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Selahaddin Eyyubi EP-1 Review: Saladin is secretly adopted by Sultan Zengi, raised with the understanding of cause of Quds

To truly appreciate this series, one must first understand the historical context it is set in

Kudüs Fatihi: Selahaddin Eyyubi (The Conqueror of Jerusalem: Saladin) series has finally arrived.

The first episode of an extensive 3-hour duration was released on Monday, November 13, 2023, on the TRT1 channel. Many would find it more like a historic-action film for production’s grand treatment and epic sets.

To truly appreciate the series, one must first understand the historical context it is set in, while the timing of the Pak-Turk collaboration release coinciding with the current station in Gaza and Jerusalem will certainly leave many emotional.


The series is produced by Turkey’s Akli Film and Pakistan’s Ansari and Shah Films.


The narrative is that entering Jerusalem is portrayed as a point of no return, while the danger lies not in the scarcity of options but in the wavering resolve of the individuals. Hesitation is depicted as the real threat, while courage stands as the antidote.
The narrative underscores the gravity of the moment, warning that once within, retreat becomes an impossibility.

The story plot follows Salauddin Ayubi’s early years and ascent to fame of this iconic individual.


Turk actor Ugur Gunes portrays Selahaddin Eyyubi, a Kurdish-Turkish Muslim who established the Ayyubid dynasty and became the first ruler of Egypt and Syria.
Okay now, let us dig deep into the first episode, which features an opening title of 1:45 minutes duration (That’s how most of the Turkish Historic series work, if you remember the epic Diriliş: Ertuğrul series), and at one point, to me seems like having a fast-forward music track.
The episode opens with a voiceover telling the viewers calling them children that this is the story of their ancestors who shaped the history starting from the point where the first commandment was revealed.
At points, such dramas are good for young viewers who get encouraged to look into the historical facts, you can google it.
This three-hour-long episode can be broken down into three parts, every part shapes the foreground of the story. The first part shows the birth of Salauddin and how he was dreamt by his mother to be the guardian of the Quds.
First, you should know the political dynamics of this era. When the crusaders of the First Crusade reached Palestine in the spring of 1099, the ancient Philistine city of Ascalon was in the hands of the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt. In August of the same year, following the capture of Jerusalem (Quds), the Crusaders joined battle with a Fatimid expeditionary force near the city of Ascalon.
The story plot is set in the 12th century when the Crusader invasions ravaged the Islamic World, the unity and order among Muslims were disrupted, and many Islamic lands, especially the holy city of Jerusalem, had fallen into the hands of the Crusaders.
The episode opens showing two women having difficulty in giving birth in different circumstances and Selahaddin is born.
The child is adopted by Sultan Nūr al-Dīn Maḥmūd Zengī commonly known as Nur ad-Din, who was a member of the Zengid dynasty, which ruled the Syrian province (Shām) of the Seljuk Empire.
This is the same Sultan Mahmud Zengi we had read about, who saw the Prophet Mohammed PBUH in his dream. Zengi was blessed with a dream and he saw Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). The Holy Prophet pointed at two people with red colour hair (at their heads) and Said, “Mahmud, Save Me from them”.
It was in 557AH when two Christians planned to steal the body of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. After the dream, Zangi reached Madinah from Syria in sixteen days. He found out the two people who had dug a tunnel heading toward’s Prophet’s grave. And we know what happened next.
Now coming back to the first episode of the series…
Saladin born as Yousif, grew up one brave heart who was raised with the understanding of “Justice for the world, freedom for Jerusalem” and was the head of the Serhad Ghazis under the protection of the Zengi State, who fought with the Crusaders for this cause. Here the second part of the episode starts, showing the young Saladin raised as the son of Sultan Zengi looking at the Baitual Maqdus the first Qibla of Muslims and has fire in his heart to free it from the occupation of the Crucaders.
He goes to the Quds to negotiate with the Christian ruler, however, a new cruel commander of the Knights Templar has arrived. There was an assassination attempt on the commander and Saladin is accused of plotting it. However, it was Süreyya, the daughter of the Emir of Ascalon who attempted it.
Sultan Zengi was unaware of the fact that Saladin was in Quds. He has found out about the Knights Templar’s plan for their next target against Muslims. However, after the Quds ruler’s intervention, Saladin was accused and was disposed of from the duty of providing security to the Muslim pilgrims by Sultan Zengi.
There is an addition of more flavour to the story showing the involvement of the females of Sultan Zengi’s harem at this point it is not clear who is who, but it’s evident that none of these Royal ladies favours Saladin.
Now the story moves on to the third and last one-hour part of the episode; The Knights Templar have besieged the city of Ascalon, the lock of Jerusalem. If the city of Ascalon falls, Jerusalem will be strengthened and Zengi’s lands will also be in danger. Saladin wants to help the Ascalons to prevent this.

But there is a big problem: Ascalani are enemies of the Zengis. For this reason, Saladin was not given permission by the state council. However, Saladin goes to help the people of Ascalan despite the council’s decision.

Difficult obstacles now await Saladin. In the middle of this difficult war, a spark of love ignites between him and Süreyya, the daughter of the Emir of Ascalon. But even though they are united in this war, they are both on the enemy side.

Well, it is good picturization, however, the very thought of keeping in view the personality of the great Saladin in view, it seems a bit off that he was attracted to a girl in the middle of a battle.


As er wait for the second episode, we have a couple of questions that keep us intregued. Will the spark of love in their hearts grow or will this war inflame hostilities even more? Will Saladin be able to save Ascalan and achieve his goal? Will he be punished for violating the orders of the state and the sultan and going to Ascalan?


Saman Siddiqui

Saman Siddiqui, A freelance journalist with a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and MS in Peace and Conflict Studies. Associated with the media industry since 2006. Experience in various capacities including Program Host, Researcher, News Producer, Documentary Making, Voice Over, Content Writing Copy Editing, and Blogging, and currently associated with OyeYeah since 2018, working as an Editor.

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