Faheem Al-Sayf was a Master Assassin in the Levantine Brotherhood of Assassins based in Masyaf, and the father of Malik and Kadar Al-Sayf. Among his colleagues, he was known for his confrontational approach to foreign conflicts.
Regarded as a war hawk by Al Mualim, the leader of the Levantine Brotherhood, Faheem Al-Sayf was one of the Master Assassins who pushed for the assassination of Sultan Saladin of Egypt and Syria when Saladin invaded Masyaf in 1176. On the first night of the siege, when Al Mualim called an assembly of his Master Assassins, Faheem was quick to propose that the entire Saracen army would crumble with the death of their leader. To this, Al Mualim disagreed, predicting that Saladin's uncle Shihab Al'din would only replace him. Even when Faheem countered that Shihab was not nearly as capable of a leader as Saladin, Al Mualim remained unconvinced, recognizing that the Saracens were also needed as a strong bulwark against the Crusaders.
Accordingly, the meeting ended with a plan to send one of their agents, Umar Ibn-La'Ahad, to infiltrate the Saracen camp and deliver a warning to Saladin at his own bedside, to display just how vulnerable he was before the Assassins. In this way, the Saracens could be intimidated into retreat without incurring their hostility. The plot succeeded and a peace treaty with the Saracens was secured, though at the cost of Umar's life, which was sacrificed to appease the Saracens for his accidental murder of a Saracen general during his escape from Saladin's tent.
Personality and characteristics
In the eyes of Al Mualim, Faheem Al-Sayf was typically an advocate for an aggressive foreign policy. When he urged that a swift assassination of Saladin would end the war with the Saracens, Al Mualim did not find this out-of-character but rather exasperating, as a regular dispute he had to contend with.
Faheem's impulse to wage war demonstrated a lack of foresight for ramifications beyond immediate results, and Al Mualim understood that while Saladin could be easily killed, victory in the larger conflict would not be so simple. While Faheem was concerned with weakening the immediate threat before the Assassins, he failed to weigh the significance of maintaining a balance of power in the region; a decline in Saracen military power would also mean easier and greater gains for the Crusaders, as much if not more-so a danger to the Assassins.
- Faheem is an Arabic name meaning "intelligent, wise, scholar" while Al-sayf means "the sword".