Jerusalem was lost.
Since the blessed day that Umar Ibn Khattab Radhiallahu ‘anhu peacefully walked into the city and liberated its streets it was now lost to the Crusaders. No adhaan would be heard in the streets of Quds anymore nor would Salah be performed in its masjids. Al Aqsa would be turned into a church, and its grounds into stables.
Upon capture a brutal massacre resulting in the deaths of 70,000 Muslim and Jews took place- as the victims fled towards the once sanctified religious site of Baitul Muqaddas for safety they were even slain within the masajid. The history books describe the scene as blood flowing up to the ankles.
Losing the jewel of all cities, considered the third holiest place to Muslims awoken the Islamic scholars, leaders and devouts. Such a calamity made evident the deadly threat approaching Muslim rule in the East. The Ummah was experiencing immense fear, loss and humiliation.
The situation was so tragic that the chief Qadi of Damascus, Al Harawi assembled the pulpit to give a Khutbah crying out, “Your brothers of Syria [and Palestine] have no home other than the saddles of their camels or the intestines of vultures!” As he appealed for help in the streets of Baghdad he was surrounded by thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees who wept and wailed in despair. The sound of weeping spread through the entire crowd causing others weep in turn.
When such a calamity descended, what was our response?
The answer is to be found in the great words of Salabi:
“No revival effort in history has ever succeeded without the strength of words written by the pens or spoken by the tongues”.
The faithful Muslims picked up their pens and they wrote, wrote and wrote some more. Delegations and caravans were sent around the entire region to revive Islam by firstly re-teaching the basic tenants of faith. Secondly they did this through writing and celebrating their history. Remembering the good times, of when the Muslims lived in peace and when society was Just. A time when the most-righteous and noble of men liberated the land that had been lost.
This intellectual revival, guided by the Ulema prepared the Muslims for the great trial that lay ahead. It was an attempt to reconnect and reunite our hearts and minds as one limb of the same body.
This revival, sought through the pen provided a perfect catalyst for Islam to once again flourish. It paved the way for an internal preparation to take place within the hearts. This effort of re-education took generations, but Alhamdulillah with a clear Islamic vision; based on re-teaching the Quran and Sunnah, paired with an active and mobilized nation, all united upon a shared loss; this produced the greatest of men since the Khulafa Rashidun. Men such as Norudeen Zangi Rahimahullah and later Salahudeen Ayubi Rahimahullah.
Jerusalem…[said Salahudeen speaking to Richard I]…is to us as it is to you, It is even more important for us, since it is the site of our Prophet’s nocturnal journey and the place where the people will assemble on the Day of Judgement. Do not imagine therefore that we can waver in this regard.