Why Saladin and Al-Kamil Made Gestures of Peace to the Christian West Reaction Paper

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¶ … Crusades Through Arab Eyes, Part Five, and Six

Recurring themes in this section are the struggle among the Arabs between fighting and not fighting the Western world. Some withdrawals from battles, for instance, were seen by third parties as weaknesses. This is true in the case of Mosul historian who is somewhat critical of Saladin's response at Tyre. The historian accuses Saladin of allowing the Franks to turn Tyre into a fortress where armies could regroup and refresh themselves. Why, the historian wonders, does not Saladin attack Tyre and raze it to the ground?

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However, Saladin is a warrior who would just as soon pursue peace if at all possible. For instance, generations have judged sultan Saladin graciously, stating that "his repugnance for needless bloodshed, his strict respect for his commitments, and the touching nobility of his acts of compassion are as valuable as his conquests" (Maalouf 204). This then is a ruler who is not out to eliminate his enemies and wipe them from the earth but rather to protect nobly his kingdom and to use force when necessary, peace when possible. However, historians also agree that when Saladin took Jerusalem, he was essentially igniting a fire under the Western Christians, and that he should have been aware of this and the possibility of Tyre serving as a stronghold for the same Christian forces. Thus, Saladin's subsequent siege of Tyre, which was not whole-hearted, serves to support the Mosul historian's criticism. But why did Saladin withdraw from Tyre? This is an important question for discussion. The fact is that Saladin was "weary" (Maalouf 204) of battle and historians may judge and criticize but until they are actually on the front and dealing with battle directly and personally it is easy to say that one should have done this or should have done that. The reality is much less clear and battle fatigue is a serious problem that must be considered.

Reaction Paper on Why Saladin and Al-Kamil Made Gestures of Peace to the Christian West Assignment

The spiritual side of Saladin is also evident in this section of the reading. When Saladin dies, his face lights up at the thought of seeing God "when the shaykh read the verse that says, There is no God but God, on him alone do I rely" (Maalouf 217). This shows that Saladin had a deep reliance and faith in God and this should also be considered deeply when we think of the Arab world and its leaders, who are portrayed today in Western media as unthinking brutes. This is not the case. Saladin's death serves as a good example of how this is not the case. Another good discussion question is this: How did Saladin embody the nobility of the Arab world and what does it say for that same world when after his death it is "dismembered" and given out to internal struggles and conflicts? Does it not suggest that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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