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Perspectives on MaimonidesPhilosophical and Historical Studies$
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Joel L. Kraemer

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780197100714

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780197100714.001.0001

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Saladin’s Religious Personality, Policy, and Image

Saladin’s Religious Personality, Policy, and Image

Chapter:
(p.309) 17 Saladin’s Religious Personality, Policy, and Image
Source:
Perspectives on Maimonides
Author(s):

Michael Winter

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780197100714.003.0018

This chapter examines Saladin’s religious personality, policy, and image, highlighting his piety and his reputation as a holy warrior. The charismatic personality of Saladin, the great Ayyūbid sultan, still fascinates historians — as it impressed his contemporaries, friend and Crusader enemy alike — and all the Orientalists who have studied the period have concerned themselves with the question of Saladin’s religious devotion. For a superb statesman and political leader like Saladin, the main thing that matters is his public image, and this is also the only subject upon which there is reliable and solid evidence. Saladin not only succeeded in bringing Egypt back to the Sunnī–ʻAbbāsid fold after two centuries of Fāṭimid rule; he also created a superstructure of Islamic institutions and an atmosphere of vigorous Sunnī Islam, sure of itself and therefore reasonably tolerant of the religious minorities. It can be asserted that Maimonides’ rather sympathetic view of Islam, and the extent that it is so, owes much to the fact that he met Islam in Egypt at its best, in large measure because of Saladin’s dynamic leadership and vision.

Keywords:   Saladin, religious personality, religious policy, religious image, piety, holy warrior, political leader, Sunnī Islam, Maimonides, Egypt

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