The Crusades: The Flame of Islam by Harold Lamb +

The Crusades: The Flame of Islam by Harold Lamb
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Overview: The Moslems accepted the presence of the conquerors as one of the inevitable things ordained by fate. They mourned the loss of Jerusalem, and they awaited the hour when the wheel of fortune would turn again and the holy city would be restored to Islam. Meanwhile, they were occupied with their own concerns beyond the border. No boundary post marked the invisible line where Christianity ceased and Islam began. Only a watcher standing in the bell tower of the church of the Sepulcher could look toward the east, over the flat gray roofs of Jerusalem, over the parapet of the massive wall, past the haze of the Jordan gorge to the hard blue height of Moab’s hills. Beyond that line, he would be told, lay the lands of the paynims, the men of Islam. If he rode down with the pilgrims through the waste lands of clay and rock, to gather reeds at the edge of the muddy Jordan, he would see a squat tower with a stone corral around it, for the horses, and perhaps some men-at-arms in the shade of the olive trees. If he dared cross the ford by the tower and ride on toward the east, he might come upon the stained black shelters of a Bedawin tribe, with its sheep and dogs. Instead of a tavern or hospice, he would find only the rough stone wall and cactus hedge of a caravan serai, in which to spend the night. Nowhere would he find any visible sign of the borderline. It was invisible. But it lay, enduring and forbidding, between the men themselves. It separated Nazarene from Moslem – knight of the cross from the warrior of Islam. To cross it in reality a Christian must become a renegade. He must renounce his own faith to enter the world of Muhammad, the prophet. And few were the renegades on either side. At this time, late in the Twelfth Century, men lived by the faith within them. To the wearers of the cross, the cross was the visible sign of an everlasting truth. They were the children of God, striving to follow the Seigneur Christ. Upon no other path would they set their feet. To the Moslems, they were merely the People of the Book. True, Muhammad had said that the Messiah Jesus was one of the prophets. But Allah was God indeed, and Muhammad had been his prophet. Upon the day when all souls would be weighed by the chains of judgment, they who believed would taste of Paradise, and they who believed not would know oblivion. No middle path existed the Moslems were fiercely certain of that. This gulf between Moslem and Christian could not be bridged by any bridge. They might live together in friendship, as many did live, but between them the breach stood as wide as ever. Muhammad had admonished his people never to make lasting peace with the unbelievers.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Faith, Beliefs & Philosophy

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