Muslims and Crusaders : Christianity’s Wars in the Middle East, 1095–1382, from the Islamic Sources book cover
2nd Edition

Muslims and Crusaders
Christianity’s Wars in the Middle East, 1095–1382, from the Islamic Sources

ISBN 9781138543119
Published April 15, 2020 by Routledge
308 Pages

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Book Description

Muslims and Crusaders combines chronological narrative, discussion of important areas of scholarly enquiry and evidence from Islamic primary sources to give a well-rounded survey of Christianity’s wars in the Middle East, 1095–1382.

Revised, expanded and updated to take account of the most recent scholarship, this second edition enables readers to achieve a broader and more complete perspective on the crusading period by presenting the crusades from the viewpoints of those against whom they were waged, the Muslim peoples of the Levant. The book introduces the reader to the most significant issues that affected Muslim responses to the European crusaders and their descendants who would go on to live in the Latin Christian states that were created in the region. It considers not only the military encounters between Muslims and crusaders, but also the personal, political, diplomatic, and trade interactions that took place between the Muslims and Franks away from the battlefield.

Engaging with a wide range of translated primary source documents, including chronicles, dynastic histories, religious and legal texts, and poetry, Muslims and Crusaders is ideal for students and historians of the crusades.

Table of Contents


Who’s Who


Guide to Muslim Names

List of Figures



Dynastic Tables and Genealogies

1. Introduction

Previous Works on Muslim Views of the Crusades

The Limitations of this Work

The Muslim Sources

2. The Muslim World before the Crusades

A Brief History

Core Beliefs and Practices


Sunnis and Shi‘ites

The Levantine Economy and Society

The Franks through Muslim Eyes before 1096

The Levant in the 11th Century

Further Reading

3. The First Crusade and the Muslim Response, 1095-1146

Chronological Overview

The Problem of the Sources

Muslim Views of the Crusaders’ Motives

The First Signs of Counter-Crusade

Zangi: The First Great Mujahid?


Further Reading

4. Nurturing Enthusiasm for the Jihad, 1146-1174

Chronological Overview

The Crusader Attack on Damascus through Muslim Eyes

The Conversion of the Turks and the ‘Sunni Revival’

Nur al-Din: ‘La Plaque Tournante’?

Saladin and Nur al-Din


Further Reading

5. Victory and Stalemate, 1174-1193

Chronological Overview

The Problem of the Sources

The Articulation of Power

The Victorious Mujahid

Facing the Crusades of the Late 12th Century


Further Reading

6. Making War in the Levant

The Problem of the Sources

‘The Franks’

Jihad and Religious Warfare

Armies and Pitched Battles

Fortifications and Sieges

Fighting at Sea

The Frankish Influence?


Further Reading

7. Making Peace in the Levant


Muslims under Frankish Rule


Muslim Views on Frankish Culture


Further Reading

8. The Successors of Saladin, 1193-1249

Chronological Overview

Family Politics in the Levant

The Ayyubids and the Jihad

Relations with the Franks

Critics of the Ayyubids


Further Reading

9. The Mamluks, 1249-1382

Chronological Overview

Mamluk Historiography

The Mamluk Experience

The Mamluk State

Legitimizing Rule

The Mamluk Jihad


Further Reading

10. Conclusion

The Impact of the Crusades on the Medieval Middle East

The Impact of the Crusades on the Modern-Day Muslim Consciousness

Rationalizing Terrorism

Latter-Day Saladins?

Final Words

Further Reading


1. Extracts from the Qur’an and Hadith

2. A Depiction of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (r. 996-1021)

3. Al-Mas‘udi on the Franks

4. The Fall of Jerusalem to the Crusaders: Two Accounts

5. Muslim Views of the Crusaders and their Motives

6. Extracts from the Book of the Jihad of ‘Ali ibn Tahir al-Sulami (d. 1106)

7. The Failure of the Crusader Attack on Damascus in 1148: Two Accounts

8. Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Wasiti (fl. 1019), Extracts from The Merits of Jerusalem

9. Ibn al-Athir on Nur al-Din and Saladin

10. ‘Imad al-Din al-Isfahani on the Battle of Hattin and Saladin’s Conquest of Jerusalem

11. Baha’ al-Din ibn Shaddad on Saladin’s Virtues

12. An Exchange of Letters during Richard the Lionheart’s Crusade

13. Extract from al-Harawi’s Treatise on Muslim Military Tactics

14. Usama ibn Munqidh on Frankish Culture

15. Ibn al-Qaysarani and ‘Imad al-Din al-Isfahani on Frankish Women

16. Al-Kamil Muhammad and the Crusade against Damietta in 1218-21

17. Two Sources on the Handover of Jerusalem to Frederick II

18. Ibn al-Dawadari on the Battle of ‘Ayn Jalut

19. Qalawun’s Treaty with the Lady of Tyre, 1285

20. Abu’l-Fida’ on the Conquest of Acre, 1291

21. Statements of Usama ibn Ladin (Osama bin Laden, 1957-2011), 1998

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Niall Christie in an instructor in history at Langara College in Vancouver, Canada, where he teaches the history of Europe and the Muslim world. He is also an adjunct professor of medieval studies at the University of Victoria. His research focuses on the Muslim response to the crusades. He is the author of numerous articles and The Book of the Jihad of 'Ali ibn Tahir al-Sulami (d. 1106): Text, Translation and Commentary (2015).


"Although the primary audience for this revised edition (originally published in 2014) is still the general reader and undergraduate student, it is equally attractive to historians, especially medievalists whose expertise is not in the medieval Levant. The work has a tripartite organization, and each section mutually supports the others. Extensive prefatory material includes a guide to understanding Muslim names, a chronology, a "Who's who" section, maps, and a glossary—all extremely useful when tackling the narrative portion, which immediately follows. Spanning 10 chapters, this central section observes an overall chronological structure that starts with a presentation of core Muslim beliefs and a basic history of the Levant in the pre-crusading period, continues with the centuries of contact (military and non-military) between crusaders and their opponents, and ends with a wonderful chapter on the place of the crusades within medieval and modern thought. The last section presents selected documents translated from Arabic whose numbering is keyed into the preceding account. What makes this book outstanding is the scholarship, clear prose, and scrupulous honesty in the construction of a narrative that illuminates the major historiographical controversies while providing a context for understanding the documents". R. T. Ingoglia, St.Thomas Aquinas College Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.

"The topic of the Muslim responses to the Crusades is a dense and complex field. Niall Christie's textbook, now in its expanded second edition, simplifies the subject and presents it in an engaging, succinct, but also thorough manner. I highly recommend this textbook for all university courses on the field of the Islamic World and the Crusades." Fadi Ragheb, Assistant Professor, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, Canada.

"In the twenty-first century, it is increasingly imperative that we teach the history of the crusades comparatively and critically, with attention to historical methods, contexts, and contingencies. Dr. Christie’s groundbreaking textbook empowers instructors and students to do this, even if they are encountering Islamic history for the first time. Christie introduces key terms and concepts, rigorously contextualizes his sources, and thoughtfully considers historiographical debates. He accomplishes this concisely and in clear, student-friendly prose, while also providing a full range of teaching aids, including sometimes otherwise unavailable primary sources in translation. This book is absolutely essential for anyone teaching the history of the crusades." Susanna A. Throop, Associate Professor, Ursinus College, USA