History of Seljuk Empire

Who Was Sultan Nureddin Zengi?

Who Was Sultan Nureddin Zengi?

Nureddin Zengi (born February 1118—died May 15, 1174, Damascus [Syria]), Muslim ruler who reorganized the armies of Syria and laid the foundations for the success of Saladin.

Nureddin, a member of the Zengi dynasty, was born in 1118. Upon the death of his father, İmâdüddin Zengî I, in 1146 , the state was divided among the heirs according to old Turkish traditions. At the end of this division, Mosul was left to Seyfeddin Gazi , while Aleppo and its surroundings were left to Nûreddin Mahmud . In 1150, he married the daughter of Turkish Seljuk Sultan Rükneddin Mesud I. He is from the Avshar tribe of the Oghuzs.

Nūr al-Dīn succeeded his father as the atabeg (ruler) of Aleppo in 1146, owing nominal allegiance to the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad. Before his rule, a major reason for the success of the Crusaders was the disunity of the Muslim rulers of the region, who were unable to present a unified military front against the invaders. Nūr al-Dīn waged military campaigns against the Crusaders in an attempt to expel them from Syria and Palestine.

His forces recaptured Edessa shortly after his accession, invaded the important military district of Antioch in 1149, and took Damascus in 1154. Egypt was annexed by stages in 1169–71. An able general and just ruler, Nūr al-Dīn was also noted for piety and personal bravery. He was austere and ascetic: disclaiming the financial rewards of his conquests, he used the booty to build numerous mosques, schools, hospitals, and caravansaries. At the time of his death, his rule was recognized in Syria, in Egypt, and in parts of Iraq and Asia Minor.

Nûreddin Mahmud Zengî was a just ruler. For this reason, he was given the nickname al-Emir’ul-Adil (The Just Ruler) by his own people . Nûreddin, who received a good education in his childhood, used a diplomatic style in state administration. Thanks to the masterful politics he implemented, he ensured the unity of Muslims and prepared the ground for the Conquest of Jerusalem , which was later carried out by one of his commanders , Saladin .

Dream Of Sultan Nureddin Zengi:

Nûreddin was a farsighted leader, he always took his steps with the future in mind. He had three dreams. The first was to unite Muslims and establish Islamic unity – which he achieved while he was alive. His second dream, namely the reconquest of Jerusalem, was realized by Saladin Ayyubi immediately after him. His last dream was the conquest of Constantinople , and this conquest was carried out by the Ottoman Sultan II. It was given to Mehmed .


During this time Nur ad-Din was busy in the north, fighting the Ortoqids, and in 1170 he had to settle a dispute between his nephews when his brother Qutb ad-Din died. After conquering Egypt, Nur ad-Din believed that he had accomplished his goal of uniting the Muslim states, he was seized by a fever due to complications from a peritonsillar abscess. He died at the age of 56 on 15 May 1174 in the Citadel of Damascus.

He was initially buried there, before being reburied in the Nur al-Din Madrasa. His young son As-Salih Ismail al-Malik became his legitimate heir, and Saladin declared himself his vassal, uniting Syria and Egypt under his own rule. Saladin defeated the other claimants to the throne and took power in Syria in 1185, finally realizing Nur ad-Din’s dream.

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