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Muslim Martyrdom and Quest for Martyrdom in the Crusading Period

Muslim Martyrdom and Quest for Martyrdom in the Crusading Period

By Daniella Talmon-Heller

Al-Masaq, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2002)

Abstract: Etan Kohlberg ends his comprehensive article on “Medieval Muslim views on martyrdom” saying that: “Modern ideas about martyrdom [shahada] cannot be understood in isolation; they draw their inspiration from the past”. This article deals with shahada and talab al-shahada, namely with the quest for martyrdom, an idea just as modern and as medieval as martyrdom itself. Here it is studied within the historical framework of the conflict between Muslims and Franks in the Levant, in the context of Muslim memory, propaganda and piety.

The Ž first Muslims who lost their lives because of their commitment to the new Islamic faith, were killed Ž fighting their pagan enemies on the battleŽfield – that is, in a very different manner than the Christian martyrs of late antiquity, martyred for clinging to their faith, or later Christians, propagating their faith in the early Middle Ages.

Click here to read this article from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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