..........welcome........as you by now know............ here in the minds eye.....................
we hold no allegiance .................. only abide.......... for that is the truth.......
....................here in the mental..............we are able to detach from worldly pursuit....
and view from a out of body perspective.... I defend not; for all I see needs no defense...
and I share with you....."reader".... out of desire to understand... for I see all as equal....
even thought my conscience would only preach other wise....
Crusade vs Jihad
June 15, 2006
By Ibn Iblis
There are three common misconceptions that permeate modern perceptions of the Crusades. First, that a crusade is the doctrinal equivalent to jihad; second, that the crusades were nothing more than Western Christianity's first attempt at colonial imperialism, thrust upon a peaceful, tolerant culture who did nothing to instigate them; and third, that Muslims' long historical memory, particularly with regards to the crusades, plays a huge roll in how Muslims view their relationship with Western, so-called Judeo-Christian powers.
There are no doctrinal similarities between a crusade and jihad. First of all, the word "crusade" has nothing to do with warfare, and "crusader" does not denote warrior or soldier. It comes from the Latin crucesignati, or "those signed by the cross". There is nothing in the Bible that calls Christians to fight in the name of God. In reality, the opposite is true. Christ's message was that of love, peace, and pacification, without exception. Christ condemned violence even in self-defence, which, in essence, was the driving force behind The Call. Certain verses, most notably Matthew 16:24 and 19:29, give vague calls for Christians to abandon their homes and families to take up the cross, but the question these verses beg to ask is, take up the cross and do what? Certainly not take up the sword for Christ, especially considering that Christ tought to resist not him that is evil 1, that they that take up the sword shall perish by the sword 2.
Jihad, on the other hand, has a totally different doctrinal meaning in Islam. It is true that, like crucesignati, the Arabic definition of jihad has nothing to do with warfare. But jihad as defined in the Qur'an and the sunnah is almost exclusively characterized by conquering, killing, pillaging, enslavement, and rape; or, more simply, warfare against non-Muslims until Allah's word and law reign superior on earth. Christ never took to crusading - he never commanded an army, and, as cited in the Biblical verse above, forbade his followers from taking up the sword even in his own defense. Muhammad, particularly after the hegira to Medina, lived for jihad. He was sending his warriors off on jihad even on his death bed. And his followers, the Rightly Guided - those Caliphs who served Muhammad while he was alive - vigorously and enthusiastically persued jihad and spread the Islamic empire at a speed unprecedented in history.
The quest for land, wealth and resources may have been viable reasons for later crusades, but the initial catalyst for The Call was self defense and reparation for past injustices. Few accounts of the Crusades make mention of the build-up to The Call given by Pope Urban II, or if they do, the reference is only in passing. Muslims had taken, by conquest, three quarters of what was then known as Christendom - not exactly a single empire defined by a single entity but similiar to the Dar al-Islam: lands under control and dominated by Christians. This conquest extended from Spain through North Africa to Palestine, Syria, and up into the Caucasis and a great deal of Asia Minor. The Christian population of those lands were systematically wiped out and persecuted. By the time the Seljuk Turks conquered Jerusalem in 1071, much of this conquest had waned, and the Turks were shocked to see Christian churches and monestaries flourishing in Muslim lands. They destroyed churches, murdered clergy, and seized pilgrims. All of this played a roll in motivating Crusaders.
It was Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) who first made serious plans to raise an army against the Turks, as early as 1074. This was not to be cast as a holy war, but an errand of mercy and charity towards their Christian brothers in the East, who had so much of their land and wealth seized by Muslims. These plans were thwarted by what came to be known as the Investiture Controversy, and it was not until 1095 that, after the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus sent an envoy requesting aid against the Turks, another Pope, Urban II, revived Gregory's vision.
Urban knew that saving Constantinople from the Turks would not be enough to spur Christians to leave their lands and march thousands of miles, even if it were in the service of Christ. The focal point was shifted to the Holy Land: the "Soldiers of St Peter" would not only cleanse Asia Minor from the Turks but move on to liberate the very lands Christ and his disciples lived and died in. The goal thus became Jerusalem.
In this sense the First Crusade could be characterized as merely an armed pilgrimage. Each crusader took a vow to make pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher, the very place where Christ was believed to have died and been reserrected. Crusaders usually referred to themselves as "pilgrims" or "cross bearers". They would journey to Jerusalem, liberating the lands they traversed along the way, thereby making the holy city safe for future Christian pilgrims.
Marxist revisionists, who believed that economic factors drove history, recast the Crusades as a venture to adapt to the growth of the European population and subsequent scarcity of resources, and other historians in the West began accepting this argument. 3 Suddenly, rather than being a romantic tale of chivalrous knights marching off to save the Holy Land from barbarian hordes, the Crusades became the seed of a thousand years of Western imperialism and aggression; a vile, vicious assault by ignorant barbarians against poor, helpless and peaceful Muslim victims, and this "history" became part of what we in the West think is part of Muslims' long historical memory. In essence, their "memory" of the Crusades is far nearer than the actual events.
Ironically, Marxist revisionism used to condemn the Crusades sounds similar to jihad apologists and deniers seeking to excuse the explosion of the Islamic empire. Historian Philip Hitti claimed that Not fanaticism but economic necessity drove the Bedouin hordes. However, historian Moshe Gil explains that, while resource scarcity may have played a role in the Islamic expansion, without the conceptual system known as Islam, [these] developements would have remained outside the realm of possibility. This he attributes to the religious fervor [that] turned the Muslim into a courageous fighter, contemptuous of death 4. The prophet and their god specifically commanded this expansion take place, and it did; no objective observer can ignore the correlation.
Today, the Crusades are used as an effective tool for Muslim propaganda against the West, as well as apologetic deflections against modern jihad terrorism, but the truth is the average Muslim had no idea about the Crusades until Western colonialists re-educated them in the years after WWI. As late as the seventeenth century, the Crusades were virtually unknown in the Muslim world. They were small, fruitless attempts to halt the inevitable Islamic expansion. The Crusaders conquered Palestine, Muslims drove the infidels out. That was all. With Palestine given to the British and Syria given to the French in the aftermath of WWI, it was difficult to avoid the notion that the final chapter of the Crusades had been written. Indeed, as British general Sir Edmund Allenby marched into Jerusalem in 1917 he declared, "Today the wars of the Crusaders are completed," and a London magazine celebrated with a political cartoon of Richard the Lionheart watching proudly as the British entered Jerusalem, saying, "At last, my dream come true." 5 French general Henri Gourad, upon entering Syria, boasted, "Behold, Saladin, we have returned." 6
The Crusades were, on the whole, belated, limited, and unsuccessful. Almost all of its early conquests were subsequently lost to Muslim counter-offenses, and, as was mentioned, until Western colonial influence in post-WWI Muslim lands, Muslims either cared little about or more likely knew nothing about the Crusades. The Arabic term for the Crusaders, harb al-saib, was not introduced until the mid-nineteenth century, and the first Arabic history of the Crusades was not written until 1899. Saladin, the great Muslim Sultan who recaptured Jerusalem for Islam, was virtually unknown in the Muslim world until the Twentieth Century. He was given far more prominence in the West: Richard the Lionheart was an admirer, and stories of Saladin being knighted and secretly being converted to Christianty spread. Sir Walter Scott lionized him in his novel The Talismen, in which he transformed Saladin into a man of courtesy, mercy and wisdom. He stood in contrast to Richard the Lionheart, who Scott portrayed as an ignorant barbarian, much like the rest of his Crusader brethren.
There is no greater example of Western respect for Saladin, contrasted with the Muslim world's ignorance of him, than Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who, in 1899, visited Saladin's tomb in Damascus and was shocked to find it neglected and in complete disrepair. He funded a new mausoleum with a bronze wreath inscribed, "From one great emperor to another." 7
As we have seen, Umar and Uthman had conquered Syria, Palestine, North Africa, and Armenia - all Christian lands. Later Islam would spread through the whole of North Africa and across the straight of Gibraltar into Spain - all Christian lands. This betrays the ahistorical assessments of apologists such as John Espisito, who ridiculously claimed that Five centuries of peaceful coexistence elapsed before political events and an imperial-papal power play led to centuries-long series of so-called holy wars that pitted Christendom against Islam and left an enduring legacy of misunderstanding and distrust. Historian Bat Ye'or correctly refutes Espisito's historical revisionism:
...historical negationism, consisting of suppressing or sketching in a page or a paragraph, one thousand years of jihad which is presented as a peaceful conquest, generally welcomed by the vanquished populations; the omission of Christian and, in particular, Muslim sources describing the actual methods of these conquests: pillage, enslavement, deportation, massacres, and so on; the mythical historical conversion of "centuries" of "peaceful coexistence", masking the processes which transformed majorities into minorities, constantly at risk of extinction; an obligatory self-incrimination for the Crusades8.
Often it is the conduct of the Crusaders themselves that fall under criticism. Indeed, several thousand Jews were slaughtered in the Rhineland by Crusaders en rout to Constantinople. The slaughter of Jerusalem's inhabitants, irrespective of age or sex, is a gross exaggeration. By the standards of the time, practiced by Christian and Muslim alike, the Crusaders would have been completely justified in putting the population to the sword, as many Muslim conquerors had done previously, but this is not what happened. It is true that in the initial flood of soldiers entering Jerusalem, many Jews and Muslims were killed. Yet in the aftermath many were allowed to purchase their freedom, or were simply deported. Stories of knee-high rivers of blood running through the streets of Jerusalem were never meant to be taken seriously. Unfortunately modern scholarship has been all too eager to accept as fact a tale medieval people knew to be an impossibility.
None of this could be justified by Christian text. Unlike Islam, Christianity had no well-defined concept of holy war before the Middle Ages. Only after the conversion of Constantine did Christianity come into contact with statecraft and warfare. Christians in government found themselves faced with questions of life, death, war and peace, questions their religion had never dealt with before. In the fifth century, Augustine outlined the necessary conditions for a Christian leader to wage a just war, but he was quick to insist that, unlike Muslims, the faithful not engage in wars of religious conversion or for the sake of destroying heresies or pagans. Warfare was a necessary evil sometimes forced upon a good leader - it was not to be used as a tool of the church.
This stands in stark contrast to jihad, perhaps most aptly defined by the footnote to Qur'an 2.190 9:
Al-Jihâd (holy fighting) in Allâh’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands). By Jihâd Islam is established, Allâh’s Word is made superior (His Word being Lâ ilaha illallâh which means none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), and His religion (Islam) is propagated. By abandoning Jihâd (may Allâh protect us from that) Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihâd is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfill this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite.
...........We shall move forward and show why speaking of such things only leads to
a ................... mindstate.......... and because our fellow traveler has brought up
very valid points,,,,, we must for the unaware bring this topic in a little closer....
................as haard as it seems....... I know that there are many of us who are
only for the first time even beginning to break the surface of this thread... and the
next bit of information my become more than one is ready to deal with at this
moment.... so I will ask the new to go back and practice your breathing
exercise....and by the time you return..... your foundation for the next level will