Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb (Kurdish: سهلاحهدین ئهیوبی, Selah'edînê Eyubî; Arabic: صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب, Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb) (1137/1138 – March 4, 1193), better known in the Western world as Saladin, was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. A Muslim of Kurdish origin, Saladin led Islamic opposition against the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and parts of North Africa.
Originally sent to Fatimid Egypt with his uncle Shirkuh by their Zengid lord Nur ad-Din in 1163, Saladin climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government as a result of his military successes against Crusader assaults on its territory and his personal closeness to the caliph al-Adid. When Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important position in the Shia Muslim-led caliphate. During his term as vizier, Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid establishment and following al-Adid's death in 1171, he took over government and realigned the country's allegiance with the Sunni Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate. In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, ordered the successful conquest of Yemen and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt.