Heroes of Islam: Nuruddin Zangi

Nuruddin Abu al-Qasim Mahmud Ibn Imad ad- Din Zangi born 1118, died 1174 in Damascus, Syria. He was Emir of Damascus and Aleppo and reigned from 1146-1174. He was a member of the Turkish Zengid dynasty which ruled the Syrian province of the Seljuk Empire.

Nuruddin was the son of Imad ad-Din Zangi, the Turkish ruler of Aleppo and Mosul who was a devoted enemy of the crusaders. After the assassination of his father in 1146, Nuruddin began a continuous war against the crusaders. He sought to make alliances with his Muslim neighbours to strengthen the Muslim front against their crusaders.
In 1148 he defeated the Second Crusade, led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. He defeated the crusaders several times in Syria and Palestine and defended Egypt against them. By 1154 Damascus was annexed and all Syria was unified under the authority of Nuruddin. He died at the age of 59 in Damascus.
He considered the crusaders invaders in Muslim territory but was tolerant of the Christians who lived under his authority. Nuruddin constructed universities and Masjids in all the cities he controlled. These universities were principally concerned with teaching the Quraan and Hadith. He enjoyed specialists read to him from the Hadith, and his professors even awarded him a diploma in Hadith narration.
He had free hospitals constructed and built caravanserais for travellers and pilgrims. He held court several times a week so that people could seek justice from him against his generals or governors. He is a legendary figure of military courage, piety, and modesty. He loved, above all else, justice.
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