- "Umar... ah yes. He was a fine man who lived as he died. With honor."
- ―an Assassin to Altaïr, the son of Umar, 1189[src]
Umar Ibn-La'Ahad (died 1176) was a Master Assassin, the father of the future Mentor of the Levantine Brotherhood of Assassins, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, and an ancestor to Desmond Miles. He was instrumental in thwarting a Saracen invasion of the Assassin Brotherhood conducted by the Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin. Through this mission, he secured peace with the Saracens, though sacrificing his life as the only condition to the treaty in the process.
- "I am Umar Ibn-La'Ahad. It is my life you should take."
- ―Umar preparing to sacrifice his life, 1176[src]
In 1165, Umar's wife, Maud, died of complications from giving birth to their son Altaïr, leaving him to raise their child alone.
In August 1176, the forces of Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, laid siege to Masyaf in retaliation for two prior attempts on his life. After an assembly of his Master Assassins, the Assassin leader Al Mualim rejected an assassination of Saladin in favor of intimidation. He tasked Umar with infiltrating Saladin's tent and leaving a message there, thereby proving to the sultan how defenseless he truly were to a single Assassin in spite of his great army.
That very night, Umar sneaked into the Saracen camp, eluding all the guards. As reported by the Assassin spy Ahmad Sofian, the extravagant pavilion thought to be Saladin's tent was merely a decoy, and the true tent was identified by the chalk and cinder strew around its perimeter. This obstacle, intended to alert the guards of any Assassin's footsteps, failed to impede Umar, who managed to evade the trap and slip into the tent.
As instructed, the Assassin laid down a feather and pinned a dagger with a letter into Saladin's pallet as he slept. The message asserted that should the sultan decline to retreat, the next dagger would be plunged into his genitals instead. Unfortunately for Umar, just as he was about to leave, Saladin awoke and shouted for his guards. Though the Assassin escaped with his life, he was forced to kill a Saracen nobleman in the process.
The next morning, Saladin withdrew from Masyaf in fear for his life, but not before sending his uncle Shihab Al'din to negotiate peace terms. While Shihab affirmed that Saladin was open to the prospect of peace, they demanded one condition: that Umar's life be taken in payment for the general he had killed. Umar begrudgingly accepted but was overridden by Al Mualim, who was initially unwilling to accept his loss. To their horror, Shihab unveiled their bargaining tool: that they had captured the spy Ahmad and would not only execute him but resume their siege should Al Mualim refuse to surrender Umar in Ahmad's place.
Left with no other choice, Al Mualim at last allowed Umar to give himself up for execution and agreed to his last request for him to take guardianship of Altaïr and induct him into the Brotherhood. As Umar descended to the entrance of the fortress to present himself to the Saracens, his eleven-year-old son, Altaïr, cried out repeatedly for him. Despite his attempts to reassure Ahmad as they switched places, the guilt-ridden spy could not meet his gaze. He was then laid upon a wooden block and beheaded with a scimitar before the eyes of all the Master Assassins on top of the castle walls.
- "Master, I ask you one final favor. That you see to the care of Altair. Accept him as your novice."
- ―Umar's last will to Al Mualim, 1176[src]
Umar's actions had far-reaching consequences, even decades after his death. Though his sacrifice assured a peace treaty between the Saracens and Assassins that would last throughout the Third Crusade, Ahmad, unable to live with his guilt and grief, committed suicide in front of Altaïr shortly after apologising to him. His death would forever haunt his son Abbas, who would from then on blame Altaïr for his orphanage and strive to undermine him for the entirety of their lives. Unable to relinquish his grudge, Abbas eventually usurped the Assassin Brotherhood from Altaïr, murdering his son and friends, and reduced the order to ruin as little more than a corrupt group of bandits.
Personality and characteristics
- "I will go. The mistake was mine. It is only right I should pay for it."
- ―Umar Ibn-La'Ahad, 1176[src]
A Master Assassin, Umar Ibn-La'Ahad was loyal to the cause and welfare of the Assassins. Though he was unnerved by the prospect of offering himself for execution, this did not dissuade him from resigning to it voluntarily to protect his people. His resolution stemmed in part from a devotion to duty and an ability to accept it as responsibility for his error in his mission. When the Saracens revealed that they had taken Ahmad hostage and would kill him in his place, he became insistent—even desperate—for his Mentor to permit him to sacrifice his life.
Though Ahmad's own failure had granted the Saracens the bargaining power needed for Umar's death, Umar did not begrudge Ahmad for it, even sympathizing with him. Considerate of Ahmad's shame, he hoped to give him a final reassuring gaze as the two switched places, though Ahmad failed to meet his eyes. He was therefore a selfless and compassionate man, and accordingly, he cared deeply for his son Altaïr, asking Al Mualim as his last will for his master to care for him after he died. The sound of Altaïr crying out for him as he surrendered himself to the Saracens brought him to tears.
Because of Umar's respect for knowledge and education, Altaïr would reflect on him later in life when observing a book-burning being conducted by a Templar, musing that the sight would have disgusted his father.
- Umar is an Arabic name meaning "prospering, thriving, flourishing", derived from عمر (umr) meaning "life". The meaning of the name Ibn-La'Ahad is "son of none". Although a patronymic, the fact that it is inherited by his son Altaïr implies that it serves more as a surname.