2nd Edition

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

By Niall Christie Copyright 2020
    308 Pages
    by Routledge

    308 Pages
    by Routledge

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    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.


    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

    Select Bibliography



    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