the sultan of the saints
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An intriguing examination of the extraordinary–and little known meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Islamic leader Sultan Malik Al-Kamil that has strong resonance in today's divided world. For many of us, St. Francis of Assisi is known as a poor monk and a lover of animals. However, these images are sadly incomplete, because they ignore an equally important and more challenging aspect of his life -- his unwavering commitment to seeking peace. In The Saint and the Sultan, Paul Moses recovers Francis' s message of peace through the largely forgotten story of his daring mission to end the crusades. In 1219, as the Fifth Crusade was being fought, Francis crossed enemy lines to gain an audience with Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt. The two talked of war and peace and faith and when Francis returned home, he proposed that his Order of the Friars Minor live peaceably among the followers of Islam–a revolutionary call at a moment when Christendom pinned its hopes for converting Muslims on the battlefield. The Saint and the Sultan captures the lives of St. Francis and Sultan al-Kamil and illuminates the political intrigue and religious fervor of their time. In the process, it reveals a startlingly timely story of interfaith conflict, war, and the search for peace. More than simply a dramatic adventure, though it does not lack for colorful saints and sinners, loyalty and betrayal, and thrilling Crusade narrative, The Saint and the Sultan brings to life an episode of deep relevance for all who seek to find peace between the West and the Islamic world. Winner of the 2010 Catholic Press Association Book Award for History From the Hardcover edition.
In September, 1219, as the armies of the Fifth Crusade besieged the Egyptian city of Damietta, Francis of Assisi went to Egypt to preach to Sultan al-Malik al-Kâmil. Although we in fact know very little about this event, this has not prevented artists and writers from the thirteenth century to the twentieth, unencumbered by mere facts, from portraying Francis alternatively as a new apostle preaching to the infidels, a scholastic theologian proving the truth of Christianity, a champion of the crusading ideal, a naive and quixotic wanderer, a crazed religious fanatic, or a medieval Gandhi preaching peace, love, and understanding. Al-Kâmil, on the other hand, is variously presented as an enlightened pagan monarch hungry for evangelical teaching, a cruel oriental despot, or a worldly libertine. Saint Francis and the Sultan takes a detailed look at these richly varied artistic responses to this brief but highly symbolic meeting. Throwing into relief the changing fears and hopes that Muslim-Christian encounters have inspired in European artists and writers in the centuries since, it gives a uniquely broad but precise vision of the evolution of Western attitudes towards Islam and the Arab world over the last eight hundred years.
By the fourteenth century the Islamic faith had spread via maritime trade routes to Southeast Asia where, over the next seven hundred years, it would have a continuing influence on political life, social customs, and the development of the arts. Sultans, Shamans, and Saints looks at Islam in Southeast Asia during four major eras: its arrival (to 1300), the first flowering of Islamic identity (1300 1800), the era of imperialism (1800 1945), and the era of independent nation-states (1945 2000). Ranging across the humanities and social sciences, this balanced and accessible work emphasizes the historical development of Southeast Asia s accommodation of Islam and the creation of its distinctive regional character. Each chapter opens with a general background summary that places events in the greater Asian/Southeast Asian context, followed by an overview of prominent ethnic groups, political events, customs and cultures, religious factors, and art forms. Sultans, Shamans, and Saints will be of great value to students and researchers specializing in the study of Islam and the comparative study of Muslim societies and culture. It will also be useful to those with a world-systems approach to the study of history and globalization. "
The colonial encounter between France and Morocco in the late nineteenth century took place not only in the political realm but also in the realm of medicine. Because the body politic and the physical body are intimately linked, French efforts to colonize Morocco took place in and through the body. Starting from this original premise, Medicine and the Saints traces a history of colonial embodiment in Morocco through a series of medical encounters between the Islamic sultanate of Morocco and the Republic of France from 1877 to 1956. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources in both French and Arabic, Ellen Amster investigates the positivist ambitions of French colonial doctors, sociologists, philologists, and historians; the social history of the encounters and transformations occasioned by French medical interventions; and the ways in which Moroccan nationalists ultimately appropriated a French model of modernity to invent the independent nation-state. Each chapter of the book addresses a different problem in the history of medicine: international espionage and a doctor's murder; disease and revolt in Moroccan cities; a battle for authority between doctors and Muslim midwives; and the search for national identity in the welfare state. This research reveals how Moroccans ingested and digested French science and used it to create a nationalist movement and Islamist politics, and to understand disease and health. In the colonial encounter, the Muslim body became a seat of subjectivity, the place from which individuals contested and redefined the political.
In 1894, on the eve of the French conquest of Morocco, a young Muslim mystic named Muhammad al-Kattani decided to abandon his life of asceticism to preach Islamic revival and jihad against the French. Ten years later, al-Kattani mobilized a socially diverse coalition of Moroccans who called for resistance against French colonization. In 1909, he met a violent death at the hands of the same Moroccan anti-colonialists he had empowered through his activism. Today, the government of Morocco regards al-Kattaniâe(tm)s story as subversive, and he has virtually disappeared from the narratives of the early Moroccan anti-colonialism and nationalism. Despite this silencing, al-Kattaniâe(tm)s remarkable personal transformation and sacrifice is at the heart of the events that, although ultimately failing to prevent French rule, gave birth to Moroccan nationalism and to modern concepts of Moroccan political power and authority. Forgotten Saints draws on a diverse collection of previously unknown primary sources to narrate the vivid story of al-Kattani and his virtual disappearance from accounts of modern Moroccan history.
The King of Tars, an early Middle English romance (ca. 1330 or earlier), emphasizes ideas about race, gender, and religion. A short poem, its purpose is to celebrate the power of Christianity, and yet it defies classification.