Mamluk Jerusalem

Topics: Islam, Crusades, Ayyubid dynasty Pages: 5 (1647 words) Published: May 17, 2013
Word Count: 1,622

Ayyubid and Mamluk Jerusalem

The core idea of God/sacred argued by Armstrong in Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths is the idea of a sort of transcendence into something greater than just who we are as people. The exact meanings of sacred and holiness can vary throughout a culture over a period of time with the main idea remaining the same. During the period of Mamluk reign in Jerusalem, the city’s holiness had become more spiritual to the Muslims than ever before. As Christians and Jews attempted to in the past, Muslims’ desire to make physical contact with the Haram exemplifies their devotion to Jerusalem. Furthermore, while Jews believed that studying the Torah was a way to escape to God, a new idea presented itself to Muslims to study with the Dome of the Rock in sight. Mamluk Jerusalem is noted as the era that attempts to recreate the coexistence once shared between themselves, Christians and Jews. However, the growing hostilities between the groups result in a failed attempt as the Ayyubid empire shifts to the Mamluk era.

When Jerusalem reconquered by the Muslims in 1187, the city gained importance as a political and geographical trophy that people were willing to die and get killed for. During this capture, no Christians were killed in the process, contrasting the Crusaders, the Muslim officials simply took the inhabitants of Jerusalem as slaves. Many of the richer men and women were able to ransom themselves and leave. Muslims were horrified to see that they didn’t help one another (Armstrong 294). The significance this held almost a hundred years after the Crusades was to show that the brotherhood that had come from the Crusades and promoted by Pope Urban II did not last any more significantly than the religious fanaticism had. The damaging effect of the Crusader period shattered the system of coexistence and tolerance between Islam and the Christian West at the roots. Conquering and suffering for the Holy City was an event that would alter and solidify the Muslims’ devotion and defensiveness to Jerusalem (294). Many of the decisions made in regards to the city at this time were enacted for the sake of an increased stability by Saladin and the Ayyubids yet this had an effect on the way that the holiness of the city was recreated for the future of Islam. When Saladin restored Jerusalem to make it into a rightful Muslim city, there's a good chance that this was a political move to help proclaim his rule as well as fulfilling his personal jihad. Since the refurbishment of the Haram, Dome of the Rock and mihrab, powerful representations of holy sites and the sacred, were present in his city, it would surely exemplify his spiritual struggle against himself (296). After this thousands of Muslims came to visit the city that hasn’t been in their power for centuries. Saladin was a reasonable ruler, understanding that local Christians couldn’t be blamed for the Crusade. Thus, he promoted intergration allowing Christians to stay and inviting exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem (298). This theme of permitting Christians and Jews to stay increased Saladin’s likeability and was a way of attracting potential inhabitants, visitors and pilgrims to feel free and at ease under Muslim rule.

The turbulent beginning of the thirteenth century, after Saladin’s death, where the threat of Crusaders and Western presence made it seem like Jerusalem was of far reach from Mulsim hands. Following a peace treaty that invoked Christians the right of possession of Jerusalem, Muslims and Jews feared a bloody Crusade as in 1099. Jerusalem became a sensitive topic for Christians, who were prepared to execute anyone who formed associations with Muslims or threatened the city (303). The automatic response of assassination shows a lack of control and ability for Christians to establish solid law in Jerusalem. Although history has illustrated extensive violence as a way to claim power, the peace agreement might have been the...
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