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Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti

Abstract

The Imāmī Shī‘a of Syria stood along with the Sunnīs as one group against the Franks, rather than as followers of different religious traditions. This article traces the rapprochement between the Sunnī and the Imāmī Shī‘a in the face of the Franks. Examples that were invoked to make the point here include the Imāmīs of Tripoli and Aleppo and the Imāmī vizier of the Fatimids, Ṭalā’i‘ Ibn Ruzzayk. Three factors seem to have underlined this sense of unity: doctrinal nearness, geographic proximity, and the political quietism of medieval Imāmism. Saladin’s relations with the Imāmīs are also invoked here. Being more pragmatic than his predecessor Nūr Al-Dīn, Saladin valued winning hearts and minds as much as winning battles. He successfully adopted a containment policy that was based on winning the Syrian Imāmīs and building a broad alliance with them against the Franks.

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Keywords

Islam
Syria
Crusades
Sunnism
Shī‘a
Imāmism

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