THE BOOK OF CONTEMPLATIONN`
The crusades are by all means one of the major historical events of all time. These events took place around the ear 1100 ad and yet are still the topic of discussion to this very day. This is because the crusades had an impact on the entire region of Europe and part of Asia. Especially of interest was the influence of the crusades on the Muslims at the time. With Christianity and Islam remaining the major and most popular religions in the world to this very day it is very clear that the crusaded were very impactful on these two major religions and by all means influenced the ways in which members of these two religions view each other to this very day. This essay especially focuses on the book of contemplation, the alexiad and the deeds of the franks. These are all works that focus on the happenings of the historical time around the crusades and how these crusades shaped the opinions of thee involved parties not only about the ongoing crusades but also about themselves and their own religion. The book of contemplation is especially of interest because it is written from the Islam point of view. This book paints a vivid picture of how Muslims back at the time coped with the crusade and how these crusades opened a new paradigm of their understanding not only about life but also about their religion of Islam. The essay will focus on evidence from these books as the basis of answering the questions that follow and clearly expounding on the points that each question seeks to bring home.
Usama’s opinion of the ideal qualities of any given warrior range from an array of physical or rather biological features to the principles and ideologies that are the guiding force of the warrior. This is clear by his opinion of the knights who were the warriors for the franks. Usama is amazed by the fashion or rather mode of dressing that these warriors adorn. To usama they seem more as ceremonial men or entertainers as opposed too fierce warriors headed for battle and glory. The physical stature of the knights is also very astounding for usama. This is because he describes the knights as being rather thin. Thus it can be argued that usama viewed an ideal warrior as someone with a significant amount of physical butt which would enable the warrior to withstand the hardships of battle and in the process emerge victorious. Usama therefore seems to disapprove the warriors of the franks not only in their mode of dressing for combat but also in their respective physiques and how this physical disposition will more or less affect their delivery capabilities n the field of battle. Usama also has very unique qualities in terms of his definition of the ideal qualities of a leader. According to usama a leader had to serve the people as opposed to serving themselves. Leaders had to be chosen directly by Allah and in that aspect have a notion of divine anointing attached to them. As such the leaders had to lead the people in a direction that was inclined to the will of Allah as opposed to leading the people in a direction aimed at satisfying their own personal and selfish needs. Thus any leader had to be selfless and fully serve Allah as well as the people. The definition of the ideal leader and warrior differ from the Muslim and the Christian definition. From the Christian definition a warrior is more of an enforcer while in the Muslim definition a warrior is a martyr in the holy war the definition of a leader in the Christian definition more inclined towards political power while in the Muslim definition an ideal leader is more inclined towards matters religion as opposed to matters politics.
Usama portrays an array of mixed views and emotions with reference to the crusaders. At some point in life he has nothing but pure hate for the crusaders and their relentless crusades. At another point he displays a variety of mixed reactions ranging from admiration of the relentless attitude of the crusaders to resentment of the crusaders in their entirety. The Byzantines on the other hand view the crusaders as nothing short of enemies. The Byzantines view the crusaders as yet another rising empire which they must conquer in order to maintain their glory and influence as well as their geographical territory. Thus to the byzantine the crusaders are nothing more than adversaries to be met in the field of battle and be fought appropriately all in the name of glory. Usama however has a very different opinion in terms of his perception of Muslim women in comparison to the Frankish women. This comparison ranges from the modes of dressing to the way in which the women carry themselves in public and around members of the opposite sex. According to usama Muslim women are far much better than Frankish women in terms of behavior. This is because Muslim women dress more respectfully and carry themselves with a greater sense of self dignity than Frankish women who flirt with men openly in the streets while the whole of society is watching.
The main motivation that usama has for fighting against the crusaders is religion. This is because he is an upright Muslim to say the least. He believes that Islam is the one true religion. With this belief in mind he is certainly more than ready to lay his life on the line for his religious beliefs. According to him the franks ant to impose a paganous form of religion on the Muslims in the free world and this is a condition which is most definitely less than acceptable. His main motivation for fighting against the crusaders therefore can be argued as his quest to preserve his religion of Islam. He is willing to defend his religion even if it means laying his life on the line all for the greater good of his religion. The main motivations that usama has for fighting against Muslims is a series of ideological differences that seem to arise among the Muslims. Thus according to usama there are some Muslims on a quest to corrupt the one true religion which is Islam and this is clearly unacceptable. Thus usama’s main motivation for fighting against Muslims is a series of ideological differences. Usama however views the Muslims as his greatest enemies as opposed to the crusaders. This is because he is sure that Islam will endure the crusades but the Muslims pose a risk of corrupting this religion all together thus doing more damage than the franks.
Cobb, Paul M.. The book of contemplation: Islam and the Crusades. London: Penguin, 2008. Print.
Comnena, Anna, and E. R. A. Sewter. The Alexiad. Rev. ed. London: Penguin, 2009. Print.
Hill, Rosalind M. T.. The deeds of the Franks and the other pilgrims to Jerusalem. London: T. Nelson, 2003. Print.