69 million page views

Islamic Moderation Greater in the Past

Reader comment on item: The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

Submitted by Dave (United States), Mar 30, 2014 at 20:27

I recently read Joel Kraemer's biography of Maimonides. His well-researched book describes how Judaism's most renowned sage worked as a physician in Saladin's court in the 12th century. Saladin had 21 physicians: 8 Muslims, 8 Jews and 5 Christians. At that time, the Crusades were taking place and Saladin was battling to eject them from Palestine. Despite the fierce battles, Saladin retained his Christian physicians, and Kraemer described normal interactions with local Christian traders. Despite the Crusades, vengeance was not widely wreaked on indigenous Christians in the sense of mass expulsions or church burnings, as we see today (and as with the Jews after the '48 war). Muslim and Jewish scholars also collaborated extensively and Maimonides adopted many ideas from them. This is not to idealize the situation, as Maimonides had fled the fanatical Almohads in Morocco. There also were suicide attacks from Shiite assassins when the Sunni Abuyids ousted the Fatimids in Egypt. Thus, one had all the bad stuff we have today, just less of it.

The lesson is that when the general atmosphere in society is tolerant, people will act tolerantly despite what religious texts say. There was more tolerance and less repression in the Islamic regions 800 years ago than today. Why they regressed is a question.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Islamic Moderation Greater in the Past by Dave

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2022 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)