Thursday, 7 January 2010

Deus Vult

In July of the year 1187, the holy city of Jerusalem was on the eve of its recapture from the crusaders, ending an 88 year occupation of the city, and heralding the collapse of foreign occupation of the Levant, and Jerusalem in particular, for the following 700 years.

I've been reading about the siege of Jerusalem by Saladin, prior to its liberation in October of 1187, and among what I came across, was the chronicle of a crusader squire (arms bearer) called Ernoul, in which he describes the scene in the last days of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, as it lay besieged by Saladin, days before the battle for it began, resulting in its subsequent surrender and liberation.

In the chronicle, Ernoul declared that "…Our Lord did not deign to hear the prayers or noise that was made in the city. For the stench of adultery, of disgusting extravagance and of sin against nature would not let their prayers rise to God."

Eight hundred and twenty three years later, and as history tends to repeat itself in words as in actions, Jerusalem is occupied again, and Ernoul's account of the reasons for crusader defeat and downfall, seems to be fit to repeat, as he speaks in French, from beyond his grave -wherever that may be- describing the reasons for his one time conquerors' defeat and downfall.

إِنَّ اللهَ لا يُغَيِّـرُ مَا بِقَومٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّـرُوا مَا بِـِأنفُسِهم وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللهُ بِقَومٍ سُوءًا فَلا مَرَدَّ لَهُ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ

"Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts; and if Allah willeth misfortune for a folk there is none that can repel it, nor have they a defender beside Him"