RETHINKING THE IMPACT OF THE CRUSADES ON THE MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN THOUGHT AND DEVELOPMENT

Muhammad Yaseen Gada

Abstract


The Crusades had a tremendous impact particularly on the Western Europe; these wars led to the development of the European civilization. The Crusades necessarily include both destructive and constructive elements. It expanded the trade, exploration, and scientific inventions much significantly for the Europe. Similarly, but not as deep and wide as on the Western Europe, the Crusades impact could be seen on some socio-religious elements of the Muslim world. Further, the bitter legacy of these wars widened the hostility, hatred, and dissent between the West and the Muslim world that still is perceived in one way or the other. The present paper attempts to revisit the impact of the Crusades into a broader social, economic, political, and religious context. It will first investigate the Crusades’ impact on the Muslim world and, then accordingly and importantly on the Western Europe vis-a-vis trade, economy, religion, knowledge, scientific inventions, literature to name a few prominent areas. The Crusade imagery, ideology and symbolism are so much powerful and immense so that it has subsided and undermined the constructive/positive impact the Western Europe achieved by confronting with the Orient/Muslim world. The paper concludes that the Crusades’ positive impact and interaction if broadly highlighted and explored, and if given considerable space in public and academic discourses then the possibilities of the East-West tension and hostility could be alleviated to a considerable extent.

Keywords


Crusade; Impact; Muslim; Christian; Trade; Attitude

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References


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Yvonne Friedman has mentioned approximately 109 treaties successfully made between Franks and Muslims between the years 1097 and 1291; these treatise were undertaken for various reasons, but trade and exchange of prisoners were in particular which allowed more peaceful forms of interaction; on this see, for example, Niall Christie, Muslims and Crusaders: Christianity’s Wars in the Middle East, 1095-1382, From the Islamic Sources (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), 73.

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Europeans had until used honey for sweetening their foods. It is stated that sugar was the first luxury product introduced into the west that nothing else so delighted the Western people than this many new products were made out of sugar, on this see, Hitti, History of the Arabs, 665, 667.

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Better techniques of banking were introduced from Byzantium and Islam; new forms and instruments of credit appeared; more money circulated, more ideas, and more men.

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Gothic architecture are building designs or style of architecture, as first pioneered and flourished in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. It began in France in the 12th century. The Gothic style grew out of Romanesque architecture; for a detailed study of Gothic architecture, see Jean Bony, French Gothic Architecture of the 12th and 13th Centuries (London: The University of California Press), 1983.

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Machicolation was an opening between the corbels of a parapet, or in the floor of a gallery, or on the roof of a portal of a castle, for dropping liquids or discharging missiles on assailants from without.

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Gunpowder brought an immense advantage to the Europe views Bernard Lewis. He states that it “was brought to Europe, where it was adapted to a new and deadly purpose—firearms. These gave an immense and often decisive advantage to Europeans in their warfare with others, most obviously in the New World, but also to a growing extent in their encounters with the civilizations of the Old World and even with the empires of Islam”, on this, see Bernard Lewis, Cultures in Conflict Christians, Muslims, and Jews in The Age of Discovery (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 20.

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Atiya, Crusade, Commerce and Culture, 127.

Helen Nicholson, The Crusades (Greenwood press, 2004), 95 as qouted in Geç, “Crusades in the Middle East: the Impact of the Holy Land Crusades on Europe”.

Nicholson, The Crusades, 95.

Joseph Schacht & C. E. Bosworth, the Legacy of Islam, 2nd edition (Oxford Clarendon press, 1974), 24 as qouted in Geç, “Crusades in the Middle East: the Impact of the Holy Land Crusades on Europe”.

Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith, 485.

On this, see, for example, Lee Masoodul Hasan, Review, “Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature”, Lee Manion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), in The Muslim World Book Review, 36(2):1-71, 2016, 48-50; Many romantic authors, such as Sir Walter Scott (1771 –1832, he was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet), produced great novels in which Crusade theme remained a dominant feature such as Tales of the Crusaders (it is a series of novels), The Talisman to name a few. It is important to note here that a leading Crusades historian Jonathan Riley-Smith has accused Walter Scott of propagating a romanticized view of the Crusades now putatively discredited by some academics, “which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality”, see, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Talisman_(Scott_novel)#cite_note-Telegraph-1.

Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Muslim Eastern Response (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 6-7.

On this Durant states: “The sight of diverse peoples, of lordly barons and proud knights, sometimes of emperors and kings, uniting in a religious cause led by the Church raised the status of the papacy. Papal legates entered every country and diocese to stir recruiting and gather funds for the Crusades; their authority encroached upon, often superseded, that of the hierarchy; and through them the faithful became almost directly tributory to the pope”, see Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith, 486.

Carter Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity (UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 70; for a detailed study on various aspects such as origin, theological and institutional development of “Indulgence”, see for example, Ane L. Bysted, The Crusade Indulgence: Spiritual Rewards and the Theology of the Crusades, c. 1095–1216 (Leiden: Brill, 2015).

There were mixed motives, religious, political, economic and material, of the Crusades and the Crusaders as reflected in archbishop William of Tyre’s (ca. 1130–ca. 1187) History of the Deeds Done Beyond the Sea: “Not all of them, indeed, were there on behalf of the Lord . . . All of them went for different reasons.”

Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith, 486; see also, Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity, 70.

Molly Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000), 6.

Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean; see also, Crusading Peace: Christendom, the Muslim World, and Western Political Order (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 279.

Rodney Stark, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 247.

Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity, 70.

Woon Cha, “The Crusades, Their Influence and Their Relevance for Today”; on the crusading policy that eventually led its decay, see a good description of Norman Housley, “The Thirteenth-Century Crusades in the Mediterranean”, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume V c. 1198—c.1300, ed., David Abulafia (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 585-587.

“In feudal society, the lord was responsible for protecting his vassals and their lands, and his vassals were obligated to serve the lord through both military service when needed and counsel when called upon. The church was fully involved in the feudal system, having its own fief holdings and lordship as well as being obligated to provide men and material to their lords, secular and religious”, in Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity, 85.

Atiya, Crusade, Commerce and Culture, 124; on this, see also, Clifford R. Backman, The Worlds of Medieval Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 262.

Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity, 70.

Atiya, Crusade, Commerce and Culture, 124.

Zouhair Ghazzal, “The Ulama: Status and Function”, in A Companion to the History of the Middle East, ed., Youssef M. Choueiri (UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), 75; on this, see also, Housley, “The Thirteenth-Century Crusades in the Mediterranean”, 588.

There is a wealth of literature on medieval European perceptions of Islam and the Muslims, as expressed in many scholarly studies. For example, see R. W. Southern, Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1962); Aldobrandino Malvezzi, L’Islamismo e la cultura europea (Florence: Sansoni, 1956); Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press, 1960).

Jonathan Phillips, “the Crusades: sources, Impact and context”, in The Medieval Crusade, ed., Susan Janet Ridyard (UK: Boydell Press, 2004), 4.

Woon Cha, “The Crusades, Their Influence and Their Relevance for Today”, 61; on this, see also, Jonathan Howard, “introduction”, in The Crusades: A History of One of the Most Epic Military Campaigns of All Time (n.p.: Golgotha Press, 2011), Kindle Edition; and John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 37-39.

G. Michael Stathis, “The Crusades: A Modern Perspective on the 900th Anniversary of the Event” (lecture delivered at Southern Utah University, Utah, November 30, 1995), 20.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21043/qijis.v5i2.2259

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