Kitab al-Jihad
of 'Ali ibn Tahir Al-Sulami (d. 1106)

This document is from the other side of the conflict, the perspective of a Muslim target of the First Crusade, 'Ali ibn Tahir, who was one of the Ulama (Islamic religious scholars). Are their similarities between this Muslim's view and the ideas of Stephen or Pope Urban?

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

The Messenger of God [Muhammad] (God bless him) said: "The caliphate concerns ... the hijra [Hegira, or flight] and jihad [Struggle] concern the Muslims." In his saying that after that the jihad concerns the Muslims is a visible proof it concerns all Muslims. If it concerns all Muslims, it remains their concern until the Day of Resurrection. ...

... the [first] four caliphs and all the companions (of the Prophet [Muhammad]) agreed on the jihad's being incumbent on all. ... [When later Caliphs, however] threw off [quit the practice of Jihad], ... made it necessary that God dispersed their unity, split up their [Muslin] togetherness, threw enmity and hatred between them and tempted their enemies to snatch their country from their grasp and (so) cure their hearts of them. ... they [Muslims, were] conquered in the same way one city after another in al-Andalus [Spain]. When the reports confirmed for them that this country [the Levant] suffered from the disagreement of its masters and its rulers' being unaware of its deficiencies and needs, they [the Christians] confirmed their resolution to set out for it, and Jerusalem was their dearest wish.

They [Christians] looked out over Syria, on separated kingdoms, disunited hearts and differing views linked with hidden resentment, and with that their desires became stronger and extended to what they all saw. They did not stop, tireless in fighting the jihad against the Muslims. The Muslims were sluggish, and (we were) avoiding fighting them and they were reluctant to engage in combat until they conquered more than their greatest hopes had conceived of the country, and destroyed and humiliated many times the number of people that they had wished. Still now they are spreading further in their efforts, assiduous in seeking an increase (in their profits). Their desires are multiplying all the time because of what appears to them of the (Muslims') abstinence from (opposing) them, and their hopes are invigorated by virtue of what they see of their enemies' contentedness with being unharmed by them, until they have become convinced that the whole country will become theirs and all its people will be prisoners in their hands. May God in his generosity humble their [Christian] ideas by bringing together everyone [Muslim] and arranging the unity of the people, for he is near, and answers (prayers).

...I said: "What I have mentioned showed that if a group was needed to carry out an expedition, our duty was incumbent on all of them. That was in something similar to this situation which we are in now with this group attacking the country of Islam..."

Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali said: "Whenever a year passed without an expedition every Muslim (who was) free, responsible and capable of taking part in an expedition went out on one, seeking by it to exalt the word of God (who is praised), to demonstrate his religion, to suppress by it his enemies the polytheists, to achieve the reward which God (who is praised) and His Prophet promised him from (fighting) the jihad in His cause, and to gain their (the enemies') wealth, women and lands.... If the enemy attacks one of its cities, and there are not enough people in it to fight and defeat them, it is obligatory on all the cities belonging to Syria to send people to it to fight until there are sufficient (people). ... None are excepted from the imposition of obligations except those with (reasonable) excuses and impeding physical disabilities. We shall mention them if God wills."

This is superfluous to what I am saying. I wrote that which is here from the words of one of the imams from the followers of Al-Shafi'i in Damascus, when the Franks - may God destroy them - descended on Antioch...

Prepare - God have mercy on you - to strive hard at the imposition of this jihad and the obligation to defend your religion and your brotherhood (of Muslims) with aid and support. Take as (your) booty an expedition which God (who is exalted) has arranged for you without great effort or (even) the exertion of a cheek, which has come to you. Take it with the good fortune granted by God (who is praised) from nearby and this mundane world. You will gain it from a finest winner, and (will also gain) a glory of which the clothes (will) remain on you for many ages to come. ...

The most astonishment is at a sultan who takes pleasure in life or continues living as he is with the shadows of this calamity, of which the outcome is conquest (by) these blasphemers and exile from the country by force and subjugation, or staying with them and being imprisoned and tortured by night and day. By God! By God, you community of sultans of the country, and those prominent persons, soldiers and others who are considered prominent, young men, stalwart supporters and lords recently acquired from wealth and inherited, who follow them, drive away insignificant things and sluggishness, and go to fight the jihad with your wealth and yourselves. O you who believe, if you aid God, He will aid you and make your footsteps firm. Do not fight (one another) or you will fail and will not succeed. Put faith in the aid of God (who is praised), o you (people) and inform yourselves of the victory, by His will, over your enemies. ... Know that God (who is praised) only sent this enemy to you as a trial, to test your steadfastness with it. He said (God blesses and is exalted), "Let Us test you so that We will know those of you that fight hard and are steadfast, and We will test your experiences."...

It was shown from another hadith, which I think is sufficiently documented for me, that this group was from the people of Syria. In another hadith is the fact that they were from Jerusalem and its surroundings... From this is proof of its (Jerusalem's) being (supposed to) return to the Muslims, and that a group will be in it. ... We have heard in what we have heard of a sufficiently documented hadith, mentioning in it that the Rum (Byzantines) will conquer Jerusalem for a set period of time, and the Muslims will gather against them, drive them out of it, kill them all except for a few of them, (and) then pursue their scattered remnants to Constantinople, descend on it and conquer it. This is certain...

O you who do wrong, commit sin, persist (in your sinning) and are neglectful, you are in greater need of all that before (you undertake) your jihad....

Now also incumbent on the sultan [leader] is command over what God (who is exalted) has made a duty to him of guarding the religion, guiding the Muslims and defence of himself, his army and them (the Muslims), just as it came from the (lips of) the lord of those who were sent: "Whoever looks after a group of subjects, and does not give them good advice, God has forbidden him Paradise." I said: "Good advice has many meanings, one of which is watching over his subjects, protecting them and driving the harmful enemies from them." The other famous hadith in this meaning is his statement (God bless him): "All of you are guardians, and all of you are responsible for His subjects." ... In this way it is incumbent on our sultans and whoever God (who is praised) has appointed to rule us - may God make good their peace-making and guidance - that they follow the model of those who preceded them, from those who were like them, what came of that in their religion, and what their Prophet entrusted them with, about which his words approximately are: "Do not snub each other, oppose each other or envy each other. Be worshippers of God in a brotherhood as God ordered you," and other words than those of instruction. Helping them and aiding them all that they can, joining their hands and abilities to it, and taking on all this burden and toil in targeting this group, is incumbent on all the people of soldiers, citizens, peasants and all the rest of the people. Even the smallest contribution will be appreciated. They (will) do in their jihad many times what the people did in their military expeditions to their lands and (the territories of) the Rum [Byzantines], to drive them from there and efface their traces....

From them come our hopes of hastening a victory over them (the Franks) because of what is true concerning their weakness, the paucity of their cavalry and numbers, and the (far) distance of their reinforcements and support. That has happened by the help of God (who is praised), with the calming of concerns about them by the removal of their cancerous consumption of worldly riches from their booty [treasure], ... Then (will come) victory, by the taking back of what they took from the country of the Muslims, the displaying of the religion of Islam in them, and the restoring of them to what they were before their taking of them.


Source: http://www.arts.cornell.edu/prh3/447/texts/Sulami.html

 

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