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Franks’ Effect on Islamic Spirit, Religious and Cultural Characters in Medieval Syria
By Hatim Mahamid
Nebula, Vol.4:1 (2007)
Introduction: This study will follow the phenomena of the Franks/ Crusaders in late Medieval Syria, after the Crusade invasions in 1099 and their occupation of different parts of Syria. It focuses on the changes in the Islamic spirit and Muslim institutions in light of the Franks’ activities and interactions. In addition to the political and economic effects of the Franks on the Muslim lands, the Islamic spirit and educational character were significantly affected too. The impact of the different historical circumstances on the different regions of Medieval Syria (Bilad al-Sham) can be discerned in the different trends, developments and sizes of the intellectual class, resulting in the establishment of different kinds of Islamic institutions. Typical of the cities in the north and inner parts of Syria, which were directly affected by the Mongols, Damascus can be contrasted with Jerusalem, which was typical of cities in the south and coastal area that fell under the Franks’ (Ifranj/Firanja) domain. In all probability, all of the factors mentioned above had direct and indirect effects on the immigration of intellectuals, ‘ulama, religious figures in Syria during the late Middle Ages.