Islam And The West In The Middle Ages

997 words - 4 pages

In Samuel Huntington’s thesis, Clash of Civilizations, he describes the post-Cold War world as one that would now base its conflicts on people’s culture and religion. As among one of his few reasons why civilizations will clash, Huntington explains that these religious conflicts will come about because of the ideals of Islam and Christianity where they are willing to kill people who do not convert because each believes that only they have the correct religion. He also mentions that the introduction of technology and shifts in the world economy will contribute to the reasons for civilizations to clash. Because of the technological advancements, people now have a greater ability to move freely around the world are therefore more capable of reaching each other and spreading their ideals globally. These are also the reasons why there were so many conflicts between the Muslins and the Christians throughout the middle ages in the Middle East and in Spain. Just as Huntington predicts that modern day war will be a result of the aforementioned reasons, Muslims and Christians fought against each other in the Middle Ages because of their unwillingness to compromise on the basic differences of their religion and culture, and because of the changing political and economical world.
Huntington mentions that Islam and Christianity have ideals that forbid having a positive relation with other religions. For the Muslims, this played a large factor when they began their conquest of the Middle East, North Africa, and their attempt to conquer Europe. The Quran commands Muslims, “take not the Jews and Christians as friends” . It also commands them to “fight against those who do not…practice the religion of truth” . These ideals preached by the Quran played an integral part in the Muslim conquest of the West because it originally prevented them from having peace with any other non-Muslim country. After some time, the Muslims ceased from their conquest of Europe and allowed non-Muslims to live conditionally under their rule. They were called dhimmi and were granted protection in exchange for the payment of the jizya tax. Bernard Lewis explains that even though the Muslims were now not actively persecuting non-Muslims, “the logic of Islamic law, however, does not recognize the permanent existence of any other polity outside Islam”
For the Christians, their willingness to die for Christianity played a large role in the crusades’ conquest of the Middle East. Pope Urban II, the initiator of the crusades, called for Christians “to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends” , referring to the Muslims who at that time were conquering the Middle Eastern Christian villages. Pope Urban II even attempts to get rid of the Christian’s fear of death saying that if they die while fighting in the name of Christianity, all of their sins will be forgiven. Because of the Muslim and Christian fundamental hatred of each other, they both felt the religious obligation to destroy...

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