10 April 2007
The Crusades and Early Muslim Relations
During the High Middle Ages “a curious mix of God and warfare, two of the chief concerns of the Middle Ages,” clashed to create what is known as The Crusades.1 According to Jackson J. Spielvogel, one of the most important manifestations linked to “the wave of religious enthusiasm that seized Europe in the High Middle Ages was the Crusades, a long, drawn-out series of attacks and battles against the Muslims that controlled the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem.2 The Crusades, also known as “Holy Wars,” destroyed property and killed both Christians and Muslims. In fact, the Crusades created the Muslims’ perceptions of the Christian soldiers and their western religion, which was viewed in a negative manner. These “Holy Wars” gave reason for the Muslims to resent the Crusaders and their interference in the Holy Land.
The First Crusade was ignited in 1095 by predominantly French Christians whose main intention was to seize the sacred city of Jerusalem from Muslim control. This First Crusade was considered as a success in 1099 because the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and maintained control of the Holy Land for 78 years despite much Muslim restlessness and resentment for the capture of their cities and treatment of the Muslim people. Internal conflicts among these Crusaders began to increase as a result of more nations joining in their actions against the Muslims. The conflicts among the Crusaders included arguments on leadership, political differences and war strategies, as a result of differences among the nations and leadership.
Salah al-Din Yusuf bin Ayub (Saladin), the great Muslim leader, soon took advantage of these internal conflicts among the growing Crusaders and managed to retake the city of Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187. This was a long-awaited and strategicly planned victory for the Muslims. The First Crusade and remaining eight that...