THE SPREAD OF ISLAM:
CONDITION OF THE CHRISTIANS IN THE EARLY
A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith
T.W. Arnold Ma. C.I.F
Professor Of Arabic, University Of London, University College. Written in 1896, revised in 1913
Rearranged by Dr. A.S. Hashim
Mu'awiya (661-680) employed Christians very largely in his service,
and other members of Benu Umayya (the reigning house)
followed his example.
Christians frequently held high posts at court, e.g.
a Christian Arab, al-Akh’tal, was court poet,
and the father of St. John of Damascus, was counselor to the
Khalifa Abd al-Malik (685-705).
brothers, Christians, who stood very high in the confidence of the
Commander of the Faithful:
the one, named Salmuyah,
seems to have
occupied somewhat the position of a
modern secretary of state, and no royal documents were
valid until countersigned by him,
while his brother, Ibrahim, was entrusted with the care of the privy seal,
and was set over the Bayt al-Mal or Public Treasury,
an office that, from the nature of the funds and their disposal, might have been expected to have been put into the
hands of a Muslim; so great was the Khalifas personal affection for this Ibrahim, that he
visited him in his sickness, and was overwhelmed with grief at his death, and on the day of the funeral ordered the body to be brought to the
palace and the Christian rites performed there with great solemnity.
Abd al-Malik appointed a
certain Athanasius, a Christian scholar of Odessa, tutor to his brother, Abd al-Aziz.
Athanasius accompanied his pupil, when he was appointed
governor of Egypt, and there amassed great wealth; he is said to have possessed 4000 slaves, villages, houses, gardens,
and gold and silver " like stones "; his sons took a Dinar from each of the soldiers when they received their pay, and as there were 30,000 troops then in Egypt, some idea may
be formed of the wealth that Athanasius accumulated during the twenty-one years that he spent in that country.
At the close of the eighth century, a certain Abu
Nooh al-Anbari was secretary to Abu Musa
b. Musab, governor of
and used his powerful influence for the benefit of his Christian
In the reign of al-Mutadhid
(892-902), the governor of Anbar, Omar b. Yusuf,
was a Christian, and the Khalifa approved of the appointment on the ground that if a Christian were found to be competent, a post might well be
given to him, as there were better reasons for trusting a Christian
than either a Jew, a Muslim or a Zoroastrian.
Al-Muwaffaq, who was virtual ruler of the empire during the reign of his brother al-Mutamid (870-892), entrusted the administration of the army to a Christian named
Israel, and his son,
al-Mu'tadhid, had as one of his secretaries another Christian, Malik b. al-Walid.
In a later reign, that of al-Muqtadir
(908-932), a Christian was again in charge of the war office.
Nasr b. Haroon, the Prime Minister of Udh’ud al-Dawlah
(949-982), of the Buwayhi dynasty of Persia, who ruled
over Southern Persia and Iraq, was a Christian.
long time, the government offices, especially in the department of finance, were filled with Christians and Persians;
to a much later date was such the case in
at times the Christians almost entirely monopolized such
Particularly as physicians, the Christians frequently amassed great wealth and were much honored in
the houses of the great.
Gabriel, the personal physician
of the Khalifa Haroon
al-Rashid, was a Nestorian Christian and derived a yearly income of 800,000 dirhams from his private
property, in addition to an emolument of 280,000 dirhams a year in return for his attendance on the Khalifa;
the second physician, also a Christian, received 22,000 dirhams a year.
In trade and commerce, the Christians also attained considerable affluence: indeed it was frequently their wealth that excited against them
the jealous cupidity of the mob—a feeling that fanatics took advantage
of, to persecute and oppress them.
Further, the non-Muslim communities
enjoyed an almost complete autonomy, for the government placed in their hands the independent management of their internal affairs, and
their religious leaders exercised judicial functions in cases that concerned their co-religionists only.
Their churches and monasteries were, for the most part, not interfered with, except in the large cities, where some of them were turned into mosques— a measure that could hardly be objected to in view of the
enormous increase in the Muslim and corresponding decrease in the Christian population.
We have numerous
both by Christian and Muslim
historians, of the building of new
churches : e.g. in the reign of Abd al-Malik (685-705), a wealthy Christian of Odessa, named Athanasius, erected in his native city a
fine church dedicated to the Mother of God, and a Baptistery in honor of the picture of Christ
that was reputed to have been sent to King Abgar; he also built a number of churches and
monasteries in various parts of Egypt, among them two magnificent churches in Fustat.
Some Christian chamberlains in the service of Abd al-Aziz b. Marwan (brother of Abd al-Malik), the governor of Egypt, obtained permission
to build a church in Halwan, which was dedicated to St.
though this town was a Muslim creation.
In a.d. 711 a Jacobite church was built at
Antioch by order of the Khalifa
In the first year of the reign of Yazid II (a.d. 720), Mar Elias, the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch,
made a solemn entry into Antioch, accompanied by his
clergy and monks, to consecrate a new church which he had caused to be built; and in the following year he consecrated
another church in the village of Sarmada, in the district of Antioch, and the only opposition he met with was from the rival Christian
sect that accepted the Council of Chalcedon.
In the following reign, Khalid al-Qasri, who was
governor of Arabian and Persian Iraq from 724 to 738, built
a church for his mother, who was a Christian, to worship in.
In 759 the building of a church at Nisibis was completed, on which the Nestorian bishop, Cyprian, had expended a sum
of 56,000 Dinars.
From the same century dates the
of Abu Sirjah in the ancient Roman fortress in old Cairo.
In the reign of al-Mahdi (775-785) a church was erected in
for the use of the Christian prisoners that had been taken captive during the numerous campaigns against
the Byzantine empire.
Another church was built in the same city, in the reign of Haroon al-Rashid (786-809), by
the people of Samalu, who had submitted to the Khalifa
and received protection from him;
During the same reign Sergius, the Nestorian Metropolitan of Basrah, received
permission to build a church in that city,
though it was a Muslim foundation, having been created by the Khalifa Omar in the year 638, and a
magnificent church was erected in Babylon in which were enshrined the bodies of the
When al-Ma'Moon (813-833) was in
Egypt he gave permission to two of his chamberlains to erect a church on al-Muqattam, a hill near Cairo;
and by the same Khalifas leave, a wealthy Christian, named
Bukam, built several fine churches at Burah in Egypt.
The Nestorian Patriarch, Timotheus, who died a.d. 820, erected a church at Takrit and a monastery at Baghdad.
In the tenth century, the beautiful Coptic church of Abu
Sayfayn was built in Fustat.
A new church was built at Jeddah in the reign of al-Dhahir, the seventh Fatimi Khalifa
of Egypt (1020-1035).
New churches and monasteries
were also built in the reign of the Abbasi, al-Mustadhi (1170-1180).
In 1187 a church was built at
Fustat and dedicated to Our Lady the
Indeed, so far from
the development of the Christian Church being hampered by the establishment of Muslim rule, the history of the Nestorians exhibits a remarkable outburst of religious life and energy from the
time of their becoming subject to the Muslims.
Alternately petted and persecuted by the Persian kings, in whose dominions by
far the majority of the members of this sect were found, it had passed a rather precarious existence and
had been subjected to harsh treatment, when war between
Byzantium exposed it to the suspicion of sympathizing with the Christian enemy.
On the other hand, under the rule of
the Khalifas, the security the
enjoyed at home enabled
them to vigorously push forward their missionary enterprises
abroad. Missionaries were sent into China and India, both of which were raised to the dignity of metropolitan seas in the eighth century; about the same period
they gained a footing in Egypt, and later spread the Christian faith right across Asia, and by the eleventh century had
gained many converts from among the Tatars.
If the other
Christian sects failed to exhibit the same vigorous life, it was not the fault of the Muslims.
All were tolerated alike by the supreme government, and furthermore were prevented from persecuting one another.
In the fifth century, Barsauma, a Nestorian bishop, had persuaded the Persian
king to set on foot a fierce persecution of the Orthodox Church, by representing Nestorius as a friend of the Persians and his doctrines as
approximating to their own; as many as 7800 of the Orthodox clergy, with
an enormous number of laymen, are said to have been butchered during this
Another persecution was instituted against the Orthodox by Khusrau II, after
the invasion of Persia by
Heracleus, at the instigation of a Jacobite, who persuaded the King that the Orthodox would
always be favorably inclined towards the Byzantines.
But the principles of Muslim toleration forbade such acts of
injustice as these: on the contrary, it seems to have been their endeavor to
deal fairly by all their Christian subjects: e.g. after the conquest of Egypt, the Jacobites took advantage
of the expulsion of the Byzantine authorities to rob the Orthodox of their churches, but later they were restored by the Muslims to their rightful owners when
these had made good their claim to possess them.
In view of the toleration thus
extended to their Christian
subjects in the early period of the Muslim rule,
hypothesis of the sword as the factor of conversion seems hardly satisfactory,
and we are compelled to seek for other motives than that of persecution.
But unfortunately very
few details are forthcoming and we are obliged to have
recourse to conjecture.
In an age so prolific of theological speculation, there may well have been some thinkers whose
trend of thought had prepared
them for the acceptance of the Muslim position. Such were those Shahrighan or landed proprietors in
Persia in the eighth century, who were nominally Christians, but maintained that Christ was
an ordinary man and that he was as one of the Prophets.
They appear at times to have given a good deal of trouble to the Nestorian clergy, who were at great pains to draw them into the paths of orthodoxy;
but their theological position was more closely akin to Islam than to Christian
doctrine, and they probably went to swell the ranks of the converts after the Arab conquest of the
Many Christian theologians
have supposed that the debased condition—moral and spiritual—of the Eastern
Church of that period must have alienated the hearts of
many and driven them to seek a healthier spiritual atmosphere in the faith of Islam which had come to them in all
the vigor of new-born zeal.
For example, Dean Milman
asks, What was the state of the Christian world in the provinces exposed to the first invasion of Muslims?:
Christian Sect opposed to a
Christian sect, clergy
wrangling with clergy upon the most abstruse and metaphysical points of doctrine.
The orthodox, the
Nestorians, the Eutychians, the Jacobites were persecuting each other with unexhausted animosity;
and it is not judging too severely the
evils of religious controversy to suppose that many would rejoice in the degradation
of their adversaries under the yoke of the unbeliever, rather than make common cause with them in defense of the common Christianity.
how many must this incessant disputation have shaken the foundations of their faith!
It had been wonderful if thousands had not, in their weariness and
perplexity, sought refuge from these interminable and implacable controversies in the simple, intelligible truth
of the Divine Unity, though purchased by the acknowledgment of the Prophetic mission of Mohammed."
Similarly, Caetani sees in the spread of Islam, among the Christians of the Eastern Churches, a revulsion of
feeling from the dogmatic subtleties introduced into Christian theology by the Hellenistic spirit."
For the East, with its love of clear and simple concepts, Hellenic culture was, from the religious point of view, a misfortune, because
it changed the sublime and simple teachings of Christ into a creed bristling with incomprehensible dogmas, full of
doubts and uncertainties;
these ended with producing a feeling of deep dismay and shook the very
foundations of religious belief; so that when at last there appeared, coming out suddenly from the desert, the news of the new revelation,
this bastard oriental Christianity, torn asunder by internal discords, wavering in its fundamental dogmas, dismayed by such
incertitudes, could no longer resist the temptations of a new faith, which swept away at one single stroke all miserable doubts, and
offered, along with simple, clear and undisputed doctrines, great material advantages also. The East then abandoned Christ and threw
itself into the arms of the Prophet of Arabia."
Again, Canon Taylor
"It is easy to understand
why Islam had spread so swiftly over Africa and Asia. The African and Syrian doctors had substituted abstruse metaphysical dogmas for the religion of Christ:
they tried to combat the licentiousness of the age by setting forth the celestial merit of celibacy and the angelic excellence of virginity —seclusion from the world was the road of holiness,
dirt was the characteristic of monkish sanctity—
the people were practically polytheists, worshipping a crowd of martyrs, saints and angels; the upper
classes were effeminate and corrupt, the middle classes oppressed by taxation,
the slaves without hope for the present or the future.
As with the besom of God, Islam swept away this mass of corruption and
It was a revolt against empty theological polemics; it was a masculine protest
against the exaltation of celibacy as a crown of piety.
Islam brought out the fundamental dogmas of religion—the unity
and greatness of God, that He is merciful and righteous, that He claims obedience to His will, resignation and faith.
the responsibility of man, a future life, a day of judgment, and stern retribution to fall upon the wicked;
and enforced the duties of prayer, almsgiving, fasting and benevolence.
It thrust aside the artificial virtues, the
religious frauds and follies, the perverted moral sentiments, and the verbal subtleties of theological
It replaced monkishness by manliness. It gave hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition to the fundamental facts of human nature."
Islam has, moreover, been
represented as a reaction against that Byzantine ecclesiasticism,
which looked .upon the emperor and his court as a copy of the Divine Majesty on high, and the emperor himself as not only the supreme earthly ruler
of Christendom, but as High-priest also.
Under Justinian this system had been hardened into a despotism that
pressed like an iron weight upon clergy and laity alike.
In 532 the widespread dissatisfaction in Constantinople with both church and state, burst out into a
revolt against the government of Justinian, which was only
suppressed after a massacre of 35,000 persons.
as the party of the malcontents was termed, had made open
and violent protest in the circus against the oppression of the emperor, crying out, "Justice has vanished from the
world and is no more to be found. But we will become Jews, or
rather we will return again to Grecian paganism.
The lapse of a century had removed none of the grounds for the
dissatisfaction that here found such violent expression, but the heavy hand of the
Byzantine government prevented the renewal of such an outbreak as that of 532
and compelled the malcontents to dissemble, though in
560 some secret heathens were detected in Constantinople
On the borders of the empire, however, at a distance from the capital, such malcontents were safer, and the persecuted heretics, and others dissatisfied with the
Byzantine state-church, took refuge in the East, and here the Muslim armies
would be welcomed by the spiritual children of those who a hundred years before had desired to exchange the Christian religion for another faith.
Further, the general adoption
of the Arabic language throughout the empire of the Khilaafah, especially in the
towns and the great centers of population, and the gradual assimilation in manners and customs that in the course of
about two centuries caused the numerous conquered races to be largely merged in the national life of the ruling race, had no doubt a counterpart in the religious and intellectual life of
many members of the protected religions.
The rationalistic movement that so powerfully influenced Muslim theology from the second to the
fifth century of the Hijrah may very possibly have influenced Christian thinkers, and turned them from a religion, the
prevailing tone of whose theology seems at this time to have been Credo quia impossibile.
Muslim writer of the fourth century of the Hijrah has preserved for us a conversation with a Coptic Christian which may safely be taken as characteristic of the general
mental attitude of the rest of the Eastern Churches at this period :—
"My proof for the truth of
Christianity is, that I find its teachings contradictory and mutually destructive,
they are repugnant to reason and revolting to the intellect,
on account of their inconsistency and mutual contrariety.
No reflection can strengthen them, no discussion can prove
and however thoughtfully we may investigate them, neither the intellect nor the senses
can provide us with any argument in support of them.
Notwithstanding this, I
have seen that many nations and mighty kings of learning and sound judgment, have given in their allegiance to the
so I conclude that if these have accepted
it in spite of all the contradictions referred to, it is because
the proofs they have received, in the form of signs and
miracles, have compelled them to submit to it."
On the other hand,
it should be remembered that those who passed over from Christianity to Islam,
under the influence of the rationalistic tendencies of the age, would
find in the Mutazilite presentment of Muslim theology, very
much that was common to the two faiths, so that as far as
the articles of belief and the intellectual attitude towards
many theological questions were concerned, the transition
was not so violent as might be supposed.
To say nothing
of the numerous fundamental doctrines, that will at once suggest themselves to those even who have only a slight knowledge of the teachings of the Prophet, there were many other common
points of view, that were the direct consequences of the close relationships between the Christian and
Muslim theologians in Damascus under the Umayyad Khalifas as also in later times; for it has been
maintained that there is clear evidence of the influence of the Byzantine theologians on the development of the systematic treatment
of Muslim dogmatics.
The very form and arrangement of the oldest rule of faith in the Arabic language
suggest a comparison with similar treatises of St. John of Damascus and other Christian fathers.
The oldest Arab Sufiism, the trend of which was purely towards the ascetic life (as distinguished from the later pantheistic Sufiism)
originated largely under the influence of Christian thought.
Such influence is especially traceable in the doctrines of some of the Mutazilite sects,
who busied themselves with speculations on the attributes of the divine nature quite in the
manner of the Byzantine theologians: the Qadariyyah or libertarians of Islam probably borrowed their doctrine of the freedom of
the will directly from Christianity, while the Mur'ji'ah in their denial of the doctrine of eternal punishment were in thorough agreement with the teaching of the Eastern Church on this subject as against the generally
received opinion of orthodox Muslims.
On the other hand, the influence of the more orthodox doctors of Islam in the conversion of unbelievers is attested by the tradition
that twenty thousand Christians, Jews and Magians became Muslims when the great Imam Ibn
A celebrated doctor of the same sect, Abul-Faraj b. al-Jawzi (A.D. 1115-1201), the most
learned man of his time, a popular preacher and most prolific writer, is said to have boasted
that just the same number of persons accepted the faith of Islam at his hands.
Further, the vast and
unparalleled success of the Muslim arms shook the faith of the Christian peoples that came under their rule and saw in these conquests the hand of
Worldly prosperity they associated with the divine favor and the God of battle (they
thought) would surely give the victory only into the hands of his favored servants.
Thus the very success of the Muslims seemed to argue the truth of their religion.
The Islamic ideal of the
brotherhood of all believers was a powerful attraction towards this creed, and though
the Arab pride of birth strove to refuse for several generations
the privileges of the ruling race to the new converts, still as "clients" of the various Arab
tribes to which at first they used to be affiliated, they received a recognized
position in the community, and by the close of the first century of
the Hijrah they had vindicated for this ideal its true place
in Muslim theology and at least a theoretical recognition in
But the condition of the
Christians did not always continue to be
so tolerable as under the earlier Khalifas. In the interests of the true believers, vexatious conditions were sometimes imposed upon the non-Muslim
population (or dhimmis), with the object of securing for the faithful
superior social advantages.
Unsuccessful attempts were made by several Khalifas to exclude them from the
public offices. Decrees to this effect were passed by al-Mansoor (754-775), al-Mutawak'kil
(847-861), al-Muqtadir (908-932), and in
Egypt by al-Amir (1101-1130), one of
the Fatimi Khalifas, and by the Mamluk Sultans in the
The Christians under Muslim rule have often had
to suffer for the bad faith kept by foreign Christian powers in their relations with Muslim princes, and on this
occasion it was the treachery of the Byzantine Emperor, Nicephorus, that caused the Christian name to
stink in the nostrils of the Khalifa Haroon.
Many of the persecutions of Christians in Muslim countries can be traced either to distrust of their loyalty, excited by the
intrigues and interference of Christian foreigners and the enemies of Islam, or to the bad feeling stirred up by the treacherous or brutal behavior of the
towards the Muslims.
Religious fanaticism is, however, responsible for many of such
persecutions, as in the reign of the Khalifa al-Mutawak'kil (847-861), under whom severe measures of oppression were taken:
Against the Christians. This prince took advantage of the strong Orthodox reaction that had set in in Muslim theology
against the rationalistic and freethinking tendencies that had had free play under former rulers,—and came forward as the champion of the extreme orthodox party,
persecuting the Mutazilites, forbidding all further discussions on the Quran and declaring the doctrine that it was created, to
he had the followers of Ali imprisoned and beaten, pulled down the tomb of Husain at Karbala and forbade pilgrimages to be made
to the site.
The Christians shared in the sufferings of the other heretics; for al-Mutawak'kil
put rigorously into force the rules that had been passed in former reigns prescribing a distinction in
the dress of dhimmis and Muslims, ordered that the Christians should no longer be employed in the public offices, doubled the capitation-tax, forbade them to have Muslim slaves or use the same baths as the Muslims, and harassed them with several other restrictions.
It is noteworthy that the
historians of the Nestorian Church—which had to suffer most from this persecution
describe it as something new and individual to al-Mutawak'kil, and as ceasing with his death.
The rules that a fanatical priesthood may lay down
for the repression of unbelievers cannot always be taken as a criterion of the practice of civil governments:
it is failure to realize this fact that has rendered possible the highly-colored pictures of the sufferings of the
Christians under Muslim rule, drawn by writers who have assumed that the prescriptions of certain Muslim theologians represented an
Such outbursts of persecution seem in some cases to have been excited by the alleged abuse of their position by those
Christians who held high posts in the service of the government;
they aroused considerable hostility of feeling towards themselves by
their oppression of the Muslims, it being said that they took advantage of their high position to plunder and annoy the faithful,
treating them with great harshness and rudeness and despoiling them of their lands and money.
Such complaints were laid before
the Khalifas al-Mansoor (754-775), al-Mahdi (775-785), al-Ma'Moon (813-833), al-Mutawak'kil
(847-861), al-Muqtadir (908-932), and many of their successors.
They also incurred the odium of many Muslims by acting as the spies of the Abbasid dynasty and hunting down the adherents of the
displaced Umayyad family.
At a later period, during the time of the Crusades they were accused of treasonable correspondence with the Crusaders
and brought on themselves severe restrictive measures which cannot justly be described as religious
In proportion as the lot of
the conquered peoples became harder to bear, the more irresistible was the temptation
to free themselves from their miseries, by the words, " There is but one God: Muhammad is the Apostle of God."
When the state was in need of money—as
was increasingly the case—the subject races were more and more burdened with taxes, so that the condition
of the non-Muslims was constantly growing more unendurable, and conversions to Islam increased
in the same proportion.
The dreary record of scandals, with which the pages of the Christian historians of this later period are filled,
would suggest that the Christian Churches had failed to develop a moral fiber strong enough
to endure the stress of adverse conditions, and when persecution came, the reason for the defection that
followed might—as the historian of the Nestorian Church suggests
—be sought for in the prevailing negligence in the performance of religious duties and the evil life of the clergy.
Further causes that
contributed to the decrease of the Christian population may be found in the fact that the children of the numerous Christian captive women who
were carried off to the harems of the Muslims had to be brought up in the religion of their fathers, and in the frequent
temptation that was offered to the Christian slave by an indulgent master, of purchasing
his freedom at the price of conversion to Islam.
But of any organized attempt
to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population,
or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear
nothing. Had the Khalifas chosen to adopt either course of action, they might
have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and
Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made
Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out
of England for 350 years.
The Eastern Churches in
Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of
Christendom, throughout which no one would have been
found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches
to the present day is a strong proof of the generally
tolerant attitude of the Muslim governments towards them..
Of the ancient
Churches in Western Asia at the time of the Muslim conquest, there still survive about 150,000
and their number would have been larger but for the proselytizing efforts of other Christian Churches;
the Chaldees who have submitted to the Church of Rome
number 70,000, in 1898 the Nestorian Bishop Mar Jonan,
with several of the clergy and 15,000 Nestorians were received into the Orthodox Russian Church; and numbers of Nestorians have also
The Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch exercises jurisdiction over about 80,000 members of this ancient Church, while 25,000 families of Uniat Jacobites obey the Syrian Catholic Patriarch.
Belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church, there are 28,836 families under the Patriarch of Antioch and more than 15,000 persons under the Patriarch of Jerusalem,
while the Melchites or Greek-Catholics number about 130,000.
The Maronite Church, which has been in
union with the Roman Catholic Church since the year 1182, has a following
The marvel is that these isolated and scattered
communities should have survived so long, exposed as they
have been to the ravages of war, pestilence and famine,
living in a country that was for centuries a continual battlefield, overrun by Turks, Mongols and Crusaders, it being
further remembered that they were forbidden by the Muslim law to make good this decay of their numbers
by proselytizing efforts—if indeed they had cared to do so, for they seem (with the
exception of the Nestorians) even before the Muslim conquest, to have lost that missionary spirit, without which, as history abundantly shows, no
healthy life is possible in a Christian Church.
It has also been suggested that the monastic ideal of continence so widespread in the East,
and the Christian practice of monogamy, together with the sense of insecurity and their servile condition, may have acted as checks on the growth of the Christian
Of the details of conversion
to Islam we have hardly any information. At the time of the first occupation of their
country by the Arabs, the Christians appear to have gone
over to Islam in very large numbers. Some idea of the
extent of these early conversions in Iraq for example may
be formed from the fact that the income from taxation in
the reign of Omar was from 100 to 120 million dirhams,
while in the reign of Abd al-Malik, about fifty years later, it had sunk to forty millions : while this fall in the revenue
is largely attributable to the devastation caused by wars
insurrections, still it was chiefly due to the fact that large numbers of the population had become Muslim
and consequently could no longer be called upon to pay the capitation-tax.
This same period witnesses
the conversion of large numbers of the Christians of Khurasan, as we learn from a
letter of a contemporary ecclesiastic, the Nestorian Patriarch Isho-yabh III, addressed
to Simeon, the Metropolitan of Rev-Ardashir and Primate of Persia.
We possess so very few
Christian documents of the first century of the Hijrah,
and this letter bears such striking testimony to the peaceful character of the spread of the new faith, and has moreover
been so little noticed by modern historians—that it may well be quoted here at length.
. . . . And the Arabs, to whom God at this time has given the empire of
behold, they are among you, as ye know well: and yet they attack not the Christian faith, but, on the contrary,
they favor our religion, do honor to our priests and the saints of the Lord, and confer benefits on churches and
Why then have your people of Merv abandoned their faith for the sake of these Arabs?
and that, too, when the Arabs, as the people of Merv themselves declare, have not compelled them to leave their own religion but
suffered them to keep it safe and undefiled if they gave up only a moiety of their goods.
But forsaking the faith which
brings eternal salvation, they clung to a moiety of the goods of this fleeting world :
that faith which whole nations have
purchased and even to this day do purchase by the shedding of their blood and gain thereby the inheritance of eternal life, your people of Merv were willing to barter for a moiety of their goods—and even less."
The reign of the
Khalifa Omar II (a.d. 717-720) particularly was marked with very
extensive conversions to Islam:
He organized a zealous missionary movement and offered every kind of inducement to the conquered peoples to accept Islam, even making them grants of money; on one occasion he is said to have
given a Christian military officer the sum of 1000 Dinars to induce
him to accept Islam.
He instructed the governors of the provinces to invite the dhimmis to the Muslim faith, and al-Jarrah b. Abd Allah,
governor of Khurasan, is said to have converted about 4000 persons.
The Khalifa Omar II is even to have written a letter to the Byzantine Emperor, Leo III,
urging on him the acceptance of the faith of Islam.
He abrogated the decree passed in a.d. 700 for the purpose of arresting the impoverishment of the treasury, according
to which the convert to Islam was not released from the
capitation-tax, but was compelled to continue to pay it as
before; even though the dhimmi apostatized the very day
before his yearly payment of the jizyah was due or while
his contribution was actually being weighed, in the scales, it was to be remitted to the new convert.
He no longer exacted the Kharaj from the Muslim owners of landed property, and imposed upon them the far lighter burden of a tithe.
These measures, though financially most ruinous,
were eminently successful in the way the pious-minded Khalifa desired they should be, and enormous
numbers hastened to enroll themselves among the Muslims.
The Nestorian Patriarch, Timotheus, used to hold discussions on religious matters in the presence of the
Khalifas, al-Haadi and Haroon
al-Rashid, and embodied them in a work that is now lost.
Timotheus had secured his election to the patriarchate in the face of the active opposition of many of the most powerful ecclesiastics of his own Church; among these was Joseph, the metropolitan of Merv, who intrigued against him with the Khalifa,
al-Mahdi (775-785), but was persuaded by the Khalifa to accept Islam and was rewarded for his apostasy with rich presents and an official appointment in Basrah.
was very zealous in his efforts to spread the faith of Islam, and sent invitations to unbelievers even in the most distant parts of his dominions,
such as Transoxania and Farghanah.
At the same time he did not abuse his royal power, by attempting to force his own faith upon others: when a certain
YazdanbaKht, a leader of the Manichean sect, came on a visit to Baghdad
and held a disputation with the Muslim theologians, in which he was utterly silenced, the Khalifa
tried to induce him to embrace Islam.
But YazdanbaKht refused, saying, "Commander of the faithful, your advice is heard and your words have been listened to; but you are one of those who do not
force men to abandon their religion." So far from resenting the ill-success of his efforts, the
furnished him with a bodyguard, that he might not be exposed to insult from the fanatical
So far the Christian Churches that have been described
as coming within the sphere of Muslim influence, have been the Orthodox Eastern Church and the heretical communions
that had sprung out of it.
But with the close of the eleventh century a fresh element was added to the
Christian population of Syria and
Palestine, in the large
bodies of Crusaders of the Latin rite who settled in the kingdom of
Jerusalem and the other states founded by the
Crusaders, which maintained a precarious existence for
nearly two centuries.
During this period, occasional conversions to Islam were made from among these foreign
In the first Crusade, for example, a body of
Germans and Lombards under the command of a certain
knight, named Rainaud, had separated themselves from
the main body and were besieged in a castle by the Seljuk Sultan, Arslan; on pretence of making a sortie, Rainaud and
his personal followers abandoned their unfortunate companions
and went over to the Turks, among whom they embraced Islam.
The history of the ill-fated
second Crusade presents us with a very remarkable incident of a similar character. The
story, as told by Odo of Deuil, a monk of St. Denis, who,
in the capacity of private chaplain to Louis VII, accompanied
him on this Crusade and wrote a graphic account of it, runs as follows.
While endeavoring to make their way overland through Asia Minor to Jerusalem the Crusaders
sustained a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Turks in the mountain-passes of Phrygia
(a.d. 1148), and with difficulty reached
the seaport town of Attalia.
Here, all who could afford
to satisfy the exorbitant demands of the Greek merchants,
took ship for Antioch; while the sick and wounded and the
mass of the pilgrims were left behind at the mercy of their
treacherous allies, the Greeks, who received five hundred
marks from Louis, on condition that they provided an escort for the pilgrims
and took care of the sick until they were strong enough to be sent on after the others.
But no sooner had the army left, than the Greeks informed the Turks of the helpless condition of the pilgrims, and quietly
looked on while famine, disease and the arrows of the enemy carried
havoc and destruction through the camp of these unfortunates.
Driven to desperation, a party of three or
four thousand attempted to escape, but were surrounded and cut to pieces by the Muslims, who now pressed on to the
camp to follow up their victory.
The situation of the survivors would have been utterly hopeless,
had not the sight of their misery melted the hearts of the Muslims to pity. They tended the sick and relieved the poor and starving with open-handed liberality.
Some even bought up the French
money which the Greeks had got out of the pilgrims by force or cunning, and lavishly distributed it
among the needy.
So great was the contrast between the kind treatment the pilgrims received from the Muslims and the cruelty
of their fellow-Christians, the Greeks, who imposed forced labor upon them, beat them and robbed them of what little they had left, that many
of them voluntarily embraced Islam, the faith of their deliverers.
As the old chronicler says: "Avoiding their co-religionists who had
been so cruel to them, they went in safety among the Muslims who had compassion upon them, and, as
we heard, more than three thousand joined themselves to the Muslims when they retired.
kindness more cruel than all treachery! They gave them bread but robbed them of their faith, though it is certain that contented with
the services they performed, they compelled no one among them to renounce his religion."
The increasing intercourse
between Christians and Muslims, the growing appreciation on the part of the Crusaders
of the virtues of their opponents, which so strikingly distinguishes
the later from the earlier chroniclers of the Crusades,
the numerous imitations of Oriental manners and ways of life by the Franks settled in the Holy Land,
did not fail to exercise a corresponding influence on religious
One of the most remarkable features of this
influence is the tolerant attitude of many of the Christian
Knights towards the faith of Islam—an attitude of mind
that was most vehemently denounced by the Church.
When U'sama b. Munqidh, a Syrian Amir of the twelfth century,
visited Jerusalem, during a period of truce, the Knights
Templar, who had occupied the Masjid al-Aqsa, assigned to
him a small chapel adjoining it, for him to say his prayers in,
and they strongly resented the interference with the devotions of their guest on the part of a newly-arrived Crusader,
who took this new departure in the direction of religious
freedom in very bad part.
It would indeed have been strange if religious questions had not formed a topic of discussion on the many occasions when the Crusaders and the
Muslims met together on a friendly footing, during the frequent truces, especially when it was religion itself that had brought the Crusaders into the Holy Land and set them upon these constant wars.
When even Christian theologians were led by their personal intercourse with the
Muslims to form a juster estimate of their religion, and
contact with new modes of thought was unsettling the
minds of men and giving rise to a swarm of heresies, it is not surprising that many should have been drawn into the pale of
It would be interesting to
discover who were the Muslims who busied themselves in winning these converts to Islam,
but they seem to have left no record of their labors. We
know, however, that they had at their head the great Saladin
himself, who is described by his biographer as setting before
his Christian guest the beauties of Islam and urging him to embrace it.
The heroic life and character
of Saladin seems to have exercised an especial fascination on the minds of the Christians of his time; some even of the
Christian knights were so strongly attracted towards him that they abandoned the Christian faith and their own people and joined
themselves to the Muslims; such was the case, for example, with a certain English Templar, named Robert of St. Albans,
who in a.d. 1185 gave up Christianity for Islam and afterwards
married a grand-daughter of Saladin.
Two years later, Saladin invaded Palestine and utterly defeated the Christian
army in the battle of Hittin, Guy, king of Jerusalem, being among the prisoners. On the
eve of the battle, six of his knights, deserted the king and escaped into the
camp of Saladin, where of their own accord they became Muslims.
At the same time Saladin seems to have had an understanding with Raymund
III, Count of Tripoli, according to which he was
to induce his followers to abandon the Christian faith and
go over to the Muslims; but the sudden death of the Count effectually put a stop to the execution of this scheme.
The fall of Jerusalem and the successes
of Saladin in the Holy Land stirred up Europe to undertake the third Crusade,
the chief incident of which was the siege of
The fearful sufferings that the Christian army was exposed to, from famine and disease, drove many of them to desert and seek relief from the cravings of hunger in the
Of these deserters, many made their way back again after some time to the army of the Crusaders;
on the other hand, many elected to throw in their lot with the Muslims; some, taking service under
their former enemies, still remained true to the Christian faith and (we are told) were well pleased with their new masters, while others embracing Islam became good Muslims.
The conversion of these deserters is recorded also by the chronicler who accompanied Richard I upon this Crusade :—" Some
of our men (whose fate cannot be told or heard without grievous sorrow) yielding to the severity
of the sore famine, in achieving the salvation of the body, incurred the damnation of their souls.
For after the greater part of the
affliction was past, they deserted and fled to the Muslims: nor did they hesitate to become renegades; in order that they might
prolong their temporal life a little space, they purchased eternal death with horrid blasphemies. O
baleful trafficking! O shameful deed beyond all punishment! O foolish man likened unto the foolish beasts, while he flees from the death that must inevitably come soon, he shuns not the death unending."
From this time onwards references to renegades are
not infrequently to be met with in the writings of those who traveled to the
Holy Land and other countries of the East.
The terms of the oath which
was proposed to St. Louis by his Muslim captors when he was called upon to
promise to pay the ransom imposed upon him (a.d. 1250),
were suggested by certain whilom priests who had become Muslims;
and while this business of paying the ransom was still being carried on, another renegade, a Frenchman, born at Provins, came to bring a present to the king: he
had accompanied King John of Jerusalem on his expedition against Damietta in 1219 and had remained
in Egypt, married a Muslim wife and become a great lord in that country.
The danger of the pilgrims to the Holy
Land becoming converts to Islam was so clearly recognized at this time that in a " Remembrance,"
written about 1266 by Amaury de la Roche, the master of the Knights Templar in France,
requests the Pope and the legates of France and Sicily to prevent the poor and the aged and those incapable of bearing arms from crossing the sea to Palestine, for such persons either got killed or were taken prisoners by the
Muslims or turned renegades.
Ludolf de Suchem, who traveled in the
Holy Land from 1336 to 1341, speaks of
three renegades he found at Hebron; they had come
from the diocese of Minden and had been in the service of a Westphalian knight, who was held in high honor by the Sultan and other Muslim princes.
These scattered notices are no doubt significant
of more extensive conversions of Christians to Islam, of which no record has come down to us : e. g. there were said to be about 25,000 renegades in the city of Cairo towards the close
of the fifteenth century,
and there must have been many also to be found in the cities of the Holy Land after the disappearance
of the Latin princedoms of the East.
The native Christians certainly preferred the rule
of the Muslims
to that of the Crusaders,
and when Jerusalem fell finally and for ever
into the hands of the Muslims (a.d.
1244), the Christian population of Palestine seems to have welcomed the
new masters and to have submitted quietly and contentedly to their rule.
This same sense of security
of religious life under Muslim rule led many of the Christians of Asia Minor, also,
about the same time, to welcome the advent of the Seljuk Muslims as their deliverers from
the hated Byzantine government,
not only on account of its oppressive system of taxation,
but also of the persecuting spirit of the Greek Church, which had with such cruelty crushed the heresies of the Paulicians and the Iconoclasts.
In the reign of Michael VIII (1261-1282),
the Muslims were often invited to take possession of the smaller towns in the interior of
Asia Minor by the inhabitants, that they might escape from the tyranny of the empire; and both rich and poor often emigrated into Muslims dominions.
Ibn Abī Usaybi'ah, vol. i. p. 164.
Michael the Elder, vol. ii. p. 475.
Mārī b. Sulaymān, p. 71 (1.16). Abū Nūḥ al-Anbārī wrote a refutation of the Quranand other theological works (Wright, p. 191 n. 3).
Mārī b. Sulaymān, p. 84.
Hilāl al-Ṣābī, p. 95.
Ibn al-Athīr, vol. ix. p. 16.
Von Kremer (1), vol. i. pp. 167-8. Lammens, p. 11.
Renaudot, pp. 430, 540.
Von Kremer (1), vol. ii. pp. 180-1.
Von Kremer (1), vol. i. p. 183.
vol. iii. pp. 350 sq., 387 sqq.
Gottheil, pp. 360-1. Goldziher: Zur Literatur des Ichtilâf al-mâdahib, ZDMG., vol. 38, pp. 673-4.
theoretical character of much of Muslim legal literature, see Snouck Hurgonje: Mohammedanisches Recht in Theorie und Wirklichkeit.
pp. 358-9, however, doubts whether there is evidence for attributing this intolerance to 'Umar II.
Asiatique, IVme série, tome xviii. (1851), pp. 433, 450. Ṭabarī, III, p. 1419.
the Elder, vol. ii. p. 476. Renaudot, p. 189.
Eutychius, II, p. 41 init. Severus (p. 139) says " two churches."
(1), vol. ii. p. 175.
Michael the Elder, vol. ii. pp. 490, 491.
Ibn Khallikān, vol. i. p. 485.
Elias of Nisibis, p. 128.
A. J. Butler: The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, vol. i. p. 181.
(1), vol. ii. pp. 175-6.
Butler : Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, vol. i. p. 76.
A Dominican monk from Florence, by name Ricoldus de Monte Crucis, who visited the East about the close of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century,
speaks of the toleration the Nestorians had enjoyed under Muhammadan rule right up to his time: " Et ego inveni per antiquas historias et autenticas aput Saracenos, quod
ipsi Nestorini amici fuerunt Machometi et confederati cum eo, et quod ipse Machometus mandauit suis posteris, quod Nestorinos maxime conseruarent. Quod usque hodie
diligenter obseruant ipsi Sarraceni." (Laurent, p. 128.)
J. Labourt: De Timotheo, Nestorianorum Patriarcha, p. 37 sqq. (Paris, 1904.)
E. von Dobschütz, p. 390-1.
Michael the Elder, vol. ii. p. 439-40.
Makīn, p. 12. J. Labourt: Le Christianisme sous la dynastie sassanide, p. 139 sq. (Paris, 1904.)
Von Kremer well remarks: " Wir verdanken dem unermüdlichen Sammelfleiss der arabischen Chronisten unsere Kenntniss der politischen
und militärischen Geschichte jener Zeiten, welche so genau ist als dies nur immer auf eine Entfernung von zwölf Jahrhunderten der
Fall sein kann; allein gerade die innere Geschichte jener denkwürdigen Epoche, die Geschichte des Kampfes einer neuen, rohen Religion gegen die alten
hochgebildeten, zum Theile überbildeten Culte ist kaum in ihren allgemeinsten Umrissen bekannt." (Von Kremer (2), pp. 1-2.)
Thomas of Margā, vol. ii. p. 309 sq.
 Thomas of Margā, vol. ii. pp. 310, 324 sq.
Cf. in addition to the passages quoted below, M'Clintoch & Strong's Cyclopædia, sub art. Mohammedanism, vol. vi. p. 420. James Freeman Clarke : Ten Great Religions, Part
ii. p. 75. (London, 1883.)
Thus the Emperor Heraclius is represented by the Muhammadan historian as saying, " Their religion is a new religion which gives them new zeal." (Ṭabarī, p. 2103.)
History of Latin Christianity, vol. ii. pp. 216-17.
Caetani, vol. ii. pp. 1045-6.
A paper read before the Church Congress at Wolverhampton, October 7th. 1887.
For the oppressive fiscal system under the Byzantine empire, see Gfrörer: Byzantjnische Geschichten, vol. ii. pp. 337-9, 389-91, 450.
" Der Islam war ein Rückstoss gegen den Missbrauch, welchen Justinian mit der Menschheit, besonders aber mit der christlichen Religion trieb, deren oberstes geistliches
und weltliches Haupt er zu sein behauptete. Dass der Araber Mahomed, welcher 571 der christlichen Zeitrechnung, sechs Jahre nach dem Tode Justinians, das Licht der Welt
erblickte, mit seiner Lehre unerhörtes Glück machte, verdankte er grossentheils dem Abscheu, welchen die im Umkreise des byzantinischen Reiches angesessenen Völker, wie
die benachbarten Nationen, über die von dem Basileus begangenen Greuel empfanden." (Gfrörer: Byzantinische Geschichten, vol. ii. p. 437.)
Id. vol. ii. pp. 296-306, 337.
Id. Vol. ii. pp. 442-4.
Id. vol. ii. p. 445.
Mas‘ūdī, vol. ii. p. 387.
Von Kremer (2), p. 8.
Id. p. 54 and (3), p. 32. Nicholson, p. 231.
Among the Mu'tazilite philosophers, Muḥammad b. al-Huzayl, the teacher of al-Ma'mūn, is said to have converted more than three thousand persons to Islam. (Ahmad b.
Yahyā b. al-Murtadā, p. 26, 1. 7.)
Von Kremer (2), pp. 3, 7-8. C. H. Becker: Christliche Polemik und islamische Dogmenbildung (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, xxvi. 1912).
Ibn Khallikān, vol. i. p. 45.
Wüstenfeld, p. 103.
Michael the Elder, vol. ii. pp. 412-13. Caetani, vol. v. p. 508. (" Le vittorie sui Greci e sui Persiani non solamente
erano il trionfo della razza araba sulle popolazioni delle provincie conquistate, ma nella mente orientale che vede in tutto la mano di Dio, costituivano un trionfo del
principio islamico su quello cristiano e mazdeista, ma sovrattutto sul cristiano.")
Goldziher, vol. i. chaps. 3 and 4.
The last of these was prompted by the discovery of an attempt on the part of the Christians to burn the city of Cairo. (De Guignes, vol. iv. pp. 204-5.) Gottheil, p. 359,
Journal Asiatique, IVme série, tome xviii. (1851), pp. 454, 455, 463, 484, 491
Assemani, tom. iii. pars. 2, p. c. Renaudot, pp. 432, 603, 607.
Muir: The Khalifaate, p. 475.
Von Kremer (3), p. 246.
Muir (1), pp. 508, 516-17.
Mārī b. Sulaymān, p. 79 sq. Ṣalībā b. Yuḥannā, p. 71.
Gottheil, p. 364 sqq.
Mārī b. Sulaymān, p. 114 (ll. 14-16).
This tradition appears in several forms, e. g. " Whoever wrongs one with whom a compact has been made (i. e. a dhimmī) and lays on him a burden beyond his strength,
I will be his accuser." (Balādhuri, p. 162, fin.) (Yaḥyā b. Ādam, p. 54 (fin), adds the words, " till the day of judgment.") " Whoever does violence to a dhimmī
who has paid his jizyah and evidenced his submission—his enemy am I." (Usd al-Ghāba, quoted by Goldziher, in the Jewish Encyclopædia, vol. vi. p. 655.) The
Christian historian al-Makīn (p. 11) gives, " Whoever torments the dhimmīs, torments me."
Journal Asiatique, IVme série, tome xix. p. 109. (Paris, 1852.) See also R. Gottheil: A Fetwa on the appointment of Dhimmīs to office. (Zeitschrift für
Assyriologie, vol. xxvi. p. 203 sqq.)
Belin, pp. 435-40, 442, 448, 456, 459-61, 479-80.
Mārī b. Sulaymān (p. 115, ll. 1-2) offers this explanation of the defections that followed the persecution towards the close of the tenth century.
وأسلم خلق كثير وكان أصل ذلك تجوّز الناس في أديانهم وقبح سيرة الكهنة في المذبح والبيع وبيوت المقدس
The Khalifa of Egypt, al-Hākim (A.D. 996-1020), did in fact order all the Jews and Christians to leave Egypt and emigrate into the Byzantine territory, but yielded to their
entreaties to revoke his orders. (Maqrīzī (1), p. 91.) It would have been quite possible, however, for him to have enforced its execution as it would have been for the
ferocious Salīm I (1512-1520), who with the design of putting an end to all religious differences in his dominions caused 40,000 Shī'ahs to be massacred, to have
completed this politic scheme by the extermination of the Christians also. But in allowing himself to be dissuaded from this design, he most certainly acted in accordance
with the general policy adopted by Muhammadan rulers towards their Christian subjects. (Finlay, vol. v. pp. 29—30.)
Silbernagl, p. 268.
See A. von.Kremer (1), vol. ii. pp. 490-2.
The sack of Constantionople by the
Crusaders in 1204 may be taken as a type of the treatment that the Eastern Christians met with at the hands of the Latins. Barhebræus complains that the monastery of
Harran was sacked and plaundered by Count Goscelin Lord of Emessa, in 1184, just as though he had been a Ṡaracen or aTurk. (Barhebræus (1), Vol, ii. Pp. 506-8).
H. H. Milman, vol. ii. p. 218.
A. von Kremer (1), vol. i. p. 172.
tom. iii. Pars Prima, pp. 130-1.
Ṭabaqāt, vol. v. p. 258.
al-Manbijī, p. 358 (ll. 2-3).
Ṭabaqāt, vol. v. p. 262.
Müller, vol. i. p. 440.
Patr. Gr., tom. 96, pp. 1336-48.
Patr. Gr., tom. 97, pp. 1528-9, 1548-61.
4 Risālah Abd Allāh b. Ismā'īl al-Hāshimī ilā Abd al-Masīḥ b. Ishāq
al-Kindī, pp. 1-37. (London, 1885.)
I. For an account of Muslim controversial literature, see Appendix II.
very probable that the occasion of this visit of Yazdānbakht to Baghdād was the summoning of a great assembly of the leaders of all the religious bodies of
the period, by al-Ma'mūn, when it had come to his ears that the enemies of Islam declared that it owed its success to the sword and not to the power of argument: in this
meeting, the Muslim doctors defended their religion against this imputation, and the unbelievers are said to have acknowledged that the Muslims had satisfactorily proved
their point. (Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā b. al-Murtaḍā: Al-munyah wa'1-amal fī sharḥ kitāb al-milal wa'1-niḥal. British Museum, Or. 3937, fol. 53 (b),
al-Fihrist, vol. i. p. 338.
Barhebræus (1), vol. iii. p. 194.
Sulaymān, p. 101 (ll. 3-4).
Barhebræus (1). vol. iii. p. 230.
vol. iii. p. 248.
Jacobite Patriarchs assumed the name of Ignatius; before his consecration he was called Mark bar Qīqī.
Barhebræus (1), vol. iii. pp. 288-90. Elias of Nisibis, pp. 153-4. He returned to the Christian faith, however, before his death,
which took place about twenty years later. Two similar cases are recorded in the
annals of the Jacobite Patriarchs of Antioch in the sixteenth century : of these one, named Joshua, became a Muhammadan in 1517,
but afterwards recanting fled to Cyprus (at that time in the hands of the Venetians),
where prostrate at the door of a church in penitential humility he suffered all who went in or out to tread over his body; the
other, Ni'mat Allāh (flor. 1560), having abjured Christianity for Islam, sought absolution of
Pope Gregory XIII in Rome. (Barhebræus (1). vol. ii. pp. 847-8.)
In fact Elias of Nisibis, the contemporary chronicler of the conversion of the Jacobite Patriarch, makes no mention of such a failing, nor does Mārī b. Sulaymān (pp.
115-16), the historian of the rival Nestorian Church, though he accuses him of plundering the sacred vessels and ornaments of the churches. As Wright (Syriac Literature,
p. 192) says of Joseph of Merv, " We need not believe all the evil that Barhebræus tells us of this unhappy man."
Barhebræus (1), vol. ii. p. 518.
Id. vol. ii. p. 712 sq.
Historia Orientalis, C. 15 (p. 45).
De Guignes, tome ii. (Seconde Partie), p. 15.
Odo de Diogilo. (De Ludovici vii. Itinere. Migne, Patr, Lat., tom. cxcv. p. 1243.) " Vitantes igitur sibi crudeles socios fidei,
inter infideles sibi compatientes ibant securi, et sicut audivimus plusquam tria millia iuvenum sunt illis recedentibus sociati.
O pietas omni proditione crudelior! Dantes panem fidem tollebant, quamvis certum sit quia, contenti servitio, neminem negare
Guizot: Histoire de la civilisation en Europe, p. 234. (Paris, 1882.)
Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois. (Recueil des historiens des Croisades,
Assises de Jerusalem, tome ii. p. 325.)
Hoveden, vol. ii. p. 307.
of Peterborough, vol. ii. pp. 11-12.
ii. pp. 20-1. Roger Hoveden, vol. ii. pp. 316, 322.
Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Richardi, p. 131. (Chronicles and Memorials of the reign of Richard I. Edited by William Stubbs.) (London, 1864.)
Mas Latrie (1), vol. ii, p. 72.
Frescobaldi, quoted in the preface of Defrémery and Sanguinetti's edition of Ibn Baṭūṭah, vol. i. p. xl.
Christophori Füreri ab Haimendorf Itinerarium Ægypti, p. 42. (Norimbergæ, 1620.)
en Ethiopie entrepris par le Père Aymard Guérin. (Rabbath, pp. 17-18.)
"Notandum autem in rei veritate, licet quidam contrarium senciant, qui ea
volunt asserere, que non viderunt, quod oriens totus ultra mare Yndiam et Ethiopiam nomen Christi confitetur et predicat, preter solos
Sarracenos et quosdam Turcomannos, qui in Cappadocia sedem habent, ita quod pro certo assero,
sicut per memet ipsum vidi et ab aliis, quibus notum erat, audivi, quod semper in omni loco et regno preterquam in Egypto
et Arabia, ubi plurimum habitant Sarraceni et alii Machometum sequentes, pro uno Sarraceno
triginta vel amplius invenies Christianos. Verum tamen, quod Christiani omnes transmarini natione sunt orientales, qui
licet sint Christiani, quia tamen usum armorum non habent multum, cum impugnantur a Sarracenis, Tartaris, vel aliis quibuscumque,
subiciuntur eis et tributis pacem et quietem emunt, et Sarraceni sive alii, qui eis dominantur,
balivos suos et exactores in terris illis ponunt. Et inde contigit, quod regnum illud dicitur esse Sarracenorum, cum tamen in rei
veritate sunt omnes Christiani preter ipsos balivos et exactores et aliquos de familia
ipsorum, sicut oculis meis vidi in Cilicia et Armenia minori, que est subdita dominio
Tartarorum." (Burchardi de Monte Sion Descriptio Terræ Sanctæ, p. 90.)
Recueil des historiens des Croisades.
Jérusalem, tome i. p. 325.)
prelates of the Holy Land wrote as follows, in 1244, concerning the invasion of the Khwarizmians, whom Sultan Ayyūb had called in
to assist him in driving out the Crusaders :—" Per totam terram usque ad partes Nazareth
et Saphet libere nullo resistente discurrunt, occupantes eandem, et inter se quasi propriam dividentes, per villas et cazalia
Christianorum legatos et bajulos præficiunt, suscipientes a rusticis redditus et tributa, quæ Christianis præstare solebant, qui
jam Christianis hostes effecti et rebelles dictis Corosminis universaliter adhæserunt." (Matthei
Parisiensis Chronica Majora, ed. H. R. Luard, vol. iv. p. 343.) (London,