The Muslim Perspective
How the Crusades Affected Islam and How They Felt About it
The Significance of Jerusalem to Islam
- Known to be the “Land of many prophets”
- Was the first place toward which Muslims turn to prayer before Mecca (Qibla)
- Was, according to the Quran, the place where Muhammad was taken to Heaven
- Third most sacred city in Islam
- Where the Dome of Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located
- thought it was duty to protect Jerusalem from the encroachment of Byzantines and Persians
Cause of the Crusades
When Rome fell, all that land was anybody’s to claim, it just so happened that Islam did it before anybody else. Over the near-600 years that Jerusalem was in Muslim control, it gained a lot of religious significance and eventually became the third most sacred city in Islam. The Muslims, as to be expected, thought for sure that the city now belonged to them and not to the Europeans that owned it prior. The Muslims didn’t see these attacks as “Crusades”, but a Frankish invasion of their land.
Impact of Crusades
The Crusades, in the long run, affected Europe more than anyone else; Islam as a whole suffered very little territorial loss at all. At this time though, nearly the whole European continent was at unrest and war-torn, only home to small principalities unlike the grand Islamic world, which was thriving. After the 8 attacks, Crusaders came back with exotic Muslim merchandise that fueled the population’s demand, fascinating medical and scientific knowledge that inspired great amounts of scholars, and finally, more enlightened attitudes about the diverse backgrounds many of them were faced with. In time, this all pushed Europe into rebirth, expansion, and conquest.
Now, you might be wondering what this had to do with Islam and the Middle East: it bumped it into second place on the charts! They were no longer the dominant culture.
Perception of Everyone Else
Before the Crusades, Christian pilgrims were allowed in and out of Jerusalem at will, but then the Seljuk Turks, a group of Persian Muslims, invaded and gained control of the city. Because they knew that Europe, which happened to be largely composed of Christians, was planning on attacking, the Turks went forward to persecute all Christians in the city and ended up massacring 3,000.
Obviously, they weren’t very content with outside civilizations.
Ludwin. "Causes Of The Crusades." Causes Of The Crusades. Slideshare, 20 Feb. 2010. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
"Palestine-Israel Journal: The Significance of Jerusalem: A Muslim Perspective." Palestine-Israel Journal, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
"What Effect Did the Crusades Have on the Middle East?" About.com Asian History. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
"There is perhaps no other city in the world that has drawn the continued attention of the world community as much as the city of Jerusalem..." -Ziad Abu Amr
"These changes among the nobility and soldiers of the Christian world helped to spark the Renaissance and eventually set Europe, the backwater of the Old World, on a course toward global conquest." -Kallie Szczepanski