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Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-din ( , "most superior") popularly known as Al-Afdal was one of seventeen sons of Saladin. He succeeded his father as the second emir of Damascusmarker. He was the leader of the Ayyubids in the Battle of Cresson.


When Saladin died in 1193, al-Afdal inherited Damascusmarker, but not the rest of his father's territories; Egyptmarker was inherited by al-Aziz and Aleppomarker 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 Damascusmarker. Al-Afdal was later exiled to Salkhadmarker, Hauran. There are no records of his death but it is supposed that he died there in exile.

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 7000 men. Gerard unexpectedly ran into al-Afdal's army on May 1, 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 des 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.


  • (1998) Muslim heroes of the Crusades ISBN 1-8979-4071-8

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