When the armies of the First Crusade reached the Middle East, the Muslims were divided into fractions stemming from various disputes and arguments. This disunity prevented them from putting up an effective resistance, and so the barbaric European invaders were able to create an empire centered on Jerusalem after slaughtering the native population. However, decades later, the Muslim commander Saladin united the different Muslim groups under his command and defeated the invaders.
Nevertheless, defeating the Crusaders was not going to happen overnight. Saladin not only united the Muslims under one flag, but also started a scientific and moral awareness.
When this moral, scientific, and religious regeneration combined with political unity, Islamic civilization rose once more. Saladin, commanding a united Islamic army, defeated the disbanded and demoralized Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin in 1187 and freed almost all of the occupied Palestinian land, including Jerusalem.
One of the most prominent aspects of Saladin's Islamic Union was that it represented the Qur'anic ideals of justice, moderation, and peacefulness. While best known for this military victory, Saladin was also very forgiving and just toward the Crusaders as well as all other Christians. Even though the Crusaders had inflicted unspeakable cruelty on the Muslims, Saladin exacted no revenge upon them, and no civilian was harmed when he freed Jerusalem. In addition, he maintained his authority over the radicals within his own ranks. Following the slaughter of 3,000 innocent Muslim civilians at Castle Acre, ordered by King Richard the Lion-Hearted, commander of the Third Crusade, some Muslims demanded revenge: They wanted to massacre Jaffa's (today's Tel Aviv) Christians. Saladin successfully calmed his soldiers down and extinguished their bloodlust, and so guaranteed the safety of Jaffa's Christians.
In the end, Saladin brought peace to the Holy Land by granting the Crusaders some privileges and concessions. On 28 August 1192, the two parties agreed upon and signed a peace treaty. Saladin made a great gesture: He invited the Crusader's commanders, who had killed thousands of Muslims in their quest to conquer Jerusalem, to stay there as his guests. Those Crusaders visiting Jerusalem were astonished by the Muslims' great forgiveness, tolerance, and justice. On one occasion, upon learning that his former enemy King Richard was sick, Saladin sent his own physician to treat him, along with some ice to reduce his temperature. Saladin became a legend throughout Europe for his righteous character, which was based on the Qur'an's moral values.
Eight centuries have passed since the time of that Islamic Union. Today's Muslims need an Islamic Union for the same reasons as they did back then.
For all of this to end, Muslims must rebuild their civilization so that it can once again guide the world, light the path, and deliver peace and justice. But if this vision is to become a reality, they must follow Saladin's method: working for the rebirth of Islamic morality, knowledge, and faith, and achieving the Islamic world's political union.