Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

How would a Crusader convert to Islam?

Post Reply
User avatar
stu1883
Avid Reader
Posts: 293
Joined: April 2009
Location: I live in Bristol, England with my wife Nicki & our kittens Boomer & Magic
Contact:

How would a Crusader convert to Islam?

Post by stu1883 » Fri September 2nd, 2011, 7:14 am

In my current WIP, one of my central characters is a Frank but he falls in love with a muslim girl but the only way they have a chance to be together is if he converts to Islam.

I have found out the current path that one would take in order to enter the Muslim faith, but can anyone point me in the right direction to find out how it would have happened in 12thC Outremer?

Any help would be appreciated - thank you!

User avatar
Shield-of-Dardania
Reader
Posts: 129
Joined: February 2010

Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Tue September 6th, 2011, 10:03 am

[quote=""stu1883""]
In my current WIP, one of my central characters is a Frank but he falls in love with a muslim girl but the only way they have a chance to be together is if he converts to Islam.

I have found out the current path that one would take in order to enter the Muslim faith, but can anyone point me in the right direction to find out how it would have happened in 12thC Outremer?

Any help would be appreciated - thank you!
[/quote]
That sounds like an interesting plot, Stu.

Allow me to venture a straightforward answer. As far as I know, the conversion procedure is simple and has always remained the same, regardless of time and place.

One just recites the shuhada, the Islamic declaration of faith regarding Allah as the one and only God, and regarding Mohammed as his Rasul, i.e. Messenger.

Any other ritual or ceremony, if exists, would be merely accessory to that. Tradition would indicate that the recitation is done in Arabic, but my belief is that any language is acceptable. A credible witness, also a Muslim, is normally the practice.

I suppose, as some form of quality control, to ensure the quality of conversion, preventive measures against regression/apostasy - which would have been a frequent occurrence especially in those early periods - would include a certain period of basic training to ensure understanding, acceptance, commitment etc. before the aspirant makes the big plunge.

You could contact the imam of a mosque nearest to you, or perhaps the secretary of a local Muslim association, to verify this.

BTW, just sharing: a central character of my WIP is a young Saxon girl stranded in 11thC Byzantium as a slave, who befriended a born-Muslim Bolgar woman co-slave in Constantinople, then converted there after spending some time listening to a slave preacher.
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Wed September 7th, 2011, 12:56 am, edited 4 times in total.
Reason: amendment

User avatar
stu1883
Avid Reader
Posts: 293
Joined: April 2009
Location: I live in Bristol, England with my wife Nicki & our kittens Boomer & Magic
Contact:

Post by stu1883 » Wed September 7th, 2011, 9:09 pm

Thank you for your answer that is very interesting and has pretty much tied in to what I have found out so far. I have contacted someone from the Muslim community but as yet haven't received an answer.

Your project sound really interesting too. The relationships between the two cultures away from the Crusades events and how they lived together has fascinated me for a long time.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 7th, 2011, 9:25 pm

I don't know about conversion, but in Islam, all it needs to be legally married is to join hands and repeat three times in front of witnesses, "I marry you."

divorce is the same procedure, but no hand-holding and only the man gets to do it.

I'm guessing that conversion involves a simple declaration, and afterwards upholding the five pillars:

The shahadah is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: (ašhadu an) lā ilāha illá l-Lāhu (wa ashhadu 'anna) Muḥammadan rasūlu l-Lāhi "(I profess that) there is no god except God and (I profess that) Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

Salat, or prayer five times daily, beginning with the Shahada: just before dawn, at noon, midafternoon, sunset, and evening. Salat is done facing Mecca and involves set physical postures, different for Sunni and Shia.

Sawm, or fasting, usually done during the month of Ramadan (Islamic months are 28 days and move throughout the year) when the devout abstain from food or drink while the sun is in the sky and a white thread may be distinguished from a dark one.

Zakat, or charity. The set amount is one-fortieth, or 2.5%.

and, if the believer is able to afford it and is free, hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca to see the Qua'abba.

If your man does these things, he would be considered a true convert.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Thu September 8th, 2011, 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
stu1883
Avid Reader
Posts: 293
Joined: April 2009
Location: I live in Bristol, England with my wife Nicki & our kittens Boomer & Magic
Contact:

Post by stu1883 » Thu September 8th, 2011, 8:29 pm

Thanks MLE - a font of knowledge and fact as always! You are a star! TYVM

Post Reply

Return to “Questions and Research”