Field: History of Islam
Title: The Crusades
Author: S. E. al-Djazairi
Publication: The Institute of Islamic History
Reviewed by: Safwan
This magnificent work by the honourable Muslim historian, al-Djazairi explicitly addresses us readers on the very subject that not many of his Muslim counterparts would want to delve in, especially after being disfigured and demeaned so badly by the mainstream western (or western-influenced) historians, i.e. the Crusades.
The 11th-13th century C.E. event and disaster, as the author holds, has scarcely been dealt with justice in the literary world. A large early section of the book deals on this matter, perceived important to the author, in order that readers have a better idea of the conspiracy before learning anything about the subject. One of the many unfounded story-telling goes, as told by Wiet et al, who referred to the taking of Jerusalem in 1099 as ‘the splendid occasion’, without even a slight mention of the massacres that ‘embellished’ the occasion. The instances are further outlaid by al-Djazairi covering at least 45 pages thick.
Being true to history, al-Djazairi did not make any effort to hide or diminish the weaknesses prevailing within the Muslim realm which has contributed to Crusader armies’ assault. On the other hand, he disclosed, unsparingly, the factors that have pushed leaders in Western Christendom to take up arms against the Muslims.
The crusades, occurring for almost 200 years, witnessed many Muslim successes and glory, despite the many losses and destructions they had to contain. The efforts of Godly, pious kings like Imaduddin Zangi, Nuruddin Zangi, Salahuddin, the Seljuks, the Mamluks; Aibek, Quttuz, Baybars, Qalawun and Khalil, to name but a few, have lead to successive retaining of the Muslim lands, until eventually, on 1291, 18th May, Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf retook Acre from the Franks (Christians), altogether symbolizing a total victory of Muslims in the Middle East, having repelled every single then-remaining Christian force.