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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

I: The Legal and Political Theory of the Crusade,   pp. 3-38 PDF (14.2 MB)


Page 34

 34 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES 
 It is time to look more closely at the inevitable comparison with the law
of jihãd, itself part of the basic structure of medieval Islamic policy.
In outline the two laws are closely similar. A Moslem army offers unbelievers
the opportunity to accept Islam, or, failing that, to accept the status of
dhimmrs; if they refuse both, they must fight, and, being defeated, may be
enslaved or even killed. A slave who later becomes a Moslem is not necessarily
freed, though it would be pious to free him. Comparing the crusade, we remember
that it, too, was aimed at conversion, and that Moslems who surrendered on
terms of submission were given an inferior status. Moslems captured in war
(not on capitulation) would be enslaved, if not killed. The slave converted
to Christianity would not automatically be freed, but it would be a pious
act to free him. Obviously there is much common ground in the treatment of
"infidels". So is there in the rewards of holy war. The death of the Moslem
injihãd ensures the status of martyr (shahid). The death of the crusader
did not result automatically in martyrdom, because confession and absolution,
absent in Islam, were necessary, but it was common to speak and think of
anyone who died in the course of a crusade as a martyr. Jihãd is more
than war; it is also the struggle for one's religion. The crusade qualified
as a good work, a penance, and a pilgrimage, and it was rewarded by indulgences
which certainly remitted "pains and guilt". Some of them seem to imply more
than later Catholic theology would allow. 
 The Christian or Jewish dhimmi was in a better situation than a conquered
Moslem, in that his position was strictly regulated by a law known in advance
and not dependent on the details of a capitulation; it was guaranteed by
the Koran itself. It was a status of dependence, however, strictly not even
second-class citizenship, but something altogether less than citizenship.
The dhimmt's life and property were guaranteed by the Moslem army, but he
had to pay special taxes, and had to distinguish himself from Moslems by
dress, and by not riding a horse or carrying weapons. As a witness he was
inferior in status; his law of personal status and doctrine was determined
by his bishop. The conquered Moslem had similarly to be distinguished by
dress, and was inferior as a witness. Because he was unbaptized, he was not
subject to canon law, and so was free to follow his own law of personal status.
Some details, though similar, are not precisely the same in the two cases;
Christian monarchs assumed the duty of protecting conquered Moslems on their
capitulation, but these had to pay the ordinary or extraordinary taxes attached
to the land they held, and those who surrendered, or negotiated a truce on
terms allowing subordinate Moslem rule (of which the longest-lasting example
was Granada), had to 


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