From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Saint Francis and Sultan Al-Kamil

(Saint Francis meets with Al-Kamil)
Sultan Al-Kamil was a nephew of the great Muslim leader, Saladin.  (Al-Kamil's father was Saladin's brother).  Some of Saladin's
renowned chivalry might have been passed on to him since Al-Kamil was willing to meet with Saint Francis while the Fifth
Crusade was raging all about them.

Wikipedia reports that Al-Kamil was known to have made many peace offers during this Crusade.  He had not only agreed to negotiate with Saint Francis of Assisi, but had also "offered to return Jerusalem and rebuild its walls (which his brother had torn down earlier in the year) and to return the True Cross (which he probably did not have)."

Al-Kamil's many peace attempts were rejected by the Crusaders until he was finally "forced" to open the Nile's floodgates upon them.  At that point, the Crusaders "accepted an eight-year peace."  Al-Kamil was also able to negotiate the Treaty of 1229 with
Frederick II of Sicily (who had been planning a Sixth Crusade).  This historic treaty, based upon diplomacy rather than upon military confrontation, led to the return of Jerusalem and other holy sites to the Crusader kingdom.  It also fostered a ten-year period of peace.

Paul Moses, author of The Saint and the Sultan: the Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace, reports that Saint Francis "opposed the warfare" and "hoped to bring about peace by converting the sultan to Christianity."  Sultan Al-Kamil did not convert to Christianity; nevertheless, Saint Francis "came away from the peaceful encounter [with Al-Kamil] with revolutionary ideas that called for Christians to live
harmoniously with Muslims."    


Copyright October 1, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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