The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period

Ibn ʿAsākir of Damascus (1105–1176) and His Age, with an Edition and Translation of Ibn ʿAsākir’s The Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad


The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period examines the important role of Ibn ʿAsākir, including his Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad, in the promotion of a renewed jihad ideology in twelfth-century Damascus as part of sultan Nūr al-Dīn’s agenda to revivify Sunnism and fight, under the banner of jihad, Crusader and Muslim opponents. This jihad vision was exclusively centered on selected quranic verses and prophetic hadiths. Ibn ʿAsākir and other Sunni scholars in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Syria departed from the earlier scholarly focus on legal nuances and aversion to invoke jihad in intra-Muslim conflicts. They championed this intensification and reorientation of jihad ideology in mainstream Sunni scholarship, and gave it a lasting legacy.

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Suleiman A. Mourad, Ph.D. (2004), is Professor of Religion at Smith College. His publications include Jerusalem: Idea and Reality (Routledge, 2008); Early Islam between Myth and History (Brill, 2005), and Sīrat al-sayyid al-Masīḥ li-Ibn ʿAsākir al-Dimashqī (Dār al-Shurūq, 1996).

James E. Lindsay, Ph.D. (1994), is Associate Professor of History at Colorado State University. His publications include Historical Dimensions of Islam (Darwin Press, 2009); Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World (Greenwood, 2005); and Ibn ʿAsākir and Early Islamic History (Darwin Press, 2001).
“The edition and translation of the Arabic text of Ibn ʿAsākir’s al-Arbaʿūna ḥadīthan fī l-ḥathth ʿalā l-jihād in the second part of the book is of a high quality and it is a welcome addition to the sources available on jihād.”
Harald Motzki in Ilahiyat Studies 4.1 (2013).

"...this is an important and groundbreaking piece of scholarship [...]."
Niall Christie in Bulletin critique des Annales islamologiques 28 (2012).

“This book describes how twelfth-century scholars were actively involved in legitimizing certain political actions through concepts that were crystallized in the Muslim tradition and shaped intra-Muslim relations well as the empire’s relationships with its neighbors… In introducing the historical setting, Mourad and Lindsay describe in impressively minute detail the politics involved in producing texts during the reign of Sultan Nūr al-Dīn at a time when the latter was rallying Muslim populations, and elites in particular, against the Crusaders.”
Bashir Saade in Al-Abhath 60-61 (2012-2013), p. 202-204.

“…a most welcome addition to the study of the idea of religiously motivated warfare in the twelfth century. This text is of particular importance because Ibn ʿAsākir was the most important scholar of his time in the Egyptian/Syrian lands—at least he was the most prolific.[…] Overall this book not only makes a new text available to a larger audience, but it offers a brilliant reinterpretation of a text that might seem at first glance boringly repetitive.”
Konrad Hirschler in Journal of the American Oriental Society 135.1 (2015)

"Like any primary source, Ibn ʿAsākir’s text and its very readable translation offer modern readers an indication of how contemporaries perceived the issues of the day, so the book is part of a welcome trend in crusading studies to present Islamic perspectives on the topic. It
will also appeal to anyone interested in jihad more generally."
Christopher J. van der Krogt in Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, 29 July (2015).

"Die vorliegende Arbeit stellt ein wichtiges Werk aus der Geschichte dieses Konzeptes in einer verlässlichen Edition zur Verfügung".
Rüdiger Lohlker, University of Vienna
List of Maps and Images
Notes on Transliteration

Part One: The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period: Ibn ʿAsākir of Damascus (1105-1176) and his Age

Chapter One: Ibn ʿAsākir (1105-1176): Life and Career
Chapter Two: Jihad in Early Islamic History: An Overview
Chapter Three: Jihad Preaching in Damascus between the First and Second Crusades
Chapter Four: Ibn ʿAsākir and the Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Twelfth Century
Chapter Five: The Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad
Chapter Six: Ibn ʿAsākir’s Forty Hadiths and the Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in Thirteenth Century Damascus
Chapter Seven: The Legacy of the Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology since the Thirteenth Century

Part Two: English Translation
A. Notes on the Translation
B. The Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad
C. Colophons and Ownership Notes on al-Birzālī’s Copy of Ibn ʿAsākir’s Forty Hadiths

Part Three: Edition of the Arabic Text
A. Notes on the Arabic Edition
B. al-Arbaʿūn ḥadīthan fī al-ḥathth ʿalā al-jihād
C. Arabic Colophons and Ownership Notes

The book targets specialists and broad audiences--including students in courses on the Crusades, medieval Islamic history, and Islamic religious thought--who have an interest in Muslim response to the Crusades and the history of jihad ideology.
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