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As-Salih Ismail

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Title: As-Salih Ismail  
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As-Salih Ismail

As-Salih Ismail
Emir of Damascus (1237-38; 1239-45)
Reign 1237-1245
Coronation 1237
Predecessor Al-Ashraf
Successor As-Salih Ayyub
Full name
Imad ad-Din al-Malik as-Salih Ismail bin Saif ad-Din Ahmad
Dynasty Ayyubid
Father Al-Adil I
Born Damascus, Syria
Died 1245
Burial Damascus, Syria
Religion Sunni Islam

Imad ad-Din al-Malik as-Salih Ismail bin Saif ad-Din Ahmad better known as as-Salih Ismail (Arabic: الصالح إسماعيل‎) was a Kurdish ruler, the Ayyubid sultan based in Damascus. He reigned twice, once in 1237 and then again from 1239-45.

Sultan of Damascus

In 1237, as-Salih Ismail's brother,[1] al-Ashraf, the ruler of Damascus died. Ismail succeeded him and two months later, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, al-Kamil, sent forces to besiege the city. Ismail had the suburbs of Damascus burned to prevent the Egyptian forces shelter.[2] On al-Kamil's death his son al-Adil II occupied Damascus after his brother as-Salih Ayyub, the ruler of al-Jazira, revealed his intentions to succeed al-Kamil as sultan in Egypt. Ayyub was invited to take over Damascus by some of the local governors of Syria and accomplished the conquest in December 1238.[1] Initially, Ismail, who was already governor of Bosra and Baalbek, allied himself with Ayyub.[1]

In August 1239, Ayyub began pressuring Ismail to join him at [3]

Ismail, with the support of the Ayyubids of Kerak, Hama and Homs, captured Damascus from Ayyub in September 1239. Ayyub was abandoned by his troops and taken captive by local Bedouin who transferred him to an-Nasir Dawud's control. This ushered in an era of future rivalry between Ismail and Ayyub.[1] Ayyub eventually ascended to rule the Egypt-based sultanate with Dawud's help, but he soon quarreled with him. Dawud and Ismail had reconciled and decided to establish an alliance with the Crusaders to prevent Ayyub from conquering their territories. In July 1240, an agreement was brokered via Theobald I of Navarre, with the Crusaders allying with Damascus against Egypt. The Crusaders would secure the southern border of Palestine from Ayyub, while Ismail was forced to effectively cede all of the land west of the Jordan River that Saladin had gained for the Ayyubids in 1187, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gaza, and Nablus. Ismail also gave up his own fortresses in Hunin, Tiberias, Beaufort, and Safad.[4] The terms of the treaty provoked outcries and consternation throughout the Arab world, and Muslim imams denounced Ismail because of the loss of Jerusalem.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Abulafia and McKitterick, p.612.
  2. ^ Burns, 2005, p.186.
  3. ^ a b Humphreys, 1977, p.256.
  4. ^ Tyerman. God's War. p. 767.
  5. ^ Folda, 2005, p.165.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
as-Salih Ayyub
Sultan of Damascus
Succeeded by
as-Salih Ayyub
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