A Muslim Response to the Second Crusade – Analytical Review Essay

A nascent interest in the permeation of jihad in Islamic regions of Asia Minor has recently been fueled by a review of ancient texts elucidating the situation during the Second Crusade.  It was for this very reason that Suleiman Mourad and James Lindsay wrote: “A Muslim Response to the Second Crusade seeking to reveal the role played by Abū al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAsākir of Damascus as the chief propagandist during this ancient epoch. The main argument postulates that Frankish failure to retake Damascus promoted and disseminated the doctrine of jihad needed to achieve a set of future objectives. Two centuries of Shi’a rule would now be replaced by a new political figure unifying the Levant under the banner of Sunni Islam (Mourad & Lindsay, 2015).  It was this unity that Islamic scholars would use to rally Muslims towards a common cause hence driving the Franks from annexed territories.

Suleiman Mourad and James Lindsay pay particular attention to supporting their work using specific sources. According to this premise, the authors use primary and secondary sources to help their position on jihad and Abū al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAsākir’s role as its prime propagandist. The use of authentic and authoritative primary sources was widespread throughout the literature in an attempt to support the assertions made. The Quran, early inscriptions of Nur-al-Din and Forty Hadiths are all dependable sources of Islamic history that boost the credibility of the author’s proposition. Additionally, persuasive secondary sources from influential authors also litter this piece of literature and the discussion that follows. By so doing, Suleiman Mourad and James Lindsay manage to guide the readers using detailed perspectives from seasoned scholars.

The authors use primary sources to provide first-hand information about jihad and its history during the Second Crusade. Original and untouched sources are therefore used to make sure that unfiltered facts are provided with regard to the spread of jihadist propaganda. The direct approach in Forty Hadiths and scriptures from the Quran allows the readers to gain a comprehensive understanding of motivating factors that may have prompted Zangi to fight Frankish forces in Odessa. The close and direct connection that these sources share with the subject’s acts as impermeable evidence when proving the thesis provided. On the other hand, secondary sources add credibility to the proposition by presenting evidence that is a step towards the argument fronted. The use of scholarly articles and essays offer an assortment of expert insights about the development and spread of jihad as a counter-crusade ideology in the Levant. The assigned reading was crucial to my understanding of the Second Crusade and the jihad in Asia Minor since it focused on influential historical figures such as Abū al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAsākir. It is noteworthy to acknowledge that the authors discussed this character in the context of Sunni revival and the fight to reclaim Latin Asia. By so doing it serves as a vital source when seeking to understand the nature of the jihad promoted during this period and the prevailing attitudes amongst Islamic scholars. Abū al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAsākir is placed against a counter-crusade backdrop and reasons that ultimately encouraged Damascenes to embrace jihad fully (Mourad & Lindsay, 2015). The text reinforces the accounts contained in other readings that seem to suggest that the crusading period eventually birthed jihad. It does this by bridging the gap that has existed when discussing the spread of counter-crusade preaching and the effect it ultimately had on Muslim dogma.

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