Crusader Army Surrenders Jerusalem to Salahuddin Ayyubi

After the battle of Hattin in 1187, Salahuddin’s army completely routed the Crusader army of Jerusalem. Only a few knights were left in the holy city, which capitulated to Salahuddin in October of that year. Eighty-eight years earlier, Crusaders had stormed into the city, massacring its population and subjecting its religious sites to Christian domination. Salahuddin, keen to follow in the footsteps of the caliph Umar who had first conquered the city in 637, did not cleanse the Crusader occupation with another massacre. All the occupants of the city were given safe passage to Christian lands, and were allowed to take their belongings with them. Christian sites in the city were protected and pilgrimage to them allowed. Salahuddin’s noble behaviour was not lost on the defeated Christians. Legends of his chivalry soon spread throughout Europe, and subsequent conflicts fought between Salahuddin and Crusader kings, notably Richard the Lionheart, are filled with stories of mutual respect between Muslims and Christians.⁣

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