Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din
Al-Malik al-Afdal
Emir of Damascus
Reign 4 March 1193 – 1196
Coronation 1193
Predecessor Salah ad-Din Yusuf
Successor Al-Adil I
Born c. 1169
Died 1225
Full name
Al-Afdal Ali ibn Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub
Dynasty Ayyubid
Father Salah ad-Din Yusuf

Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din (Arabic: الأفضل بن صلاح الدين, "most superior"; c. 1169 – 1225) popularly known as Al-Afdal (الأفضل), was one of seventeen sons of Saladin. He succeeded his father as the second emir of Damascus. He was the leader of the Ayyubids in the Battle of Cresson.


When Saladin died in 1193, al-Afdal inherited Damascus, but not the rest of his father's territories; Egypt was inherited by al-Aziz and Aleppo by az-Zahir. He was very attached to his uncle al-Adil, and sought his aid at various points when he was attacked by his own brother al-Aziz. In 1196, al-Aziz lost his patience as a result of al-Afdal's incompetent reign. He allied with their brother az-Zahir, who was also al-Afdal's enemy, and they both raided Damascus. Al-Afdal was later exiled to Salkhad, Hauran. There are no records of his death but it is supposed that he died there in exile in 1225.

Battle of Cresson

Main article: Battle of Cresson

In 1187, al-Afdal led Saladin's forces against Gerard of Ridefort, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, at the Battle of Cresson. Al-Afdal's troops consisted of about 7,000 men. Gerard unexpectedly ran into al-Afdal's army on 1 May, and in the subsequent battle, the Muslims feigned a retreat, a common tactic which should not have fooled Gerard; nevertheless, he ordered a charge, against the advice of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, Roger de Moulins, and the knights were separated from the foot-soldiers. The Muslims easily repulsed a direct Christian attack, killing both the exhausted knights, and, later, the foot-soldiers.

Gerard survived but almost all the others were killed. However, according to the Itinerarium Peregrinorum, a history of the Third Crusade which followed the battle, Gerard did not rashly engage the enemy, but was actually caught unaware and was the victim of an attack himself.


Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din
Born: 1169 Died: 1225
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Salah ad-Din Yusuf
Emir of Damascus
4 March 1193 – 1196
Succeeded by
Al-Adil I

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