This paper examines the extent to which jihad is an important concept in understanding the Frankish-Muslim relations in the period starting from the era of the first crusade through to the thirteenth century. The main argument in this paper is that fighting and military…
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f this paper that the influence of the confrontationist ideology of “jihad” on the organization of relationships between Franks and Muslims is nearly negligible, and not so important in understanding the Frankish-Muslim relations in the period between the first Crusades through to the thirteenth century.
The concept of jihad in Arabic roughly translates to mean “struggle” and it denotes the central obligation of all believers of the Islam religion to their faith—thus, it refers to the “struggle” against all those who are opposed to Allah, and the Islamic faith in general, within the context of classical theory of Islam. The word jihad has acquired two commonly acknowledged interpretations, which are “an inner spiritual struggle” and an “outer physical struggle”; whereas conventional attitudes acknowledge the inner struggle by believers to fulfil their religious obligations as the true essence of the term, Islamic scholars stress that the term inevitably connotes an armed struggle against persecution as well as oppression. In this respect, proponents of the violent form of jihad have largely contributed to the pervasive interpretation of the term to mean “holly war” that is deeply inculcated all over the Islamic world; today, the term has taken on a military meaning in nearly all contexts, and is a fairly stable idea in Islamic law (Parviz, and Ridwan 2001, p.23).
Earlier historical publications have explored the Frankish-Muslim relations to great extents in which they have pervasively enforced the perspective that the Frankish states remained outposts of the Christian world and infidels in the dominant Islamic Middle East. Consequently, the bleak image of a Christian-Islam confrontation in the Frankish-Muslim relations has often emerged and taken root in a vast proportion of western sources thereby greatly influencing western thought and discourse. The true nature of the Frankish-Muslim relations remains to be a hotly contested, often
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