Berke Khan was the grandson of Genghis Khan the founder of the Mongol empire. Berke Khan was the man who saved the holy city of Makkah and Madinah from the rage of the Mongols. In 1258 CE, Halagu Khan conquered and destroyed Baghdad the capital of the Abbasid caliphate. The water of river Tigris had become red with the blood of slaughtered Muslims of Baghdad. Nearly all residents of the city were either put to the sword or sold into slavery. Abbasid Caliph Al-Musta’sim was executed. After Baghdad, Hulagu was preparing to go further for subjugating and destroying the remaining Muslim world including Egypt, Syria, Jerusalem, and the holy cities of Mecca, and Madina.
Berke Khan fought with the Halagu khan and saved the holy cities from having the same fate as Baghdad.
Berke Khan was the direct grandson of Gengis Khan, after the death of his elder brother, Berke Khan took his place and became the leader of the Golden horde a fraction of the Mongol empire. In 1259, when mongke Khan died, the Mongol empire was divided into four fractions. These fractions were called IKhanate, Chagatai Khanate, Yuan Dynasty, and Golden Horde. All these fragments report to the great Khan of the Mongol empire. The Golden Horde was ruled by Jochi The eldest son of Genghis Khan. Jochi was the father of Berke Khan. Jochi passed the throne to his eldest son Batu Khan. after the death of Batu Khan in 1255, Berke inherited the golden horde. He was an able ruler and succeeded in maintaining and stabilizing the Golden Horde, the western khanate of the Mongol Empire
Conversion to Islam
Berke Khan was converted to Islam in 1252, 5 years before he inherited the golden horde. He converted to Islam in the city of Bukhara. When he was at Saray-Jük a city in Kazakhstan, He met a caravan from Bukhara and questioned them about their faith. Berke got impressed with their faith & decided to convert to Islam by the caravan travelers and became a Muslim. Berke then persuaded his brother Tukh-timur to convert to Islam as well.
Berke soon became a devout Muslim. His conversion resulted in the conversion of thousands of Mongols to Islam. Ikhanate was ruled by Halagu Khan. In 1258, Halagu massacred the people of Baghdad. Being a Muslim he was in rage on knowing the cruelties and destruction unleashed upon the Muslim world by Hulagu, and hence wanted to avenge the spilling of innocent blood.
Muslim historian Rashid-al-Din Hamadani quoted Berke Khan as telling his Mongols and Muslim subjects, in protest at the attack on Baghdad:
“Hulagu has sacked all the cities of the Muslims and has brought about the death of the Caliph. With the help of God I will call him to account for so much innocent blood.”
Saviour of Holy land
In order to avenge Halagu Khan and save the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah from the tyranny of Halagu Khan, Berke Khan made an alliance with Sultan Baibars of the mamluk empire. Halagu’s army faced severe defeat in the battle of Ain Jalut at the hands of Mamluks.
Berke Khan initiated a series of raids in force which drew Hulagu north to meet him. This was the first open conflict between Mongols and signaled the end of the unified empire. Berke soon declared Jihad against the Ikhanate. Along with religious reasons, Berke waged a war against halagu to capture the area of North Iran as that area dominated in wealth.
In 1262 the conflict turned into open war. Hulagu Khan suffered a severe defeat in an attempted invasion of Georgia and east of Russia in 1263. Hulagu’s forces were crushed at the Terek river by Berke’s army forcing Hulagu into retreat. In 1267, in an attempt to attack Halagu’s son Abaqa Khan, he felt ill and died. He was succeeded by his grandnephew, Mengu-Timur. If Berke Khan has never fought against Hulagau Khan, and if he didn’t do infighting; then the Great Mongolian Empire would have had an even bigger and better run.
Many historians are in agreement that the intervention by Berke against Hulagu saved the remainder of the Holy Land, including Mecca and Jerusalem, from the same fate as Baghdad.