Dayfa Khatun and Her Policy Toward the Ayyubid Governors
Keywords:Dayifa, Khatun, Aleppo, Ayyubids, kings, Crusades
Dayfah Khatun is the most prominent lady of the Ayyubid House. She is the daughter of Al-Adil bin Ayyub, and the wife of Al-Zahir bin Saladin. She ruled for a time (634 - 640 A.H. / 1236 - 1242 A.D. ) the city of Aleppo as a regent to her grandson, King Al-Nasir. She demonstrated political skill and shrewdness in the midst of a heated atmosphere of conflict between the rulers of The Ayyubid family, especially among her two brothers, Al-Kamil of Egypt and Al-Ashraf, the governor of Damascus and those who sided this or that party from the rest of the members of the Ayyubid family. Her brother Al-Kamil refused to acknowledge her regency to grand-son, denying that a woman had ever assumed power from the Ayyubid house. This hostility continued and threatened Dayfa position in Aleppo, and nothing save her from the only the sudden death of Al-Kamil in the year 635 A.H./1237 A.D. Then the whole Ayyubid rulers shifted towards her considering her as the head of the Ayyubid House, and they sought to gain her favor until her death in the year 640 A.H./1142 A.D.
This research aims to highlights about Dayfa rule and her political relation with the kings of the Ayyubid house and her struggle to defend Aleppo against the outside and demotic threats during her regency between 634 A.H. / 1236 A.D. and 640 A.H./ 1242 A.D. The main issue is her relations with the other branches of the Ayybid dynasty, mostly her brothers Al-Kamil and Al-Ashraf.