Before going through the detail history of the Battle of Ain Jalut we portray some light on background of the Mongols. There is a law that’s called “The Law of Forest”. In this law the tribes who has got the power, took it as their right to attack the weak tribes. To kill someone was very common for them. They always try to attack the weak tribes to take their animals and women. These tribes had got no permanent place to live and settle. They travel one place to another to find good land. They stayed on those land as long as there were fresh pasture for their animals. These tribes were called Tatars. One person from these tribes got the thought to unite these uncivilized and ignorant tribes under one law to establish a new kingdom. It was very difficult thing to make these ignorant tribe to be familiar with the law and the Kingdom and accept one person as their ruler. But one man took the responsibility and this person was called Genghis Khan
When these people living on the milk and dry meat united under the cap of Genghis Khan came out of the Mongolia, it brought nothing but destruction everywhere. They ruined everything, the tribes and the kingdom, that came in their way. In the battlefield, when there was no water, they gladly killed their horses to drink their blood. Half cooked meat, especially when there was blood in the meat, was their favorite dish. Genghis Khan established a kingdom with his series of victories. After the death of Genghis Khan, Mongke Khan the grandson of Genghis Khan took control of the kingdom and awarded the title of the Great Khan in 1251. Mongke Khan’s plan was also to follow the path of his grandfather. Hulagu Khan, the brother of Mongke Khan, was charged the responsibilities to increase the kingdom borders to the west. These inhumane and brutal rulers made minarets of human skulls and brought great destruction to the world. They made the thirteenth century, a century of destruction for Asia and especially for the Muslim world.
In the thirteenth century these barbaric Tatarians came out from the desert of Mongolia. Under the lead of Genghis Khan, they vowed to destroy the world. Muslims played a great role in the building the knowledge centers and establishing the civilization. They created many centers for the knowledge and science, they have established great libraries. But the Tatarians horde destroyed everything. They set fire the knowledge centers and the libraries. The wealth of Muslims were looted and the women were raped. The Muslims scholars were killed and who try to run away from them, they followed them. The Muslim scholars were their main target because they knew that’s where Muslims get spirit of resistance.
By 1260, Mongols took control Cilician Armenians, Antioch and the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad. There was a plan to take down the last major Islamic power in the world, the Mamlukes Sultanate.
A person named Saif-ad-Din Qutuz earned the title of Al-Mulk Al Muzaffar and take over the power and the government in his hands. The commander of Tatar’s wrote a letter to the Egyptian leader.
We had destroyed the whole world. We orphaned the children. We punished and killed the people. We destroyed the honors of their heads. Then did you think that you could run away? Be careful. Otherwise, you will be regretted. We never had mercy on tears. Where will you run away? We will reach you back. And no one will give you shelter.
A Short History of Mamlukes:
Basically, the Mamlukes were Turkish tribe. These were the tribe who had made, the islands of the Nile, their home. That’s why, they were also called the Bahri Mamlukes. The word Mamlukes derived from the word Malaka which means “To own”. In the 9th and 10th centuries, there was a slave trade along the Caspian Sea and the River Volga presently in Russia. In these centuries, Vikings had the super power in Baltic Sea and mostly they do these trades. First they conducted raids in today’s Russia and Germany with other region too like Slavic lands of the Balkans. They capture slaves to sell them to the Jews and Muslims merchants. Sometimes, Turkish Sultan adapted these salves and they could also get a chance to marry the princesses of the royal households. If someone would get that chance, then they also had a chance to rise to become rulers themselves. This phenomena is called Islam elevated slaves to kings is also common in history. The 13th century, is the example of this phenomena where the India and Egypt were ruled by Mamlukes dynasties.
After receiving and reading that letter, Qutuz called his commander Amir Bibras who was very intelligent. They discussed to have a plan that could encourage people to fight Mongols. Both were agreed on one point that they would fight with Hulagu Khan whether the result would be. To encourage the people, he ordered to kill the envoy of Hulagu Khan and hanged their bodies in his Capital so that there would be no demand of surrender for making peace. He addressed his army and people that we have left no option. The only option was left to fight Hulagu Khan. Everyone knew, Hulagu is very brutal man and Qutuz killed his envoy. Now, either die with the death of dishonor or fight with the courage. Qutuz urged his people that, it is not impossible to defeat the Mongols, so fight with courage and strength.
The death of Mongke Khan:
When Hulagu Khan was preparing for the battle, he had got a news that the Great Khan, Mongke Khan, was dead during the mission in to China. If the Great Khan died, it was mandatory for every Khan to return back home to attend the selection process of the next Great Khan. This was the time when power dynamic changed because Hulagu Khan had to return back too. To keep the presence of Mongols in the area, he had left small force of Mongols. Taking it as an opportunity, Mamlukes Qutuz allied with the Mamlukes leader, Baibars. Qutuz moved the army towards Syria. He wanted to stop the enemies outside his castle. So that he ordered his army to fight the invaders. He sent troops to Palestine under control of the Bibras. The Bibras engaged Tatarians and defeated them and invaded Palestine. They freed Damascus and most part of Bilad al-sham.
Mongols were also aware of the growing military strength of Mamlukes, Mongols tried to ally with France. But this try to make an alliance was unsuccessful because Pope Alexander IV was not agreed. The Franks understood that the Mongols would never spare them too. For their own safety, they let the Mamlukes army pass through their lands. After the news being floated that the Mongol army is passing through the Jordan River, Qutuz planned to fight Mongols in Ain Jalut in the Jezreel Valley.
Battle of Ain Jalut:
Both sides, having 20,000 men each, met in a battle in Ain Jalut on September 3rd, 1260. The Mongol stroke first but the Mamlukes had a great advantage. Because they knew the area very well. They used it to their advantage efficiently. The battlefield was surrounded by mountains. Qutuz deployed some men on the mountains. He wanted to make sure that the Mongol could not attack them from behind, and if they do, there would be wall to defend them.
The strategy was planned by the Baibars because he spent most of his time in that region. Malukes were on high grounds, Baibars used to hit and run tactics to get stuck the Mongol in their plan. Around four hours, Baibars used the same tactict but no side was winning. After that Baibars made his best trick. He pretended to withdraw. The Mongol commander lost his senses due to his anger. He could not suspect his trick and this mistake happened fatal for the Mongols. The Mongols were trapped in the valley and surrounded by the Mamlukes armies.
However, the Mongols were known for their hand to hand combat. They fought madly with bloodlust. They tried their best to break out the trap. When Qutuz felt that, they are going to break the trap, he led his forces to attack the Mongols. With this attack, they crushed the Mongol army. No doubt, they managed a successful counterattack but they did not have the numbered to sustain the attack. The whole army was killed or arrested. The Mongol commander was killed and his son was arrested. No one from the Mongol army could flee. If someone managed to run away, was caught and killed in Syria.
The future of the Muslim Empire:
After this historic victory in the Battle of Ain Jalut, Qutuz was assassinated by the Baibars. After his assassination, Baibars claimed the power and become Mamlukes ruler. He again defeated the Mongols and kicked them out from Syria. He made a strong empire. Hulagu wanted to avenge this defeat but he couldn’t because of succession issues. He could not gather a strong force again.
The end of the Mongol Empire:
This Mongolian defeat in the valley of Ain Jalut signaled the end of barbaric Mongol empire. Kublai Khan was the last Great Khan of Mongol Empire. After that the Mongol power was divided. They had to fight with Kipchaks. In 1263, they met a defeat in the invasion of Caucus. And some forces was sent to avenge the Mamlukes but failed. That is the reason why Ain Jalut battle was very important and turning point in the history.