In an era of religious intolerance, two rulers established a firm friendship with each other during their lifetime. Both rulers were looked upon as traitors by their people because of their actions, specifically, sharing control over the holy land. Europeans today regard Saladin as the most noteworthy and respected ruler in the Middle East during the crusades, similarly, Middle Easterners today hold a lot of respect to Frederick II.

Al-Kamil (The Complete) Mohammed Al-Malik (The King), ruled between 1218 to 1238, of the Ayyub dynasty, Sultan of Egypt, esteemed for defeating two crusades, but criminalized by his people for sharing Jerusalem with Christians. Al-Kamil is the son of Sultan Al-Adil (The just), and nephew of Saladin (Salah Al-Din Al Ayyoubi).

Frederick II, born December 26th 1194, died December 13th, 1250, of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, Holy Roman Emperor, esteemed as Stupor Mundi (wonder of the world), but excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX twice, once for not launching a crusade on time, and a second time for sharing Jerusalem with Muslims. Son of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. His mother was Constance of Sicily.

Frederick was born in Jesi near Ancona, his father died in 1197, and his mother died in 1198. Certainly, the cultural legacy left by Arabs and Normans in Sicily where Frederick grew had a huge impact on his character. This is evident in his interest in Arab culture, the translation of Arab sciences, his preference for peaceful resolution in political conflicts and establishing friendly relations with the Ayyubis of Egypt and Syria.

Fluent in 9 languages, Frederick often communicated difficult scientific problems that neither he or his associates could solve so it was sent to his friends the Ayyubi rulers. On one occasion, he sent a Mathematical and Astronomical problem to Al-Kamil, and the Egyptian mathematician Al-Lam Al-Din Kaisar Al-Asfouni solved them. Al-Kamil sent the answers together with a book of Astronomy as a gift. In another occasion, Frederick sent philosophical questions to the Andalusian Sufi philosopher Ibn Sab'ayn who answered it. It was known as the Sicilian Questions.

Frederick wrote a book on Falconry, an Arab pastime practiced for centuries, titled de arte venandi cum avibus (on the art of hunting with birds), of which many copies survive from the 13th and 14th centuries. All this pursuit for knowledge, friendly relations with Muslims, and not fighting a crusade angered Pope Gregory IX, so Frederick was excommunicated. Frederick called the religious establishment wolves in sheep's clothing because of his excommunication.

The sixth crusade was led and launched by Frederick in 1229 with 600 troops. After 5 months of negotiations with Al-Malik, a peace treaty was concluded. Among the most significant point of the treaty was Muslims holding control of Al-Sakhra Mosque (Dome of the Rock), built by Al-Khalifa Al-Umawi Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan in 65 AH (685 AD) to commemorate the great journey of the Prophet of Islam. Christians will hold control of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (furthest mosque).

When Frederick entered Jerusalem, the Muezzin (prayer caller), out of respect for Frederick, did not make the morning call to prayer. Emperor Frederick declared, "I stayed overnight in Jerusalem, in order to overhear the prayer call of the Muslims and their worthy God." Prayers were resumed and took their normal 5 times a day routine.

A peaceful coexistence ensued for 10 years, until Al-Malik's death in 1238. His sons Al-Salih and Al-Adil II ruled over Egypt and Syria respectively. The Ayyubi empire soon descended into civil war, and the treaty with Frederick expired in 1239. Frederick died peacefully on December 13, 1250 in Fiorentino near Lucera. His son Conrad IV took control, and on Conrad's death in 1254, the Hohenstaufen dynasty fell from power and an interregnum began, lasting until 1273. Frederick's sarcophagus sits in the Cathedral of Palermo.


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