السنين.

ولعل مردّ حزم صلاح الدين مع هذين التنظيمين هو ما سجله الرحالة الأوروبي فيلكس فابري -السابق ذكره- من أنه في حطين "كان أكثر الذين تميزوا بالشجاعة [من الفرنج] هم الاسبتارية والداوية"!! وبينما قُتل قائد الإسبتارية فإن "مقدم الداوية" كان ضمن الأسرى مع الملك. وهو المعنى نفسه الذي ذكره ابن الأثير حين قال إن صلاح الدين -رغم ما اشتهر به حتى بين الصليبيين أنفسهم من حلم وعفو- "كانت عادته قتل الداوية والإسبتارية لشدة عداوتهم للمسلمين وشجاعتهم"!!

ولذا نجد أنه بعد انتصار حطين "رأى السلطان [صلاح الدين] أن عيْن المصلحة تطهيرُ الأرض من هذين الجنسيْن النجسيْنِ؛ فأمر بإحضار كل داويّ وإسبتاريّ ليمْضي فيهم حكم السيف، وجعل لكل من يأتيه بأسير منهما خمسين دينارا (= اليوم 8000 دولار أميركي تقريبا)، فأُتِي في الحال بمئتين منهم"؛ حسب المؤرخ ابن واصل.

عزّز صلاح الدين نصر حطين والقدس بفتح الكثير من البلدات والحصون التابعة للصليبيين على الساحل الشامي، أوصلها الذهبي -في السِّيَر‘- إلى أكثر من ثلاثين موضعا؛ وكان حلمه الذي طالما راوده هو تطهير البلاد أجمعها منهم، ثم نقل المعركة مجددا إلى أوروبا التي جاؤوا منها!!

فقد أورد كاتبه ابن شداد الموصلي -في ‘النوادر السلطانية‘- حوارا دار بينهما على شاطئ المتوسط؛ فكان مما جاء فيه: "قال [لي صلاح الدين]: أما أحكي لك شيئا في نفسي! إنه متى يسّر الله تعالى فتح بقية الساحل.. ركبتُ هذا البحر إلى جزائره، وأتبعتهم (= الصليبيين) فيها.. أو أموت"!! لكنه أدركته الوفاة قبل أن يحقق حلمه هذا فـ"تأسف الناس عليه حتى الفرنج لما كان من صدق وفائه"؛ وفقا للذهبي.

انتكاسة مؤقتة
دخلت الدولة الأيوبية بمصر والشام -بعد وفاة صلاح الدين سنة 589هـ/1193م- في صراعات اشترك فيها أبناؤه الثلاثة فيما بينهم، ثم فيما بينهم وبين عمهم أبي بكر بن أيوب (ت 615هـ/1218م) الذي تلقب بـ"العادل" بعد أن آل إليه الحكم في مصر، لكننا -كما يقول الذهبي في ‘تاريخ الإسلام‘- نجد أحيانا أنه كان "من سيئات العادل [هذا أنه] يدع جهاد الفرنج ويقاتل المسلمين"!!

وإثر وفاة العادل؛ سرعان ما تجدد الصراع على العرش ولكن هذه المرة بين أبنائه الثلاثة: المعظّم عيسى (ت 624هـ/1227م) والأشرف موسى (ت 635هـ/1238م) في الشام، والكامل محمـد (ت 635هـ/1238م) في مصر؛ وهو صراع مرير لم يتورع بعض أطرافه عن خيانة الأمانة والاستعانة بالصليبيين ضد الطرف الآخر!!

وقد استنزفت هذه الصراعات الداخلية طاقات الملوك الأيوبيين، فحرفتها بعيدا عن النهج الذي سارت وفقه الأحداث منذ عهد عماد زنكي وحتى وفاة صلاح الدين، ولذا افتقدت أنشطتهم الجهادية -في الغالب- روح المبادرة وصارت مجرد ردّات فعل لهجمات الصليبيين على الأراضي الإسلامية في دولتهم المترامية الأطراف، حيث استغل الصليبيون هذه الصراعات فأعادوا نشاطهم على طول الساحل الشامي.

بل إن الصليبيين شرعوا يتحينون الفرصة للهجوم على ثغر دمياط شمالي مصر فيما عُرف بالحملة الصليبية الخامسة (615-618هـ/1218-1221م)؛ فحسبما يرويه جرجس ابن العميد (ت 671هـ/1272م) -في كتابه ‘أخبار الأيوبيين‘- فإنه في سنة 615هـ/1218م "زحفت الفرنج على دمياط وحاصروها أشد حصار وملكوا بَرّ دمياط، فرحل السلطان الملك الكامل عن دمياط ونزل قريبًا منهم، وجرت بينهم وقائع كثيرة وحروب عظيمة..، فالتقاهم الملك الكامل بعساكره.. فكسرهم وأسَرَ جماعة كثيرة".

بيد أن الكامل هذا سرعان ما أضاع حسن بلائه في دمياط بارتكابه خطيئة سياسية كبرى بتحالفه مع الصليبيين، سعيا منه لدعم موقفه السياسي أمام أخويْه في الشام؛ إذ قام سنة 626هـ/1229م بتسليم بيت المقدس إلى الإمبراطور الألماني فريدريك الثاني (ت 648هـ/1250م) فيما عُرف بالحملة الصليبية السادسة.

وقد تحدث المؤرخ ابن الأثير عن أثر تلك الخطيئة في نفوس المسلمين حينها؛ فقال: "وتسلّم الفرنجُ البيتَ المقدس، واستعظم المسلمون ذلك وأكبروه، ووجدوا له من الوهن والتألم ما لا يمكن وصفه؛ يسّر الله فتحه وعوده إلى المسلمين"!! ثم تبعه في تصوير هذا الأثر المؤرخ الواعظ سبط ابن الجوزي في ‘مرآة الزمان‘؛ فقال: "ووصلت الأخبار بتسليم القدس إلى الفرنج، فقامت القيامة في بلاد الإسلام، واشتدت العظائم بحيث إنه أقيمت المآتم…؛ [فـ]ـيا خجْلة ملوك المسلمين"!!

والغريب أن السلطان الكامل كان واعيا بالعواقب الفظيعة لسلوكه هذا؛ فقد راسل -قبل فترة قليلة من عقد اتفاقه مع فريدريك- أخاه الملك الأشرف موسى، مبررا له سعيه لضم الشام إلى مملكته بمصر؛ فقال فيما نقله عنه ابن الأثير: "إنني ما جئتُ إلى هذه البلاد (= الشام) إلا بسبب الفرنج، فإنهم لم يكن في البلاد من يمنعهم عما يريدونه…، وأنت تعلم أن عمّنا السلطان صلاح الدين فتح البيت المقدس، فصار لنا بذلك الذكر الجميل على تقضِّي الأعصار وممرّ الأيام، فإن أخذه الفرنج حصل لنا من سوء الذكر وقبح الأحدوثة ما يناقض ذلك الذكر الجميل الذي ادّخره عمُّنا، وأي وجه يبقى لنا عند الناس وعند الله تعالى"؟!!

وبعد وفاة هذا الثلاثي المتخاذل والمتقاتل؛ ورث بعض إخوتهم وأبنائهم ما كانوا عليه من تنازع سلطوي وصراع مقيت، فوقع كثير منهم في خطيئة خيانة الأمانة بالتحالف والتعاون مع الصليبيين، وهي ظاهرة تأذى منها كثيرا مشروع المقاومة طوال مراحله المختلفة حتى قيام دولة المماليك، وكان فيها خروج على التلاحم العام في المقاومة الذي ضمّ الجميع بمن فيهم -أحيانا عديدة- المسيحيون من مواطني البلاد الإسلامية.

لقد كان أحد هؤلاء الأمراء الواقعين في خيانة المقاومة: الصالحُ إسماعيل بن العادل (ت 648هـ/1250م) الذي تولى دمشق وجنوب الشام بعد وفاة أخيه الأشرف موسى سنة 635هـ/1237م. وقد لخص لنا الذهبي -في ‘السِّيَر‘- ما كان عليه هذا الملك من خيانة وبؤس سياسة؛ فقال: "إسماعيلُ نصَرَ الكافرين، وسلّم إليهم القلاع، واستولى على دمشق سرقة، وحنث في يمينه، وقتلَ من الملوك والأمراء من كان ينفع في الجهاد"!!

جيل متألق
بارتقاء الصالح نجم الدين أيوب بن الكامل الأيوبي (ت 647هـ/1249م) سدة الحكم بمصر؛ يبدأ عصر جديد بالاعتماد على العنصر التركي في بنية الجيش الأيوبي، وتعود مصر مجددا إلى سابق قوتها أيام جدّه صلاح الدين. فقد جمعَ الصالح "من المماليك الترك ما لم يجتمع لغيره من أهل بيته، حتى كان أكثر أمراء عسكره مماليكه"؛ طبقا لقريبه المؤرخ الملك المؤيّد الأيوبي (ت 732هـ/1332م) في ‘المختصر في أخبار البشر‘.

وقد استطاع المماليكُ -بما تميزوا به من تربية عسكرية ودينية متينة– الثباتَ بقوة في معركة المنصورة بمصر سنة 647هـ/1249م أمام الصليبيين بقيادة ملك فرنسا لويس التاسع (ت 669هـ/1270م)، مما أدى إلى هزيمته وأسره ومقتل نصف جيشه الذي جاء ضمن الحملة الصليبية السابعة (647-648هـ/1249-1250م).

وينقل الأمير المملوكي المؤرخ ابن أيبك الدَّوَاداري (ت بعد 736هـ/1335م) -في ‘كنز الدرر‘- عن شاهد عيان في معركة المنصورة الفاصلة؛ قوله إن المماليك "أحيوا في ذلك اليوم الإسلام من جديد، بكل أسد من الترك قلبه أقوى من الحديد؛ فلم تكن إلا ساعة وإذا بالإفرنج قد ولَّوا على أعقابهم منهزمين، وأسُود الترك لأكتاف خنازير الإفرنج ملتزمين"!!

وقد حمل سلاطين المماليك -منذ مؤسس دولتهم الفعلي الظاهر بيبرس (ت 676هـ/1277م)- مشعلَ الجهاد المتواصل ضد الصليبيين لاقتلاعهم من الساحل الشامي برمته؛ منطلقين في ذلك من واقع سيطرتهم القوية والمركزية على وحدة مصر والشام.

فخلال الفترة 659-690هـ/1261-1291م تمكّن المماليك من تحرير جميع المدن والقلاع والموانئ الإسلامية من احتلال الصليبيين، التي عجزت أجيال مشروع التحرير السابقة عن انتزاعها من براثنهم، وبذلك أعادوا إلى هذا المشروع وهَجَه الذي خبا خلال النصف الأول من القرن السابع الهجري/الـ13 الميلادي.

يقول المؤرخ المملوكي ابن تَغْري بَرْدي (ت 874هـ/1469م) في ‘المنهل الصافي‘: "كان الملك الظاهر [بيبرس].. ملكاً شجاعاً مقداماً، خبيراً بالحروب ذا رأي وتدبير وسياسة ومعرفة تامة. وكان سريع الحركات.. نالته السعادة والظَّفَر في غالب حروبه، وفتح عدة فتوحات من أيدي الفرنج"؛ ثم ذكر المؤرخ من هذه الفتوح أكثر من 14 موضعا شاميا كان معقلا للصليبيين.

على أن قمة إنجازات الظاهر بيبرس -الذي أطلق شرارة مطاردة الصليبيين سنة 663هـ/1265م- كانت إسقاطه إمارة أنطاكية الصليبية سنة 666هـ/1268م، وهي ثانية إمارات الصليبيين تأسيسا؛ وكان تحريرها أعظم إنجاز للمسلمين بعد استعادة صلاح الدين القدس قبل نحو قرن.

وقد لاحظ المؤرخ ابن واصل حجم الإنجاز الهائل المتحقق في أيام بيبرس حين قارنه بأعمال نور الدين وصلاح الدين، بل وفضله عليهما لتضاعف أعباء الاحتلال في عصره بـالعدوان المغولي؛ فقال: "رحم الله الملك الناصر صلاح الدين.. فلم يؤيد الإسلام بعد الصحابة.. برجل مثله ومثل نور الدين محمود بن زنكى..؛ فهما جددا الإسلام بعد دروسه..، ثم أيد الله الإسلام بعدهما بالملك الظاهر ركن الدين (= بيبرس)، وكان أمره أعجب! إذ جاء بعد أن استولى التتر (= التتار) على معظم البلاد الإسلامية، وأيس الناس أن لا انتعاش للملة؛ فبدد شمل التتار، وحفظ البلاد الإسلامية، وملك من الفرنج أكثر الحصون الساحلية"!!

تقويض كامل
ولما توفي بيبرس؛ حمل خليفتُه السلطانُ المنصور قلاوون الألفي (ت 689هـ/1290م) رايةَ المواجهة لتصفية بقايا الوجود الصليبي بالشام فاستولى على عدة حصون صليبية، ثم ختم حياته بإنجازه الأعظم عندما أسقط رابعة الإمارات الصليبية تأسيسا وهي طرابلس الشام التي حررها سنة 688هـ/1289م. وبصنيعه هذا أكمل المنصور قلاوون تفكيك إمارات الصليبيين الأربع التي تشكلت منها "المملكة اللاتينية في الشرق" أو "المملكة المقدسة" في بلاد الشام زهاءَ قرنين!!

يقول الملك أبو الفداء الأيوبي مؤكدا -في تاريخه- أنه حضر تحرير طرابلس: "لما نازلها السلطان نصبَ عليها عدّة كثيرة من المجانيق الكبار والصغار ولازمها بالحصار، واشتد عليها القتال حتى فتحها.. بالسيف ودخلها العسكر عنوة، فهرب أهلها إلى الميناء فنجَى أقلهم في المراكب، وقُتل غالب رجالها.. وغنِم منهم المسلمون غنيمة عظيمة".

ثم استعد السلطان قلاوون لاستعادة آخر وأكبر معاقل الصليبيين بالشام في عصره، وهي إمارة عكّا التي لم تكن أصلا ضمن إماراتهم الأربع الأولى، وإنما تشكلت من فلولهم التي سمح صلاح الدين بخروجها من القدس وغيرها من المعاقل التي فتحها على الساحل.

وقد التقت هذه الفلول لاحقا في صور كما يقول ابن الأثير فـ"اجتمع بها من شياطين الفرنج وشجعانهم كل صنديد فاشتدت شوكتهم"؛ ثم هاجموا منها عكا بدعم من قادة الحملة الصليبية الثالثة التي وصلت عكا سنة 587هـ/1191م يتزعمها الملك الإنكليزي ريتشارد قلب الأسد (ت 596هـ/1199م)، فاحتلوها بعد حصار مرير وأمعنوا في أهلها قتلا وتنكيلا، وأسسوا فيها إمارة صليبية خامسة عاشت قرنا كاملا.

لكن قلاوون مات سنة 689هـ/1290م وهو على رأس جيشه متجها من القاهرة إلى عكا لفتحها، فاضطلع بمهمة تحريرها بعده ابنه السلطان الأشرف خليل. وفي فجر 17 جمادى الأولى 690هـ/17 مايو 1291م، وبعد حصار دام أسبوعين؛ وقع الهجوم الهائل على أسوار المدينة فكان التحرير والانتصار الباهر.

ويصف لنا الدواداري -في ‘كنز الدرر‘- أجواء هذا الحدث التاريخي الحاسم؛ فيقول إن الأشرف "زحف عليها (= عكا) بالجيوش بكرةَ النهار قبل طُلوع الشمس، وضُربت الكُوسات (= آلات نحاس تقرع بقوة لإخافة الأعداء) مع طبلخانات (= طبول) الأُمراء، مع صراخ الأبطال وصهيل الخيل وقعقعه السلاح؛ فخُيّل لأهل عكا [من الفرنج] أن القيامة قد قامت في تلك الساعة!! فلم تطلُع الشمس من الأبراج إلا والسناجق (= الأعلام) السلطانية الإسلامية على.. الأبراج، والفرنج.. قد ولَّوْا الأدبار وركنوا إلى الفرار"!!

by crushing the Crusaders in Acre in Jumada al-Ula in the year 690 AH / 1291 AD;

A bloody page is turned that lasted for two full centuries of the Crusades. “Thus, all the coastal countries were integrated into Islam, and the Levant was purified of the Franks after they had oversaw the kingship of Damascus and the king of Egypt.”

According to the historian Ibn al-Wardi (d. 749 AH / 1348 AD) in his history.