Jerusalem: Thriving Trade, Scholars and Magnificant Architectural Works

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 27th April 2005

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Jerusalem prior to the crusades was a place filled with a thriving trade, scholars and magnificant architectural works. This is notably significant in any study of Muslims contribution to the advancement of Jerusalem.

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Figure 2. Inside of The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem (Source)

At the battle of Ajnadayn in 634 CE, Khalid ibn Walid and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, commanding the Muslim armies, crushed the Byzantine Roman army of Heraclius.[1] This was followed by the great Muslim victory at al Yarmuk, in the Summer of 636, which terminated Byzantine power.[2] There, the Muslim army led by Abu ‘Ubaydah, Khalid, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, and Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, although much inferior in size and equipment recorded one of the greatest victories in world history.[3] It led to the Muslim control over Syria and Palestine, and from there the advance into Egypt and North Africa.[4]

These victories were accomplished during the Caliphate of Omar (Caliph 634-644). The Byzantines agreed to cede Jerusalem but only to the person of the Caliph. Against the advice of some of the Companions (sensing treachery on the part of the Byzantines), the Caliph set off north for the surrender of the city.[5] Sometime in late 637-probably early 638, historians do not agree, on a red camel, which carried a bag of corn and one of dates, a wooden dish, and a leather water bottle, Caliph Omar came from Medina to take formal possession of Jerusalem. He entered the Holy City riding by the side of the Christian patriarch Sophronius.[6] These are Caliph Omar’s words:

In the name of Allah, the Benefactor and merciful! This is the surety granted to the inhabitants of Aelia (Jerusalem) by the servant of God, Omar, commander of the faithful. He gives them protection of their persons, their churches, their crosses, whether these are in good or bad state, and their cult in general. No constraint will be exerted upon them in the matter of faith, and none of them will be harmed. The inhabitants of Aelia will have to pay the Jizya in the same proportion as the inhabitants of other cities. It is up to them to expel from their city the Byzantines and thieves. Those amongst the latter who would like to stay will be allowed to do so on the condition that they should pay the same Jizya as the inhabitants of Aelia.”[7]

Under the Emperors of Constantinople in Asia and Africa these subjects used to pay very onerous, excessive and complicated forms of taxes. Under the Muslims, a simple well defined tribute of far less amount, in places only half of what it used to be; the lower orders never made to feel the bitterness of conquest.[8]

The Jews, likewise, saw the difference Muslim rule could bring. Following Caliph Omar’s entry in the city, a grateful Jewish noble man said:

The temple remained with Byzantium for 500 or so years and Israel were unable to enter Jerusalem; whoever did so and was found out, suffered death. Then when the Romans left it, by the grace of the God of Israel, and the kingdom of Ishmael was victorious, Israel was given leave to enter and take up residence and the courtyards of the house of God were handed over to them and they were praying there of a time.”[9]

Figure 3. Sicilian tomb marker with inscriptions in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and Arabic. ~1150AD (Source)

Under the Muslims all, Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in shared peace and prosperity in the city. Ibn al-Arabi, commenting on Jerusalem remarks that the Christians cultivated its estates and kept its churches in good repair.[10] Ibn al-Arabi insists that Jerusalem was the meeting place for religious scholars of all three faiths-Islam, Christianity and Judaism.[11] The infamous destruction of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, which is often used as an example of Muslim desecration of Christian sites, was the act of the mad Fatimid ruler, Al-Hakem (b.985), whose persecution of the Muslims was much worse than that of the Christians, for whilst he persecuted Jews and Christians, he put to death many of the respectable Sunnis.[12] The paradox of this act, the destruction of the Church of the Resurrection, Finucane notes, is that the chief secretary, who drew up the document for the destruction of the said church, was a Christian, like his vizier who signed it.[13] This incident apart all faiths lived together in the city in relative peace and harmony until the crusades.

Jerusalem had been in Seljuk hands before the crusades (launched in 1095). But, as the Seljuks were fighting the crusaders pouring through the north, the Fatimids wrested Jerusalem from them in1097, which was a ‘real betrayal of Islam,’ according to Lamarque.[14] ‘The humour of history’, according to Durant, meant that when the Crusaders would arrive in front of Jerusalem in 1098, the Turks whom they had come to fight had been expelled from the city by the Fatimids a year before (1097).[15] The Fatimids had already allied themselves to the crusaders against the Seljuks.[16] But in July 1099, when the crusaders surrounded the city of Jerusalem held for the Fatimids by Iftikhar ad-Daula (The pride of the Nation,) Iftikhar, his entourage and his army were allowed to leave the city under safe Christian conduct.[17] The population, 70,000 people, on the other hand, was slain in cold blood.[18] Draper narrates:

The capture of Jerusalem, as might be expected under such circumstances, was attended by the perpetration of atrocities almost beyond belief. What a contrast to the conduct of the Arabs! When the Khalif Omar took Jerusalem, A.D. 637, he rode into the city by the side of the Patriarch Sophronius, conversing with him on its antiquities.  At the hour of prayer, he declined to perform his devotions in the Church of the Resurrection, in which he chanced to be, but prayed on the steps of the Church of Constantine; `for,’ said he to the patriarch, `had I done so, the Musselmen in a future age would have infringed the treaty, under colour of imitating my example.’ But, in the capture by the Crusaders, the brains of young children were dashed out against the walls; infants were thrown over the battlements; every woman that could be seized was violated; men were roasted at fires; some were ripped open, to see if they had swallowed gold; the Jews were driven into their synagogue, and there burnt; a massacre of nearly 70,000 persons took place; and the pope’s legate was seen ‘partaking in the triumph.”[19]

Figure 4. A map showing the Great Seljuk Empire at its height, upon the death of Malikshah in 1092
from Turkish Medical History of the Seljuk Era by Ali Haydar Bayat

A contemporary, Abbot Raymond of Agiles of the French town of Du Puy, present during the dramatic moments wrote with glee:

When our men took the main defences, we saw then some astonishing things amongst the Saracens. Some were beheaded, and that’s the least that could happen to them. Others were pierced through and so threw themselves from the heights of the walls; others after having suffered in length were thrown into the flames. We could see in the roads and in the places of Jerusalem bits and pieces of heads, hands, and feet. Everywhere we could only walk through cadavers. But all that was only little… [The abbot’s description moves onto the Mosque of Omar, where] there was so much blood in the old temple of Solomon that dead corpses swam in it. We could see hands floating and arms that went to glue themselves to bodies that were not theirs; we could not distinguish which arm belonged to which body. The men who were doing the killing could hardly bear the smoke from the corpses.”[20]

The Christian chronicler, Humbert of Romans, delighted on ‘the splendid occasion when the blood of the Arabs came up to the horses’ knees, at the capture of Jerusalem in 1099.’[21]

The carnage perpetrated by the crusaders when they took it, and their occupation of it for a century (until 1187) had its permanent destructive effects. The scholars and scholarship who thrived in the city before the crusades were gone for good. The city would witness a sort of revival in the late 12th century after it was retaken by the Muslims, but never again would it recover its former glory.

Figures 5-6. Views of the oldest Islamic epigraphy in the world located in Al-Masjid al-‘Umari in Nuba, near Al-Khalil, in Palestine. The mosque was built on the remains of the old mosque which is said to have been built by Caliph ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khatab after that the Muslims conquered Palestine in 636 H (Source).

Jerusalem: Its Sites, Scholars and Scholarship Before the Crusades

Figure 7. Dome of the Rock, the Jewel of Islam, Jerusalem
from Umayyad Mosques and Palaces

The thriving character of the city prior to the crusades is caught by the traveller Nasr Eddin Khusraw who visited it just decades earlier in 1047.  He noted how goods were cheap and plentiful in beautiful markets, and he was impressed by the high buildings. Jerusalem had a great number of craftsmen, and each craft had its own site. The city was large; the number of its inhabitants was at about a hundred thousand. Nasr Khusraw refers to a great hospital with rich waqfs dedicated to it, from which medicines for its numerous patients are dispensed and salaries for doctors are paid. Medicine was taught there. He also refers to hostels for the Sufis by the mosque where they live and pray.[22]  

Serious patronage of architecture had begun in Umayyad times (661-750). During their rule no single architectural style was used throughout the Islamic world, but monuments associated with the dynasty or its high officials were often well built and elaborately decorated, in structures such as the mosques of Medina and Damascus; the aim appearing to have been ‘to create monuments that would proclaim the power and ideals of the new Islamic state.’[23] Even richer and more complex was the decorative and epigraphic program of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, built by Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik and completed in 691/692.[24] It was a central domed area over the rock proper and a double octagonal ambulatory around it.[25] Both the inner (circular) and outer (octagonal) zones are formed of piers alternating with columns. Internally the building is notable for its colourful decoration—marble panels on the piers and lower wall surfaces, and mosaic cubes on the arcades of both zones as well as on the drum of the central dome.[26]

Figure 8. Jerusalem on the Minster Map 1550. The line of the eastern and northern wall can be seen on the map (Source)

In the early eighth century the Aqsa Mosque (The Further Mosque) was erected adjacent to the south side of the Dome of the Rock. It was also embellished with marble and mosaics.[27] In their complex decorative and iconographic schemes the Umayyad religious buildings of Damascus, Medina, and Jerusalem are unique, but even more influential was the basic spatial organization of the mosques in those three cities, which was often imitated in later buildings.[28]

The Aqsa Mosque had been re-currently described by Muslim scholars. Al-Muqaddasi, whose origins are from the city, in 985, writes that:

The main building of the Aqsa Mosque has twenty six doors. The door opposite the Mihrab is called the Green Brazen Gate; it is plated with brass gilt, and is so heavy that only a man strong of shoulder and of arm can turn it on its hinges…. On the right hand side of the Court (that is along the West Wall of the Haram Area) are colonnades supported by marble pillars and plasters; and on the back (or north wall of the Haram Area) are colonnades vaulted in stone. The centre part of the main building is covered by a mighty roof, high pitched and gable wise, over which rises a magnificent dome.”[29] 

Figure 9. Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Al-Quds (Source)

The mosques played a primary role in disseminating knowledge and culture. A brief glimpse on the scholarly institutions, which are described in great detail by the late medieval scholar, the Qadi Mudjir Eddin (d.1521), is very enlightening, indeed, on such link between faith and learning.[30] Although his outline also includes madrasas built after the crusades, the earliest ones which saw the best of Muslim scholarship in the city date from before. Inside the Aqsa Mosque, just near the women’s area is the madrasa Farisiya founded by Emir Fares Eddin Albky, there was also the madrasa Nahriye and the Nassiriya.  This latter was named after the Jerusalem scholar, Sheikh Nasr, before it became known as the Ghazaliya, after the famed scholar al-Ghazali who resided and worked there. And these are the madrasas in the Mosque itself. Around al-Aqsa were the Qataniya, the Fakriya, Baladiya and the Tankeziya.  The latter, Ibn Mudjir says, is an immense madrasa, situated on the Khatt road, and its founder, Emir Tankiz Nasri, vice ruler of Syria, is also responsible for building the aqueduct for the water supply of Jerusalem. A number of Turkish women were behind the construction of many such madrasas in and around the al-Aqsa. The madrasa Othmania was constituted in waqf in 1523 by a woman belonging to one of the greatest families of the country, her name Isfahan Shah Khatoun. Earlier, in 1354, another madrasa Khatouniya was constituted in waqf by Oghl Khatoun, daughter of Chams Eddin Mohammed Bin Sayf Eddin of Baghdad. The madrasa was financed by a local business.[31]

Setting aside the later edifices, the great number of early madrasas is a reflection of the thriving intellectual activity that marked Jerusalem during the Islamic era preceding the crusades.   Mudjir Eddin names some of the illustrious figures, who by their thoughts and writing marked the city’s history, such as Omm al-Khayr Rabeah, daughter of Ismail, of the Aqyl family, who lived in the 8th century.[32]  In the 11th century, under the Seljuks, on the eve of the crusades, the city witnessed many cultural activities.

Figure 10. Front cover of Handsat Ūqlīdis fī aydin ‘arabiya (Euclid’s geometry in Arabian hands) by Ahmad Salīm Sa‘īdān (Source)

Renowned scholars from both east and west of the Muslim land made the city their destination, many to settle there. Both the city’s scholars and the visitors participated in a rich cultural life.[33] Ibn al-Arabi gives a vivid picture of this, Jerusalem a meeting place of scholars from Khurasan in the east to Al-Andalus in the west, impressed as he was by the circles of study and the majlis of disputations.[34] Amongst such scholars was the Sha’afiite Nasr b. Ibrahim al-Maqdisi (1096), who taught at the Nassriyya school; Ata al-Maqdisi (Abu’l Fadl) another, and so was al-Rumali.[35] Abu’l Farradj Abd Al-Waheed (d. ca. 1090s) also dwelt Jerusalem. Responsible for the spread of the Hanbalite thought of Islam in and around the city, he wrote on jurisprudence, and also completed Kitab al-Djawaher on the interpretation of the Qur’an.[36] Abu Fath Nasr (d. 1097) was the author of many works such as Zahd al-Abed, and taught Hadith in the same place that was to be Al-Ghazali’s abode. Abu’l Maaly Al-Mucharraf wrote Fadail al-Bayt Al-muqaddas wa Asakhra (The Merits of Jerusalem and the Rock) in which he dealt with all that relates to the city, its history, its sites, and its sanctuaries.[37] He is the contemporary of Abu Kassem Mekki al-Romarly, who also wrote on the history of Jerusalem gathering many facts on such history.[38] There was al-Ghazali (b. 1058), of course, who also settled in the city. The Andalusian Faqih, Abu al-Bakr al-Turtushi, also came in to Jerusalem in 1091, and stayed and taught in the Aqsa Mosque, whilst Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, who left for the East, attended his lectures.[39]

The Aqsa Mosque had several book collections in the Nahawiya and Ashrafyia madrasas, and a library of even greater stature at the Farisiya Madrasa. The Mosque of Omar developed rapidly into an important academy for religious and secular studies included a large book collection which was scattered among the mosque’s four madrasas. One of these was the Nassiryia Madrasa, also known as the Ghazzaliya in a tribute to the philosopher al-Ghazali (d. 505H/1111) who sequestered himself there until he completed the writing of the celebrated work Ihya al-Ulum Eddin (The Revival of Religious Sciences).[40]

Figures 11-12. Early 20th-century photos of coffee from Palestine: (right) The traditional mode of grinding coffee in Palestine around 1905 , (left) A coffee-house in Palestine around 1900, from The Coffee Route from Yemen to London

Figure 13. Al-Quds (Jerusalem): Alleyway in the Old City (Source). 

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali was born at Tus in 1058, lost his father early, and was reared by a Sufi friend. He studied law, theology, and philosophy; and spent much of his life teaching and writing, making stays in Jerusalem, Damascus and Baghdad. At thirty-three he was appointed to the chair of law at the Nizamiya College in Baghdad where he taught, and soon all Islam acclaimed his eloquence, erudition, and dialectical skill.[41] After four years of this glory he was affected by a mysterious disease; appetite and digestion failed, paralysis of the tongue occasionally distorted his speech, and his mind began to break down.[42] In 1094 he left Baghdad, ostensibly on a pilgrimage to Mecca; actually he went into seclusion? Seeking silence, contemplation, and peace.[43] He transported himself to Jerusalem burning with desire to devote his life to faith and to visit the sacred sites.[44] He established his house in the zawiya which was above the Door of the Redemption, and which was known formerly as the Nassiriya, inside Masjid al-Aqsa, and there he wrote his famed Ihiya al-Ulum Eddin (The Revival of the science of Religion).[45]

Al-Ghazali wrote his most influential Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Destruction of Philosophy). All the arts of reason were turned against reason; by a “transcendental dialectic” as subtle as the eighteenth century German philosopher, Kant’s, he argued that reason leads to universal doubt, intellectual bankruptcy, moral deterioration, and social collapse.[46] Seven centuries before Hume, al-Ghazali reduced reason to the principle of causality, and causality to mere sequence: all that we perceive is that B regularly follows A, not that A causes B. Philosophy, logic, science, cannot prove the existence of God or the immortality of the soul; only direct intuition can assure us of these beliefs, without which no moral order, and therefore no civilization, can survive.[47]

 Figure 14. Jaffa Gate Clock Tower before its removal 1898-1934 (Source)

However, al Ghazali also saw the vital need of reason. He subjected sensation—on which materialism seemed to rest—to critical scrutiny; accused the senses of making the stars appear small when, to be so visible from afar, they must be vastly larger than the earth; and concluded from a hundred such examples that sensation by itself could be no certain test of truth; reason, he concluded, was higher, and corrected one sense with another; but in the end it too rested on sensation. ‘Perhaps there was in man a form of knowledge, a guide to truth, surer than reason.’[48] Reason, with its powers of criticism and appraisal, can correct the data of the senses and imagination.[49] With reason it can be proved that a star is far bigger than it seems to the naked eye, and if imagination fails to provide us with a reliable evaluation of something, reason can.[50] This comparison between the inadequacy of the senses and the capability of reason is something al-Ghazali stresses more than once.[51] In Mishkat al-anwar, he concludes from such comparison that reason, in contrast to perception, can be aware of the infinity of number, and is also capable of self awareness and self criticism.[52] Al-Ghazali believed that if reason was untainted by prejudice and false idea, it could then acquire `certain knowledge’ of some issues at least.[53] The facts of faith require rational understanding: ‘Reason is like the power of sound vision which sees well, and the Qur’an is like the sun irradiating light everywhere… hence reason with revelation is light with light.’[54]  Reason brings us close to the deepest secrets of religion, and the light of faith can strengthen reason with its moral task.[55] There is, first of all, reason as a faculty which ‘distinguishes man from other beasts.’ With it he is able to expand his knowledge and conceive what he cannot see.[56] Secondly, reason includes daruriyyat, i.e. self evident principles of thought, such as the impossibility of something being in two places at the same time. Thirdly, reason can be applied to man’s experience, as when he becomes skilled and prudent in dealing with new situations. Finally, reason is the faculty of reflection on `the consequences of different things and on the restraint of the desire for temporal pleasure.’[57]

Figures 15-17. A shuttle aerial view of Palestine and  Map of Palestine ,1849 and Map showing Palestine’s topography
from Gaza at the Crossroad of Civilisations

Many scholars accuse al Ghazali of having with his work Tahafut al-falasifa (the inconsistency of the philosophers) caused the death of Muslim sciences. Which is wrong, for as noted by other scholars who studied his work in detail, Al Ghazali did the very reverse. As Montgomery Watt, for instance, remarks, in his work, Al-Ghazali showed the extent to which some of the sciences of the falasifa, such as mathematics, had nothing in them contrary to Islamic doctrine and so could be accepted.[58] He saw that Muslim philosophers and their followers had been dazzled by Greek philosophy and its mathematical proofs that they accepted without question Greek physics and metaphysics, making no effort to investigate for themselves the truth of these teachings.[59] He wrote:

He who follows something blindly does not know he is doing so but believes himself to be in the right. He is so absolutely certain that he feels no need to criticise his beliefs that he is right and his opponent is wrong.” Al-Ghazali[60]

Figure 18. Page from Al-Ghazali’s manuscript of Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din (Revival of the sciences of religion), from Al-Ghazali’s Theory of Education by Nabil Nofal

Bigotry such as this, he insists, drives truth away and makes it `something dependent upon men,’ whereas in reality, men are known through truth,’ that is, the truth imposes itself regardless of who utters it or who agrees with it.[61]  He accepted again the Qur’an and the Hadith, and in his Ihya Ulum al-Din (Revival of the Science of Religion) he expounded and defended his renovated beliefs in Sunni Islam with all the eloquence and fervour of his prime; ‘never in Islam had the skeptics and the philosophers encountered so vigorous a foe.’[62] When he died (1111), the tide of unbelief had been effectually turned; all Sunnis took comfort from him; even Christian theologians were glad to find, in his translated works, such a defence of religion, and such an exposition of piety, as no one had written since Augustine.[63] Al-Ghazali wrote: `It has always been my practice, as a youth and as a man, to thirst for knowledge of the true nature of things…. So that I can be freed from the bond of imitation.’[64] For al-Ghazali personal knowledge should spur on to good deeds which please God and lead to salvation. He was also a very influential scholar, his Maqasid al-Falasifah (the aims of the philosophers) translated into Latin in the twelfth century became very influential amongst scholastic Christian theologians.[65] He influenced deeply the mediaeval Jewish philosophers, including Maimonides, and even Christian writers—above all Aquinas, Dante, and Pascal—found an inspiration in his translated works and used his ideas in the defence of their religion.[66]

A final point is from the third volume of his Ihya Ulum al Din consists mainly of descriptions of moral weaknesses and vices which al-Ghazali calls things which destroy, such as avarice, hypocrisy and indulgence in desires. By contrast most of the fourth volume is concerned with what he calls ‘things which bring salvation’, such as repentance, gratitude, trust in God and love.[67]

Before al-Ghazali, the city’s famed scholars included Al-Tamimi (late 10th century). His full name was Abu ‘Abdallah Mutammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Sa’id al-Tamimi al-Muqaddasi.[68] He was a Palestinian physician who made pharmaceutical experiments and wrote various medical works, chiefly on materia medica. His main work is a guide (Murshid) on materia medica, which contains much valuable information on plants, minerals, and related matters, entitled Kitab al-murshid ila jawahir al-aghdhiya wa quwa-l-mufradat; guide toward (the understanding of) the substances of food-stuffs and (of) the simple drugs.[69]

Figure 19: “Medicine in the Arab World” (Source)

Leclerc, the 19th century French medical historian, in his work on Muslim medicine, in the first volume, on pages 549-52, deals with a most interesting manuscript that is located in Madrid—Escorial 887, old 882—containing what seem to be the notes taken by a student at the consultations of a physician.[70] His physician is one Muhamad al-Tamimi, about whom no definite information is given. Leclerc would place him in Toledo, c.1069, but, Sarton notes, his conjecture is not convincing. There is a possibility that these two Tamimi are the same person. In any case, this work seems to be very valuable and to deserve a thorough investigation. About 50 consultations are reported in it.[71] Leclerc himself offers a good insight into this particular manuscript at the Escorial, which he says is a mutilated, badly preserved manuscript.[72] It is divided into sessions, or consultations, and these sessions are in the number of fifty. A sick person presents himself/herself, the doctor asks them questions, and have them examined by his student, first, with further questions and answers. The doctor then prescribes medicines. The doctor generally asks his student on his knowledge about the illness of the patient. If the student does not know much, the doctor then lectures him more about it after the patient had left.[73] If the student noticed something that was odd in relation to the diagnosis, the prognosis, or something that had struck him, he asked the master, who then provided him with answers.

Here is an instance of a session narrated by the student:

‘A patient came, and said he was suffering from severe headache.

My master asks him: ‘Is it at the front or at the back, and how do you feel the beating against the side of the head?’

The patient answers: ‘It is as if someone was hitting me with a hammer at the front of the head.’

The master provides the following prescription: ‘You take some camomile, some rose leaves, and the head of poppies; you mix the lot in a pan, and add water in sufficient quantity to cover the lot. You boil the pan, and you bend your head towards the emanated steam. Do this for three days, day and night, and you will recover. With respect to diet: eat something soft that is relaxing.’

The patient soon recovered.[74]

Another session is recounted by the student:

‘A man came in saying he had a large mole on his upper lid. My master orders me to measure the tumour with my hand, and whether it was static or moving. Which I did. The tumour moved like a sort of stone under the skin. The master asked me to see whether under the lid were lesions. Which I did and found nothing. The master then said: Friction the tumour with olive oil, and apply some compress with hot bread on it. The patient did it for three days and recovered.[75]  

In one session, the student relates how the master cured a disease by just prescribing a food diet. To the baffled student, the master answered that the prescribed food was enough to cure the disease.[76]

image alt text
Figure 20-21: (left) A page from the Latin translation of Ibn Rushd’s commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima, (right) a page from the transcription in Hebrew letters of Ibn Rusd’sTalkhīs kitāb al-nafs li-Aristū (Epitome of the De Anima of Aristotle) from Tracing the Impact of Latin Translations of Arabic Texts on European Society by Charles Burnett

Figure 22: Front cover of The Best Divisions for the Knowledge of the Regions, the English translation of Al-Muqaddasi’s Ahasan al-Taqasim Fi Ma’rifat al-Aqalim by Basil Anthony Collins (Source)

Al-Muqaddasi (b.946-d. end of 10th century), originally from al-Quds (Jerusalem), hence his name, is by far one of the most instructive of all early Islamic writers on the social geography of Islam. On his travels, he set off from Jerusalem, and visited nearly every part of the Muslim world. His best  known treatise Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma’arifat al-Aqalim[77] (The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Climes) was completed around 985.  A good outline of it is given by Kramers,[78] whilst extracts can be found in Dunlop’s Arab Civilisation.[79]

In This work, Al-Muqaddasi was the first geographer to determine and standardize the meanings and connotations of Arabic geographical terms, and the first to provide a list of towns and other features for quick referencing. He drew a colour map, the first ever, indicating regional boundaries and trade routes in red, sandy areas in yellow, rivers in blue, mountains in ochre… After a general overview of geography and the land of Islam, the arrangement of its various parts, and approximate estimate of distances from one frontier to the other, al-Muqaddasi deals with countries separately. In dealing with each region, he divides his work in two parts: the first enumerates localities and gives good topographical descriptions, especially of the major towns, and the second lists various subjects: population, its composition, its social groups, commerce, minerals, archaeological monuments, money, political climate etc.[80]

The work also includes accounts of weights and measures, moneys, languages, political climate, fiscal charges of people and commerce.[81]

Al-Muqaddasi also gives the itineraries between the main places, and distances are given in days’ journeys, but also in farsakhs (parasangs) (a parasang about 5.5 kilometres).

The Islamic urban setting, its growth, diversity, complexities, economy and politics is what attracts most of his focus, re-occurring in each chapter, for every region and place he visits.[82] Al-Muqaddasi differentiates between town and city by the presence of the great mosque, and its minbar, symbols of Islamic authority. In connection with this, he states what follows:

Now, if someone should say: `Why have you considered Halab the capital of the district, while there is a town bearing the same name?’ I reply to him: ‘I have already stated that the capitals are compared with generals and towns with troops. Hence it should not be right that we assign to Halab, with all its eminence, and its being the seat of government and the location of the government offices, or to Antakiya with all its excellence, or to Balis, with its teeming population, the position of towns subordinate to a small and ruined city.’[83]

Figure 23: Front cover of the Arabic text of Ahsan at-taqasim fi ma’rifat al-aqalim by Muhamad Ibn Ahamd Al-Muqaddasi (Source)

Al-Muqaddasi delves most particularly on the defensive structures of each town or city. Walls, their height, thickness, distances between each, fortifications, access in and out, their location according to the general topography, and artificial obstacles, in particular, draw his attention. And so do daily concerns as trade and exchanges, markets and the urban economy as a whole. He studies markets, their expansion and decline, providing also a bill of health for each, the revenues derived from them, both daily and monthly, and how such revenues are distributed.[84] He also looks at how a location is run, and its citizens act, dwelling most particularly on such factors as order, cleanliness, morality and state of learning, all of which he studies carefully in every place visited.[85]

On water management and hydraulic technology, much can be learnt from him as he describes Egypt, the Nile and the Nilometer.[86] Currencies, their uses and users, as well as their fluctuations, constitute a major aspect of interest; Dinar, Dirhem, their multiples, and sub-multiples, as well as each region’s local currencies are studied in good detail.[87] Also of interest is information on diets, clothing, dialects, discrepancies of all sorts amongst the many ethnic groups of the vast Muslim land, a diversity in union, which Miquel notes in his concluding words, was to be completely shattered by the Mongol irruption.[88]

This approach is in contrast with his predecessors, whose focus was much narrower, whilst Al-Muqaddasi wanted to encompass aspects of interest to merchants, travellers, and people of culture.[89] Thus, it becomes no longer the sort of traditional `geography’, but a work that seeks to understand and explain the foundations of Islamic society, and not just that, the very functioning of such society. On the whole, Kramers concludes that ‘There is, thus, no subject of interest to modern geography which is not treated by al-Muqaddasi.’ And so, he is, according to A. Miquel (the author of a more recent translation of Al-Muqaddasi), the creator of ‘total geographical science.’[90] At this point, and in relation to the particular subject of al Muqqadasi’s maps, it is highly crucial to refer to the extremely recent (November 2016) book by Karen C. Pinto, a real chef d’oeuvre of a work on the Muslim mapping tradition, including, of course, the works by al Muqqadasi.[91]


Figure 24. Map of Palestine from a 1947 issue of National Geographic (Source)

Muwaffaq Eddin Yaqub Ben Saklan was a Christian doctor of Jerusalem (fl. Middle of 12th century; d. 1229). He was an Oriental Christian, who served as a manager of the hospital of Jerusalem under Muaddam, the Ayyubid ruler.  Muaddam took Yaqub at his service, and showered him with gifts and honours.[92] Although his own health failed, and he could not move due to problems with his legs, he still served the same Muaddam, even if he had to be carried to see to the ruler.[93] Both died in a short space of each other. Ben Saqlan was not just an able doctor, he was said to be appreciated for his surgical skills; Ibn Abi Ussaybia (the 13th century medical historian) is particularly full of praise for him.[94] According to him, Ben Saqlan observed very minutely all the symptoms, studied them, never allowing any detail to escape his attention, and then applied the most accurate cures. He was an accomplished man, intelligent and judicious in his practice. He died living a son who pursued in his footsteps.[95]

Rashid Eddin Ibn Essury (fl. Late 12th century- early 13th century), by his name was of Syrian origins. He learnt his trade in Damascus. However, he, too practiced medicine for some time in Jerusalem, and was attached to the hospital of that city. A friend of his, Abu Al-Abbas Al-Hayany, a scholar and a man of great generosity, who knew about simples taught Ibn Essury the art of botany.[96] Rashid Eddin, just as Ibn Saqlan served King al-Muaddam (Muazzam). At the death of the latter he served Nasir, who legated to him the headship of doctors. Rashid Eddin was a well renowned botanist.[97] His passion and knowledge of the subject place him amongst the greatest botanists such as Ibn al-Baytar and Ibn Rumya.[98]  His works are not extant, but other scholars refer to them. Rashid Eddin was famous not just for his theoretical knowledge but also for his innovations in the field.  He travelled extensively, most particularly the mountains of Lebanon, always accompanied by a painter; the latter painted each plant in the proper colours, in minute details, leaves, roots, body, and at its various stages of growth; then the plants were drawn at their stage of dryness, when they are best to be used as medicinal plants.[99] According to the Ottoman historian-biographer, Hadji Khalifa, Ibn Essury added many plants to the known repertory.[100] Rashid Eddin is also known for his commentary on botany exchanged with another famed botanist of Islam: Tadj Eddin al-Bulghari (a friend of the famed botanist Ibn al-Baytar) [101]

Figure 25: Map showing Ancient Palestine and the location of the 12 Tribes of Israel, 1759 (Source)

The Devastation of War Through the Instance of Jerusalem:

Figure 26: Map of the eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea, from Book on Navigation, 16th Century (Source)
from Piri Reis: A Genius 16th-Century Ottoman Cartographer and Navigator by Salah Zaimeche

The crusaders reached and took the city in 1099, and all amongst the Muslim scholars, just like the city’s population, were slain. The madrasas, libraries, and other religious and cultural sites, were either destroyed, or just as the Aqsa mosque, were desecrated or reconverted for Christian use or as stables. The fate of Islamic learning and scholarship in Jerusalem was precisely the fate of every Islamic city that went through the woes of invasion. Thus, as shown under the appropriate entries on the cities, whether in Cordova (1236), Seville (1248), Baghdad (1258), Aleppo (1260), Damascus (1260), Merw, Bukharra, Nishapur, and other places lost to Islam in the 13th century, everywhere, the scholars fled or were put to the sword, crucified, or tortured to death. These tragic upheavals were bound to destroy Islamic learning. How can, indeed, Cordova produce any Islamic learning when it had fallen into Christian hands bent on de-Islamising the city? The same holds for Seville, Valencia, Murcia, or any other place, including Jerusalem. As Kedar remarks, the treatment meted out to the Levantine Muslims at the time of the Frankish conquest resembled, in general terms, that of the Moors in Spain: conquest by assault leading to slaughter and enslavement, and siege terminating in surrender leading to exile or subjection.[102] But, even more, Kedar insists, the massacres in the Levant were often more ferocious, probably because most Crusaders-unlike many Spaniards-had never encountered Muslims, or because of the Frenzy inherent in Holy warfare.[103] The one unique measure was the decision taken after the conquest of Jerusalem to forbid ‘Infidels-Muslims and Jews’ to reside in the Holy City.[104] This was an obvious outgrowth of the desire to put an end to ‘Infidel desecration of the Holy Places, a core component of the idea of the crusade.’[105] So, how could, indeed, Jerusalem produce any scholarship once Muslims were uprooted out of it through murder, flight and banishment.

How could Bukhara produce another Ibn Sina when subsequently it was burned to the ground by the Mongols? How could Merw thrive when its schools and libraries had been burnt to the ground, and everyone in the city slain (some sources even speak of the mass killing of 1,3 million persons.)[106] How can Nishapur suffer the same fate and then produce a Omar Khayyam, again? And it was the same throughout. This explains the decline of Islamic learning, that any ordinary person can find by browsing through history, by just listing in any town or city the number of scholars prior to the invaders (whether Christians or Mongols), and then trying to trace any scholarly activity following the capture or destruction of such a place by such invaders.

Whilst the destruction of Islamic civilisation followed, it is quite the merit of Muslims, who deviated from scholarly concerns (including men such as Abu’l Fida and Usama ibn Munquid), who were at once scholars and warriors,) to have survived the invasions in the first place. Other races worldwide, in their tens of millions, had been wiped out of existence by much lesser onslaughts.[107]

Figure 27: The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (Islamic Surveys) by Carole Hillenbrand (Source)

These invasions did not result out of nothing. Rather, the crusades (1095-1291) were the outcome of awareness of divisions between Shias and Sunnis, then at war, which also in large measure explains Muslim decline. The Christians only made the most of the situation, They had been emboldened by their successes in Spain, taking Barbastro in 1064 and Toledo in 1085 (see entry on Toledo). They had also re-taken Sicily from the Muslims between 1061 and 1090. The Catholic Church knew this time was the best to strike at the centre of Islam amongst the infighting Muslims. The Muslims in the East had also just lost their two greatest figures: Malik Shah, the Seljuk ruler and his minister Nizam al-Mulk, both assassinated, and the Fatimids were ready to make an alliance with the crusaders. Some historians such as Ibn al Athir even directly blame the Fatimids for inviting in the crusaders.[108] What is certain is that, once they arrived in Palestine, the crusaders entered into negotiations with the Fatimid Caliph from 1096 to 1098.[109] The Byzantine Emperor, Alexius, had pointed to the advantages to be gained from an alliance with the Fatimid Caliph. During the siege of Nicea, the crusading chiefs had sent embassy to him, and during that of Antioch had received one in return.[110]  

In light of this, it was only left for the Christian leadership to find an excuse to justify the attack on Islam and to rouse the crowds in Christendom. Hence the Pope, Urban II, concocted a story of Muslim massacres of Christians in the Holy Sites of Jerusalem. His speech included:

An accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and dragging forth the extremity of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until the viscera having gushed forth the victim falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent…. Accordingly undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the kingdom of heaven.”[111]

Figure 28: from The Role of the Crusades in the transfer of Islamic science to the West by Salah Zaimeche

In truth, there were no Turkish atrocities and defilements of the Holy Sites; and far from being in danger of extermination, the Christians enjoyed a uniquely favourable status under Muslim rule. In 1047 the Muslim traveller Nasir-i-Khosru saw Christians practicing freely their faith, describing the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as ‘a most spacious building, capable of holding 8000 persons, and built with the utmost skill. Inside, the church is everywhere adorned with Byzantine brocade, worked in gold.’[112] This was but one of many Christian churches in Jerusalem. Christian pilgrims had free access to the holy places.[113] Christians (like Jews) also occupied all spheres of command within the Islamic realm, and from the earliest times. Caliph Al-Mutasim (833-842), for instance, had two Christian ministers, one of whom was for finance.[114] Everywhere Christians were free to practice their faith, and keep property and wealth, hardly disturbed by the Muslims. In fact, the destruction of The Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, which the Pope used as an illustration of Muslim desecration of Christian sites, was the work of the Fatimid king (Al Hakem) (b. 985-d.1021), gone mad; and the paradox, as Finucane notes, was that the king’s chief secretary, who drew up the document of destruction of the Church was a Christian just like his vizier who signed it.[115] And even more importantly, this Fatimid ruler had put to death many of the respectable Muslim Sunnis.[116] The other principal cause cited by the Pope to justify the crusades was the supposed Muslim massacres of pilgrims and stopping them from visiting the Holy sites; and this is equally groundless. Apart from brief interruption during the reign of the mad Fatimid Caliph al-Hakem, pilgrimage became even easier and more extensive in the 11th century. So high were Pilgrim numbers it often caused problems with local officials and food supplies.[117] Duke Robert of Normandy took a large company with him in 1035; the notorious Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, died in 1040 in the course of his third pilgrimage; and in 1064-5, the bishop of Bamberg led a party of about seven thousand.[118] About the year 1092 Peter the Hermit, a native of Amiens, or its neighbourhood, himself, the main preacher of the crusades, years before, in 1092, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.[119] And he was far from being alone.

At this time, [years prior to the crusades, says a Christian contemporary,] there began to flow towards the Holy Sepulchre so great a multitude as, ere this, no man could have hoped for. First of all went the meaner folk, then men of middle rank, and lastly, very many kings and counts, marquises and bishops; aye, and a thing that had never happened before, many women bent their steps in the same direction.”[120]

Figure 29. Western crusaders attacking Muslims from a fourteenth-century manuscript (Bibliothèque Boulogne-s-Mer). The two sides can be distinguished by their swords and shields. (Source)

Even when some Bedouin thieves, who preyed on caravans, whether Muslim or non Muslim, attacked the Christians to rob them, as with the last instance cited, ‘the Saracen lord of Ramleh came to the rescue, and under his guidance the pilgrims visited Jerusalem in safety.’[121]

The true reasons for the call of the crusades, other than the awareness of Muslim divisions already cited, was the fact that the Church became aware that inflicting the final blow on the foe was at reach. It was, Bennet holds the Church overriding ambition ‘to destroy the Muslim creed, to annihilate Islam.’[122] The need to exterminate the Muslim enemy was also reinforced by the need to re-assert Christian unity; first between the Greek Orthodox and Latin Churches, and also within Western Christendom.[123] Pope Urban also sought the unity amongst Western Christians in his own realm, a unity so much shattered by the conflict between Pope (Gregory VII) and Emperor (Henry IV), Urban stressing the ideological aims of the crusade: ‘peace among Christians and death to the enemies of the faith.’[124] And amidst found unity, also found peace, local feudal internal wars now repressed; and men’s pugnacity now diverted to the Crusades.[125] ‘Let hatred, therefore, depart from among you; let your quarrels end,’ said Urban in his speech: ‘Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from a wicked race, and subject it to yourselves. Jerusalem is a land fruitful above all others, a paradise of delights. That royal city, situated at the centre of the earth, implores you to come to her aid. Undertake this journey eagerly for the remission of your sins, and be assured of the reward of imperishable glory to the Kingdom of Heaven.’[126]

To all those who will depart and die on route, whether by land or sea, or lose their life in fighting the pagans, the forgiveness of their sins will be granted. And this I grant to those who participate to this voyage in accordance with the authority that I hold from God.”[127]

Equally high on the Western Christian agenda was the need to wrest from the Muslims their wealth. The men of Provence and Italy, Conder explains, were not insensible to art and beauty; but many of the Latins came from gloomier lands-from dark castles and small fortresses frowning over squalid wooden villages.[128] They were astonished at the wealth and luxury of Asia and their hearts rejoiced thinking of the spoils that lay before them in the east, where Baghdad and Damascus were said to rival Byzantium.[129] The powerful trading cities of Pisa, Genoa, Venice, Amalfi also had great desire to extend their rising commercial power, and capture such Islamic wealth for themselves.[130] Subsequently the whole coastline of Palestine and Syria became filled with their trading posts. The leaders of the crusades, themselves, had great dreams of making fortunes in the East. Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the principal leaders, was accompanied by a brother, Baldwin, and Bohemond, another leader, by a nephew, Tancred, who hoped to make their fortunes overseas.[131] Just as Bohemond went to found a principality in the East, Raymond of St. Gilles, the third most important leader, also had an eye for the fair lands of Syria.[132] The masses who were to depart for the crusades were moved by the Pope’s speech speaking of the massacres of their fellow Christians, the so called desecration of the Holy Land and atrocities committed by `the infidels,’ but it was unlikely, Finucane observes, ‘that righteous indignation alone could have sustained the majority over the long trek east.’[133] Everyone sought a piece of the gains of this earth; Pope Urban had promised `eternal wealth,’ and had also argued the `wealth of the Orient’, contrasted with the `poverty of the Western world.’[134] And so anxious were the poor for a chance to strike it rich that once the killing began, ‘they were scrabbling for the spoils while the knights were still killing the Turks.’[135]

Figure 30. The crusader knights clash with Muslim [Turks] troops during the First Crusade’s second siege of Antioch. French manuscript of ca. 1200 (Source)

And if all this was not enough to stir the masses of Western Christendom to depart east ‘to slay the Infidel,’ there were even more reasons to go, as Durant outlines:

Figure 31.Jerusalem, Crusader Map, 12th century. © National Library of the Netherlands. (Source)

Extraordinary inducements brought multitudes to the standard. A plenary indulgence remitting all punishments due to sin was offered to those who should fall in the war. Serfs were allowed to leave the soil to which they had been bound; citizens were exempted from taxes; debtors enjoyed a moratorium on interest; prisoners were freed, and sentences of death were commuted, by a-bold extension of papal authority, to life service in Palestine. Thousands of vagrants joined in the sacred tramp. Men tired of hopeless poverty, adventurers ready for brave enterprise, younger sons hoping to carve out fiefs for themselves in the East, merchants seeking new markets for their goods, knights whose enlisting serfs had left them labourless, timid spirits shunning taunts of cowardice, joined with sincerely religious souls to rescue the land of Christ’s birth and death. Propaganda of the kind customary in war stressed the disabilities of Christians in Palestine, the atrocities of Moslems, the blasphemies of the Mohammedan creed; Moslems were described as worshiping a statue of Mohammed.. Fabulous tales were told of Oriental wealth and of dark beauties waiting to be taken by brave men. Such a variety of motives could hardly assemble a homogeneous mass capable of military organization. In many cases women and children insisted upon accompanying their husbands or parents, perhaps with reason, for prostitutes soon enlisted to serve the warriors.”[136]

Figure 32.17th century Ottoman miniature, Dome of the Rock (Source)

Neither were criminals, the most desperate robbers, murderers, and violent men to be denied ‘a share in the holy work-room for repentance and for good services.’[137] Sinners and robbers wowed a better life, and swore `to set free from the Turks the land hallowed by the feet of Christ.’[138] Hence, all in all, clergy, nobles, all the people, the chaste, the incestuous, the adulterers, robbers, `all who professed the Christian faith,’ grasped the opportunity for penance, and went onto the crusade.[139] They  ‘emerged in bands on all sides,’ equipped themselves with food and arms that they needed to get to Jerusalem, says Albert of Aix, and all were `burning with fire and divine love.’[140] Even the animal world joined the crusades, and as leaders (like the inspired goose and the perspicacious goat).[141]  This was the force in the hundreds of thousands to set off from Europe in the years 1095-96 and that was descending on the Muslim world.

Having been told of ‘Islamic barbaric cruelties’ against their Christian brethren, armed Christian crowds sought retribution. Their trail was covered in mass slaughter of Muslim populations, mass rape, and even cannibalism.

At Ma’arat an’Numan, late 1098, the crusaders scaled the undefended walls, and entered the city. The terrified population hid in their homes, but to no avail. For three days massacre raged. The Christian chronicler, Robert the Monk, thus, says:

Our men cut into pieces, and put to death children, the young, and the old crumbling under the weight of the years. They did that in groups… Our men grabbed everybody who fell in their hands. They cut bellies open, and took out gold coins…Streams of blood ran on the roads of the city; and everywhere lay corpses…. This massacre of the Turks took place on 12 December (1098); on Sunday; but on this day not all work could be accomplished; so the following day our men killed all the rest.[142]

Radulph of Caen said how:

In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.”[143]

Figure 33. A 14th-century depiction of the crusaders’ capture of Antioch from a manuscript in the care of the National Library of the Netherlands (Source)

Figure 34. The plan of the city of Jerusalem from a manuscript collection of various religious, astronomical and historical works dated 1589. Matenadaran, Yerevan, MS 1770, fol. 392r.r. (Source)

In fact, it was a common practice, as the chronicler, William of Tyre reports, for the crusaders to roast and eat the flesh of the Turks they slew.[144] At Ma’arrat, to avoid such a fate, many Muslims were said by said by a Christian writer to have jumped down wells to their deaths.[145]

Ma’arrat, which had produced great scholars such as the famed Abu al ‘Ala al Ma’ri, and countless others, after this never produced a single illustrious figure.

Few more similar massacres down the road, the crusaders reached Jerusalem in 1099. The city must have contained a sizeable population at the time of the Christian siege, since, as well as its own inhabitants, it probably also housed refugees from other towns and villages who had sought asylum behind its walls.[146] None escaped with their lives. The massacre has been described above to warrant more space here. The essential point to note is that the scholars of Jerusalem suffered the same fate as the population. The tale of al-Rumayli, the most celebrated Palestinian hadith expert of his age and author of tracts on the merits of Jerusalem and Hebron, was stoned to death.[147] When the Crusaders took the city, he was made prisoner, and was ransomed at 1000 dinars. As nobody paid his ransom, he was stoned to death at the gate of Antioch.[148]  Abd Al-Djabbar B. Ahmad of Isfahan was also killed.[149] The scholars who survived the onslaught somehow fled for their lives. The crusades emptied the place of Muslims of intellectual stature, none of whom stayed permanently under Frankish rule.[150]  Others changed functions. Many refugees and fugitives from the conquered regions-among them a son and a nephew of Ahmad b. Qudama, both born in Jammail now played a considerable role in the dissemination of the idea of anti-Frankish jihad.[151]

Islam did not lose just its scholars, but everything else on which life depended. Muslim (and Jewish, too) wealth and possessions passed into Christian hands. It was a systemic loot. In Jerusalem, during the massacre:

Men forgot their vows, forgot the Sepulchre and Calvary, hastening to gather spoil, revelling and exulting, and claiming for their own the empty houses which they seized.”[152]

The Italian cities that helped the crusaders benefited greatly. They took over Muslim and Jewish trades, and established settlements in all seaports and other cities: Genoa in Antioch, Laodicea, Caesarea, Acre, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Beirut; Pisa in Jafa, Laodicea, Tyre, Jerusalem, Acre; Venice in Sidon, Tyre, Tripoli, Jerusalem. The main settlement of the Venetians was in Tyre.[153] These settlements were usually complexes of buildings in particularly favourable locations where the merchants lived according to the law of their native land and carried on their commercial activities.[154] Muslims, including once rich farmers, who survived the killings, became serfs on their once own lands. The majority of the native peasants lived in a state of feudal dependency.[155] The tax they paid varied from a quarter to half of the yield of their crops. However they also carried compulsory labour, and the provision of draft animal for the building of castles in particular. There was also a poll tax. In addition the Muslims had to pay a tithe tax, which was paid to the local Catholic Church via the state.[156]

Figure 35: At the eastern end of the Mediterranean, the Khan al-Umdan at ‘Akka (Acre), Palestine, offered similar facilities to Venetian traders, from East Meets West in Venice by Richard Covington 

Figure 36. Ottoman miniature by Nusret Çolpan, Dome of the Rock  (Source)

The loot of Muslim wealth benefited all. Even priests were not slow to ask their share. Arnold, as Latin patriarch, claimed the treasures of the Aqsa Mosque, which Tancred and Godfrey, the crusade leaders, had shared between them.[157] In fact, whole Muslim towns and villages became property of the Church. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was the richest and most important of all; Geodfrey (the conqueror of Jerusalem) having bestowed twenty one villages on the canons, and the number increased to seventy through the donations of other kings and the barons.[158] These lay mainly in the mountains round Jerusalem within the Royal Domain; but in 1165 five villages in Galilee were purchased, and land in the north east of Caesarea.[159] Next in wealth to the Sepulchre Cathedral appears to have ranked the Church of the Virgin’s tomb-Our Lady of Jehoshaphat.[160] In the Bull of Pope Alexander IV dating 30th January, 1255, no less than forty eight villages are enumerated as its property, and thirty documents refer to their gradual acquisition.[161]  The Church of Bethlehem also attracted the piety of many donors, and the possessions which belonged to it, enumerated in Bulls of Gregory IX in 1227 and Clement IV in 1266 amounted to forty in all.[162] The Abbey of Tabor owned thirty four villages in Lower Galilee, and twenty two beyond Jordan or in the Jordan valley. It was one of the oldest foundations, as shown by the Bull of Pope Pascal II, dating from the 29th of July 1103.[163] Another important abbey was that of St Sion, outside Jerusalem to the south; and the Bull of Alexander III in 1179 enumerates twenty eight villages belonging to this ancient church.[164]

The burning of Muslim libraries was systemic. Even Adelard of Bath, the first English scientist, was present at the burning of the famed Tripoli library where he saved some works from the flames. [165] As Erbostosser remarks,

The Oriental world with princes who took interest in science, literature, and art, recruited scholars to their courts, were poets themselves, possessed great libraries which they also used and even wrote books themselves, all this was alien to the European feudal lords.”[166]

The mentality of the Orient is apparent from an episode in which an Arab ruler, whose ship had been wrecked and plundered on the coast of the crusader states, complained that

The well being of my children, the children of my brother and of our wives allowed me to accept the loss of my wealth with ease. What distressed me was the loss of my books. These were four thousand volumes, all precious works. Their loss was the cause of life long sorrow for me.”[167]

This was a repeated event throughout the entire crusades. Muslim scholars were hardly able to comprehend why books were systematically destroyed.[168]

The barbaric behaviour of the crusaders during the first crusade in particular, [Erbostosser concludes] had been a serious blow for the schools and libraries of the east.”[169]

Figure 37: The Al-Aqsa Mosque inspired the Crusaders to imitate the Muslim pointed arch in Europe,
from The Arch That Never Sleeps

Jerusalem: A Final skip through its history:

Figure 38. An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub known as Saladin (Salah Eddin) from Ridley Scott’s movie “Kingdom of Heaven” 2005, played by Ghassan Massoud (Source)

It is needless here to go on about the military campaigns that followed the taking of Jerusalem by the Christians in 1099. Any book on the crusades is full of such history and older publications on the subject, especially those dating from the 19th century, are much better than anything published today. Just worth mentioning here the intensity and bitterness of each military encounter. So, straight, nearly a century after, when the Muslims re-conquered the city in October 1187. Three months after Salah Eddin’s victory at Hattin on July 1187, on 2 October 1187, after a short siege, Jerusalem surrendered to the Muslims. Salah Eddin’s terms were accepted, says a learned Christian, ‘with gratitude and lamentation;’ perhaps some learned Christians compared these events of 1187 with those of 1099.[170] No massacre or violence were perpetrated, the entry of Salah Eddin more ‘like that of Omar rather than that of Geodfrey.’[171] (Geodfrey, it must be reminded, was the conqueror of Jerusalem in July 1099). Following the Muslim victory, Salah Eddin’s brother al-Adil asked for the gift of a thousand slaves from the still un-ransomed Christian poor; it was granted and he freed them.[172] Ibn al-Athir narrates this follow up to the taking of the city:

The Sultan (Salah Eddin) agreed to give the Franks assurances of safety on the understanding that each man, rich or poor alike, should pay ten dinar, children of both sexes two dinars and women five dinars. All those who paid the sum within forty days should go free… Balian Ibn Barzan offered 30,000 dinars as ransom for the poor, which was accepted, and the city surrendered on Friday 27 rajab/2 October 1187, a memorable day on which Muslim flags were hoisted over the walls of Jerusalem…

Figure 39. A possible portrait of Saladin, found on al-Jazari‘s Elephant Clock drawing, circa 1185. (Source)

Among those multitude who left was the Grand Patriarch of Jerusalem who left with the treasures from the Dome of the Rock, the Masjid al-Aqsa, the Church of Resurrection and others, Gold alone knows the amount of treasure. He also took an equal quantity of money. Salah Eddin made no difficulties, and when he was advised to sequestrate the whole lot for Islam, he replied that he would not go back on his word. He took only the ten Dinar from the Patriarch, and let him go heavily escorted to Tyre.
At the top of the cupola of the Dome of the Rock there was a great gilded cross. When the Muslims entered the city on the Friday, some of them climbed to the top of the cupola to take down the cross. When they reached the top a great cry went up from the city and from outside the walls, the Muslims crying Allah Akbar in their joy, the Franks groaning in consternation and grief. So loud and piercing was the cry that the earth shook.
Once the city was taken and the infidels had left, Salah Eddin ordered that the shrines should be restored to their original. The Sultan ordered that the Dome should be cleansed of all pollution and this was done. On the Friday 4 Shaaban/9 October, the Muslims celebrated the communal Friday prayers there…. The Frankish population of Jerusalem who had not departed began to sell at very low prices all their possessions, treasures and whatever they could not carry with them. The merchants from the army and the non-Frankish Christians in Jerusalem bought their goods from them. The latter had asked Salah Eddin’s permission to remain in their homes if they paid the tax, and he had granted them this, so they stayed and bought up Frankish property. What the Franks could not sell, beds and boxes and casks, they left behind; even superb columns of marble and slabs of marble and mosaics in large quantities. Then they departed.”

Ibn al-Athir also says:

When Salah Eddin re-took possession of the city, and after driving out the infidels, he commanded that the buildings should be put back to their ancient usage. Now the Templars had built to the west of the Aqsa a building for their habitation, and constructed there all that they needed of granaries, and also latrines, with other such places, and they had even enclosed a part of the Aqsa in their new building Salah Eddin commanded that all this should be set back to its former state, and he ordered that the Masjid (or Haram area) should be cleansed, and also the Rock from all the filth and the impurities that were there. All this was executed as commanded.”[174]

(When the crusaders took Jerusalem in July 1099, the Aqsa Mosque was given to the Knights of the Temple, who made considerable alterations to it and to the adjoining portions of the Haram area.)

Figure 40. Fictional depiction of Jerusalem at the bacground with Orlando Bloom as Balian de Ibelin from Ridley Scott’s movie “Kingdom of Heaven” 2005 (Source)

Salah Eddin’s recapture of Jerusalem led to the so-called Third Crusade (launched in 1188), needless to dwell upon here. Only worth saying that to Richard’s (the Lion Heart) vow that he would not abandon Jerusalem, Salah Eddin wrote:

Al-Quds is to us just as much as to you, and is more precious in our eyes than in yours, for it is the site of our Prophet’s nocturnal departure and the place where people will assemble on Judgment Day. Therefore do not imagine that we can waver in this regard.”[175]

Figure 41. Judeo-Arabic language in Hebrew letters in a manuscript page by Maimonides.
from Pioneer Physicians by David W. Tschan

As for the Jews, what they lost under crusader occupation, they regained under the Muslims. After retaking Jerusalem in 1187, Salah Eddin raised the ban imposed on them, and encouraged them to settle the Holy city once more.[176]

Once Salah Eddin died in 1193, his Ayyubid successors divided the realm, and instead of fighting the Crusaders, they sought to compromise so as they could keep their territory. Two of the Ayyubid rulers were actually ready to hand back Jerusalem to the Christians.[177] During the sixth crusade (roughly 1217-1222), as the crusaders besieged Damietta, Malik al-Kamil offered to give up Jerusalem to the Crusaders, to free all the Christian captives, and to pay a large sum towards the rebuilding of the walls, only for the offer to be rejected by the Pope legate, Cardinal Pelagius.[178] Al-Kamil was not the only Ayyubid who sold out Jerusalem and other territories for the sake of his own realm. On hearing that the Franks had designs on Jerusalem, another Ayyubid, al-Mu’addam, i.e The Grand, who initially had patronised building projects in the city, found himself dismantling its fortifications. According to Sibt al-Jawzi, al-Mu’addam justified this very unpopular act by saying: ‘If they (the Franks) were to take it (Jerusalem), they would kill those in it and rule over Damascus and the countries of Islam. Necessity demands its destruction.’[179] 

In 1228 Frederick II of Sicily arrived in Palestine on a Crusade, the sixth. Worried about his own realm, and without a blow, the Ayyubid sultan al-Kamil concluded a treaty with Frederick, which in the words of Muslim chroniclers was a supplication on the part of the Muslim ruler.[180] In such treaty, al-Kamil surrendered the whole of Jerusalem, except the Mosque of Omar, the keys of which were to stay with the Muslims, but Christians under certain circumstances could enter it for prayer; and the treaty further restored Bethlehem, Jaffa and Nazareth to the Crusaders.[181] So pleased was Frederick he decorated with the order of knighthood the Sultan’s chief ambassador.[182] This capitulation over Jerusalem caused widespread indignation and outrage amongst Muslims. In 1229, the chronicler Sibt al-Jawzi wrote:

In it (this year) al-Kamil gave Jerusalem to the emperor… the news of the handing over of Jerusalem to the Franks arrived and great anger broke loose in all the lands of Islam.[183]

On 11 July 1244, the Khwarizmian Turks, who were not ready to compromise on the city, after crossing the Galilee, erupted into Jerusalem, and literally, in the space of days slaughtered their way through crusader ranks, decimating the whole of the two crusader armies of Hospitallers and Templars; leaving barely fifty survivors.[184] Thus was recaptured Jerusalem that had been ceded by the Ayyubid to the crusaders, and so ended Christian hegemony there until modern times.[185]

Some Ayyubid princes formed an alliance with the Christians in order to retake the city from the Khwarizmians. Against the Ayyubid-crusader alliance stood the combined Egyptian-Turkish army, at the decisive battle of La Forbie (near Ghaza).[186] The crucial battle lasted two days, beginning on the morning of October 17, 1244. In the end, such was the fierceness of battle thirty thousand crusaders and their Muslim allies were killed; only the patriarch and the Prince of Tyre escaped with thirty three Templars, twenty six Hospitallers, and three Teutonic Knights.[187] More Christians died in this battle than at Hattin; and hundreds were carried prisoners to Egypt.[188]  Following this success, the Muslims went on the offensive, and in just a year retook most of the territory that the Ayyubids had ceded to the Christians.[189]

Figure 42. The monumental gate Bab al-Qattanin that sits on the western border of the precinct of al-Haram al-Sharif (“The Noble Sacred Enclosure”) leads to the splendid street market of Suq al-Qattanin “Market of the Cotton Merchants” in Jerusalem (Source)

A decade later, there was formed the Christian-Mongol alliance. In 1248, whilst the French King, Louis IX (St Louis), was in Cyprus, on his way to attack Egypt, he received two Nestorian Christian envoys from the Mongol headquarters in Persia, who informed him that the great offensive against Islam was being mounted.[190] Both sides agreed to strike at the same time. However, just when Louis launched his attack against Egypt, the Mongol supreme leader, Kuyuk (Guyuk), died. This delayed the Mongols, and it was not until 1251 that a new Great Khan, Mongke (Mongku and other spellings), was elected.[191] This election came just too late. Louis’s attack on Egypt had failed thanks to the remarkable victory by the Mamluks at the Battle of al-Mansurah, in 1250.[192] This victory did not prevent the formation of a strong anti Muslim alliance made of crusaders, Mongols and local Christian: Armenians, Georgians, and Maronites.[193] In 1254 Mongke granted concessions to the Armenian Church in the Mongol empire, and appointed the Armenian King, Hethoum (Hethum), as an advisor/ambassador for Christian affairs.[194] Most Mongol leadership had Christian wives, beginning with Mongke.[195] Other Mongol leaders (Kitbuqa/Kitbuga, for instance) (Kubilai, the future Mongol emperor of China) were either Christian or their wives were, or both.[196] In the Mongol army that invaded the caliphate in 1258 and destroyed Iraq and Syria, a considerable number were Christians. In fact, the worst atrocities against Muslims were committed by both Armenians and Georgians in Mongol ranks.[197] The Mongol army was commanded primarily by Christians, and Mongke, the Mongol Emperor, had promised the King of Armenia to conquer the Holy Land and give it straight back to the Christians.[198] The engagement taken by Hulagu, the subsequent captor of Baghdad in 1258, to return the Holy City and the old Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Latin was, in fact, the basis for the accord.[199] Led by Hulagu, the Mongols were about to succeed in their enterprise, massacring nearly a million people in Baghdad, millions more elsewhere, especially in Syria, and were advancing on Egypt, and then Jerusalem. They were defeated by the Mamluks at Ain Jalut in September 1260; this victory saving Muslims from extinction (see entry on Cairo).[200]

Figure 43. Jerusalem 1000-1400: Four Gospels in Arabic – Portrait of St. Matthew followed by the translator’s prayer and introduction to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Palestine, 1336 (BL Add.MS.11856, ff. 2v-3r) (Source)

Following the crusaders defeat in 1291, many treatises were completed all centering around the essential theme of recovery of the Holy Land and Jerusalem.  Amongst such many treatises and their authors can be cited Thaddeo of Naples who wrote Hystoria de Desolacione et Conculcacione…., which was published in 1292 in the wake of the Muslim capture of Acre, in the year 1291.[201] The narrative, taken as a whole, was in reality ‘a homily and an exhortation with the events of 1291 as a mere frame and text. Thaddeo saw the hand of Providence in it all.’[202] These disasters were God’s punishment of the Christians for their sins, and the infidels were the instruments with which ‘He displays His wrath.’[203] Thaddeo exhorted the Pope as:

Vicar of Christ among nations to eradicate paganism and redress the injury to the Saviour that his name may be honoured throughout the world.”[204]

Then he called on all kings and princes to put an end to their dissensions and act, not singly, but ‘as one body in the bosom of the Church Militant.’ Finally he exhorted all the faithful ‘to avenge the bloodshed of Christians on Eastern soil and by force of arms to save the Holy Land which is ‘our heritage.’[205]

As the plans of ‘recovery’ abounded, there arose precisely at the same time a great military power amongst the Muslims, the Ottoman Turks. It is needless here to dwell on the conflict between the two sides except to remind that the Christian great crusade of Nicopolis in 1396 was aimed at destroying the Ottoman army and then pushing into Asia Minor, and eventually ‘recovering the Holy Land.’[206] Eustache Deschamps, the courtly poet and the ‘journalist’[207] of the epoch of the Crusade of Nicopolis exhorts the kings of all the countries of Europe, the Genoese and Venetian maritime powers, the military orders of religion, and the papacy, to join hands “Pour conquérir de cuer La Saincte Terre” (To conquer with their hearts (true devotion) the Holy Land).[208] John Gower, the 14th century contemporary of Chaucer, in his Vox Clamantis, also defends ‘the cause of the Holy War for the redemption of the Holy Land, which belonged to Jesus by birthright.’[209]

The same fervour continued for centuries after. In 1518 Francis I, of France, offered his services ‘for the recovery of the Holy Land and for the increase of the faith and Christian religion.’ When the treaty of London in the same year brought peace between England and France, Pope Leo X saw it as the opportunity to launch a crusade to regain Jerusalem: ‘Be glad and rejoice, O Jerusalem, since now your deliverance can be hoped for.’[210]

Figure 44. In this photo taken on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, an employee works on a restoration of an old manuscript at the al-Aqsa mosque compound library in Jerusalem. The library has a collection of some 4,000 old manuscripts with about a quarter considered in poor condition. Half of the books are already undergoing restoration funded by the Waqf, Jordan’s Islamic authority which manages the holy site, and with assistance from UNESCO. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) (Source)

The Ottomans began their long decline sometime in the late 17th century, a decline, which went on worsening. As Ottoman power plummeted, Christian confidence and yearning for the Holy Land increased. Reverend John Dalton, the chaplain of the two sons of the Prince of Wales during their world cruise between 1879 and 1882, who, when, commenting on possible options for the future Christian governance of Palestine, held:

Now the time cannot be far distant when once more Syria will be ruled by a Christian power. ‘‘The Franks are about to return’’ is the firm belief of both fellaheen and the Bedouin and such return, if it were under fair and reasonable arrangements, would be heartily welcomed by both, as deliverance from the yoke of the Turk.”[211]

By the onset of the First World War, in 1914, the once mighty Ottoman realm was just a decrepit realm fighting for survival. Despite a brave stand, attacked from all sides, the Turkish armies collapsed. Sir Sykes, the eminent Orientalist who drew up the Sykes-Picot treaty in 1915, was commemorated on the Sledmere cross as a modern crusader, with a ‘Saracen paynim’ beneath his feet and as background the city of Jerusalem.[212]

General Allenby in his triumphant entry into the Holy City on 11 December 1917, declared that “Today the wars of the crusades are completed.”

A Punch cartoon from December 1917, entitled ‘The last Crusade’, had Richard the Lion-heart gazing down at Jerusalem with the text: ‘At last my dream come true.’ And another cartoon in September 1919 entitled ‘The Return from the Crusade’ showed Allenby clad in armour and on horseback returning to his lady love Britannia.[213]

The most picturesque episode of the war in the Near East [Miller reckons] was the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks by the English general Allenby on December 9, 1917, and the taking of the Holy Land from the Muslims. Nothing aroused in equal degree the sentiment of the Christian world as this dramatic resumption of the work of the Crusades.”[214]

Figure 45: An Ottoman illustration of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem 18th century (Source)


-A.I. Akram: Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Maktabah; Publishers and Distributors; Birmingham; England; 2004.

-T.A. Archer: The Crusades; Unwin; London; 1894.

-A.S. Atiya: Crusade, Commerce and Culture; Oxford University Press; London; 1962;

-Ibn al-Athir: Kitab al-kamil; ed K.J. Tornberg; 12 vols; Leiden; 1851-72.

-S.M. Ahmad: Al-Maqdisi, in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, C.C. Gillispie editor in Chief, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York; vol 9.

-A. Bouamama: l’Idee de croisade dans le monde Arabe hier et aujourd’hui, in De Toulouse a Tripoli, AMAM, Colloque held between 6 and 8 December, 1995, University of Toulouse; 1997; pp. 211-219.

-C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund; London; 1897.

-Yves Courbage, Paul Fargues: Chretiens et Juifs dans l’Islam Arabe et Turc, Payot, Paris, 1997.

-N. Daniel: The Arabs and medieval Europe; Longman Librarie du Liban; 1975.

-A.N. Diyab:  Al-Ghazali: in Religion, Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period; Ed by M.J.L.Young; J.D.Latham; and R.B. Serjeant; Cambridge University Press; 1990; pp.424-44.

-J.W. Draper: A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe;Vol I; Revised edition; George Bell and Sons, London, 1875.

-D.M. Dunlop: Arab civilisation to AD 1500; Longman, 1971.

-W. Durant: The Age of faith, Simon and Shuster, New York; 6th printing; 1950.

-A.A. Duri: Jerusalem in the early Islamic period; 7th-11th centuries; in Jerusalem in History; Edited by K.J. Asali; Scorpion Publishing Ltd; 1989; pp. 105-29.

-R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd; London, 1983.

-N. Housley: The Later Crusades; Oxford University Press; 1992.

-R.G. Hoyland: Seeing Islam as others saw it; The Darwin Press, Inc; Princeton; New Jersey; 1997.

-W.E. Kaegi: Muslim Expansion and Byzantine Collapse in North Africa; Cambridge University Press; 2010.

-B. Z. Kedar: The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant, in Muslims under Latin Rule, 1100-1300, ed. J.M. Powell, Princeton University Press, 1990; pp. 135-174.

-H. Kennedy: The Great Arab Conquests, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, 2007.

-N.L. Leclerc: Histoire de la medecine Arabe; 2 vols; Paris; 1876.

-Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns al-jalil bi Tarikh el-Qods wa’l Khalil, translated into French as Histoire de Jerusalem et Hebron, by H. Sauvaire; Paris; Ernest Leroux; 1875; and 1926.

-D.C. Munro, “Urban and the Crusaders”, Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, vol 1:2, 1895,pp.  5-8.

-Al-Muqaddasi: Ahsan at-taqasim fi Ma’rifat al-Aqalim; is in M.J. de Goeje ed., Bibliotheca geographorum arabicum, 2nd edition., III (Leiden, 1906).

-Al-Muqaddasi: The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions, a translation of his Ahsan… by B.A. Collins, Centre for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, Garnet Publishing Limited, Reading, 1994.

-K.C. Pinto: Medieval Islamic Maps; The University of Chicago Press; 2016.

-B. Rogerson: The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad; Little Brown; London; 2006.

-A.M. as-Sallabi: Umar Ibn al-Khattab; International Islamic Publishing House; Riyadh, 2007.

-G. Sarton: Introduction to the history of sciences, The Carnegie Institution; Baltimore, 1927 fwd.

-J.J. Saunders: Aspects of the Crusades; University of Canterbury publishing; Canterbury; 1962.

-Sibt al-Jawzi: Al-muntazam fi tarikh al-muluk wa’l umam; X; Hyderabad; 1940;

Figure 46: The Dome Of The Rock, Jerusalem by Hermann Corrodi 1844 – 1905 (Source)


[1] P. Mayerson: The First Muslim Attacks on Southern Palestine (633-4), Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 95 (1964), pp. 155-99.

F.M. Donner: The Early Islamic Conquests, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1981, p. 129.

L. Caetani: Annali dell Islam. 10 vols, Milan, U. Hoepli, 1905-26; III, pp. 22-4.

[2] See: W.E. Kaegi: Muslim Expansion and Byzantine Collapse in North Africa; Cambridge University Press; 2010.

[3] W.E. Kaegi: Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests; Cambridge University Press; 1992; p. 112.

J.B. Glubb: The Great Arab Conquests; Hodder and Stoughton; 1963; p. 160 ff.

F. Gabrieli: Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam, World University Library, London, 1968, p. 149.

A.I. Akram: Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Maktabah; Publishers and Distributors; Birmingham; England; 2004; p. 371 and seq.

[4] H. Kennedy: The Great Arab Conquests, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, 2007.

[5] For extensive and informative knowledge regarding his caliphate, see:

B. Rogerson: The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad; Little Brown; London; 2006.

A.M. as-Sallabi: Umar Ibn al-Khattab; International Islamic Publishing House; Riyadh, 2007.

[6] J.W. Draper: A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe; vol I; Revised edition; George Bell and Sons, London, 1875; vol 1; p.335.

[7] Cited by Antoine Fattal: le Statut legal des non Musulmans en pays d’Islam, Imprimerie Catholique, Beyrut, 1958; in Yves Courbage, Paul Fargues: Chretiens et Juifs dans l’Islam Arabe et Turc, Payot, Paris, 1997; p.15.

[8] J.W. Draper: A History; op cit;  vol 1; p.337

[9] Thus said Salman ben Yeruhim ( 950) in his Judaeo-Arabic commentary on psalm 30, in R.G. Hoyland: Seeing Islam as others saw it; The Darwin Press, Inc; Princeton; New Jersey; 1997; p. 127.

[10] I.Abbas: Rihlat Ibn al-Arabi ila al-mashriq kama sawwaraha `Qanun al-Tawil’, Al-Abhatth; 21/1, 1968; in C. Hillenbrand: The Crusades, Islamic Perspectives, Edinburgh University Press; 1999; p.50.

[11] In C. Hillenbrand: The Crusades, p.49.

[12] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund; London; 1897; p. 231.

[13] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd; London, 1983. p. 155.

[14] Henri Lamarque: La Premiere Traduction Latine du Coran; in De Toulouse a Tripoli, AMAM; Colloque held between 6 and 8 December, 1995, University of Toulouse, 1997; pp. 237-246; p. 239.

[15] W. Durant: The Age of faith, Simon and Shuster, New York; 6th printing; 1950; p. 591.

[16] Henri Lamarque: La Premiere Traduction; op cit; p.239.

[17] B. Z. Kedar: The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant, in Muslims under Latin Rule, 1100-1300, ed J.M. Powell, Princeton University Press, 1990.pp 135-174.p.143. On the dumping of corpses, see e.g., Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, ed. K. Mynors, trans. R.Hill (London, 1962), p. 92.

[18] Ibn al-Athir: Kitab al-kamil; ed K.J. Tornberg; 12 vols; Leiden; 1851-72. X, pp. 193-95.

[19] J.W. Draper: A History; vol II; op cit; pp. 22-3.

[20] Abbot Raymond of Agiles; in G. Le Bon: La Civilisation des Arabes; Syracuse; 1884; p. 249.

[21] N.Daniel: The Arabs and medieval Europe; Longman Librarie du Liban; 1975; p. 253.

[22] Nasir Khusraw in A.A. Duri;  Jerusalem in the early Islamic period; 7th-11th centuries; in Jerusalem in History; Edited by K.J. Asali; Scorpion Publishing Ltd; 1989; pp. 105-29; at pp. 118-9.

[23] P.P. Soucek: Islamic Art and Architecture; Dictionary of the Middle Ages; J.R. Strayer Editor in Chief; Charles Scribner’s Sons, N. York; vol 6; pp. 592-614; p. 593.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid; p. 594.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Al-Muqaddasi: The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions, a translation of his Ahsan… by B.A. Collins, Centre for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, Garnet Publishing Limited, Reading, 1994; p. 170

[30] Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns al-jalil bi Tarikh el-Qods wa’l Khalil, translated into French as Histoire de Jerusalem et Hebron, by H. Sauvaire; Paris; Ernest Leroux; 1875; and 1926; pp. 140 fwd.

[31] Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns (Histoire de Jerusalem); p. 145.

[32] Ibid; 61 fwd.

[33] A.A. Duri: Jerusalem; op cit; p. 119.

[34] Ibid; p. 120.

[35] Ibid; p. 119.

[36] Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns (Histoire de Jerusalem); pp. 63 fwd.; A.A. Duri: Jerusalem; op cit; p. 120.

[37] Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns (Histoire de Jerusalem); pp. 64-5.

[38] Ibid; p. 65.

[39] A.A. Duri: Jerusalem; op cit; p. 120.

[40]  Kurd Ali, Muhammad. Khitat al-Sham. 6 Vols. Damascus: Al-Matbaa al Haditha, 1925-8. 6; p. 119.

[41] W. Durant: The Age of faith, Simon and Shuster, New York; 6th printing; 1950; p. 331.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns (Histoire de Jerusalem); op cit; p. 66.

[45] Ibid.

[46] W. Durant: The Age of Faith; op cit; p. 332.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid; p. 331.

[49] A.N. Diyab:  Al-Ghazali; in Religion, Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period; Ed by M.J.L. Young; J.D. Latham; and R.B. Serjeant; Cambridge University Press; 1990; pp. 424-44; p. 432.

[50] Mi’yar al-ilm; pp. 62-5.

[51] A.N. Diyab:  Al-Ghazali; op cit; p. 432.

[52] Mishkat al-anwar; pp. 42-9.

[53] A.N. Diyab: Al-Ghazali; at p. 431.

[54] Iqtisad; 3; cf ihya, iii; p. 17.

[55] A.N. Diyab: Al-Ghazali; op cit; p. 431.

[56] Ibid; p. 432.

[57] Ibid; p. 432.

[58] W. M. Watt: Muslim-Christian Encounters, Routledge, London, 1991; p. 54.

[59] A.N. Diyab:  Al-Ghazali: op cit; p. 429.

[60] Iljam al-awamm; p. 57.

[61] A.N. Diyab:  Al-Ghazali; op cit; p. 430.

[62] W. Durant: The Age of faith; op cit; p. 332.

[63] Ibid.

[64] In Al-Munquidh min al-dalal, p. 13; referred to by A.N. Diyab: Al-Ghazali; pp. 424-44.

[65] M. Alonso quoted by A. Diyab: Al-Ghazali; op cit.

[66] F.B. Artz: The mind, The Mind of the Middle Ages; Third edition revised; The University of Chicago Press, 1980; pp. 146-7.

[67] A.N. Diyab: Al-Ghazali; op cit; p. 439.

[68] G. Sarton: Introduction to the history of sciences, The Carnegie Institution; Baltimore, 1927 fwd; vol 1; p. 679.

[69] F. Wustenfeld: Geschicte der Arabischen Aerzte; Gottingen; 1840; p. 57.

E.H.F. Meyer: Geschichte der Botanik; Vol 3; pp. 174-6; 1856.

N.L. Leclerc: Histoire de la medecine Arabe; 2 vols; Paris; 1876; vol 1; pp. 388-91.

[70] N.L. Leclerc: Histoire de la medecine Arabe; vol 1; pp. 549-52.

[71] G. Sarton: Introduction; vol 1; op cit; p. 679.

[72] L. Leclerc: Histoire; op cit; p. 549.

[73] Ibid; p. 550.

[74] Ibid; p. 551.

[75] Ibid; p. 552.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Al-Muqaddasi: Ahsan at-taqasim fi Ma’rifat al-Aqalim; is in M.J. de Goeje ed., Bibliotheca geographorum arabicum, 2nd edition., III (Leiden, 1906); a partial French translation is by Andre Miquel, Institut Francais de Damas, Damascus, 1963. There are also English and Urdu versions of the work.

[78] J.H. Kramers: Analecta Orientalia, i, 182-3; in D.M. Dunlop: Arab civilisation to AD 1500; Longman, 1971, pp. 166-7.

[79] D.M. Dunlop: Arab civilisation; pp. 166-7.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Ibid; p. 166.

[82] A. Miquel: La Geographie Humaine du Monde Musulman, Vol 4, Ecole des hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1988.

[83] Al-Muqaddasi: The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions, a translation of his Ahsan… by B.A. Collins, Centre for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, Garnet Publishing Limited, Reading, 1994. p. 143.

[84] A. Miquel: La Geographie, op cit, pp. 237-9.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Al-Muqaddasi: The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions, (B.A. Collins); op cit; p.189.

[87] Ibid; pp. 215 fwd.

[88] A. Miquel: La Geographie, op cit, p. 347.

[89] S.M. Ahmad: Al-Maqdisi, in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, C.C. Gillispie editor in Chief, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, vol 9; at p. 88.

[90] Al-Muqaddasi: Ahsan at-taqasim fi Ma’rifat al-Aqalim; traduction partielle, anotee par Andre Miquel, Institut Francais de Damas, Damascus, 1963, p. xxiv, in D. M. Dunlop: Arab Civilisation, op cit, at p. 166.

[91] K.C. Pinto: Medieval Islamic Maps; The University of Chicago Press; 2016.

[92] L. Leclerc: Histoire; op cit; vol 2; p. 170.

[93] Ibid.

[94] Ibn Abbi Ussaybaia: Waafayat al-Iyyan; in L. Leclerc. P. 170.

[95] In  Leclerc: vol 2; p. 171.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Ibid; p. 172.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid; p. 173.

[102] B. Z. Kedar: The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant, in J.M. Powell, Editor: Muslims under Latin Rule, 1100-1300, Princeton University Press, 1990; pp. 135-174, at p. 147.

[103] Ibid.

 [104] Joshua Prawer: The Latin Settlement of Jerusalem, in his Crusader Institutions, p. 90, n. 21.

[105] B. Z. Kedar: The Subjected Muslims, op cit; p. 147.

[106] E.G. Browne: in W. Durant: The Age of faith, op cit; p. 339

[107] See, for instance:

-W. Howitt: Colonisation and Christianity: Longman; London.

-R. Garaudy: Comment l’Homme devient Humain. Editions J.A, 1978.

-D E. Stannard: “Genocide in The Americas” in The Nation, October 19, 1992; pp. 430-4.

[108] Ibn al-Athir: Kamil; op cit; X; p. 186.

[109] T.A. Archer: The Crusades; T. Fisher Unwin; London; 1894; pp. 84-5.

[110] Ibid.

[111] In D. C. Munro, “Urban and the Crusaders”, Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, vol 1:2, 1895, pp.  5-8

[112] G. Lestrange: Palestine; op cit p. 202.

[113] W. Durant; The Age; op cit; p. 585.

 [114] T.W. Arnold: The preaching of Islam. A History of the Propagation of the Muslim faith, Archibald Constable, Westminster, 1896; in Y. Courbage, P. Fargues: Chretiens et Juifs dans l’islam Arabe et Turc, Payot, Paris, 1997; p. 53.

[115] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd; London, 1983; p. 155.

[116] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund; London; 1897; p. 231.

[117] J.R.S. Phillips: The Medieval Expansion of Europe; Oxford University Press; 1988; p. 29.

[118] Ibid.

[119] T.A. Archer: The Crusades; T. Fisher Unwin; London; 1894; p. 27.

[120] Ralph Glaber in T.A. Archer: The Crusades; p. 15.

[121] T.A. Archer: The Crusades; p. 17.

[122] C. Bennett: Victorian Images of Islam; Grey Seal; London; 1992; p. 6.

[123] J.J. Saunders: Aspects of the Crusades; University of Canterbury publishing; Canterbury; 1962; p. 20.

[124] J.H. Lamonte: crusade and Jihad: in N.A. Faris ed: The Arab heritage, Princeton University Press, 1944; pp. 159-198; p. 161.

[125] W. Durant: The Age of faith, op cit; p. 829.

[126] Ogg quoted in W. Durant: the Age of faith; op cit; p. 587.

[127] A. Bouamama: l’Idee de croisade dans le monde Arabe hier et aujourd’hui, in De Toulouse a Tripoli, AMAM, Colloque held between 6 and 8 December, 1995, University of Toulouse; 1997; pp. 211-219; at p. 212.

[128] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit; p. 30.

[129] Ibid.

[130] W. Durant: The Age of faith, op cit; p.586.

[131] D.Hay: The Medieval Centuries; Methuen and Co; London; 1964; p. 91.

[132]J.H. Lamonte: Crusade and Jihad: pp. 159-198; p. 162.

[133] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd; London, 1983; p.35.

 [134] R. Pernoud: les Hommes de la Croisade, op cit, in Yves Courbage, Paul Fargues: Chretiens et Juifs dans l’Islam Arabe et Turc, Payot, Paris, 1997; p. 85.

[135] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; p. 79.

[136] W. Durant: The Age of faith; op cit; pp. 588-9.

[137] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit; p. 25.

[138] Ibid; p. 24.

[139]  N. Daniel: The Arabs and medieval Europe; Longman Librarie du Liban; 1975; p. 122.

[140] J.W. Draper: A History; vol ii; op cit; pp. 22-3; N. Daniel: The Arabs; op cit; p. 123.

[141] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; op cit; p.117.

[142] Robert the Monk, in G. Le Bon: La Civilisation des Arabes; Syracuse; 1884; p. 248.

[143] In Janet Abu Lughod: Before European Hegemony; Oxford University Press; 1989; p. 107.

[144] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit. p. 45.

[145] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; op cit; p.106.

[146] C. Hillenbrand: The Crusades, Islamic Perspectives, op cit; p. 66.

[147] B. Z. Kedar: The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant, op cit.143.

[148] Mudjir Eddin: Al-Euns (Histoire de Jerusalem); p. 65.

[149] Ibid; p. 299.

[150] B. Z. Kedar: The Subjected Muslims; op cit; p. 173.

[151] Ibid.

[152] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit; p. 67.

[153] M. Erbstosser: The Crusades; David and Charles; New ton Abbot; First published in Leipzig; 1978; p. 131-2.

[154] Ibid.

[155] Ibid; p. 130.

[156] Ibid.

[157] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; op cit; p. 67.

[158] Ibid; p. 194.

[159] Regesta, No 420-425; see Quarterly Statement, Palestine Exploration Fund; January, 1890. There are fifty documents in the Cartulary of the Holy Sepulchre, referring to property in Palestine and in Europe.

[160] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; op cit; p. 194.

[161] Ibid.

[162] Ibid; p. 195.

[163] Ibid.

[164] Ibid.

[165] L. Cochrane: Adelard of Bath; Oxford; 1994; chapter 4; p. 33.

[166] M. Erbstosser: The Crusades; op cit; p. 136.

[167] Ibid.

[168] C. Cahen: Orient et Occident au Temps des Croisades (Aubier Montaigne, 1983), p. 82.

[169] M. Erbstosser: The Crusades; David and Charles; New ton Abbot; First published in Leipzig; 1978; p. 139.

[170] W. Durant: The Age of faith, op cit; p. 598.

[171] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit; pp. 156-7.

[172] W. Durant: The Age of faith, op cit; p. 598.

[173] Ibn al-Athir : Kamil; op cit;  vol xi; pp. 363-6.

[174] Ibid; p. 364.

[175] Ibn Shadad: Al-Nawadir al-Sultaniya wa’l Mahassin al-Yussufiya; in Receuil des Historiens des Croisades; Historiens arientaux; Paris; 1884; III; p. 265.

[176] Kenneth Setton: History; in Y. Courbage, P.Fargues: Chretiens et Juifs dans l’Islam Arabe et Turc, Payot, Paris, 1997; p. 99.

[177] C. Hillenbrand: The Crusades, op cit; p. 249.

[178] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit; p. 310.

[179] Sibt al-Jawzi:  Al-muntazam fi tarikh al-muluk wa’l umam; X; Hyderabad; 1940; VIII/2; p. 601.

[180] G.W. Cox: The Crusades; op cit; p. 189.

[181] Ibid.

[182] A.S. Atiya: Crusade, Commerce and Culture; Oxford University Press; London; 1962; p. 89.

[183] Sibt al-Jawzi: Al-muntazamVIII/ 2; op cit; p. 653.

[184] G.W. Cox: The Crusades; op cit; p. 195.

[185] R. Finucane: Soldiers of the Faith; op cit. p. 28.

[186] W. Durant: The Age of faith, op cit; p. 607.

[187] C.R. Conder: The Latin Kingdom; op cit. p. 318.

[188] R. Payne: The Crusades; op cit; p. 331.

[189] A.S. Atiya: Crusades; op cit; p. 90.

[190] R. Grousset: Histoire des Croisades et du Royaume Franc de Jerusalem; Paris; 1934-5, vol III, p. 520.

[191] J.J. Saunders: Aspects of the Crusades; University of Canterbury; 1962; p. 53.

[192] Ibid.

[193] Baron G. d’Ohsson: Histoire des Mongols: La Haye et Amsterdam; 1834.

[194] H.E. Mayer: The Crusades; op cit; p. 264.

[195] Ibid; p. 269.

[196] J. Hayton, Saint Martin Brosset quoted in W. Heyd: Histoire du Commerce du Levant au Moyen Age; A.M. Hakkert Editor; Amsterdam; 1967; ii; p. 66.

[197] J.M. Fiey: Chretiens Syriaques entre Francs et Mongols, in Orientalia Chris. Analecta, no197, 1974, pp. 334-41.

[198] Hayton; in W. Heyd: Histoire du Commerce du Levant au Moyen Age; A.M.Hakkert Editor; Amsterdam; 1967. Vol II; op cit; p. 68.

[199] Jean Richard: La Papaute et les Missions d’Orient au Moyen Age; Ecole Francaise de Rome; Palais Farnese; 1977; p. 101.

[200] P. Thorau: The Lion of Egypt; tr., by P.M. Holt; Longman; London; 1992.

P. Thorau: The Battle of Ayn Jalut: a Re-Examination; in P.W. Edbury: Crusade and Settlement; Cardiff; 1985; pp. 236-41.

[201] Thaddeo of Naples: Hystoria de Desolacione et Conculcacione… Terre Sancte in AD MCCXCI; edited by Comte Riant; Geneva; 1873.

[202] A.S. Atiya: The Crusade in the Later Middle Ages; Methuen & Co Ltd; London; 1938; p. 33.

[203] Thadddeo: Historia, op cit; pp. 48-55.

[204] Ibid; 64-5.

[205] Ibid; 65-6.

[206] A.S. Atiya: The Crusade of Nicopolis; Methuen & co. Ltd; London; 1934.

Livre des faits du bon messire Jean le Maingre, dit Bouciquaut, pt. i, chap. xxi, in J.A.C. Buchon, ed., Les Chroniques de Sire Jean Froissart, III (Paris, 1840), 589-90; the “livre des faits” may also be found in J.F. Michaud and J.J.F. Poujoulat, eds., Nouvelle collection des mêmoires pour servir a L’ histoire de France, II (1850).

[207] Petit de Juleville; II; p. 349.

[208] Oeuvres Completes; I. pp. 138-9.

[209] G.C. Maccaulay’s ed of John Gower’s Works; 4 vols; Oxford; 1899-1902; vol iii; pp. 124-5.

[210] N. Housley: The Later Crusades; Oxford University Press; 1992; p. 47.

[211] In E. Siberry: The New Crusaders; Ashgate: Aldershot; 2000; p. 66.

[212] Ibid; p. 98.

[213] Ibid; p. 95.

[214] W. Miller: The Ottoman Empire and its Successors; 1801-1927; Cambridge University Press; 1936; p. 538.

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