Beha ud-Din - Encyclopedia

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BEHA UD-DIN [ABU-L-]] (1145-1234), Arabian writer and statesman,was born in Mosul and early became famous for his knowledge of the Koran and of jurisprudence. Before the age of thirty he became teacher in the great college at Bagdad known as the Nizamiyya,and soon after became professor at Mosul. In 1187, after making the pilgrimage to Mecca, he visited Damascus. Saladin, who was at the time besieging Kaukab (a few miles south of Tiberias), sent for him and became his friend. Bella ud-Din observed that the whole soul of the monarch was engrossed by the war which he was then engaged in waging against the enemies of the faith, and saw that the only mode of acquiring his favour was by urging him to its vigorous prosecution. With this view he composed a treatise on The Laws and Discipline of Sacred War, which he presented to Saladin, who received it with peculiar favour. From this time he remained constantly attached to the person of the sultan, and was employed on various embassies and in departments of the civil government. He was appointed judge of the army and judge of Jerusalem. After Saladin's death Beha-ud-Din remained the friend of his son Malik uz-Zahir, who appointed him judge of Aleppo. Here he employed some of his wealth in the foundation of colleges. When Malik uz-Zahir died, his son Malik ul-`Aziz was a minor, and Beha ud-Din had the chief power in the regency. This power he used largely for the patronage of learning. After the abdication of Malik ul-`Aziz, he fell from favour and lived in retirement until his death in 1234. Bella ud-Din's chief work is his Life of Saladin (published at Leiden with Latin translation by A. Schultens in 1732 and 1 755). An English translation was published by the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, London, 1897.

For list of other extant works see C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur (Weimar, 1898), vol. i. pp. 316 f.

(G. W. T.)

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