Al-ʿĀḍid li-Dīn Allāh (Arabic: العاضد لدين الله) (1149–1171), also known as Al-Azid and Athid, was the fourteenth and last Caliph of the Fatimid dynasty (1160–1171). He is most famous for a remarkable alliance struck during the Crusades, between his caliphate and that of the Christians in Jerusalem, to support each other against another Muslim invading force, that of Nur ad-Din Zangi. The alliance, brokered by the powerful Egyptian vizier Shawar, was sealed by, at Crusader insistence and to the scandal of the caliph's court, the teenaged caliph Adid actually removing his glove and shaking hands with Hugh Grenier, one of the Christian envoys.
He became Caliph as a minor following the death of his brother Al-Faiz (1154–1160). The rule of the Fatimids was so weak and divided by this time that the Crusaders were able to begin invasions of Egypt.
With the help of the Zengids, the Syrian Sultan Nur ad-Din, Shawar was able to establish himself as vizier (1163–1169), and he was the effective ruler of Egypt. With the help of Syrian troops under Shirkuh and Saladin, Shawar's forces were able to fight off the Crusader incursions. Through careful seesaw diplomacy between Crusaders and Zengids, Shawar maintained a fragile grip on power. Eventually, however, the Zengids overthrew Shawar and Al-Adid in 1169 and installed Shirkuh as leader, and then after Shirkuh's death two months later, Shirkuh's nephew Saladin became vizier of Egypt. When Al-Adid died of natural causes in 1171, the Fatimid dynasty ended to make way for the Ayyubids (1171–1260), a dynasty named for Saladin's father Ayyub (Job).
Al-Adid's palace was in Cairo, and was the location of the alliance between the Fatimid caliphate and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. King Amalric I of Jerusalem sent two Arabic-speaking knights, probably Knights Templar, to Cairo, to confirm the agreement that had been offered by the Egyptian Vizier, Shawar. The knights were taken to:
a richly decorated palace, which they walked through quickly, ringed by a phalanx of armed guards. Then the cortege crossed a vaulted hallway that seemed interminable, impervious to the light of day, and finally came to the threshold of an enormous sculptured gate leading first to a vestibule and then to another gate. After passing through many ornamented chambers, Shawar and his guests emerged into a courtyard paved with marble and ringed by gilded colonnades, in the centre of which stood a fountain boasting gold and silver pipes. All around were brightly coloured birds from the four corners of Africa. Here the escort guards introduced them to eunuchs who lived on intimate terms with the caliph. Once again they passed through a succession of salons, then a garden stocked with tame deer, lion, bear, and panthers. Then, finally, they reached the palace of al-Adid. Barely had they entered an enormous room, whose back wall was a silk curtain encrusted with gold, rubies, and emeralds, when Shawar bowed three times and laid his sword on the floor. Only then did the curtains rise, and the caliph approached, his body draped in silk and his face veiled.
The 16-year-old Caliph affirmed the alliance to the knights, who insisted, to the court's scandal, both that the caliph personally swear his loyalty to the alliance, and that they shake hands. The caliph offered his silk-gloved hand, but one of the knights interrupted, saying, "An oath must be taken bare-handed, for the glove could be a sign of future betrayal." The Caliph agreed to this demand as well, and the Egyptians and the "Franj" (the Arab turn for the "French" Crusaders) created battle plans to attempt to destroy Shirkuh's army.
- Barber, p. 96
- Maalouf, p. 165
- Maalouf, p. 166
- Amin Maalouf (1984). The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Al Saqi Books. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4.
- Malcolm Barber (1994). The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42041-5.
Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt