Ibn Muniquidah also explains the power of the military of Atabeg Zangi that was sent to Bitlis to attack the city as a threat to stop its ruler from requesting a hand in marriage to the daughter of the lord of Khilit for his son. The move by Atabeg to use military was because of anger, since Al-Yaghisiyani was seeking a hand in marriage to a girl Atabeg was already engaged. The writer also tells of another military raid by an army of Franks lead by Joscelin where they raided on Al-Raqqa taking everything and even prisoners but were intercepted by Malik the Muslim leader from whom they had seized the property. Joscelin a Christian was forced to give back what he had captured from Malik territory. The frank went unpunished because of Malik excellent governing skills as a Muslim leader. Ibn Jubayr writing, Christian and Muslim military battles are featured and a good example is the battle led by Saladin. Saladin and his Muslim army headed to attack the Christian fortress in one of the largest Christian territories in the area. The Christians were alarmed of the planned attack thus lying astride along the Hejaz road to stop the trespass of the Muslims in the area (Jubayr, p.315). The closure of all roads during Saladin army attack by sultan left one way through the desert and Saladin supplies were distant from him. Saladin attacked the city of Nablus and took it. He also captured prisoners all with it. The prisoners taken captive were both the franks and the Jews known as the Al-Samarah.
Ibn Jubayr, in his writing he acknowledges the many military battles between the Christian and the Muslim however the two region managed to maintain close relationship. The merchants and travellers from both religions would infiltrate each other territories without fear. The freedom of movement or interaction is not affected by the differences that occur between them. The Muslims continued to journey from Damascus to the acre, and no Christian merchant was hindered or prevented from passing into the Muslim regions.
According to both writings both the Christians and the crusaders were involved in rivalry wars whereby they had to battle for the lands. However, this did not affect their interaction or their way of life.
Christian and Muslim social interaction in the middle age
The two writing of Usama Ibn Munqidh and Ibn Jubayr have revealed the social interaction of the Christian and Muslim. In the script, Ibn Munquidh who was a Muslim explains the reaction of the Templars when he went into the al-Aqsa mosque to pray. The Templars who are Christians would clear out giving him the space to pray. Al-Aqsa mosque was in Jerusalem, it was a small mosque that the Franks had converted into a church, but they gave the Muslims the chance to conduct their prayers there too. It shows that they had the respect for each others religion. He also comments on a case where by he presented a case to king Fulk concerning the lord of Banias who had taken his flock right at the period of lambing but when gave birth the lambs died, so the lord returned the herd after many sheep were dead. The knights ordered by the king to give a judgment indeed offered a fair trial irrespective of the religion of the petitioner who was a Muslim, this shows that they were socially just and fair (Ibn, p.101).
The Christian and Muslim maintain a good social interaction as stated in the writings of Ibn Munaquh. Both Christian and Muslim would pay taxes on goods and property when trespassing each other territories without rejecting, therefore, both parties were ensured total security for their goods. Such an agreement existing between them shows that there is fair and equal treatment in all cases. In addition, the Christian continuously journeyed through the Muslim territories, and likewise the Muslims were never hindered from journeying through the Frankish territory, this act showed fairness and just between the two religions.
The two writings show that both religions were socially placed at a better position in the society such that there were fairness and respect for each denomination.
What kind of picture do they paint in religion?
The writings of Ibn Munaquh and Ibn Jubayr about the Christians and the Muslims painted various pictures of religion. One of the primary image brought up is that, religion does not divide people. Despite the difference in religion between the Christian and the Muslims they interacted and maintained a good relation, they farmed in the same lands and trades amongst each other. The Christians and Muslims also lived together in the same territories and occasionally they would engage in battles and raids, but they later solved their differences and forgave each other. The two religions maintained justice and fairness when rulings. A good example is the case that Ibn Munquh presented of King Fulk, concerning the flock that had been taken by lord Banias who was a Christian (Jubayr, p.330). The ruling by the selected knights was fair to both religions there was no favouritism.
Both religions serve one god despite the different names they refer to their God. The Muslim referred their God as Allah while the Christians referred to him as God. There are actions and deed that manifested that both religions served the same God. An example is a case where Ibn Jubayr went to pray in the mosque where the Templers who were Christians conducted their prayers. Both groups managed to share similar places of worship an act that shows that the God they serve is one despite the differences in religious beliefs and rituals.
Jubayr, Ibn, R. Broadhurst, Eva R. Hoffman, Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. "The Travels of Ibn Jubayr." Being the Chronicle of a Mediaeval Spanish Moor Concerning his Journey to the Egypt of Saladin, The Holy Cities of Arabia, Baghdad, the City of the Caliphs, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily (London: Jonathan Cape, 1952) (2001).
Ibn Munqidh, Usama. The book of contemplation: Islam and the Crusades. Penguin UK, 2008.
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